There are two main hazards for your hands when gripping things: developing callouses and blisters. If you have blisters (area of skin covering a pocket of puss), it is because you are letting the implement move in your hand.
The way to minimize callouses and prevent blisters is to learn how to grip the implement so it doesn't move in your hand:
- If you are performing a pulling movement, place the hand on the implement so the pad (area of the palm where your fingers are attached) is in contact. Wrap the fingers and rest of the grip around the bar in such a way that you are compressing, but not pinching the pad of your hand.
- If you are performing a pushing movement, place the implement in the palm of your hand so that it rests in the crook of your thumb and the base of the palm. Wrap your fingers and grip the implement so that the bar, dumbbell, handle is fully supported by palm where it connects to the wrist.
- In either case, grip the implement tightly so that it does not move around in your hand.
Even without chalk, just learning to properly grip the implements can prevent blisters altogether and minimize callouses. That said, anything to help your hands remain dry during exercise will improve your grip, and consequently further reduce callouses and blisters. In the order of preference:
- Chalk. This is the gold standard used by gymnasts, Olympic weightlifters, power lifters, and just about any sport where strength over your own body and other implements is required.
- Eco ball by Metoleus. It's a chalk alternative that produces less mess. It works, but not as well as chalk.
- Liquid chalk. It's a chalk alternative that doesn't leave any residue behind. It does keep your hands nice and dry though.
- Athletic tape. Tape works well when you have raw areas that need to be protected, but it doesn't do much for a sweaty hand.
- A stack of fresh towels. You're going to sweat if you are doing things right, which means you'll have to keep drying your hands.
You'll notice that gloves are not on this list. Gloves actually make the situation worse:
- Gloves make your hands sweat more, causing the bar to move more in your palm.
- Gloves make gripping harder in general, causing the conditions that make blisters and callouses happen more often.
- Gloves introduce new points of friction, meaning new places you can get blisters that you couldn't get if you didn't wear them. A prime example would be the area between your fingers.
Blisters have to be removed. The best thing to do is to pop the blister, clean it, and use athletic tape while you train. Then clean it again and cover it with a band aid. They should heal pretty quickly as long as it doesn't get infected.
Callouses just have to be controlled. When they start getting too big, take a pumice stone to grind off the excess but don't completely remove it. Applying lotion after you clean up from exercise can also help.