You’re Using Your Grips Wrong

CrossFitters love their accessories (most of which serve a real function) and one of the most popular are gymnastics grips. Gymnastics grips help with movements such as pull ups, toes to bar, and muscle ups by doing two things:

  1. They will help pad your hands from the bar to reduce the chances of ripping.
  2. When used correctly, they actually make holding onto the bar easier to reduce grip fatigue.

Unfortunately, we see many people using these grips incorrectly – not knowing that there is supposed to be a fold in the grip which will help hook onto the bar and distribute the load throughout the wrist. Want to be a CrossFit Gymnastics ninja like Cody Anderson or Alec Smith? Check out our tips below!


The first step to getting the full benefit of gymnastics grips is to make sure you purchase the correct size. In my opinion many online retailers don’t do a good job of explaining sizing, and from what I’ve seen most athletes buy grips that are too small. It’s better for the grips to be too big than too small. You need the grip to be long enough so that when it’s wrapped around your wrists and connected to your fingers, there is still enough slack for there to be a small fold, as pictured here:

Correct Positioning

With the right sized grips, we will use that fold to grab onto the bar (as pictured):

Put your thumb around the bar after the fold is in place. If you grab the bar with the fold like this, when you hang from the bar the grip will “lock” into place and distribute some of the weight into the strap around your wrist. This is good because it’s taking some of the weight away from your grip. You’ll find that you will actually want to grab a little bit further over the top of the bar with your palm facing down, then pull back slightly to make the fold taut.  Almost like a pseudo false-grip.

Which Grips to Buy

There are some very fancy grips out there with carbon fiber infused leather and stylish carrying cases. I’m sure these work great, but lord knows I’m not going to spend the money to find out. I’ve gotten a lot of great years out of cheaper versions. I suggest going with a simple leather grip such as these linked below.

Breaking Them In

When you first get the grips they will be a bit slippery and the fold won’t be creased into the fabric. It will take some friction and some chalk to start breaking the fabric down to make it stick to the bar better. Also, once a crease starts to develop for the fold, it will be significantly easier to jump up to the bar with the fold in the right place without having to reposition the grips.