There is nothing more frustrating than having your training, or worst, competition, affected by torn calluses, exposed flesh and painful hands.
Whether you're completely new to weightlifting, an experienced lifter training >4 times per week or an avid crossfitter, I've no doubt you know exactly what I am referring to.
No matter how much you try and focus on a technical aspect of the repetition, its difficult to ignore that stinging sensation as you place your hands around the barbell or pull up bar.
Well, to be blunt...
Painful hands are completely avoidable if you take care of your skin.
I do remember once being told years ago, that the harder your skin the better. This was regarding the prevention of blisters on the feet. In fact, I was even advised to stick my feet in a bucket of white spirit to toughen the skin!
This is not good advice... At all.
The softer your skin, the better.
The reason you experience tears is because the edge of hard skin or callus catches or rubs against the bar and separates from hard skin.
If you avoid having hard skin in the first place, there is no hard edge to catch on the bar.
Here are a few tips to help you with your skin care:
Tape your hands. The five minutes it takes to tape your hands up is worth it. You should be able to see where you're prone to 'hot-spots' from previous sessions.
Use chalk when lifting. From the start of your session until the end. Even when warming up. This will improve friction between your skin and the bar to prevent rubbing.
Wash your hands with moisturising soap immediately after you finish lifting. Chalk will dry your skin out and contribute to the build up of calluses.
Use a pumice stone, skin file or sandpaper to remove all hard skin. It is good practise to do this after every workout, but as a minimum should be done 2-3 times per week.
Apply a high quality balm to the locations prone to dry skin and calluses. I prefer to use bag balm (which is actually a moisturiser for cow's udders - its great, promise!) or ClimbOn's mini bar (pictured - it smells great and is easy to apply).
This may appear like a monotonous task at first, but trust me, taking just 5 minutes after every session to take care of the skin on your hands is truly worth it.