With training volume going up nothing is going to hinder your progress more than tearing your hands. Therefore, it is imperative that we take good of our hands so we don’t have to take time out from pull ups, barbell work, gripping our coffee or even washing our hair! Here is a simple 5 step guide to looking after those hands.
1. Groom your hands
Use a nail file, pumice stone, cheese grater, whatever you need to grind down those calluses. It is a build up of dry hard skin that causes those hands to tear. If you can reduce the build up it is a great preventative measure.
2. Wash your hands
We love to use an abundance of chalk, I even witnessed people chalking up for Wall Balls, true story! Thats cool, chalk does make you 33.8% stronger, honest! Seriously though, chalk will dry those hands out and lead to dry skin which is more susceptible to rip. ONLY use limited amount of chalk
Examples of when your should NOT use chalk:
– When you come off the pull-up bar after a set of pull-ups. Its not because you dont have enough chalk on your hands.
– You dont need chalk for a 400m run (unless your running on your hands)
– You dont need chalk everytime you about to put your hands on an object. We know your hands are soft and delicate, but this is a gym, its not a place for manicures.
When and how you should (maybe!) use chalk:
– Firstly this is a little chalk, not so much that your hands would get lost in the snow!
– At the beginning of a workout that involves a lot of bar work.
– Dab the chalk on the part of the hands that grips and suffers the most friction (very top of the palms and fingers). Your forearms and face wont need any.
– When applying chalk keep your hands inside the bucket! Everytime I see somebody get a palmful of chalk dust and wander across the gym clapping their hands as if trying to create a sonic boom my soul dies a little inside.
– If your doing push-ups/burpees etc please try and keep to the same area, often the gym is left looking like a crime scene where we have been dusting for fingerprints.
- Weightlifting: Thumb covered for better hook grip, palms are standard issue. You do not need to cover the whole hand with chalk.
- Pull ups: Like for weightlifting minus the thumb (although some of you might prefer to do the thumb too).
- Muscle ups: You want to cover the false-grip area together with a thick line across your palm.
I am going to advise you invest in some hand cream. All the chalking up and washing our hands will remove the skins natural moisture so it is important to rejuvenate our skin with some hand moisturiser. Gents ask some for Father's day.
4. Use protection
If you know you are susceptible to rips and you have a grip intensive WOD ahead it could be worth trying to protect those hands prior. You can use tape to cover those ‘at risk areas’.
Here is a taping guide:
5. Stay safe
It is almost inevitable that at some point in your CrossFit journey that you will experience torn calluses. When we do we need to make sure that the extent our injury is just the stinging we suffer when washing our hair for the next few days. Therefore, ensure upon ripping your hands you wipe down all equipment that you have bled over. Make sure to keep the torn area clean to avoid infection. If the area becomes red and isn’t healing you may wish to seek medical attention earlier rather than later.