How to Look After Your Hands
Let's start by getting one thing straight: ripped hands aren't cool. They're often worn as a badge of honour at events, but rarely by athletes at the top of their game. This isn't a coincidence. If you want to perform in any sport, you need to take care of yourself.
Ripped hands will put you out of action, which means little/no training until they're healed. Not only will they hold back your performance, but the pain is horrific. It doesn't matter how much of a beast you consider yourself, when that hot water hits your ripped callus in the shower, you'll be fighting back the tears like a big baby!
The good news is, this is all preventable. All it takes is a little preparation and common sense. Here's our hand care 101:
Regular Hand Maintenance
Taking care of your hands on a regular basis can prevent rips and tears altogether, making your hands stronger and more resilient.
The goal is to ensure the surface of your palm is as smooth as possible. Barbell work and pull-ups tend to cause the build up of skin, known as calluses, on the parts of your hand where the most friction occurs.
As the calluses start to build, you'll need to remove them. The best way to do this is to use a hard skin remover and pummice stone, like those found in the Inbitz Hand Care Kit. Follow this up with a good moisturiser, such as ProBalm's Repair and Recovery Balm for active skin.
This is one of the most effective ways to stop your hand tearing, but it only works if you do it regularly. Don't wait until your calluses have built up, as it will be much harder to remove them.
Train Your Grip
Do you use lots of chalk when you train? If you do, you could be increasing your risk of getting a tear. Whilst a little can help, using too much will increase friction and dry out your skin even more - creating the perfect environment for your hands to rip.
If you're relying on chalk too much, spend some time improving your grip. As well as working through the exercises we recommended in our post last week, pay attention to your technique. If you're holding the barbell, or pull-up bar, correctly, you'll minimise the risk injuring your hands.
Hand Care During WODs
Don't forget about your hand care routine when you step inside the box. Whilst there's plenty you can do at home to keep the skin healthy, you still need to use your common sense mid-WOD.
Some people are more prone to ripping the skin on their hands. If this applies to you, consider protecting them during WODs with some gloves or gymnastics grips. There are plenty to choose from and, when used correctly, will protect your hands throughout the WOD.
Some WODs involve high-volume work on the barbell or rig. Although it's less likely to happen, when you're blessed with super-soft hands, the skin can rip even when you have a near-perfect hand care routine. When this happens, stop what you're doing! You don't get any prizes for finishing a workout with shredded hands, and you'll end up missing multiple sessions as you wait for them to heal.