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Let’s talk about hands. More specifically, hand care — how to remove the build up or calluses that develop with any form of resistance training. It’s not just barbells, kettlebells, or dumbbells; anything that you put in your hands for the means of getting stronger and performing better will at some point cause a bodily response. Your hands will develop ridges in the areas that you hold that weight or where the implement rubs against most. If we don’t take care of these calluses, the ridges can rip off and that’s where you see haphazardly heroic pictures of, “Oh, my hand ripped open” — something we will be avoiding from now on!

Hand tearing is prevented by the use of a couple of different tools.

  1. The most precise, most recommended, is the callus remover tool. This particular device can be picked up on Amazon or CVS, Walgreens, or any drug store.
  2. Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 3.03.17 PMThe most brutish, yet safest, device is something you already own. The fingernail clipper.
  3. The last one is just as effective as number one, but it is our least favorite recommendation. Like the nail clipper, many people have general purpose razors in their tool box; however without a proper handle this option can be dangerous unless you possess the requisite finesse.

NOTE: One thing that can be very helpful for making this process go easier is to care for your hands in the shower, just after a soak, or an elongated hand washing if you haven’t recently bathed. For best results while shaving the hands, a short soak in some warm water goes a long way to soften up the skin to be more receptive to the process. 

Let’s go ahead and show some demonstrations and directions.
Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 3.04.34 PMAs we start with the callus removing tool, know that operation is about continual small, light strokes across the callus. Not a single digging effort. Starting at the top of the callus, take a nice and easy swipe, pulling down lightly. One layer at a time, you can play the game of angling the tool, accessing aspects of your hand’s ridges previously unshaved. I cannot say it enough, this tool does not take much as far as pressure.

P7170276The second option, which happens to be the method I predominately use, “clips” portions of your calluses out versus shaving. Simply place your clipper over the hump of the callus, and begin clipping out a portion. You can then go along the sides and remove any still attached skin until the ridges are removed. Unlike the callus shaver, the clipper is not as smooth of a process as the shaver, however the risk of cutting oneself is very minimal. If super smooth hands is what you desire, follow up with a pumice stone next time you bathe and this combo does a pretty good job of taking down what would be potential hand rips.

Frankly, since the last one is our least recommended method, I’m not going to take the time to give directions on how to use a straight blade. Similar to the callus remover device, shave off your hand ridges; however I’d save the razor for last ditch efforts when you are in a pinch.

Hopefully, this video blog has been helpful. Simply put you must implement hand care. Far too often this goes unaddressed by lifters. Whether you are training for sport or recreation, your inability to grasp the bar is shameful, not heroic — so stop posting Instagrams of bloody and cleaved hands! Anyone who is serious about their training understands that a day you can’t hold the bar is a day you can’t get better. Go take care of your hands, do it today, don’t delay!

Taylor Gish is an Exclusive Coach at MSP Fitness and Lead Instructor to the Strength+Endurance Program. His individual training focus is on the sport of Olympic Weightlifting where he has been competing locally and nationally since 2013. Taylor enjoys cooking, eating, and spending time with his wife and kids — in no particular order.