T Nation

Tips for Toughening Up Hands?


I pretty much completely ripped off all the callouses and surrounding skin on my left hand today doing deadlifts.

Does anyone have any tips to help me prevent this from happening again?


Get a job where you gotta do manual labor. It worked for me.

But seriously, you should keep your calluses trimmed back enough there isn't enough to rip off. A utility knife blade works for this. People use pummice stones as well.


Since I've started using chalk and bare hands on everything, my callouses never tear. You never realize how amazing chalk is until you forget it on dead lifting day.


Filing calluses down helps a bit. Get one of those callous files they sell at the drugstore that ladies use on their feet.

However, even if you are managing your callouses well, the effects of heavy weight sliding in your hand can tear your hands. I believe this is partially a matter of grip strength. With max weight or with tough rep sets, your hand start to open and the bar slides, tearing skin from meat with the knurling. Keep training your grip. It may keep happening- but it will be with heavier weights and a PR is worth a little blood- ain't it?


I just use a nail clipper to snip growing calluses, if you don't already use chalk then I suggest you do that as it will give you a better grip. If your gym doesn't allow chalk then you can always try this stuff: http://www.travelerssupply.com/cat_detail.epl?product_id=44, I have a bottle and have been using it for a month and a half and I haven't even dented it (still like 5/6 filled), it works awesome and it only takes a few drops and I feel like I can get a better grip on the bar, plus it's very inexpensive.


ooouuuccchhhhhhh,, that's gotta hurt like hell, all that exposed raw skin. I feel your pain man.
worse part too , it take so darn long to fully heal.
never had that happen myself, and I do lots of heavy lifting: deads, farmers, pullups.
I think gym chalk helps alot, it keeps your palms dry which itself promotes calouses but at least your bar won't be slipping and thereby pull off skin.


Reading that gave me the cold sweats... Effective description dude.

X2 on the pumice stone and staying chalked as well as Pinto's view on keeping up with the grip strength.

Now that you've ripped a calous though, you know what that breaking point feels like and you can ditch the lift before it happens again.


Keep some kind of hand care kit in your training bag. I know it sounds kinda fruity but it'll save you in the long run.

I keep in my kit:

  1. Hand Lotion
  2. Nail clipper
  3. Pumice Stone

Make a habit of washing your hands of chalk right after practice. Chalk tends to dry out the hand and makes it easier for the skin to split, thus causing tears. After cleaning your hands of chalk, put hand lotion on. It'll basically fix all the skin that's been wrecked during the workout.

When callouses get too big, clip them down or file them down.

If you follow the first two steps consistently, it is unlikely you'll ever run into any problems.


I managed to get a blister the other day (first day back to Olympic lifts in years); bastard popped so I taped it today. For now try taping over the raw skin so you can keep on lifting. And all the above is good stuff keep em trimmed up to prevent it from happening again.


Super glue it is your friend. If is an excellent way to repair cracks or torn areas of skin on your hands. Trim your callouses frequently--this can be done with stone or razor/sharp knife.




I've found nail clippers work best. Use them as often as you need too but I have found they seem to need a trim every 3-4 weeks. Its not worth ripping an entire callus off and having that pain in the ass nag you every time you grab the bar for weeks to come.

On another note, I'm not sure whats more annoying: trimming calluses on a regular basis or explaining to everyone you associate with why exactly you don't and never will wear workout gloves.


I think it was a freak accident, I've rack pulled 765 with no ripping problems.

BTW, it was a PR!


From Rippetoe:



I love how Rippetoe can just smack you right in the face with the most obvious shit that somehow you never managed to think of on you own.

Thanks for the link.