Basic Hand Care – Sun 6.12.16

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Ripped up hands, they hurt!  I know we try to avoid ripping them, but sometimes it just happens. can ruin your training for the 5-10 days after.  It should be considered an injury and we should try to minimize it.

Just like taking care of your muscle tissue before and after workouts by stretching and mobilizing, feeding your body good fuel and getting regular massage/chiropractic treatment, right?  Same goes for hand care.

Hand tears can happen in a number of ways:

  • High Rep Pull Ups:  More specifically in movers who utilize a very large kip.
  • High Rep Kettlebell Snatches:  Especially when folks grip the Kettlebell too firmly.
  • TOO MUCH CHALK:  Yeah.. if you look like just crushed a bag of powdered doughnuts, you’re using too much.
  • Folks Who Wear Gloves:  Yes, the exact thing you think will save them, can wreck them.  Lose-fitting gloves create moisture in the hands.  The friction between the glove and your hand during grip movements, especially with a moist hand, can give you a really bad rip.

Basically, anything that can increase the amount of friction between your skin and whatever you are gripping.

The biggest culprit of hand tears is lack of maintenance.  There is the right amount of callous to build on the hands.  Build too much, and you are bound to tear when that one workout comes along.

How do you maintain good hands?
Every CrossFit Coach has a way they prefer.  Some use a sharp callous shaver, some use a dremel tool on their callous.  I prefer a less abrasive way:

  1. Take a hot shower (I hope you guys do this already)
  2. After your shower, all the callous on your hands should turn white and soft.
  3. Take a butter knife (One without an aggressive blade) stretch out the palm of you hand and simply scrape off all the white dead skin.  You could also use a Ped Egg.  Easily found in most drug stores.

You wont take off the entire callous, just the excessive amount of dead skin on the hands.  This method is good for beginners too, since the shaver has a tendency to take way too much callous off and leave you with super sensitive hands, or even bleeding hands, and the dremel tool can heat up and make your room smell like burning flash.

What happens when you do tear?
Well, it burns.  A lot.  Here is the toughest part.  When you tear, you need to stop pulling.  Yes, even if it is in the middle of a tough workout that you are going RX+ on and smashing everyone.  Swallow your ego, wash your hand, and scale the remainder of the workout.  I wouldnt let you do another round of Box Jumps and 400m runs right after you sprain your ankle.  Treat this the same way.    Do Not Put More Chalk On It And Continue.  You will only make it worse.

Once the workout is over you need to clean up the wound. Once you get home, take a small scissor or nail clipper and remove any loose skin from the wound.  Dis-infect the wound, apply some neopsorin and cover it tightly with a band-aid over night.  In the morning, wash it one more time and then allow the wound to air dry over the next few days.  Depending on where the wound is on your hand, it may crack and bleed again.  Each time, it does, repeat this process. If it is a bad one, you should scale all pulling movements for the remainder of the week until it drys out.

You can also make yourself a handy grip protector out of athletic tape.  I am a big fan of this and many of you have seen me make one of these for anyone who has torn up their hands in the past. Follow the diagram below:



If you apply a little attention to removing the excess callous off your hands daily, you wont run into as many hand tears.   It only takes 5 minutes, and it will save you from having to scale workouts.

Take care of your hands so you can continue kicking butt in the gym!


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