By Autonomist Sarah Houston:
Sure, pull-ups could mean perfectly sculpted shoulders and arms, but they could come with an ugly side effect: Calluses. Pull-ups, along with many other functional movements experienced during workouts, will lead to a beating on your hands.
I had been CrossFitting for a little over a year when I suddenly became very apprehensive to shake hands with anyone. My boss even commented on my rough palms after a heavy Pull-up day at the gym. Not only was I insecure, but I was also experiencing pain in my grip that I didn’t think was necessary. I feared rips, which could lead to non-essential rest days. Suddenly, my callused hands didn’t seem like such a badge of honor.
Just because you CrossFit, doesn’t mean you have to deal with calluses. You need to take care of your palms, just as you would any other overused part of your body. It’s very simple, and you’ll realize just how essential it is once you start tending to your hands.
First, go easy on the chalk. Chalk is in the gym to help you hold on to the bar when you start to slip. It’s a drying agent, which is why you should only use it if your palms are sweating and your grip is failing. Always wash your hands to replenish moisture after a chalk-filled workout.
Second, mind your grip. See your coach about how to hold the bar without pinching the top of your palms where calluses form.
Last, and most importantly, shave your calluses. It doesn’t hurt, and doesn’t cut you. I purchased my callus shaver in a drug store in the beauty/manicure aisle. Guys, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest. It’s not a feminine beauty product, it’s an essential palm saver. I use mine about every other week after I get out of the shower. It takes about 30 seconds per hand, and the result is callus free, smooth hands you won’t be embarrassed to shake with. You could also rub a pumice stone on your palm to rid of dead skin.
Taking care of your palms is essential as a CrossFit athlete. You need your grip to be at its best. Don’t ignore them!