A grip is an open glove
that a gymnast
puts on his or her hand to reduce the number of rips
they get while performing a routine on the uneven bars
, high bar
or parallel bars
. Usually made from leather
, a grip consists of a velcro
strap to keep the grip on the wrist
and a strip of protective leather that goes across the top of the palm
of the hand. Sometimes gymnasts add a square of neoprene
between the leather and the palm to further
. Grips are broken in
out the finger holes. A small dowel
made from or covered in leather is attached to the grip where the plam ends and the fingers begin for extra hold.
Grips come in two and three fingered varieties. The two fingered style is used mostly by women because they give more flexibility of movement while changing direction on one bar via an eagle grip, twisting in mid-air between the bars or doing a 360 degree turnwhile doing a handstand. The finger holes are made at the ring and middle fingers.
The three fingered grip is used most often on the high bar by men, because they have more contact with the bar (and hence more rips due to friction) and have fewer turns that involve holding on to the bar while twisting. The index finger is used as the third finger hole.
Grips can rip or split in half if the movement is too stressful. Often that results in a large rip on the hand with bleeding and extreme pain. Nadia Comaneci's grip split during her 1976 Olympics bar routine (but didn't tell anyone), and Andreea Raducan's ripped during the World's (where so much bleeding was involved it couldn't be overlooked). Most of the time though, it's just a major pain in the ass.
Grips are always well covered with gym chalk and water or spit until the gymnast acheives the desired consistency.