How to Avoid Blisters from CrossFit Pull-ups

How to Avoid Blisters from CrossFit Pull-ups

Sorry, I feel the need to rant a bit today. I just keep seeing too many tweets on Twitter about how proud some CrossFit folks are of their blistered and bleeding hands from doing pull-ups. They are usually referring to high reps of kipping pull-ups. Bleeding hands from pull-ups aren’t some CrossFit “badge of honor”. It’s actually an indicator that you aren’t gripping the pull-up bar correctly and you probably use way too much chalk. Now, before you get your hackles up and puff out your chest, I had the same problem. When I started CrossFit last year and began doing a high volume of pull-ups, I built up calluses and blisters. I noticed that it kept hurting more and more as that new callused area was getting pinched between the top of my palm and the bar. So, I did some research before it became a bleeding issue and I’ll share what I found below in some photos and a video. You really can avoid it! It’s all about your grip style and it builds up your grip strength and toughens up your hands more evenly.

Perhaps at this point, you’re saying; “Why should I care? I’m a tough guy/gal and I love showing off my bleeding blisters.” Well, have you ever stopped for a moment to think about what’s happening with your wounded paws when you work out? Unless you have your own personal gym, you are sharing equipment. That means you’re sharing that pull-up bar, that Olympic bar, those kettlebells, etc. You’re getting your blood all over that equipment. And, you are grinding dirt, sweat, and probably the blood from someone else’s wounded hands into your open, raw blisters. Nice… Hope you have great medical coverage. Read More…

3 Drills For Building Wrist Flexibility

If you’re going to do handstands or many other gymnastic moves, then your hands and wrists can take a beating. Think about it: if you’re on your hands, your wrists are flexed back ninety degrees (or sometimes more) while bearing your entire body’s weight. Do this for a while and you’ve compounded lots of volume on top of that. For some people this never seems to be an issue. They’re naturally more flexible. Others don’t seem to have quite the flexibility and if they’re not smart about it, it can be painful and even injurious if you train your wrists too hard and too much.

I fall into that later group. Back in high school I played football and it was during that time that I injured my right wrist. It wasn’t broken, but a bad sprain caused it to become much less flexible than my left wrist. And since that injury, any time my wrist was flexed back I’d be in pain.

Fast forward a number of years and I was working on handstands. Sometimes the pain was better, at other times it was worse. There came a point when it got much worse, and any time I placed my hand flat on the floor I‘d be in pain. After much warm up, I could do handstands, but even then I would be leaning to my left side. The problem (and the pain) inhibited me from going any further in my hand balancing practice. It also impacted other things like bridging exercises and gymnastics. Even something as simple as a push up could still cause pain. Read More…

Snatch Balance

AKA Drop snatch (incorrectly)

 
The snatch balance is a dynamic snatch receiving position exercise that adds more demand on technique, precision and speed to the overhead squat. It is one of three snatch balance exercises whose names are often confused with each other or used interchangeably.
 
 
Execution
 
Start standing with the barbell behind your neck with a snatch-width grip and your feet in the pulling position. Bend the knees smoothly, maintaining balance and an upright torso, then push with the legs against the floor to create some upward momentum on the bar. Pick up your feet and replace them flat on the floor in your squat stance as you push aggressively against the bar to move yourself down into an overhead squat position. Lock your elbows and secure the bar in the overhead position in as low of a squat as you can without being rock-bottom—absorb the downward force of the bar by continuing to sit the rest of the way into the squat smoothly. Making sure the bar is stable and secure overhead, stand again, keeping the bar overhead. The goal is to elevate the barbell as little as possible from its starting point on the shoulders and to move the body down under it as quickly as possible.  
 
 
Notes
 
If you maintain the hook grip when you turn the snatch over, use the hook grip in the snatch balance. Read More…