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A Bloody Mess: Tips on Hand Rip Prevention

In CrossFit, it’s no surprise that you see hand tears from time to time. Maybe it has happened to your fellow WOD buddy, or maybe it has even happened to you. You’re 3 rounds into Barbara, on your 4th set of pull-ups, you feel it coming. The sensation of your skin sliding, pulling, and cranking with each rep. All of a sudden, there it is, the stinging pain in your hand. You come off the bar and your hand is bright red, leaking drops of blood. Maybe you didn’t rip, but there’s a nice blister underneath that won’t allow you to clean or snatch for 3 days. Your hands are essential, not only in CrossFit, but day-to-day activities. So, the question is, how can we prevent our handy from becoming ground beef, or the texture of Freddy Krueger’s face? Hopefully some of these tips keep your hands as smooth as a Ryan Gosling pick-up line.

How It Happens

Your body is a magnificent machine. When there is wear-and-tear in a specific area, it gives warning signals. Specifically related to this topic, a callous. Your skin hardens on your hand where you use it the most. It’s trying to protect itself from being worn down to the bone. When those callouses aren’t taken care of, they become time bomb in a Cindy style workout. They can only take so much wear-and-tear before that entire piece of hard skin yanks itself off. When there isn’t a callous and your 15 bar muscle ups deep, your skin slides and stretches until is can’t hold itself together anymore. You may be thinking, “It seems impossible to prevent it. It’s bound to happen.” Well, with proper precautions and maintenance, you can easily keep yourself from a bloodbath.

During A Workout

In a workout where you might be hanging from a bar for a long time, or have a bagillion deadlifts to do, you might feel your hands becoming tender under that stress of those reps. Try mixing up your grip. If you’re in a long set of toes-to-bar, go from a neutral grip to a mixed grip. Keep switching the direction of your hands too. Don’t maintain one position for too long. It may also help to go from holding that bar in your palms to holding the bar in your fingertips, right in the crease of your knuckles. Keep switching back and forth to help prevent a rip in that one spot. If you feel that those tips still aren’t doing a great job, chalk up like your life depends on it. Create less friction between the bar and your hands. Just remember, keep the chalk in the buckets! Keep your hands less bloody and the floor less white!!

Pre-workout, tape them up! If you’re going to be hook gripping a barbell a lot, wrap some tape around those thumbs. Any protection around the hand could be a huge lifesaver. For example, grips. There are tons of companies out there that sell leather or tape grips. I also have a way to make them on your own and it’ll only cost you $6 for a roll of goat tape that we sell at Kazam! Those handmade grips can last you 3-6 months depending on the amount of use they see. From prior experience, I prefer the tape grips vs. the leather grips. They form to the hand better and feel nicer on the bar.

Post-Workout Hand Care

Yes, callouses are good, but when they get out of hand, they can get dangerous. Like a Grizzly Bear, they are cute and cuddly when they are little; but fully grown, they can be mean and dangerous. Shave them down. Men, unless you look like Jason Werth from the Washington Nationals, you probably shave your face every now and again. When those blades wear down, take your razor and glide over those callouses a bit. Makes them silky smooth. Ladies, it goes for you too. Unless your hibernating for the winter, I’m sure you shave your legs on a regular basis. Take those razors and get after it! I’ve also used a file or rasp to keep them down. Yes, it may sound weird, but that rough metal surface shaves the hard skin down, much like its intended use on wood. There are companies that sell callous shavers too. Those w

ork as well. Just trying to save you a bit of money with things that may be lying around the house. Make sure to moisturize them as well. Keep them soft. Don’t let those callouses harden. It only makes them more vulnerable to ripping. Men, I know moisturizing your hands may not seem like your cup of tea, but I’ve used coconut oil in the past. The oil and minerals keeps those hands soft and fresh all day long!

In the case you do rip, start by cutting all of the skin off that tore. Use nail clippers, small scissors, anything to get the remainder of that skin off. The shower or hand wash post-workout will suck, but get that puppy clean from any dirt or grime from the workout. Cover with Neosporin and a Band-Aid for 24 hours to get some protection on the wound. After that, let it air out for a couple days and you should be good to go! Keep those hands free from rips as they are vital to your daily activities!

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