Gymnastics Grips: Guide to Buying the Right Gymnastics Grips for You

 best gymnastics grips

What are Grips?

Grips are leather devices worn on the hands of gymnasts while they perform ongymnastics grips the bars. They are basically a piece of leather material that covers the palm of the hand. The grips are attached at the wrist and secured on the fingers with holes. Female gymnasts use them on the Uneven Bars. Male gymnasts use grips on High Bar and Still Rings. Grips are used to help the gymnast grip the bar and to prevent blisters or “rips” to the gymnast’s hands. Rips are friction injuries where the outer layers of skin rip or tear away from the hand.

Beginner gymnasts don’t always wear grips, but many start wearing them when they start to get rips and blisters. Most competitive gymnasts wear grips.

There are two kinds of grips for women: dowel grips and non-dowel grips. Dowel grips are used by competitive gymnasts doing high level circling elements like giants. The dowel is a rod near the gymnast’s fingers that helps her get a better grip on the bar. Beginner gymnasts don’t need this and so they use a non-dowel simpler grip.

Men have different grips for rings, high bar and parallel bars. This article is about women’s grips.

As a gymnast starts her career she will likely want beginner grips. Once she becomes a mid-level gymnast she might want a thinner leather grip that is easy to break in, so that she can still have a good feel for the bar. As she becomes a high-level gymnast she will most likely want a thicker leather grip that takes longer to break in, but that will be able to hold up during advanced skills.

Take a Quiz to Find Out What the Best Gymnastics Grips Are For You 

Do I Need Grips?

Deciding whether or not you should start using grips is a decision that is usually made with your coach. Most coaches want their gymnasts using grips by the time they are starting to learn circling elements like clear-hip circles and giants.

If you’re a beginner gymnast, and your hands hurt while you are practicing bars there is no reason not to try them as long as your coach doesn’t object.

Things to Consider when Buying Grips

So you’ve decided to buy grips. You need to consider whether you are going to get dowel or non-dowel grips first. And then you need to consider the shape of the grip, whether you will get buckle grips or Velcro grips and what brand you will buy.

Dowel vs. Non-Dowel Beginner Grips

beginner gymnastics grip

Beginner Grip

The first thing you need to consider when you decide to buy grips is whether you want a basic non-dowel beginner grip or a dowel grip. If you are a beginner gymnast learning basic bar skills then you want a non-dowel beginner grip. They all come in basically the same shape with two holes for your fingers.  Here are Nastia Liukin Beginner Grips and another basic beginner grip.

Shape:

Dowel grips come in different shapes — skinny, straight and curved.

grip types

  • 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 use 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.

Specialty Grips

Bailie Beginner Dowel Grips

If this is your first time getting a pair of dowel grips, and you are a gymnast with small hands, you might want to consider the Bailie Beginner Dowel Grip (the first link is hook and loop, here they are in buckle). They are a great first pair of dowel grips because they are narrower and smaller than a standard grip. The leather is easier to break in, and they let the gymnast keep more of their hand on the bar so they can feel their swing.

Reisport Protec Grips

Reisport Protec grips are a little different than normal grips. They are recommended for Level 9, 10 or Elite girls who are frequently breaking or over stretching their grips. They are different from normal grips in that they have stronger leather that stretches less.

Buckle vs. Hook & Loop

hook and loop vs buckle gymnastics grips

Grips are secured around the wrist with either a buckle or hook and loop. The issue of buckle versus hook & loop grips can be a personal preference. Buckle grips can offer more wrist support and will give you piece of mind that they won’t come undone. Many high-level gymnasts prefer buckle grips because of this; they don’t want to risk hook & loop grips coming undone during a high level skill. However, hook & loop grips tend to be more popular among beginner to mid-level gymnasts. Hook & loop grips are easier to tighten and can be adjusted exactly to your wrist.

Brand:

While there are many grip brands, I will give you the benefits of the most popular.

What Size Gymnastics Grips Do I Need?

Gymnastics grips generally come in sizes 0-3. Each company will have a different sizing chart. Generally to determine what size grip you will need, measure from the tip of the middle finger to the bottom of the palm. Look this measurement up on the sizing chart. The finger holes will come relatively small and then you will need to widen them to achieve your perfect, snug fit. To widen them, use sandpaper wrapped around a pencil. Make sure to not make the finger holes too big because the leather will stretch over time.

Where Can You Buy Gymnastics Grips Online?

How Do I Care for My Grips?

When you first get your grips, make sure you break them in slowly. Break them in by doing simple skills, or swinging on the bars. The purpose of breaking your grips in is to get the leather molded to your hand and the bar. You should also always have a back up pair of broken in grips during competitions, in case one pair breaks.

Take care of your gymnastics grips by storing them in a grip bag. Also try not to cake too much chalk and water on the grips; this can make them wear out faster. Use a grip brush on the surface of the leather if it gets too smooth. If your grips get too smooth, it could cause you to slip on the bar.

The grip brush will break up some of the caked on chalk and roughen up the leather.

 

hand care gymnastics rips

 

How do I care for My Hands?

Even with grips, your hands still need some attention especially if you do bars several times a week. The key to rip prevention is to keep excess callous from building up by using a pumice stone, and to keep your hands moisturized. Once you have ripped, you need to protect the damaged area from the elements so that it has time to heal. The Ript 3 Phase Hand Care Kit has what you need to protect your hands.

Also check out my Guide to Rip Prevention and Care.

What Else Do I Need?

Wristbands

You will need to wear wristbands with your grips, so that your wrists don’t get chafed. There are a couple things to consider when you buy wristbands.gymnastics wristbands for grips

Material:

  • Cloth: Cloth wristbands are nice because they come in a bunch of sizes and colors and can be washed when they get too chalky, sweaty and gross. However, they aren’t as durable and they don’t last as long as neoprene wristbands.
  • Neoprene: Neoprene wristbands last longer than cloth wristbands, but they can start to smell from sweat and chalk.

Width:

  • 2.5 inches: If you bought a beginner grip then these small wristbands will be fine.
  • 4-6 inches: If you bought a dowel grip you will need longer wristbands so that the grip doesn’t chafe your arm.

grip bag essentials

Other Items for your Grip Bag:

  • Pre-Wrap: You will need pre-wrap and tape if you get rips. You will wrap your hand first with pre-wrap so the open wound is protected, before putting the athletic tape on top.
  • Tape: Athletic tape is needed for wrapping rips, but can also be used to make adjustments to your grip finger holes or straps.
  • Grip Brush: A grip brush is used to prevent the grips from getting too slick over time from being caked with chalk. Use the grip brush to make the grip surface rough again.
  • Grip Bag: You will need a grip bag to hold your grips, wrist bands and grip brush.


Are you still confused about which grips to get? Take this Quiz to Find Out the Best Grips for You or watch the video above!

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17 comments… add one
  • / January 24, 2017, 10:49 am

    I was not that selective when buying the wristbands. I bought 2 pairs(spare pair so I can wash them every few trainings) from Ali Express because those were cheapest. I am happy with them though and there are a variety of colors to choose from.

    Reply
  • Hailey Morgan August 9, 2017, 2:12 pm

    This was great.

    Reply
    • Hailey Morgan August 9, 2017, 2:13 pm

      Yes it is good

      Reply
  • Emory September 21, 2017, 2:40 pm

    Do you still post? If so, how often? I live your site!

    Reply
    • gymnasticshq September 24, 2017, 9:10 pm

      I do still post. Most of the time it’s several times a month on Sundays.

      Reply
  • Cheyanne March 17, 2018, 9:37 pm

    So I don’t know if I need to wear palm grips because I get rips super easy on bars but I am only level gold and Im kinda scared to ask my coach.what should I do. I’m also the only one who would be wearing them.

    Reply
    • gymnasticshq March 18, 2018, 10:52 am

      Don’t be scared to ask your coach. Especially if you get rips easily. I would ask your coach and see what they say

      Reply
      • Cheyanne March 18, 2018, 10:30 pm

        If I got grips would i need wrist bands for the palm grips that are velcro.also since I would be the only one wearing them I think it would be kinda weird to be putting on grips while everybody else isnt. One last thing, would I have to get a grip bag

        Reply
        • / March 19, 2018, 10:07 am

          Yes, you put Wristband under the velcro part. It wouldn’t be weird to be the only one wearing them. If your coach believes you need them you should get them. I am the only one in my group wearing wrist supports( due to wrist pain) when doing vault which felt kinda weird at the start too but now I am used to them( and my teammates are used to me wearing them too). You can use a grip bag to keep the chalk from the grips of your other things. I have one but most of the time I just throw my grips and wristbands in my bag after finishing bars so I am not really using my grip bag.

          Reply
    • / March 18, 2018, 11:59 am

      I also mainly use the palm guards for rips.( I am a recreational gymnast in an adult gymnastics class.) Just ask your coach for advice whether to get them.

      Reply
  • Emma April 5, 2018, 7:12 pm

    this was so helpful i got all of my things from DGS and it was so cheap:)

    Reply
  • Santa July 19, 2018, 4:54 pm

    I started getting alot of rips and I am not sure if I should get grips.

    Reply
    • Sofia Lloret August 14, 2018, 6:32 pm

      If you have large callouses and are still ripping after doing gymnastics for a year I would suggest them. If you are still just starting gymnastics ripping is normal until your hands become rougher. Definitely ask your coach though.

      Reply
    • C August 17, 2018, 11:57 am

      That’s the main reason why I got them. I am a recreational adult gymnast and always got rips very quickly. Since I got my grips I still get rips sometimes but a lot less often than without them. Your coach can tell you which type of grips to get.

      Reply
  • BRATAYLEYLOVER September 28, 2018, 12:30 pm

    is it weird that i am a Xcel silver have grips but not a kip? so does everyone else in my level and none of them have there kips?

    Reply
  • BRATAYLEYLOVERANDGYMNAST September 28, 2018, 12:31 pm

    is it weird that i am a Xcel silver have grips but not a kip? so does everyone else in my level and none of them have there kips?

    Reply
    • BRATAYLEYLOVER September 28, 2018, 12:33 pm

      sorry BRATAYLEYLOVERANDGYMNAT was me i just made a mistake

      Reply

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