Monday: Hand Care!

Monday: Hand Care!

Monday: Hand Care!

What beautiful hands you have ;).

crossfithandWho doesn’t like winning an award in recognition of an extraordinary accomplishment?  A gold medal a trophy bags of money the respect and adoration of your contemporaries ripped open hands…wait come again?  That’s right; it’s almost become a badge of honor or rite of passage in CrossFit to rip your hands from being up on the bar.

Hold tight onto your barbells kids today we’re going to talk about proper hand care!

We all know how we rip our hands right?  A little too much friction for a little too long and you’ve got a sheet of flesh dangling from your palms or fingers.  The separation that occurs is generally due to the epidermis (upper layer of skin) staying in place while the lower layers are moving back and forth causing the friction.  The space in between will then fill with clear liquid (plasma) to cushion the lower layers and protect them from further damage.

The name of the game is reducing friction between layers of skin.  Many people will use chalk which you find in buckets all over High Voltage.  While this works well in the short term in the long term it actually works against you.  The chalk will dry out any moisture around it (which will give you better grip) but as the area dries it will actually increase the friction.  Other people choose to use tape as a barrier between their skin and the bar.  Finally you can always wear gloves.

There are some out there who will give you a hard time about wearing gloves.  In my opinion though there is absolutely no shame in wearing gloves particularly during long or high rep WODs.  The fact is your hands are your tools and you want to have the best tools available.  You shouldn’t be worried about your hands ripping or them being so sore from calluses that you can’t hold the bar.  You should only be worried about doing your next rep properly and having the strength to do it.  If one carpenter has a hammer to put a nail in a board and another has his bare fist you wouldn’t fault the one with the hammer for working smarter and using the better tool.

Even with gloves you can still tear although blisters are less likely since the friction is reduced.  That being said less aggressive friction over longer periods of time can cause calluses.  There are some advantages to building calluses in opportune places to aid in protecting your hands however formation of calluses are also a chance to tear.  A blister is only a very thin layer of skin and will heal relatively quickly whereas a callus is a thick hardened patch of skin that if torn open can be deeper more painful and slower to heal.

As your calluses build up you need to manage them by either shaving them down with a callus shaver or grinding them down.  You can use an emery board or coarse file to grind them down or you can also use an electric rotary tool (a popular brand is Dremel).  I prefer to use a Dremel because with the small sanding drum attachment you can get into hard to reach places and shave down your calluses in shape with your hand.   The tool also rotates at thousands of repetitions per minute and at this high speed it is easier faster and less painful.

Let’s say after all of these precautions you still tear your hand or in some cases it splits in between or on a callus.  Just take a week or two off of CrossFit while it heals?  Hell no!  I’ve literally come to a point with my hand care where I can be back on the bar the next day with little to no pain.mehaz-cuticle-nipper-777

First using very sharp cuticle scissors or nippers you need to cut away all of the torn skin.  Really make sure that you cut all of the skin away right to the edge of the torn area.  Any remaining skin will be in danger of tearing further whether it dries out or not.  Next you need to clean the entire area really well with soap and water.  Finally I recommend applying something to aid in the healing process that also keeps the area sealed and clean.  I swear by the Climb-On hand bar which is available online.  Try to keep the wound open to the air (but clean!) as much as possible so it will heal quickly.  If you keep it covered with a bandage it will stay too wet and take much longer to heal.

I could write a whole other blog about hand care and yet another one on selecting the best glove to buy for CrossFit (and maybe I will in the future).  Hopefully though you at least now have a better understanding and foundation for your continued progression all the while protecting those ever important tools with which to do it.

Monday’s Training:

All Levels CrossFit

Level 1 CrossFit

A. 8 minute EMOM

  • 5 Push Press

A. Skill: Push Press

Sets of 5 reps


B. 5 Rounds for total reps (20 minutes)

  • 30 Seconds Front Squat

10 Seconds Rest

  • 30 Seconds Pullups ADAP

10 Seconds Rest

  • 30 Seconds Burpee Deadlifts (same weight as front squat)

10 Seconds Rest
2 Minutes rest


15 minute AMRAP

  • 3 Goblet Squat
  • 4 Ring Rows
  • 5 Burpees