Many gymnasts and parents buying grips do not understand that correctly fitting grips are a serious safety issue. Improperly sized dowel grips or wearing a grip not designed for the specific piece of gymnastics apparatus is very dangerous and can lead to catastrophic injury. Essentially, a severe, painful injury can occur, if the grips and the gymnast’s hands stop going around the bar and the gymnast does continue around the bar. I have only seen this happen once, but believe me, it is not an injury you wish to see or experience, so take the sizing and care of your grips seriously.
Borrowing Grips Can Be Risky
Also, for the very same reasons, it is better to not borrow a teammateâ€™s grips, even if they are the same size. They may have stretched out to be longer and this is the real danger consideration and they are formed to the other gymnast’s hands, not yours. It’s always a good idea to have a backup pair of grips broken in and ready for use in case you tear your grips at a meet.
Consult Your Coach
You should always consult your coach when making any decisions about grips, whether sizing them, purchasing them, breaking them in or using them is any different way. Your coaches will likely have definite opinions on what kind of grips they want you to wear and the experience to help you choose the right grips and take care of them so they can protect you from injury. We recommend you have your coach measure gymnasts for their grips because they have experience measuring of grips and experience deciding what size to order if measurements donâ€™t exactly match the sizing on the grip company charts.
There are, at least, three major aspects to sizing gymnastics grips for gymnasts.
- Hand or Palm Length
- Finger Hole Size
- Wrist Size and Wrist Band Fit
One Size Does Not Fit All
Each grip company has its own different sizes. A grip from one company that is your size, say a size 3, does not mean you can just order a size 3 from any other company and expect it to fit. They all have different sizes that do not match other company’s sizes, necessarily. Carefully check the measuring and sizing directions from the company you are ordering grips from and follow them carefully.
Measuring for Grips
The way grips are measured does not usually vary from company to company, but measurements are different for grips for different events. Womenâ€™s uneven bars and menâ€™s rings grips are sized similarly. To determine the size of grips for women’s grips and men’s ring grips, measure from the tip of the longest of the middle two fingers to the bottom of the hand, where it meets the wrist. Compare this measurement to the sizing chart for the grips from the company and model you are ordering.
Measuring Men’s High Bar Grips
Menâ€™s high bar grips are sized somewhat differently. The best way to size high bar grips is to measure from where the hand and wrist intersect to the middle of the middle finger (exactly in between the two joints of the middle finger). On an adult this would be approximately 1.5 inches below the tip of the middle finger.
Grip Sizes Vary
The best way to size these two types of handgrips is to measure the entire hand (from where the hand and wrist intersect to the tip of the middle finger). Certainly, men’s and women’s sizes do not correspond, either, within the same company as men’s grips start larger and go larger than women’s grips. The size of grips that a particular measurement indicates almost always varies from company to company and perhaps even from product to product of the same company, so you must always read the instructions and follow the measuring, sizing ans ordering directions carefully.
When in Doubt, Order Smaller
As often happens, gymnasts may be between sizes when they measure and check for what size grips to buy. There are many more hand measurements, than grip sizes. When in doubt (or give the benefit of the doubt to), order the smaller size of grips, because, with use, grips will stretch. If your grips fit perfectly when you get them, they may stretch out and become too long, which is the major cause of concern and safety issue with grips.
What to Do When You First Get Your Grips
When gymnasts first receive their grips they should try them on. Try them on, without chalk or doing anything that would make them so they couldn’t be resold, if gymnasts have to send them back for a different size or some other reason. When they are wearing the grips, with the grip holes on their first knuckle closest to their fingertips, the angle between their hand and fingers should be 45 to 60 degrees. If the angle is more than 60 degrees, the grips are too long and could lock up on the bar. If the angle is at 60 degrees, the grips may still be too long when they stretch out from use, which is more likely to happen with bigger gymnasts or lighter leather. 45 degrees is ideal because that leaves room for the grips to stretch out and still be safe.
Return Grips If They Are the Wrong Size
Grip companies will allow you to return grips that donâ€™t fit if they are in resaleable condition. Basically that means you can try them on, but not use or chalk them and wash your hands before you try them on so you donâ€™t get them dirty. Grip companies donâ€™t take liability responsibility for incorrectly sized grips. They say gymnasts and their coaches must check them after they are received and before they are used on bars. It makes sense then that gymnasts get their coaches to check the fit.