Kettlebell Hand & Skin
Here are explanations for my own
hand injuries overviewed on my
Hand Care Tools & Tips
section. There are some simple tricks you can learn here to prevent these
hand injuries. Note that injured hands are not only painful--but less safe
for two reasons. First, you'll compensate if your hands are torn up which
could lead to an injury. Second, open wounds on hands are
portals of entry
for bacteria like MRSA. Take care of your hands so you have less
pain and more safety!
Bad Hand Example:
This is what my hands
generally looked like the first couple of months of KB training. I
had NO hand grooming plan whatsoever! I thought having heavy
calluses with peeling edges was "manly," but it was actually just stupid!
Note that calluses too built up or "tall" will roll over then tear with
ballistics like the KB snatch--NOT good!
This has been my worst hand injury. One of my KBs had an
imperfection under the handle that left a raised portion with a sharp
edge. While doing a little KB training with a bad handle is not that
big of a deal, doing serious training with a bad handle on top of poorly
conditioned hands IS a big deal! (My handle was promptly FILED
smooth after this injury!) I was 4:00 into a 5:00 snatch test with
my 16kg when I felt "something in my hand." I kept going thinking it
must be some grass or something (stupid!) because I wanted my 5:00 PR.
I got the PR, but lost a large chunk of my palm because what I felt was
not grass--it was "many" layers of skin rolling up as the handle gouged my
hand. I equate this injury to having a small 3rd degree burn.
It hurt like hell! The pain was so intense that it prevented me from
sleeping properly for two full nights. It completely jacked my
training for the next week and took two full weeks to get fully healed.
Trust me--DO NOT do this! While tearing my hand open was an obvious
stupid mistake, I made yet another one right after it happened. When
I saw what I had done, I got mad and just "tore off" the rolled up skin
that was hanging there so I could keep on training. This made my
healing take MUCH longer! I've had a couple of other incidents, but
I left the remaining skin on being careful to clean the surfaces
underneath, and the injury healed twice as fast! If you do tear your
hand open, I'd recommend leaving the extra skin on as a natural covering
until the raw skin underneath toughens up a bit more...usually a couple of
days or so.
Injury #2: This one
was not nearly as bad as the palm injury above because I stopped before it
tore too deeply. I also left the extra skin on as a natural band aid
which GREATLY speeded my healing process. The sad thing is that if I
had been grooming my hands properly, I would not have had this injury in
the first place. It was MY fault! Post Injury--What I
didn't know then that I know now is to use the pumice stone to buff off
all that extra hanging skin under the blister flap once the flap is
removed. Remember that any of these "hanging edges" can end up
lifting the skin and tearing into "fresh" tissue. You don't want
edges like this. Keep everything smoothed out i.e. groom your hands
Injury #3: By
this point I'm starting to figure it out! Five days prior to this
photo, I had a blister develop during 24kg snatch sets. I had been
careful during my following KB workouts to not tear open the soft
spot--even used gloves a couple of times. It finally tore open five
days after the original strain, but because I had kept the blister intact
for days, by the time the blister tore open the skin underneath wasn't
sensitive or raw at all. I cleaned the area well, left the skin flap
in place, then trimmed off the loose skin the next morning. While
the skin under the blister was still not as thick, it was fine and gave me
no pain. This was a quick heal because I managed it much better than
previous hand injuries. Prevention altogether? I should
have used some gloves when my hands started to strain the week before.
I had been out of town the week prior to the blister incident--I lost some
hand conditioning in that week. While my hands "were" up to repeated
24kg snatch sets of 10-20 a couple of weeks before, they were not on this
particular day of the blister formation. Learning Point?
Missing a full week of KBs can really change the conditioning of your
hands--at least for me during my first year of KB training. Maybe
this is not such a big deal after 2-3 years of KBs...not sure at this
point of my journey which has me about six full months into serious KB
Good Hand Example:
six months of KBs and hand issues, I'm starting to figure it out!
This is my hand properly groomed. I train with the KBs about 4-5
days a week right now if I'm on target. You don't have to go
through my pain Comrades! Groom your hands so you can avoid
injury...there will be plenty of other opportunities in your KB training
to actually "Enjoy the Pain"...so be patient and give your hands the
Dynamic Warm-Up exercises at
“beginning” of workout
for maximum benefit and improvement.
Pick a safe
level; never be unsafe or exceed your capacity to “control” your body!
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