Workout of the Day:
Weighted Pull-Ups
and then,
Three rounds for time of:
400 meter run
25 Hang Power Cleans (95/65 lbs.)
25 Knees to Elbows

CF Invictus Tape Step One

How To Tape Your Hands
Written by Calvin Sun

Every CrossFitter has experienced a torn callus but I think it’s completely avoidable if you take the proper precautions. Perform callus maintenance regularly, don’t use too much chalk, and avoid workouts with hundreds of pull-ups. But what’s a CrossFit athlete to do when the inevitable tear happens? Taping your hands is certainly a good option. The problem I see is that most people have no clue on how to tape their hands. The most common “technique” I see employed is simply taking a length of athletic tape and wrapping it around the palm several times. Without a doubt, this is the best way to waste athletic tape and do absolutely nothing to protect your hands. Anyone who has taped with this method can tell you, a few pull-ups is all it takes to turn this shoddy tape job into a rolled up bundle of tape, chalk, and skin. 

Most tears occur at the base of either the ring finger or middle finger, so it’s pointless to tape your palm. The best way to protect your hands and to prevent tears is to cover these hot spots. A former co-worker of mine was a gymnastics instructor and a few years ago she showed me this great way to tape the hands:

  • Step 1. Take approximately 5 inches of standard athletic tape and fold it length wise. Wrap it around the base of your finger and overlap the excess. The ends should cover your tear/hot spot. 
    CF Invictus Tape Step One 
  • Step 2. Take another length of tape approximately 10 inches. Tape the wrapped section to one end of the tape and fold width wise so that the other end of the tape also covers the wrapped section.
    CF Invictus Tape Step Two 
  • Step 3. You now have a grip for your hands. If you did it correctly, there should be enough excess below the wrist joint to secure it with tape. Simply wrap some tape around your wrist to hold it in place. 
    CF Invictus Tape Final Step 

Instead of having 1 or 2 layers of tape to cover your callus tear, you have 6 layers of tape over that spot if you use this technique correctly. You don’t have to wait until you tear to use this method either. If your callus is already showing signs of failure and there’s plenty of pull-ups in the WOD, you might want to consider taking some preventive measures.

  • christine

    Calvin, having trouble with number 2. Are we folding multiple pieces over the wrapped section? The tape looks wide for being folded.

  • Cal,

    Great info, will for sure use it since my hands always seem to want to tear…


  • Calvin Sun

    The strip in step 2 is actually twice as long as what you see pictured. It’s been folded on itself with the middle forming the bottom of the strip and the ends securing the wrapped section.

  • Calvin Sun


    I would suggest you go easy on the hand lotion to begin with before resorting to taping.

  • Cal,

    As a novice, older Crossfitter, I have only chalked when my hands are too slippery to grip the bar during my “assisted” pull-ups. The chalk gives me some traction on the bar (I am a sweaty palms kinda guy), but sometimes that traction seems to promote blisters. I have been told that blisters lead to tough skin and tougher skin prevents blisters, so “just work through it.” My question has two parts:
    1. Does tape help with grip and traction, or is it just a protective device for those of us with tender palms?
    2. If so, am I better off taping instead of chalking?

  • Calvin Sun

    The taping method described above is primarily intended to protect the hands of athletes who wish to continue training after incurring a friction-related injury as well as those with hands that are prone to ripping/tearing. Mechanical advantage on grip ranges from minimal to none. Instead, I would advise you to work on increasing your grip strength. Anything that requires you hang from a pull-up bar, deadlifts, kettlebell drills, crushing beer cans, etc would all be fair game.

  • AT


    Sub’d run with 500 meter row. Humbling workout. Much easier on paper.

  • GOOD to know.. i tore both my hands a few weeks ago.. i also have been rubbing utter balm on my hands.. help it out a bit… 🙂 awesome read!

  • Can you also add a section that goes around the middle finger for an increased coverage area?