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There are two types of people in the CrossFit world: those who wear gymnastics grips, and those who don’t. One group is not more right or wrong than the other; they just have different preferences. Whether you wear grips or not, the most important thing to keep in mind is that protecting your hands should be a top priority. We’ve all been there, whether it’s been an ungodly amount of toes-to-bar, pull-ups, or bar muscle-ups, we’ve all experienced bloody hands. Rips are a common result of many CrossFit workouts, but there are several things you can do in advance to prevent them.

The most obvious solution to avoid ripped hands is to wear some sort of gymnastics grips. However, oftentimes these can also get in the way when doing other movements, such as barbell cycling or kettlebell swings. To avoid this, some athletes simply turn their grips around so they flap on the back side of their wrists, leaving their hands free. The real debate is over what brand of gymnastics grips is best. There are tons of different kinds on the market and it can often be overwhelming to choose which is the right one for you. If you need a comical, yet accurate review of different brands of grips, check out Jacob Heppner’s YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI2_C_0yfTM

If you are the type of athlete who likes to feel the cold steel of the rig on your skin and turns up your nose at the thought of wearing any sort of hand protection (which is not wrong by the way), then there are a couple of different things you can do to prevent the build up of calluses. First of all, you may need to adjust the way you grip the bar. If you currently grip the bar with your palm, try gripping it at the base of your fingers. As a result, less skin is squished between the bar and your fingers and you will be able to move with the bar a lot easier. Secondly, avoid having a death grip on the bar when you are stringing multiple reps of pull-ups or toes-to-bar together. Instead, try regripping at the top of each rep.

Unfortunately, calluses are inevitable. However, there are a couple of different things you can do to help prevent them from turning into agonizing rips mid-workout. First, as they start to form hardened ridges on your hands it is imperative to file or shave these down. The best time to do this is right after you get out of the shower when your calluses are a bit swollen and soft. You can use a pumice stone or a regular razor and you want to file them until you no longer feel any hard edges. Your hand should feel like it’s one consistent layer. The second thing you can do is apply moisturizer every night before you go to bed. This keeps the calluses from hardening and puts moisture back into your hands after chalk (if you use it) has dried them out.

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