Sunday 11.10.13

Taping your hands for pull-ups from CrossFit Los Angeles on Vimeo.

Ripped Hands:

I've seen quite a few posts lately about ripped hands and CrossFit being the sport of ripped hands.  We have posted on this several times in the past, but with new people coming into the gym, its a good issue to readdress.

It's true we are tough on our hands.  Years ago, CrossFitters often reveled in the fact that our workouts have bloodied our hands. "We're such badasses! We're SO hardcore!"

But luckily (at least from what I see from most people), we have moved away from it and called ripped hands what they truly are......An Injury.  An injury that causes you to either to not continue to workout or drastically scale.   IT IS NOT “COOL” TO HAVE CHUNKS OF OUR SKIN RIPPED FROM OUR HANDS.

Grip & Technique

A lot of CrossFitters rip open their hands doing high-rep bar movements: kipping pull-ups, clean-and-jerks, snatches. But there are ways to tweak your technique to reduce the chances of a nasty tear.

First, use the right grip.  When working with a barbell, some folks are inclined to grip the bar across the middle of their palms. This, unfortunately, squishes the fleshy pad below the base of your fingers against the bar, causing discomfort, added friction, blisters, and worse. A better way to go is to grip the barbell across the base of your fingers.  Check out Mark Rippetoe’s explanation of how to grip a bar properly.

The same grip also works for kipping pull ups.  But, one of the common mistakes most people make is huge kips, like the ones most people who are just getting pull ups and the strength to string them together, lead to torn hands and other issues.
ow.......bad for your lower back and ripped hands!

In this GymnasticsWOD video below,  Carl Paoli doesn’t engage in the exaggerated lateral swing that many of us are used to doing. Notice the efficiency of movement; his legs aren’t kicking violently out front or behind. He doesn't flop around. By keeping the kipping motion short and focused, there’s less of the skin-on-bar rubbing that might lead to shredded hands.

So do 3 things to prevent hand rips:
  1. Protect your hands with grips or tape,
  2. Work on changing your grip on the bar to cause less friction on the palms of your hand
  3. Work on building your strength and minimizing your kip in the pull up

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