Crossfit Tips

Treating and Preventing Ripped Hands


There is something symbolic about seeing your hands showing evidence of a hard workout. Sure, it’s painful, uncomfortable and it’s not going to make a good first impression on a date, but in some way it proves you went the extra mile. The voice inside your head starts to sound like John Rambo, telling you that if you don’t bleed then the war isn’t over. But despite having these warm and fuzzy feelings about the blisters on your ripped hands, decorated with torn skin and blood, the downside hits you when you grab onto that kettlebell.

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Whether you want to admit it or not, ripped hands are going to hold you back in many different ways. So, the question you need to ask yourself is do you want excessive proof that you’re working out or do you want to avoid pitfalls that keep you from excelling?

Preventing Ripped Hands

In terms of health, and retaining functional hands, you want to prevent ripping instead of treating it. Start by keeping your hands moisturized, but let it become a daily habit. When your skin is dehydrated it won’t crack nearly as easily, so get some heavy-duty lotion that is going to work for you. Although moisturizing alone isn’t going to prevent your hands from ripping, it is going to give you more leverage.

You can also start to incorporate tape, gloves and grips, because they are there for a reason. For everyone who fell in love with the authentic feeling from the cold bars, or the handle of a kettlebell, it’s time to fall in love with another type of feeling. If you give it a chance you’ll get used to the added protection, and remember that they are going to help you keep up your routine. You can also look into using chalk, but the fact that it dries out your skin makes it less effective.

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Then of course there is the issue of your grip. The best way to prevent ripping is to let the bar rest at the base of your fingers, and not the middle of your palm. If you use the middle of your palm it’s easy to see how much excess skin gets pushed towards your fingers. Once again, your grip isn’t an all-in-one answer for preventing blisters and callouses, but it does take the edge off. Another great tip, if you’re doing pull-ups for example, is to adjust your grip when you reach the top. More specifically, avoid a death grip, because it’s a sucker for friction.

Treating Ripped Hands

Unfortunately, even with all the prevention in the world, you will probably find yourself suffering from some discomfort the longer you train, such as calluses. Given that calluses won’t necessarily effect your workout, the moment they grow bigger and start to rip is the moment you wish they weren’t there. In order to keep them from returning or getting worse, you can shave them or file them using a pumice stone. There are special razors you can use and it’s best to shave or file after you’ve had a shower. This makes the calluses softer and easier to manage.

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Is it better to pop your blisters or to leave them? This will depend on what you are going to do. If you are going to do a workout and you know the friction against the blister is going to be intense, then it’s better to pop it yourself. After you popped it you can clean it sufficiently and cover it before continuing with your workout. However, the skin that stays attached helps to keep out bacteria, so it might be a sign to either change your routine or allow your hands to rest for a couple of days. It’s a good idea to keep a mini kit in your bag that consists of anti-bacterial creams and gauze, just in case you need it while you’re at the gym.

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  • Toby

    TobyToby

    Author Reply

    A touch of vaseline works wonders between the palm and gymnastic grip in preventing friction whilst not compromising on grip, particularly in high rep ranges!