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When Your Child Rips Their Hands On Gymnastics Bars...

Posted by: Emily Beers

Kira Hallwood

 Long-time gymnastics coach and former competitive gymnast Kira Hallwood deals with children—sometimes as young as 6 years old—suffering from bar-induced blisters and rips on their palms and fingers.

Although most gymnasts wear grips, the younger ones don’t, and event grips don’t always prevent painful skin carnage. 



Top tips to repair gymnastic rips

Hallwood’s prescription for gymnastics hand care when a young gymnast gets a blood blister or ‘water’ blister - meaning a rip is inevitable - is as follows:

Step 1:

Poke the blister with a clean needle and let the fluid drain out.

Step 2:

Once it turns into a rip, cut the loose skin off at the base of the hand, especially if it’s flapping around (if it doesn’t get cut off at the base and a profusion of skin remains on the hand, the chance for it to keep ripping larger, deeper and more painfully, increases).

Step 3:

Cover the ripped area with a cloth band-aid (plastic band-aids will never stay on, especially if it’s on the palm of the hand) and tape if necessary.

Step 4:

Keep moisturizing it to prevent the skin from cracking.  You can try RIPT QUICK FIX which will help speed healing, and our DAILY DOSE which will keep the skin from drying out and cracking.  This always leads to deeper rips.

RIPT gymnastics hand care treatment kit

Other tips to repair gymnast's hands

Other tips for young gymnasts, coaches and parents to repair rips:

  • Avoid BARS for one day (if the rip is more serious):  Especially avoid great swinging elements. (What? A day off bars? Unheard of for a gymnast). Substitute bar training sessions with straps on the bars or floor bars drills.
  • When to tape up:  If you wear dowel grips, taping the hands is less necessary. If you don’t use dowel grips, taping them is an option to prevent further damage and decrease pain. If the rip is bleeding, definitely tape up, even when you train on the other apparatuses to prevent a blood-soaked beam.

Gymnast's ripped hands

Image: A sight every gymnast has seen...

  • Use a pumice stone on your calluses:  RIPT’s GRINDSTONE works very well to keep the calluses thin and pliable to stop more blisters from developing. It's a synthetic pumice stone which helps to 'polish' the callus versus natural pumice stones which can be too abrasive. The best time to pumice stone those rips is in the shower when the skin is soft.


Image: GRINDSTONE - Sandpaper for the hands

  • Attitude:
“We try to act like the rip is impressive and a good thing so they don’t cry.” - Coach Hallwood

After all, there will be many more hands rips to come in the life of a gymnast.  Hopefully, these tips will help to reduce the likelihood and speed up the recovery time.

Posted by Emily Beers on

Emily Beers, hailing from Vancouver, crosses bridges by being not only a CrossFit athlete, but also a journalist. She has been a regular contributor to the CrossFit Journal since 2011. She qualified and competed at her first CrossFit Games as an individual athlete in 2014.

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