Take Care Of Your Hands

As CrossFitters, we use our hands a lot!  Especially for pull-ups, dumbbell and barbell movements.  Hands tend to feel sore and tender after many reps and calluses start forming.  As the calluses form and thicken, if they’re not properly taken care of, they get painful.  This pain often times gets in the way of our training.  So what can we do to aid hurting hands?  Here are few words from CrossFit Southbay on calluses and how to treat them:

Calluses: Friend or Foe?  Actually, they are a little of both.

When most of us started CrossFit, we generally didn’t have calluses on our hands. After a few pull-ups or heavy deadlifts our hands started to hurt. We continued to feel the pain the next day. If we were lucky enough not to tear our baby-skin hands, we noticed calluses starting to form at the base of each finger. We continued coming to workouts and our calluses grew. That one special workout with a ton of pull-ups came around and we ripped our thick new calluses right off our hands. The rest of the workout was almost impossible to complete. Oh, that hurts! But not quite as bad as the aftermath when you washed your hands with soap and water. Not many things in life make you want to scream obscenities more than washing a fresh callus tear. If you were really brave, you would put salt on your fresh wounds. As crazy as that sounds (and painful!), it actually helps speed the healing process.

Our body’s natural reaction to friction is to build a callus. We see them on our feet from running or walking. Do you have a callus on the medial side of your big toe? When calluses grow too big on our hands, they are just begging to be ripped off. Raised calluses give the pull-up bar or barbell something to grab onto and rip. You are left with the bloody aftermath and flaps of dead skin hanging off of your palms.

To prevent or at least lessen the probability of a callus (or several calluses) tearing, you must do maintenance on your hands. We tax our muscles and have to stretch and foam roll to keep the flexibility and pliability. We work the skin on our hands on almost a daily basis, so we have to take care to maintain. We ultimately want a general thick callus to form over your entire hand. The process takes time and attention. When you start to notice raised calluses, you must shave them down – carefully.

  1. Thoroughly wet hands. Maintenance is best done after a shower.
  2. Slowly shave down your calluses with a pumice stone, double edged razor or, my favorite product, a callus shaver. Callus shavers are not expensive and you can find them in most drug stores.
  3. Take a very thin layer with each stroke. It’s easy to go too deep and shave the callus completely off. There should be no pain during maintenance.
  4. Your goal is to make your calluses level with the skin on the rest of your hand.

If your grip is strong enough, you may use Mark Ripetoe’s technique to help prevent calluses altogether. He suggests you hook the bar with just your fingers, instead of the meat of your hand. Watch his video.

Calluses are your friend if you are performing regular maintenance. Calluses can be your worst enemy if you not. Keep your hands healthy and get back on that bar!!

Wednesday’s Skill

Back squat

5 – 5 – 3 – 3

Workout of the day (WOD):

15 min AMRAP of

12 box jumps (24″ for men/20″ for women)

6 squat clean thrusters (95# for men/63# for women)

100 meter run

Beginner’s Skill

Back Squat

5 – 5 – 3 – 3

Workout of the day (WOD): 

15 min AMRAP of

12 box jumps

6 thrusters

100 meter run

Power Hour

Deadlift Tower of Power

5 rounds of:

1 minute max reps of deadlifts

Rest 3 minutes

Deadlift Weights

-Beginner 105#, 155#, 205#, 155#, 105#
-Intermediate 185#, 225#, 275#, 225#, 185#
-Advanced 225#, 275#, 315#, 275#, 225#

-135#, 160#, 185#, 160#, 135# 

Post times to comments

Crystal thrusting the weight way over her head!

Len reaching full extension on his box jumps.

The 7:30 pm class getting through an awesome 15 min AMRAP


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