The Dowel Effect

In the world of gymnastics, young athletes begin wearing grips when they start performing routines on the bar and rings. They generally start with palm grips, which are designed to simply create another layer before your skin.

But when they begin to perform more advanced routines that require swinging horizontally, or even when they perform movements like “giants”, a grip with a dowel attached to it is recommended. Dowel grips are designed to create space between the skin and grip, while also securing your grip to the apparatus.

The image on the left is a “palm grip”. The image on the right has a “dowel” attached to the grip, which secures the grip and prevents further hand tears.

In the functional fitness world, dowel grips aren’t made for sale. You can of course buy them on a gymnastics website, but they’re sometimes 3x as much the cost.

Victory Grips has a sizing guide that allows you to create your own dowel-effect with your gymnastic grips. Instead of having the pencil-like dowel that is attached to the grip, you instead create an extra fold in the grip to prevent additional tears and ensure a more secure grip.

Folding over the grip creates a dowel-effect on the bar.

This fold of material is what helps you hold on to the bar/rings by creating torque.¬†However, the edge of this fold should come to your fingertips. If the edge of the fold is anywhere below the first knuckle crease of your fingers, the grips are too short and you won’t be using the folded dowel correctly.

I made this video to help further explain what I mean.


Additional Resources:
Which Gymnastic Grip Should I Buy?
Hand Care: How to Prevent Tearing Your Hands
What to Do When You Tear Your Hands


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