Pilates Pro Product Review: Wrist Assured Gloves | By Kathryn Comperatore (orig. published in Nov. 2009)
If you dread doing planks and push-ups because of wrist pain, Wrist Assured™ Gloves, or WAGs, offers a wearable solution. WAGs, from licensed occupational therapist Paula Wilbert, are designed to ease pain and improve comfort for practitioners of Pilates and yoga.
WAGs features an ergonomic gel cushion inserted into the base of the glove, which is designed to help support the wrist. In addition to taking pressure off of the wrists, the insert encourages proper weight distribution in the hands. This pad raises the height under the base of the hand relative to the fingers, preventing hyperextension at the wrist. It is slanted to direct weight into the thumb and index finger while preventing overuse of the lateral heel of the hand. The arch-supporting pad has a V-cut out shape that prevents strain of the soft tissues of the hand, including the median nerve. WAGs also features a slip-proof grip on the palm and has sweat-absorbent liners inside.
Wilbert set out to create WAGS after recovering from a wrist injury; she noticed that she still had pain in certain weight-bearing positions in her yoga practice and felt that her wrists needed relief from the stress of those positions.
For beginning students and for those with wrist pain, WAGs are a helpful aid for loading the forearm and upper extremity correctly in weight-bearing exercises. A client of mine who frequently experiences wrist pain absolutely loved the gloves. She felt more secure during Long Stretch Series on the Reformer, and the absorbent lining with the non-skid bottom prevented sweat from interfering with her workout. She had none of the wrist pain she normally felt during plank exercises.
When I tried WAGs, I struggled against the arch-supporting pad to balance the weight evenly in my palm during plank. For seasoned practitioners who have strength and good hand, wrist and shoulder mechanics, WAGS are not really necessary and may interfere with the healthy patterns that they have already developed in their bodies.
Despite the non-slip material on the outside of the gloves, it is also possible that during exercises which involve a forward / downward force directed on the hands, the palm could slide forward in the glove. For this reason, the instructions advise using the fingertips actively to stabilize the gel in the glove during exercises like downward dog. Even so, I personally couldn’t figure out how to get past this WAGs “finger wedgie” (their term; see FAQs on the WAGs web site).
WAGs is also soon to launch a second glove style, called the Wrap (now available online), a maximum-strength support glove. The current style, the WAGs Pro, is packaged in a reusable mesh tote and is easy to clean. WAGs has a 30-day, money back guarantee, which might make the decision to try them easier, given the $69.95 per pair price tag. Overall they are a handy tool and a good investment for a beginning Pilates student or client, as well as for those who suffer from wrist pain and can use some extra support as they rehabilitate.
Kathryn Comperatore is a Pilates instructor in New York City. She is a teacher trainer at the Kane School of Core Integration.
WAGS Update: A third WAGs style, WAGs Flex, will have a price-point around $30.00 and will be releasing in the first half of 2011. Please continue to share your thoughts on WAGs and how we can make the best possible product for your yoga, Pilates and exercise needs! We welcome your feedback and reviews.