As you well know by now, CrossFit is a little, shall we say, rough on the hands.  And inevitably, the question comes up, “Why can’t I just wear gloves?”  (Don’t worry, we asked it too when we first started!)  The answer is: You should not wear gloves for pull-ups, barbell or kettlebell work, and here are some reasons why:

1) Gloves make the bar larger in your hands, which makes it tougher to hold
2) Gloves stop some callouses, but won’t stop all of them
3) Gloves prevent your hands from getting tougher over time
4) Gloves can make some exercises dangerous because of the loss of sensitivity/tactile control
5) Gloves become a psychological crutch
6) Gloves mask the underlying problem (eg incorrect grip, too many reps, etc. )

If you can’t wear gloves, what can you do to prevent rips and callouses?

1.  Learn How to Hold the Bar Correctly

Getting callouses is inevitable if you are lifting weights or doing pull-ups. The reason you are ripping your hands, aside from potential lack of chalk is that you are gripping the bar too high, up near the palm of your hand. The bar is going to pull downward until it gets into the “crotch” of your hand next to the knuckles. Chalk up and grip the bar down near the knuckle to start with, and you will save yourself a lot of pain and agony in the hands.   Here is a great video where Mark Rippetoe (coming to AK CrossFit in June!) explains how to hold the bar properly.

2. Take Care of Your Hands

You also need to take care of your hands.  Keeping your calluses thin and smooth is key. Here is a great 4 part article from our friends at CrossFit Virtuosity.