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Callus Tear Prevention – Taking Care of Hand Skin

Many people have recently found out about the importance of including Grip Strength in their routines on a regular basis. Once you begin strengthening your Grip (everything from the elbow down) it can be pretty amazing the level of improvement you are able to see.

For instance, when I first started training for grip strength, I was still primarily interested in muscle building and countless variations of curls were staples of my routine. I was very surprised when out of nowhere back in early 2004, I was able to curl 90-lb Dumbbells while seated with fairly strict form:

My early grip training was based around developing the strength to tear a deck of cards, yet the carryover from a broad variety of grip drills led to a pretty amazing milestone in the Dumbbell Curl for me.

But this is not the only type of improvement that can be seen when you finally start strengthening your lower arms and hands. For some people, they are able to see dramatic improvement in very different parts of their training. I have received emails from people who are no longer dropping deadlifts, are holding hand stands longer than ever before, and many other great things since adding regular grip training into their routine.

However, one thing that often gets in people’s way when they do their grip training is skin tears. Whether it is skin on the thumb from doing a lot of pinch work, Two Hands Pinch or Loose Pinch with several 10-lb Plates, or maybe a ripped callus from doing support grip work like Farmer’s Walk Training, a skin tear can really set you back.

I Was Lucky

I was actually pretty lucky myself, not to have sustained a major skin tear to my calluses in one of this week’s workouts. I was testing my current strength levels in the Double Overhand Deadlift. I was very pleased to have locked out 500-lbs, but after the workout, it was clear that I had been neglecting my skin care as a couple of mature calluses nearly pulled off on my last attempt. You’ll see in the video, I savored the lock-out at the top and held a bit longer than normal and this is what nearly broke a callus loose.

This is what my hands looked like after this workout.

You can see that on my left hand, the callus at the base of my ring finger and pinky finger were the two that came closest to tearing. The one on the base of the middle finger looks bad but was nothing compared to the other two. The ring and pinky calluses were actually inflamed and bothered me, so even though they don’t look horrible, they certainly felt it. On the right hand, pretty much all four calluses were lit up like this. The ones at the base of my index finger actually came loose on the outer layers of skin. The callus below the middle finger came pretty close as well.

Skin Care to Prevent Callus Tears

There are many tools and products out there to help take care of calluses. Ranging from inexpensive skin files to more expensive gadgets like the Ped Egg, you have more than enough options.

However, I do not use any of those conventional items. First off, I don’t have the patience to mess with a a file on my calluses, and the Ped Egg never seems to hit my calluses just right. This thing is designed to be used on the feet anyway, where the callused region is much larger, and it always seems like the Ped Egg is hitting other parts of my palm or fingers that do not need that kind of work. So again, I don’t use them. SO what DO I use?

Some people are surprised to hear that I use a normal shaving razor. Yes, you shave your excess skin right off your hand and prevent callus tears to a degree.

The type of razor that you use is not very important. I have used everything from the more specialized facial shaving razors with two, three, and even four blades, all the way down to the disposable razors that you can buy in bunches at dollar stores.

They all work fine as long as you follow these steps:

Step 1: Get Your Hands Wet

The hands must be wet in order to take care of the calluses properly. You can do this by simply submersing them in the sink for a few minutes. Again, that is a bit boring for me, so I just do it in the shower. After a good shower of 10 minutes or so, when your hands get really soaked, the extra dead skin will turn white, allowing you to see it very well. This is my wet hand and you can see some white skin regions, but the lighting wasn’t great, so it didn’t come through perfectly. You will see what I mean when you do this.

Step 2: Using the Razor

Once the hands have reached the right degree of moistness and you can see the white, dead skin, you can take your razor and lightly cut that away.

I like to go both horizontally and vertically over the callus several times in order to get all of the callus tissue removed. In addition to the white areas, other targets you will look for will be spots on the callused regions that even after a good soaking are still very hard and rough. These spots will catch on knurling and rip off easily, so give them a little buffing as well with the razor.

Safety Precautions

Of course, you need to use your head when you do this. Don’t continue cutting all the way through the body of the callus and into your virgin skin. The callus is there to protect that skin. You only should chip away the extra, useless skin, that runs the risk of catching on a knurled bar and ripping the entire callus off.

Once you’re done, your hands should look much different. You may even notice a shine to your calluses. This is because the razor somewhat polishes the thicker callus tissue, giving it a new luster.

This is the tactic I have used for nearly 10 years in caring for my calluses and preventing skin tears. It has served me well so I encourage you to try it. Be careful though, as I am not responsible if you go to deep and damage your lower dermis levels or somehow else injure yourself.

Important: Calluses & Vertical Bar

Please take note that you must be very careful to not over-prune your calluses if you do vertical bar work. If you cut them too short, your grip on the vertical bar will feel completely different. This is a mistake I made prior to a very early Grip Contest I did and my numbers suffered because of it.

I hope this helps you out to prevent nasty callus tears. They sting like a bastard and just mess you up both technique-wise and mentally because you end up thinking about them too much instead of the event at hand. What do they say? An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of Cure? In this case, that’s true.

All the best in your training,


P.S. Check out the DVD I am re-releasing, The Sh*t You’ve Never Seen. All live training footage with a few highlight reels, voiceovers, and effects added in. This thing will get you pumped up for your next workout.

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19 Responses to “Callus Tear Prevention – Taking Care of Hand Skin”

  1. Mr Grip Powe Pads Says:

    Hello, if you like we can mail you couple of our samples that can help to protect from blisters and calluses
    Please let us know your name and address
    Thank you
    All the best
    Mr. Grip

  2. Adam and your gripboard buddies Says:

    You just can’t stop your sissy ways hwne people do somethng that you don’t like or run a grip competition as they feel, can you? You’re justa a clown who has a working wife that allows you to make 50-100 month doing nothng but spewing common sense. If you had not been such a rude little prick in communication on the grip board, you would not be hearing this. But, alas, a bitch is a bitch.

  3. Jedd Johnson Says:

    A bitch is a person who posts threatening comments on a site without using his real name. If you’ve got something to say, then say it with your real name, or call me up. 607-857-6997.

  4. David Clark Says:

    Short and practical = awesome! Thanks Jedd! I’ve been looking for something efficient like this.

  5. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Glad you liked it. Hopefully it keeps your hands clear of tears.


  6. Daniel Reinard Says:

    Excellent material Jedd! Thanks for sharing your learning experiences.

    To the anonymous poster: Jedd is one of the nicest guys out there. He trains like a madman and between his goals he takes his free time to help others out. Not many do that. Do YOU stick your neck out to help others like this? This is why I love buying from Jedd. His DVDs are thorough and his equipment is solid. The best part is he isn’t satified unless the user gets stronger with it. That’s customer service like none other. Either grow a pair or keep tucking your dick. Trolling a brothers site because you have personal issues is lower than scum.

  7. Mark D. Nolan Says:

    You have always been a total professional. Thank you for taking the high road and not lowering yourself to Mr. anonymous, I have a serious lack of self-esteem issue and I need a hug poster. Keep up the great work Jedd and Mr. anonymous please seek professional help for your personal issues that I presume stem deep from your childhood years.

  8. Adam and your gripboard buddies Says:

    And a cult is where losers like you find idiots to follow them. The worst part is you are not a leader, but a carnival huckster spewing incorrect information. You’re scared to death of anyone who doesn’t need your crappy advice, and already knew plenty regarding grip work long before you crawled to the gripboard.

    Actually, a bitch is a cunt like you who hasn’t a clue, but runs from the truth. It’s great to see you run from Ironmind, as when Randy dispeled your myth building, you snuck away, dog leg.

  9. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Wow you are sad.

  10. Adam and your gripboard buddies Says:

    No, but you are. A tool misleading other tools.

  11. Jedd Johnson Says:

    If you hate me so much, why do you continue to come back to my site?

  12. Chase Says:

    Good advice as always Jedd. Keep up the good work.

  13. Adam and your gripboard buddies Says:

    Because you are a fraud and don’t deserve the opportunity to teach people stuff that is clearly common sense to most. Any clown who writes “I used to suck at this” as ad copy for a wrist developer video needs a lesson in communication. Real copy specialists would giggle their collective asses off at you, but in reality, should laugh first at the idiots who follow you. A no squat, no leg clown who proclaims that no one knew anything forearm work before you came on the scene. A lie on top of many others. Impressive.

  14. Jedd Johnson Says:

    So you keep coming back here to view my site because I am a fraud, yet you won’t post with your real name. Hmmm – that makes a lot of sense. And why won’t you post under your real name?

    And ad copy specialists? Who gives a shit? I don’t write ad copy to fool someone into buying something. I tell the truth, unlike 90% of people who sell on-line. The ad copy masters are the true frauds. Not me.

    My invitation to you to call me is always open. I would love to hear the justification for calling me a fraud, instances where I have lied, and anything else I have done to mislead you and other people.

    But the ad copy – don’t bother. I will continue telling people the truth about my training and my methods. If I started out “sucking” at something and worked my ass off testing and experimenting until I found the proper technique, then I will tell them about it.

  15. Joe Musselwhite Says:

    Jedd, GREAT job as always!

    The anonymous coward could be the same one sending comments to me as well. Only mine are worse!

    IMO, this is what the guy wants. Somewhere to spew his poison
    and cause problems.

    People responding to this guys comments is probably the only attention this coward ever gets. Well , I take that back, besides whatever it is in his childhood that went terribly wrong. Oh my!!!

    Keep on helping others Jedd! You’re very appreciated!

    Mighty Joe (another victim of this coward)

  16. Adam does not lub you Says:

    If there are people who need attention through others, it’s this clown. As long as the turds follow you in your travels you feel big and strong. You’ve accomplished so little in other aspects of your life, you have to have the reassurance and love of your turd followers.

    The nice part about the Internet is that there are people who know what they are talking about, which will eventually leave you long gone when the Gripboard collapses.

    I’m sure you are entertained and reliEved to have the support of Everybody’s pet imp, Joe Okie from Muskogee Musseelless. Now all the cowards have united, so I’ll leave you to wack off together.

  17. Jedd Johnson Says:

    You are sad.

  18. Mike Rinderle Says:


    Normally I don’t respond to these keyboard ninjas, but this coward has really tickled my funny bone. These trolls are pretty much all the same. They are not man enough to use their real names (much less face you like a real man), they almost always bring your family into it (apparently it makes them feel like more of a man to dra women into it), and are obviously theatened by anybody that has had any success because it shines a spotlight on their inadequacies (failed job, can’t satisfy women, not strong enough or dedicated enough to get the recognition they feel is their due). Most of them were the guys getting picked last in gym class and spent a lot of time in lockers as a kid, always resenting the people that put in the work to be good athletes and people. Low self esteem, fed by one failure after another (which are never their fault) leads them to the only way they know how to make themselves feel better: tearing down others they don’t match up to. If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny. I notice a lot of these guys are IM nut huggers. They usually have one or two guys they worship and will do anything they can to be associated with. They do this in order to be cool by association because they would never have the guts or ability to take the risks you have and make something of themselves on their own. When guys like this attack you Jedd, just know that it means you are doing something right. Their glory days haven’t come and gone… they never were. Because of this, they resent you and all you stand for. A good guy, strong family man, and successful strength athlete.

    Keep doing what you are doing buddy and enjoy the trolls.

  19. Peter Says:

    Hi jedd,

    Thanks for the link.
    I used a ‘ped-egg for men’ with similar results.
    The emery cloth was usless, but the rasp inside works great.
    Good advice, mate.


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