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5 Universal Hand Care Tips All CrossFitters Need to Know

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Injuries to your hands can be incredibly infuriating and significantly slow down your progress. These 5 hand care tips will help you to prevent and repair shreds and tears.


Your hands need regular attention if they are to maintain optimal condition for training and competing. Checking them once a day may seem like a lot, but it can take a matter of seconds to determine whether they need a small amount of care and attention to keep them healthy.

Calluses form as a result of barbell work, pull ups, rope climbs etc, and are a very natural part of the training process. These are helpful, and are simply the result of your body adapting to the training, as well as being an important sign of you becoming more of a badass. However, they are not so helpful if they rip.

Taking care of Calluses
You want to look out for rough edges or sharp areas that look like they could easily get caught. They need to be snipped off or filed down. A natural pumice stone is a great way to do this and achieve a smooth rounded surface. This will then be less likely to catch and tear, so you can focus completely on the WOD at hand.

The best time to do this is after a bath or shower because your skin will be softer and a little swollen.


Keeping you skin hydrated and supple will help to prevent rips and tears.

A salve will moisturize calluses and the surrounding skin and is an effective way to achieve this. Created from natural ingredients such as olive oil, beeswax, peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils, the w.o.d.welder salve will also help shield hands from germs, bacteria and fungus.

You can also use w.o.d.welder Hands as Rx Cream daily to counter the drying effects of chalk and the general wear and tear that your hands will endure in the Box. Remember, prevention is always the best cure so a little effort to apply a cream to your hands once a day will go a long way to promote longevity.


Your grip changes from exercise to exercise, but beyond hook grip, the actual techniques are often overlooked. Do you spend much time thinking about the grip you use for each exercise in a WOD? The wrong type of grip (or a hold that is too loose or too tight) at the wrong times can tear and rip your hands when you are least expecting it.

To counter this, don’t hesitate to adjust your grip if you need to during a set. If a slight change at the top of a Pull Up will help you, then do it. A torn hand is a much worse consequence than the split second it takes to adjust your grip before you finish the last few reps on the bar.

To illustrate this point, take the following three exercises as examples of how your grip changes during each respective exercise:

Toes to Bar
Holding on to the bar while performing high rep toes to bar can be extremely aggressive for the skin. Even if your hands don’t rip, blisters and calluses can develop. Try gripping more with your fingers and hook your thumbs over the bar. This way, less skin will be squeezed between the bar and your fingers, and it will minimize any potential damage.

Bar Muscle Ups
During the full range of motion for this exercise, your hand positioning changes as your body moves up and over the top of the bar.

As a result, you want your thumb above the bar, with the bar resting on your palm and not in your knuckles. In doing so your wrist will be bent forward a fair bit. This will help to make the transition technically easier, and it is more effective at avoiding tearing your hands.

To get the benefits of the false grip, it is unnecessary to go to that extreme, at least when working on an explosive muscle-up (the easiest variation).  You really just want to be sure that your palm is on top of the bar (or close enough that it will naturally rise during the transition).

Hook Grip
With hook grip, you pin your thumb with your fingers to create a tight clamp that helps you to lift the weight. Don’t just squeeze your thumb between your fingers and the bar. Make sure to wrap your thumb around the bar then lock it in with your fingers.

Protecting your thumbs can be a huge advantage for hook grip as well.


Using tape that is too rigid or poor quality will only hinder your performances. During a WOD it can peel off, stick to the barbell and require you to constantly re-adjust it, which can affect your times.
Self-Adherent Tape by WOD welder answers this problem by offering:

Hook grip can be taxing for your thumbs, especially as you grow accustomed to it. The extra support that the Self-Adherent tape offers is a great way to provide additional support throughout each lift.

The increased friction from the material wrapped around your thumb can help to improve grip strength, especially when the weight starts to get heavy.

The Self-Adherent Tape helps to avoid tears and abrasions as a result of the close contact between barbell and skin, because it offers a strong protective layer.


All of these tips work best when you adopt a mindset of using prevention as the best form of cure. Use a combination of these methods and you will keep your hands healthy, supple and hydrated. Optimized for performance.

Well maintained calluses are much less likely to tear, and when you throw in the ability to think intelligently about the techniques you use to grip the barbell, bar, rope, handle, rock (or any other object) during a workout, then you will be able to excel and focus 100% on the workout in front of you without worrying about ripping your hands.

Protect your hands now

Note from the Owner of w.o.d.welder Keegan Pafford:

Across a variety of well-known sports such as baseball, football and soccer there is a common theme for all of them; an off-season. A time when as an athlete you sharpen your skills, get stronger, and prepare your body for battle which in this case would be the respective season of your sport. Equally important during your off-season training is injury prevention. Making sure your body is prepared for what’s to come and limiting the opportunity for injury as much as possible.

I like to look at the sport of CrossFit in a similar way. The season being the CrossFit Open and beyond, the off-season being the remainder of the year. If you are someone who doesn’t compete in CrossFit or doesn’t take part in the Open, you are in an off-season type of training mode year-round. You participate regularly in the programming perhaps even do extra work on the side to continue to achieve goals, but the focus is also on minimizing risk of injury for the sake of longevity in your training routine. Simply put, a routine training day is not the time to push yourself far enough to sustain an injury.

I think one of the biggest points that can be taught when talking about ripped callus prevention or hand care maintenance is that there is a time and a place to push yourself far enough to rip. It is equally as frustrating for a coach when an athlete rips their hands as it is for the person who is now injured. It can take away valuable training time waiting for the injury to heal, and was most likely preventable in the first place. Taking care of your skin outside of the gym is wildly important, but just as important is listening to your body while training.