Lifting Gloves: Fashion Statement Or A Waste of Perfectly Good Leather?

“Will my training partners think I’m a wuss if I wear ’em?”
“Will they help my grip?”
“But what about these bleeding callouses?”
“Do these gloves make my butt look fat?”

Personally, I know that if I can’t grate a block of Parmesan cheese by dragging it across my palms, I’ve been slacking on my workouts.

Professionally, I have clients who, for one reason or another, can’t go around with calloused, bleeding hands, so I can’t always rely on my standard “don’t be a candy-ass” response when asked what I think about lifting gloves.

If you’re into powerlifting or Olympic lifting, you know that gloves aren’t allowed on the platform, so it wouldn’t make much sense for a competitive lifter to wear ’em during training.

But what the regular guy/gal in the gym?

Perhaps a more meaningful way of looking at the glove/no-glove question for the non-competitive weight lifter is to ask: Is there a legitimate reason to NOT wear gloves?

It’s what yoga/pilates idiots freaks enthusiasts refer to as ‘mind-body connection’.  The rest of us can just lump it under the category of “proprioceptive awareness”.

Call it whatever you like, but gloves dampen your body’s natural ability to FEEL.  And that sense of feeling is something I certainly wouldn’t want to lose.

What you feel determines how quickly and accurately you can react to sudden (or not so sudden) changes in pressure, direction, ‘grippy-ness’ or any other forces that may come into play in and out of the gym.

If grip is your concern, try lifting chalk (magnesium carbonate – it’s available at sporting goods stores everywhere.  If all else fails, search the web)

The shifting/rolling/sliding of a bar might not be a big deal if you’re using those little weights covered with pink foam, but any serious weight trainer should consider weaning themselves from their glove dependency.

Of course, the first consideration of any training program should be safety.  So if you absolutely feel there’s no way you’ll be able hang on to a bar/dumbbell or any other training implement effectively without gloves, go ahead ‘n’ wear ’em if you like.  I won’t be offended.  (see, I told you I have a professional side!)

If your biggest concern is overly rugged hands, you can always soak in Palmolive after your workout (ya’ big candy-ass).

***** ***** *****

I won’t bore you with the details of my extremely limited blog posting for the last month or so (yet!), but it sure feels good to be back to THE CUP.  Suffice it to say, changes are on the way.  More to come…



  1. Joe,

    I’ve been gloveless since we chatted via email a few months ago. I’ll admit that it was a bit hard at first, particularly with some bars that are really, REALLY sharply knurled, but my hands are pretty much used to it now.

    No one seems to mind the rough hands as long as they aren’t too bloody. I just keep the calluses trimmed and all is good. I even managed a DL PR of 425lbs a few weeks into glovelessness.

    Thanks for the help!



  2. I can’t decide if I am thrilled, as if touched by greatness, that my email to you last week and our discussion of gloves might have inspired your interest in writing about gloves or if I am horribly embarrassed that my anguished decision to use gloves has lead you, once again, to need to write about gloves.
    In a small way, it is like being John Wayne Bobbitt. Yippee, I’m famous! Oh, damn….


  3. I just stumbled across this website today… I’m glad to see that my arrival (hopefully) happens to coincide with your return to regular posting. B/c this seems like the kind of blog that I’d enjoy! For now, I’ll be scanning through the archives!


  4. There are legitimate reasons to wear gloves. My husband, for instance, has a case of EXTREME dermatitis on his hands. It’s chronic, it’s painful, and while not contagious, lifting weights frequently causes the deep cracks in his palms and fingers to bleed. That’s not anything you want on the bar when it’s your turn.

    It’s not just about wussiness/lack of.


  5. Found this site through JumpSnap Nation. Great things on here! Just a bit bothered by yoga/pilates people followed by the crossed out words ‘idiots freaks’. LOL! I can take it. I was smiling when I read the link to the upper body warm up inside out training which, btw, is what pilates is all about. Precisely what I have been preaching to those who also lift. But on the note of gloves or no gloves, I don’t recommend them just as I don’t recommend footwear for balance exercises. You need to feel the move with your bare hands and feet. However, many clients with arthritis who cannot grip tightly, need gloves to insure a safer grip without slipping. I also agree with Marla and the cracking and bleeding issue and the call for gloves.


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