Hello, today we will look at the messy world of chalk; weightlifting chalk that is. When you go to the gym, from time to time you notice people using chalk when they are weightlifting. People use chalk to help with grip when lifting heavy weights. One has the option of using lifting straps, or you can use chalk. You can use the weightlifting chalk when benching or deadlifting heavy weights to help improve your grip.
When I started deadlifting heavyweights, I always had a problem with my grip. At the time I did not know about chalk & I did not know about forearm exercises that would help me improve my grip. It was frustrating trying to deadlift a heavy set but, my grip always let me down. Then I found out about Farmer’s walk & Reverse curl.
I usually use 100 lb to 110 lb barbells when performing the farmer walk & I walk around 1/2 the gym carrying these dumbbells. Some days I feel like superman & I use the heaviest dumbbells they have, it’s always interesting how I feel afterwards; like my forearms are burning up. ABs, Forearms, & quads are muscles that get a good work out when performing the farmer walk.
Reverse curls are one of my favourite forearm exercises. You can use an EZ curl bar/ straight barbell or dumbbells for this exercise. Hold the barbell with palms facing down. Bring the barbell up to your shoulders then down to starting position. More elaboration will be provided in a future article.
Farmer’s Walk & Reverse curls are good forearm exercises, but it takes time to build up your muscles. In the meantime, when you want to lift heavy you will need to rely on weightlifting chalk. Weightlifting chalk comes in 2 forms. Liquid chalk & regular chalk in block form. I have had the privilege of using both & I have no preference. Regular chalk is more messy than liquid chalk, but they all perform the same function.
Liquid chalk contains magnesium carbonate, Rosin and ethanol. Ethanol keeps the magnesium carbonate in liquid form when exposed to air & dissolves the rosin. When liquid chalk is applied to your hands the ethanol evaporates leaving dried chalk on your hands. When weightlifting heavy sets, the rosin improves your grip by reducing moisture on your hands. Usually, you apply liquid chalk to the whole palm of your hand.
Liquid Chalk I Use
Pros & Cons of Using Liquid Chalk
1. Liquid chalk comes in a small bottle that’s easy to carry around & easily resalable.
2. Easy to apply; put a little on your hand & rub them together.
3. More durable; meaning you don’t have to reapply chalk after every lift set making it last longer getting more value for your money.
4. Easily removable by washing your hands.
5. Since there is no chalk powder, your eyes & nose are safe from irritation from the chalk dust.
1. Some people might be allergic to rosin that’s contained in liquid chalk.
2. Ethanol might make dry skin condition worse.
3. Spoils when exposed to air.
Block Of Chalk
Regular chalk is made of calcium carbonate. It comes in block form or it comes in a pouch/bag where you can use it in powder form. The chalk is usually applied to the whole hand while focusing on the main points of contact.
Powder Chalk I have used.
Pros & Cons of Using regular chalk
1. Light to carry around.
2. Easy to apply; rub block or powder on your hands.
3. Easy to remove by washing your hands.
4. Doesn’t contain rosin which some people are allergic to.
5. Does not spoil when exposed to air. If you leave the lid off, ethanol evaporates & the chalk solidifies.
6. Cheaper than liquid chalk if you use a lot of chalk during your workouts.
1. Powder gets everywhere making it very messy.
2. Need to reapply the chalk after every lift to get the same grip.
3. Needs to be carried in a zip lock bag or container to prevent the powder from going everywhere in your gym bag; this takes us back to point one.
4. You don’t get your money’s worth since some of the chalk will be lost in powder form.
In conclusion, weightlifting chalk is a good way to increase your grip when performing heavy weightlifting. Personally, I prefer liquid chalk for the value of money it offers even though am not a heavy chalk user. If you use any of them economically you can make liquid chalk or block chalk last longer. Also, liquid chalk is less messy & a lot of gyms allow liquid chalk compared to block chalk. Gyms typically ban block chalk for the sole reason its messy. What has your experience been with weightlifting chalk? Leave a comment below & let me know.