This week, we take a moment to review Reebok’s VR6000 CrossFit Games Glove.
I have now had my pair of Reebok VR6000 Premier II gloves for a couple of months, which I think is enough time to evaluate the gloves and provide an informative review.
I should state at the outset I have never been one to use gloves. When I went to the traditional globo gym back in the day I always avoided them and preferred to condition my hands naturally. I’m fortunate in the fact my hands don’t get sweaty so I have never had an issue with grip. I am also pretty good in the hand maintenance department and have always cut, sanded and smoothed my calluses so they don’t tend to catch. In other words I never saw the need for gloves, that was of course until I found CrossFit.
When I was introduced to CrossFit workouts like Murph and Eva, I quickly came to the realization that I needed something to protect my hands. So over the years I have tried countless rubber and gymnastic grips, tape and various other ways to prevent my hands from tearing, all with varying degrees of success but none that I was ever satisfied with.
I know there are some within the community who balk at even the mention of some form of protective glove but I have always preferred to prevent my hands from tearing and continue to workout the next day than suffer the alternative. That being said lets get to the review.
Size: This was my first concern. There is nothing I hate more than ordering something online, getting excited for it to arrive, only to find it doesn’t fit you. At the time I placed the order there was no sizing chart so it was a little difficult in choosing the appropriate size (that has since been rectified). I’m usually a medium in most things from shirts to shorts, so when I checked a pair of my gymnastic grips and some old motorcycle gloves and saw I was a medium, I went ahead and ordered them. I’m glad to report when they arrived they fit, dare I say it, like a glove. The fine leather felt smooth, yet solid and the fact the glove has a seamless palm and curved fingers left me reassured they would be great for butterfly chin-ups and any WOD that had a barbell movement incorporated in it.
Function: So how do these gloves stack up? To answer that question I separated the review into some of the most common CrossFit movements and discussed how the gloves performed in each.
Pull-ups: I do a lot of park workouts where I incorporate strict chin-ups into my training. Consequently, I have used these gloves on a variety of bars that range from smooth and polished metal to some that seem more akin to 25-year-old underground piping that has been dug up just to test the conditioning of your hands. On all surfaces the gloves performed well and I could find no fault.
However when I added a little more friction and began kipping or butterflying, I found the gloves were not as effective. Now that is not to say I was not happy with them because I was. But it was at this stage I felt the leather bunch up in my hands which in effect meant there were around half a dozen times I was left with a few blood blisters. In saying that, these blisters all occurred when doing WODs that had 70 or more kipping and or butterfly chin-ups. So I’m sure if I didn’t have some kind of hand protection the high reps and torque would have caused me to tear.In the end, I enjoyed using the gloves for all variations of chin-ups, from strict to kipping and butterfly and thought they performed well here.
Kettlebells: Overall the gloves performed well when I used them with kettlebells. I did notice on heavier weights such as a 32kg kettlebell, the gloves would often bunch up again, but not enough to cause any significant issue or nuisance.
On lighter weights like a 16, 20, 24 and 28kg there was never a problem. Although that simply comes down to the fact that on heavier weights you are forced to grip and squeeze a little tighter to control the weight. Like I said it was not an issue that significantly bothered me and at no stage did it cause me to blister but then again I don’t think many people have that issue when using a kettlebell.
If there was one gripe I would say the leather on the gloves prevents the metal handle to slide and rotate in your hands as well as it does when you’re using your bare hands. Although on the flip side if you were using the gloves in a workout like Eva, where there are both chin-ups and kettlebell swings, they are good enough to protect your hands and won’t slow you down. Although in the end, I still prefer to do my kettlebell work without gloves.
Barbell/Olympic lifting: In writing this review I tested the gloves when deadlifting, snatching and doing the clean and jerk. Here they were just ok and I had the same issue I had with them when using them for kettlebells. Long story short, gloves just should not be worn when doing any of your Olympic lifting or deadlifting. Yet once again if you were using them during a competition or at your box and had a WOD that incorporated a snatch, deadlift or clean and jerk, rest assured they would protect your hands and be good enough to get you through the workout but not something I would have on if trying to PR.
Rowing: I tried these out several times when rowing just to see what effect they would have. I hate to say it but it was here the gloves performed the worst. I have a new Concept 2 rower that has the more modern plastic/rubber handles (i.e. not the older rower with the wood handle and rubber casing) and quite frankly the gloves got in the way and were uncomfortable. The minute I took them off I noticed my 500 meter split was faster and it felt much more natural to row without them. So if you were even considering using them while rowing, my advice. DON’T!
Rope Climbs: I have used these gloves on a few rope climbs and loved them. They gripped well and were a pleasure to use. However, there was one stage when I used the gloves on a brand new rope and noticed the texture and smoothness of the rope made it a little difficult for the leather of the glove to grip, which caused my hands to slide a little. It was not a huge issue but something to note as the gloves may not perform as well on all ropes. On older ropes that were had been roughened up, I never had any issue and would go as far as to say I now prefer using gloves on all rope climbs. Plus, if you get fatigued and end up sliding down the rope at least your hands wont suffer rope burn, which we all know can be extremely painful.
When I look back over the review it almost sounds as if I was not entirely happy with the gloves, when on the contrary I was. It’s true if you isolate the gloves and ask would you use them for a single exercises like rowing, snatch, clean and jerks, or kettlebell training the answer would be no. However, that’s not what these are for. These gloves in the CrossFit context are for workouts that may cause your hand to tear and for that they do an excellent job. By no means would I use them in every WOD, just the ones where there are high volume reps that I’m worried I could tear.
Over the years of CrossFit I have tried countless rubber and gymnastic grips of all shapes and sizes and I have to say for diversity of movements and ease of use these are the winners. No, they are not perfect but they are more than sufficient to get you through a weekend competition or your daily WOD unscathed. Additionally, when the weather changes and bars get hot or cold and you have a pair of gloves handy its one less thing to worry about. As I mentioned above they will also save you any chance of rope burn if you slide down a rope, all factors that make compelling reason to purchase them in my book.
On a side note I should make mention when I spoke to a Reebok rep he told me Reebok are already developing a CrossFit specific glove which should be out in the latter half of 2012 (these gloves are actually Reeboks baseball glove used for CrossFit). In the meantime I’m sure these will save you a few painful tears and or burns.
With all that in mind the final question is, are these gloves “Denied” or “Prescribed?”
Taking everything into account and what is on the market today, I am happy to state these gloves are given The Rx Review “Prescribed” seal of approval.