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Proud Parent
Mar 6, 2009
Could someone please educate me on grips. buckles? velcro? dowel? swing inserts? 501 leather?

DD is 7. I've had her sized. She's going to be working on level 6 / 7.

I know her current gym sells them . . . I was told from a mom NOT to buy them from the gym. That they were without dowel, not a "good" brand and getting one without a dowel is a waste? I don't know what a dowel is.

The new gym does not sell them but I overheard them say "just make sure they're not colored" well, all the ones I've seen on the internet have color on them.



My dd just got her first pair. We bought them directly from the gym. Just find out from her coaches where to get them and which ones to get. They need to size her first so they should be the ones ordering them for you. IMHO!


Proud Parent
Mar 6, 2009
Thanks. I guess I'm being a impatient LOL. Was thinking it would be a nice gift after States.
The problem is the current gym would make me buy the ones they sell - I've been told they are not good. I don't understand what makes them good or the differences between the types.

We won't be back at the new gym until after states . . . and they would be who I would want to ask. Maybe I'll give them a call.

I was also told by another mom not to waste my time or money on non-dowel grips. by the time they're broken in it'll be time for the dowel. I have no idea what a dowel is.
Feb 26, 2007
Grips, Nastia Russian Heritage Buckle - NL-RK70

Look at the grips in the above link, the black bump is the dowel. Usually this is not black, I chose this styole to show you as the dowel is very clear. The dowel helps the gymnast grip the bar better for higher level moves like giants. A pair of grips without a dowel is unusual and not as helpful, unless they are talking about palm gaurds which just cover the palm and do not help with grip.

I would call the gym, they will be happier that you asked them.


Proud Parent
Jul 11, 2008

Dowell grips have a round piece of wood (called a dowell) about the size of a pencil that goes across the palm of the grips. When she grasps the bar the dowell goes behind the bar so she has a better hold. I would definitely ask her coach what kind of grips to get and when she needs to start using them. IMO, velcro is much easier to use but buckles last longer. However, you will probabaly be replacing them fairly soon as your dd's hands grow.


Proud Parent
Apr 14, 2009
Region 8
My dd uses Hot Shots (velcro, with dowel) They've held up well. She's had this pair for about 1.5 yrs now. I am getting ready to order her a new pair as soon as they re- size her hand. She is dreading having to break new ones in. LOL


Ask your DD's Coach to measure her and tell you which ones they want the girls to get.

Our gym doesn't sell them but they do give us the link to the online pages where the grips that are acceptable for the level are. My DD's has a dowel that is what our gym wants them to use and I have to say I haven't seen any L6 or up that doesn't use the one with the dowel in them. As far as Velcro or buckles go well in our gym everyone gets Velcro (the Velcro has to be one of the gym colors)at L6 and L7 Once they get certain bar skills at L7 they can get the buckle ones. I think this is just our gym that has this rule I'm sure. It makes getting the buckle ones an incentive item for the girls. My DD can now get the buckle ones but I have to have her remeasured before I do.

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
Since you're changing gyms, I would wait until she's started in the new gym and then ask about grips. Buying grips just to have them can be a waste of money. Some gyms have set levels or skills they want to see a girl at before having her wear grips. Mine got her grips after L6, when she was working on giants.

I wouldn't buy the palm guards---I think that's what you're talking about(grips with no dowel). Grips are made to help girls do the big circling skills and releases, so getting them without a dowel will cause her to have to readjust to a dowel at some point. Buckle vs. velcro---again some coaches have a preference. Mine wears Ten-0 velcro. The HC will tell parents to get buckes if he sees a girl playing around all the time with the velcro.

Just give it a few weeks and let the new coaches help you out!
Oct 2, 2007
I'm with the others--don't buy grips without a dowel (palm guards). Grips are one of those things that the girls are VERY picky about. So once you've made a decision, you're probably committed to them for the life of the sport.

My daughter uses Reisport Double Buckles. I made the executive decision to go with the double buckles because I got so sick of watching her readjust the velcro in between turns! After a while, the velcro seems to wear out. Many girls use rubber bands around them.

The double buckles also seem to stay on a little more straight than the single. Once again, every girl has her preference!

One last warning, there's a break in period--both for the girl and the grip. The gymnast thinks that she can't hold the bar well for a while and the grip needs a little breaking in to soften them up.

Good luck!


Jan 18, 2009
About the color comment, with some of the palm guards the leather portion is actually colored. One of the girls on my level 4 team came in with new grips that were bright blue! Like these: ACADEMY NOVICE GRIPS - Gymnastics Grips for Novice Gymnasts from Academy Grips. Lots of lower level girls want these kinds of grips because they think they will magically protect their hands from calluses. Usually they wear them once and are done with them. Dowel grips are more expensive but worth it for higher level girls.
Definitely talk to her coaches, each one has a different opinion about when a girl should start wearing grips, what kind she should wear, where to buy them, etc. And there are some who just don't care. I was at a level 8 meet a few months ago and many of the girls on one team did not wear grips at all, even some of the older girls. They did just fine. Some little ones also have a hard time finding grips to fit their hands. There are some brands of dowel grips made just for little ones, but as someone who was an older gymnast, I never used those. My little level 5 (age 7) bought dowel grips a few months ago and has not been able to adjust yet and would just as well do bars without.
When I was a gymnast I loved Reisport. I started out with a pair of locally made grips that I could not stand, the Reisports were incredible and quickly became the only brand I would wear.
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Proud Parent
Mar 9, 2008
I know I've posted about grips on here a lot already, so some of you know my tale already. DD became "addicted" to her palm guards & would not switch to dowel grips when she was suppose too(between L5-L6). She competed L6 in palm guards did well. But was unable to do giants in them as she trained for L7. She finally started using "Just Right" dowel grips(soft leather style) by Gibson this past fall(narrow for small hands). But she lost all of her bar skills in the transition to dowels! She had to re-learn everything, including her kip!!! Needless to say it drastically impeded her progress this season. She is now used to dowels & finally has her skills(just in time for states!), but regrets not switching when she was suppose to. I just got her a pair of Reisport grips to start breaking on after states. She tried them on today & LOVED them at 1st feel. I'm so happy she likes them...she can be pretty picky:rolleyes:. I say talk to your DD's coach (at the new gym) & follow his/her recommendations. Good luck!
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