Monday, July 31
Get A Grip on Your Rip!

Get A Grip on you Rip!

Rips are a common, though painful occurrence in the sport of gymnastics. Everyone gets them from the beginner to the elite level performer. For the novice gymnast, rips normally occur because the gymnast's grip on the bar is too tight through fear or lack of familiarity with the skill. Advanced gymnasts usually rip because they allow an excess of callous to develop on their hands. A rip is a separation of the upper layers of skin in the palm of the hand from lower layers of blood rich tissue. An excessively tight grip or callous buildup allows the skin to bunch up as you are swinging around the bar.

Before You Rip

After every workout wash your hands with soap and water, then rub hand lotion into the front and back of your hands. Prevent excess callous from building up by rubbing the affected areas with a pumice stone. To find the areas of excess callous, soak the hands in water for about ten minutes and you will be able to notice areas on the palm that retain a whitish color while the rest of the skin stays pink. Use the pumice stone only as necessary. Excessive use will cause the hands to be constantly sore during workouts. Rub hand lotion into your hands at night before going to sleep and, if necessary, when you get up in the morning. Always keep your hands moist.

When You First Rip

Remove the excess skin carefully. A sterilized pair of nail clippers (to prevent infection) should work nicely, then wash with soap and water. Don't put hand lotion on a fresh rip. Martin advises that you cover the rip with some "over-the-counter" antibiotic ointment rather than Vaseline so the injured area has a chance to breathe. Some pharmacies carry products called "Second Skin" or "NuSkin" that comes in patch or liquid form and may be placed directly over the rip.

Before going to sleep at night, put some antibiotic ointment on the rip and cover your hand with a sock or glove with the fingers cut out to keep the ointment off the sheets and out of your eyes. This treatment should continue until the rip is covered with new skin.

After You Have Ripped

Once new skin has covered the rip, continue using hand lotion as described above. If the rip is allowed to dry up, the skin will crack and you will continue to rip in the same spot. Sometimes rubbing Chapstick over a drying rip can also prevent cracking. If you must workout again, after ripping do not cover the rip with the sticky side of the tape. Instead lay a small piece of tape sticky-side up over the rip so it comes in contact with the tape you are using to protect your hand. On nights when you have particularly hard workouts on bars and your hands are hot and throbbing it is a good idea to soak them in cool water or hold ice cubes in your hands until they melt. This will help the inflamed tissues to cool off. Just before a competition you can deaden the pain of a rip by keeping an ice pack on it, or soaking the hands in a slush bath of ice water for ten minutes. This will help keep your concentration on the routine instead of the pain of the rip.

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