As gymnasts advance through their levels and begin competing, some equipment may become necessary to acquire as their skills advance. With so much weight supported and held by our hands it becomes a strenuous task to say the least. Gymnastics grips are useful for weight support, hand protection, and, due to certain mechanics, a firm grasp.
This equipment is specifically constructed to prevent friction injuries. They are designed with velcro or buckles that securely wrap around the wrist, a leather strap which reduces exposure to the hand, and finger holes for necessary grasp.
But before you jump into buying a pair of gymnastics hand guards, you’ll need to know which kind are the best gymnastics grips for you or your children.
The 6 Best Gymnastics Grips For Bars
When does a gymnast need grips
Generally, gymnasts won’t see many hand rips up until they start doing more difficult skills, but that certainly isn’t to say it doesn’t happen, but also a number of other factors could require them to be used:
Wrists go through lots of pressure, this is especially acknowledged among gymnasts who are on more than one apparatus. To prevent unbearable sharp pain from overworked wrists, getting a pair of grips, some gauze, and tape will help tremendously.
Hand rips are such a common, but incredibly tedious and painful injury is ripping the skin off the palm of your hand. The worst part is, it happens so suddenly and without the proper protection it can set you back from practicing, which basically only allows you to do conditioning exercises (we all know those get old fast).
High Skill Level
I’ve seen gymnasts execute high skill levels without grips, but I’ve seen even more injuries happen this way. Not only are grips necessary for preventing injuries while doing complicated skills, they help you adapt to these skills as well.
Benefits of Using Grips
You’re going to fall.
But you’ll fall a lot less with straps. So the primary objective to using this equipment is to keep a firm grasp on the bar. Have you ever tried doing giants and back hip circle over and over again without using gymnastics handguards?
Or maybe not even that, if you’ve ever hung from something numerous amounts of times in a short period you’ll notice your hands will do one or both of these two things:
- They will blister
- They will callus
Both are not complimenting to have (unless you like being a girl with rough hands).
But any who, back to staying latched on to the bar. Unless you like flying around like a rag doll, maintaining a hold of the bar is pretty important, dowel grips are best for this.
Often enough, they are also seen used in cross-fit, similar workouts with bars so they use variations if not the same type of grips gymnasts use.
Also, it’s important for wrist support. There’s a good amount of pressure your palms and wrists are up against, but the secure, firm buckle or velcro that wraps around the arm gives ample relief for the wrists.
Dowel Grips vs Recreational Grips
It’s important to know whether you are going to be using competitive or non-dowel, basic grips. These two slightly similar styles vary in design and purpose. Although the primary goal for both is reducing hand exposure to prevent blisters, the mechanics are different giving both a specific use.
These are particularly useful for competitive gymnastics, and here’s why:
Dowel grips implement a leather-covered dowel rod that rests on the upper portion of the fingers. This forms a detent, in relevance to the bar, that creates leverage for the grip so that it is easier to hold an apparatus.
It is very easy to tell the difference since most pictures of this product show an obvious rod on it.
Just as the name suggests, it is used for recreational purposes. This includes any skills that don’t exceed level 4, so it is mainly for comfort and reducing injuries for basic level training. Might as well get them used to wearing them!
The same design as dowel, but without the dowel obviously. No giants on these puppies, stick to back hip circles and other low level skills. Hanging around on bars for a while without these will mostly likely result in blisters and callouses.
This usually varies on what kind of gymnastics hand guards it is, but the general rule of thumb is that the measurement you’ll need to pay attention to are from the bottom of the palm to the base of the middle finger.
Alternative measurements can be seen here on this gymnastics sizing chart.
Best Dowel Grips
Choosing the best gymnastics grips for bar is challenging when the equipment’s material is only put to the test after it’s been used a lot. So we put together a list of the top performing options, including velcro styled straps, double and single buckle straps, gender specific equipment, along with plenty of other qualities you can read more into below.
Sizing works by measuring from the base of the palm (this is where the palm and the wrist meet) to the tip of the middle finger. Sometimes companies will measure it differently, ie the base of the palm to the top of the palm, it really just varies so you’ll have to check.
You’ll need to see what the corresponding size to inches information by clicking the link in each item description.
To start, we wanted to find the best dowel grips for gymnastics by reviewing over 40 separate sources then picked 10 of the most reputable sources like USAGym, local gyms, coaching associations, etc.
Our studies show our research concludes the best gymnastics grips include leather material, wrist pressured support, and velcro or buckles.
Reisport Women & Men’s Straight/Curved
Resiport have been a reputable and recognized business providing gymnastics bar grips for men and women. Their dowel grips are the most comfortable and are made of top quality material.
Obviously, this pair have double holes, generally that would signify it is meant for girls, the men’s have three holes. It has a sewn in dowel so that sucker isn’t coming out.
Comes with highly reliable red velcro for optimal wrist measurements as well, it’s the color that makes it so reliable(no, not really).
It’s actually the way the leather clamp like shape that tightens around the forearm/wrist area that does this, add the tightened velcro around it and you’re not going anywhere.
Based off of personal experience, hands-on training, and other coach’s testimonies, I’ve acknowledged these girls best gymnastics grips consistent success among gymnasts and even cross-fit gurus oddly enough.
This item has many similarities to the women’s fit. For example:
Both the women’s and men’s fit has the hook and loop closure (might or might not have forgot to mention that at the beginning of this whole description).
But it also very different in terms of it’s physique and shape (if you haven’t already noticed). The leather padding strip that is designated to prevent blisters has an inward bend, curve. The previous women’s fit displays more of a stiff style (straight fit) covering the most sensitive areas of the palm that are prone to blisters.
The curved fit allows more feel of the bar while swinging around on it, more the the straight fit could.
Velcro straps are pretty similar to the women’s, just bigger. The leather wrist enclosing wrap further around the forearm than the women’s does. I often see many boy gymnasts happy with the quality the company did with this equipment.
Gibson Athletic Double Buckle Uneven Bar Narrow
Gibson Athletic is a company made right here in the U.S. originating from Denver, Colorado. They have varying shaped grips for men and women, but I we thought this was one of their best options, the alternate is below, for higher skilled gymnasts.
Velcro is great for low level practice and competing since skills like back-hip circles don’t require more than just velcro to keep the grips from coming off. Now if you’re doing giants, that’s a different story.
The double-buckle locking mechanism may take longer to put on (safety over all), but at least you know those aren’t coming off while doing giants. The double buckle could be a little tight on the wrist, but it’s more of a preference than anything, great for wrist support.
This women’s fit style are narrow shape, or skinny, fit. The amount of palm area the leather strap covers is significantly reduce compared to the straight and curved fits. This style is popular for many reasons, but the main being it provides easier maneuverability while swinging around.
It’s true that it won’t cover some areas which are prone to callus and blister, but it covers the middle most region which is the most important part.
Gibson Athletic Single Buckle Uneven Bar Narrow
Right off the bat, it’s easy to tell that this and the previous fit are almost identical. The only difference this one is to the last is: (you guessed it) It has a single buckle locking strap.
Why do people want single buckles over doubles?
Double buckle fits can sometimes be too tight for the gymnast, and at times they’ll switch over to single buckle. The reason some don’t go to velcro is because it isn’t “guaranteed” to stay on when doing a bunch of giants, but I think they’re just find with a layer of cloth as a brace.
Anyways, this dowel grips pair is just as reliable for all bar skills.
Avoid Poorly Made Equipment
It’s difficult knowing all the information there is to know about what makes a certain type of equipment great. So we’ve made it easier for you.
Here are several notable factors when choosing the best gymnastics grips.
Velcro vs Buckle
Wrist straps are secured on tightly with either velcro or buckles to strap in. The matter of one being better, more comfortable, and safe is debatable, but in the end it comes down to personal preference.
Velcro is faster to put on, but wears over time and generally used by lower level gymnasts. They also fit to your exact wrist dimensions without giving any slack. Buckled style are widely known for security and used by advanced levels. It can be longer to put on, but at least you know those things aren’t coming off.
There are 3 different sizes to choose from, all varying slightly in width and form.
Straight: Eliminates almost all hand exposure for maximum comfort and to avoid hand friction injuries on all parts of the hand.
Narrow: Greater amount of hand exposure to feel the bar and heavily concentrated for central hand comfort.
Curved: Combination of slight hand exposure while keeping the palm safe from harm.
Easily the most important quality of best gymnastics grips for bars. Durability needs to be ensured since gymnasts will spend hours on a bar and you’ll need gloves that don’t wear from friction and chalk use. Leather is a thick comfortable material that only gets better the more it’s used.
Wrist support, pleasant material, hand exposure, and grip are all elements of comfort which deem the best gymnastics grips.
We aim is to bring the top rated, hand-tested gymnastics equipment so you won’t have to go looking for it!
Best Recreational Grips
I use the term recreational pretty loosely. This extends to crossfit, kids exercising, and people who don’t necessarily take being a gymnast seriously. We have come up with the two best options for crossfit/gymnastics workout and kids practicing.
Bear KompleX Gymnastics Handguards
Bear KompleX is the owner of the best crossfit handguards with a variety of colors to choose from. They use authentic leather and a custom wrist strap for the most comfort, giving any crossfit junkie a great workout experience.
These grips have no dowels, so their purpose is pretty much just for crossfit and recreational gymnastics that also prevents blisters.
There’s finger options for 2 or 3 holes, both come with fully supportive durable triple stitching. The comfortable tough leather ensures slip reduction for any bar material.
A good reason why these stand out so much is this company’s effort is heavily centered toward leather hand coverage and avoiding hand injuries. Anyone who does gymnastics or crossfit exercises knows how unfortunate it is (to say the least) to get blisters from daily routines. It puts you behind for several days if not weeks at a time. The Bear KompleX Gymnastics Grips are a great solution to this problem.
Gibson Rainbow Gymnastics Palm Grips
Easily the most inexpensive gymnastics grips for sale. These are great on kids practicing gymnastics (at home, at the gym, wherever) and are doing basic, low level skills.
The soft leather hand protection are superior to any other gymnastics grips for kids. It has a secured velcro closure so that your kids don’t fly away!There are several color options including red, white, black, blue, pink, and purple.
To measure hands for these gymnastics grips for kids, start from the base of the middle finger to the base of the palm. Age difference won’t have much significance because everyone’s hand is different. Some kids are older with small hands and vice versa, so be sure to check out the sizing measurements and pricing.
Do I Need Gymnastics Grips?
Unless you’re child or you can’t do more than forward rolls and skin the cats, I’m going to have to say you will certainly need it soon.
Blisters and hand injuries are no joke, even getting a blister puts you off the bars for at least a week and a half. Generally, people start buying grips by level 3 since this requires many new and progressively advanced skills which are simply easier to do with them. Gyms will always have chalk, but if you are practicing on your own equipment you’ll need some for a smooth bar. It calls for good practice for when using them is absolutely necessary, especially when doing giants.