Blog

Hand Care Rant

By Lauren Enz Bowlus

First Open WOD is done and in the books. The biggest complaints where sore butts and torn hands! Below is an awesome blog post from Coach Chris K. a while back talking about hand care. It is some thing that goes hand in hand with getting strong and killing Open WODs so take careful notes :)!


First, let me rant. Tearing your hands in training is not “cool” or make you part of a club. Tearing exposes your hands to infection and also hinders your training. Avoid it all costs. Period.

Friction is the culprit that causes the skin on your hands to tear apart. The way to prevent tearing is to minimize friction. Ideally, your hands would be a flat layer of callused skin, much like the palm of a leather glove. Any variation of height in the palm (too big of calluses or small craters in the palm from peeling skin) causes more friction in that spot, which can lead to tearing. Smoothing out those variations is vital.

A few people have asked my procedure so here goes:
– Every 2-3 days I shave my hands in the shower. After about 5 minutes in the shower, your hands will soften up and the newly callused skin will turn white. The razors I use to shave my hands are 3 blade razors that have been retired from use on my face. Use medium pressure and shave from all directions (Up/Down/Left/Right/All Angles). While the razor accounts for most of the removal, I finish up with a pumice stone to ensure everything is flat, much like sanding wood. After I get out of the shower, I always put on lotion to keep moisture in my hands. Dry skin is not flexible and is more likely to tear.
*** The first time you try shaving your hands, do not go overboard or you will remove too much skin and cut through the outer layer of your skin, causing bleeding. It hurts only a little bit but it makes training more difficult. Just remove enough skin to make it all flat. I learned by making that mistake several times :)
– In addition, I keep a square of 80 grit sandpaper in my gym bag. Anytime my hands start to peel, I use the sandpaper to level out the area all around there so there are not any ledges to catch on which would cause the skin to tear.
Lastly, if you can feel your hands starting to tear during a workout, use your best judgement to make a good choice. In competition, pushing through it is the only choice. However, in training you get to make the best decision for you. If it is near the beginning of the workout, it may be wise to switch to a strict variation of the movement (such as strict pull-ups or strict chest-to-bar) because eliminating kipping will help. If you feel your hands getting close to tearing near the end of the workout, it may be best to push through it or slow down just enough not to tear.

Take care of your hands and they will take care of you.

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Back when I first started CrossFit--- prevent this! It is not what the "cool kids" do.

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