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Hand Care Tips for the Rip Virgin

Posted by: Emily Beers

Do you remember your first rip?

Were you excited because it felt like a rite of passage into CrossFit bad-ass-ness? Did you freak out because a blood blister was popping from your palm, or loose skin was dangling from your wrist?

As a CrossFit athlete and coach for six years—and a gymnast when I was growing up—rips have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. But for many people, their first experience with torn skin happens at the age of 35 after a big pull-up, barbell or KB workout.

It’s always the same scene for me—the coach. When a person experiences his inaugural rip, he or she comes running to me legitimately confused what to do next. 

Often, the freaking out client shows me a rip so small, so superficial, I almost laugh. Other times, though, there’s a bubbling blood blister to deal with. And other times still, I find myself staring into a crater on my client’s palm—concern in his eyes.

Then the questions come:

“Should I pop the blood blister?”

“Should I cut the skin off?”

“Should I cover up the rip, or let it dry out?”

Although the answers to these questions are like diet advice—all over the map—as someone who has been doing hand sports my whole life, here’s my best advice:

To Pop or not to Pop: 

Popping a water or blood blister tends to cause a bit of pain in the moment and leaves my hand feeling tender and vulnerably for a day. At the same time, popping the blister puts it on the path to healing. If I plan to workout the following day, I like to pop my blister, douse it in RIPT’s QUICK FIX, and let it air dry. The next day, I tape it up to protect it when I’m working out.

But if I’m taking a day off the next day— or at least am not planning on swinging on a bar—then I find leaving the blister be is the right call for me. 

When I leave it be, sometimes it pops on its own, and by the time I’m back on the bars two or three days later, it’s usually somewhat dry, and not at all painful. The skin of the former blister usually rips the next time I touch a bar, but because it’s no longer wet and raw, it barely even affects my bar work, and causes me zero pain.

To Cut or not to Cut?

Yes to the cut. If you don’t cut the skin off, the skin often gets pulled further and deeper the next time you hit the bars or barbells, causing a deeper rip. This only increases the pain and aggravation and slows healing as now you have a more serious rip to deal with.

After I cut the skin off, I use RIPT’s GRINDSTONE to sand around the edges of the rip, to thin out the callous and eliminate the chance of my rip ripping further.

To Cover or not to Cover?

If my rip is really tender and I need to use my hands during the day, I’ll lather it up with RIPT’s QUICK FIX, and then cover it up with a band-aid or tape. But I find if rips never get a chance to air out, then they stay raw and tender too long. 

Sleeping is a great time to air our my rips. But there’s a fine line between airing out and drying out to the point of cracking, so I throw some DAILY DOSE on my open rips and sleep like a baby.


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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