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Toughen Your Hands for 'Heavy' Lifts?

Hey guys,

I know this is going to make me sound like a bitch, but my lifts are starting to be affected by my hands being ridiculously sore/blistered from lifting. It looks like I have knuckles on both sides of my hands. I just started deadlifting about a month ago and have worked my way up to 315 (I know… I’m working on it) but past that point, my skin starts to tear. I have more in me but my hands hurt so f’ing bad I can’t keep going.

Is there a way that I can accelerate the process of my hands toughening up? I know there is the option of gloves but I’d rather not be the guy in the gym with the fingerless gloves. Am I just going to have to dust the sand off my vagina and keep going or is there something I’m missing here?

I guess you can do as Bruce Lee did, I’ll explain.

Bruce did a lot of punching back in his day, and as you know the skin on the knuckels are fairly thin. So he needed to toughen up his skin as well.
So he got a hold of a bucket of gravel and started punching.

I would recommend you to start grabing rough stones and work those hands all the time and really give them a beating. You could use sand, stones, rough pebbles and anything else you can think of.

But maybe most important of all: You need to let your hands heal!

Get some good cream and give those hand a handbath often. Go check out a healtcare store. And if your embarresed just say it’s for your girlfriend :wink:

I have a couple of suggestions. One there is a substance you can buy at pet supply stores for toughening the pads on the paws of hunting dogs. I used to use it on my fingers when I first started playing guitar and it will build up thick caluses.

Second, quit worrying about what other people think about you in the gym. If gloves work use them. I personally wear gloves because they work for me. Unlike most people in the gym I sweat. Gloves keep my hands from slipping on the bar. Maybe I am “that guy” with the fingerless gloves, but I’m also “that guy” with 19 inch arms, benching 400+ for reps, focused on what I’m doing. I’m okay with being that guy :wink:

Why do people rip on gloved? I’m that guy with the fingerless gloves because I don’t want huge calluses, although the gloves don’t keep me from developing them, and because I don’t want my hands to be a limiting factor in any lifts.

What I did which was somewhat inevitable (sp) was working construction. That toughened up my hands. Just give it time, don’t wear gloves and they’ll toughen real good after a heavy deadlifting session. Whats wrong with wearing gloves, as long as they aren’t pink or something. I personally don’t use them because I actually lose my grip, specially come back day.

I hate gloves personally but if you need them, just use them on your heaviest sets only.

135x5
185x5
225x5
275x5 gloves
315x5 gloves

Or just use wirst straps and wind them on the bar like you tape up a hockey stick (so the wraps just slightly overlap each other) so you are grabbing material instead of knurled metal.

I uses chalk, it has the same effect.

I think this questions kind of like asking “what gets your body ready to lift heavy weights” well, lifting slightly less heavy weights of course. Try just lifting weights. My hands sweat an assload and chalk pretty much takes care of that.

They are now pretty ugly and callous, but they hurt much less. The only real negative thing is that when I rip skin off, it takes quite a while to heal.

Dittos on the skin healing thing. It takes me forever it seems to heal a hand skin injury (probably because i just lift as usual).

Its funny for me, I DL and row and do all that bad stuff for my paws and get callouses just like most people, but I have yet to rip a callous by lifting.

That being said, as soon as i go to pound in t-posts for a horse pasture I rip my callouses off invariably…I never remember gloves… anywho…

All i can say is, if you need gloves, use em. Fearing that someone will possibly take you as “that guy” is so not worth hurting your hands and not being able to lift like you want. Just do what works.

Really, who cares…

Just don’t be that guy with a sweat band on each joint, gloves, straps, and wraps on his knees and elbows.

Didn’t mean to bag on the guys that wear gloves. I just figured that since I’m really not lifting that much weight, I should be able to do it without them. I see guys on here lifting heavy with no gloves and I guess I just figured if they could do it, then I could too.

Friborg - I really let the obvious pass right over my head on this one. I hadn’t even tried lotioning them up. I picked up some Nivea lotion for very dry, rough skin earlier. Gonna use that twice daily. That should definitely help with the tearing.

jstreet - Thanks for the heads up on the dog paw stuff. I’m gonna lotion, scrub and keep lifting for a while and see if that helps. If it doesn’t take care of itself, it’s pet store time haha. And definitely wasn’t trying to bag on everyone with gloves. I’d just like to keep that ace for the heavy weights when i get up there. Sounds like you’re definitely already there haha.

Growing_Boy - I’m actually heading home for the summer in a few weeks. I live on a 80+ horse farm in Virginia when I’m not at school down here in FLA. Manual labor is a must (nice vacation huh?) so I’m sure I’ll get those labor calluses on top of the lifting ones. Good idea.

derek - Do you have any straps you suggest? My grip isn’t an issue just yet aside from the callus thing, but it’s going to be one here shortly.

Defekt - Good call on the chalk. When I go home in 3 weeks, I’m welding together a power rack and will be lifting outside so I can use chalk there. My current gym doesn’t allow it. Pretty lame if you ask me but I guess it does make a bit of a mess.

Thanks for all the advice so far!

[quote]Brick Top wrote:
derek - Do you have any straps you suggest? My grip isn’t an issue just yet aside from the callus thing, but it’s going to be one here shortly.
[/quote]

APT Pro Wrist Straps are fine. Anything about 20" long to get enough wraps to help the roughness of the bar.

Again only use them for the heaviest sets so you still get the benefits of the naked bar (grip-wise and skin toughness-wise).

[quote]Brick Top wrote:
When I go home in 3 weeks, I’m welding together a power rack and will be lifting outside so I can use chalk there. My current gym doesn’t allow it. Pretty lame if you ask me but I guess it does make a bit of a mess.
[/quote]

Just keep a Tupperware bolw in a gym bag. Pretend to look for something in it and just put on some chalk. You can do it without making any mess.

Just don’t clap it off into big white clouds like the douchebags I see use it and you’ll be fine. (BTW, why do guys carefully apply it then clap the shit off like assholes anyway?)

My hands blistered and hurt like hell for about 3 months, now they don’t hurt at all.

Even though I’m not pulling heavy ass weight yet, I’m sure they’ll adapt in time.

I’ve seen a video of a guy deadlift around 800 pounds without straps or gloves with a double pronated grip.

[quote]Artem wrote:
Why do people rip on gloved? I’m that guy with the fingerless gloves because I don’t want huge calluses, although the gloves don’t keep me from developing them, and because I don’t want my hands to be a limiting factor in any lifts.
[/quote]

cause generally the kid with the 13 inch gun show doing curls in front of the mirror with 20lb dumbbells for an hour is wearing them

My callouses hurt when I start my routine but feel fine once I’ve done a few sets. Rows, deads, shrugs, chins/pull ups hurt the most.

[quote]derek wrote:
Brick Top wrote:
(BTW, why do guys carefully apply it then clap the shit off like assholes anyway?)

[/quote]

LOL

I’ve been attending to my calluses on a regular basis. Usually, I just take a nail clippers to them when I get out of the shower and cut them down. Theres an article on beastskills.com about it and some people just use sand paper.

Trimming them down really does help, less pain/pinching when you lift and I haven’t torn one off since I started doing it.

I was chopping wood and saw blood on the axe handle when I was done. I looked at my hand and the callus on the pinkie finger side of my right palm was straight torn off. It’s healed with a very thin layer of baby skin for now - another reason why I use gloves.

That was pretty irrelevant, but this happened last week and I felt like sharing. :slight_smile:

[quote]Artem wrote:
I was chopping wood and saw blood on the axe handle when I was done. I looked at my hand and the callus on the pinkie finger side of my right palm was straight torn off. It’s healed with a very thin layer of baby skin for now - another reason why I use gloves.

That was pretty irrelevant, but this happened last week and I felt like sharing. :)[/quote]

I always get blisters when I fell trees.

In fact, I’ve got two huge ass blisters right now.

[quote]derek wrote:
(BTW, why do guys carefully apply it then clap the shit off like assholes anyway?)
[/quote]

Because surprisingly enough there are people, like me, that don’t “carefully apply” chalk. I simply dip my hands in it, then “clap off” the excess so I’m not leaving a trail of “the shit”.

There are also people, like me, that don’t care if you think I’m an asshole in the gym because they are there to work, not make friends.

(I’m just giving you a hard time. The “make a giant chalk-ball in the air” thing is unnecessary. I clap off the excess back into the bowl I bring.)