Updated: Aug 27, 2019
If I had a piece of Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum for every time someone asked about Gloves for OCR, I'd be able to pull a George Bailey and lasso the moon with it.
For the majority of all people, at the majority of all races, wearing gloves in order to help you get a better grip is likely not your best option. A good way to look at this is to evaluate situations where gloves would and would not be needed. So let's do it!
Reasons why you need gloves and are asking about gloves:
1: You didn't prepare your grip strength or skin toughness properly in training.
2: You think they will have better grip than your skin.
Legitimate reasons why you NEED to wear gloves and are asking:
1: The temperature outside is cold and you won't be able to keep my hands warm enough to move your fingers or grip anything without warm gloves.
2: You accidentally cut or ripped your hand open before the race and don't want to re-open the wound or get blood on the obstacles.
Reasons why you DO NOT NEED gloves:
1: The temperatures are between cool and burning hot.
2: You trained properly.
3: Tactile feel is very valuable feedback and you won't get it the same way with gloves.
Here's the thing: If you trained your grip strength enough you will have both the grip strength and the skin toughness to get through the obstacles at an average OCR without tearing up your hands. That's a fact. There is such a thing as over-doing grip strength training, and that comes with torn up hands on a regular basis and is really just setting yourself back as you then have to wait until things heal before you can train your grip again.
Let's say your skin is tough. The only other likely option for why you are tearing your hands is because of the amount of time you are spending on grip obstacles. If you have to retry monkey bars 3-4x you are obviously putting significantly more wear on your hands than if you make it through on the first try. The best thing you can do to avoid this isn't to buy gloves - that's treating the symptoms and not the "illness" so to speak - it's to train so you can conquer the obstacle on the first try!
Now, there are important times to wear gloves, and cold weather is one of them. If it is cold, you may not be able to keep your hands sufficiently warm to keep them moving and gripping. That's obviously a huge issue. At that point, warm gloves become very valuable. However, unless you are racing in extremely cold conditions, your best bet will often be to take the gloves off for grip obstacles and put them back on when you're finished.
Another important time is when you already have cuts or tears on your hand that aren't healed enough for direct contact. You don't want (and neither does anyone else) your blood getting all over obstacles from a wound that reopens. Put a bandage on the injury, slip on a glove, and keep the blood off other racers.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule; fluke things happen. However, you won't need gloves at the majority of all of your races if you just do the training properly in advance.
Trio Fitness OCR is the best place you can go for OCR coaching and training. We meet YOUR specific goals and needs. We don't do templates and we don't start you off at someone else's level. Every workout is designed for you, the equipment you have access to, the amount of time you're able to commit, and to make you the best athlete you can be. You're always able to reach out to us with questions, thoughts and feedback, and we want our athletes to learn as they train. Whether you are a beginner, or a seasoned participant in the sport, having experienced coaches will make you a better athlete. Head over to our Training Programs page and get signed up now.