Taking Care of Your Hands As an Older Adult Strength Athlete
When you start a strength training regime, you may notice that the skin on your hands responds in an adaptive way as well as the muscles in the rest of your body! Those pull-up bars, barbells and kettlebells can be a little tough on the hands. Here are some tips to maximize your strength training while minimizing the wear and tear on your hands!
First up, we’re going to want to minimize callouses in order to decrease the risk of tears. What are tears? Basically when the callouses build up too much and you continue your strength training (because it is great for you and helps you feel amazing!) you begin to increase the possibility that the hands might rip. Essentially the callouses rip off and then there is soft/tender and maybe painful skin exposed underneath. You can prevent this excess build up by using a callous razor or a pumice stone in the bath/shower. You’ll want to leave a little bit of protection so don’t rub them down too deep. Once you have a nice, even layer of protective covering, you’re good to go for your next training session.
Stretching and mobilizing can help the arms, hands and fingers recover more quickly. You can work on linear wrist movement or wrist circles. You can also perform opening and closing stretches of the fingers, stretching the webbing in between the fingers and finger circles (to increase the lovely neuromuscular control of each finger). We do some stretching of the wrists/forearms on the wall at the training studio as well. Elbow circles are also a great addition herre.
Contrast bathing can also help enhance the recovery process. You can put your hands in hot water for 1 minute and then ice water for 1 minute. This increases blood flow to the hands and can help muscles recover more quickly.
Moisturizing can also help you stay on top of hand care to maximize your workouts. Adding a moisturizer in after you perform your ‘callous care’ is the perfect time for this, or before you head to bed for the night. I like this balm/salve/moisturizer