A CrossFitter’s Hand (Repair) Job

24 Jun

All of this CrossFitting with barbells and pullup bars is really doing a number on my lady hands.  Chalk, blood, rips, blisters, calluses… it’s all so very lady-like, really.  This really wouldn’t be such a problem if it wasn’t so taboo, so faux pas, to wear gloves at a gym.

So now, in addition to the already lengthy nightly routine of face-washing, contact-cleansing, and teeth-brushing, I have to add a hand repair regimen that has me sleeping with a tub of Vaseline and a pair of old socks on my nightstand.  (It’s not as sexy as it sounds.)

Here is how I repair skin on my palms after an exceptionally gnarly WOD.  (Part of this I took from the CrossFit Journal but the other part I learned from chatting with a former collegiate gymnast.)

1.  Immediately after the rip, I cleanse my hands with soap and water.

2.  I cut off any dangling pieces of blister skin.

3.  Then I slab some Neosporin or antibacterial ointment on the “wound.” (If it bleeds, it’s a wound right?  It’s a barbell battle wound!  Okay, maybe not that dramatic but it hurts nonetheless.)

4.  Once the Neosporin wears off, I cut open a Vitamin E pill and squeeze some of the pill’s oil onto my blister.  I do this throughout the day to prevent my blister from getting too dry… then it tends to crack open and it hurts like a mofo.

5.  Then to the FUN part:  I take a WHOLE BUNCH of Vaseline and smear it all over my hands until they are a hot, greasy, Kentucky Fried Chicken mess.

6.  Somehow, usually with the help of Ryan, I slip my hands into tube socks so that Vaseline doesn’t rub off all over the place while I’m sleeping.

And that’s IT.  When I wake up, my skin is super supple and my blisters are usually repaired enough to the point where they don’t burn when I try to grab something.  It’s a process a little more complex than good ol’ fashioned lotion but, hey, it works for me and I can get back to WODding.


16 Responses to “A CrossFitter’s Hand (Repair) Job”

  1. Ben June 24, 2010 at 18:54 #

    You blistering this much seems a little strange. Maybe you should look into a Hangboard/fingerboard, instead of a pull up bar. The other obvious benefit would be stronger fingers too.

    Filing down your calluses so they don’t snag and tear could help.

    • jessicamacho June 24, 2010 at 19:24 #

      I agree… I do tend to blister more than most. When I started linking my kipping pullups, I noticed the blistering got worse. I suspect that it’s due to the friction caused by the rubber coating on the pullup bar.

      Yes, I file down my calluses! This helps a lot! When I don’t file them down they get big and then it hurts on the bar even before blisters develop.

      Do you put a hangboard up against a wall?

      • Ben June 24, 2010 at 20:05 #

        You usually put a 3/4″ panel over the dry wall, with deck screws going through to the studs, and the hangboard is mounted directly to that. You typically put them over a doorway. Otherwise you have no room to do a pull up.

        On my SickyGnar site there is a link to Backcountry’s 4th of July Sale. I wanted a new one, so I know they have a good variety to choose from right now. Something like 7 different ones. I like the wider ones because I have wide shoulders. Ryan might like a wider one as well.

        One last thought… Are you rocking too much when you are doing pull ups?

  2. Ben July 10, 2010 at 22:26 #

    I put up a Climb On! Skin Repair Bar product review at Sicky Gnar. After you’ve tried it, let me know what you think.


    • jessicamacho July 23, 2010 at 06:42 #

      Climb On! is on my To-Buy-at-REI list now.

      • Ben September 29, 2010 at 03:21 #

        So did the climb on work for you?

  3. madfattergirl January 21, 2011 at 14:20 #


  4. Mike B. June 20, 2011 at 13:40 #

    Thanks for the tips! My latest rip took over a month to heal.

    • jessicamacho June 20, 2011 at 22:58 #

      Right on. I know the feeling – it took my rips nearly 3 weeks to heal. Finally a former gymnast taught me this trick and I was able to get back on track.

  5. Alana June 20, 2011 at 13:46 #

    Have you tried taping your hands? There are some great tape techniques, if you see a WOD with a ton of Pullups, pre emptive tape may help. Just a thought? I find taping after I rip helps to get back on the bar quick in the next day or two.

    • jessicamacho June 20, 2011 at 22:57 #

      Oh, yes, youbetcha! I don’t know what was up, but when I first began CF I would rip through the tape. I sometimes do pre-emptive tape these days but above all, my calluses have saved the day. Thanks for the tip!

  6. cat June 20, 2011 at 14:27 #

    I’ll save you 4 steps…preparation H! It numbs the wound and by morning, you are good as new.

    • jessicamacho June 20, 2011 at 22:56 #

      Interesting! I’ll keep this in mind – never would’ve thought!

  7. micsmith June 20, 2011 at 15:47 #

    and will someone please tell me why it’s a faux pas to wear gloves?

    • jessicamacho June 20, 2011 at 23:01 #

      I’m guessing gloves are a glo-bo pretty body builder thing?? I’ve never gotten a direct answer on this question either. But hard-earned calluses act like gloves and protect the hands. But, calluses won’t develop if one is constantly using gloves.

  8. @PamelaMKramer - A Renaissance Woman June 21, 2011 at 08:46 #

    Awesome repair guide! I was using the petroleum on my toes because I run and I need lots of repair. Now I can just work on my hands too.

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