This week we take a moment to review the latest glove from StrongerRx: the StrongerRx 3.0 Glove.
Item: StrongerRx 3.0 Glove
Price: $48 USD
Hand care is a hot topic in most CrossFit boxes and there is no denying many athletes spend a long time perfecting their hand care regime. Deciding whether to go bare handed, or which pair of grips, gloves or straps to use is just as important as selecting the right pair of shoes. Torn hands are painful and can mean days or weeks of adapting your program to avoid the bar.
It is not just the pull-up rig that wears down your hands; Olympic bar work, kettle bells, farmer’s carries and dumbbells all contribute to the calluses, blisters and general wear and tear across your palms and fingers. Typically athletes will use a mix of products to protect their hands with many preferring soft or leather grips for hanging movements such as toes-to-bar, pull-ups and muscle-ups and padded gloves for lifting, carrying and rope climbs.
One brand that has been leading the way in producing high quality functional fitness gloves over the past few years is StongerRx. A few years ago we reviewed thier first pair of gloves, The StrongerRx RTG Glove, and gave them the thumbs up.
Two years on and StrongerRx have released their new and improved version of the glove: The StrongerRX 3.0.
The StrongerRx 3.0 is a multi-purpose glove designed to accommodate all of the major functional fitness movements. I have been testing out the StrongerRx 3.0 Gloves for a couple of months now and have used them for everything from the rig to rope climbs.
Here’s what I thought of them:
Lightweight Design: The StrongerRx 3.0 glove is a lightweight design that feels durable but surprisingly flexible and well ventilated. There are small holes across the palm of the glove to help your hands breath and the thin synthetic upper prevents your hands from getting too warm. The seams were also low profile so the gloves felt comfortable and did not rub.
Protection: My hands felt well protected in the StrongerRx 3.0 glove – no tears or blisters! For me, many gloves fold or crease at the top of the palm which aggravates my calluses but the flexible fit of the StrongerRx 3.0 Glove eliminated this problem.
Grip: The 3.0 glove has evolved from the StrongerRx RTG Glove and one of the new features is the red polymer coating across the palm of the glove. The grip felt secure on everything from kettle bells to the rope.
Touch Screen Friendly: The StrongerRx 3.0 is compatible with most touch screen devices. I tested it on my phone and iPad and both screens responded. I did have some issues with finer activities such as setting the timer in my workout app but it was very handy for basic activities.
Improvements on Previous Model: StrongerRx has worked hard to ensure the 3.0 is an improvement from the RTG version. The 3.0 Glove is lighter, has increased grip and protection, and overall has a better fell/fit that the RTG Glove. StrongerRx has also adopted anti-vibration and touch screen technology to enhance user experience. Also, the 3.0 Glove ($48) only sells for $3 more than the RTG Glove ($45 USD).
Tight Fit: Although the gloves sat smoothly across my palm, I found there was a lot of extra material across the back of the glove. The Velcro fastening is relatively short which gives you little scope to tighten the gloves at the wrist and pull in any extra material. StrongerRx recommend going down a size for normal or narrow hands and I would agree with this. On the flip side, these gloves might be a blessing for those with wider hands.
Loss of Tactile Sensation: Whilst the gloves have a no-slip polymer coating and are relatively light weight, the loss of tactile connection with the bar was a bit of downside. I was a bit less confident in movements such as kipping pull-ups and toes-to-bar than I am using bare hands, grips or fingerless gloves. The gloves certainly did not feel slippery, but the fact that the glove is full fingered meant that I didn’t have the full tactile sensation i’m used to while working our bare hands. I have quite small hands so this was also a bit of a problem for heavy snatch training where I rely on the skin on skin contact to feel secure in my hook grip.
That being said, you will always lose some amount of tactile sensation when going from ‘bare hands’ to wearing gloves, so it’s kind of expected. And for many, the loss is worthwhile in the long run if it means having protected hands.
Full Fingers: The full finger design offers protection for your entire hand from tips to wrist, however, it means that the gloves are less accommodating. While a fingerless glove gives you the option to pull the glove down snugly in between your fingers, there is less room to adjust the StrongerRx 3.0 glove if your fingers are longer or shorter than average. For me, the four fingers fit nicely however the thumb was a little too short. I suppose you could always trim the gloves if you really want to make the fingerless, although it would be great to see StrongerRx release a ‘fingerless’ version of the 3.0 Glove.
Colour: The StrongerRx 3.0 glove only comes in the red and black colour combination. It would be fantastic to see some more options or, at the very least, a low profile option such as plain black.
In summary, I will continue to use the StrongerRx 3.0 Gloves to protect my hands against general wear and tear. Personally I found them helpful in many functional fitness movements including rope climbs, farmer’s carries, kettle bell swings, deadlifts and cleans.
But for rig work or movements that require a high level of tactile confidence such as snatch, i’ll stick to bare hands for now.
Overall though, the StrongerRx 3.0 Gloves do a great job of protecting your hands, which is what you want when purchasing gloves. If you want to keep your hands free from any blisters, tears or rips during high intensity functional fitness workouts, then the StrongerRx 3.0 Glove is a worthy purchase.