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The Most Important Key to Keeping Your Thumb Skin from Tearing

(originally posted Jan 31, 2010)

If you do any amount of pinching, especially one-hand loose plate pinching (like lifting 6 tens with one hand), block weight pinching (like lifting the blob plus weight), or the Two Hands Pinch with the European Adjustable Pinch Device, you’ve probably had thumb tears before.

If you have had a thumb tear, then you know how hard it can be to continue training through it. The stinging can keep you from squeezing as hard as you can, the blood makes the plates slippery, and if you keep going, the rip keeps getting bigger and bigger.

If the tear is shallow, then you may be able to train again the next day or at least in the next workout, but if the chunk goes down deep, it may be a week before you’re able to hit a good hard workout with that thumb again.
There’s plenty of measures you can take to prevent skin tears from happening, but what I want to show you right now is the most important thing you can do.


A Picture of My Left Hand

The picture above is my left hand. If you’ll notice, nowhere on my thumb is there any skin rips or tears.

thumb webbing

In the picture above, I have outlined a section of the hand. Within this outline are the base of the thumb and the thumb webbing. These two areas are the spots people make the mistake of placing against the edge of whatever it is they are pinching, often resulting in tears that hinder their training and strength progress.

The thumb webbing and the base of the thumb are areas of the hand that rip very easily. They are naturally weak patches of skin and I have found very little success in getting these parts of my skin to build up or toughen up.

tough part of thumb

In the image above, you’ll see that I have outlined a different area. This part of the thumb is much tougher and holds up to much more of a beating than the base of the thumb or the webbing. In this part of the thumb, the skin is much thicker and will build up over time as well.

If your goals include completing huge feats of pinch strength like pinching two 45’s, and other loose pinch feats, then I believe that placing the latter part of your thumb on the edge of the plates is extremely important.

When I started pinching with this placement, it was not very comfortable – you may feel the same way.

You also might feel weaker when you first try it – I know I did.

However, after many years and hundreds of attempts doing it this way, I almost never get a thumb tear anymore.

I urge you to consider transitioning to a grip using the middle portion of the thumb. I think you will find that it involves less pain when pinching and is much more resilient against cutting than the other two common spots used for bracing the thumb against an object.

And something else to remember: You can’t get stronger at pinch if you don’t pinch.

And keep this in mind: If you’re cut up all the time then you’re probably not pinching that much.

In other words, if you never try this new technique, then your pinching numbers are probably not going to change much.

Give this a try – I’m interested in hearing what you think.

movarrow It would be great if you could leave a comment now on how you think pinching in this position feels and I’d also like to ask you to come back after 2 weeks let me know how you like it after trying it for several workouts.

I bet a lot of people will say it feels weird right off the bat. But I think if you stick with it, you’ll see this is the way to go.

All the best in your training – keep up the good work!


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2 Responses to “The Most Important Key to Keeping Your Thumb Skin from Tearing”

  1. Jerry Shreck Says:


    This is a great tip. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mike Rinderle Says:

    Tried this the other day with 2HP and blobs. It took a little getting used to, but once I did, it actually felt a little more solid. I’ll keep working at it and thanks bro!

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