Gloves or Straps For Pull-ups: Which is better?

lifting hooks vs lifting gloves

Many guys have been coming to me and asking whether they need to purchase lifting gloves or lifting straps, we covered a whole article on this subject now. 

Both the gloves and straps work wonderfully well to relieve wrist discomfort and assist in lifting more weights. But both have their own distinct differences which should be known to every fitness enthusiast. 

Should you use gloves or straps for pull-ups? 

Many people are being bullied because they wear gloves or straps while lifting weights. Here is the truth, whether you need gloves or not, it should totally depend on your body conditioning and personal preferences. 

There are people who possess savage genetics and do not need any external assistance to lift heavier, but on the other hand, there are people who genuinely require some grip assistance while doing pullups.

Why do some people need gloves or staps while pullups? 

  • Lack of grip strength
  • Unable hang on pullup bar for more than few seconds
  • For extra padding
  • Bloody calluses and blisters
  • Wrist support

People think that using straps is cheating, others think that it will leave their grip untrained. If you are concerned about weak grip strength then you can always devote few extra sets to enhance the grip and forearm strength.

The fun part is, people who always brag about not using straps or gloves are usually not the strongest lifters.

Most elite Powerlifters and Olympic lifters regularly train with lifting straps throughout the practice session to improve their absolute strength and to improve the strength of bigger target muscles.

Lifting straps and gloves are used by professional athletes while pull-ups to eliminate the chances of grip fatigue before the fatigue of the primary muscle group (back and biceps).


Gloves vs straps- What’s best for Pullups?

Every fitness enthusiast has experienced the dilemma of choosing between gloves vs straps at least once in a lifetime. Both the gloves and lifting straps helps in lifting heavier weight while easing the discomfort but they follow the different working principle.

1- Your strength levels: 

Are you at the beginner or intermediate level? 

Your strength levels matter before choosing the right product. Beginners should probably go for gloves that provide good quality padding and wrist support. 

Lifting straps does eliminate the role of grip strength but increases pressure on the wrist which makes them not the best option for beginners.

Are you an Intermediate or expert level lifter?

If you are an experienced lifter then I am assuming that your wrist has enough strength to hang your bodyweight. 

For experienced lifters, I personally recommend the use of straps. Straps work really well in pushing through the limits and lets you hang for a longer period of time. 

Additionally, straps allow you to isolate your lats much better.

2- Padding:

Many beginners have soft palms and are not rugged enough to withstand the tough training session. If you have just started your training journey then it’s highly recommended to use gloves until your hands are strong enough to withstand higher pressure. 

Some pullup bars have aggressive knurling which can make it uncomfortable to hold the bar for a longer period of time.

3- Grip strength:

Although grip strength doesn’t really bother the light-weighted lifters but we should not neglect some of our brothers who weigh more than 200lbs. 

Dead hanging for a minute can be a challenging task for a big guy. 

Lifting gloves are a good solution for someone looking to enjoy extra padding and some grip assistance. 

Lifting straps are the best solution for someone who is willing to eliminate the role of grip strength and wants to rely solely on back muscle while pull-ups. 

The grip is one of the most powerful neurological stabilizers in the human body which is beneficial for compound strength, but BAD for isolation work. Someone looking to isolate back muscle should use straps instead of gloves. 

4- Calluses:

Calluses can be really painful and frustrating for beginner or intermediate-level lifters. Although experienced lifters are quite familiar with them.  

Both the gloves and straps can help you avoid calluses but lifting gloves works better because of the extra padding. 

5- Wrist support:

Pullups with lifting straps may cause little pain in the wrist because it eliminate the role of grip strength and the whole body in hanging entirely on the wrist.

Gloves should be the first choice for someone with a weak wrist. Additionally, train your grip and wrist for 2-3 days a week to strengthen it for barehand pullups. 

Straps with grip support are also available in the market, you can also choose to buy them. Laso and Figure8 straps should be avoided by someone with poor wrist strength. 


Personal Recomendations

Why do we use gloves:

Training gloves are best for beginner or intermediate-level lifters.

Gym gloves are versatile workout partners which can be used for a variety of training patterns, they can be effectively used while pressing movements (bench press, pushups) and pulling movements (pull-up, lat pulls).

Gym gloves are available in a wide variety too, you can find gloves with wrist support or no wrist support, gloves with extra padding, leather gloves, etc.

If you are looking for extra padding, better grip, and wrist protection then gloves seem to be the most efficient training tool for your pull-ups.

Why do we use straps:  

Straps are usually suitable for expert lifters who have been training for a good amount of time.

Lifting straps are not as versatile as lifting gloves but these straps allow better pulling capabilities. Straps completely eliminate the role of grip strength and allow a gateway to exhaust and strengthen the bigger muscle groups.

Experienced bodybuilders use straps while pullups to isolate Lats, Traps, Posterior Delts, and Biceps in a single movement.

About 12 years ago, I remember the first time when the gym instructor introduced me to the lifting straps, and I was really excited to use them for the first time. 

Coach asked to take some time to follow the proper approach of using those lifting straps correctly, I was asked to practice the whole process of wrapping the strap on the barbell, again and again, multiple times until I got it 100% right.  

Remember, a lifting strap might look like a simple piece of accessory but it requires a lot of practice to perfectly use it. There is a right way to prepare straps for the wrists and to wrap them around the bar. 

Hey guys thanks for reading, let us know your thoughts on the article. Questions are welcomed in the comments as always.

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By Harsh Chauhan

Hi there, I'm Harsh, personal trainer and chief editor at Alphamale.co. I started this blog with the intention to tap on every question that has been unanswered for many years. With an experience of more than a decade, my goal is to transform the lives of millions of our readers by offering authentic fitness knowledge.

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