It’s that time of year again (at least for me it is!), it just got hot and the humidity makes it feel like you just got out of the pool after a WOD. I feel bad for you late afternoon WODer’s! I can handle the heat for the most part, but my hands take a beating every spring. The heat and humidity make them soft and clammy and the callus I’ve built up over the cold winter months are primed to tear right off. After the past few years, I’ve concluded that it's part of the circle of life for a CrossFitter.
We may not be able to prevent the shedding of our hands each year, but here is my top 5 suggestions to take care of your hands.
1. Hand Prep
If you are an avid CrossFitter, shavers, files, and clippers should be apart of your CrossFit gear and in your gym bag at all times. Weekly maintenance, specifically during the spring and summer months, keeps your calluses from building up and will hopefully prevent half of your palm pealing off. Note: year round maintenance will most likely prevent major shedding and will also help avoid hyperkeratosis throughout the rest of the year. If you’re not familiar with hyperkeratosis (why would you be?), it's the “painful areas of thickened skin that appear between the toes and on the souls of your feet” (Googled it) and also found on the hands of CrossFitters (gross)!
Another item that belongs in a CrossFitter’s equipment bag is a roll of tape. Taping your fingers, thumbs, wrists, and palms will help prevent tears or allow you to get another WOD in while on the mend. You can also go online and find lots of different gloves, wraps, and grips that will help with hand protection. In my experience, the more I have on my hands, the harder it is to grip the bar. My personal favorite (when needed) is Natural Grips. They’re not the most durable, but they should get you through the summer. You can also try and make your own grips with athletic tape.
Oh ya, everyone’s favorite stuff, you’d think this stuff is gold in a CrossFit gym! If you weren’t a CrossFitter you’d probably think it was some other white powdery substance. Chalk is great to keep your hands dry, especially during the hot summer months. But more doesn’t really mean better; dusting your hands with some chalk is enough to dry them out and allow you to grip the bar. If you’re one of those people who like to grind chalk into every crevice and poor on your hands (arms/shoulders) then you're drying your skin out too much and the chalk will actually cause your skin to tear.
4. Wash your hands with warm water and soap after every WOD: ASAP!
5. Wound care: If you do suffer a tear, you need to take care of it right away. Make sure you clean it really well with soap and warm water. You’ll then want to keep it covered with an ointment on it as much as possible. I’ve always used Neosporin but just recently switched to Rock Rub, which is made by RockTape. Either one works great, the key is to keep the wound moist. A wet wound heals 3x faster than a dry wound. If you really want to speed up recovery, try covering your tears with lots of ointment and put your hand in a sock before you go to bed.
Take care of your hands, we use them for everything. If you need to modify movements to avoid using your hands, workouts will get boring pretty quickly, not to mention how handicapped you’ll be in your day to day life.