Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Found Chalk!

But I lost some skin...

Howie finally got himself some chalk,
And took his bells out for a walk.
His hands would finally stay dry,
As he hoisted those bells to the sky.
One rep, two rep, this ain't no joke
Until his hands started to smoke.
Maybe I should stop? Finish your set!
And that's when handle and raw skin met.

I hope you liked my poem. But that's how it really happened.

Session overall looked like this...

20kg - 5/5
24kg - 10/10, 10/10, 10/10, 10/10

It was during the 4th set of 24kg Snatches that I lost skin on both hands. Just under the callouses at the base of my ring fingers. On both hands, in the same spots. At least I'm symmetrical. Since this is my first time with the chalk, maybe I used to much? Maybe this is common? Or maybe the chalk I'm using is too 'sticky'?

I called a few Fitness Equipment places nearby and no one carried chalk. But one recommended I go to Eastern Mountain Sports and pick up climber's chalk, which I did. Maybe this is a different consistency from lifting chalk? I don't know.

So after my Snatches were prematurely cut off (I had planned to do at least one more set to reach 100), I performed the following to finish off the session...

Overhead Hold: 32kg - L/R
Farmer Walk: 24kg - L/R
Rack Walk: 32kg - L/R
Overhead Hold: 32kg - L/R

Performed these in small circles around the yard. Time to go pick up some band aids...


Mark Reifkind said...

chalk is both good and bad. good in that it insures a solid grip. this is vital when swinging around bars, or trying to hold onto heavy or slippery bars.
bad because it dries out the hand and makes too large calluses more susceptible to tearing.You have to really keep the callus pad thin and smooth.
I have found that as my technique gets better, and I have less grip stress, I am using less and less chalk. on max vo2 days now I use none.
and today with multiple sets of ten in snatch I used almost none.
with swings I need more chalk,especially on the heavier bells or higher reps.
bottom line, get a metal nail file, learn how to shave the calluses down and work on technique!

Taikei Matsushita said...

Should have intercepted before you lost your skin!

I get rock climbing chalk because there's no others available.

Put them on to your fingers so it works on hooking the handle.

I see less point using it on your palm.

Howie Brewer said...

Thanks Rif. I did read that in your post today. Amazing how appropriate your thoughts are to my own experiences! Definitely a matter of technique. The skin tears occurred as I started to tire. So my technique was definitely not where it was earlier on. I guess for now I need to find a happy medium. Use only enough so that my reps aren't hampered by grip but not too much that I can't go without it.

Taikei, thanks for the tip. And not to worry, this is one I needed to learn on my own. And now it gives me the perfect opportunity to practice Rif's taping technique for tomorrow's workout!

All in all, as I see my snatch performance improving, it is all a worthwhile learning experience, even if at times its the hard way!

Take One Stripper Pole said...

Oh ouch! You think this kettlebell stuff is still worth it? :)

Howie Brewer said...

Now TOSP... what do you think my answer would be to that?!?!? A little lost skin won't slow me down. Just check out today's workout!!

Franklin B. Herman said...

The 10/10 sets with the 24kg are just what the doctor ordered. Great work and your hands will heal. I got into the habit of using a coarse emory file to file down all callouses every night and then apply bag balm to both hands.

And thanks, for posting Rifs "How to tape". I tried taping without this knowledge when I had a tear but it didn't do it length-wise. As a result it started to catch on the bell and I had to take it off. I then put on work glove with the fingers cut off and was able to prevent further damage.

Howie Brewer said...

Franklin, you're welcome the taping reference. Worked great today. Funny thing about my lost skin. I wasn't the callouses that I lost, it was the soft skin just below. Too much chalk!!

BJ Bliffert said...


Another tip:

If you sand the coating off your handles you can,

1. spray just a tad bit of water on them

2. rub the water in

3. place a small piece of chalk in your hand

4. tilt the bell so the side of the handle is in your grind that "effing" chalk in to the handle.

If you do it right the handle will have a nice coating of chalk that won't rub off too easily.

Then chalk your hands good, if you use a hook grip, be sure to chalk the bottom of your thumb and the top of your index finger.

Maybe I should not be lazy and just make a video.

Howie Brewer said...

Thanks for the tip BJ. I saw something similar on Anthony Diluglio's (sp?) site. He taped it as one of his Minutes of Strength. I'm still up in the air as to how I am going to proceed with the chalk. You suggestion is definitely a consideration. I think I just need some more time to experiment with it. I haven't seemed to need chalk for anything but snatches as of late. And thanks for stopping by!!