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3 Steps to Healthy Hands

Posted: October 13, 2014
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You've seen those nasty pictures, torn hands, bloody palms. 😖 Ummm, NO THANKS! 🙅‍♀️ The things we do at the gym (pull-ups, barbell movements, kettlebell movements, etc.) are hard on our hands, but they certainly don't have to lead to ripping or tearing! 

For some, a tear is a badge of honor, and we get that...sort of. You're doing things you haven't done before, things you didn't think you were strong enough, or otherwise capable enough, to do. You should be proud! BUT, doing it at the expense of physically harming your body? Let's be smarter than that, because really, tearing sucks. It interferes with your daily life (ahem, good luck washing your hair), can lead to missing time at the gym, or at the very least, limiting what you can do while there. Plus, the obvious, it hurts!

Our hands can tear while working out for a couple of reasons: 

  1. Perhaps, we haven't worked out this way before (or it's been a while), so haven't built up the calluses needed to prevent tears. And yes, our hands should be callused to a degree to prevent tears.  By continuing to use the pull-up bars, barbells, kettlebells, and so on, you should, in just a couple weeks, have calluses that are sufficient to prevent tears.
  2. {And more commonly} The calluses we've built up to protect our hands have actually become too big.  When that happens, many of the movements we do can cause the calluses, or the skin near those calluses, to be pinched and pulled, and then torn away from the raw skin underneath (ouch). 

To help prevent tears by maintaining healthy calluses, this is the best way we've found to care for our hands:


Most of these items can be found at your local drug store (or hey, Amazon!) for just a couple of dollars:

  • Cuticle Trimmers or Callus Shaver
  • Pumice Stone and/or Nail File
  • Softening Salve (such as Bag Balm, Udderly Smooth Udder Cream, or Udder Balm)


After a shower or running your hands under warm water for a few minutes, trim your calluses so they are flush with the rest of your skin.  DO NOT cut too deep! You still want to maintain a layer of callus, so only go until they are flush to the rest of your skin, or even slightly still raisedThe warm water from showering or from the faucet helps to raise the calluses and make them softer, generally just easier to trim.


After trimming, your skin may be rough.  Run your hands under warm water and scrub the trimmed areas with a wet pumice stone. If you're using a nail file instead, you won't need to run your hands under water while smoothing. Scrub or file the trimmed areas until smooth.


Apply salve liberally twice a day. Since this stuff is pretty greasy, we apply as part of getting ready in the morning, after everything else is done, and at night before bed. At night, you may want to put on a pair of cheap knit gloves or even socks to sleep with (helps keep the moisture in and prevent your sheets from getting greasy.

NOTE: The amount of Bag Balm shown is for illustrative purposes only and may be a bit more than a liberal amount. 😉

For maintenance, repeat steps 2 and 3 daily! Here's to Healthy Hands!

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