Hand injuries are so common in CrossFit workouts that some have called bloodied palms a kind of rite of passage for CrossFitters. However, that doesn’t need to be the case.
An excellent CrossFit hand grip can help you keep your palms protected on the bar, with rings, or with dumbbells. Especially given the fast change-ups in CrossFit, you’ll want a hand grip that can transition from one to the next without a problem.
We found the best hand grip to be the Bear Komplex Carbon Hand Grips, which sport a newer carbon fiber that doesn’t need to be broken in yet grips exceptionally well. You can see our other options below, including great budget options.
The Best Hand Grips, Compared
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Bear KompleX 3 & 2 Hole Carbon Hand Grips for Gymnastics & Crossfit,...
ProFitness 2 Hole Leather Cross Training Gymnastic Grips - Non Slip, High...
WOD Nation Barbell Gymnastics Grips Perfect for Pull-up Training,...
AEOLOS Leather Gymnastics Hand Grips-Great for Gymnastics,Pull up,Weight...
|Best 2-hole Design|
Rogue V2 Gymnastics Hand Grips
What are Hand Grips?
Gymnasts have used hand grips for decades to protect their hands from cuts and bruises as they fling themselves from bar to bar.
Similarly, CrossFit enthusiasts need good hand grips to prevent their own hand injuries, and some companies have turned to making grips especially for them.
The first big difference between gymnast hand grips and CrossFit ones is an important one for competitions. Sometimes gymnast hand grips have a dowel in them to help maintain their grip. But these dowels are illegal in most CrossFit competitions and make it difficult to do other parts of the competition regardless.
You can also go with a full hand glove, also called batting gloves. The CrossFit adapted ones usually take the design of a batting glove and modify it to work best for CrossFit. These tend to have a tight fit and a leather palm.
Finally, don’t get conventional fingerless lifting gloves. These are not effective at gripping in general.
The Best CrossFit Hand Grips On The Market
Here is our list of the top 5 best CrossFit hand grips currently on the market. We tried to balance grip, protection, value, and durability into one package to find which worked best for CrossFit workouts.
#1 – Bear KompleX 3 & 2 Hole Carbon Hand Grips for Gymnastics & Crossfit, Pull-ups, Weight Lifting. WODs...Check Price
Bear Komplex is one of the biggest sponsors of CrossFit, and there’s been a lot of advertising of these hand grips because of it. However, that doesn’t mean they are trying to cheat you. On the contrary, Bear Komplex has put together one of the best combinations of value and usefulness in a hand grip they made especially for CrossFit competition.
The 3-hole option is the real star here, with the 2-hole being less comfortable and useful overall but still doable.
The carbon fiber design combines lightweight with a sticky, firm grip. These are the only hand grips currently using this kind of design, and it works well. In addition, it is probably the best material presently for sticking on the pull-up bar.
They are also built to last longer than most of the cheaper options available, making them a solid value proposition in the long term as well.
Unfortunately, leather does still seem to be the reigning material when it comes to the barbell grip. It still performs slightly better than carbon fiber. This is about the only major complaint I have with the Bear Komplex design.
The wrist strap is also nice on the Bear Komplex, as it feels more comfortable and secure than most cheaper hand grips.
Finally, the design needs no break-in period, which is a nice although unnecessary feature.
#2 – ProFitness 2 Hole Leather Cross Training Gymnastic Grips - Non Slip, High Grip Palm Protection with...Check Price
One of the best features of the ProFitness hand grips is their suede leather design, which is softer and more ergonomic than traditional leather designs. They don’t require as much breaking in, and they will give you a solid grip without sticking hard to the skin. We recommend the 3-hole version.
Another great benefit is the cost. A fairly reputable brand still makes these but cost much less than the Bear Komplex hand grips.
On the downside, suede leather will be slightly less durable in the long run as a trade-off with its easier-to-use design. However, the ProFitness features an excellent build quality with a lot of breathability, keeping your hands drier and less sweaty. Overall, this should prevent the number of blisters and tears you get.
I should also mention that the wrist support on these hand grips is weaker than most. It’s an area that could use some improvement for keeping them stable on the hand.
One final great detail is that these come with a lifetime warranty, which is great for peace of mind. Now, these come in different sizes, and we noticed many negative reviews came down to buying the wrong size. So make sure to look into buying the correct one.
#3- WOD Nation Barbell Gymnastics Grips Perfect for Pull-up Training, Kettlebells. Hand Grips for Cross...Check Price
These WOD Nation Grips are the best option for a budget-conscious CrossFit enthusiast. Made from genuine leather with a nylon wrist strap to save on budget, they get the job done without much fuss. The biggest problem is with the wrist strap, which is too small to offer real support.
The leather grips well but is a bit thin. There is quite a debate around how thick the leather on hand grips should be. Too thick, and you lose sensitivity in the hand, making it harder to do the workout. But too thin, and you risk it ripping far faster. Therefore, a thing but high durability leather is optimal.
The nylon wrist strap isn’t the greatest support but is easy to take on and off. The best overall feature is simply the value for your budget. You’ll get a decent hand grip for a great price.
#4- TRX Go Suspension Trainer - for the Travel Focused Professional or any Fitness Journey, TRX Training...Check Price
These are great, form-fitting hand grips with a soft leather base. I prefer soft leather just for the easier grip and less break-in time. These also reduce the overall pressure on your hands and wrists, which is nice.
They’re affordable compared to most on the list, while still offering something unique. The design looks good as well, a kind of light leather design that’s unique compared to most else on the market.
The double-layered palms are perhaps the best feature on this one. They soak up sweat nicely and can maintain an excellent grip. Unfortunately, the grip does require a decent amount of chalk to perform its best.
The wrist support on these is also solid, with a good finger hole design. However, the wrist straps are a bit bulky and can take some time to get on and off. This is especially frustrating in a CrossFit competition where it can be important to do things quickly.
Best 2-hole Design
#5 – Rogue V2 Gymnastics Hand Grips
Rogue is always a quality gym supplier, and their hand grips are no exception. Although not explicitly designed for CrossFit, I couldn’t end the list without looking at Rogue’s offering.
Their thin leather 2-hole hand grip is textured on both sides for the least amount of slippage. It also has that perfect combination of thin yet durable leather for an excellent grip while still not feeling too thick.
These are great for people who still want that tactile feeling on the bar, ring, or dumbbell. The wrist straps are also quite thin, so you could fit on a fitness tracker with these nicely. But, they don’t provide as much wrist support as you might want.
They are a bit more of a medium to high price range, but since the cost for hand grips is low overall, it may be worth the extra expense.
Why Use Hand Grips?
The primary benefit of hand grips is protecting your hands from damage. By placing the material between your hand and the bar, you’ll protect your skin from tearing and blistering as it moves across the bar. At best, if you are not using hand grips, your hands will eventually build up nasty calluses, reducing sensitivity in the hands and making it harder to feel out each exercise.
But, there are other reasons to use a hand grip as well.
The foremost among them is injury safety. By securing the best grip possible on a bar, ring, or dumbbell, you reduce the chance of an unnecessary injury by slipping. It also might help you lift a heavier amount of weight without losing control.
Finally, you might also consider your proper technique. By securing a solid grip, you’ll have more control and be better able to hit the proper form of any given exercise. Of course, this adds to the safety element, but it’s a bit more than that. In the long run, good technique will improve your performance and ability.
Another aspect to consider is how sweaty a CrossFit competition or even just a workout can get. Sweat further compromises our abilities on all the problems mentioned above.
However, all that being said, one thing to consider is that a lot of tearing and injuries can be prevented by focusing on proper form. An overreliance on equipment is not the best way to solve your problems, although the safety provided by hand grips can be helpful.
What to Look for When Buying Hand Grips
There are a few different aspects of buying the perfect pair of hand grips to keep in mind:
2 or 3 Holes?
You may have noticed that most of our picks for CrossFit hand grips have a choice between 2 and 3 hole designs. The significant difference between these is cost and where you need to protect your hand.
The 2-hole design covers most problems and will typically hold on your middle and ring fingers. In contrast, the 3-hole design covers more of your palm and feels more secure overall. With the 3-hole design, you can cover either your index or your pinky finger, usually, which allows you to adjust what side of the side needs protection.
The standard material on hand grips is leather, which takes a while to break in but provides great grip strength and long-lasting durability.
The other standard option is neoprene, which grips less well and is less durable, breaking in quickly and cheaper.
There have also been some new materials recently hitting the market, like carbon fiber, which has a nice grip while also taking no time to break-in.
The thickness of the material is also something to consider, but you can be of two minds with this. Thicker material will last longer and protect better, but a thinner material will help you perform better through your own sensitivity.
Some hand grips come in different sizes. Make sure to get a decent measure of your hand before purchasing, as getting the wrong size can make a big difference. Usually size is determined by the length from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist. You can check with each retailer to be sure.
Most hand grips come with a velcro or buckle wrist strap. Unfortunately, many don’t provide enough support to hold the hand grip in place, so be sure to examine it and determine what kind of support you are looking for. They can also get in the way if you were looking to use a fitness tracker.
Durability is huge for CrossFit athletes, as cheap equipment tends to fall apart quickly in the abuse of the workouts and competition.
Leather is often the highest durability material available but can take a while to break in. You’ll also want to check that the stitching is solid and that there isn’t a weak point in the material that is prone to breaking down.
Breathability is harder to track, but a good review will tell you if the hand grip causes too much sweating or whether it provides adequate breathability. It’s essential to maintain a good grip to have less sweating when possible, or at least for the hand grip to work well with chalk.
Finally, price is always a factor. Many cheaper hand grips will still function but not be the right fit for CrossFit or will fall apart very quickly. For that reason, a mid-budget choice is often better at least in terms of durability.
FAQ about Crossfit Hand Grips
What hand grips do CrossFit athletes use?
Recently, the Bear Komplex grips have sponsored a lot of CrossFit athletes. However, you’ll find quite a variety of hand grips otherwise. They tend to go for gymnastic grips with 2 or 3 holes rather than full gloves.
Are 2 or 3 hole grips better?
The choice between 2 or 3 hole hand grips comes down to where your own skin tends to tear. 2-hole grips are typically worn on the middle and ring fingers and protect the middle of the palm. Whereas 3-hole grips usually cover the first three fingers and a greater area overall. One can do the pinky instead of the index if that is more beneficial.
Should I use grips for CrossFit?
Yes. They are important for both beginners who need to protect their hands up to experts who will be pushing their hands to the limit. It is possible to do CrossFit without them, but you will build up intense calluses and will likely tear your hands at least once.
Hand grips are a great protective tool for CrossFit enthusiasts and help with proper technique and safety from bad injuries. In addition, the better grip they provide helps athletes to keep their form and control better, which prevents injuries to the arms overall.
Still, their number one use is to protect palms from tearing. The best we found for that is the Bear Komplex Carbon Hand Grips, which have a carbon fiber grip that doesn’t need to break in and yet provides an excellent grip. The budget options on the list are also helpful if you are simply looking for a hand-grip to get started with.