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Victor J McQuaide 07-07-2012 09:54 AM

Using Gloves in Crossfit
Can someone comment on why no one or very few wear gloves. I have cross fitted for 6 months with no problems. Until I did a workout on (Chest to Bar pull-ups) on a bar that was lined with tape. That started the tearing. Doing a workout in competition where we had to do a 19 min AMRAP involving everything to do with grip in the heat (watch out when the bar and KB is baking in the sun).. so why not use gloves. I have been using them for 2 weeks and I can't seem to find the reason not to use them.

Appreciate any thoughts or reasons so this newbie can learn.

Andrew N. Casey 07-07-2012 10:49 AM

Re: Using Gloves in Crossfit
there have been several threads on this in the past, so if you google "crossfit no gloves" or something like that you can probably see lots of answers through the years. basically, Rip was against gloves and using chalk was more "hardcore, elite, and functional" from back in the day, i think it had as much to do with the counter -culture, opposite of what globo gym people do mentality as anything else. there was a quote from Rip about gloves matching your purse or something like that. but, some people use them some don't. there is nothing wrong with them in certain situations. but don't assume that using them on high rep stuff will help your hands necessarily. having something between your hand and the bar can actually cause more rubbing. and if the gloves aren't super thin it can make grip harder too. if you need them because the bar is hot from being in the sun or to cover up an existing hand blister then use them. if you are wearing them because you think it will help you tear less then use chalk. if you are using them to overcome weak grip, then it might not work as good as you think and you would probably be better just to improve your grip. personally, i never understood the thinking that they were somehow not "hardcore" and never understood people not wearing them for fear of what others would think. military operators, MMA fighters, football players, gymnasts, etc all wear gloves...

Matt Thomas 07-07-2012 11:09 AM

Re: Using Gloves in Crossfit
I wear gloves all the time depending on the situation and I don't care what people say about it.

- if I'm doing deadlift or pullups for strength I use chalk because I want the grip strength benefits of using bare hands.

- I use chalk for rope climbing because gloves seem to slip on ropes.

- for WODs I always use gloves. I sweat a lot (especially in Florida summers) and it gets to point where I can't even apply chalk effectively anymore. I'm sorry but it's not hardcore to drastically lowering intensity in a workout because my hands are too slippery to hang onto a bar for more than a few reps at a time all for the sake of worrying about whether gloves make it look like I carry a purse or whatever dumb sh*t people want to say.

- I will wear gloves for strength work if no chalk is available. Same reason as above. If I can deadlift over 400, but 315 is slipping out of my hands because they're sweating...that's dumb.

- my gym also has a TON of people in its classes and not enough buckets to go around. I don't want to waste time hunting down the chalk every 30 seconds when I could just wear the gloves and keep going. I suppose I could bring my own stash of chalk, but see my first argument about sweat. It's the main reason I favor gloves.

- as mentioned try to stay away from gloves with padding in the palm and fingers. The added material makes it really tough to grip things. Especially if you have smaller hands. I have found baseball gloves with no padding to work pretty well.

Jonathan Renner 07-07-2012 01:00 PM

Re: Using Gloves in Crossfit
Chicks dig my callused, rough hands, so no gloves for me :)

However I weigh 175, so I'm probably not putting quite as much stress on my palms as a lot of people around here are. I think the notion that wearing gloves to make you a wuss is beyond stupid.

Eric Shuty 07-07-2012 02:59 PM

Re: Using Gloves in Crossfit
I don't wear gloves because after a long time your hands will toughen up just like your body. I don't do prescribed WODs but I do most of the exercises most cossfittees do and I never have a problem. This includes the powerlifts, Olympic lifts, pull ups, ad kb stuff...all the usual suspects. I'll do 40-60 pull ups in a sitting at a body weight of 240 and have absolutely no issues will tearing. I do mostly dead hang with a little bit of kipping. I never trim callouses either...they trim themselves on heavy deadlifts and rack pulls.

I think the issues people have are some of the following: what I and others have called the "stupid" workouts that combine huge amounts of kipping pull ups with other had hurters; having multiple days in a row of exercises that overlap muscles worked...this includes that hands. This is something I don't do to the same extent that a lot of boxes do; last but not least, your hands take time to adapt just like the rest of your body. When you started crossfit did you jump right in to 500lb squats? No, you work up to it. So why would you jump right in to workouts that destroy your hands and think it will be ok?

David Meverden 07-08-2012 12:18 PM

Re: Using Gloves in Crossfit
Eric may not trim his calluses but for high rep stuff managing your calluses will be the primary thing that prevents rips. The stiff callus catches on the bar and tears, bringing some good skin with it. I use a razor blade and shave off the calluses. I learned to do that from gymnasts who have to worry about ripping more than CFers. Search around, more threads on that.

As for gloves my main gripe with them is the lack of tactile feel with the bar. Usually isn't too important but have seen people doing kipping pullups with gloves slip off the bar unexpectedly. I saw one girl a while back peel off and try to arrest her fall with her arms behind her. She fractured both wrists. I've never seen any gloveless person peel off a pullup bar like that, which I attribute to better tactile awareness of your grip without the gloves.

Matt Thomas 07-08-2012 03:59 PM

Re: Using Gloves in Crossfit
That seems like a stretch to me. I've never seen that happen at all. Gloves or no. I can certainly tell if my grip is going to give out. How can you not tell that your fingers are opening?

Colin McLafferty 07-09-2012 02:16 PM

Re: Using Gloves in Crossfit
Rip did make some jokes about gloves matching the purse, but his primary reasoning was he did not think gloves help at all. He defined gloves as something like "a bit of loose stuff between your hand and the bar." You can't pick something up if you can't hold onto it, stuff like that.

Anyway, gloves are perfectly fine to protect an injury (eg torn callouses) or protect from the sun or if you're doing a ton of pull ups / cleans / other hand-ripping exercise in a day.

I don't wear gloves for strength training because I want my grip to be stronger. If you don't care about that, fine wear the gloves. There's nothing wrong wearing them in high-rep WODs or for the reasons mentioned above.

Patrick Rushbrook 07-09-2012 02:52 PM

Re: Using Gloves in Crossfit
I think a lot of it is the "hardcore" mentality, as if it's a badge of honor to tear open your hand, which really is just kind-of dumb. I understand where the thought comes from, but a bit of rational thinking should open one's eyes to the truth.

I wear batting gloves for pull-ups, but hardly ever for anything else. Rips are extremely painful, cumbersome, and a good way to pick up MRSA with a quarter-sized open wound exposed to the world, band-aid or not. I also carefully consider doing any WOD with more than 50 pull-ups. Even the gloves start to fail on you a bit after that many. I also have really small hands and am over 200lbs (and not a shredded, beastly specimen with great bodyweight abilities), which probably makes it a bit worse on me.

Vickie Ellickson 07-09-2012 03:19 PM

Re: Using Gloves in Crossfit
I use gloves in the winter b/c trying to grip a sub-zero barbell is no joke. Use 'em if the conditions warrant.

I'm fortunate in that my pull-up bar is a part of my power cage and the bars are covered in foam or something that prevent callouses. :kicking0:

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