Disclosure:This post contains affiliate links.
So as a gymnast you are getting together everything you need to be the best gymnast you can be, but OH NO! You forgot something that is actually important…Grips!
What are Gymnastics Grips?
A gymnast will typically wear grips while working with Uneven Bars (female) and on the High Bar and Still Rings (male). Gymnasts will wear their grips on their hands. Like its name, it literally helps gymnasts to have a better grip on the bars, making it easier for your gymnast to practice or perform without tearing apart their hands (grips help minimize tears, rips, blisters, and callouses).
Does a Gymnast Need Grips?
You might have heard that some professional gymnasts don’t use grips. The fact is, it’s true, some of them (especially foreign athletes) don’t actually wear grips. After a period of multiple tears and rips, their palms get calloused and toughened. However, in the USA especially, many professional gymnasts wear grips, it is recommended by many experts and it is easily available.
So I definitely recommend grips whether you are a beginner or not, especially if you are serious about gymnastics and want to compete at a competitive level. It’s actually best to start using grips sooner, so you get used to the feeling of wearing them and don’t have to relearn all the moves.
Not only grips protect palms from tears and rips, they also give you better grips on many moves that will improve your performance, therefore, it is definitely a beneficial investment.
Some gymnasts who do not use grips will use other products such as gauze or tape, but sometimes those products do not always hold up well. If you are concerned whether your gymnast needs (or does not need) grips, it is best to speak about it with their coaches for a better idea.
What are the Different Types of Grips for Females?
Dowel Grips: These grips are used by gymnasts who are more advanced and compete (competitive gymnasts). Dowel grips include a rod near the fingers so your gymnast can get a better feel on the bars, making it easy for her to be able to swing around. The grips also include two-finger holes for your gymnast to place her ring and middle fingers.
You can get this dowel grip from Ginnasta USA on Amazon for less then $50, they have a 4.6 out of 5 stars rating: Ginnasta USA Power Cuff Zebra Velcro Gymnastics Grips – Ladies Uneven Bars
Non-dowel Grips: These grips are used by gymnasts who are just beginning. Of course when you are first starting out, your gymnast is not going to be swinging all over the place and jumping from the low bar to the high bar. Non-dowel grips do not include the rod, therefore these should be used to start your gymnast off so she can basically get used to them and the way they feel. Many parents buy them for their gymnast just to prevent blistering while just beginning.
What are the Different Types of Grips for Males?
Three-Finger Holes: If your gymnast is a male, he will be using his three-finger grips on the high bar. These grips include a small dowel (small rod) that will help him balance properly as well as protect his hands.
Two-Finger Holes: Your gymnast will use two-finger grips when he is practicing or performing on the still rings and parallel bars. The only difference is that the grips that he will use on the still rings have a larger dowel than the ones he would use on the parallel bars. The grips he will use for the parallel bars have a small dowel.
What are the Different Shapes When it Comes to Purchasing Grips?
Besides types, grips come in different shapes as well. Our friends from GymmasticsHQ explained it very well. So, we’re just going to quote it from them below.
“Skinny Grips: Skinny grips are good for being able to better feel the bar. Here is Nastia’s Big Swinger grip which is an example of a skinny grip.
Straight Grip: The straight dowel grip is a Russian design. It’s good because it covers more of the hand. Here is Nastia’s Russian Heritage grip which is the straight dowel grip design.
Curved Grip: The curved dowel grip is a nice combination of the two. It covers more of the hand than the skinny grip, while allowing you better feel for the bar than the straight grip. Here is an example of a curved grip. Most gymnasts you curved grips.
Some dowel grips come with a rubber band attached. The rubber band can be used to help hold the grip more securely to your finger. If you don’t like it on the grip you can always cut it off.”
What Size Grips do I get for my Gymnast?
So, grips come in different sizes (obviously, duh!) and it is best to pay close attention to the sizing charts on the websites and it is important you measure your gymnast’s hand right. Failure to measure correctly can cause injury to your gymnast, and we DO NOT want that to happen. Grips come in sizes of 0-3 and like everything else, each brand may fit differently.
Buying Gymnastics Grips Online
If you like the convenience of buying things online, then Amazon would be the way to go. They have great selections of grips. To make it easier for you, we have curated some of the top rated grips on Amazon. Just make sure to carefully look at their measurement charts to pick your size.
Simple and straightforward, perfect for beginners or young gymnasts, very affordable:
- Gymnastics Youth Hand Grips by PUSH Athletic
- Gibson Rainbow Gymnastics Hand Grips, Great for Crossfit Workouts, MADE IN USA
Grips for Female Gymnasts, more advanced levels on uneven bars:
Grips for Male Gymnasts, High Bars:
Leather Gymnastics Hand Grips-Great for Gymnastics, Pull up, Weight Lifting, Kettlebells and CrossFit Training – More of an all-purpose hand grips, very affordable
Reisport Men’s High Bar Grips – Hook and Loop Closure – High quality and professional men’s gymnastics grips. Higher price but long lasting.
How to Take a Good Care of Gymnastics Grips
When it comes to breaking in grips, it is important to break them in slowly. You do not want to just go ahead and do the craziest skill on bars the first time you put them on. It is important to start off slow, and have your gymnast just do basic skills until the grips start to feel less stiff. Not all grips take a long time to break in, the brand and type of grips you purchase will determine how long it takes for them to feel good on your gymnast’s hands.
Many companies recommend storing grips into a separate bag, away from everything else. Not only will this prevent chalk getting everywhere, but it also will keep them in good shape so they are not being thrown at the bottom of the gym bag getting squished or scuffed up.
Some sources mentioned that many gymnasts use a grip brush. A grip brush will brush away chalk residue so it does not keep building up after each use (too much residue can damage the grips and make them won’t last as long). A grip brush also will make the surface of your gymnast’s grips more tough because you do not want the grips to be too smooth otherwise your gymnast will be sliding left and right on the bars.
Please feel free to comment (or to give advice) because we would love to help those who are looking to buy grips for their gymnast!