Do Bodybuilders Get Lots Of Calluses?

May 30, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “do bodybuilders get lots of calluses?”. Many people will automatically assume that as bodybuilders lift weights, they will get calluses.

However, not all bodybuilders will get lots of calluses. This will depend on various factors which I will discuss. I will also explain how you can minimise the chances of tearing a callus.

Do Bodybuilders Get Lots Of Calluses?

Bodybuilders can still get lots of calluses depending on how heavy they train and how they train. They will typically have less calluses than powerlifters and strongmen.

Bodybuilders tend to incorporate lots of machine exercises into their routines, there is less chance of developing calluses from machine exercises. Heavy free weight training with barbells and dumbbells will typically lead to more calluses.

Some bodybuilders also use straps and gloves. This will minimise calluses – in my view though you should avoid straps and gloves as much as possible. Taking care of your calluses will also help to avoid excessive callus formation.

Wearing Gloves And Straps

Some bodybuilders wear lifting gloves. Even some of the best bodybuilders in history have worn lifting gloves. A good example of this is Ronnie Coleman.

Personally I don’t believe in using gloves when lifting weights. It is far better to lift with your bare hands. You will have a stronger connection with the weights and your grip strength will also improve.

When you wear gloves you are a lot less likely to develop calluses from lifting. This is one of the reasons why some lifters who don’t want calluses choose to wear them.

Likewise, the majority of bodybuilders also use lifting straps from time to time. Again, when you wear lifting straps you will develop fewer calluses. Your grip doesn’t have to work as hard, but you are able to hold on to heavier weights for longer.

I see lifting straps as a tool that should be used sparingly. They are better served for high volume frequent training when you don’t want to destroy your hands too much.

Previously I have discussed whether lifting straps are better than gloves. 

Using Lifting Chalk

In my view, training with your bare hands and lifting chalk is the best way to train. You will have the strongest connection to the weights and you will develop your grip as you get stronger.

Lifting chalk helps to dry out your hands so that you can have a much firmer grip when training. On exercises like the deadlift, chalk is essential when the weight gets very heavy.

By using chalk you will also reduce the number of calluses that you develop. You will also reduce the risk slightly of tearing a callus. From my experience, liquid chalk is the best.

It makes very little mess and I find that I have a much stronger grip when using liquid chalk compared to block chalk. 

>> Are Long Term Injuries In Lifting Inevitable?

Gripping The Bar Correctly

One reason why some bodybuilders develop lots of calluses is failure to grip the bar correctly. Just by being aware of how to grip the bar correctly, you will experience fewer calluses on your hands.

On pulling exercises, you have to ensure that you keep the bar close to your fingers. If you grip the bar closer to your palms, you will find that you will quickly develop lots of calluses.

On pushing exercises, you want to make sure that the bar is kept in the palm of your hands. When you bench press with this correct grip position, your wrist is also a lot less likely to get bent back. Keeping your wrists straight is critical on the bench.

It always amazes me how few lifters are aware of basic grip mechanics. Just this information will save you from developing too many calluses. I have been lifting weights for many years and only have a few calluses on each hand.

My calluses have never gotten too big. I firmly believe that using chalk and gripping the bar properly will serve you well in this regard.

Lee Hayward Advice

Lee Hayward has some good advice for people who want to keep their calluses under control and avoid tearing them. 

This is to use a pumice stone to file them down regularly. Ideally, you should do this when your hands are moist. After having a bath or shower is a good time to use the pumice stone on your hands.

Maintenance is important and for lifters it is especially important. A torn callus can set you back in your training. It is very painful and takes some time to recover. 

Final Thoughts

Do bodybuilders get lots of calluses? It is safe to say that they don’t get as many as the majority of people would believe. Bodybuilders do still experience calluses.

If you are training with heavy weights especially, you will experience some callus formation. The best way to minimise calluses is to learn how to grip the bar correctly.

Use lifting chalk and you can also make use of straps sparingly in higher volume blocks of training. This will help to reduce the wear and tear on your hands and reduce calluses.

If you have any comments about calluses from lifting please leave your comments below.

As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

>> Are Cables Easier Than Free Weights?

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