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Preventing Hand Tears

By September 8, 2021No Comments

If you haven’t experienced a tear on your hand yet, it is bound to happen some day.  When it happens, and you tell someone like the coach, expect a small celebration.  In some sense, it is like a right of passage into becoming a true CrossFitter.  

What Causes a Tear

Hand tears happen when too much friction is created between your hands and the barbell or pullup bar.  More often than not, tears happen when hanging from a pullup bar.  However, they can happen on high rep barbell workouts, especially snatches.  Friction grips the edge of a callus on your hand and causes a few layers of skin to slide, often separating from your hand in what looks like a blister that is opened.  It stings pretty badly and can prevent you from being able to perform to your highest abilities for about 3-5 days following the tear.  So, to avoid downtime in your workouts, we wanted to share a few tips to prevent tears from ever happening.

Tips to Avoiding Tearing

  1. Use Less Chalk.  WHAT??????  Yes, sometimes we have to share the hard truth.  Chalk creates grip.  Grip creates friction.  Friction causes tears.  You need some movement of the object in your hands.  Trying to prevent all movement will lead to more tears.  Instead, work on your forearm strength.  
  2. File down your calluses.  The more you use your hands, the more your hands toughen to support the use.  Hard areas form on your hands called calluses.  Bigger calluses increase your chances of tearing.  Use a nail file or ped-egg to keep the calluses filed down.  There are also hand care kits you can buy specifically for this. 
  3. Keep your hands soft.  Lotion is your best friend when preventing hand tears.  Hard dry skin will catch on the bar more and is not strong enough to resist the tearing forces.  However, soft skin will absorb stretching forced more and is less likely to tear. 

We joke that tearing your hand is an injury.  But, in all seriousness, it will impact your training and we don’t want that.  Fitness without your hands is doable, but limiting.  Maximize your progress toward your goals by following the steps above to prevent hand tears as much as possible.

Want even more tips?  Check out this video from Wodprep.