Should I Be Getting Bruised Palms While Deadlifting?
April 11th 2019
The deadlift challenges our grip strength and mental fortitude. It is one of the staple exercises to include in any program in any era of strength training. There is only one issue, you keep bruising your palms while during the deadlifts. You know that doing deadlifts are supposed to be good for you, but is bruising your palms normal for the deadlift?
Bruised palms during deadlifts
Bruised and cut palms are not common during the deadlift. However, they are annoying to deal with and can cause a great deal of pain if not treated properly. Beginners are more suspectable to having bruised palms during deadlifts. This does not mean experienced lifters are spared from the deadlift god’s wraith. They may also experience bruised or cut palms now and then.
So, here are several remedies in order to save your hands and palms for getting injured from the deadlift:
i) Grab the bar correctly
If you have read any strength training book thoroughly, you will know that there is a technique to grip the bar correctly. For most people, they think they can just jam their hands into the bar and have the bar get all the way into their hands for the deadlift. This will result in more of your hand surface area being planted on the bar.
However, this is not the right way to grip the bar. The bar should be around where your fingers start branching off your hand. Wrap your fingers around the bar and then wrap your thumb around your fingers, if you are doing an overhand grip. With this grip, the bar has no business trying to bruise or rib the skin off your palms or hands. This is the proper way to grip the barbell during the deadlift.
ii) Smoother knurling
With the increase in popularity of powerlifting, many lifters opt to use a powerlifting bar with more aggressive knurling. As a response to this surge in demand, many gyms have purchased bars with more aggressive knurling to satisfy its customers. These newer bars differ from the older Olympic barbells in that the knurlings are way more aggressive for a better hold on the deadlifts.
Sharper knurlings will dig into your skin. Coupled with other grip variations, beginners in strength training can suffer from bruised palms or hands in the first couple of deadlifting workouts. This will suck and may take some time to get used to it. This should not happen every single workout and if it does, lifters will need to go back to the first bullet and assess their deadlift grip.
iii) Get used to it
The pain will always be there. If it is your first time deadlifting, you will wonder why it hurts so bad? Coming from any other sport, there is no close resemblance to lifting weights at the gym. So, you may never have had deadlifting palm bruising from lifting a heavy barbell.
There is good news though! It is only temporary. Most lifters, including beginners, often report that they have gotten used to the pain and discomfort associated with gripping the deadlift. This can occur anywhere between a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
Most bruises will heal before your next deadlift session since most strength training programs will not include frequent deadlifts. It is just not an ideal way of building a big deadlift if you do it 4x a week.
iv) Do not use gloves
Gloves are a great temporary option for lifters who want to have baby, soft hands and not to deadlift heavy.
If you are a serious strength training athlete, ditch the gloves and learn how to grip the barbell. Yes, gloves can protect your hands from getting cut and bruised. They also serve as a crutch for many lifters who do not want to embrace the struggles of gripping the barbell.
It will hurt and it will suck. Pain is always temporary and should not last for a long time when doing the deadlifts correctly.
v) Take care of your hands
After deadlifting, your hands may be all ripped up. You may have several bruises and your hands are super sore. You must take care of your hands after doing deadlifts.
This is an under-addressed topic in the deadlifting community. Your hands are the gateway to having a huge deadlift. If you cannot pick up the barbell because of your sore hands, another lifter will beat you to the next world record just because you did not take proper care of your hands.
Treat all your bruises and tears. Trim any broken skin off. Polish and shave down your large calluses. Prime your hands to not be ripped on the next deadlift session. Some lifters claim that putting moisturizer after deadlift helps soothe any bruised hand symptoms. For other lifters, lotion can work too if your hands got way too dry during a deadlift session.
vi) A week may be all it needs
You may find that you have unexplainable hand bruises from your deadlift session. You know it is definitely a bruise because it hurts like hell when you touch it. You did everything right in terms of taking care or your body and executing exercise with good form. So, what gives?
Sadly, there are some lifters that also get “random” bruises on their hands from deadlifting. After about a week or so, their bruises are gone and they are able to start deadlifting heavy again.
Sometimes, your body will naturally try to heal every single injury as quickly as possible. Bruises signify damaged blood vessels, so your body needs to repair those as soon as possible.
Bruised palms that will not go away
See a doctor if your bruising does not go away after some time. This can be a sign that there has been substantial damage that occurred.
After doing some research, there was one lifter who did not have his bruised palms healed. Even with a few days of inactivity, the bruising did not go away and it looked troubling. There was an abnormal hand tendon structure that caused the lifter pain and bruising whenever he had to grip the barbell. There was a lump/bump on the tendon.
The doctor’s recommendations were to either stop doing what aggravates it forever, use equipment aids to mitigate the pain or to suck up the pain.
Bruising is usually not a serious sign of any outstanding injuries but it can provide vital signs to lifters if their bruises do not heal in a couple of days. Stay aware of your hand condition and make sure to take care of your hands.
Immediate fixes for bruising palms and hands during the deadlift
You have suffered an acute bruise but you need to continue to deadlift. Are there any solutions? Luckily, there are two methods in order for you to minimize pain:
1) Taping your hands
Many Olympic weightlifters will understand this strategy. Sometimes, hard training will cause bruising in your hands. It is bound to happen after years of training and long hours each day at the gym. Are you going to give up after each painful hand bruising?
Tape can be used to minimize your bruising if you decide to continue training. Though pain may not be eliminated completely, it can help to some degree.
2) Use straps
Using straps will take away a lot of the pressure exerted on your hands. If you have broken skin or bruises on your hands, this can be an alternative to get in some training while letting your hands heal.
3) Use gloves?
I have mentioned earlier that you should not use gloves if you want to develop more hand strength and limit palm bruising. However, after sustaining a palm bruise, it will be painful to grip the barbell if you do not have any support to decrease the pain. Using gloves can provide you with enough support to finish the workout at least.
Gloves are not the root of evil in deadlifting. Incorrect usage of gloves along with misaligned goals are usually paired when discussing whether or not lifters should use gloves. It will always be considered more helpful if you do not use gloves to further strengthen your hands and palms.
If palm bruises do not go away after a few days, make sure to consult with your doctor or specialist. Our body does a great job of protecting itself from any trauma or blunt injuries. For those injuries that do sneak by, those bruises usually heal before the next heavy workout day and are usually not spoken of.