Gymnastics grips are not usually a requirement for the sport or for meets but some gymnasts can't imagine not using them. Some love the extra support they get from their grips but others feel as though they are too artificial and get in the way. Some gymnasts like the traction they get from their grips while others think they ruin the experience because they don't have much feeling through their grips. I guess it's really up to the gymnast whether or not they prefer to use them during their gymnastics practices and meets.

1. In order to purchase the most effective gymnastics grips, you first need to think about a couple of things. First, you have to know what event the grips will be used for. Not all grips are created equal! Second, you will need to purchase the correct size grips. They come in a variety of sizes for men, women, boys and girls. If you use the incorrect size grips for your hands, your gymnastics tricks could result in serious injury.

2. What event should I use grips for? Well, that's easy to answer…just ask your coach! Grips are used for uneven bars, high bars, or rings events. Some gymnasts choose not to use grips and they manage very well. On the other hand (no pun intended!) some gymnasts use grips all the time and find them very helpful!

3. What size and type of grips should I buy? There are a few options here. Grips can be purchased for the beginner (there is no dowel incorporated into the grip and they are made of thin suede rather than thick leather.) The beginner grips do not offer as much protection but are fine for low level gymnasts. They are easy to break in but don't provide as much support as the higher quality grips. The other grips are made of thicker leather and usually have a dowel below the finger holes for added support while gripping the bar. Some coaches prefer these from the beginning so the gymnast gets used to wearing them. When you choose the size of the grip, be careful to measure correctly. The website that you purchase the grips from will have a sizing chart to use as a reference for their particular grips. Don't just assume that all grips are measured the same way. Most of the time you measure from the base of the hand to the tip of the longest finger. However, the size that this indicates may differ from company to company. For instance, a 5" length may mean a size small for one company and a medium for another. Be sure to check the company's sizing chart before placing the order.

4. Where should I buy the grips? There are many online companies that sell gymnastics supplies and this includes grips. My daughter's gym recommended their favorite website and specifically wanted me to purchase the Just Right Too grips. You should check with your gym before making a purchase.

If you choose to use gymnastics grips please make sure you buy at least two pairs. This way, if something happens to one pair, you will have a back-up pair. Once you use them it will be awkward to perform without them so you need to have a spare especially when you are at a meet. Also, be sure to have your grips broken in well before your meet. Grips need to be seasoned during many practice sessions, not on the day of your important meet! You don't want to be competing with grips that don't fit properly or ones which are causing blisters or discomfort. Take care of your grips, break them in and keep them nice and dry and clean and you will give your grips a long life.