No matter how committed you are to preventative hand care, if you enroll in a CrossFit competition where you have to do 50 pull-ups in the morning and 35 bar muscle up in the fourth workout of the day, your hands are going to suffer a serious beating.
This is exactly what happened to my teammate last weekend.
The first day wasn’t the problem. Although he left that evening with torn, raw hands, he lathered them in RIPT’s Quick Fix, topped them off with some Daily Dose before bed, and called it a day.
The problem came the next morning. Although he says his hands heal surprisingly fast, 12 hours is not a sufficient amount of time for any visible signs of healing. And the problem was the competition wasn’t a one-day event.
Day 1 was an individual competition, and Day 2 – today – he had a team competition to get through, and an eager partner (me) that was holding him to it.
Workout one boasted 85 toes to bar between the two of us. Not a huge issue: He taped up and swung from his fingertips only, avoiding most of the pain, as well as doing further damage to his torn hands.
But when the final workout was announced, my teammate’s heart sank. More bar muscle ups – about the worst thing you can do to aggravate your hands.
“I don’t think I can even hang from a bar right now,” he said to me after three workouts that day, one of which had a 4000-meter row and a 60 snatches. “My hands are fucked,” he added, dejected.
Knowing we’d need his bar muscle ups, as mine are far from being greatest asset, I put the pressure on."I need you. We’ll find a way,” I said.
To the pharmacy we went.
We purchased an aggressive number of gauze pads, a giant tub of Vaseline, large cloth band-aids, tape, and more tape, and hurried back to the competition venue.
“Ok, give me your hands,” I insisted.
What happened next was nothing short of miraculous.
First, we doused his hands in Vaseline to help avoid friction. Then came the giant cloth band-aids. Then we layered his hands in gauze, five or six layers thick, to cushion them from the pressure. I pressed on his hand, and he couldn’t feel any pain through layers of gauze the density of a shoulder pad taken from a woman’s blouse.
Then it was time for white tape. We taped lengthwise, and then across his hand for added support. And finally, on top of this, we used the best tape of the modern era – Rock Tape. With its relentless adhesive abilities and its helpful stretchiness, my teammate’s hands were primed and ready for anything the CrossFit Gods tried to throw at him (Otherwise known as a $50 tape job)
Ten minutes until the workout, and it was time to test the tape job.
As he jumped to the bar, I held my breath, bracing myself for a shriek of pain.
But instead, I heard the sweet sound of: “Oh yeah!”
He jumped off the bar with a grin on his face. “We got this sorted all right,” he said.
From there on out, the event went smoothly. My teammate’s hands were nearly numb, and he was able to effortlessly get his hips over the bar performing bar muscle up after bar muscle up, with grace and ease. For 12 minutes, his hands were blissfully unaware of what was actually going on under the ten layers of tape.
As we stood on the podium after winning the competition, he said to me. “Desperate times call for desperate tape jobs. Success.”