The question of if gloves should be used for calisthenics is a popular ongoing debate in the fitness community.
There are very good arguments for both sides of the debate and in this article, we will be sharing the main points of each to help you decide which one you lean towards.
For those of you who are convinced by the advantages of wearing gloves whilst training calisthenics, but not sure which gloves to purchase, then take a look at our recommendations below:
- BIONIC Beast Mode Full Finger Gloves – Our preferred option for a warmer full finger glove
- Fit Active Sports Gloves – A great design for those looking for ventilation without affecting performance
Remember: Whether you want to wear gloves or not is completely up to you and there is no right answer. I personally train with bare hands 90% of the time, but I have a pair of gloves that I wear when my callouses are limiting my ability to grip a pull-up bar, or when I’m training outdoors during winter.
What Are The Benefits of Wearing Calisthenics Gloves?
The picture above is my hand after a brutal workout session where my callouses ripped. Not the prettiest sight, right?
Not only was this painful, but it also forced me to miss a few workouts for my hand to recover. This leads us to the first point about why you should consider wearing gloves while doing calisthenics.
Wearing calisthenics gloves can help you avoid injury to your hands which could potentially stop you from working out for a few days, or even a few weeks depending on the pain. This reason alone could be enough to persuade you to wear calisthenics gloves – lower chance of injury, less pain, and less chance of you missing a workout.
Another good point for wearing gloves while doing calisthenics is that if you have a weak grip and soft hands then wearing gloves can allow you to work out harder or perform more reps and sets when working out.
In another article, we talk about how to increase your pull-ups, and a key point raised here is that your pull strength and endurance is irrelevant if you can’t comfortably grip the pull-up bar for the duration of the set.
Increasing your grip strength has a range of benefits from accelerating muscle growth to allowing you to perform exercises you wouldn’t have been able to before.
A final point for why you may want to wear gloves when training calisthenics, is simply because you don’t like the looks of calluses and beaten-up hands. There is nothing wrong with this.
Some people just don’t want to have hands that look like they have been working for a lifetime at the age of 25, and you may be one of them. There could also be other implications for this such as how it impacts your profession. If you’re a masseuse for example, then you’ll need to avoid having rough and torn up hands.
What Are The Arguments For Not Wearing Calisthenics Gloves?
There is primarily one argument for not wearing gloves while training calisthenics. If you wear gloves training calisthenics, then you won’t toughen up your hands.
It’s as simple as that.
Gloves take the brunt of the impact and stress when doing pull-ups, dips, or other exercises which means your hands never get any stimulation to grow and toughen.
A good comparison for this would be only being able to drive automatic cars, and not manual. You can limit yourself a lot by wearing gloves and eventually you may become dependent on them when doing more difficult exercises.
Another argument against, although less impactful, is that you will have to always carry a pair of gloves with you whenever you go to the gym.
This is more of an annoyance than anything, and there will likely be days where you forget your gloves at home and you’ll have to go back and get them.
If you’ve purchased a cheap pair of gloves then there’s also the chance they may rip, leaving you unable to finish your workout session. We recommend checking out the gloves we have recommended at the top of the article, to ensure you aren’t wasting your time and money on poor quality, cheap gloves.
Working Out With Bare Hands Or Wearing Gloves For Calisthenics – Our Verdict
Both sides of the coin have good points, however, we will share with you our opinion on the subject matter, which is; it depends.
As we previously mentioned at the start of this article, whether you should wear gloves for training calisthenics or not is completely up to you.
Unless you are completely new to calisthenics or if you have extremely sensitive hands, then there is no need to wear gloves for calisthenics.
We believe that strengthening and toughening up your hands is an essential factor when training calisthenics – it is part of the whole process.
Sure, you may have bruised and sore hands but, in our opinion, that is a low price to pay for having strong and capable hands.
There is also an argument to be made that gloves could be used for training only when your hands are extremely battered and bruised from a workout, and this is something we agree with. If you use gloves only when needed, you may be able to get in a workout that you may have missed due to having injured hands.
Of course, these are just our opinions and whatever works best for you is what you should use. Calisthenics is a very welcoming community that does not shun anyone for their apparel choices.
Whether you wear or don’t wear gloves, as long as you having fun and making progress that’s all that matters!
Thank you for reading. We hope our article has helped you decide if you want to wear gloves when training calisthenics or not.
There are good points for both sides of the debate, and whichever side you choose, as long as it is what you prefer, is the right choice.
Founder of www.calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.