The Big Disadvantage of Weight Lifting Gloves.

Weight lifting gloves come with a price!

If you’ve ever been to a gym, you’ve probably seen men and women wearing weight lifting gloves. They are worn for a variety of reasons, but generally because they:

  1. Increase grip strength. Weight gloves make it easier to hold dumbbells and barbells while performing various exercises.
  2. Decrease calluses. Weight gloves prevent hands from becoming callused as a result of dumbbell and barbell exercises. They keep your hands silky smooth.
  3. Additional wrist support. Most weight lifting gloves wrap around the wrist and provide additional support during heavy lifting.

The benefits are admirable. But weight lifting gloves also come with a huge disadvantage: Weight lifting gloves damper real gains in grip strength. When it comes to lifting heavy boxes, changing a tire, hanging off a cliff or any other real life situation, you probably won’t have your gloves. In essence, the gloves provide a false sense of grip strength. Instead of strengthening your grip and forearms, the gloves do the work for you and prevent real gains.

For this reason, I retired my weight lifting gloves years ago. Sure, smooth hands are nice. But when I find myself hanging off the side of a 40-story building, I’ll be glad to have my grip. 🙂

Do you wear weight lifting gloves? Let me know in the comments below.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. genomeAnarchist says:

    Oh, Davey! You watch too many action movies! xP We love you!

    • “Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer who uses his online presence to help people achieve their fitness goals through knowledge, self-love, motivation and inspiration.”

      Self love?…Really?

  2. Thank you so much for this article! I’ve been doing some heavier lifting, and I’m starting to get some respectable calluses, and I was debating whether or not get gloves…you answered all my questions!

  3. i dont really wear weight-lifting gloves, i wear wrist supports, but i do a fair bit if lifting in my line of work (well i did) but i am 50/50 with grips as i have lifted furniture uni and built my strength up in doing so.

    so yeah my grip it more than ok. still smooth as i moisturise frequently.

    Jay xxx

  4. Sorry, but I totally disagree! For starters, you contradict yourself. Your #1 reason for wearing gloves = increased grip strength. But then you say that’s the main disadvantage.

    Gloves actually help you lift MORE weight because of the improved grip. If you aren’t able to get as good of a grip on the bar, you’re not going to lift as much. Improved grip allows you the confidence to go up in weight. And that allows you to have improved muscle gains overall. And while I also disagree that your grip strength is compromised by wearing gloves, there are exercises that can help make up for the marginal reduction in grip strength.

    • He didn’t mean that wearing them helps you develop your own personal grip, he means that the gloves helps you grip heavier weights, which is what you said yourself.

      At least, that’s what I got from the article.

    • @ Steve – I think you got it all wrong, davey’s not contradicting himself. What he meant is that people who use gloves SEEM to increase grip strength because the gloves make it easier to hold dumbbells and barbells but they’re REALLY NOT increasing grip strength. They just give you a FALSE SENSE of grip strength because in real life situations where you have to rely on your bare hands, you’re grip would no longer be as good. Although I’d still rather wear gloves because I don’t really see myself hanging off a cliff or off the side of a 40-storey building anytime soon so i’d rather keep my silky smooth hands 🙂

    • I’m sick of hearing anti-glove charlatans preach their ‘realised’ grip strength bullshit. When I’m pushing 120kg on the bench, there is never any point where I think this might be representative of a ‘real-life’ situation. According to the charlatan: “When it comes to lifting heavy boxes, changing a tire, hanging off a cliff.” Yeah, because I typically lift boxes that are the same weight as my 1MR deadlifts and, well, tires these days do tend to weigh in at about 100kg. Absolute what-the-fuckery! Everyone reaches some form of anatomical threshold which peaks their natural ability to comfortable conform to a strong grip. Increasing your forearm claw will help but it’s only part of the problem. Beyond this, gloves and straps are used. They don’t hamper anything and they definitely strengthen my grip, if only psychologically. Irrespective, I’m getting consistent gains. If you don’t feel it increases your grip then don’t wear them – do whatever is best for you. But anyone who contradicts themselves, has little knowledge for retort, or simply thinks it makes them ‘hard’ is nothing more than a basic bitch of the lowest common denominator.

    • Oh, and I agree with @Steve

  5. true, totally do man.

  6. If being big means I have calluses, I’d rather be intermediate.

  7. Ok, let’s take the contradicting comment out all together, granted in #1 he did probably mean grip affect and not grip strength. But to the point of the article, wearing gloves does NOT affect your normal grip strength. Or at least my degree in Kinesiology and ten years in the sports rehabilitation field say so. But I don’t have a blog so I probably don’t know what I’m talking about. There are several professional opinions out there regarding this topic, but keep in mind none of them were published by superheros.

  8. Steve…if your name is really ‘Steve’…quit being a nitpicker, fault finder, and deflate your ego. If anything it’s tacky.

    Anyway, I’m not going to pretend I’m a blogless expert, but I will base my opinion from my experience. I have found that lifting gloves were okay for me when I was starting out but found them to not help out for the long term. When I stopped using them I had to decrease weight size a little to adjust to not having the gloves. Now that I don’t use them, my actual grip strength has dramatically improved.

  9. I do wear them. I have problems with finger dislocations and was advised to wear gloves by a hand surgeon.

  10. At your age “years ago” must mean 2 years (?). OK, I might have had a slightly stronger grip for several reasons after many years of gyming (at my age that means about as long as you’ve been alive), but my hands simply deserve the protection and I do not plan to hang from a “40-story building” at any time. Also, being able to do more reps at greater weights due to better grip tends to offset the slight disadvantage, and I’m not genetically predisposed to forearms of Popeye-like dimensions anyhow. My gloves have one serious disadvantage though, they become sweat drenched and have to be cleaned regularly to avoid smelling like a dog’s ass… well, I would imagine that a dog’s ass smells that bad.

  11. Tom Hedeen says:

    I’d rather not have “grip strength” for holding onto building ledges, and have callus-free hands. Plus the added grip allows me to lift heavier weights. I’m hoping that my hand and wrist routines make up for not using gloves.
    I also wear gloves when I ride my bike and when I play racquet sports.
    And living in Chicago, I wear gloves to keep my hands warm when I’m outside!

  12. I realize that this really boils down to a person’s preference, but not wearing/not wearing gloves is not going to “dramatically” affect your grip strength.

    But ask yourself this question… do you work out to have bulging pecs and biceps, or because you want to have bulging fingers?

    • As a matter of fact I agree…….grip strength is not compromised to the point that If I did have a situation where I need to hang off a cliff, you could still do it. The little grip strength that someone may lose, and maybe, wont make me fall off.

      in a situation like that, adrenaline will be your best friend, not minor different in grip strength.

  13. Here is a suggestion. You can wear your weight lifting glove, and you can also increase your grip strength by alternating days when you wear them and when you don’t. Alternately, you can do exercise specifically designed to increase your grip strength (where you don’t need to use gloves), in addition to your other exercises, that way you can wear your gloves and keep your hands without callases, AND increase your grip strength too.

    Sometimes the obvious illudes us because it is staring us in the face.

    🙂

  14. I use gloves because I naturally have sweaty hands and gloves give me reassurance on my grip. Slippage is NOT an option. However, I have noticed significant strength increase in my grip since I stopped using them for doing pull-ups. My wrists usually give out before my back does. I stopped using them for pull-ups because the bar at my gym is kinda thick and the extra padding on the gloves make it thicker and hence harder.

  15. Christopher says:

    Of course I wear them. I likes me some nice beautiful hands and do not intend on pondering about the universe on a 40 story building like spiderman.

  16. Yup I was thinking of buying gloves… my hands are getting all the calluses… in fact, one of my friends made fun of me for not wearing gloves.

    now i know, they’ll die off that 40-story building… i won’t 😀

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  18. Honestly, if your hands are rough from not using gloves, its a sure sign that you’re gripping the weights incorrectly….

  19. Shane Jones says:

    I wear gloves and still have calluses. Bad. It does help from slipping, which is good, especially for pull-ups, etc. So, yeah.

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  24. When was the last time you found yourself hanging off of a forty story building? Good point though, I don’t use gloves either.

  25. You’re such a douche

  26. Are we at the gym to lift or to increase grip strength for what if scenarios?

    If the glove allow you to life more then wear them.

    Find other ways to improve grip strength without gloves.

  27. The main reason I wear gloves is for HYGIENE purposes! dumbbells and barbells are where most people break their skin from lifting heaving weights. Now that’s is some serious over sharing. People cringe at the thought of sharing sweat with another person let alone puss from a broken blister. (insert baby puke in mouth right here)
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  30. Wow great article having the grip of your Hand is more important.Coz thats how it works now Fitness companies have come up with Slim Gym gloves which provide you not only just Grip but also you dont feel like wearing them.
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  31. You can say all you want about the pros and cons of wearing gloves but I ask you anti-glove guys one question:

    What girl do you know who appreciates being fondled by rough hands and calluses. That realization alone should make the entire world of glove haters embarrassed to be so self centered. Be kind to others!

    Granted that I do have a dog in this fight: I invented NewGrip Gym Gloves to solve most hand and grip needs.
    They never stink or stain your skin.
    NewGrips protect your hands from coming in contact with the moisture left behind by others. Think MRSA.
    They prevent blisters (rowers rave about them)
    And naturally you can squeeze out more reps using heavier weights. (They are high recommended by Pete Sisco who co-invented Static Contraction Training)

    NewGrip Gym Gloves were recently used by Kyle Gurkovitch to set the 2014 Guinness Book of Records for most pull ups in 24 hours: 4,140.

    Imagine 4,140 Pull Ups and ZERO BLISTERS or TORN SKIN?!

  32. Here are some reasons why you should always go for Gripped weightlifting gloves:

    They offer a lot more power than any other Gym gloves. There is a reason to it. They actually fit the hand completely and comfortably without covering it. The best thing about them is they are Most Advanced & light weight also They offer a lot more control than any other type of gloves. Thus you don’t have to worry about adjusting the traditional gloves or using chalk on your hand!

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  36. The only exception to this is if your training outside or hanging from a bar for long periods of time But even then you should only use the gloves partially only if your grip is failing & are needed, otherwise avoid them!