Don't Rip: Hand-saving tips and tricks

It’s a battle scar for CrossFitters and possibly an eye-sore for someone who doesn’t (or hasn’t tried) CrossFit: the hand rip.

Mangled flesh juxtaposed with a smiling face, or just a close-up of the rip is enough to jog old memories of your own. Sure, that rip is a sign of a “WOD well-done,” but no one mentions the absolute brutal feeling of showering or hand washing for the following two weeks. One bad rip is usually reason enough to prevent it from happening again.

There are many steps you can take to maintain your hand health. Here is a list of the tips and tricks to consider:

During the WOD:

1. Taping hands

It’s the most basic style of protection you can get. Gymnastic grips made from athletic tape is a tried-and-true way to protect your hands in a WOD requiring high-rep pullups, heavy barbell work, or any other movement that is taxing on your hands and grip.

These grips are easy to make and easy to break in. The tape is also thin enough that you can still feel the bar or barbell.

Get arts and crafty! Here’s how to make the gymnastics grips on your own:

In a bind and don’t want to assemble? Grab some Natural Grips at the gym (for sale at the Columbia location)

  • PRO TIP:

1. When taping in place, make sure to always flex your hand and wrist to prevent taping too tight.

2. Reinforce your grips or Natural Grips with high-power tape (Goat Tape, Rock Tape, etc) to get more uses out of each individual grip.

There are a few companies that make premade gymnastic grips out of various materials. This is a huge convenience factor because the grips are reusable and don’t involve any work besides velcro-ing them around your wrist. There are CrossFitters who swear by either one so this is honestly a personal preference for you and your hands.

Fabric: JAW Grips

These grips are made out of a durable fabric that is thin enough to still feel the bar, and durable enough to last longer than 10+ workouts. You can pick the size of the finger holes to ensure a customized fit and the palm coverage is standard. These grips stretch out over time so it is advised to buy a smaller size.

Leather: Rogue/Again Faster Grips

These are the classics. The actual grips are leather with a velcro straps and come in multiple sizes similar to the Jaw grips. The leather will stretch over time so if the fingers feel tight at first, just give it a few workouts to feel normal. Because the wrist wrap on these are very thick, it is tough to wear additional wrist protection with them.

  • PRO TIP:

Don’t wash these grips often- the chalk will help you grip throughout the workout (and prevent pauses in the WOD to chalk up… that could be a good or very bad thing…)

Hand Care: Callus Treatment

There are two main options here and none of which have official names, so here are the creative explanations. The first tool is a ‘cheese grater’ style wand. Keep this in the shower to use when your hands are wet and the skin is easier to work with. Some athletes also keep a PedEgg in their bags to use before workouts.

The second tool is an actual razor. It is recommended to use caution with this tool to avoid cutting too deep. The advantage to the razor over the grater is that it’s quicker and less abrasive on your hands.

Hand Care: Skin Treatment

While calluses may make one believe hands are strong, overuse can still make any hand sensitive. Here are our recommendations to ease the pain:

This is a hard-working conditioner to prevent dryness and peeling. Apply daily, especially after your most intense barbell/pull-up workouts. Not only will it help your skin, it also will reduce some of the tenderness.

It’s important to lather up daily, but helping your hands is all the more reason to do so. Grab whichever brand you like most, but make sure it treats dry skin.

We hope this leads to many happy hands and happy WODs!