The Best Gymnastics Grips (Guide And Top Picks)

guide to gymnastics grips

Finding the Best Gymnastics Grips can feel like navigating through a maze of endless options, but fear not, this comprehensive buyer’s guide is your beacon through the confusion. In this guide, we’ll explore the top picks that are popular with gymnasts everywhere.

What Are Gymnastics Grips?

One of the essential pieces of kit found in any gym bag are grips which are designed to reduce the pain and injury to the hands of gymnasts.

Grips are used primarily on Uneven Bars (women) and the High Bar (men). They can also be used by male gymnasts on the rings and parallel bars. Swinging on these types of apparatus can cause blisters, tears and major discomfort to the hands.

What Are Grips Made Of?

Grips are handguards made of leather that cover the palm of a gymnast’s hand. They have holes that fit over the fingers and a strap that wraps around the wrist. The leather used in grips is durable, and the finger holes are designed to give the gymnast a better grip on the apparatus.

Why Do Gymnasts Wear Grips?

Grips provide several benefits to gymnasts. First, they help prevent rips, blisters and calluses that can be caused by repetitive use of the hands on the bars. The friction between the bar and the skin can’t be avoided as gymnasts swing around the bars which would be impossible unless the hands and wrists moved around the bar as well.

Second, grips provide a better grip on the apparatus, reducing the chances of slipping or losing control during a routine. Finally, grips offer added support to the wrist, which is essential in gymnastics, especially during high-impact releases and catches.

grips on the high bar

Types of Grips for Gymnasts

There are slightly different types of grip for male and female gymnasts.

For female gymnasts, there are Dowel grips and non-Dowel grips. The Dowel is a small rod that goes across the fingers and provides more grip for advanced gymnasts doing giants and other harder skills.

Younger female gymnasts won’t need this and usually use non-Dowel grips.

dowel v non dowel grips

There are also variations in the thickness of the leather with older more advanced gymnasts needing thicker grips compared to the younger less experienced gymnasts.

When Should a Gymnast Get Grips?

Grips are usually introduced when a competitive gymnast reaches level 4 or level 5 in the USA Gymnastics program. However, this can vary depending on the gym and the coach.

Gymnasts should get grips when they start performing more complex moves on the bars that require a better grip and more wrist support. Swings tend to be one of the first skills that starts to cause blisters or calluses on the hands and this is often a good point to invest in grips.

gymnast chalk

Chalk is used to reduce the friction and sweat that builds up on a gymnast’s skin but chalk alone will not reduce the discomfort to the hands when practicing a lot of swings.

Before getting grips, it’s essential to consult with a coach to ensure that the gymnast is ready to use them. Recreational-level gymnasts tend not to use grips as they are not performing as many repetitions or advanced-level skills.

Not all gymnasts like wearing grips as they can be uncomfortable and some gymnasts prefer the feel of the bar without them. It is a matter of personal choice and there are no rules stating that they can or can’t be worn unless a specific club or coach makes that a policy in their training sessions.

Shapes of Gymnastics Grips

Grips come in three different shapes – Skinny, Straight or curved.

gymnastics grips shapes

Buckle v Hook and Loop Grips

grip straps buckle v hook and loop

Grips are fastened around the wrist using either a buckle or hook and loop. It’s down to personal preference but the table below show generally who chooses which option.

LevelBest Type of Grip
Beginners / Mid LevelHook and Loop
Easier to adjustHook and Loop
Need more wrist supportBuckle

Things to Consider When Buying Grips

Before you make a purchase check the following features:

  • Dowel or Non-Dowel
  • Shape of the Dowel (Straight, Curved or Skinny)
  • Hook and Loop or Buckle

Also check the size by measuring the gymnasts hand. Brands can size slightly different to each other so be sure to check the relevant sizing guide.

You will usually need to measure from the tip of the middle finger to the bottom of the palm.

Popular Brands of Grips

There are several popular brands of gymnastics grips available in the market. Some of the most popular ones are:

Each brand offers grips in different sizes and styles, and it’s essential to find the one that fits the gymnast’s hand comfortably.


In conclusion, grips are an essential piece of equipment for artistic gymnasts when they reach more advanced levels. They protect the hands, provide a better grip on the apparatus, and offer added wrist support.

The invention of grips has revolutionized the sport of gymnastics and has helped gymnasts perform more complex moves safely. When considering getting grips, it’s crucial to consult with a coach or trainer to ensure that the gymnast is ready.


When Were Gymnastics Grips Invented?

Grips were invented in the 1960s by a gymnast named Dowell Johnson. He wanted to create a piece of equipment that would protect gymnasts’ hands and provide better grip while performing on the uneven bars. Johnson’s invention was a success and is now used by gymnasts all over the world.

How do you break in gymnastics grips fast?

Grips are made from leather which needs to be softened to get the best performance from them. With your new grips first roll the grip around the dowel down to the base. Then repeat with the dowel facing away from you. Repeat several times and then start using the grips for basic skills such as tap swings or pull overs.

How do I know if my gymnastics grips fit?

At first your new grips will feel tight until they have been broken in – you shouldn’t be able to fully extend your hand. Eventually the grip should cover the middle three fingers until the tips.

Are hook and loop or buckle grips better?

Hook and loop or buckle grips are a matter of personal preference. Generally beginners opt for hook and loop because they are simpler to get on and can be adjusted easily. More advanced gymnasts tend to use buckle grips as they are more secure and have less chance of coming undone halfway through a bar routine!