Category Archives: Weightlifting

Questions about callouses and hand rips?

Healthy weightlifting hands have some callous, but not so much they get caught on the bar, bunch up, and then rip.

Healthy weightlifting hands have some callous, but not so much they get caught on the bar, bunch up, and then rip.

Inevitably, when you start out lifting your hands are nice and soft.  Through the session they start to hurt, but you don’t notice until the end that they are pretty beaten up.  Within a few weightlifting sessions, your hands become blistered, rough and begin to peel. You start get worried, what if they rip?  Well, you should be nervous and you should do something about that now. Don’t wait until you get a rip.  Take care of your hands now now.  It’s actually pretty simple.

This is a question from a friend new to weightlifting:

My hand callouses are getting kind of gnarly. They’re not ripping off (a la CrossFit), but they’re kind of peeling. Like dry skin. There’s still a decent amount of callous underneath, but I don’t know if I should try to sand that shit down or just not worry about it. Basically I just want to *avoid* having them rip off, and this whole “man hands” thing is a new phenomenon for me. Stop laughing, I’m (mostly) serious.

This is totally legit, no laughing. The solution is super easy, but not obvious.

  1. Two words – PUMICE STONES.  Get yourself some.  They are super cheap on amazon.
  2. Put one next to each sink and one in your shower.
  3. Grind down those callouses for ~30 seconds every time you wash your hands.

Done!  Your hands should be healthy.  However, if your callouses are too thick to pumice them (which can sometimes happen if you leave them too long), then you need to either shave them down with a razor or smother them in bag balm, put a plastic bag around you hand, cinch down the bag (so you don’t get it all over the place), and sleep with that on.  It is an emergency measure that is very effective.  Gymnasts do this all the time.

Hand rips can seriously damage your training if you don't take care of them. However, with the right care you can train through the healing process.

Hand rips can seriously damage your training if you don’t take care of them. However, with the right care you can train through the healing process.

However, perhaps something terrible happens and you accidentally get a rip (bad lift, new movement, poor hand care, etc.)

  1. Clean it, trim the hanging skin, and smother it in neosporin.
  2. Bandage it up with tape, band-aids, new skin, whatever you like.
  3. You can also bag it like above, if you are a crazy sleeper and you think the bandage might leak.
  4. Change your bandage after your lifting and/or at least once a day.  IMPORTANT: Keep it moist and covered (with neosporin or other ointment), it is scientifically proven that moist wounds heal faster.
  5. If you want to lift with the rip, use sports tape, an ace bandage or a strap over the bandage and you can (probably) still work through the healing process and lot lose too much ground.

Hope this helps!  Have any other tips for good hand care?

Russian Squat Cycle (6 weeks)

Palo Alto Barbell, how do you feel after a big squat personal record (PR)?

How do you feel after a big squat personal record (PR)?

A lot of folks have been asking me about the squat program I just finished. I thought I would share it here. If you get a chance to do it, please let me know how it goes!

Summary: I just finished a very short (6 week), intense Russian Squat Cycle.  My poor teammates did a 12 week program and had even bigger gains.  I began later than they did because I had to work around the American Open.  I wouldn’t recommend doing this during a build up to a competition. For us, this happened over the winter holidays and our huge PRs just happened a few weeks into the new year.  This made for great times eating and training (no cutting for competitions!).  The squats even woke me up in the middle of the night a few times and demanded calories.

How does one put 9 kgs (~20lbs) on a back squat in such a short time?

  1. PR your back squat right before you begin the new cycle so you know what your max is.
  2. Commit to squatting 3 days a week with at least one rest day between each squat day.
  3. Suck up as much sleep and protein into you body as you can stand.
  4. Stretch and do abs as much as you can.
  5. Believe in your coach and the program.  It works!

What exactly does a 6 week Russian Squat Program look like?

Week 1:

Day 1 (Monday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 2 (Wednesday) – 80% x 3 x 6

Day 3 (Saturday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Week 2:

Day 4 (Monday) – 80% x 4 x 6

Day 5 (Wednesday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 6 (Saturday) – 80% x 5 x 6

Week 3:

Day 7 (Monday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 8 (Wednesday) – 80% x 6 x 6

Day 9 (Saturday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Week 4:

Day 10 (Monday) – 85% x 5 x 5

Day 11 (Wednesday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 12 (Saturday) – 90% x 4 x 4

Week 5:

Day 13 (Monday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 14 (Wednesday) – 95% x 3 x 3

Day 15 (Saturday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Week 6:

Day 16 (Monday) – 100% x 2 x 2

Day 17 (Wednesday) – 80% x 2 x 6

Day 18 (Saturday) – 105% x 1 x 1  (make your PR and then go heavier!)

Note: The percentage listed is the percentage of your back squat. For example, if your best is 50kg, then 80% of 50kg is 40kg. On day one do 40kg back squats for six sets of two. As always, warmup well before doing your squats. Always start with an empty bar and build up to your working sets. For this cycle, our team always began with squats. The squats were a good way to warm up and tire us out so that our technique really needed to shine to get us through the workouts.

Let me know if you have any questions.  Enjoy your new, bigger back squat! And, if you like, do follow me on Instagram:

Throw Back Thursday

American Open Weightlifting Championships December 2013

American Open Weightlifting Championships December 2013

A new year is a good time to reflect on where you were 12 months ago.  Every time I do this it feels like it was so long ago that I am not even the same person.  I believe that is a good thing.

These are the top ten things that changed for me this year:

  1. I went from ‘working out’ to ‘training’.
  2. I went from ‘eating’ to ‘fueling my body’.
  3. I went from fighting my weaknesses to maximizing my strengths.
  4. I went from hiding my enormous legs to being proud of them.
  5. I went from dieting to ‘bulking and cutting’.
  6. I went from dabbling in olympic weightlifting to being a national competitor.
  7. I went from killing myself at work to a more efficient contractor role.
  8. I went from worrying about spending enough time with my children to worrying about setting a good example for them.
  9. I went from worrying about my legacy to being able to die today.
  10. I went from a lot of friends who don’t share my values to a very few who make me a better person.
Starting Strength

Wendy’s First Weightlifting Experience – Starting Strength with Mark Rippetoe!

How have you changed this last year?



Start Your Strength Building Program

contest time!  each of you buys in for an amount that is painful.  lasts 6-8 weeks.  we start this sunday.  we will do %age improvement total for bench, press, backsquat, deadlift.  winner takes all?
alternate these two programs and lift 3 days a week:
  1. pavel:
max rack deadlift x 5 reps x 2 sets
max bench or overhead presssx 5 reps x 2 sets
  2. delorme:
50% of 10 rep max x 10 reps x 1 set
75% of 10 rep max x 5 reps x 1 set
100% of 10 rep max x 10 reps x 1 set
of each press/deadlift/squat
eat: protein, veggies, clear water
are you in?
Strong Girl