Hand ripping is a common issue experienced by Crossfit athletes. Hand rips and calluses are frustrating to manage and traditional solutions include wearing gloves, use hand grips, or use bar tape and chalk. A modern solution is using a pull up bar wax like WODWAX which protrects hands from rips and increases grip. Being proactive helps protect hands from rips, but they still happen. Reactive care like disinfecting, salve and epsom salt soaks help heal rips faster so you get back to full steam faster.
Stopping hand rips should be at the top of CrossFitters priority list. Hand rips reduce WOD times, are painful workout with and reduce grip strength. Athletes can prevent hand rips by using pull up bar wax, tape, grips and gloves. Each have their pros and cons which we explore below.
Pull up bar wax like WODWAX protects hands by creating a barrier between athletes hands and the bar. This barrier reduces rips by being a softer surface for hands. You can use WODWAX with gloves, chalk and taped hands as well if you are used to incorporating them into your workout. Learn more about WODWAX with the link.
Shout out to WODWAX!!! Hung out with ANGIE today! 100 pullups with NO CHALK, NO GRIPS, NO RIPS!!! ... I LOVE THIS STUFF!!!
— Brianne F
Taping the bar protects hands from ripping by creating a less slippery surface to grasp onto. The cons of tape is that they collect grime over time, become slick and has to be replaced. It also leaves a sticky residue on the bar that is hard to remove when cleaning.
Gloves reduce ripping and increase grip strength — for these reasons they are the choice for many CrossFitters. The cons of gloves are they have to be put on and taken off, are prone to bunching and aren’t sanitary to share.
Hand grips are made from silicon or plastic and cover the bar to increase grip. They a softer than metal and often textured to increase grip strength. The major con of grips are that they increase the diameter of the bar, making it harder for many athlete to stretch hands around the diameter of the pull up bar.
A pumice stone is formed when lava and water mix together. It's a light-yet-abrasive stone used to remove dry, dead skin. A pumice stone can be used to remove the dead skin from a callus or corn. Reducing the size of the callus or corn may result in less pressure or friction and less pain. The major con of the pomace stone is that the upkeep is time intensive.
Taking action to prevent hand rips reduces the frequency of injury, but it doesn’t eliminate them. Hand rips happen, so knowing what to do to reduce injury time is valuable to an athlete. Combing hand cleaning, practices that increase cellular regeneration, and hand skin protection will all reduce injury time.
Disinfecting hand rips is painful but necessary to help wounds heal quicker. By removing dirt and grime you make it easier for your body to heal. Next, use warm water and soap, then a rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect.
A hand salve is a thick, moisturizing emollient used to moisturize and protect skin. Look for salves with beeswax in them. Beeswax is antimicrobial, soothing and skin softener.
Epsom salt soaks can soften rough, dry skin, and exfoliate dead skin cells. It may also soothe skin affected by skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.
Taping hands helps reduce pain during workouts. Use athletic tape or a CrossFit tape to reduce pain experienced during bar related workouts.