Why I Don't Wear Workout Gloves

June 23, 2010 // Al Kavadlo

When I was in high school I got a pair of gloves to wear for lifting weights.

At the time I thought the gloves looked cool and since I had just gotten into working out, I wanted to have all the gear. I was probably concerned about preventing callouses too, but like most teenagers, looking cool trumped that.

Funny thing is, I wound up getting callouses anyway! Turns out there was still friction between my hands and the gloves when I would hold a heavy barbell or grasp a pull-up bar. Once I realized this, they started to look less cool to me.

Less is More

I’m a minimalist in most aspects of my life and this is a great example of that. For the same reasons I enjoy running with minimal footwear, I find working out barehanded to be a superior technique. If you’ve ever had to use a cell phone in the winter while wearing gloves you already know that having a glove in between your hand and whatever you are gripping acts as a barrier. Your coordination suffers and it’s harder to get a sense of what you are doing.

Get a Grip
Once you start going barehanded, you’ll likely see an improvement in your grip strength and your body awareness. I want to feel as connected as possible to what I am doing with my body and gloves just get in the way of that.

One exception is if you are going to be moving on your hands in an urban setting where there may be broken glass or other tiny, sharp objects on the ground. When that is the case, gloves can be a safety precaution. A callous, on the other hand, never hurt anyone.

Yes, you’re going to get callouses if you do lots of pull-ups or lift heavy weights – get over it. Nobody but you cares if you have callouses (even you ladies). Learn to see your callouses as a badge of honor – you earned them!