Before we talk about the reasons bodybuilders prefer lifting chalk over gloves, I like to clear the biggest misconception, lifting chalk is not the ordinary blackboard chalk. Blackboard chalks are made of Calcium carbonate but the lifting chalks are made of magnesium carbonate.
While the traditional calcium carbonate chalks absorb moisture and easily dissolve in water, magnesium carbonate is insoluble in water which keeps the grip intact even in sweaty situations.
Training barehand can be really frustrating especially when there is a lot of sweat involved.
In general, bodybuilders use chalk instead of gym gloves to enhance grip strength, improve sensory response, prevent sweaty hands, and get those extra reps done.
Know Why Bodybuilders Use Chalk Not Gloves
Bodybuilders discovered the utility of chalk from Powerlifters, Olympic lifters, and Gymnasts.
Reasons why don’t we usually see bodybuilders training with gym gloves are as follow.
1- Sensory response:
The sensory response is a key factor when you are serious about lifting weights.
Bodybuilders understand the importance of skin-on-metal contact while weight training, it creates a better cognitive response and improves mind-muscle connection.
Lifting gloves, on the other hand, facilitate extra padding which is not appreciated by most bodybuilders and it also restricts the contact between barbell and hand.
2- Grip and forearm strength
Grip and forearm strength are often neglected by average lifters but bodybuilders take it quite seriously.
You are as strong as your grip strength, you cant lift an object if you cant grip it! That’s the reason lifting 200lbs atlas stone is always difficult than 400 lbs deadlift.
Using gym gloves surely helps with providing extra padding but it also limits the development of grip strength.
3- Prevents Sweaty hands
Sweat is the last thing you want when you are pushing hard for those last sets. Additionally, sometimes barbells and dumbbells are already wet because of humidity or someone else’s sweaty hands.
Sweaty hands have always been a prominent issue that has forced lifters to use gloves, straps, or chalks.
Chalks are one of the best solutions to reduce sweat from the palms, it helps in absorbing the sweat and provide a better surface to grip upon.
Gloves also help with sweaty hands but gloves increase the thickness of the barbell because of extra padding, added thickness leads to difficulty in better grip.
4- Get extra reps
Lifting chalk is incredible when one wants to lift not just heavier but longer too.
Not being able to walk longer during a farmer’s walk, not being able to go extra reps while deadlifting, are some of the common challenges faced by lifters.
Gym chalks considerably improve the grip which helps in taking performance to next level.
5- Chalk enhances absolute strength
When we talk about bodybuilding or any other sports, developing absolute strength should be on top priority.
Some people also call it RAW strength.
Absolute strength can be defined as an individual’s ability to exert the maximum amount of force without any assistance.
Use of chalk is allowed in all prominent lifting competitions, it does not provide any external assistance it only helps in eliminating the sweat from hands.
Chalk improves the raw strength thus making it a top choice of the professional lifter.
Gym Doesnt Allow Chalk – What to do?
The use of chalks is common in powerlifting gyms or Crossfit, but many commercial gyms do not allow the use of chalk because of the mess it creates.
“Liquid chalk” is the best solution if your gym doesnt allow the use of chalks. These liquid chalks create no mess which makes them perfect for gyms that doesnt not allow the use of chalks.
Additionally, liquid chalks stay on hand for a longer period of time while actively delivering a perfect surface to grip on.
It’s very easy to precisely apply to your hands and the main points of contact with the bar or rings. This means less waste and less fuss.
DIY Liquid Chalk
Liquid gym chalks are a little costly. But you can make them at home.
All you need:
- Gym chalk (pure magnesium carbonate)
- Denatured alcohol or ethanol (Should be greater than 70% alcohol)
Take magnesium carbonate and alcohol in a 1:2 ratio.
100 grams of powdered magnesium carbonate should be mixed with 200 ml of alcohol.
Mix it well in a grinder until it turns into a smooth and thick liquid.
Store in an air-tight container.
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