Callouses! AH! My saving grace? Or the thorn of my existence? One thing that you will start to notice as your lifting progresses is that your soft lady hands start to resemble that of an 80 year old mechanic. I have never had tough hands, I work in an office I have natural finger nails and slender fingers. Developing callouses is a natural part of training. As your muscles grow so do your callouses. Almost everything involves your hands. Pull ups, curls, deadlifts, dips, even squats if weighted require you to grip that stinkin bar! Your hands pay the price. Callouses are a natural product, a means of protecting your body from constant use. You want big callouses --but not too big of callouses and finding the happy spot is a constant struggle. Caring for your hands needs an much attention as caring for your diet or your muscles.

One option is lifting gloves. I have a pair but I try not to wear them. It is important that your hands learn to manage the stress so that you are not completely dependent on them. Gloves are inexpensive and a great thing to have in a pinch but they are not something that you are going to want to be using on the regular. My personal favorite is chalk, I carry a ziplock bag of chalk in my car, hopefully the next time I get pulled over the police don't assume it is anything other than chalk and sick the drug dogs on me.

Chalk provides a great means of sweat absorption but it dries your hands out and cracked dry hands are no joke when you are trying to lift. It is super important if you are using chalk on the regular that you are washing and moisturizing your hands every time. It is good practice to wash your hands when you are finished at the gym regardless but especially with chalk. Even for you fellas! Wash and moisturize. When you are training intensively you want to make sure you are listening to your body. 

When I deadlift heavy I usually do set of 5 with a tiny brake, my hands turn pale white and start to throb so I give them a minute-but just a minute to recover. With less intense weight I opt for a bit of a less secure grip, but one that puts less pressure on the areas that tend to callous. In the event that I have not been practicing what I preach a start to develop large callouses, its time to file. Be it a pumice stone, an aggressive loofah or a file when your callouses get to big you run the risk of ripping them off. A sin no lifter wants to commit. An uncovered torn callous is the equivalent of a lifters bed rest. Well maybe not for everyone, but Im a baby. Red, raw, throbbing open wounds have no place in the gym (think MRSA, infection etc both for you and your gym-mates) 

In order to prevent tearing you cant let them get too big, but on the contrary you need adequate protection for regular hand use. In conjunction with callous care, fingernails can pose major problems also, I cant tell you how many times I have cut my fingers open with my own fingernails. Generally for me I slice my ring fingers with my pinky nails, or all of my nails slicing up my palms. Heavy lifting is easier with short well manicured nails. My most important tip for hand care is to not lift in any jewelry. I dont wear a lot of jewelry, but I am married so whenever I go to the gym, I take my ring off. The metal digs into my little baby hands and forces me to quit because my finger hurts well before my legs are about to give out. I love lifting barehanded, but I found as a lady at the gym a ring finger indent was a huge "COME TALK TO ME" flag for stray creepers. Id highly encourage both married and single women to invest a few dollars in a Qalo silicone ring.

This is not only a comfortable, sports based band, but a wonderful creeper repellent. Lifting promises beautiful results, but sometimes the path isint so pretty. For me I get to choose between nice hands or nice legs. What are your favorite hand care methods?