Saw some pretty brutal pictures of ripped hands across Facebook and Instagram land after the 16.1 Open workout, and a couple of good ones in person.  And this was one of the lower rep pullup workouts in the history of the Open, but as we can see, 50-80 pullups can tear the hands of even the most experienced CrossFitter sometimes.

The newer CrossFitter, still flush with the achievement of pullups and toes to bar in the first place, will often find the stinging pain in their palms somewhat dampened by this strange feeling of .....pride??  Does this make them a proper CrossFitter now that they have literally worked out so hard they bled???  How about I say, I'm proud of you for your awesome effort, BUT, I'd love it if you didn't rip again! 

As a rule your hands should NOT rip in class, we don't program high volume pullups that often (and we have recommendations for optimising the reps if we do). If they are ripping, you are either not scaling correctly or you don’t look after your hands….. or both!

The worst rips are usually going to happen at comps, or things like the Open, not in class.  At comps there is no choice about scaling, if you are unlucky enough to get a high number of reps or a lot of grip intensive workouts back to back, then unfortunately your only choice is to do it or not.   You can tape up, wear gloves, or hand guards, but there is  a chance it will inhibit performance, and ultimately, they still wont guarantee you wont rip anyway….  I like to wear hand guards or gloves in training, and then I just cross my fingers in competition usually, sometimes I’ll wear tape for minimal protection, but also minimal interference.  For a really high volume of work, I will wear guards for the first half of the workout, and then take them off, still minimising the chance of ripping, but getting a 'second wind' with the grip strength once I take them off.

So, your main protection really is looking after your hands in the first place.

When you get out of the shower, get stuck in with a callus shaver, sandpaper/emery board, PediEgg, pumice stone or tool of choice.  Then a moisturiser, or a dedicated hand rip product.

CTB have already been, but we still might see TTB, muscle ups, high rep barbell work and other movements that may mess with your handsies, so here are a few other tips for when you come across them in the next workout.

- before your workout, wash your hands in warm soapy water to make the skin more pliable.  Dry skin cracks and tears.

- don’t try taping if you’ve never done it before, because you will either hate it, or it will start peeling off halfway through the workout and then you’ll really hate it.  Plus it can leave sticky residue on the bar to make someone else’s hands rip, not cool.  Make tape guards (no sticky), wear palm guards, or wear gloves.

- your hand shouldn’t be moving all around the bar.  Take a firm grip, place the thumbs on top of the fingers for a pseudo hook grip  and move at the wrist and shoulder, not the hand.  Load up the abs, lats and hip flexors to do the work, not the forearms.

- If you don’t wrap the thumbs, (you should be reasonably experienced if you do this) then be aware of excess hand movement/friction.

- break your sets into smaller groupings to give the skin on your hands a break.

- Don't overchalk!!  Too much equals too dry plus too much friction equals rips.

- Using a towel to dry your hands BEFORE chalking means even less chalk used..... maybe none.... I know, crazy concept, no chalk....  But so is ripping your hands for no reason.....

No one cares how many reps you got, but they do care about your blood on their barbell....... on that note, please clean up your gear if you rip!

Darren Ellis