Your gymnastics grips are one of the most important things for you if you are serious about gymnastics. The purpose of grips is to protect your hands from ripping, especially when you are doing rotations on the uneven bars.
That being said, caring for your grips should be just as important as caring for your leotard and any other gymnastics items that you own. This will not only help make sure that your gymnastics grips will not fail you when you need them, but it will also help them to last you longer.
Part of properly caring for your gymnastics grips involves breaking them in. This, however, is something that should only take a few weeks at the most if you know what you are doing and are serious about breaking them in.
With the proper care gymnastics grips can last for months, sometimes even a year, depending on how much time you spend on the bars. This being the case, caring for your grips properly can save you money by extending their life as much as possible.
Maintenance For Your Gymnastics Grips
After you break in your gymnastics grips, you will need to maintain them quite regularly. Part of this is that you need to examine them every time before you put them on. This is not only to see how worn they are getting, but it is also to check for any signs of ripping or tearing.
Once the leather starts to rip it is no longer safe to use the grips since it can suddenly finish ripping all the way across when you least expect it. This, as you might imagine, is dangerous if you are on the bars and doing a routine.
Chalking Your Grips
Even when you are wearing gymnastics grips you still need to use chalk. If you do not do so, then the leather could end up sticking to the bar as the sweat from your hands moistens it. The chalk will prevent the leather from getting moist and will keep your leather in good condition as well.
You should chalk your grips pretty much like you usually chalk your hands. Do not apply too much or too little. This can take some getting used to, but if you are already accustomed to using chalk then this should not take long for you to get right.
Eventually, your gymnastics grips will need to be cleaned. The chalk will build up on them and they will get far too slick. When this happens, it is time to get out your grip brush. This is essentially a small brush with wire bristles.
Use this to scrape off the extra chalk and to rough up the leather just a leather. Be careful that you do not damage the leather when you do this though by brushing in small strokes in the same direction of the grain of the leather which is usually up and down.
Also, try to brush around the stitching since this can mess up the stitching and make the threads be more likely to break.
A Word On Water
Some people will tell you to never ever let water near your grips, while other gymnasts don’t mind getting their grips a little wet as their way of cleaning them. This is in part something that is up to you to decide.
One thing that is indisputable is the fact that water will make the leather of your grips deteriorate faster. The more water you use and the more often you use it on your grips, the faster the leather will rip and start falling apart. For this reason, is it recommended that you avoid water entirely.
Not only that, but water can also cause the leather to stretch out more than it should, potentially make the leather start to rot which can smell terrible, to say the least, and it can make the warranty on your gymnastics grips void.
Finally, even though sweat is not exactly the same as water, it is still a form of moisture. This is why you should let your gymnastics grips thoroughly dry before you put them away in your bag. One way that you can do this is to get drying rings for them.
While you should never put your gymnastics grips in a bag if they are the slightest bit moist still, it is a great idea to put them in a bag. There are several reasons why this is good for them, the first of which is that it helps you not have to dig around in your bad to find both of them.
Secondly, it prevents anything from getting on them. If you were to put a cold water bottle in your bag without thinking, there could be some condensation around the water bottle that could get your grips wet if they are not protected in a bag.
Finally, the last reason I will mention as to why you should keep your grips in a bag is in order to protect the other things in your gym bag. Gymnastics grips can accumulate a very strong smell of sweat over time. If they are kept with all of your other things, this smell with be shared with the other things in your bag which is not something that you or those around you will find pleasant.
While you may have not even heard about these, there is something that is called Grip Dogs Cedar Deodorizers. These have two parts to them. One part slips inside your grips in somewhat the same shape as your hand, and the other part that is a net then goes around it.
The purpose of these is to get rid of the sweaty smell by absorbing the excess moisture and by killing the bacteria that might be making themselves at home in your grips. This means that not only will your grips not smell as bad but they will also be cleaner.
Sometimes when you get a cut on your hand it can seem to take longer to heal or seem to get infected easily when you are a gymnast. Part of this can be because of the bacteria that can live in your grips since you cannot wash these.
This is another reason why having something that can disinfect your grips is something that you should at least think about. The faster your hands can heal from any cuts they might get, the more comfortable you will be on the bars and the more confident you will be for your big competition.
Final Tips For Your Grips
You always want to have two pairs of grips that are broken in. Once you have to retire one set of grips you should get a new pair and start breaking them in during your training at the gym. This is in order to avoid the potential situation of having only one pair of grips that get a rip in them right before your competition.
By having two sets you can then simply wear your other pair. You should always pack your spare when you go to a competition. Just make sure that you check your spare and use it every once in a while to make sure that it doesn’t get stiff for any reason.
Sometimes if sweat was not allowed to dry out of your grips properly this will cause them to stiffen up a bit. When this happens, you can limber the leather back up by rolling and twisting them around in your hands or by hitting them or rolling a dowel rod around on them.
You really should make sure that you let your grips dry really well in order to prevent this from happening though. Don’t wear your grips unless you need to be wearing them or you are breaking them in so that you do not sweat them up any more than needed and never grab a cold water bottle that has condensation on it with a hand that has a gymnastics grip on it.