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If you are currently using grips or looking to use grips for CrossFit or functional fitness the information I am about to tell you very important. Why? Because understanding how the two main style of grips are supposed to fit and be properly used will help you increase performance, keep you safe and save you money.
First, what are grips? Grips are the gear you wear on your hands for protection and to help you hold on to a pull-up bar or rings for skills such as kipping or butterfly pull-ups, toes to bar, and muscle ups. Some people may call them hand straps or wraps, but the proper name is grips. It is the one piece of equipment that you will help you increase your power output instantly that is legal in competition. However, you need to make sure the grips you are purchasing are designed correctly, sized appropriately, and you know how to use them correctly.
The two main styles of grips used in CrossFit or functional fitness are the ones with finger holes and the others without finger holes also known as fingerless grips. Grips with finger holes are the original style. You may see people, or you may be one these people, that don’t use the finger holes and just flap them over the bar because you find you get a better grip that way. Why is this so? The answer is simple. Your grips with the finger holes are too short for your hands! If you your grips have the proper length and you are using the finger holes you will actually get a more efficient and stable grip, and they are more durable compared to fingerless grips. Fingerless grips do have their merits. Please note, you should never use grips with finger holes as fingerless because it can be a safety issue and you can damage the grips. I will explain this point and more about fingerless grips later. Let’s first focus on how grips with finger holes should fit, why they create a more stable grip on the bar or rings and are more durable.
Grips with finger holes should have enough length so that when gripping the bar, you can create a fold of material between the bar and your fingers while having a smooth surface on the palm. This fold of material, also known as the dowel effect, is what helps you hold on by creating torque. The edge of this fold should come to your fingertips. If the edge of the of fold is anywhere below the first knuckle crease of your fingers the grips are too short. You need the edge to come to your fingertips because your fingertips are fundamental in creating torque. The fingertips need to be able to dig into the material to apply force so the grips don’t slip and tighten around the bar. The stability and durability come from the finger holes themselves. The top of wall of the finger holes, when engaging the dowel effect, will put downward pressure on the fingers creating a tighter hold. Additionally, when your fingers are in the holes it helps distribute the forces on the material of the grips helping prevent them from prematurely ripping at the junction of the palm portion and the wrist strap, which is the vulnerable point of all grips. Therefore, when using finger hole grips properly they are more durable than fingerless grips.
Fingerless grips work in a similar fashion, but with no fold of material to create the dowel effect. By flapping the single layer of the palm portion over the bar your hand, more specifically your fingertips, will be able to dig into the material to apply force so the grips don’t slip and provide torque. This is the same principle as the dowel effect, but without the finger holes pushing your fingers down into the bar. The main benefit of the fingerless grips is the ease of transitions from a skill where you need the grips, such as muscle ups, to one where you prefer to go barehanded, such as double-unders. The fingerless grips will save a little time by not having to take the grips off your fingers.
So why should you not use grips with finger holes as fingerless? It comes down to safety and durability. If the grips you use a fingerless are too long the excess material can become wedged between the bar (or rings) and your fingers causing your hand to be locked onto the bar. When you go to dismount form the bar your hand will not release and yank your wrist and shoulder potentially causing injury and possible damage to the grips. When gripping the bar your fingerless grips should come no more than an inch or two past your fingertips. Anything more is superfluous. Additionally, the narrow palm portion of 2 or 3 finger grips are not enough surface area to ensure durability. The Victory Grips fingerless style is specifically designed and made of materials to help ensure safety and durability.
If you are serious about your training and competing it is a good idea to have a pair of grips with finger holes and a pair without. By having them both at your disposal you will have the benefits of fast transitions with the fingerless grips and the better stability of finger hole grips depending on the workout. This is like having different types of shoes for certain field conditions or workouts. When selecting a pair of Victory Grips you simply follow our sizing guideline and can be assured you will have pair of grips that will be designed to fit you for maximum performance. Do not assume your size and no need to size up. The guidelines are very accurate.