Coach K on Hand Care

Family photo. Sonya R and Mowgli R get in a little post-workout stretching (napping) while checking out the 14.4 entertainment.

Family photo. Sonya Radetsky and Mowgli Radetsky get in a little post-workout stretching (er, napping) while checking out the 14.4 entertainment.

Pay attention folks. Kayla lays out the dos and don’ts of CrossFit hand care.

You are a bad ass. Look at you whipping out pull-ups and toes-to-bar and hitting those touch n’ go barbell movements. Finally beginning to build up those calluses that were never there before to protect those paws. The proof of all that determination to conquer those skills just to get one more rep than last time lies in those two hands. And it’s at this point when you are almost positive that you are invincible because your hands resemble those of a lumberjack’s that you are susceptible to a tear.

Now it feels like you are back to stage one left with vulnerable hands.

Treat a rip or tear like an injury.

 Think of the activities done throughout a day where you might use your hands. Oh yeah….everything. Holding onto the steering wheel to drive, grasping a spatula to cook, pouring shampoo into your palm to wash your hair (if you have had a tear before, you’ll understand that it truly feels like putting acid on your hand), playing guitar, walking your dog, holding your cat, holding your significant other’s hand..it’s endless! The point is, your hands are of value, so take care of them.

To prevent future tearing, follow these simple steps. Repeat as many times as you would chalk up 😉

Step #1: Keep them moisturized. The only thing worse than a rip is when your rips dry out, crack, and now you have managed to get rips on your rips. No need to get obsessive complusive with moisturizing, but make it a routine to lather up those palms and phalanges at nighttime before you head to bed. Personally, I like to use coconut oil because I already have a huge tub of it for cooking. It smells delicious, and after applying it before I go to sleep I wake up to silky, smooth hands! If you are looking for something that specifically targets the area, Burt’s Bees carries a wide variety of lotions and creams for your hands. Anything with Vitamin E will do the trick.

Step #2: File or shave down your calluses. Doesn’t it seem like this would be the opposite of what you would want to do? I mean, you just spent all that time and hard work building those damn things up! On the other hand, think of all the friction between your hands and the bar, especially if you are kipping. Now think of how many layers of skin are continuing to build on top of each other to create a thicker callus. If the callus begins to get so thick that it is getting pinched when you jump up to a bar, then it is time to do some maintenance. In the past, I have kept sheets of sandpaper in my gym bag because it’s convenient and cheap (and really attractive to do at your desk sitting in class). However, recently I started using a callus shaver which you can purchase at a local drugstore or at a nail salon. Warning: Do not get overzealous with the callus shaver, a little goes a long way. I have known people to use a Ped Egg on their hands that works just as well.

Step #3: Use less chalk. The crack of the gym as I like to call it. Chalk is beneficial in small doses, but also increases friction, and too much friction leads to rips.

ATTENTION! If you have a fresh rip or a blister that has popped…

Step #1: Wash your hands.

Step #2: Do not rip off any excess skin with your hands. Simply cut the excess skin off or have a buddy help you cut it.

Step #3: Neosporin. Rumor has it the first ingredient in that little tube is ‘Magic’. Not only will it keep the fresh rip moisturized, it will soothe the pain, and prevent infection.

Step #4: Repeat step #3 as needed and make hand maintenance a top priority!

Remember, no one wants to hold a ripped, bloody hand…but if you find a person that does not care, they probably really like you.