Got Rip?

The most effective way to tape your hands to prevent rips.

Has this ever happened to you?  You jump on the bars and do a round of kipping pullups.  Just as you’re swinging down under the bar you feel a tearing sensation in your hand. “Oh no!” you think as you stare down at a flap of skin the size of a dime that is bleeding in the palm of your hand. You’ve ripped!

Great, just what you needed, especially at the beginning of a week of tough WODs. Why did it have to happen now? How are you going to concentrate on doing your best in the WOD tomorrow with the pain of a rip constantly making itself felt? You know that you are capable of doing exercises with your hand taped, but that edge of pain can be just enough to take your mind off doing the best that you can.

Chances are this situation has happened to all of us at some point in our CrossFit careers.  It is almost certain that all of us have ripped during workouts and have been told by the coach to clean it up and get back to work on our WOD. This situation is prone to happening, especially during a competition, and we need to learn how to deal with it so we can continue to compete effectively.

Rips are a common, though painful occurrence in the sports of gymnastics and weightlifting. Everyone gets them from the beginner to the elite level fitness enthusiast. For the novice athlete, rips can occur because the person’s grip on the pullup bar is too tight through fear or lack of familiarity with the skill. Advanced athletes usually rip because they allow an excess of callous to develop on their hands. There is a belief that rubbing chalk dust on our hands will prevent friction blisters. But this is a misconception. Although it helps us with that all important no-slip grip, chalk actually increases friction, and the result can be blisters. Therefore, stay away from using too much chalk.

A rip is a technically a separation of the upper layers of skin in the palm of the hand from lower layers of blood rich tissue. An excessively tight grip or heavy callous buildup allows this skin to bunch up as you are swinging around the bar. The force of the swing pulls the upper layer of skin away from the lower layers causing a pocket to form which may become a blister or fill with blood. Whichever occurs, you can be SURE that a rip is imminent.  To fend off this occurrence, prevention is the key.  I think we all know that the rip can be as disabling as a big injury. A CrossFitter’s ripped hand can be compared to a blister on the heel of a marathon runner – a disastrous situation that can ruin the race.

For the novice CrossFitter, simple training in appropriate swing and pullup techniques and grip change will help alleviate several rips. For the more advanced CrossFitter, a daily regimen of hand care must be put into effect to minimize rips and keep bar workout times more effective.

Before You Rip

  • After every workout wash your hands with soap and water, then rub hand lotion into the front and back of your hands.
  • Prevent excess callous from building up by rubbing the affected areas with a pumice stone. To find the areas of excess callous, soak the hands in water for about ten minutes and you will be able to notice areas on the palm that retain a whitish color while the rest of the skin stays pink. Use the pumice stone only as necessary. Excessive use will cause the hands to be constantly sore during workouts.
  • Rub hand lotion into your hands at night before going to sleep and, if necessary, when you get up in the morning. Always keep your hands moist.

When You First Rip

  • Remove the excess skin carefully.  Any rips on the skin that are not all the way off need to be removed by tearing it to one side, careful not to make the rip any larger. If the rip is not taken off, this flap of loose skin will harden and sting every time it presses against raw skin underneath the cut. A sterilized pair of nail clippers or scissors (to prevent infection) should work nicely for removal, then wash with soap and water.
  • Don’t put hand lotion on a fresh rip. Martin advises that you cover the rip with some “over-the-counter” antibiotic ointment rather than Vaseline so the injured area has a chance to breathe. Some pharmacies carry products called “Second Skin” or “NuSkin” that comes in patch or liquid form and may be placed directly over the rip.
  • Before going to sleep that night, put some antibiotic ointment on the rip and cover your hand with a sock or glove with the fingers cut out to keep the ointment off the sheets and out of your eyes. This treatment should continue until the rip is covered with new skin.

After You Have Ripped

  • Once new skin has covered the rip, continue using hand lotion as described above. If the rip is allowed to dry up, the skin will crack and you will continue to rip in the same spot. Sometimes rubbing Chapstick over a drying rip can also prevent cracking.
  • If you must workout again after ripping, don’t cover the rip with the sticky side of the tape. Instead, lay a small piece of tape sticky-side-up over the rip so it’s that which comes in contact with the tape you are using to protect your hand. Tip: The tape may roll and bunch around your hand during the WOD, so wrap the tape around your hand vertically. Start from your wrist, going up to the base of your finger to cover the rip, wrapping it around the back of your finger, then back again to your wrist, and over the rip.  Repeat once or twice until you’re confident it won’t come off.
  • On nights when you have particularly hard workouts on bars and your hands are hot and throbbing, it is a good idea to soak them in cool water or hold ice cubes in your hands until they melt. This will help the inflamed tissues to cool off. Just before a competition you can deaden the pain of a rip by keeping an ice pack on it, or soaking the hands in a slush bath of ice water for ten minutes. This will help keep your concentration on the routine instead of the pain of the rip.

I’ll leave you with a saying I’ve heard, “Discipline weighs ounces, while regret weighs a ton.” Discipline yourself to take care of your hands before and after every workout so that when your chance comes to finish strong in a competition, you will be fully prepared.

Today’s Workout:

Today we have something different due to yesterday’s wod being a pretty hard one.  If you did Tuesday’s wod, then you do Option 1 below.  If you didn’t do Tuesday’s wod, you get to do Option 2.  By the way, this is non-negotiable!  You need the recovery if you pushed it on Tuesday and you need the cardio if you didn’t do the Tuesday wod, so everyone wins!!

Option 1: Did “Airforce” on Tuesday

Buy In3x Turkish get ups x 3/side, 100 skips, 5 overhead squats with the bar, 10 light swings

WOD – Goats Everywhere

Choose 2-3 strength – related goats and perform them for 5×5, working on technique not strength.  Keep weights light to moderate.  Don’t do them for time, just relax and find the proper positions at top and bottom.

Cash-out:  Tabata Row (low score in METRES)

Option 2:  Didn’t do “Airforce” wod on Tuesday:

Buy-in: 3x Turkish get ups x 3/side, 100 skips, 5 overhead squats with the bar, 10 light swings

WOD:  “Thrurpees”

For time – 3 rounds of:

  • 15 thrusters (65/95)
  • 10 burpees
  • 200m run

Zone 3: scale thrusters to 55/75

Zone 2: scale thrusters to 45/55

Zone 1: scale thrusters as needed

Cash Out – Tabata Row (low score in METRES)

Running WOD

8K recovery run

Please post in the comments when and where you are doing your run if you would like people to join you!

100 Day Burpee Challenge:

Burpees today: 79

Buy-in: 3160


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