Admit it, you’ve Instagrammed a picture of one of your bloody hands after doing a WOD and felt pretty chuffed about it. Apart from making you look hard in front of your friends, ripped hands are not only painful and sore but can bring your training to a halt. They are a terrible plight on any aspiring hand model and also the anti-gainz for all us regular folk. In this blog, I’ll answer questions about hand management ranging from prevention, treatment, and which grips are best.
Calluses are your best friend and greatest foe. Rip prevention is about maintaining an even coverage of calluses around the palms of your hands. If you’re new to CrossFit and your hands are only used to typing on a computer, you will need to gradually build up some calluses by handling bars, dumbbells, and swinging about on the rig. Once you start to build up some coverage, you will need to monitor how much you build up. If your hands start to get bumpy with varying thickness of calluses, this is when you will need to start shaving your hands. You rip when one of these raised, rough calluses begin to pull away from the surrounding skin. To prevent this, you will need to buy yourself a callus shaver and a pumice stone or nail file to even out some of the hard to get areas.
I recommend the following:
Shave your hands after a hot shower when they are at their most supple. Be careful not to go to town so make sure you leave some coverage on there. If there are some bumpy areas that you can’t get with the callus remover, smooth them out with a pumice stone or nail file. Doing this the night before a rig based WOD can make ALL the difference. You should try to shave your hands once a week to prevent ripping.
It doesn’t go well with the hard image some of us like to give off but moisturising everyday is key! It has become my ritual to apply cream to my hands every night before bed. Chalk, cold weather and the wear and tear of gym life really gives our hands a battering. It doesn’t matter which brand you use, just make sure you keep those hands moisturised!
London life is hectic and you won’t always remember to keep your hands supple and smooth. Eventually, at some point, you will rip. What you do next is key to maximise recovery. Firstly, wash your hands of dirt, chalk, and blood. It’s important to keep the wound clean no matter how much it stings. It will also be important to cut away any overhanging flaps of skin and calluses. DO NOT PULL THEM AWAY!
Once that’s done, you will need to dress your wound and cover it up with a bandage. It’s incredibly important to keep the wound moist and covered as this has been proven to accelerate healing. You can do this with any of the following products:
Keep changing the plaster or bandage with your product of choice at least twice daily. This serves two functions: to ward off infection and promote collagen synthesis. Moist wound healing promotes production of collagen by the fibroblasts. Since collagen is the basis of the new tissue that will heal the wound, this increased production helps the body lay down the matrix for new tissue more quickly so that the cells necessary for healing are attracted.
Buying yourself a pair of hand grips will also go a long way to preventing rips and keeping your hands from getting too sore. There are several types of guards you can wear ranging from tape, neoprene grips, fabric grips, leather gymnastic grips, and even gloves. My two favourite are the fabric grips and leather gymnastic grips.
Tugasox False Grip
Fabric grips are fantastic because they provide minimal interference but good coverage and protection. The fabric moulds and stretches to your hands so it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing anything at all. I have found that some fabric grips, such as Jaw Grips, tear and rip quite easily. We have been using False Grips at CFLDN for a few years and they are fantastic. So much so that we sell them in the shop!
Hand management should be just as integral to your daily routine as stretching, nutrition, or sleeping. You want to be able to train at your best and perform the programmed movements without painful hands. When you do rip, be prepared and minimise the amount of time your hands are out of action. If you don’t have a pair of grips yet, make your way to the shop and we’ll measure out a pair for you.
If you have any questions, email me.