Ah, the CrossFit Game Open Season is once again upon us.
The haze of chalk dust is in the air, sweat drops glisten on the rugged rubber floors. The nervous adrenaline flows so thick innocent bystanders can almost taste it. Dave Castro's cryptic social media vagaries haunt the dreams of top contenders who have been practicing their inverted, underwater, target shooting for months... blindfolded and holding a dumbbell in one hand no less.
The average Joe's among us have been diligently working on getting our first muscle-up, toes-to-bar and even kipping pull-up in anticipation of moving just a few thousand places up the leaderboard this year.
Then, disaster strikes.
You're working with your coach on perfecting your front-C in an effort to make your bar muscle-ups more efficient and BAM! Deep palm flapper. As the sweat and chalk mix with blood and the stark reality of going into the for-sure-to-have-pull-up CrossFit Games Open with an injury starts to sink in.
As the cloud of self-pitty starts to rain down, the middle-aged soccer mom (who always seems to beat you on the leaderboard) saunters over with a smirk on her face and delivers a devastating piece of advice:
Should have bought a RIPT kit... bro
The truth is hard to hear sometimes.
"What is a RIPT kit?" you naively ask.
Only everything you need to turn your hands into the high performance racing slicks that you need your hands to be to even have a chance at completing the Open un-shredded.
Did Michael Schumacher dominate Formula 1 Racing for so long by constantly beating the piss out of his tires until they exploded. No (well maybe sometimes). The point is, your hands are your primary contact point with moveable objects, and surmountable obstacles. How much time and money do you spend picking dressings for your other primary contact point? Custom Hello Kitty Reebok Nano 11s ain't cheap. Why do most people not even give an inkling of a thought to how they treat their hands? Or worse, see it as some kind of trophy to embrace the world with a gnarly, oozing, blistered... you get the idea.
Time to get over yourself and start taking proper care of your tools.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe - Abraham Lincoln
So now that you've seen the light, and our hypothetical story above hasn't actually happened yet, what should you be doing to prepare your hands for the Open?
- Go get yourself a RIPT Kit Bro - The kit comes with everything you need to get your pre-Open hand care routine started.
- When your kit arrives in the mail, pull out the Grindstone and stick it in your shower.
- Begin the process of forming a healthy hand care habit (outlined below) and watch as your hands transform into natural gloves the way nature intended.
This is the stage you're hopefully in. No problems yet, but starting to develop some thick calluses on high-friction bar contact points. The signs you're looking are little white fleck of dead skin forming around the edged of the calluses and the constant urge to pick and bite at them.
If your hands look like this (or worse) it's time to follow the direction in the video above. You're trying to achieve a shape similar to an upside-down dinner plate. Thickest (we do want protection from the callus) in the middle, and contouring to a tapered edge that is thin and flexible. This tip right here will take care of 90% of your hand care needs. The Grindstone is your new hand care best friend, and hardly a shower should go by without a few swipes and polishes from it's fine grit surfaces.
Top this step off with a quick swipe of your Daily Dose hand balm to keep things hydrated, and your good to go. Rips be stressin' like Rich when Mat Fraser walks in the gym.
So you went and did it. You went for just one more rep, when your hands were telling you not to. Don't worry, we've got your covered (literally).
The #1 thing to accomplish with a new hand tear or callus rip is to make sure that the new layer of epithelial (fresh skin) cells are stretched out when they heal. We will now share with you our (patent pending) method for fixing your hands...quick.
Here's what you're going to need:
- A paint stir stick, long ruler. mixing spoon, etc.
- A roll of athletic or hockey tape.
- Some Quick Fix Hand Balm.
- A buddy who owes you a friendly favour.
Pro Tip: Perform this procedure before bed with clean dry hands.
Lay out 2 pieces of tape. 1 the length of your paint stir stick, and 2 about 1/2 that length.
Place the stir stick on the back of your hand lengthwise and tape around the wrist and middle fingers. Make sure you stretch your hand wide open during the process. This splint job, if done correctly should hold you hand wide open, preventing you from closing it and making a fist. Some wiggle room is okay.
Now that your hand is stretched wide open, jam a bunch of Quick Fix Balm in to the wound. This will fill it with a bunch of skin nourishing ingredients (Paleo of course), cover the wound to protect if from the elements, and keep it hydrated while it's healing.
Overnight, a thin layer of new skin will form, but becuase you slept with your rip stretched wide open, you will now be able to open and close your hand (i.e. use it normally) without cracking or re-tearing. Typically it's these re-rips that make the healing process take so long. Each one is a fresh tear and will require the process to start again from the beginning.
The moral of the story here: Don't be a hero with your hands, so you CAN be a hear in the Open workouts.