Coaches Corner – Hand Care

Coaches Corner: How to Prevent Your Calluses from Ripping (and what to do when they do)

Two common questions that are frequently raised in the gym are “How do I take care of the calluses on my hands” and “I ripped. How do I take care of it?”. Well today we’re going to address a few things for things for you. First, we have to make sure that we’re taking care of our hands. Secondly, we have to ensure that we’re using the right amount of chalk in WOD’s and what to do if the chalk quickly becomes liquid. Lastly, we’ll talk about how to take care of your hands if you do rip. Let’s get started!

Hand Care at Home

The best way to make sure you don’t rip is to actively take care of your hands. It’s fairly simple actually. The first, and easiest, preventative measure you can do is to pick up a pumice stone. You’ll typically find these around the foot care sections in stores like Target, but there are specific ones made for CrossFitters by brands like Sandbar Hand Care. If you pick up a pumice stone all you’ll need to do is spend a few minutes at the end of your shower shaving down your calluses. If you pick up something like Sandbar, you’ll use it after you get out of the shower instead.

Another way to help prevent your hands from ripping is by using some sort of lotion to prevent your hands from drying out from all of the chalk and washing your hands. There are numerous different lotions you can use; Working Hands Hand Cream is my choice of preference.

Doing these two things on a daily basis will help to greatly reduce the chance of you ripping your hands

In the Gym

Chalking Up

The Lebron Chalk Toss is cool to see but in a Metcon you’re not doing your hands any favors by coating them like that. The only time that serves you is in strength training. Be frugal with your chalk usage. Often, you’ll find all you need is a little on your palms and a touch on your fingers. The small amount will help keep your hands dry and allow you to maintain your grip.

“But what about when there’s a puddle of sweat on my hand?!?” – The best thing you can do when you know it’s going to be an incredibly hot day, and you’re sweating the moment you open your front door is to bring a small hand towel. Instead of caking your hand in chalk, use the towel to dry your hand between sets and then chalk up.


Gymnastics grips can be your best friend as long as you’re not reliant on them. These grips are used at your own discretion. The benefits are using gymnastic grips is that helps reduce friction on your hands to avoid from ripping. The only downside is if you’re doing gymnastics moves paired with a barbell, you’ll need to remove the grips. It’s a small con to a long list of positives and healthy hands.

Ripped Hand Treatment

At this point you’ve done all you can to prevent from ripping but alas, you still ripped. Now what? The first thing you need to do is take care of the skin flap. You may want tip rip it off, but don’t. Ripping off the skin can tear off healthy skin enlarging the wound. Using a pair of small medical scissors, cut the flap off so that it doesn’t catch on anything while healing causing it to reopen.

From there you’ll treat it as a normal wound. You’ll want to do the following routinely:

  1. Wash your hands frequently to clean to the wound
  2. Apply Neosporin or some other anti-bacterial.
  3. Cover the wound and let it heal.

Some methods that circulate around the internet that help speed up recovery include soaking your hand in an Epsom salt bath for 10 minutes daily, using Vitamin E Oil, and applying Dermabond skin sealant. If you test any of these out let us know how they work!

Getting Back to Working Out

Ripping shouldn’t prevent you from working out, you just have to be smart. Commonsense will come into play a lot here. Work with a coach to find a substitution for bar gymnastics or anything else that is bothersome due to the tear. If for some reason you MUST be on the rig, use gloves. Sharing is caring but not when it comes to blood.

**Products mentioned were not sponsored, just products that have been tried and tested**