The Crossfitter’s Guide to Protecting your Hands

Prevention is the best cure: Protect your hands and improve your Crossfit performances

CROSSFITTER’S GUIDE: HOW HAND RIPS HAPPEN

Rips, tears and abrasions happen because human skin is softer that the hard metal and wood that Crossfit equipment is made from. When we workout, it takes time for our hands to adapt to these conditions and pressures, but eventually they do. Despite that, rips and tears happen to Crossfitters of all levels, from newbie to pro.

THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF RIPPING YOUR HANDS

Apart from the obvious – and irritating – pain that ripped skin on your hands causes, they also have many other drawbacks that will affect your overall progress.

  • Hand rips hinder performance
  • They distract your attention from focusing 100% on the present Wod or competition
  • The affected athlete has to either tape up their injuries whilst they train, or wait for the wounds to heal.
  • Hand rips from one exercise will slow progress in other areas. E.g. If you tear your hands doing Muscle Ups, then the next time you move onto heavy cleans, you will not be performing at 100%.
Heavy Cleans with Repfit Gymnastic Wraps
RepFit gymnastic wraps keep your hands in optimal condition

WHY USING GRIPS WILL IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE

1 Stops the skin grinding against the wooden and metal surfaces of bars, barbells, kettlebells and rings

Constant abrasive contact between your hands and the wood and metal of various different pieces of Crossfit equipment is the main cause of injury to any Crossfitter’s hands. A total newbie with no experience of handling a barbell or working with kettlebells will take time to toughen their hands to the pressures of these activities. Whether you have just begun, or are a seasoned Crossfitter, gymnastic wraps such as RepFit’s give your hands a break. They mean that you can choose when you will, and will not, wear them, and so give you control over how much exposure your palms have to the harder steel and wood of the Box equipment.

2 Stops athletes worrying about skin rips, so they can focus 100 % on the movement and WOD at hand

Being able to focus completely is much more difficult than it seems. Nerves, unexpected events or a last minute change to a competition workout are just a few small examples that can disrupt your focus. You need to concentrate on what you can control, and let everything else slide: Calm in the mind and Unwavering in your determination. Being confident that your gear is there to protect you, and help improve your performances is a sensible step towards athletic peace of mind.

Crossfitter rowing
Prevent injury and progress faster

3 Increased grip strength

Knowing when to use grips is an underrated skill. Sometimes when you are pushing the furthest extremes of your limits, a little extra psychological and physical push can be exactly what is needed in order to achieve a new PR or WOD time.

On all movements, you should have a firm, powerful grip on the bar. This will help to activate your body and maintain control throughout the entire movement. Having the bar slip away or slide through the palm of your hand and fingers is a quick fire route to hand rips and tears. Wraps will allow you to maintain good control over the bar, and augment the natural strength of your grip.

4 Increased grip endurance

The 16.3 Open Workout was a punishing test of grip endurance, with a 7 minute AMRAP of bar muscle ups and power snatches. Wearing wraps for a workout such as this is a great way to increase your performance, and was the go to choice for a large number of Crossfitters during the CrossFit Open.

It is not in the first few rounds when your grip is being put to the test, but at the end. When you are totally exhausted, yet you continue because you have the heart, engine and guts to do so. Then it comes down to the simple fact that you need to hold on, and keep powering forward until the WOD is complete. This is where your grip must endure!

For workouts including long and / or multiple sets of Pull Ups, Toes-to-Bar or Muscle-Ups, then Gymnastic wraps can offer an incredibly helpful aid that will increase your grip endurance.

Crossfitters guide to preventing hand rips
Wraps are an essential part of any Crossfitter’s gear

PREVENTION IS THE BEST CURE

Calluses

These are (usually) a result of barbell work, and form naturally to protect the fingers and the palms of your hand. It is always a good idea to file these before they become brittle, and to treat your hands to keep the skin supple, and therefore much less likely to split or tear.

Chalking up

Chalk dries out the skin of your hands. When you mix in the sweat that (should) be a pretty regular feature in your workouts, with the steel of a bar or barbell, then it is clear why rips can happen so frequently. Wraps allow you to negotiate this by giving you a second skin to chalk up. They are still sensitive to your grip, but give you a break from direct skin on wood / metal contact.

LEARNING, PROGRESSING AND PERFECTING

Being a Crossfitter is a constantly process of learning and progressing. Every day we can learn new skills, improve existing ones, improve our nutrition, mindset and goals, and the way that we use our gear is no different.

‘Wraps are an essential piece of kit because they present you with a way of avoiding rips and adding to your grip strength and endurance when you need it most.’

Nothing beats the feeling of chalking up your hands before storming in to smash a new Snatch PR or Barbell lift, but a smart Crossfitter knows that having your wraps ready always gives you the option to use them when you need to.

Crossfitter's guide repfit kettlebell
Wraps help whilst you learn new grips and techniques

HELPING WITH GRIP TECHNIQUES

With movements such as Bar Muscle Ups or Kettlebell Snatches, your grip on the bar / handle changes during the movement.

Kettlebell Snatch

Here your starting grip is overhand, as you reach down to the floor and grip the handle of the object to begin the movement. If you compare this to the way that you hold the kettlebell overhead at the end of the movement, once you have risen to stand, the positioning of the kettlebell in your hand has changed. This occurs DURING the movement, and you must adapt your grip to accommodate the change.

When you first learn these kinds of movements, you need to be able to focus fully on the movement itself, and the gymnastic wrap is the perfect way to clear any thoughts or worries that the prospect of tears and rips might place into your mind. Wrap up first and learn the movement properly. From this point onwards, you can decide when and how you want to use the Grips to your best advantage.

TRAIN INTELLIGENTLY

Imagine looking at the whiteboard for tomorrows WOD and seeing Kettlebell work, Pull Ups, Toes-to-Bar and Cleans. You can be fairly sure that your hands are about to take a pummeling – and your grip will be torched by the end – looks like a good time to get your RepFit Wraps on so you can throw down!

Reps Gymnastic Wraps are designed in Germany by RepFit, for Men and Women who want to boost their Wods and take their Crossfit performances to the next level.

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About The Author

Editor-In-Chief at BOXROX. I come from a background of rugby and weightlifting. Growing up in the English Lake District, I spent a great deal of time swimming in its stunning lakes and rivers. In 2015 my brothers and I became the first people to swim the 145km length of the River Eden, from source to mouth, in 9 days. We also swam the Corryvreckan whirlpool, the third largest in the world, and Crossfit is a huge part of my training for these events.

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