Kettlebells – Gloves or Chalk?

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kettlebell chalk

So one of the things that I struggle with the most when using kettlebell is the stress it causes to my hands. Now let’s not get it twisted here, I’m not trying to act like a primadonna or anything, but the beating that kettlebell workouts can inflict on your hands is something that I wasn’t used to at first. It’s a lot different than traditional weights, like dumbbells or barbells. There is a ton more friction going on because your hand and grip is actually going to change and rotate. As opposed to traditional weights where your grip is generally maintained throughout the motion of the exercise. That is why I knew I needed something else. There were a couple options I could go with here, kettlebell gloves or kettlebell chalk. But which one should you pick? Let’s break them down here and you can be the judge.

Kettlebell home gym

Kettlebell Gloves

So there are some people out there that believe that you should not wear gloves when working out with kettlebells. The biggest reason for that is that they feel that the gloves can impede the kettlebell from maneuvering in your hand during the workout. The other main reason is that there are reports of gloves bunching up in the hand during the exercise causing the kettlebell to dig into the hand. So if you are using a glove that is ultra grippy that doesn’t allow for motion and just tacks onto the handle of the weight, then no, that would not be an ideal pair of gloves for kettlebells. But if you are just trying to protect your sensitive hands from getting calluses and blisters (don’t worry, I feel your pain), then you should consider a glove with a leather palm that will allow the weight to maneuver in the hand during kettlebell exercises such as snatch and grabs. A tacky grip will likely just bunch up in the hand and eventually rip at the palm. The other thing to consider is the proper fit of your kettlebell gloves. You want them to be snug, with no room to catch and bunch when the handle of the bell is rotating in the hand.

Kettlebell Chalk

So chalk is something that a lot of kettlebell users prefer. The reason they like chalk is all about friction. So let’s face it, when we work out, we tend to sweat. Some of us more than most (I’m a sweaty freaking mess when I work out). Sweat causes slippage. Slippage is no good when it comes to kettlebells. And not just slipping out of the hand. When you have a slippery handle, your tend to tighten your grip. This squeezing will fatigue your hand muscles faster, thus shortening your workout and not giving you the best workout you could get if you had a better grip. Also, with moisture comes softer skin. Softer skin is more susceptible to blisters. So while a lot of beginner kettlebell users will argue that chalk makes listing more rough and causes more discomfort to the hands, it is actually the opposite. With experience you will see that using chalk actually does help with your hand trauma. Especially when you use proper form and technique when doing kettlebell exercises.

kettlebell chalk

Whether you use gloves or chalk with your kettlebell workouts, it is important that you take care of your hands. The last thing you want to do is have a workout scheduled that you want to skip out on because you have a few blisters on your hands. Your manliness will not be questioned if you decide to use kettlebell gloves to ensure you get a good wrokout in. Just make sure they are not too grippy in the palm area and they fit properly. And don’t be afraid of the chalk! It may be uncomfortable at first, but it can prevent blisters and hand injuries just as well.

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