Hand Care 101

I think it was more of a trend in the 90s and 2000s, but I’m not a fan of wearing working gloves. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones that are cut off half way up the finger. But with the rise in functional fitness training there is a new glove in town.


The hand protection that is becoming more popular is similar to what you see gymnasts using when their doing a routine on the bar or rings. Unlike the half-finger gloves of 20 years ago, I like these new forms of hand protection, in certain instances. First, let’s go over the need to protect your hands during a workout.


You work with your hands just about every day. If you haven’t torn your hand during a workout, consider yourself lucky. It hurts a lot. It hurts when you tear it. It hurts when you wash it. And it hurts for a few days after. Worst of all is that a serious tear to your hand can sideline your work performance. Now that doesn’t mean you need to baby your hands with every exercise you do, but you need to recognize when there’s a good probability of tearing your hands.


If you’re doing functional-type training, then any workout that includes a high volume of work on the pullup bar or gymnastic rings is probably a good time to consider hand protection. The same goes for when you’re using a tool, like a sledgehammer to hit a tire. These exercises place a ton of pinpoint friction on the hands, increasing the probability of tearing them.


Then you have the people that brag about a workout that ripped their hands open like it’s some badge of honor. There’s no honor to it. It’s just you being a dumbass and hindering your ability to workout for the next few days. So in the event that you do rip your hand open, make sure to follow these steps:


#1 – Wash the wound as soon as possible. Yes, it’s going to suck, a lot. But failing to thoroughly wash it is going to increase the probability of it becoming infected.


#2 – Modify your training movements while it heals. It’s going to take at least a few days to heal. During that time it’s probably best to stay away from movements like pullups, hanging leg raises, and muscle ups. You can focus more on lower body movements and 1-2 long cardio sessions while it heals.


#3 – Make sure to wear hand protection the next time you do movements while hanging from a pullup bar or work with a striking tool.

As far as recommendations for gymnastic hand grips these are my top 2 choices:

WOD Nation Hand Grips

Bear KompleX Grips

Jon Griffith specializes in optimizing performance for firefighters, police, EMS, and military personnel. He is a personal trainer, strength & conditioning specialist, full-time firefighter, and former U.S. Army infantryman. Join the movement to ensure all emergency responders are physically and mentally prepared to face the challenges in their day brings by following Max Fortitude Fitness on Facebook.