17 July 2015

What is the plastic device on this gymnast's hands?

The photo above was one of the Pictures of the Day in The Telegraph (credit AP Photo/Gregory Bull).

My attention was drawn to the young woman's hands, where strips of plastic are secured along her palms.  They would obviously serve to miminize friction when her hands rotate on the bar, but I don't ever remember having seen such a device used during televised Olympic competitions.

Surely some reader out there will have a child in gymnastics training and can clarify for us what these things are called and whether they are training devices or perhaps a new improvement in the sport designed to enhance the health of the athletes.


  1. They are actually strips of leather (at least the ones I used.) In conjunction with the chalk, they do serve to reduce the friction on the bars and also to protect the gymnast's hands. When I was a kid, I did gymnastics and when the calluses on my hand got to a certain point they would just rip clean off and leave a horrible open sore that sidelined me. When I felt like it was getting to that point, I'd put a pair of these on until I felt like they weren't such an issue. Hope that helps!! Love this blog!!

  2. Oh and they are called "gymnastics grips." Makes sense...

    1. Thank you. I just did a Google Image search and found an abundance of devices. And some pix of bloody palms...

  3. Thank you for phrasing your post title in a way that Google searchers can find it, lol

  4. Some types of dance use a similar device on the feet. Variously called a foot thong or half sole. http://www.amazon.com/Dance-Class-Foot-Thong/dp/B004VRP7G0

  5. They're dowel grips. Strips of leather with finger holes and a small dowel at the base of the fingers underneath and buckles at your wrist. They give stronger grip when swinging and they minimize peeling off the bar. Most gymnasts use a rubber band on the back side of the hand to keep them snug because broken in grips feel a lot better but they tend to not stay in place well once the leather gets worn down around the finger holes.:)


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