Hand Care: The Basics

Prevention: The best offense is a good defense!

Callus Management

If you CrossFit regularly, you will begin to build up calluses on the bits of your hands that rub when you’re hanging onto something.

It is critical that you don’t let them build up to the point that they are super thick and will rip off in one giant chunk all of a sudden.

To avoid that, you’ll need to shave them down with one or a combination of the following tools —

Word of warning: don’t shave them down so much that you only have a wafer-thin layer of skin left. You want some callus to remain, just a much thinner callus!

And, don’t forget to moisterize! You want your calluses to be soft and supple. Here are some products that help:

Gymnastics Grips

Many people like a protective layer between their hands and the pull-up bar, and gymnastics grips are one way to achieve that.

Holding onto the bar is somewhat more difficult overall when you’re wearing gymnastics grips, as they effectively increase the diameter of the bar. Therefore we recommend them only if you already have a relatively strong grip (and if you regularly find yourself completing hundreds of reps of hanging movements.)

The sexiest grips out there are these ones —

Thumb Tape

If you’re hook gripping your Olympic lifts (which we KNOW you DEFINITELY ARE ALWAYS), you may find that a little piece of skin on the side of your thumb keeps rubbing off.

Enter thumb tape. Elastic tape works best (you’ll need to buy a roll of this, we don’t stock it in the gym.) All you need is a short strip to wrap around the base of your thumb where it rubs. If non-elastic tape is all you have, you can cut a piece in half (so it’s half the width) and use that (if you leave it to wide it’ll be hard to bend your thumb.)

Tear Management

If you tear, go with basic first aid:

  • Wash the tear thoroughly
  • Cut off any loose skin with sharp little scissors
  • Bandage: protect the wound and keep it as moist as possible.
    • HydroSeal Bandaids are amazing if you can take it easy enough on your hands that they don’t fall off right away
    • Regular Bandaids plus Neosporin, Aquaphor, or other moisturizing/healing lotion

And then proceed to the protecting / healing phase:

  • Bathe in dilute salt water: this stings but can really help your tears heal faster.
  • Take it easy on the grippy stuff, and protect your hands with gymnastic grips or make your own tape grips!

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