CrossFit is an incredibly rewarding fitness method. It builds muscle mass, helps you to lose fat, tones the body and increases overall fitness…it’s also lots of fun. However, when you’re talking about kettlebells, weightlifting and rowing, your hands can sometimes suffer.
Hand tears are when the sensitive skin on your palms gets rough, blistered, sore and can even rip open. Hand tears are painful and unsightly, plus they can prevent you from training.
CrossFit is filled with challenges, and in this article, CrossFit Soul Rebel is going to look at how to prevent rips and hand tears and how to treat them if they occur. Want to train with our team? Book in for a free trial class now!
Prevention is better than cure, right? Well, the first step is to try to prevent hand tears in the first place, and there are lots of ways we can do that. The first step is building a stronger grip strength, which your coaches can help you out with in the gym. Second, is taking care of your hands before damage occurs. If your hands are smooth and well maintained, then there is nothing to rub or catch on the bar when you’re doing pull-ups or working that rowing machine. Here are some tips:
- Moisturise your hands at night using an intensive repair cream. You don’t need to spend a fortune, a strong salve like Neutrogena works well.
- Wear grips when you have a lot of toes-to-bar, pull-ups or other bar movements to protect your hands. Here are my favourite grips by an Australian company Roo Grips– which we do stock at the gym. You may also find that the right grips can help you hold on for a few extra reps.
- Remove any calluses on a regular basis by gently rubbing with a pumice stone.
So those are some ways to prevent hand tears, but what if you already got them? Hand tears are painful and won’t get better by themselves, so you might want to adjust your workout until they heal by removing weights, rowing and pull-ups.
- Chalk is a double-edged sword because it can create friction if used too much but it can also help to keep your hands dry, improve your grip and ensure you don’t need to grip as tightly. Use chalk sparingly in your workouts.
- Leather Hand Grips take some getting used to, but they help a lot when you do! Grips will protect your skin meaning that you are not coming into direct contact with the equipment in the box. Again, check out RooGrips.
- Athletic tape is another solution for hand tears. It’s also less expensive than gloves or grips and effective when done correctly. Here’s a great YouTube tutorial which will teach a simple way to apply your tape. (*It may be less expensive in the short term, but long-term after going through 4+ rolls of tape, grips do work out to be the cheaper option)
- If you have fairly thin calluses and the ripped skin is thin as well, you can get some small nail clippers or small scissors and carefully cut as much of the skin as you can away from its point of contact. Be sure to keep the wound clean using an antiseptic spray.
- Vitamin E does a wonderful job of healing wounds and can be ingested in tablet form or applied to the wound as an oil or gel. It is low cost and available at all pharmacies.
Conditioning your hands is like building muscle. It takes time and isn’t always the exciting part of training, but you need to go through these drills to reach your goal. But remember CrossFit is meant to be challenging, but it shouldn’t be bloody!
Our trainers have plenty of great tips to make sure you are challenging your body without injuring yourself. Why not sign up for one of our free trial classes where you can get started on your fitness journey (without nasty hand tears!).