Best Calisthenics Gloves For Preventing Wrist Injuries and Calluses
What are the best calisthenics gloves to protect your hands? Well, believe it or not, it’s not a specific brand I’m going to recommend. It’s actually specific qualities that make the best pair of gloves for protecting your hands from all those bar-gripping exercises. You want gloves that provide protection from calluses as well as wrist support.
So with that said, this article is going to explain what those qualities are and give you the knowledge to shop for a perfect pair of gloves for your calisthenics journey.
Why Wear Gloves for Calisthenics?
The term “calisthenics” is such a loose term, isn’t it? Let me clarify what I mean when I say that word.
For “calisthenics” in this article, I’m referring specifically to:
- Bodyweight exercises with your hands placed pronated on the ground, such as in a standard push-up, handstand, floor L-sit and so on.
- Bodyweight exercise done gripping a bar, such as in pull-ups, dips, muscle-ups, levers and so on.
Some calisthenics practitioners like to use gymnastics rings as equipment too. My advice for rings is not to use gloves but to instead invest in chalk to strengthen your grip and protect your hands, but that’s a topic for a whole separate blog post.
Now, shifting back to gloves…
Why would you want to wear gloves when working out? Well, there’s really two main reasons:
- Wrist support
Whether you’re placing your hands pronated on the ground during a push workout or spending the majority of your workout hanging from a pull-up bar, those hands and wrists are going to start feeling it!
The best calisthenics gloves are a pair that address both of the main concerns – wrist protection and callus prevention – and have long-lasting, durable quality for rough terrain (if you work out outdoors).
Wearing Workout Gloves to Prevent Calluses
I spent my first year of training going at it hard about 5 days a week – sometimes even 6 – and it started to show on my hands. I had huge calluses on the pads of my palms just below the bottom of each finger.
You might be thinking that it’s not a bad thing to have calluses. Afterall, the callus provides extra protection, right? It’s like having your own built-in gloves on your hands at all times.
Nope, not quite. Calluses can actually work against you, believe it or not.
When I started training for muscle-ups near the end of my first year, my calluses started to tear. And let me tell you, having a torn callus is PAINFUL. It hurts enough to stop you from training upper body until it completely heals.
So, trust me on this: avoid the calluses!
To find a pair of gloves for calisthenics that accomplish this, I recommend looking for a pair with high-quality, durable padding on the palms and fingers.
The fingers of the gloves should only be half-length. This means they should be cut off about halfway up the finger, exposing the top half of your fingers from about the middle knuckle to the fingernail.
This allows you to grip the ground with your fingertips, which is crucial for balancing in a handstand, performing handstand push-ups, fingertip push-ups and more.
I imagine there are plenty of quality gloves out there with good padding and fingers exposed, but in case you’re wondering, these are the gloves I currently use and can recommend. I’ve had them for over 2 years now. I’ve been using them indoors and outdoors and they’re still in great shape.
Don’t hesitate to shop around, though. Like I said, I’m sure there are plenty of quality gloves that meet this criteria. But before you go and buy a different pair, let me explain one more important characteristic of good calisthenics gloves.
In addition to the calluses, when you start training handstands, tucked planche and all the other hand balancing moves that come after learning the basics, your wrists will start to feel sore.
This isn’t muscle soreness, though. This is joint soreness. It’s the ligaments, tendons and other connective tissues in the wrists wishing they were stronger. And remember: connective tissue takes much longer than skeletal muscle to recover. This means you want to be very gradual with the increasing load you apply to your wrists (and any joints on your body).
So how do you this? How do start practicing frogstands, handstands, planches and other iconic calisthenics exercises without going too hard on your wrists too soon?
Enter: the wrist strap.
Yep! A great pair of gloves comes with a built-in wrist strap. Typically, this strap will be permanently attached on the bottom of the glove (the part down by the wrist when you’re wearing it) and will just dangle there and be very annoying if you don’t wrap your wrists properly.
So you put on the glove and then wrap the strap around your wrist, securing the strap to the exposed velcro on the bottom part of the glove to secure it nice and tight.
Don’t overdo it with the tightness, though. You don’t want to be reducing circulation to your hands. Just make sure the wrist strap is nice and snug. It should provide solid support but not any discomfort or pain.
And there you have it! Now you can start working on more advanced moves for your wrists with a much reduced risk of injury. As you learn the moves – frogstand, handstand, tucked planche and so on – you can start loosening the wrist strap and eventually removing the glove altogether to gradually build up your wrists to maximum strength.
Choose The Right Gloves For Your Calisthenics Journey
Like I mentioned before, these gloves are what I’m currently using and I’m thoroughly impressed with them, but I’ve had other gloves through the years that have been great too.
There’s no wrong or right pair, honestly. And I couldn’t possibly afford to buy every single workout glove available and test them all out to determine which one is the best quality.
So instead, I hope you come away from this article knowing what to look for in a good pair of calisthenics gloves. Just remember: prevent calluses and support those wrists!