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July 30, 2020 6 min read
Nothing will keep you off your bike and away from the track longer than blisters on your palms. These blisters make it painful to grip the handlebars, let alone land massive jumps. Hand blisters may just come with the territory, but there are a few ways that you can prevent them!
To prevent blisters when riding motocross, reduce your grip on the handlebars. Be sure that your hands are completely dry before putting gloves on and use tape or baby powder to reduce friction. Buy palm protectors and form-fitting gloves and then take the time to build calluses on your palms.
Are you ready to leave painful blisters in the past and focus on winning races? Keep reading to learn about seven steps that you can take to prevent blisters when riding motocross.
Every motocross rider has had blisters on their hands at least once or twice in their riding career. Blisters are caused by excessive friction and are the body’s way of protecting the skin beneath as it heals.
In motocross, this constant friction is between your sweaty palms rubbing against loose-fitting gloves or your handlebars. That’s why you’ll notice blisters forming after particularly long races or on hot and humid days.
One of the biggest culprits of motocross hand blisters is the grip you have on your handlebars.
When you first started with motocross, you had just one focus: Stay on the bike! But now that you’ve gotten a little more comfortable on the bike, there’s no longer a need for that death grip on the handlebars.
The death grip builds up even more friction between your palms and your gloves and creates severe blisters—the solution: Learning to put your grip on the bike elsewhere.
Most experienced riders will transfer this grip to their legs instead. You should be squeezing the bike between your legs as you’re riding. Not only does this reduce the grip on your handlebars and the resulting blisters, but it can also give you a little more control of your bike while riding.
And, you’ll never have to worry about arm pump again! This is assuming that you're using all the right gear in the first place.
The blisters on your hands from motocross are forming because your palms are sweaty and rubbing against your gloves. Make it a point to dry your hands completely with a clean towel before you even think about putting your gloves on.
It might also help to wash your hands first to keep your hands as clean as possible. The last thing you want are blisters forming on dirty skin and eventually causing an infection.
If you’re planning to spend a long day at the track, it might be hard to keep your hands sweat-free. That dry towel won’t do you any good if there’s a little sweat still sitting in your gloves from a long race.
That’s where you’ll want a few extra sets of gloves on hand to switch between.
Instead of focusing on what you can do after your palms are sweating and causing friction, you can shift your focus onto what you can do to stop them from sweating in the first place. That can be done with the help of baby powder.
Now, you might think that baby powder doesn’t have its place in motocross. But you also need to consider what baby powder is supposed to do: Reduce friction and absorb moisture.
All you need to do is sprinkle a little baby powder on your palms before putting your gloves on.
When race day finally arrives, and it’s extremely hot outside, baby powder on your palms will help to absorb the sweat and reduce the amount of friction against your gloves. And since your hands aren’t as sweaty, taking your gloves off and putting them on won’t be such a hassle.
Motocross riders love to get a little creative when it comes to practical solutions to long-standing problems. For blisters on the hands, many riders will opt for some sort of tape to build a barrier between their palms and their gloves.
Athletic tape is a better option because it’s designed to be used directly on the skin. However, some riders strive toward more of a heavy-duty solution such as duct tape or electrical tape.
Regardless of which tape you use, how you tape your palms will be more important.
You have to make sure that you’re taping around each finger, overlapping layers of tape, and focusing primarily on the palms. It needs to be tight enough where it won’t slide up and bunch up, but loose enough where it doesn’t constrict blood flow.
Just using a single strip of tape across your palms won’t be enough.
Fortunately, there are a few products out there designed specifically to prevent blisters in motocross. One of the best products out there is the Risk Racing Palm Protectors. These are designed to be worn directly on your hands but underneath your gloves.
The Palm Protectors are worn by riders of all ages and skill levels. There are many professional riders that list this product as a must-have once they come back from injury or a long break while they are working to build up their calluses again.
Riders such as Travis Pastrana, Jason Anderson, and many more rely on Risk Racing to eliminate blisters from forming on their hands throughout the year-long season of racing.
You’ll slip each of your fingers and your wrist through the designated holes so that the protector is sitting on top of your palms. When purchasing, select the proper size, ensuring the palm protector will prevent the friction between your palms and your gloves.
For less than $10, you’re not just preventing blisters.
These palm protectors can also reduce the friction within your hands and limit arm pump instances. You’ll be able to race longer, faster, and more comfortably.
Ready to invest in a comfortable riding experience? Check out this video explaining how to use these palm protectors for your next race:
By now, you know that it would be silly to ever race motocross without wearing gloves. But not just any pair of gloves will do when it comes to preventing motocross blisters.
You want gloves that fit well too.
Your gloves should be lightweight and flexible, while also being durable. The more popular gloves often feature a stretch pattern which allows for flexibility when gripping the bars and using your levers. A silicone coating can also be a very beneficial feature. The silicone adds an extra layer of grip the rider can use to more efficiently grip the bike during a race.
Your gloves should be tight enough where they essentially double as a second layer of skin, so you might want to go a size smaller.
Choosing gloves also means taking into account the shape and size of your hands.
Like most motocross gear, it is difficult to choose a size simply by looking online. If you are interested in a specific glove, reach out to the company and have them provide a sizing chart for your hand. Also, there’s nothing wrong with heading down to your local powersports dealer or a sporting goods store to ensure that you’re getting the perfect fit.
Now that we’ve considered every other factor, it’s time to change the one that seems unchangeable: Your hands.
The trick is to work on intentionally building calluses.
Calluses are areas of extra thick skin that form on areas of your body that undergo intense friction. The calluses on your palms will help to protect your hands from blisters.
You understand the reasoning behind blisters forming while riding motocross, so now you need to figure out how to get some calluses built up! Ironically, you can begin to build calluses the same way your blisters have been forming.
For motocross, getting your hands used to gripping the handlebars during your motos is the quickest way to strengthen the skin on your hands. Consistently riding your dirt bike will toughen your hands up over time, so the more often you are riding, the quicker calluses will begin to appear on your hands.
If you’re tired of hand blisters keeping you out of motocross for days or even weeks at a time, there’s a little bit of good news: You can help reduce and prevent them.
But there probably isn’t a simple fix here since there are so many factors that go into the formation of blisters. So, you’ll want to do what you can to dry out your hands, reduce the amount of friction against your gloves/handlebars, toughen up your palms, and utilize the proper equipment.
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