Success in life comes not from holding a good hand, but in playing a poor hand well.
— Denis Waitley
This is the third part in my four-part series on handcare. Please read parts One and Two if you have not read them already. This article discusses how to return to training when you have torn calluses.
It is important to remember that torn calluses are an injury. Whenever you have an injury, you must give it time to heal. Altering your training to focus on lower body exercises is the preferred course of action. However, sometimes competition and personal factors makes it necessary for athletes to train or compete with an injured hand. What are you going to do to protect your hands and keep from aggravating the injury? Wear gloves? No way!
Tape grips. That’s the answer. I learned how to make these from the guys at CrossFit Marin and I think they are the cheapest and most effective way to train with torn calluses. We have all tried to simply wrap tape around our hands and had it bunch up and make a mess. This technique will keep your hands safe and allow you to train even with the gnarliest of torn calluses. You might even decide to use these when your hands are not injured just to protect them.
Making these tape grips is sort of like origami so you will want to practice making them until you get it right. But once you do, you will be able to make them in a jiffy and also be able to keep a stockpile of tape grips in your gym bag in case of emergencies.
All you need is a roll of 1.5″ Athletic Tape and a pair of scissors.
1. Take a long strip of tape about 15 or 16 inches long. It depends on the size of your hands. Experiment until you find the correct length. Do not be stingy with the tape because if you make them too short, they will not work. Start long and eventually you will be able to eyeball the exact length.
2. Fold this tape strip length-wise leaving about an eighth of an inch of the sticky side exposed. Having some of the sticky side exposed is necessary for the next step.
3. Take your tape strip and fold it over on itself leaving a little pointed end. The exposed sticky sides should hold it together.
4. Take another long strip of tape about 13 or 14 inches long. This should be about 2 inches shorter than the first strip.
5. Fold this new strip over the previous strip. This extra strip acts as reinforcement and keeps the original strip from splitting in half. Try to cover as much of the first strip as you can right up to the little pointy bit.
6. This is your tape grip. You will want to practice making several of these. Keep the good ones in a zip-lock baggy in your gym bag. They will come in handy.
7. Using your scissors cut just enough of a hole in the top to put your finger snuggly through the little pointy bit. Put the appropriate finger through the hole so that grip covers your torn callus. Usually placing the grip over your middle or ring finger works best. Depending on how bad your hand is, you might need to use two or more on the same hand.
8. The end of the grip should come down over the palm to your wrist. Take a third strip of tape and secure the end of the grip to your wrist with a few wraps around the wrist. Do not wrap it so tight that it cuts off your circulation.
There you have it. Pretty simple really. I hope you find this helpful. Now go do some pull-ups!
Do you have any great ideas to help train with injured hands? Please post your thoughts to the comments.