The Rip Heard Around the World: A Regretful CrossFit Athlete
CrossFit athlete Emily Beers learned the hard way the importance of taking care of her hands. Here is her story...
"It happened during the first event of the 2013 Canada West Regional competition- Jackie – a workout with 30 pull-ups.
On my fifteenth or so pull-up, my skin started to shift. By my last pull up, I had a deep gash that was making both my hand and the bar bloody.
I didn’t look at my hand until I finished the workout, but I knew it was bad.
Sure enough, a giant piece of skin was flapping around a two-inch wide rip.
‘I should have known better,’ I thought to myself. My fresh rip had been a thick callus just waiting to rip. I had looked at it periodically all week, but it didn’t occur to me that I should do anything about it.
Now here I was, with six workouts to go over the course of the next two days, suffering with a crater-like raw rip on my hand. Just thinking about the 100 chest to bar pull-ups I was supposed to do the next day made me wince with discomfort and dread.
Everyone immediately started giving me advice, sometimes contradictory.
“Crazy glue it back together.”
“Put some second skin on it.”
“Cut the piece of skin off.”
“No, leave the piece of skin on and glue it back down.”
“Tape it up.”
“Use ROCK tape.”
“Make sure you put some band-aids and second skin under the tape.”
“No, let it dry out. It has to breathe.”
“Don’t dry it out – use polysporin.”
It went on and on, and the rumour started to spread.
“I heard you ripped your hands,” asked another competitor.
Pretty soon, I was doing interviews with CrossFit media about the state of my hands. I noticed Saturday morning of my competition, my allegedly dramatic rip had even made its way into a story on the CrossFit Games website.
After spending $40 plus on potential pain alleviation supplies at London Drugs, I showed up the next morning with a crazy glued hand topped with second skin. Band-aids were placed on top of the second skin followed by ROCK TAPE, which adhered nicely to my hand.
I made it through the 100 chest to bar pull-ups, but it was painful.
By the end of the workout, my hands were completely raw, and I counted eight significant rips between both hands.
Ultimately, though, it was my fault. I did little all year to prevent these rips from forming in the first place. And had I taken any necessary precautions and used RIPT Skin Systems' 3 Phase hand care kit, my tragic-looking hands could have blissfully avoided most of the pain."
Tips from a CrossFit Athlete
Prevention is the best medicine...
Using is pumice stone in the shower when your skin is soft and the stone is saturated with water will help you easily grind down your thick and dry calluses. The trick is to smooth them down, not take them off. You want to keep just enough callus to protect your hands, and keep them tough, but keep it thin enough that your body can keep it hydrated and pliable. RIPT Skin Systems' GRIND STONE is the ultimate tool for this as its fine grit allows you to essentially wet-sand your calluses with ultimate control over how much skin you take off. Callus shavers and volcanic pumice stones tend to gauge your skin and leave it more sensitive than before you ripped.
The best way to tape your hands :
a). Cut a piece of athletic tape about 10 inches long, and split that in half, lengthwise.
b). Place the tape along your palm lengthwise, then wrap it around your finger and then back down your palm, ending at your wrist. If you tape across your palm, the tape will simply peel off or roll up, so it’s important to tape lengthwise.
c). Repeat this until the entire rip (and areas that feel they might soon rip) is covered and slightly cushioned by the tape.
d). Put a strip of tape around your wrist to secure the ends of the tape from your palms.
The result looks similar to grips that gymnasts wear on bars.
Check out this video from CrossFit Los Angeles to master hand taping for CrossFit:
Use the right tape!
Use a super adhesive tape that remains stuck to your skin even when you add chalk and sweat to the equation. A tape that stretches works best. ROCK TAPE works well for this.
Give your palms a break!
Try holding onto the bar during pull-ups, toes to bars, or knees to elbows with your fingers instead of the palms of your hands. This will alleviate the stress and rubbing on your palms, where rips are often the deepest and most painful. It might take a while to get used to fingertip control, but it really will prevent those nasty rips deep in your palms. Little finger rips are easier to deal with. And you can also tape around your fingers to avoid this.