I occasionally dabble in weightlifting to supplement my running routine. When I get to go to the gym, it’s a lot of fun feeling one with your own body. Sometimes, though, you take a peek at your gym buddies and see the kind of gear or equipment they’re using to improve their fitness.
Seeing gym chalk be a prominent part of their weight training routine got me curious; is this something that I need to be investing in, especially since I do only casually do weight training?
This is when I tried to research gym chalk and why it’s important to me and to my gym buddies. Gym chalk is something that can make your grip stronger, making your weightlifting experience safer and it does this by absorbing the moisture in your hands.
I wanted to share this with you because I think a lot of people, beginners especially, misuse gym chalk. Let’s talk about the uses of gym chalk, and how it can help you out. But first, here’s a list of some of the best gym chalks as rated by other users!
Best Gym Chalks For Weightlifting Compared and Reviewed
|Top||Primo Chalk||Primo Chalk||Check Price on Amazon|
|Z-Athletic Chalk Ball||Z-Athletic||Check Price on Amazon|
|Friction Labs Magic Chalk Ball||Friction Labs||Check Price on Amazon|
|NOVU Fitness Liquid Chalk||NOVU Fitness||Check Price on Amazon|
|Salty Lance Gym Chalk Bucket||Salty Lance||Check Price on Amazon|
#1 - Primo Chalk
If you’re a heavy lifter or climber who needs more chalk than small chalk bags can provide, Primo chalk provides 1 pound of loose high quality chalk that is perfect to improve your grip.
They boast their super fine texture, which makes it stick to all crevices of your hands and create more surface area to increase friction. This fine chalk means you’ll be using less and it’ll last you a lot longer.
In its chalk, it includes essential oil and Epsom salt, which kills harmful bacteria to keep your hands smooth and healthy.
It also seems that Primo knows their science since they don’t claim to have “pure” chalk and debunk the myth of ever having pure chalk. It seems they are keen on informing their customers!
Although Primo does provide a bucket of chalk, you can buy their chalk bag which is a more convenient way to spread this chalk over your hands compared to opening and closing a bucket.
Speaking of closing a bucket, make sure you close it all the way through. Any moisture that can get in there will change the chalk over time.
Although the price is quite expensive, you’ll find that this is truly high-quality chalk. Users won’t turn their back on Primo. Other users, however, find that this chalk is too smooth, creating not enough friction.
#2 - Z-Athletic Chalk Ball
The Z-Athletic chalk ball gives you a compact way to keep the friction and grip on your fingers. I’d say this is a great choice for those who casually dabble in weightlifting since it is offered in smaller amounts (2 ounces to 3 ounces).
I really like how simple it is to extract the chalk out of this. This chalk ball is a 100 percent Cotton sock bag filled with chalk which you only have to squeeze to get on your hands.
As someone who occasionally does weightlifting to come hand in hand with my running, this amount of chalk is perfect for me.
This is also made of 100 percent magnesium carbonate. Some low quality chalk will have added fillers to their chalk, which makes the powder less moisture absorbent and more likely to get cakey.
It’s non-toxic, fragrance free, and pigment free. No fuss, all function!
Users have complained that this chalk gets everywhere (I mean, it is chalk), but for the price, it’s definitely worth a bit of mess.
#3 - Friction Labs Magic Chalk Ball
Another chalk ball by Friction Labs is a great choice for those who weightlift, rock climb, do gymnastics, and other sports!
This is a great drawstring chalk ball made of cotton. This is actually a reusable sock bag, which you can fill with more of their chalk.
Because this is a permeable chalk bag, all you need to do is squeeze to get the chalk out of the bag and onto your hands. This is a mess-free way to apply chalk, although it’s easy to lose control of this if you don’t give it its own bag.
It does specify that it is silica-free, non-toxic, and pigment free, which is great since this chalk will get into those little crevices of your skin. It is made of magnesium carbonate with no fillers.
This is a pricier option, but it does perform very well. A lot of people are a fan of how it improves the grip of their palms. Plus, it doesn’t make that much of a mess.
Some users have been having problems with the chalk bag, though. In particular, the string that closes the bag has been breaking for some users.
#4 - NOVU Fitness Liquid Chalk
Liquid chalk is another form of chalk that you can find, which is chalk that comes out liquid (almost like sunscreen) and dries once rubbed on your hands.
An advantage of using liquid chalk is that, unlike the usual powder, this tends to stick only to your hands and won’t get all over the gym floor. NOVU Fitness does a great job of making liquid chalk that can dry in just 10 seconds.
They also claim that this won’t stick to your clothes. If you’ve been rock climbing or weightlifting for a while, you know how much of a hassle it is to accidentally wipe your hands on your nice gym clothes.
Like normal powder chalk, it’s easy to wash off with soap and water. Because it tends not to make a mess, it tends to last a long time with you even with a smaller bottle.
Some people are not a fan of how little grip it provides, though. If you’re someone who only occasionally dabbles in weightlifting and other sports that require chalk, this might be great for you. Otherwise, you might want to invest in larger volumes of chalk.
#5 - Salty Lance Gym Chalk Bucket
If you need another source of a bucket of chalk without breaking the bank too much, Salty Lance can give you some of the best chalk out there on the market.
It is 100 percent magnesium carbonate. You’ll find that this is quite a simple chalk; nothing too special. It does its job and absorbs the moisture on your hands to increase friction as you go rock climbing and powerlifting, among other things.
It does have 2 pounds of gym chalk, but be careful not to use too much! Most of the time, a little goes a long way. Plus, you don’t want to completely make a mess in the gym.
Some users think that this doesn’t stick too much to your hands, so this might be better for those who sweat a lot more. It still is great chalk though!
My Number One Pick
- LASTS ABOUT TWICE AS LONG with half the amount you are used to using from plain magnesium carbonate chalk
- SUSTAINABLY SOURCED AND TRUSTED in NFL and NCAA weight rooms. Our customers include professional and collegiate teams with coaches that know their lifting chalk!
- ESSENTIAL OILS your condition skin and provide natural protection against tearing and dryness common from plain weight lifting chalk
What To Look Out For When Buying Gym Chalks For Weightlifting
Buying gym chalks aren’t supposed to be that complicated! It’s really something more of a trial and error situation.
However, if you’re not someone who has a lot of cash to experiment around and really want to do your research on what to consider when buying gym chalks, then I might be able to help you out.
Why use gym chalk?
First of all, why do we even need to spend any money on gym chalk? Is it really that necessary?
Gym chalk most likely originated from gymnastics, where gymnasts had to find a way to create more grip and friction so they would be able to successfully perform their movements.
Other sports such as rock climbing and weight lifting eventually adopted this technique, thus the boom of gym chalk. So, what precisely does chalk do for you?
One of the most obvious reasons gym chalk is so popular with your weight trainers and local gym buddies is because it can easily absorb moisture.
You’ll obviously be building up a sweat as you grind through those reps, so something to keep your hands dry will be very important, especially if you want to keep your grip on your lifts strong and firm.
All you need to do is spread a thin layer of chalk over your palms and fingers. If your chalk is great, you only need to use a little bit of chalk.
Having gym chalk on you can help you prevent injury in some ways.
For one, it can improve your grip, so you can safely do your reps and hit your personal best. With chalk, you don’t have to worry about sweaty palms ruining your weight lifting routine.
Chalk can also promote better form since you won’t be worrying about how to position your weights so it doesn’t slip from your hands.
Another way it can prevent injury is to create some kind of protective layer between your palm and the bar. This layer can prevent injuries.
Some chalk even adds extra components to it, such as Epsom salt, to kill harmful bacteria and protect your skin on a microscopic level. Isn’t that cool?
Because you’ll be improving your grip strength, your performance will improve as well.
In fact, a study seen in the International Journal of Exercise Science observed that there is improved performance when lifting chalk is involved. Particularly, there was a 16 percent improvement in open grip and 58 percent improvement in pinch grip.
Types of gym chalk
As you can see in the list above, there are different types of gym chalk that you can choose from.
Although you can find them in different forms, the quality of the chalk truly is the most important part of it. It doesn’t hurt to make things convenient for you, though!
Here, I’ll try to help you choose which form of gym chalk would be best for your training routine.
Powder is arguably the most common type of gym chalk out there! You can find it anywhere, and you can definitely see it most commonly in gyms everywhere.
Powders can come in many different forms, but you’ll find them most commonly in two forms: in bulk in a bucket and in chalk bags!
Bulk (in buckets)
Chalk in bulk is definitely for those who are more heavyweight lifters or more intense rock climbers.
Most manufacturers will sell these in buckets weighing 1, 2 or 5 pounds. Although this seems like a hassle to bring to the gym, most people use this for repacking. For example, you can refill your chalk bags with your favorite brand of gym chalk!
The downside of buying powdered chalk in bulk is that it tends to be a bit more expensive. However, because it is in bulk, it still can be a great deal in the long run.
Chalk bags are a great way to test the chalk of different manufacturers. Most manufacturers will have this type of chalk, almost like a sampler in my opinion.
Good quality chalk bags are made of cotton and are permeable, so all you need to do is squeeze the chalk bag to get the chalk onto your palms.
These are also most likely refillable, so if you don’t like the quality of the chalk inside, you can use your favorite brand.
The great thing about chalk bags, too, is that they are very compact, so you can bring them easily on your climbs.
Liquid chalk is another type of gym chalk that is quite a great way to make less of a mess.
I really like how it squirts out as kind of like sunscreen but then dries up as a solid. It then is able to absorb moisture from your palms to help improve your grip and performance.
Spray chalk is also another cool way to apply your gym chalk.
Although this isn’t necessarily on the list above, you can also find solid chalk almost like a bar of soap. Wipe your hands on it and it turns into powder!
Other things to consider when buying gym chalks
There are other miscellaneous factors you might want to think about while buying gym chalks. For example:
How fine is your chalk? If you find that it’s chunky, toss it in the bin. You want a chalk that’s fine enough to get into all the crevices of your palm, but not so fine that it makes for a smooth surface for your weights to slide away from.
Amount of chalk
How much chalk do you really need? Do you often go weightlifting, and do you lift heavy weights? The answer to the amount of chalk you really need is your training routine.
I’d recommend that you go for chalk bags if you only occasionally do weight training, and buy in bulk for heavier weight training.
Frequently Asked Questions On Gym Chalks For Weightlifting
Q: How can I prevent messy gym chalks?
A: Most beginners tend to use too much. Chalk all over your hands and weights is not a pretty look! Liquid chalks tend to be less messy than powder chalks. However, if you don’t want to try that out, you can just start by using only a penny sized amount of powder on your palms and rub them together. That will usually do the trick!
Q: Do all gyms provide chalk?
A: Unfortunately, some gyms don’t have chalk near the weightlifting rack. In fact, some gyms don’t even allow (or know about) gym chalk! Hopefully, you can find some better gyms. Bring your own chalk for personal hygiene, too!
Q: How do I apply chalk?
A: Applying chalk has a technique to it. Go top to bottom! Tap your fingers into the chalk and disperse into your palms, making sure you get every crevice. Depending on your sweatiness, you might have to reapply before every set.
Gym chalk can be an integral part of your weight training routine. It’s important to do your research for any new gym gear that you want to incorporate into your routine.
Reading the reviews of users who might have more experience with gym chalks than you do might be helpful in choosing the right kind of chalk for you.
Gym chalk isn’t that complicated to shop for. Do a little trial and error, ask around with your gym buddies, and you’ll be reaching your personal best in no time!
If you’re looking for more ways to stay protected, check out these workout gloves we’ve reviewed for men, we’ve also done a womens version here. If you do a lot of squats – consider knee sleeves which will help with stability and control. Good luck out there, and if you have any feedback please don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below! Stay hard!
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is through constantly challenging yourself.