Hand Care for CrossFitters: Preventing Rips and Tears

As a CrossFitter, you know how demanding and intense the workouts can be. The constant gripping, pulling, and lifting put a tremendous strain on your hands. It’s not uncommon for CrossFitters to experience rips and tears on their palms, which can be painful, debilitating, and take weeks to heal. However, with proper hand care and maintenance, you can minimize the risk of hand injuries and keep your training on track. In this article, we will discuss some essential hand care tips for CrossFitters to prevent rips and tears.

1. Build Calluses

Calluses play a crucial role in protecting your hands during CrossFit workouts. They are thickened areas of skin that develop as a response to repeated friction and pressure. While calluses may seem unsightly, they are your body’s natural defense mechanism against blisters and tears. To build calluses, you need to expose your hands to friction gradually. Start by avoiding gloves or protective hand grips during training and allow your skin to toughen up naturally. Over time, your hands will develop strong and protective calluses to withstand the rigors of CrossFit workouts.

2. Moisturize Regularly

While calluses are advantageous, excessively dry and cracked skin can also lead to rips and tears. It’s important to strike a balance by moisturizing your hands regularly. Use a good quality hand moisturizer or lotion to keep your skin hydrated and supple. Apply moisturizer after workouts and before bed to replenish lost moisture and promote skin healing. Avoid using petroleum-based products as they can diminish your grip strength. Opt for natural ingredients like coconut oil or shea butter for effective moisturization.

3. Maintain Proper Hygiene

Proper hand hygiene is essential to prevent infections and maintain healthy skin. After every workout, wash your hands with mild soap and warm water. This will help get rid of any dirt, sweat, or bacteria that may have accumulated during training. Make sure to dry your hands thoroughly after washing to prevent excess moisture, which can weaken the skin. Additionally, avoid sharing hand care equipment, such as towels or moisturizers, with others to reduce the risk of spreading germs.

4. Gradually Increase Intensity

One common mistake CrossFitters make is pushing their limits too quickly without giving their hands enough time to adapt. Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts to allow your hands to toughen up gradually. This will give your skin a chance to build stronger calluses and reduce the chances of ripping or tearing. It’s important to listen to your body and be mindful of any signs of excessive hand fatigue or discomfort. If you feel your hands are overly sore or on the verge of developing blisters, scale back the intensity and allow for proper recovery.

5. Use Hand Protection

While relying solely on hand protection can hinder the development of calluses, it’s sometimes necessary to prevent severe rips and tears, especially during high-intensity workouts or when you have existing hand injuries. Invest in high-quality protective gear, such as hand grips or gloves, specifically designed for CrossFit training. These accessories provide an extra layer of protection and absorb some of the friction and pressure during exercises. However, remember to still expose your hands to some amount of friction to continue building calluses while using hand protection.

6. Regularly Trim and File Calluses

Even with well-developed calluses, it’s important to maintain them properly. Regularly trim and file down any excessive or uneven calluses to prevent the risk of tearing. Use a pumice stone or a foot file to gently smooth the rough edges of your calluses. Avoid overdoing it, as you still want to maintain some level of protection. Remember to moisturize your hands after trimming and filing to prevent dryness and cracking.

7. Proper Gripping Technique

Using the proper gripping technique can significantly reduce the strain on your hands and minimize the risk of rips and tears. During exercises that require gripping, such as pull-ups or barbell lifts, focus on distributing the pressure across your entire hand instead of solely relying on your fingers. Engage your palms and strengthen your grip by wrapping your thumb around the bar or implement. This distributes the load more evenly and helps prevent excessive friction and pressure on specific areas of your hands.


Hand care should be a priority for every CrossFitter to prevent rips and tears. By building calluses, moisturizing regularly, maintaining proper hygiene, gradually increasing intensity, using hand protection, trimming and filing calluses, and employing proper gripping technique, you can keep your hands in optimal condition for your CrossFit training. Remember, healthy hands mean more efficient workouts, faster progress, and fewer setbacks due to injuries.