We’re hard on our hands. With pull-ups, toes to bar, all the barbell work, rope climbs, there’s plenty of opportunities for hand tears. Old school CrossFitters wore rips on the heads like a badge of honor (🙋🏽♀️guilty). We posted pictures and jumped back up onto the rig with bloody hands to finish every last rep, only to wake up the next day, wrap up our meat grinder hands, and add to the blood bath…..I’m sorry to all the normal people out there that didn’t want to see pictures of my bloody hands….🤦🏽♀️
Here’s the truth – times have changed and ripping is not cool! Have you tried washing your hair with ripped hands? It’s horrible. And it makes the few days after pretty bad as well. While ripping can be inevitable, there are steps you can take to help prevent it!
✖️ – keep calluses filed down! Run your fingers across your palm – thick skin is ok – but any ridges need to be filed or shaved down!
✖️- there are a few tools you can use to file down calluses – a pumice stone, razor, or a callus shaver all work well. You can find these at your typical pharmacy store. Tackle your calluses after a shower when they are soft.
✖️ – moisturize! Remember to lotion up your hands every night – especially if you’re a chalk monster. Rough hands and calluses are more likely to rip – so aim to keep your hands soft and supple!
Tears are bound to happen, especially early on when you are starting to develop your calluses. What should you do when that happens? There are various approaches, but the initial steps remain the same.
✖️- wash your hands with soap and water ASAP! Yes, it burns!! Too bad. Remember to clean up the barbell or pull-up bar too.
✖️ – throw some antibacterial ointment on the wound and keep it moisturized. There are a bunch of hand rip products out there (check Rogue Fitness) but plain old Vaseline will work as well.
✖️✖️Beyond this you have a couple of options:
- Use scissors or nail clippers to cut away the flap of skin
- Leave the flap in place
- Super glue the flap down
✖️✖️I’ve personally had the most success with leaving the flap in place and making sure the wound is clean & dry throughout the day. Then after a few days when the fresh skin underneath has had time to thicken, I cut away the dead skin flap and go on with life. Basically the rip acts like a bandaid until the new skin is fully ready for the real world.
✖️- keep it covered with gauze or a bandage for the first few days. You want to make sure it doesn’t dry out so continue to moisture and apply salve.
✖️ – it’ll take a few days at least for it to heal up. Try to take it easy on your hands and allow them time to repair.
Rips will happen, but let’s be smart (not like me when I first started CrossFit…) and do what we can to prevent them.