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Old 05-23-2006, 03:14 PM   #1
Jim Lark
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Okay, I'm getting really tired ripping the snot out of my palms and the base of my fingers. My pull-ups are actually being affected by the fact that I have callouses that keep getting ripped when I do more than around 70 pull-ups. I just did Angie and after 70 pull-ups, ripped 2 callouses on my right hand and opened up the pasm of my left hand.

So, have any of you used the gymastics grips? -

At our CrossFit facility, the bar is a large diameter (closer to the diameter of a gymnastics high bar vs. a regular pull-up bar). I just want to stop ripping my hands.

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Old 05-23-2006, 04:10 PM   #2
Jim Lark
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Here's what I'm talking about:
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Old 05-23-2006, 04:12 PM   #3
Roger Harrell
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Understand that the primary purpose of grips is to keep you on the bar, not to protect your hands, though it will help a lot as far as ripping on pullups. A gymnastics high bar is 2.8 cm in diameter (just over 1"), the uneven bars are thicker. Not sure what the diameter of a "regular pull-up" bar is.

As you work on the bar more your hands will toughen up. You need to develop deep flat calouses, and learn how to grip without trying to squeeze water out of the bar. Just hook the bar with your fingers. Ripping is a part of bar work, but will reduce significantly over time. Dan (a 52 year old big guy I train) used to rip 3-4 times each time we did high bar, this lasted for 3 years. Doesn't happen much any more.
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Old 05-23-2006, 06:04 PM   #4
Kelly Moore
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Hey Jim,

That hand picture looks real familiar! Between kipping pullups and kettlebell snatches my hands are usually hamburger too. I file, smooth and treat my hands almost daily but I'm not having much luck. I must have the world's wimpiest skin.

Just make sure you clean/disinfect any skin tears you get. I suffered through a severe staph infection the docs think happened when I opened up my lip on a sandbag zipper or through the tears in my hands. That was several months ago; my hands still feel like the bones are grinding into the bar during pullups (very painful) and I seem to fatigue more quickly than I did pre-infection.
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Old 05-23-2006, 06:12 PM   #5
Pierre Auge
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Roger nice hearing from you, yeah the tearing I found at least for myself has been getting better and better with time. But at first I found the amount of kettlebell work I was doing and the large number of pull-ups I was working really made my hands callous like crazy. And when they got too thick I would just use a rasp or a pumice stone to file them down and it would save my hands from tearing.

About a year ago I was doing kettlebell snatches for reps everyday. And when I would get to pull-ups I would have huge calouses already. My hands were hard as rock but when I filed them down they wouldn't tear. Those are just my observations!
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Old 05-23-2006, 09:19 PM   #6
Adam Noble
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Those were my hands two weeks ago, but I searched the messages here and there were alot of posts suggesting sanding down the calluses. I have been using 120 grit, and sanding the hell out of anything resembling a callus, and then putting a ton of moisturizer on my hands. This has seemed to work for me. I also asked a friend of mine who was a champion gymnast if he had any secrets to keep his hands from ripping, but he pretty much gave me the same advice, and added to make sure to use a lot of chalk (however I have also heard that the chalk can exacerbate the problem; it hasn't for me so far).
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Old 05-24-2006, 04:19 AM   #7
Allen Yeh
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I had this blurb from Coach Summer saved on my computer hope you find it useful, I know I did:

In my experience, proper care of calluses on the hands and feet is essential for uninterrupted athletic progress. While it is certainly possible to tough it out & "go for it", this almost always has a negative impact on future training if taken to excess.

The best things that I have found for the prevention of rips and the treatment of calluses are:

1) Do not do too much. Athletic achievement is a long term endeavor and success rarely depends on your getting every last repetition in during that particular day's training. In fact, backing off before the condition becomes critical (a blister forms or rips), will speed up the development of callus.

2) If rips are an issue for you, soak your hands in salt water on a regular basis (as discussed in the link I posted above) when they get sore and even before they get sore if possible. In the event of a rip, the salt water aids in healing and callus formation rather than the formation of a scap which will easily peel off during the next training session.

3) If a rip occures, use some type of a liquid bandaid to cover the wound to recommense training. This covering will keep out infection, reduce friction and usually last long enough for you to finish your workout.

4) Do not cover the rip. Open air is best.

5) Do not allow the rip to become overly dry. This will lead to the rip cracking down the middle the next time that you work on it and will extend the healing time required. To avoid this, periodically during the day apply a little A&D ointment, liquid Vitamin E or even medicated chap stick will work fine. This should be done in combination with the salt water mentioned above.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

Another good link from Dr. Squat
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Old 05-24-2006, 07:32 AM   #8
Shawn Casey
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Check out for some callus info.
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Old 05-25-2006, 06:28 PM   #9
Travis Hall
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i find the best way to keep from rips is trimming the callouses-

every couple of days i used to take a knife (a spyderco's serated edge is excellent for this!) and trim off the top of the callous, then i take a nail file (stolen from the girlfriend) and smooth them out.

the next day my hands would be a little tender, but nowhere near interfereing with further pullups. plus, they never ripped. after awhile you will be doing this less and less cause your skin will be like leather in all those places...

most of the time now i just file them to avoid complaints...

i think the problem with not trimming them is blisters will form under the callous, which leads to rips.

either way. a man should be proud of his scrapped hands.

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Old 05-26-2006, 12:20 PM   #10
James Falkner
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I ripped my first one a few weeks ago doing fran with a buddy. I did the "soak in super-saturated salt water" the first two days. Talk about pain!!! It took about a week to heal at which point I was comfortable doing pullups again.

as far as Grip, I saw what Roger said about not squeezing the bar so tight, and simply "hook the bar with your fingers" -- I find that doing kipping pullups is difficult when you are just hanging on with your fingers. The force of the kip tends to unwind your hands off the bar, and if all you have is your fingers holding you on, you quickly come off. Should I just work on increasing my finger grip strength so I can hold on with my fingers while kipping? Or does the kip really require a complete handful of the bar so to speak?
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