Don’t Neglect Your Hands


Gone are the days of idolizing ripped hands as trophies. It used to be common practice that the bigger the rip, the more badass the person. Luckily, hands are now just as important as every other piece of equipment in a CrossFitter’s arsenal. So, if your members are usually the ones on the sidelines nursing a torn callus, here’s a few pointers on hand care to get them back in the WOD:

  • Keep your calluses at a functional level. Not enough can be said about having uniform calluses across your hands or feet. The moment those suckers start to round out and become taller than the rest of the skin around them they become infinitely more susceptible to ripping because of friction. There are many ways to keep your calluses in shape. Using a pumice stone, PedEgg, callus shaver or dremel are all acceptable. Biting them however, not so much. Choose a tool that works for you, and sand down your calluses in the shower weekly.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Your body produces natural oils that keep your skin healthy and smooth. When you are exposed to the elements, touch something or use chalk in the gym, those oils are transferred away from your body. It is important to replenish lost moisture in the skin post workout so your hands can regain flexibility from a massive loss of natural oils and hydration. Behind calluses being too big, dry skin is the second leading cause of ripped calluses in sport. Topical creams, salves, ointments or essential oils are a great way to combat dry skin.
  • Deciding which topical solution to use. When choosing the right topical solution to add to your training routine, it is important to research the ingredients that go into the product. Most often, the less ingredients the better. Products with less ingredients tend to be more naturally produced as opposed to a product with a million ingredients in size 2.5 font. Just as important should be whether you know right away what the ingredients are without having to Google search them. Naturally safe solutions should be just that – natural.
  • Got grip strength? Once you have your calluses down to a functional level and are supplementing the moisture lost in your skin during training, a great way to reduce ripped calluses is to work on grip strength. Quite often calluses are torn while hands are rubbing back and forth over an object like a pullup bar or barbell while under load. The stronger the grip, the less adjusting of the hands and thus less friction on the bar. Some great ways to increase grip strength are wrist curls, farmer carries or hollow holds on a pullup bar.


By Keegan Afford, the owner of w.o.d.welder. For more information, email Keegan at