Having spent the last few months specifically focusing on my pull-ups, back lever progressions, muscle-ups and skin the cat my hands have taken a beating.
After hearing nothing but good things I opted to try a pair of albeit expensive but high quality RooGrips - gymnastic style grips made out of durable kangaroo leather said to be like wearing a second skin.
"SJ, why not just wear some gym gloves instead?"
When it comes to gloves and lifting straps I'll instantly admit I'm far from a fan... here's why:
1. With Gloves Your Grip Will Be Worse
Your grip will be better in terms of slipping due to sweat, but gloves make the barbell/dumbbell/machine you’re holding onto thicker! The thicker the bar the harder it is to grip.
Hell, products like FatGripz were invented to specifically replicate training with a thicker bar.
I guarantee that you will not be able to perform as many reps on your pull-ups, bent over rows or deadlifts if you’re grasping a thicker bar (or you feel as if it’s thicker thanks to your gloves).
This is why gymnastic grips are popular, they’re very very thin to prevent adding additional thickness to the bar. Meanwhile, gym gloves are often big and bulky, doing you no favors!
2. Gloves Influence Bad Form On Key Exercises
Wearing gloves for basic exercises such as a biceps curl or lat pulldown isn’t so much of a big deal… but when we’re talking about exercises that emphasis hand placement (and where the bar sits) such as the barbell bench press and front squat gloves can get in the way.
The design of the gloves can encourage you to grasp the bar on the wrong part of your hands (the majority of guys wearing gloves on the flat barbell bench press grip the barbell too high up on their hands).
This will lead to plateaus as you increase the weight as well as a big chance of injury (particularly wrist problems!).
The Solution? RooGrips.
RooGrips offer all of the benefits of gloves without the cons of wearing gloves...
You'll Grip The Bar Far Longer (And Actually Feel It!)
Whether you’re performing a set of bent over barbell rows, smith machine shrugs or dumbbell hammer curls there becomes a point where you just can’t hold on any longer. The targeted muscle, be it your back, traps or biceps is still good to pump out a few more repetitions… but you just can’t. Perhaps your grip is fatigued from the previous sets, or the sweat is causing the bar to slide down in your hand…
RooGrips will not only allow you to grip the bar far longer, you'll also be able to 'feel' the bar just as well as if you weren't wearing grips! Unlike gloves (which often result in bad form and incorrect hand placement due to their sheer thickness) these grips act as if they were a second-skin.
You Won't Destroy Your Hands
Rough, callused hands are inevitable if you’re regularly hitting pull-ups, deadlifts, rows and the vast majority of other heavy compound movements.
Unless you wear gloves this is always going to be the case – the rough gnarling of the barbell being grasped tight, set after set…
Some will see this as a con as they believe unless you’ve got rough, battle-worn hands you haven’t pushed yourself hard enough in the gym.
Alas, RooGrips preventing your hands from tearing calluses is definitely a benefit in my books!
A Few Tips With Your RooGrips...
- Pair your RooGrips with chalk if you're performing exercises that do not require altering your grip placement - e.g. hanging leg raises or pull-ups.
- Ditch the chalk when performing muscle-ups and ring based exercises that require grip alteration mid-rep.
- I personally find the new 'pebble grip' design to be more effective than the traditional grips.
It's About Longevity
Progressing, be it in terms of weight lifted or difficulty of exercise variation takes time.
RooGrips offer that longevity - as I've found from experience you can only do so many sets of weighted pull-ups and hold so many back levers before your hands and grip start to get eaten alive.
When this happen you're always going to be cutting your set short due to your grip, not due to fatigue of the targeted muscle.
Growth comes down to progressive overload, if you're unable to overload the muscle you're not going to see any growth.
These grips allow you to constantly push for that growth.