Handy Tips

Handy Tips

Torn hands and Calluses are one of the most common injuries in CrossFit. It is almost seen as a badge of honor when you first start. An achievement that signifies that you’re a part of our community. After the first rip you realize quickly that it’s not. It’s an annoying nagging injury that affects not only your fitness but life outside of the gym. Aside from developing thick hard palms that are great for pull-ups, but terrible if you ever want to gently touch another human, there are ways to avoid rips and take care of your hands.

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GET A GRIP!

The root cause for a hand rip is Friction. The more your hands move when you are on the pull up rig or holding on to a weight the more friction you create and the more likely you are to rip. On humid days your hands and also the equipment are more slick making it even harder to maintain a solid grip. The best solution to prevent rips without the use of chalk and grips is to start with and maintain a better grip. When on the pull-up rig start with your knuckles over the bar. If you can’t jump into a knuckles over the bar grip, set up a box or J-Hook and step into position. Starting with a secure grip will reduce the amount your hands are moving, which reduces the amount of friction. If you start to lose your grip, come off the bar, shake it off, and restart with the knuckle over the bar grip. The few reps you get from not coming off the bar is not worth missing 2-3 workouts because you are recovering from torn hands. When using a barbell or a kettlebell you should start with a solid grip where your knuckles are facing down. If you are Olympic Lifting you must maintain your hook grip. The weight should not be moving in your hands. You should not be holding on by your fingertips. Again, it is ok to put the weight down, Shake it off, and restart with a better, more secure grip.
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                 BEST                                     GOOD                                     WORST
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You can invest in grips and gloves as well to prevent rips. However these are not substitutes for having a solid grip on the bar. Like a weightlifting belt, they should assist you, but they are not meant to do all the work. You should still be working toward using and maintaining a solid grip throughout the entire movement

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CHALK

This is going to be a hard pill to swallow…the chalk is not going to save you. Constantly applying more and more chalk is not going to improve your WOD or your grip and at a certain point it is going to increase your chances of ripping. When you use too much chalk your skin can longer grip whatever you are holding. This leads to a worse grip, more friction, more risk of ripping. The point of chalk is to keep your hands dry, that’s it. It’s not a protective layer. You only want a light dusting so that your hands are not too wet and slippery, but can still grip and stick to the bar. A little bit goes a long way. If you have so much chalk that it’s falling off your hands, you’re leaving big hand prints on everything you touch, and it starts to cake, you have too much. You’re only increasing the amount of time the coach has to mop after class, which might increase the amount of burpees you will have to do at a later date.

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TAPE

If you rip in the middle of a workout the best solution is to simply stop the movement and scale down to movement that doesn’t worsen the rip. The point of any workout is to improve your health. Pushing through the WOD with an open wound might not be the best way to optimize your fitness.
If you already have a rip and you still want to finish the workout or if you feel it starting and you want to prevent it from happening you can tape your hands to make a quick protective barrier.
  • Step 1: Use three strips of Tape.
  • Step 2: Cut down the middle of Two of those strips of tape. They should create a Y-Shape
  • Step 3: Place one Strip in the back of the hand with the Y- Shape going in between the fingers. Place the other on the front of the hand
  • Step 4: Wrap the last piece around the wrist to lock the strips in place
  • Step 5: Survive
Just remember this is a temporary solution. If your hands are so sweaty that you can’t hold on to a bar, the tape is not going to stick for very long. The best solution is to modify and save your hands.

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HAND CARE

Post Rip
  • Clean the ripped area with soap and water
  • Remove any excess skin because it could get snagged and make the rip worse
  • Keep it covered until the wound is closed
  • When the wound is closed, keep it moisturized.
Maintenance
If you want to prevent rips and you don’t want hands like a longshoreman you can take preventive measures in your free time. Keeping your hands moisturized and sanding down your calluses will help to prevent rips. Take a pumice stone or a Callus Remover and Scrape off the peaks of your calluses. You don’t want to completely remove them, but lowering down will reduce the chance of them getting snagged on the pull-up bar.

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