Hand Care for Hammer Throwers
BY BEN HAWKES
Hammer Thrower’s hands can get pretty badly beaten up. If you want to have the most pristine hands in the business, you should probably keep reading this…
Yeah, if you want the cleanest hands in the business, you should stop hammer throwing and start a real business. BUT if you want to keep your hands reasonably healthy and avoid a load of torn skin and cuts, this article is for you.
THE HAMMER THROW GRIP
Right-handed throwers should throw with a glove on the left hand, which grips the hammer handle. The right-hand goes on top. If you want to be fancy, watch U.S. thrower Sean Don explain an alternative grip here. 99% of throwers should not be worrying about this, though!
BEST HAMMER THROWING GLOVES
There are a load of gloves to choose from, from Neuff and Nelco to Polanik and Nishi. You can find a glove to suit any preference.
I like to use a thick but soft Neuff, Nelco or Polanik glove for the bulk of my training. Thick to give the finger joints some cushion, but soft to reduce abrasion on the skin.
For lower volume training and competition, you’ll maybe want a slightly thinner glove to give you a better feeling for the hammer. There are a few available, like the Mizuno and Nishi gloves, but I like a regular Polanik like this.
TAPE FOR HAMMER THROWERS
Tape becomes more important the more you throw. It comes in handy for hands, wrists, elbows, or pretty much anything. For me, www.physique.co.uk provides a solid range of tapes, but it’s important to differentiate between each tape’s characteristics and use cases.
Soft, flexible and non-restrictive. Useful for fingers, wrists and other mobile joints.
Harder, less flexible and more restrictive. Useful for things you want to immobilise or protect.
Tough stuff. For when you want to immobilise a joint.
Here is a rough idea of how you should be taping your fingers. Just make sure to never tape your fingers together, as rule books classify this as "assistance" and is generally frowned upon for throwing!
GRIP PRODUCTS FOR HAMMER THROWING
Once you start throwing okay distances, you might find it difficult to hold on to a heavy hammer in the 3rd and 4th turns. This is where sticky comes in, allowing athletes to be longer and looser through their arms and hands to extend the hammer’s radius and ultimately throw further.
You can use spray (of which there are many varieties), tacky, or venice turpentine. That list is in increasing order of stick - and personally my favourite of these is Neuff’s Venice Turps. Just be careful not to use too much!
You can also use a spray to hold your tape in place, but sweat can sometimes make things slippy anyway.
FIRST AID & PAIN RELIEF FOR HAMMER THROWERS
Pain, cuts and skin tears happen for throwers - there’s no avoiding it. So, in addition to the protective stuff, we also have to mention products used to manage these injuries.
- Boots Elastoplast Wound Spray will disinfect a cut to the skin and kickstart the healing process.
- Boots EMLA Cream is seriously good at numbing a painful wound, but it doesn't go very far - only to be used on small cuts.
- Plasters, paracetamol, some good scissors and a little rubbing alcohol also go a long way to keeping things clean and healthy.
Hopefully, this helps you keep chucking with a little less headache from your hands!