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Soft Hands Means

March 14, 2009
Your skin tears when you lift heavy shit.  This is a phone pic and most of the blood has been wiped away.  Just another Friday lifting with Schwa, and his soft delicate hands.
Rack Pulls can rip your skin off!

Rack Pulls can rip your skin off!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2009 11:58 pm

    So Ulti training website… what should we do about these tears? I feel like I am limited in my deadlift and pullups by skin and hand issues more than muscle strength.

    Suggestions?

    • March 16, 2009 12:57 pm

      Stephen,
      This is a question that a lot of people ask, and are disappointed with the answer. Most of the time, you get the classic “man up” response, and then MAYBE a functional suggestion. Here are a list of things that you can do to help your “Callous Management”. Sounds official, right?

      1. Shave down your callouses – This is something I personally don’t have to do, but a lot people have great experiences with it. You can get a file at a pharmacy or department store, and start sanding away. It may also help to soak them first. If you want to get aggressive, nail clippers or razor blades can do the trick. Careful with the razor, it is easy to go too deep. I found that out the hard way on my feet during the season. But in the end, the less height/build-up your callouses have, the less leverage is applied to them during the lift.

      2. Straps – If you are pulling heavy and you get to the point like the picture above, it may be time to throw some straps on the bar. With the bar strapped to your hands you will have less trouble with something like tears or grip strength. I would NOT recommend always using straps. Only use them if you have to. One of the great benefits of deadlifts is the powerful grip strength you start to develop. Work the lift until straps are absolutely necessary every session.

      3. Super Glue – If a callous rips, you can seal it with super glue. Super fun!

      One other thing I wanted to make sure you are doing is a mixed grip on the bar. When setting up for the deadlift, you want one palm facing forward and other facing back. This helps a ton when you are having grip troubles. Basically, it stops the bar from rolling one direction out of you hands. You can still get to a point where you run into grip problems, but this grip helps immensely.

      • April 26, 2009 5:43 pm

        If you think DLing heavy is tough on your hands, try passing the RKC snatch test without any hand protection :p

        That’ll shred your hands, and the snatch test is just five minutes of the first day of the RKC experience.

        Srsly though, the RKC community has a lot of articles on taking care of your hands, since k’belling is killer on your hands if you don’t take care of them / have poor lifting form.

        Google for RKC callus, my friends.

  2. David permalink
    March 16, 2009 8:24 am

    When doing the deadlift, try grabbing the bar with your fingers, rather than your palms. If you grab it with your palms, when you pull the weight the bar will slide down your palm (towards your fingers) and give you more callouses. Not sure if that makes sense, but hopefully it does.

    • March 16, 2009 2:15 pm

      David,
      I am going to have to disagree with your advice here. Grip pain is just part of the game. When grabbing a bar with just your fingers or trying to make sure your palms are not suppressed under the bar, you are reducing your grip strength severely. The tighter your grip, the less pain you will have when performing these exercises.

      The purpose of deadlifts is to strengthen and train the posterior chain. The grip aspect is a small portion of the laundry list of benefits you get from deadlifting heavy weight.

      • David permalink
        March 19, 2009 2:39 pm

        Matt,

        I don’t think you understood what I meant. One of the causes of callouses is that when you lift the bar, it slides down into your hand and squashes some skin at the base of you fingers. By gripping the bar in the part of your hand where it will end up anyway, you can prevent callouses. This tip comes from the “Starting Strength” book. I recommend this book as it has LOADS of details on how to perform the big, multi-joint exercises (squat, deadlift, bench etc.).

        HTH,
        David.

  3. March 19, 2009 4:38 pm

    David,
    I understand what you are referring to I have “Starting Strength” as well. It is a great resource but I don’t agree with everything in the book. I also don’t bench the way it is described in the book either. I think gripping the bar that way diminishes the grip strength which diminishes the amount I can deadlift. As my grip gets stronger, I have less discomfort because the bar doesn’t slide. For this reason, I think it comes with the territory.

    • d-nails permalink
      March 19, 2009 9:35 pm

      Matt, I have to agree with David on this. I once had the same issue doing heavy deadlifts and kipping pullups. I have found that my grip strength is actually stronger now that I have changed grips…Not at first, but it did catch up. Another tip is to keep your hands as dry as possible, use a towel or chalk.

      d-nails

      • David permalink
        March 20, 2009 11:20 am

        Yes, chalk is very useful. I use liquid chalk, which is exactly what it sounds like :)

        As for deadlift grip, I think it is a personal thing. As long as you are increasing the amount of weight/reps each session, then it doesn’t really matter. So far I haven’t found that this grip affects my deadlift at all, it just reduces the callouses on my hands. That said, I am only deadlifting 110kg (~240lbs), so at that weight it isn’t going to be much of an issue :)

        I love the blog by the way, and enjoyed your question on the fit cast the other week. I am the guy who called up from Oxford, England, if you listened to that episode. Small world :)

      • March 20, 2009 12:05 pm

        David,
        Thanks for the support and participation on the site. It is a very small world, and look out for Leigh’s interview here soon.

        Ells

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