Whether you are repping out pull-ups, powerlifting, balancing on parallel bars, or hanging on for your life off the edge of a cliff, chalk will give you a better grip and prevent your sweaty hands from slipping when exercising. Chalk is your best answer to sweaty palms, humid temperatures, and barbell slipping. I have compiled the six best chalks to help you improve your grip security.
What Are The Benefits of Using Workout Chalk?
Let me just say that chalk is that secret workout tool that you’ve always seen used but never known why. No matter how strong your grip strength may be, if the surface you’re trying to hold becomes too slippery, you will not be able to maintain your grip.
A study discovered an increase in climbers’ static hand grip time to failure, during the chalk trail compared to the non-chalked trail. Aside from that, below are the main benefits of using chalk during workouts!
1. Beat Sweaty Hands & Slippery Surfaces
Chalk is an old-school way to keep your hands dry during your workout sessions. Whether you’re cranking out pull-ups in calisthenics, ring muscle-ups in Crossfit, L-sit in gymnastics, climbing a difficult route in rock climbing, or going for your PB in deadlifts.
Spreading a layer of chalk all over your hands will absorb the sweat, giving you dry hands and a firm grip to perform these exercises safely. No need to worry about sweaty hands when you have chalk!
2. Train Harder
Do you remember that time when you were working out and your hands and fingers were the first to lose grip? Chalk will give you enough traction on the equipment to lock in and focus on the exercise. Men’s Health suggests that you’ll be able to lift heavier, grip for longer, and train harder before losing your grip.
3. Protect Your Form
Losing grip during heavy lifts or challenging movements could cause the rest of your body to compensate with bad form so that you can keep going. This could put your body in a bad position and put more stress on ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues. Too much of this will create injuries. You can prevent this by using chalk to have a steady grip every time.
What Are The Different Types of Chalk?
There are two main types of chalk that you would’ve probably encountered before: liquid chalk block, and chalk ball. They will get the job done but the main difference is that liquid chalk is made out of magnesium carbonate whereas chalk blocks and balls are made of calcium carbonate.
Liquid chalk is made out of a thick liquid substance that is gathered into a small tube or bottle. When you apply it to your palms the alcohol or ethanol content dries out quickly, leaving dry chalk on your hands ready for some action. The benefits of using liquid chalk are:
- Easier to apply than block chalks
- Superior grip
- Less mess when applying chalk to your palms
- Longer lasting grip
Regular chalk block is an old-school way of getting your hands dry. You’d simply apply by rubbing the block between your hands, especially focusing on the point of contact. Alternatively, you can use chalk in its powdered form. The benefits of using chalk block are:
- Dry your hands faster
- Satisfying effect of powder going everywhere when applying
- No additives, fillers, dyes, or scents
A chalk ball is a cloth ball filled with powdered chalk. You would tap the ball onto your palms a couple of times and this will layer them in chalk. This is quicker and less messy to apply chalk than chalk blocks. Many chalk balls are refillable, however, they tend to run out quickly. Here are the benefits of using a chalk ball:
- Don’t create dust clouds
- Prevent accidental spills
6 Best Lifting Chalk Products
Product link: https://amzn.to/3LIrDtQ
- Dry hands in seconds
- No messy powder or dust in the air
- Smells good
- Leaves some dust on your clothes
Don’t let a bit of sweat ruin your performance by using this liquid chalk to give you a superior grip and reliable hands without the messy dust or constant use of old-fashioned chalk blocks. Increase your training limit with confidence as it dries in a few seconds and doesn’t make a lot of mess that would get you kicked out of the gym. It has the initial texture of lotion and dries up very fast, and you might even hit a new personal record using this chalk
Product link: https://amzn.to/3dFhXUB
- Easy to apply and dry quick
- Made in the USA
- The container clogs up from dried chalk
- Strong chemical smell
This liquid chalk is a great and convenient alternative to carrying around a messy chalk ball or block. Simply squeeze a dime-size amount into your hands and rub them dry for around 10 seconds. This stuff is perfect for grip and will hold up your sweat, you’ll only need a couple of drops in each hand and it can last about an hour of constant use.
Product link: https://amzn.to/3SzApg5
- Provide excellent grip for surfaces and workout equipment
- No messy chalk dust
- Easy to clean up by just washing hands
- Fragile container
- You’ll have to reapply this on your palms if you are sweating a lot
This liquid chalk is great for calisthenics and powerlifting. Only a quarter size is required and it spreads nicely around your hands. No need to worry about tarnishing your workout environment floors or your training gear, none of that chalky mess. Also, you’d be surprised that this liquid chalk smells good, unlike other brands that give off strong alcohol scents.
Size: 2oz (1-Pack)
Product link: https://amzn.to/3CaIZfJ
- Absorbs and eliminates moisture keeping sweaty hands dry
- Does not easily rub off
- Crumbles easy
- Can be messy when applied to your hands
The SPRI chalk is great at absorbing moisture without leaving spongey residuals on your hands. You can buy this chalk in packs of four 2-ounce blocks ($10.99) or eight 2-ounce blocks ($15.99) which will last you months. This chalk holds a firm consistency and does not easily rub off so you can continue to exercise for longer with confidence. It’s easy to use and can be easily broken apart to refill your chalk bag.
Size: 2oz (1-Pack)
Product link: https://amzn.to/3fkTPai
- 100% cotton sock ball design for easy use and storage without making much mess
- Fragrance and pigment free
- Can purchase refillable ball options
- You’ll need to purchase a zip bag to avoid making a big mess
- Messy for gym use as chalk dust will go everywhere
- Refilling it can be difficult
The Z Athletic chalk ball is a nice addition to your training and it comes in many sizes – 2-ounce refillable and non-refillable options, and 3-ounce non-fillable options. Ideal for climbers and the selling point of this version is that they do not spill much dust cloud in comparison to chalk blocks. Simply rub the cotton ball on your palms and a tiny bit of chalk will be released.
Size: 2.3oz (1-Pack)
Product link: https://amzn.to/3DVDCmb
- Non-toxic and pigment-free fine powdered chalk
- Premium grade 100% cotton sock with drawstring
- It comes with a reclosable bag for mess-free storage
- The chalk can be hard to come through the cloth to coat your hands
- This ball “puffs” chalk when applied to hands so it can be messier than expected
If you’re looking to get a better grip while working out then this premium-grade, unscented cotton sock has got you covered. This chalk ball distributes a light layer of chalk onto your hands which is ideal for someone who doesn’t have excessively sweaty hands as the cotton ball is thick. The light coating makes it less messy than loose chalk or chalk blocks and being refillable means you can keep using the bag when it runs out.
The Takeaways: Gym Chalk For Performance Training
So what is the best option? Liquid, block, or ball chalk? For most environments, liquid chalk is the better option as it has an edge in performance while producing less mess, and it’s more portable. My personal favorite is the NOVU Fitness Liquid Chalk because its texture feels good on my hands, it’s easy to wash off and it doesn’t have a bad smell.
More often than not, I alternate between liquid chalk and chalk blocks, which is why I also recommend you get the SPRI Chalk Block. This chalk block is great for exercises that require fast wrist rotations such as muscle-ups and clean and jerks. It’s not as grippy as its liquid counterpart, which is required for certain movements.
I’m Pat Chadwick, a qualified Level 2 and Level 3 calisthenics coach and athlete from London, England, with six years of experience. I’ve competed in various UK competitions, including the Kalos Stenos Championships, where I achieved third place in the lightweight category. My passion is highlighting the beauty of calisthenics as an authentic and pure form of body expression. I believe that everyone has the potential to become a champion of their body and mind, and that calisthenics opens the door to personal empowerment.