Everything You Need To Know When Choosing Weightlifting Hand Grips

Weightlifting Hand Grips 101: All You Need to Know

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Experts recommend you complete 150 hours of exercise a week. The CDC specifies moderate-intensity exercise coupled with 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity. Of course, weightlifting is one of the best muscle-strengthening options. It’s one that more people are starting to appreciate, that’s when weightlifting hand grips suddenly become important.

Are Weightlifting Hand Grips A Good Choice?  Yes, If you’re looking at the benefits and how to choose the right weightlifting hand grips then you’re already aware of how important it is to maintain and strengthen muscle, regardless of your age. The right weight lifting grips helps improve your technique and your max lift.

What Are Weightlifting Hand Grips?

Some weightlifters will call lifting hand grips cheating, but they offer an array of benefits which we’ll take a look at shortly.

First, let’s familiarize ourselves with the types of hand grips on offer.

Weightlifting hand grips are designed to help you hold a barbell or dumbbell and lift heavier than your grip strength would usually allow.

There are several types of hand grips, but they all serve the same purpose.

1. Hooks

Hooks generally have a thick Velcro strap which wraps around your wrist. I’ve found it’s important to have the strap fitted snugly to your wrist, too tight and you’ll risk reducing circulation to your hand.

On the outer edge of the strap there’s a metal ring which is attached to a wide hook. The idea is your hand slots around the hook.

You can then use an underhand grip on your barbell, the hook is in direct contact with the barbell, allowing you to lift heavier without fear of dropping the weight.

Hooks

It’s a simple approach although you’ll need to verify what weight limit the hook can hold, and what size the strap is to ensure it will fit around your wrist. For beginners, these hand grips for weightlifting are an excellent option. 

2. Gloves

Another option is grippy gloves. These are generally fingerless, although you can get ones which cover your entire hand. In the first instance, they are designed to offer protection to your hand.

Regular weightlifting can cause calluses. These gloves will prevent this from happening.

8 Best Weight Lifting Gloves with Wrist Support in 2024

At the same time, their grippy surface will make it easier to hold onto the bar and avoid it slipping from your hands. This is a particularly good approach if you already have a good grip but struggle to maintain it due to sweat and the moisture in your skin.

3. Barbell Grips

The third type of hand grip is silicone barbell grips. These attach to the barbell instead of your hands. They are generally made from silicone as it’s easy to squeeze but durable enough to bounce back into shape.

The best barbell grips won’t change shape, regardless of how hard you squeeze them.

Barbell grips are designed to make the bar thicker, this makes it much harder for you to hold the bar, simply because your hand won’t wrap as tightly around the bar.

Barbell Grips

Because it’s harder, you may struggle to lift the same weight as without the grips. However, your grip strength will become stronger, potentially allowing you to lift much heavier weights in the future.

What Type Of Athletes Can Use Lifting Grips?

The most obvious use is by weightlifters and powerlifters. However, weight lifting hand grips can also be used in gymnastics, cross-training, and climbing.

Other athletes that find hand grips useful are golfers, tennis players, wrestling, and baseball. They can be used in any sport where grip strength matters. 

Any level of athlete can find weightlifting hand grips useful as they help improve strength and grip.

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5 Benefits Of Hand Grips For Weightlifting

Weightlifting is an excellent way to maintain your current strength level or make yourself stronger. It depends on your aim.

In essence, weightlifting encourages you to use your muscles, as the idiom says “use it or lose it”.

Adding a hand grip for lifting weights to your routine offers an array of benefits.

Feel The Bar Better

It may sound strange but the grips help you to feel the bar. When using barbell grips or gloves your hand is still wrapped around the bar and should feel more comfortable.

However, I’ve found the same to be true when using hooks. Although they are in contact with the bar, your hand wraps around the hook and the bar, making you feel like you have a better grip.

Feel The Bar Better

✅ Improved Confidence

Whether you workout at home or the gym, one of the hardest things when weightlifting is to push yourself to do that extra rep or lift an extra pound or two. It’s especially challenging if you don’t have a spotter.

However, weightlifting hand grips instantly make you feel more confident. You know it’s unlikely your grip will fail and this can help you push harder. That’s why powerlifters often use them and refer to them as powerlifting grips.

I’ve often used hand hooks to help me increase the load. Once I’m confident I can lift it, I do it without the hooks then use the hooks to move up again.

In short, hand grips give you confidence and that allows you to make bigger gains.

✅ Safer

If your grip fails the barbell is going to come crashing to the floor, potentially injuring you on the way down or as it bounces.

Hand grips for weightlifting, especially the hook variety, make it very difficult to drop the weight. You’ll be safer when using them, although you still need to lift within your limits.

Easier To Adjust Grip And Complete The Lift

Sometimes you’re part way through a lift and you realize you got the grip wrong. It’s hard to change your grip mid-lift. That means you either push on and risk an injury, or you drop the weight back to the floor and start again. Starting again is frustrating when you’re pushing your limits.

Fortunately, weight lifting hand grips can handle the weight, allowing you to rotate your hand slightly and get the best possible grip.

Benefits Of Hand Grips For Weightlifting

✅ Protects Your Hands

Glove lifting grips are designed to reduce damage to your hands. However, all types of grip offer hand protection.

You’re not just preventing calluses, you’re also reducing the likelihood of a hand or wrist injury, because these areas are supported by the hand grip.

As most people use their hands daily, that’s an important benefit.

2 Issues When Using Weightlifting Hand Grips

Hand grips for weightlifting, like anything, aren’t all positive. There are some downsides you should be aware of.

1. Tired Hands

Strangely, while lifting hand grips are designed to help you lift heavier, they can also increase the likelihood of grip fatigue. Put simply, you overwork your hands because the grips appear to be taking the load.

The higher volume the workout the more likely this is to occur. It can result in wrist or hand injuries.

2. Becoming Too Accustomed To Hand Grips Weightlifting

Another longer-term issue with hand grips weightlifting is that you use them too often and become reliant on them. The result is a weakened hand grip which will make working out harder, especially if you try lifting without the grips.

How To Choose Best Hand Grips For Weightlifting?

Now you know everything you need to know about hand grips for lifting weights, it’s time to choose the right grips for your workout.

1. Type

I‘ve listed three types of hand grips for weightlifting. In general the hook is the best option if you’re trying to lift heavier and build muscle, but don’t have the grip strength to do so.

The gloves do improve grip but are mainly designed to protect your hands. This can be particularly important in some lines of work.

Finally, barbell grips are an excellent way to improve your grip strength and ultimately lift heavier. However, these do make it much more difficult to hold the bar, meaning you’re likely to have to lower your lifting weight temporarily.

Understanding the grip types makes it easier to locate the right one for you.

2. Material

Barbell grips are generally made of silicone or perhaps a heavy-duty rubber. Hooks have synthetic straps with Velcro and metallic hooks securely anchored to the strap.

Check what a potential hand grip is made from before committing to purchase. It makes a difference when lifting and in the durability of the grip.

3. Comfort

Comfort is partly about material. It’s also about choosing the right size for your wrist. It needs to fit snugly and securely. You should almost be able to forget you’re using hand grips.

Make sure you try several products before choosing the one that suits you best. Don’t worry if you’re buying online, you can always return it if it doesn’t fit comfortably.

hand grips for lifting weights

4. Durability

You’ll want to look at how well the hand grip is made. This will help you to decide if it will last for days, weeks, months, or years.

The durability is important, you don’t want to be constantly replacing it or for it to fail mid-lift.

5. Cost

Hand grips for weightlifting aren’t generally expensive. That means you can afford to get the best one on the market.

Of course, you need to be mindful of cost to ensure you’re paying the best price, it always pays to check before you buy.

6. Manufacturer Reputation

Finally, check on social media and online forums regarding the reputation of the manufacturer. If you’re a member at the gym you can also check with other members.

Your aim is to confirm that the manufacturer produces high-quality products and, more importantly, has a good customer service team. Studies show this is important to the success of any business.

After all, if you have an issue you’re going to want to know you can talk to someone to resolve it.

Our Recommendations

1. Warm Body Cold Mind Leather Hand Grips Basic

Our Warm Body Cold Mind basic leather hand grip is available in white, yellow, or gray and in a variety of sizes. It’s got a fully adjustable strap to ensure comfort and is designed to improve your grip while preventing calluses.

It’s simple, effective, and perfect for someone just starting out in weightlifting or any associated sport, such as gymnastics, or cross-training.

2. Warm Body Cold Mind Leather Hand Grips PRO

Our leather hand grips PRO are an excellent choice for anyone looking to naturally improve grip while reducing moisture on your hands coming into contact with the bar. 

The genuine leather used in their manufacturer offers protection against calluses and blisters which aren’t just painful, they can also cause you to pause your lifting routine. 

These weightlifting hand grips have an adjustable hook and loop fastening system, ensuring they can comfortably fit any hand/wrist.

How To Wear Weightlifting Hand Grips

How you wear your grip depends on which one you choose. A hook grip fits around the top of your hand and over your wrist, you simply velcro the strap tight and wrap your hand around the hook, ready to lift. 

In contrast, weight lifting gloves are worn in the same way as any other glove. They simply protect your hand and improve your grip. 

Lifting Grips Or Lifting Straps: What Is Better For Lifting?

Most weightlifters and powerlifters have their own preference when it comes to straps or lifting grips. 

Straps generally spread the weight, allowing you to lift heavier. The fact that you’re still mainly reliant on your grip means you’ll know when your grip is starting to slip. However, straps stay connected to the bar, meaning if you drop the bar, your hands are going down with it. 

Lifting Grips Or Lifting Straps

Lifting grips, especially the gloves teach you to rely on your own grip and, most importantly allow you to simply drop the bar if needed. 

That’s why they are my preferred option.

FAQ

What Is the Hand Grip for Lifting?

The hand grip is designed to help you hold on to a bar for longer. Hook-style hand grips can only be used with an underhand grip. 

Gloves, barbell grips, and straps can all be used with underhand, overhand, and mixed grips. 

What Do Weightlifters Use for Grip?

Weightlifters will generally use chalk on their hands to prevent moisture build-up and improve their grip. In competitions, you’ll generally see chalk and perhaps straps. 

However, when training, weightlifters will often use hand grips, including gloves and hooks. These help them safely build the strength they need.

Is It a Good Idea to Use Hand Grips When Weightlifting?

It’s an individual decision but I’ve found it useful to help me increase the load and build more muscle.

Will Hand Grips Help Me Lift Heavier?

Yes. Hand grips for weightlifting give you a confidence boost and remove any concerns about grip loosening while lifting. That means you can potentially lift heavier.

Can I Increase Grip Strength So I Don’t Need Hand Grips in the Future?

This is a great idea. You can use hand grips to increase your maximum lift. At the same time, there are various exercises, such as dead hanging, pull-ups, and even the farmers walk which will allow you to improve your grip strength.

Conclusion

Personally, I feel weightlifting hand grips have a role to play in improving your routine. They allow you to lift heavier with more confidence, focus on technique, and see results faster.

All you need to do is choose the right type of hand grip and locate a reputable supplier.

It’s time for you to try hand grips for weightlifting, simply take a look at our recommendations. Let us know what you think!

References:

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans,” https://blogs.cdc.gov/nchs/tag/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/ (January 8, 2014).
  2. Professor Gun-Sil Park “The Function Of Fingerprints: How Can We Grip,” Researchgate no 370019977, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/370019977_The_function_of_fingerprints_How_can_we_grip (accessed April 11, 2023).
  3. Farlex Dictionary of Idioms “Idioms: Use it or lose it,” Free Dictionary 2015 Farlex Inc, https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/use+it+or+lose+it (9 Jan 2024).
  4. J Alzheimers Dis “A narrative review of handgrip strength and cognitive functioning,” ncbi nlm nih no PMC7063546, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7063546/ (January 1, 2021).
  5. Richard B. Chase “Where does the customer fit in a service operation,” Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/1978/11/where-does-the-customer-fit-in-a-service-operation (November 1978).
Sergii Putsov

Author: Sergii Putsov

PhD in Sport Science, Olympic weightlifting, Strength & Conditioning coach and fitness expert

Sergii Putsov is a professional weightlifter with over 20 years of experience and multiple national medals. He was a member of the National weightlifting team, competing in the 94 kg weight class. Sergii holds a master’s degree in Olympic & Professional Sport Training and a Ph.D. in Sport Science. After his athletic career, Sergii transitioned into coaching and is now responsible for designing training programs, writing blog articles, providing live commentary for international weightlifting competitions, and hosting sport and fitness seminars worldwide.


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