CrossFit and hand care

Coach Tracy | SF Gym | West Coast CrossFit | Perth, Australia | www.sfgym.com.auHead Coach – Tracy Cooper

Torn hands | SF Gym | West Coast CrossFit | Perth, Australia | www.sfgym.com.au

You’re in the middle of a workout and you can feel your hands starting to get more tender with each rep, but you keep going because you don’t want to ruin you time or scale the workout. A blister starts to form, you’ve only got 1 more round of 20 pull ups surely it won’t rip. It does and you’re bleeding. Sound somewhat familiar????

Time and time again the coaches advise you not to go till your hands tear but unfortunately some people feel like it’s a badge of honour to rip your hands apart and post it on Facebook. All this does is bugger up your training for the rest of the week and possibly 2 weeks. Is that what you want? I think not. So what to do to firstly fix the issue and secondly prevent it from happening again?

There are lots of schools of thought on the best remedy for ripped, torn hands and everyone has their own unique method. Yes I have been that person (a long time ago) that ripped their hands that badly that I couldn’t even hold soap to have a shower. I can honestly say I haven’t done it again since, I have had the odd blood blister form but never to the point of no return.

This is what works for me and has been tried and tested by a lot of you in the past after taking my advice:

    1. Clean any dirt or chalk off your hands, yes this is going to sting and can make a grown man cry.
    1. Cut any flapping skin off. Ask someone to do this for you as it’s awkward. Some people say leave the skin on and use it like a natural bandaid. Your choice on this one.
    1. Apply some sort of ointment that aids in healing, some options are Paw Paw Ointment or HandeBalm. Do this every night before you go to bed. The benefit of HandeBalm is it will have your hands repaired quicker than any other product I have come across because it has been specifically designed for gymnasts and weightlifters. It has menthol in it so is an antiseptic as well.
    1. Give it a few days before you even attempt to pick up a barbell or get on a pull up bar.
  1. Cover your hands when you get back to the gym with Fixomul (purchase from any chemist) to stop any dirt and bacteria getting into the open wounds.


  1. You want your hands to toughen up. Don’t wear standard gym gloves as this doesn’t allow you to feel the barbell or pull up bar and will keep your hands way too soft. If you need to wear something get some Palm Guards or Jaw Grips, we have these in stock, these give some protection but don’t cover your fingers
  2. Don’t let your calluses build up, this is the worst thing you can do. Again big calluses are not a badge of honour, they are 1 workout away from bleeding.
  3. Shave your calluses down, be mindful not to shave too deep and get into the fresh skin. There’s a multitude of tools you can use:
  • Nail file
  • Corn shaver
  • Ped Egg
  • Pumice stone
  • Razor
  • Sandpaper
    1. Apply HandeBalm ($20 from reception) every night. This not only heals torn hands but also toughens the skin up. (We now stock a different hand care product at the box, ask a coach.)
  1. Tape hands/fingers or wear Palm Guards in high rep workouts that involve pull ups, toes to bar or similar.

As suggested by Skin club Melbourne regular maintenance of your hands is really important and will allow you to get through every training session without tearing and bleeding. It will also allow your partner that doesn’t quite get what we do at the gym from being really turned off by your hard callused hands. Don’t be that guy on Facebook!

Originally published in our monthly newsletter January 2014. Like what you are reading? Sign up for our newsletter at the top right of this page.