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Skin Toughness

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Skin Toughness

Smart training will prevent skin tears.

Toughening the skin on the hands is an often overlooked factor of grip training. Grip lifts with a friction component place large stress on the soft tissues of the hands. It is not uncommon for an individual who is pushing their limits to tear or lose skin. Some of the most common lifts to damage the skin are plate pinches, vertical bar, and wrist roller work. There are a number of things a lifter can do to minimize the chance of tearing skin and losing training time:
  1. Warm Up - When performing friction based lifts, take the time to warm up the soft tissues of the hand. This means slowly building up to the working weight with a series of sub-maximal lifts. As the skin warms up, it will tighten, firming the entire hand.
  2. Train Regularly - Skin will thicken with training, but needs a regular stimulus to stay tough. Once the skin has adapted to a grip lift, performing it at least once a week will reduce the chance of tearing skin. A several week layoff is likely to result in lost skin upon resuming the lift.
  3. Build Slowly - Torn skin is not stronger skin. Take the time to add weight to a lift slowly, paying attention to the warnings signs from your hands. When the skin turns pink and begins to burn, that is the time to back off. Give the hands a day or two to recover before applying additional stress to the skin.
  4. Use Chalk - Most skin tears are caused by a weight slipping in the hands. Chalk reduces the tendency of an implement to slip. The drying effect also causes the skin to tighten, firming the hand.

Skin tears are unavoidable when training the grip, but care should be taken to minimize them. When a tear occurs, it usually smart to rest until the skin heals. If resting is not an option, there are ways to continue training. A little chalk in the tear may be enough to finish the session. Another option is to cover it with athletic tape. Some lifters will close the skin with super glue. If lost skin is a regular occurrence, there is a problem with the training program.

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