'Tis the season of rips. As the post season is starting, our athletes are excited to start working on new skills! With new skills often comes a side effect... a rip. Rips are no fun in the gymnastics world, but are almost inevitable. Between the friction of the bar and the skin on your hand, a rip is bound to happen due to the athletes working on new circling bar skills and spending more time on the apparatus. Here is a step by step guide to treat a rip... like a gymnast.
1. Wash your hands. Sometimes this is the opposite of what the athlete wants to do because the soap or even the water can burn the fresh exposed skin, but it is important to get the germs and chalk out of the rip when it happens.
2. Remove excess skin as close to the top as possible. Coaches, athletes, and parents want to make sure this rip stays as small as possible for faster healing. Often times, if the skin is left attached, it will continue to get caught and open the rip up even more. The athlete can remove the skin by tearing directly across the top or by using freshly sanitized nail clippers.
3. Create a tape grip to wear. A tape grip can be made in many different ways. The easiest is by folding a piece of athletic tape over itself 2-4 times, then cutting a finger hold at the top. A tape grip is created to protect the exposed area, and to reduce the amount of friction as the athlete continues through bar practice that day. Tape grips can sometimes even be used up to a week after the initial rip, and can be reused many times in practices and in meets.
4. Keep working hard! At Pinnacle, when our athletes get their first rip we try to celebrate. We explain to the athlete that this rip is an earned battle wound from their hard work at practice. Very few
times is a rip a reason to stop doing bars or practicing. Toughing it out is encouraged when gymnasts get their first rip.
5. Maintain a clean, moisturized, and covered rip while not at the gym. This can be done by adding a small dab of Neosporin to the clean area and wrapping a layer of tape around the hand. When I was an athlete I had luck popping a Vitamin E pill and using the clear gel inside to keep the rip moist. Our main goal is to prevent the rip from getting over-dry and cracking (a crack in the skin can be more painful than the rip itself).
Current Coach and former Rip Receiver