Quick, pick one: hands or butt.
I’m not telling you the question yet. But my answer is butt.
Okay, okay, the question is, “Which is more important to you to look better?” Again, I pick butt.
I kid, I kid. You can be a lifter and have pretty hands and a pretty posterior. Sure, you’ve got to do work with your hands in the gym, but it doesn’t mean they have to get torn to shreds. That’s a common misconception.
Often I hear women say they don’t want to get calluses, and this is usually expressed before they’ve even develop calluses or curves. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.
I don’t mean to be insensitive; I hear you! Feminine, well kept hands are important to many women. I just want you to give it a try first and see that massive rough calluses don’t develop overnight.
The case against gloves
What’s so bad about gloves, you ask? They make it a little tougher to grip the bar, because they make the diameter of what you have to grip larger. They slide. They are another thing you have to drag around. They get sweaty, smelly and their annoying Velcro strips grab everything in your gym bag.
Ditch the gloves
So what’s a girl to do? I suggest you forgo the gloves. If you truly want to use them, you can, absolutely. Give it a shot without them first, though. Your grip will get stronger, which is always a good thing. Initial discomfort of grip intensive exercises will dissipate.
Your calluses will protect you, remember. You earned them.
Grip strength is always beneficial
When in life would it benefit you to have softer hands or a weaker grip? I can think of no situation in which that is beneficial. Even if you do minimal work with your hands – no, especially if you do minimal work with your hands – that one time you find yourself really in a bind, you’ll wish you hand a stronger and tougher grip!
Maintained calluses don’t scratch, rough you up, or tear. Those pictures you see online of people bragging about their bloody hands are usually from exercises like kipping pull-ups, in which the exerciser continued to lift despite signs that their hands were going to be damaged. Ripped, bloody hands are not the result of one or two extra reps; these are situations where the exerciser could have chosen plenty of times to stop. Perhaps they were in competition, perhaps they doggedly went after a goal number of reps, but regardless, it was their choice to continue.
Callus prevention and smart training choices
When you are doing your own workout in the gym, and your hands have had enough for the day, you can choose to do a different exercise. In fact, I highly suggest that. It won’t help you to be out for days while your torn up hands heal, so choose your exercises intelligently and be able to work out tomorrow.
So yeah, you will develop tougher hands. While you probably won’t develop giant calluses that rip and bleed, you might have a broken nail every once in a while. That happens anyway. If you ever feel like your hands are a little worse for the wear for your time in the gym, well you might be right.
But just go ahead and grab your butt with your callused hands and you’ll know it’s worth it.