So, you’ve been working out with kettlebells and trying some new moves. Maybe you’ve been to a trainer, and you probably found this site through one of my kettlebell YouTube videos. (⇐Subscribe to my channel)
One thing that I bet you’ve noticed is that some of the kettlebell moves can be really rough on the hands.
The trouble is, searching through the internet, you’ve noticed that:
- There are a lot of articles out there talking about why you shouldn’t use gloves when working with kettlebells, or;
- You were presented with so many choices of workout gloves, kettlebell gloves, etc., that you didn’t know which pair to purchase.
This article is about my own opinion and how I use gloves when I train with kettlebells. I’ll provide you with some reasons on why some trainers don’t like to use them, and I’ll leave it up to you to make up your own mind on the matter.
Should you wear gloves when you train with kettlebells?
The short answer is… if you want to, yes.
So, if you want to just take my word for it, there you go. No need to read the rest of this article. If you need a little more to go on, let me elaborate.
Let’s look at many of the reasons that I’ve read in other articles about why you shouldn’t wear gloves while training with kettlebells, and I’ll address each of them.
- Gloves can interfere with the kettlebell as it maneuvers around the hand.
- Gloves will bunch up and cause the kettlebell to dig into the hand even more.
It is possible that gloves could interfere with the kettlebell as it maneuvers around your hand. That’s why any pair of gloves you purchase should fit correctly. Wear gloves that fit your hand snugly and don’t slide around or stick out anywhere unnecessarily.
That’s why some people suggest using Bionic Men’s Fitness Gloves. My own opinion is that these are great general-use gloves, but not great kettlebell gloves. These were designed by an orthopedic hand surgeon for superior grip, comfort, and durability.
Indeed, I have personally used these gloves before and can attest to the fact that they fit more comfortably than any other weight lifting glove that I have used. For regular barbell, dumbbell, and pull-ups, I would say that these gloves can’t be beat. Using them for kettlebells, however, was a different story. They have grippy palms, which led to them bunching up and causing the kettlebell to dig into the hand. In fact, because they grip so well, the palms ripped out on them while I was using them for kettlebell work.
- Gloves can mask the sensory connection from the hand to the brain.
This reason sounds pretty legit. It makes total sense that a covering between your skin and an object will mask some of your sensory input. If your hand-eye coordination is totally crap, then I guess you could be in trouble here. Or, if feeling your calluses get ripped off is important to you, then you might be deprived of that sensation.
- Gloves can make you look like a wimp!
- Professional kettlebell lifters don’t wear them.
If you’re going to go pro, then I guess this is a viable excuse. However, I’m not competing with anyone other than myself. Most of you probably aren’t either.
- You will lose touch with the kettlebell.
Huh? Are we talking about Mitt Romney and the middle class here? Whatever…
- You will sacrifice grip strength.
There is some truth to this one as well, however, unless you like to entertain friends by ripping apart phone books, or hurting people with handshakes (see meathead pic above), I just don’t really feel that a small sacrifice in grip strength is very relevant as opposed to tearing up your hands.
- If you need gloves, then you are not using correct form.
This last point is the most reasonable. However, even the most proficient kettlebell people will fatigue, get sloppy, or just flat out perform a move incorrectly from time to time. I don’t care how good you are, your form is not going to be 100 percent perfect, 100 percent of the time. Guess what happens then? Yup, a torn callous, blister, etc.
Some of these are valid reasons not to wear gloves while kettlebell training. However, my answer is still the same. But, my answer also applies conversely: if you don’t want to wear them when you train with kettlebells, then don’t.
Still, some people suggest to just use chalk. Chalk is great for allowing the kettlebell to move about in your hand without catching callouses or creating blisters. It’s also good for keeping the hand dry and preventing the kettlebell from slipping out. If you workout outside, then great, use chalk if you want. But really, if you’re in your living room, or basement, or wherever, there’s a good chance that you don’t want chalk all over the place.
Sometimes I don’t wear gloves while working out with kettlebells.
With all of that being said, sometimes I workout without gloves. I don’t always have them with me, and generally, I don’t need them unless I am doing snatches.
My manhood doesn’t depend on the callouses on my hands – I like to protect my hands as much as possible. If I’m planning on doing snatches in my workout, I’ll wear the gloves. That doesn’t mean that I remove them when I’m doing the other moves that I don’t need them for. It’s not worth the bother. I’ll just leave them on.
I guess this brings me back to my point. Wear fitness gloves if you want, don’t if you don’t. It’s a personal choice, and there are reasons to wear them and not. Some of them are valid depending on your perspective, goals, and machoness!
What are the best gloves to wear when working out with kettlebells?
If you’ve decided that you want to try wearing gloves while working out with kettlebells, or if you already do and are looking for a different type, I suggest trying any glove that has a leather palm. The leather does not grip like rubber or synthetic materials, and it will allow the kettlebell to maneuver freely. Additionally, I’ve found that leather washes more easily than the gloves with synthetic or rubber grips, which became really stiff and uncomfortable after washing.
For the last couple of years, I have used Harbinger 143 Men’s Pro FlexClosure Wash & Dry Gloves. In my opinion, these are the best ones to use with kettlebells. These fit comfortably and snugly, and come up over the middle knuckle as well, so that you don’t get blisters there or on the palms of your hands.
Additionally, if you are new to kettlebells and just learning the snatch, or have bony wrists, you might find times where the kettlebell either bangs against your wrist or forearm, or just feels uncomfortable there in the rack position. I don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with protecting yourself as you get better. You might want to consider using wrist bands.
No matter which side of the fence you fall on, I encourage you to try kettlebells, a phenomenal piece of exercise equipment. I really do think that they are highly versatile and effective, and suitable for all fitness types.
Seek out the proper instruction and resources, but most importantly, work on your health and fitness!
What are your thoughts on this article? Do you use gloves when you work out with kettlebells? Do you have a brand that you suggest? I and many others would love to hear about it in the comments section below!