Tired of Calluses from Strength Training? There's a Solution!

Weightlifting gloves can give your lifts that comfortable, supportive grip, but they're not always needed. Find out when you should wear these fitness accessories, and when they're best left in the gym bag.

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Everyone likes to get a fit off in the gym. Whether through the latest gym shoes or the most stylish top, looking good is just as good as lifting good when it comes to training. Your fitness accessories can go a long way in achieving that desired wardrobe, too, and many are designed with the goal of an improved workout. Take lifting belts, for example. Yes, they're built to help you brace and stabilize your back and core during heavy sessions, but strap one on and try not to imagine yourself pulling 500 kilograms off the floor.

Another fitness accessory can be just as effective in improving your training, but oftentimes, it gets a bad rap. Weightlifting gloves can be useful tools, especially when used properly, but workout purists or training critics claim this gym wearable is frowned upon due to such factors as less focus on grip strength, a detraction from hard-nosed training and a sheer disdain for aesthetics.

Okay, fingerless mitts might not be the most flattering pieces of your wardrobe, whether wearing them out and about or dawning them before a heavy lift, but looks aside, there are plenty of situations where wearing weightlifting gloves can benefit your performance. Below are some key scenarios when you should consider lifting gloves, as well as some situations where the gear might be best kept in your gym bag.

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When You Should Wear Lifting Gloves

Weightlifting is all about being as efficient as possible when trying to move a heavy load from A to B. Thus, weightlifting gloves wouldn't exist if they didn't help make that travel more efficient in certain situations. Below are some areas to consider if you're thinking about strapping up with workout gloves the next time you hit the iron.

Skin Irritation

Like any pair of gloves, workout gloves can be great at protecting your palms and fingers from abrasions. Barbells feature a knurling at the grips that digs into your skin, which is designed to improve grip and tackiness throughout a lift. Like any abrasive surface, though, there is a limit to how much your skin can take — too much use and you could end up with blisters and uncomfortable calluses.

If you have gone past the line and ended up with some rips and scars across your digits, weightlifting gloves can be a fantastic solution, providing coverage across the area without sacrificing grip. Additionally, if you suffer from a skin condition like eczema, weightlifting gloves can act as a bandage or wrap as you hold the bar without compromising your comfort.

Grip Limits

Your muscles aren't connected to one another in terms of their output — you can't squat the same totals as you bench. The muscles associated with your grip are no different, and when you start deadlifting hundreds of pounds, your grip may begin to fail before your hamstrings, glutes, back and hips. Weightlifting gloves can give your grip the extra juice it needs to maintain that hold on the bar, which keeps tension on the targeted areas before failure. Rather than limiting your performance to how much your grip can hold, you're more capable of working those desired muscles, thus pushing your body to the intended stress levels.

For these scenarios where your muscles outmatch your grip, not every workout glove is going to reap the same results. It's best to employ lifting straps for these methods, as these work more so as a connection point between your hands and the barbell, while also improving comfort. Many lifting straps wrap multiple times around a barbell, securing your grip to the bar while taking the strain out of your fingers and giving you the opportunity for better mind-muscle connection in the lift.

Sweat-Riddled Workouts

Sweat is not a good addition to any gripping scenario. The slippery substance can be a detriment to any handle, so if a product exists that can qualm this compromise, it's always a plus in training. Weightlifting gloves can place a barrier between your sweaty palms and the barbell's knurling, which creates a tackier surface for the traction to take hold. Additionally, if your workout gloves are made of leather, the fabric can absorb some of that moisture, becoming more malleable and form-fitting throughout your training.

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When You Shouldn't Wear Weightlifting Gloves

While the above information proves the staying power of weightlifting gloves, there are still some situations that aren't ideal for their use. Also, it should be noted that athletes can train just as hard without weightlifting gloves as they do with the fitness accessory. It's all a matter of personal preference, because in the end, the best workouts are the ones you feel comfortable in.

With that said, here are a handful of situations where you might want to opt for a gloveless training session.

Grip Strength Training

Your muscles grow and become stronger when they're put under tension — it's the reason you bench press hundreds of pounds in the first place. Sure, weightlifting gloves can help you control the bar through exercises targeting larger muscle areas, but its important to give your hand and wrist musculature some attention as well. Now, you don't need to create a full routine that focuses on these areas, but you can easily target these muscles and ligaments by training properly and working your grip at the same time as those larger lifts.

When you grip the bar and work through a bench or pull, your hand and wrist muscles work to stabilize the weight, thus creating a compound experience and training multiple areas at once. If you're reliant on the grip and security you gain in weightlifting gloves, you're less likely to develop these muscles, which can leave you weaker when it comes time to train without the accessories. It's best to mix in weightlifting gloves on days where your skin feels irritated, or you know for certain that your grip is less than ready for the tasks at hand.

Laundry Day

As is the case in any fabric-based training gear, weightlifting gloves will begin to gather sweat and bacteria through extended use. All that residue can lead to some unwelcome funk, which can be a nuisance to you and your fellow gym-goers.

Outside of the potent stench, this bacteria can also lead to potential infection and skin irritation, thus negating any benefits you may gain from covering up those calluses. When you notice and smell or dirtiness, throw your weightlifting gloves in the wash for a day (albeit by following the prescribed wash instructions) and go raw for at least one training session. Trust us, your nostrils and skin will thank you.

Weightlifting gloves can be a great accessory to add to your gym ensemble, but it pays to understand when their use is most effective. Follow these tips and grab hold of new PRs with help from these effective, often misunderstood training tools.

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