Rest Day/Make Up WOD/Active Rest Day
-Bryce Wood, CrossFit Chicago
How many of you have torn your hands on the pull-up bar? I think the vast majority of CrossFitters who can do more than 10 consecutive kipping pull-ups has done this at one time or another during their career. A lot of people look at it as a rite of passage. Fine, if you need to do it once to prove that you’re a badass, I’m ok with it. However, if you have a chronic condition of tearing your hands every time you do more than 50 pull-ups in a workout, you are just doing a poor job of maintaining and training your hands.
Usually, you should have a general awareness of whether your hands are going to tear or not during a workout. When you have that feeling, you have to be intelligent enough to decide if it’s more important to push through and tear your hands or back off, and let them survive the week. I know we are trying to push you to put out your best performance, but is 20-30 seconds in one workout worth a week or two weeks of not being able to use your hands in a normal fashion?
Here a few tips to keep your chalk use in check during workouts:
1. Take a week or two off from the chalk. It is a crutch for a lot of people. Do you need it for sets of 5 pull-ups? If you really think this, then we need to work on your grip strength instead.
2. Switch to singles when you start getting too sweaty. The idea of using chalk is that it’s going to make your hands stick to the bar more than without it. By switching to singles, you’ll take some of the constant pressure off your skin.
3. Chalk once before the workout begins. Don’t allow yourself to go back to the bucket. If you can do this, you’ll really notice how much time you waste going to the bucket before every set of pull-ups.
In my opinion, unless you are in a competition, it should not be worth it to tear. It is an injury! Anything you do to your body that limits your ability to perform is just unintelligent training. If one of the coaches can tell exactly where you’ve been during a workout due to your chalk trail, you’ve used too much. Your hands are a vital part of your training, and if you don’t take care of them properly, you are going to inhibit your progress as an athlete.
The following list is just a few of things that you can buy to help keep your hands healthy to avoid tears.
Callous Shaver – Try to use this at least once/week to get rid of the excess hardened skin that can bunch up during high volume pull-up workouts.
Wristbands – If sweaty hands are what keep you off the bar, then why wouldn’t you wear wristbands? In my opinion, everyone who has issues with multiple visits to the chalk bucket should own a pair. These have saved me several times.
Athletic Tape – Yes, they do actually sell this stuff in sporting goods stores! Google CrossFit and pull-ups and you’ll find multiple sites that can help you make your own hand guard for workouts. You should be able to keep these for multiple uses.
Gymnastic Grips – In case you’re too lazy to make your own tape guard, these also work. The leather is a little thick for my liking, but if you’re in a jam and you know you’re going to tear, it’ll take you 10 seconds to grab these and throw them on during a workout.