As this is my first gear review I thought it might be helpful to give some context to the perspective I bring to the using and testing of equipment and clothing. Basically, I’m the CrossFit equivalent of a golfing duffer or hack. I’m the regular guy in the gym. I’m not looking for some kind of silver bullet or a magical item that will allow me to add 10 more repetitions to any given workout or add 20lbs to my one rep max. Actually, if that is what you’re looking for, we’re probably both going to be disappointed.
What I offer in my gear reviews is a practical and pragmatic evaluation of things – and whether or not that particular item does or doesn’t live up to its particular brand of hype. And maybe there is even the possibility that there is at least an extra rep or a pound or two in that gear.
So let’s get to it.
Hands, hands, hands. If there is any part of the body that is more problematic in the course of pursuing CrossFit, it has to be the hands. If you are new to CrossFit you’ll soon experience tearing the living shreds out of your hands during some workout or another. Cindy or Fran are a pretty good bet for turning your palms into a half-pound of ground round. After you’ve done CrossFit for a while, you’ll learn about hand care. You’ll experiment with razors, callous shavers and this lotion or that. But even those preventative measures will eventually fail; probably during one of the CrossFit Open work outs. And for many of us losing the ability to use our hands to type, steer the car or feed ourselves for a week really isn’t an option.
I picked up a pair of StrongerRX’s Competition 2.0 RTG gloves a few weeks ago; in shrieking booger green no less. Okay, they call it “Ooze”, which sounds much better. I have quite a bit of experience with putting gloves through their paces. In Scottish Heavy Athletics, we throw 56lb, 42lb and 28lb weights for both height and distance. They are typically linked to a 6-inch blacksmithed ring handle and the torque generated during the spinning and throwing can rip the hands apart. Football receiver gloves and batting gloves? Those are shredded like school lunch lettuce in one or maybe two Highland Festivals. Weightlifting gloves? Way too thick and really don’t help much with high-torque activities like spinning with a heavy weight on a chain. Golf gloves? Ummmmmmm, yeah. $4.95 latex knit garden gloves from Lowe’s or Home Depot – now these are some gloves. Seriously – this is pretty much what you’ll see on most throwers in games. They work, they hold up for more than a few festivals and they are cheap. So what about a $45.00 pair of CrossFit specific gloves?
I have put these things through the torture test for 2 months and I’m impressed. I’ve even used them for a Highland Game. After more than a dozen kipping pull-up related WODs, bar and ring muscle-up attempts (I like to call it practice in case I actually ever get one of either one day) a Highland Game and one Grace, these gloves are showing no signs of failure. Not a loose thread or a popped seam.
The grip is great but does take a workout or two to really settle in. The palm and finger facing is synthetic leather, kind of like a micro suede but a bit thicker. The glove backing is very breathable. And the velcro closure on the glove back is wide and it holds the glove closed like a vise.
Under heavy torquing activities like kipping pull-ups or toes-to-bar the gloves really shine. You simply can’t grind hard enough or long enough to produce anything more than a hotspot on your hands and definitely no torn callouses. I have the advantage of a great deal of grip strength from Highland Games and powerlifting – my kips actually fail long before my grip ever does. So I can guarantee I put a lot of torque and grind on my grips – and I haven’t had a tear or callous blow-out in two months.
The downsides of the gloves are few and they are not deal-breakers in my mind. First, after a couple of workouts they stink. If you have done CrossFit for any length of time this should not be a new phenomenon for you. Everything you workout in acquires perma-stink. I have shirts that offend from 20 feet even after they have been washed multiple times – so it kind of goes with the territory. I think my RX Jump Rope even stinks.
The other minor nit I have with them is that the velcro closure and cuff aren’t built to accommodate wrist wraps. I personally like Strength Wraps and wear them for about 80% of my workouts, but the gloves aren’t particularly “wrap” friendly. I might actually like to see a set of these gloves with an integrated wrist wrap – it’d be a nice hybrid worth buying given my great experience with these gloves so far.
I’ll provide updates on durability over the next several months on the blog – but I can say that while pricey, these gloves get the job done. Oh – and you can expect to get a lot of grief from the “no-glove-love” crowd. I will sacrifice hard-core cool points so that I can actually use my hands to do things like hold my coffee cup, type on my keyboard and not bleed on everything for a week after a WOD.
StrongerRX RTG Gloves
- Definitely work as advertised
- Great durability (so far) and built to handle high-torque activities
- Purpose built for CrossFit – no need to compromise by using a batting, receiver or gardening glove
- Excellent glove and product – a good investment and constant go-to in my gym bag
- Pricey – I have technical winter gloves for mountain climbing that cost this much
- Doesn’t accommodate a wrist wrap