Calluses: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Have you ever felt the pain of a pinched callus as you work through a set of deadlifts, KB snatches or any other exercise requiring prolonged gripping? If not, lucky you!


If so, for the next 2 minutes, sit back, relax and enjoy reading on about hand care and the importance it has in the gym for BOTH males and females.


Calluses are a common result of weight lifting or physical labor and can be beneficial or a nuisance (if not properly cared for).


Merriam-Webster defines a callus as a hard and thickened area on the skin, especially on the hands or feet. We will focus our attention to those that form on the hands as that is what we commonly see at NSS.


You may notice your calluses when performing exercises such as deadlifts, farmer’s carries, and pull-ups, to name a few. On one hand (pun intended!) there is a benefit to having calluses as they toughen the hands and may allow you to handle heavier weights with a stronger and more confident grip.


On the other hand, calluses not cared for can become blisters and potentially tear off, resulting in pain and lost training time. Nobody likes missing workouts due to torn calluses!


Here are our tips for helping deal with calluses and allowing them to help you, rather than hurt you. We know a lot of you ladies don’t enjoy the look and feel of callused up hands, so be sure to try tip number 1 below.


  • After a shower or bath, carefully use a pumice stone or emery board to gently remove excess build-up of tissue and create a flatter surface (I like to do mine after washing dishes).


  • If you notice a blister beginning to form under a callus, stop the activity and place some athletic tape on the blister or wear some fingerless gloves.


  • Depending on the exercise you are performing, try gripping the implement more at the base of the fingers, instead of in the palm, there may be less pinch of the callus.


There you have it, a few useful tips for dealing with calluses and helping to prevent them from becoming blisters, causing pain and discomfort or missing training time.


Again, there is benefit in having calluses as they toughen your hands and enable you to work harder with less discomfort; however, you want to be sure to manage them.


Take care of your hands and they will take care of you!


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