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Rips = Grips?

A common question that we hear around the gym: “When should my child get grips?”.  This is usually followed by the explanation of the parent’s and child’s frustration with those rips!  For those of you unfamiliar with the term rip, allow me to explain.

The majority of rips come from gymnasts beginning competitive gymnastics, typically Xcel Silver and Gold, or Junior Olympic 3 and 4.  The repetitive swings, circles, and kips on the bars create friction on the skin, leading to the skin tearing off.  Sometimes rips are bloody, sometimes it is just a thin layer of skin, but either way, you are going to hear from your child!

I like the “high five” approach and congratulate the girls for working so hard they finally got a rip.  However, rips are not one time events and they cannot just take time off bars to let them heal.  This only creates soft skin again and more rips in the future.

What’s the solution?  More rips lead to more calluses, and more calluses lead to fewer rips.  Hard to explain to a 7 year old girl, but that is the only real solution.  Grips do not prevent rips.  Sometimes they even cause more rips as they create friction at the wrist as well.  The dowel in grips helps our upper level athletes hold on to the bar as they circle and giant around it.  For younger athletes, grips normally just get in the way and make bars even harder than it already is.

But hang on…. there is some temporary relief: the tape grip.  I consider myself a master of this fine art, so here are a couple of different ways to make a tape grip to send with your child to practice so that it doesn’t hurt as bad to swing bars.

1) The no scissors tape grip

  • Take one piece of tape, about 1 foot long, and fold in half, hot dog style
  • Bend the hot dog style piece in half and line up end to end
  • Use the roll of tape to tape down one side leaving a space for the finger hole at the top
  • Continue taping to the underside and tear just before the finger hole
  • Example:

20140911_213403 20140911_213348 20140911_213323 20140911_213302 20140911_213233

Looking for another way?

2) The scissors method

  • Fold the tape over itself 4 times creating a thick strip about 6 inches long
  • Cut a finger hole about 1/2 inch from the top of the strip
  • Example:
20140911_213650 20140911_213637
20140911_213447 20140911_213428

What’s Next?

At practice, the gymnast will have to ask a teammate or coach to tape the grip around her wrist to secure it.  While this is not a real grip, it is a great solution to the annoying rip problem!

Hope you are now enlightened into the world of rips and tape grips!  Happy folding.

September 11, 2014 | Blog | 0

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