Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hands-on hand care

     Like Ricky Bobby, you may be asking yourself, "I don't know what to do with my hands." Well, wonder no more! I am here to save you from a life of ripped hands, torn callouses, and stigmata... one WOD at a time!

Don't let this happen to you (even though it happened to me)

      So what causes our hands to be torn to shreds mid-WOD? Let's talk about some reasons that your hands decide to loose some skin. Some of the top culprits are grip, chalk, and callouses... could even be a cause of all three combined!


      Odd are, if you've been playing the CrossFit game for a while, you have formed some beautiful/horrible callouses. Yes, they are fun to show to your friends about how much of a badass you are. However, if you're not taking good care of those things, you made be a badass... with bloody hands. This is a great resource right here about caring for callouses once they've already formed: 

How to take care of calluses on your hands from CrossFit Los Angeles on Vimeo.

    Another preventive measure once you have callouses (and also great if you already have a rip) is adopting some good taping techniques. If you cover your blistery hands with tape this will prevent those pesky callouses from getting "pinched" and torn by the bar (be it pullup or barbell). Check this one out:

Taping your hands for pull-ups from CrossFit Los Angeles on Vimeo.


     Ok, now onto the topic of chalk. Yes, chalk can be a fabulous tool while hitting a WOD. Yes, it makes the ungrippable... grippable. However, there is too much of a good thing. We don't need to turn our hands into little snowmen (like me)! Chalk should be used when there is too much sweat on our hands and we can't hold our grip on the bar. That is when a very small amount of chalk should be used. Too much chalk will actually cause rips (see the very top picture). Also, think how much time we waste when we HAVE to chalk up before addressing any bar... that is precious WOD time lost creating a cloud of chalk that, quite honestly, might piss off your neighboring CrossFitter... especially if you're near a fan! Just take a little bit of chalk will do. Lightly chalk only the part of the hand that will make contact with the bar. Lightly coat one hand and then rub both hands together... that is about as much as you're going to need.

Got chalk? from Kevin Wood on Vimeo.


     I don't want to beat this to death, but then again I don't want you to beat your hands to death either. A few days ago you may recall our little chat on the Hook Grip (If you forget... then check it out).Oddly enough, yesterday's CrossFit Journal article hits on this exact subject (If you are not a frequenter, I would suggest it). The author, Pär Larsson, stresses people to think about how we're making contact the the bar (specifically the pullup bar). If we grip the bar like we're hanging on for dear life, and our palms are constantly rubbing back and forth against the bar... then you're probably going to rip (can't fight science). He goes onto suggest is that we modify our grip for training purposes, and save our hands so we can go "balls-to-the-wall" for things like competitions. Below is his version of saving our poor mits: 

"Training Grip" (courtesy of CrossFit Journal)

     Now that looks a little nicer on the hands! Our palms are not making contact with the bar, so its physically impossible to tear the palms. I know it looks hard... but think how much a beast you could be if this was your grip, especially wants you actually grabbed the bar at the next affiliate challenge!

     So that's it folks, hand care in the Frosh nutshell. So once again, there is very little excuse for skin to be lying on the floor like some type of weird CrossFit butcher shop. So let's get back to hitting those WOD hard, and moving heavy things!

"Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose: it's how drunk you get"
     - Homer Simpson

3,2,1 GO!

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