putting chalk on hands

There are two white, powdery substances very popular with powerlifters: chalk and baby powder.

Chalk, which is common in weight lifting as well as rock climbing and gymnastics, is used to enhance your grip.

Baby powder (or talcum powder,) on the other hand, is used for lubrication. This is wiped on your quads to make it easier to slide the bar up at the top of the deadlift. (Otherwise the bar’s knurling can tear at your skin and/or singlet.)

Don’t get the two mixed up! You don’t want to get baby powder on your hands or feet.

CAUTION: Some gyms disallow chalk since it makes a mess. If your local gym is like that, there are some liquid chalk alternatives listed below.

Popular Chalk for Powerlifting

Chalk absorbs sweat so you are ensured a tight grip on the bar. This is important because for most people, their grip is their “weak link” in their deadlift. A tight grip is useful for the squat and bench press, too.

Another trick is to put chalk on your butt and shoulder blades for the bench press (since these parts of your body need to stay in contact with the bench.)

Typically you get a bag of chalk powder or a block. The block is placed into a special “chalk ball” or “chalk bag” for carrying purposes. It is much less messy than the powder.

Nowadays there is also liquid chalk. This is a spray or lotion that provides the same benefits as dry chalk, but doesn’t make a mess. It is basically chalk mixed with alcohol so it dries fast.

If you can’t find any at your local outdoors store (check the rock climbing section,) Amazon.com has a wide selection. Here are some good ones:

Black Diamond White Gold Loose Chalk
This is just plain chalk powder and chunks, but it’s rumored to be the best chalk out there.
http://www.amazon.com/Black-Diamond-White-Loose-Chalk/dp/B000AQ9H7G/

Refillable Chalk Ball for Gymnastics, Climbing, and Weight Lifting
A soft bag filled with chunky chalk.
http://www.amazon.com/Refillable-Gymnastics-Climbing-Weight-Lifting/dp/B003GPVB86/

GSC Gym Chalk
A box of eight chalk blocks, 1lb total weight.
http://www.amazon.com/GSC-PGE4360X-Gym-Chalk-1lb/dp/B0000BYSM0/

Liquid Grip
Put a little of this lotion on your hands for better grip.
http://www.amazon.com/Liquid-Grip-1-5-Oz/dp/B003TONCS6/

Edelweiss Liquid Chalk
Another liquid chalk.
http://www.amazon.com/Edelweiss-Liquid-Chalk/dp/B000MWC9IM/

Mammut Liquid Climbing Chalk
More liquid chalk.
http://www.amazon.com/Mammut-Liquid-Chalk-Climbing-Neutral/dp/B004N5MOWK/

REI is also a great store:

Bison Designs Competition Chalk
High quality chalk powder to fill your chalk bag.
http://www.rei.com/product/474066/bison-designs-competition-chalk


Baby Powder for Powerlifting

Just go to any drug store and grab a bottle. It’s all the same.

Tip: In competition, make sure someone else applies the baby powder to your thighs. You can’t risk getting any on your hands.

Also keep in mind that baby powder is just as messy as chalk. It is often banned in gyms as well as smaller powerlifting meets because it requires extra time and money to clean up.

Photo Credit: Michael Brooking

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