Search for #crossfithands on most social media outlets and you will find thousands of pictorials of people proudly holding up their “warrior wounds,” also known as rips. Hand rips in the CrossFit world have become a rite of passage —a sign that you are working hard and progressing in the sport — but what CrossFitters come to find out quickly is that injured, torn hands are not fun; they are painful and they interfere with their WOD.
As many of your athletes know, if you are participating in a heavy-handed sport, your hands will become callused: For some, ripping those calluses is inevitable even with grips (just ask a gymnast). Preventing the calluses from thickening and hardening to the tearing point is where daily maintenance becomes critical, and staying on top of the vicious rip-heal–rip cycle is a key element all Box owners and Coaches need to teach their athletes.
Here are some suggestions you could share with your athletes for maintaining hands during WODs.
Every CrossFitter should invest in an all-natural pumice stone. Keep it in the shower — use a wet pumice stone on a wet hand nightly (or as needed) to gently remove the top layer of the hardened calluses.
Apply a moisturizing product at night to treat the calluses. Calluses need to be supple and pliable. Hard mounds of flesh plus chalk (a drying agent) plus friction equals hand rips. There is a big difference between healthy looking, pliable calluses and painful calluses that interfere with your ability to move with the bar — your calluses should work with the bar, not against it.
If and when you rip, clean and disinfect the wound, making sure to cut all the skin away from the wound as close as you can to the rip line. If only a portion of a callus has ripped, leaving a section of hardened skin no longer attached to the skin underneath, this should be removed as well. After you have disinfected the wound, pack the wound generously with a product that will soothe the stinging and speed up the recovery. If your rips are really bad, apply the product generously and cover your hands at night with socks or gauze– this works great to keep the product on the wound and to speed up recovery time.
Pumice down raised edges after the rip heals. If the edges are not cared for, they will lead to the next rip.
Remember that maintaining your hands is as important as stretching and doing mobility. You are only as good as you are healthy.
Robin Ribeiro is the owner/founder of www.WinniesRipFix.com. Her family has been in the hand care business for three generations. She is a certified personal trainer, former competitive gymnast, avid CrossFitter and teaches hand care on the CrossFit circuit. She can be reached at 615.707.0380 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.