By Emma Brown and Bodybybrando
We have all been there, we finish our set of toes to bar during the 25 minute AMRAP we just dominated, and look down at our palms and see a big bloody mess, with a lovely slice of your palm hanging off its hinges.
Some may see ripped and torn calluses on their hands as badges of honour, but the reality is leaving wounds untreated sets us up for even deeper rips, nasty infections and an even longer time before we can jump back up onto the rig without wincing in agony and causing further damage.
Stop blood blisters and sore hands from hindering your training by following these simple tips for healthy and happy hands.
It starts with the grip.
Although adjusting your grip on the bar won’t completely prevent calluses, it will reduce them.
If you currently grip the bar with your palm, try gripping the bar at the base of your fingers. This way less skin is compressed between the bar and your fingers, and you’re able to move with the bar more easily.
Avoid the “Death Grip” by re-gripping at the top of the pull up and try not to strangle the bar. Strangling the bar will increase friction and there make rips more prevalent.
You’ve gotta work the bar, not get worked by the bar.
The combination of bars and chalk and friction make the development of calluses unavoidable. The more we work, the bigger and harder our calluses become. Chalk dries out our hands and causes roughness. Rough, hard skin gets caught on the bar and rips.
Moisturize Your Hands “Enough”
This is a tricky one. You want to moisturise your hands ‘enough’ that they aren’t so dry, but not too much that they become soft. Having baby hands will make it easier to rip. Try moisturising your hands at night to give them some love.
Calluses themselves aren’t too terrible and can help grip in most cases, however when they become too big and rough they cause issues. Keep your calluses smooth and small using a callus shaver, foot file, or a pumice stone when they start to build up.
Use Chalk (when necessary)
Chalk removes some moisture from your hands and therefore reduces the risk of ripping.
This can be beneficial when you start to sweat and need some assistance grabbing the bars.
When dry, using chalk will create a layer between your hands and the bar, so the coefficient of friction is reduced (less friction = less ripping)
Yet on the flip-side, too much chalk when your hands are sweaty may help you grip the bar, but will also increase risk of ripping due to the extra friction, so choose wisely.
One thing to keep in mind is always “chalk-up” with your hands in the bucket. This will keep your coach happy.
Grips are also extremely helpful in preventing damage to hands.
They are also quite inexpensive and will keep your coach/ gym owner happy because there will be less mess.
Grips provide a second layer to your skin to avoid rips. There are HUNDREDS of brands out there, but luckily your team of Coaches have pretty much tried every single one and our favourite ones are Roo Grips and TheWodlife leather gymnastics grips.
Clean your rips
If you do happen to tear a callus open, ensure you look after it and keep it clean and away from the rig!
Clean the tear with salt water (which is painful but very effective) and will remove any unwanted debris dirt and blood from the wound.
Avoid putting tape directly over the wound. Use a band aid initially and then rocktape/kinesiology tape if necessary on top to keep in place
Let them heal
Allow your hands to heal. Jumping back on the rig with painful rips will lead to your body compensating in other areas to achieve the movement, so let them rest.
Your grip is often the start of a kinetic chain which allows the summation of force to be spread evenly across the intended muscle groups.
By bypassing the grips, you can add unwanted force into other muscles and increase your potential risk of injury.
Use a Wax
Rather than moisturising, try using a wax based product instead.
I would recommend doing this before bed so it has a chance to sink in and not ruin your day every time you try and turn a door knob.
There are a number of these on the market, but I would suggest CrossFIXE
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