The Last Pair of Grips You’ll Ever Try: Victory Grips Review by

Posted on July 27, 2016 by Victor Pellegrino | 0 comments

Generally, I really hate grips. I want to love them because my dainty little hands rip all the time (which is why I was particularly excited to try Victory Grips.) Despite all the callus shavers and Vitamin E oil in the world, I still rip constantly. I ripped on my third CrossFit class ever. I ripped on the the first reps of the first event of 2015 Regionals. I ripped last week.

Consequently, I’ve tired every grip in existence — Rogue grips, Natural Grips, homemade grips, KT tape grips, those weird floppy elastic grips. At one particularly low point I even tried gloves. Don’t judge me.

The “gymnastics” grips killed my wrists and the too thick leather got in the way of my fingers being able to do their job. Natural Grips are too wide for me and don’t last very long. Homemade grips are a waste of expensive tape. KT tape sweat right off. Those elastic things are useless with well used, slippery pull up bars.  Gloves…well…I’m not even going to touch on that embarrassment.

But most importantly, all of these grips messed with my tactile perception. I’m not a brutally strong athlete, so I rely on technique to get through higher skill exercises. If my grip slips a little during muscle ups and I don’t feel it because of a bulky piece of leather, I’m not naturally strong enough to muscle through and save the rep. I need to be able to feel the bar or rings and make necessary adjustments in order to feel safe, especially under fatigue.  I’ve found that ripping is a better alternative to peeling off the rings from 10 feet up, so over the years, I ditched the grips.

That is, until Victory Grips happened to cross my path on a day with some high skill gymnastics. The grips arrived in a cute little drawstring plastic bag, reminiscent of the grip bags I used to use as a low level competitive gymnast. (Victory Grips founder and creator Vic Pelligrino was a competitive gymnast, so it makes sense.)

On first look, the grips themselves look like most other leather gymnastics grips on the market. A closer look shows subtle design differences— they have an additional patch of leather that protects the outside of the palm, and they’re curved to flow with the natural structure of hand.

While Victory Grips look similar to other grips, they feel totally different. Victory Grips are made with ridiculously soft leather, so they immediately melt into your hands with no real break in period. Unlike most leather grips that are buffed to a smooth finish, the part of Victory Grips that faces away from your hands is fuzzy. The texture literally feels like a Labradoodle, and it traps chalk to help keep you secure on the bar.

Victory Grips

Victory Grips

Our workout consisted of an 18 minute EMOM with three stations: 30 double unders + 8 toes to bar, 3-5 muscle ups, 12 calorie row. Lots of tactile perception to be had in this workout, so I was looking forward to seeing how the Victory Grips would hold up. I didn’t bother to use a wrist band or any sort of wrist protection, because I wanted to see if the grips would destroy my wrists or not. (The things I do for you, dear readers.)

The first thing I noticed was that the grips were oddly helpful with double unders. I tend to death grip my jump rope a bit, but the grips actually gave the handle a nice little place to rest. I was pleasantly surprised at this unexpected perk.

Onto the toes to bar. The leather wrapped around the bar without bunching, but will the straps pull on my wrists and make me feel like my hand is going to separate from my forearm? Nope. No issues.

Muscle ups up next. After a heavy lifting day the day before, my forearms were already taxed. I was kipping, so I chose to avoid the false grip, and repped out three muscle ups. I found I didn’t need to adjust after jumping on the rings. The leather didn’t move around or get in the way of my natural hand position. While the leather reduced some of the tactile perception that I’m used to, the shape of the grip leaves enough open palm to still be able to feel the rings.

Victory Grips

Seeing as I’ve also ripped while rowing (I know, it’s ridiculous), I chose not to take the grips off my fingers during the row. I can’t remember a single thing about the row other than that it sucked, which must have meant the grips didn’t interfere in any way. Exactly what you want.

The grips continued to work well throughout the 18 minutes. I forgot about them entirely during the toes to bar, and found I only thought about them as I started to fatigue on the muscle ups, thanks to that tactile perception thing. Normally when I get tired during muscle ups, I just chalk the crap out of my hands and hold on. Chalking excessively doesn’t help in this situation, so I had to trust the grips to do their job. With a little more time working with Victory Grips, I think I’ll gain more confidence under fatigue. 

Let it be known that not only did I never get close to ripping, but that my wrists were spared too!

At $40 a pair, Victory Grips are on the pricier side, but keep in mind that each pair is hand made by Vic in his garage. They come in multiple colors, but I chose to stick with the tan because they’re softer than their dyed counterparts. I haven’t tried them in a workout that combines gymnastics and barbell work, but I’ll update this review when I do. I don’t anticipate any problems though, as these are the first pair of durable grips I’ve ever worn that protected my hands without getting in the way. Annie Thorisdottir and Team Dynamix are big fans too. They’ll be sporting Victory Grips during the 2016 CrossFit Games!

Have you tried Victory Grips? Comment below and let us know how you like them!

    Brooke Siem

    Brooke Siem is a writer, photographer, classically trained chef, and athlete. She is a former professional dancer turned CrossFit athlete and represented her gym, Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave, as part of the Rhino Comp Team in the 2015 North East Regional. As of September 2016 she will embark on a year long trek around the world with the aim of writing and photographing the world's most interesting stories in fitness and food. Follow her around the world on Instagram and Twitter or on her website at

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    From Concept To Company - Part 1

    Posted on July 13, 2016 by Victor Pellegrino | 1 comment

    I want to tell the story of how Victory Grips came into being. The reason why I am doing this is for a few of reasons. First, is to share a personal story with anyone who may be interested. Second is to provide myself a reminder to be grateful of how far I have come and to those who helped me along the way. And third, a perspective of how I want the story to continue. 

    So...Me and my buddy, Justin, were drinking lots of bourbon, Buffalo Trace to be exact. We were enjoying one of our favorite past times of having a creative session. You see, Justin and I were grad school buddies from SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design). We had this thing where we would get a great buzz and let the creative juices (and bourbon) flow hoping to have some really fun opportunity come from it. Being creative is a big part of who I am. 

    During that time in 2012 Justin had begun his CrossFit journey and I had been a coach for a couple years. We got on the subject of gymnastics movements in CrossFit and how those movements compared to that of traditional / classical gymnastics. (I was a competitive gymnast so I have a lot of insight and opinions about this subject.) This lead to us talking about gymnastics grips, and how the traditional gymnastics grips on the market were not really suited for CrossFit. Then it occurred to me. This was the idea I was hoping to have. The opportunity to explore and create something that people were seeking, but just couldn't find. 

    That's where the obsession began. Obsessed with hands and how they functioned, how people gripped, how they wanted their hands to feel during a workout, and what they were trying to do to save their hands from turning into burger meat or the skin of a gator. I immediately began to sketch and prototype.

    This was the beginning. A long gradual process of observation, research and designing that still continues...And so will this story.


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    The Next Gymnastics Skill in the CrossFit Games...?

    Posted on July 01, 2016 by Victor Pellegrino | 0 comments

    It should not have been a surprise that strict muscle ups were part of the 2016 CrossFit Games Regionals. We have seen skills and weight increase in difficulty. For example, in the 2014 Crossfit Games Regionals we saw strict handstand push ups become the standard and has remained so since then. It appears that it now has become the same for ring muscle ups; from kipping to strict, and will probably remain the standard in elite competition. 

    In a July 2014 Box Life Magazine article, Olympic gymnast and former CrossFit Gymnastics lead coach, David Durante wrote an article titled False Grip On The Muscle-Up: To Use or Not To UseIn the article, Durante talks about the differences in the kipping muscle up (front uprise) and the strict muscle up, and how building proper foundational strength and technique in the strict will help with the kipping. He goes on to say:

    "Essentially, what building strength and proper technique allows you to do is be ready for anything. If the standards change next year and strict muscle-ups (or another variation) are required, most people would have to start over from scratch in the way they approach ring training. Working towards one particular skill without consideration for foundations puts you in a box that does not allow for adaptation. Building strength and body awareness will allow you to be prepared for any standard that might be thrown your way. Change is on its way, so set your foundation now. The muscle-up is just the beginning."

    Well, things did change. Now the question is what's the next progression in gymnastics skills we will see in the CrossFit Games? If I had to make a prediction I think it is going to be the backward roll to support (known as the felge in gymnastics) or the back uprise. 

    In December 2013 CrossFit HQ posted a video of Greg Gassman teaching the backward roll to support and offering a commemorative t-shirt to the first 500 athletes who posted a video of themselves completing the skill. Additionally, in April 2014 HQ posted this video of Durante coaching Spealer through the back uprise. 

    Could these videos be foreshadowing of what is to come to competition? Regardless of the outcome, be prepared for the knowable and unknowable. Start working on your foundational skills. First advice, start by cleaning up your swing on the rings.

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    CrossFit Gymnastics Grips - What's Next?

    Posted on June 27, 2016 by Victor Pellegrino | 0 comments

    "Imagination is everything. It's the preview of life's coming attractions." - Albert Einstein

    My goal for Victory Grips is to take something that is ordinary and make it extraordinary. Nike did this with athletic shoes and OXO did it with ordinary housewares. I want to do the same with gymnastics grips for functional fitness and make you say: "Wow! This is how grips should perform and they look bad ass too!"

    With that being said, I have only just begun and I need your help. Over the course of three years I came up with the current design of Victory Grips. Now, I ask myself what is the next step? What is the next innovation or opportunity? This is where I want to begin the conversation with all of you to get your input on what you want or would like to see with new products or features as to give you the best performance and protection for your hands and wrists in our Sport of Fitness. 

    Here are some questions I would like your feedback on. 

    • What is being missed when it comes to the hand and wrist gear in CrossFit?
    • What do you want from grips when it comes to: Rings? Bar? Rope?
    • Do you think there could be one grip that works for everything? Or, is there room to have grips that are specific to each apparatus? (Keep in mind that we don't compete any one apparatus in isolation except for Olympic lifts; but, we may train a specific apparatus in training. For example, rings in order to get a specific skill.)
    • What could be improved with wrist support?
    • What are the general qualities you want from grips and wrist support?


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    My Response to a Reddit Discussion

    Posted on June 24, 2016 by Matt Hubbard | 0 comments

    I came across a discussion on Reddit about grips with a person asking for feedback about Victory Grips. There was some good dialogue and I chimed in to provide some objective information, which I feel is a good overview of the grips. 

    The following is the question posted and then my feedback. You can find and participate in the discussion here:

    Victory Grips self.crossfit

    Submitted  by Paragon416

    Has anyone used them? Their had been a lot of pull-ups and T2B in my programming lately and I've ripped my hands a time or two, no big deal I push on but it effects my performance the next day if I have some bar work.


    Hey Everyone, This is Victor, the designer and founder of Victory Grips. I appreciate the discussion and want to provide you with objective information. First, Natural Grip and Bear Complex are fine products depending on what you are looking for. Whether it be price and basic protection, there are products to meet those needs. I designed Victory Grips to meet demands of elite athletes as well as the basic needs of the everyday CrossFitter. From the shape of the grips to the material texture and thickness, the product is made to help with performance and protection. The material is a very soft leather that is thin enough to not get in the way of barbell cycling or hinder your grip-feel on the bar or rings. It is thick enough to provide protection and soft to give your hands the comfort we all want. The leather is much softer than what you experience with typical gymnastics grips. The leather with typical gymnastics grips is chrome tanned versus a milled vegetable tanned leather, which I use providing a unique softness. There are nuances of the shape of the grips that have a specific purpose. The finger holes are rectangular with curved corners to feel comfortable in the front rack position or in a handstand as to not put pressure on the fingers or between the fingers. The softness of the leather also helps with the comfort of the finger holes. The finger holes go onto the middle, ring and pinky finger, because that is where your calluses are and the where you typically rip. If you you do a false grip in muscle ups there is protection on the side of the wrist so you can train harder and longer without pain or injury to the skin. The wrist straps are also designed to feel comfortable because of the leather softness and thickness of the strap. With the wrist strap in mind, know that you are doing high repetition dynamic movements on the bar or rings which makes the straps pull up on the wrist. This is precisely the reason why gymnasts wear wristbands high on the wrist under their grips. This helps a ton with sweat and comfort no matter what type of grips you use. As a coach and designer of the grips I have learned that a lot of CrossFitters do not know how to grip a pull up bar correctly or use grips in the proper way. You need to make sure you get your knuckles on top of the bar gripping with the palm of the hand. Gripping this way allows you to generate the most power possible and keeping your wrist in a neutral position, which allows for efficient kipping. Gripping with the palm and knuckles on top puts your calluses over bar. Your calluses actually help you hold on! They create a dowel effect like you see in competitive gymnastics grips. But it is also the very thing that causes discomfort and ripping. That is why you always rip up towards your fingers. With any type of grip you use you should be getting a fold of leather over the bar (between your fingers and the bar). This fold acts as your calluses, taking the pressure off of them and giving you a more efficient grip. This is the closest thing to a dowel that is legal in the Sport of Fitness. Additionally, the fold prevents bunching of the grips. If you feel bunching you are not gripping correctly. Make sure you jump onto the pull up bar getting your hands up and over the bar like blocking a volleyball first hitting the pull up bar at the bottom of the hand and sinking into the grip with your knuckles on top and good fold over the bar. Victory Grips are handmade right here in the USA (in my garage in Atlanta). I am constantly trying to improve the design. I have new innovations in the pipeline to be released soon. My goal is to help you all, no matter what level of athlete you are, perform better and keep your hands protected. If it holds any weight, Annie Thorisdottir broke the world record in event 3 in her Victory Grips. Check out this highlight: For more information (not that I just didn't give enough) check out these videos: Also my blog: Please feel to email me with any questions you may have. Like you I am dedicated to becoming my possible best. I appreciate your input!

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    Sizing Considerations for Victory Grips

    Posted on June 04, 2016 by Victor Pellegrino | 2 comments

    Making sure you have the right fit for gymnastics grips geared towards CrossFit or functional fitness is extremely important. At Victory Grips we do our our best to guide you to make the best decision through information on our sizing page. Palm length is the main factor for sizing; however, we have learned that there is more to consider, and we can't fit all the information on a single page without it being overwhelming. So, here is the more in depth information to consider when choosing the right size of your grips.

    Victory Grips are unique in the fact that they wrap around the pinky finger side of the hand to protect the wrist during false grip for strict muscle ups. Therefore, hand thickness needs to be considered. If you are right on the borderline of a size and you have thick muscular hands, go up to the next size. To this same point, if you wrap your thumb around the bar for pull ups, then you increase the thickness of your hand through biomechanics. This is opposed to a monkey grip where your thumb is on top of the bar along with your other fingers.This is totally fine and when it comes down to it is a matter of preference. Don't change it if it works for you, but do consider that as well. If your grips are smaller than they should be the factors of hand thickness and thumb wrapping can put too much pressure on the curve around the thumb muscle causing the leather to be compromised with consistent kipping pull ups or muscle ups. This is why going to the next size up may be the best choice when there is a question. Please note that we choose our leather to be thin and soft to meet the multi-faceted needs of CrossFit or functional fitness when it comes to both olympic lifting and gymnastics movements. But, we push the envelope with making sure it is still durable to meet the needs of high volume and intense training and still last. 

    The other factor to consider is the amount of fold of material you like around the pull up bar. The fold is when there is a smooth surface of leather on the palm and the excess leather is between the bar and your fingers. This is essential, no matter which gymnastics grips you use, because it helps you have a more efficient grip and also protects your fingers and palms from ripping. Some people, especially former gymnasts, prefer a big fold as to provide more torque. This will definitely effect which size your go for. If you are one of these people, then go up in size. 

    Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns at I hope this helps!

    - Victor


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    Why the False Grip and Protecting Your Wrist

    Posted on April 29, 2016 by Victor Pellegrino | 0 comments

    We can all agree that building a foundation of strength is key to the proper development of skills in CrossFit, whether gymnastics or Olympic lifting. One of the most effective ways to build this strength foundation is through strict gymnastics based exercises, such as the muscle up. Keep in mind that a true muscle up is actually a strict controlled movement with the body as vertical as possible, and with no kipping action at all. What we call a kipping a muscle up is actually a front uprise in gymnastics.

    To work these strict gymnastics movements on the rings or on the bar it is imperative to have a good false grip. To quote long time gymnastics coach of the US Jr. National Team, Coach Sommer, (for the false grip) “your grip should be pressing on the ring in a diagonal from the bottom knuckle on your index finger, across your palm to the heel of your hand as well as somewhat on your wrist as well (this is where those wonderful blisters on your wrist come from).” The false grip is going to give you the necessary leverage to allow you to transition from below the rings or bar to on top, as well as have better control of your body during strict movements. There are several benefits of having a good false grip and using it to train strict gymnastics movements.

    The false grip requires a lot of wrist and forearm strength and flexibility, which translates into better stability and power in Olympic lifts and repetitive kipping gymnastics movements. I am not saying that you will be using a true false grip while Olympic lifting or doing kipping muscle ups. What I am saying is that by doing false grip work you will gain better control of your wrist in dynamic movements, which will impact power through the kinetic chain from recruiting power from your forearms, helping stabilize your shoulders, and recruiting power properly in the lats.

    You can see the benefit of a strong flexible wrist and forearm in these images of the snatch and front uprise (or kipping ring muscle up). Focusing on the wrist you see that the wrist is in a neutral (aka neutral false grip) to a flexed position in the different phases of the movements. You can then also begin to understand how doing false grip work with strict gymnastics movements will translate into better body awareness and control throughout the competitive dynamic skills of functional fitness.

    Let’s talk quickly about another aspect of your wrist and the false grip. It’s not the most comfortable thing on your wrist. At first it will cause blisters on the pinky side of your wrist. This is the reason why I designed Victory Grips to wrap around this particular side of the wrist in order to provide comfort and protection. This will allow you to train the false grip with more frequency and focus as you will not be caring as much as about how painful your wrist feel while training, nor having to wait as long for your wrist to heal. I urge you to give it a shot with and without Victory Grips to see the difference.

    For some good sources about the false grip, various progressions and training methods, please check out these links, which have legit information.
    A must Instagram to follow: @COLINPGERAGHTY

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    Measure from the base of your middle finger (where the finger meets the palm) to the base of the palm (where the palm meets the wrist; the line where your hand bends at the wrist.) The measurement is in inches.      


    Men’s Sizes
    Small (3.9 inches and below. Typically if you are 5'4" in height and below)
    Medium (4.0 to 4.5 inches. Typically if you are 5'5" to 6" in height)
    Large (4.6 inches and up. Typically if you are 6'1" and above)

    Women’s Sizes
    Small (3.5 inches and below. Typically if you are 5'4" and below)
    Medium (3.6 to 4.0. Typically if you are 5'5" and above)
    Large (4.0 to 4.5. Typically if you are 5'7" and above)

    * Read this is for more in depth Sizing Considerations