Secure your grip and dominate your workouts with my reviews of the best lifting chalks. Read on and put sweaty hands and wobbly grips in the rearview.
One of the frustrating parts of weightlifting, powerlifting, or any other kind of exercise that requires a firm grip on a bar, is when your hands start to gush sweat.
The weight begins to slip, your skin begins to tear on the knurled bar, and instead of focusing on killer form and punching a new PR in the face, your rep goes to Poopy-ville.
Whether you are banging out reps with your kettlebell, lining up to donkey-kick your deadlift PR, or you are dangling from gymnastic rings, dry hands and a secure grip are a must.
That’s where gym and lifting chalk comes in handy.
Some of the perks of using lifting chalk include:
⭐ Keep your hands dry by absorbing sweat. Gym chalk is made entirely or mostly of magnesium carbonate, a material that does not dissolve in water (or in our case, sweat). Over the course of your workout sweaty hands are gonna happen. Chalk helps keep your hands dry.
⭐ Keep your grip nice and tight. There’s nothing more infuriating than being inches away from executing a new PR and feeling the bar slipping out of your fingers. Chalk helps you keep your fingers and palms locked and loaded on the bar. Typically this means you can lift in a more controlled manner.
⭐ Protects your fingers and palms. Wet fingers and palms get thrashed and torn up on barbells. The knurled patterns are good for grip, but once your hands get wet, ooooh baby they are gonna get slashed up. Chalk helps prevent this unnecessary skin punishment.
For the home gym owner, chalk is great. You can make a delightful mess in the privacy of your own garage or home gym.
But many gyms, especially big box gyms, don’t allow chalk use, so double-check to make sure that using chalk is cool with your local gym before investing in some.
Whether you want a liquid or classic chalk, below is a breakdown of the best lifting chalks for home and gym use.
If you use chalk A LOT, or you own a commercial gym, the Primo Chalk Stop is your best bulk option.
Primo’s chalk is the same stuff you see in a lot of NCAA and NFL training facilities.
What sets Primo apart from its competitors is a formula that includes some organic essential oils which keep your fingers from getting too dry and will also last longer than typical magnesium carbonate chalk.
Primo’s is naturally antibacterial, which is handy (ha!) for those long sessions in the gym and multiple users. Primo Chalk comes in a 5lb bucket and costs around $100.
Rogue Gym Chalk
CrossFitters use a ton of chalk. Between the gymnastic rings, the pull ups, the snatches, deadlifts, and so on and so forth, it’s critical to keep your grip dry and the bar firmly in your hands.
Rogue’s Gym Chalk is made of 100% magnesium carbonate. With each little brick you get 2-oz of chalk, with 8 bricks per single order, adding up to a few months of consistent use and chalking.
Fire Team Fit Liquid Lifting Chalk
The idea of liquid chalk is a novel one, and Fire Team Fit’s Liquid Lifting Chalk is ideal for home gym owners who don’t want to leave a mess of chalk on and around their gym equipment.
Fire Team Fit’s Liquid Chalk also lasts a long time. For an 80-minute lift recently I only reapplied once, which is more than I can say for regular gym chalk which requires several coats over the course of a workout.
Available in a 50ml size (as well as an industrial size 250ml), with a clip on the side for easy storage, the chalk is easy to carry around with you, making it a great choice for gyms where you can use chalk, but you don’t want to have to deal with too much of a clean-up.
Comes off easy with soap and warm water when you are done your workout.
SportmediQ Liquid Lifting Chalk
Another liquid lifting chalk comes our way via the folks at SportmediQ.
Designed to make less of a mess than your typical gym chalk, SportmediQ formulated their chalk with alcohol, magnesium carbonate, and honey to help counter the drying effects of the alcohol on your skin.
Application is easy. For those of you who haven’t given liquid chalk a rip before, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to put on and set.
All it takes is a couple of drops, rub your hands together, let your hands dry for about 30 seconds and you are ready to grip it and rip it.
Z Athletic Chalk Ball
Designed primarily for gymnasts, the Z Athletic Chalk Ball is an awesome all-purpose gym chalk that can be used for swinging your favorite kettlebell, banging out heavy Olympic lifts, rock climbing, and more.
Made with 100% magnesium carbonate, Z Athletic’s Chalk Ball is encased in a cotton sock. At three ounces, and fitting in the palm of your hand, the sock makes application between rounds easy. Give it a light squeeze and poof—chalky hands.
The sock case is easy to carry around, but I find that the design results in less wasted chalk and less of a mess when you are working out.
The Z Athletic Chalk Balls are refillable and dirt cheap, making it a perfect addition to the sweaty-handed athlete or gymgoer who wants to regain their grip.
More Grip It and Rip It Tools for Better Lifts
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Best Socks for Deadlifting. Protect your shins, keep the gym clean, and reduce lift deficits with a look at my favorite socks for deadlifts.