Part Three: Taking Care of Your Hands
Proper hand care is an essential preparatory skill in order to complete the “Workout of the Day” safely and effectively. Your hands must be in good condition prior to beginning a pulling or grip-intensive workout—especially those with pull-ups, deadlifts, swings or knees-to-elbows. What do hands “in good condition” look and feel like?
- There are no superficial, raised callouses anywhere on the palm of the hand, at the base of the fingers or at any finger joint. If present, these areas will catch on the bar and get ripped off the rest of the hand.
- There is no broken, dry, cracked or partially-healed skin on any portion of the palm of the hand.
It should never hurt to grip the bar at the beginning of a workout, and if it does, then you are not taking care of your hands well! Here are some proactive steps to keep your hands in top condition:
- Acquire coarse-grade sandpaper from a hardware store. We prefer 40-grit resin (aluminum oxide) paper for wood, metal, fiberglass and painted surfaces. A serious footcallous scraper may also be used, but we do not recommend a particular brand, as they are rarely so consistently effective as resin.
- Immediately after stepping out of the shower, “sand” callouses or raised areas down to the level of the rest of the skin, but do not rub the skin raw. The skin should come off in little white clumps.
- This must be done twice each week, preferably before a rest day.
- After callous sanding is complete, moisturize your hands with a thick, alcohol-free moisturizer.
- Severely raised callouses must be carefully removed over time with nail clippers, scissors, or a callous shaver before the steps recommended above can be effective.
If you do tear your hands, then follow these steps for a speedy recovery:
- Remove flaps of dead skin from the tear with scissors or nail clippers, and try to remove as much as possible.
- Cover the wound, and be very careful to allow it to completely heal before attempting any serious grip work. This may entail modifying exercises or taping hands prior to a workout. A completely healed wound looks exactly like the skin around it. Depending on the size of the tear, this could take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.
As you continue your journey with MPH, your hands and grip will become stronger and you will tear your hands much less frequently, as long as you make sure that you take care of them well from the start.
–Melody and John