White Chalk May Be The Missing Ingredient To Increasing Your Lifts

If you will recall, I wrote an article a few months ago expressing the dubious experiences I have had with dietary supplements. And I stand by that, as I do with a similar conviction that the fitness hobbyist doesn’t need fancy equipment such as weightlifting belts to aid him: namely, if you’re not attempting to set a weightlifting record, you don’t really need a belt.

While I will cautiously advocate buying equipment such as Fat Grips to make your workout harder (I emphasize caution on this specific device not because they’re not useful, but rather due to the fact that grip can be trained equally as well without spending money), there remains only one tool I would advocate to assist your compound lifts, a tool that doesn’t provide additional support but can add 20-30 pounds to some of your lifts. That tool is: chalk.


A Geology Lesson

Chalk, or calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is a common sedimentary rock that is formed from calcite shells and millions of years of weathering and surface gradations. Indeed, most “chalk” purchased nowadays is, in fact, calcium sulfate, talc, or some other powdery mineral more common than naturally mined calcium carbonate. Whatever the composition of the purchased “chalk,” they all have in common a property of increasing friction and wicking up moisture.  And this property is where chalk benefits you.

Chalk In Physical Fitness

You’ve likely seen Olympic weightlifters using chalk on their hands before lifts to reduce perspiration, as well as other strength-intensive sports such as gymnastics and rock climbing. Even in the “barest” and most simple of these sports, such as Olympic style lifting or free-scale rock climbing, chalk is used. As stated previously, the chalk does not enhance strength at all so much as allow you to lift to your maximum strength and ability. To speak from my own experience, my maximum deadlift is 350 pounds with chalk, but only 325 pounds without—a discrepancy that can only be attributed to sweaty palms weakening my hands.

I also find that chalk helps with stability in pressing lifts such as the bench press and over head press: it allows you to grip harder, causing increased muscle flexion and thus increased muscular force through the principle of “proprioceptive muscular tension“.

I’ll even bring a bottle of chalk along when helping friends move furniture, as it gives me a better grip on uneven heavy objects.

Of course, the usefulness of chalk is only compounded in ring gymnastics, rock climbing, and other sports that involve a risk of dying should you lose your grip (or should I say a higher risk of dying than olympic lifting, as all of the sports listed can give truly grotesque injuries).

How To Get Chalk

It’s about now that you probably want to obtain some chalk for your own purposes, and are thus asking how to get it. Specifically made weightlifter’s or gymnasts chalk can be purchased from sporting goods stores and websites, in both powdered and block form.

But, if you’re a stingy son of a bitch like myself—and really, if you’re reading this website, or similar websites, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be—then there’s a much easier way to get usable chalk: grind it yourself.

The first step is to go to a nearby dollar store—or the equivalent in whatever country you live in—and buy a pack of white blackboard chalk (for obvious reasons, buying multicolored sidewalk chalk is not advised). This is exactly the sort of cheap, crumbly chalk that you hated to use in elementary school, but for weightlifting purposes is in some ways preferable to a higher quality stick.


Once obtained, you have to grind it. If you’re high agency or mildly autistic like myself, then you already own a mortar and pestle.

mortar and pestle

If not, then grab a hammer, a heavy ashtray, a big rock, or something similar, and grind the chalk into a fine powder. Feel free to put on a movie or a podcast as you do this-that’s how I write most of my articles.

There should be no large chunks in it, and when it’s done, put it inside some sort of container. I personally put it inside a plastic water bottle, which allows me to parcel it out in controlled portions without spilling


And with that, you’re done. Just an hour or two of work, and you’ll already have increased the amount of weight you’ll be able to lift and the dexterity of your hands.

Read More: How Kratom Can Help With Your Weightlifting Routine

52 thoughts on “White Chalk May Be The Missing Ingredient To Increasing Your Lifts”

  1. One of the best feelings of achievement I’ve ever had was when I hit my current PR on the deadlift of 435, using chalk of course. I use the hook grip, which helps even more. Chalk also add reps to how many pull ups you can do.
    There’s stuff called liquid chalk, which sticks to your hands and isn’t as messy for a non friendly commercial gym, but it’s a little less effective.
    I would just pony up the 10 dollars for a pound of lifting chalk since it lasts forever. I bought some in 2009 and I’m still on that first box.

    1. The problem with chalk, really the only issue, is that over time chalk will absorb moisture. A large tub like that will lose its efficacy over time.
      Yes it will still be helpful but not as helpful as fresh, really dry chalk.

      1. It comes in 16 individually wrapped blocks. I’m on like number 6. I just use one at a time in a ziploc bag.

  2. Lifting chalk is magnesium carbonate or silicate, not calcium carbonate(blackboard chalk) – it’s a different substance, it was even used as a dry lubricant in the old days for condoms…..

  3. mix kratom with the chalk for superior thread postings

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  4. Chalk is good, only to a certain extent. If you use too much, you run the risk of tearing any callouses on your hands at a quicker rate, due to the fact that chalk makes your hands dry.

    1. Deadlift PRs are worth skin torn off your hands. It’s happened to me before, not a big deal. God forbid we might bleed a little during training.

      1. Agreed, I just tape my hands up after I’ve torn the skin up so I can keep lifting.

      2. Damn straight! I paid my monthly dues. I want to leave flesh in the knurling!

      1. I have not had good experiences with liquid chalk. Ymmv but it just felt wrong to me. Can’t describe it

    1. Nope. I saw a college gym that did once, but they quickly banned it when the (casual) lifters made a mess of everything.
      If you want to use it, bring a wet towel and wipe down your bar and area when you’re done. Gym employees don’t mind so much if you do the cleanup for them.

  5. ………………….and I was standing here thinking it was Kratom that I needed! I’ve been lied to my entire life!

    1. i’ve had worse than the skinny pale girl at the start.
      the “skinny wuss” doing the terrible deadlift is probably bigger than me.

    2. You’ve introduced me to one of the greatest thing I’ve ever seen on Youtube. For that, you have my eternal gratitude. I would follow you into any battle.

    3. Fuck yeah Infinite Elgintensity, that and broscience life are the best fitness channels

  6. Never did anything good for me. It actuality hurts my grip. But I have unusually dry hands. They just do not sweat that much. And I never had any grip issues until my dead lift hit 485. Above that the bar just pealed out of my hands. The problem was not sweat. My back just overwhelmed my hands. Chalk helps a lot of guys, maybe most guys. Just not me

  7. Using chalk will immediately improve your PRs.
    My deadlift went from 350 to 405 during a period of using chalk.
    Allows you to focus less on grip and more on your back when pulling.

  8. When I started lifting, I used powerlifting gloves to help me keep my grip. Overtime, as the weight of my deadlift increased, my grip started to lose hold the bar. Soon its was grip strength that became the deciding factor of preforming deadlifts, not core strength. I switch over to chalk and my grip strength improved. I was able to perform deadlifts properly. The gloves became handicap for increase my grip strength and achieving my max reps. Andrei Popa said, lifting chalk is magnesium carbonate or silicate. You can buy in blocks or as liquid. Personal, I use a chalk ball filled with lifting chalk in ziploc bag. This reduce the mess you can make in the gym and in you bag.

  9. More importantly it keeps your hands from getting shredded by the bar.

    1. Word! 6’4″ tall here with very delicate pianist hands. To me gloves are mandatory for actions like pull-ups or weight lifting.

        1. Actually yes, it was the only form of violence not forbidden in my school.

      1. Same here, but never favoured gloves after numerous attempts using them

        1. We used kitchen rubber gloves when the teachers forced to clean up some nasty mess we did on the last day of school.
          Btw female teachers are very tolerant of un-manly psychological abuse, they see bullying as benign & reacting to any abuse as “troubled behaviour”.

  10. “Once obtained, you have to grind it. If you’re high agency or mildly autistic like myself, then you already own a mortar and pestle.”
    I’m not even remotely autistic but I can’t tell you how often I wish I had a mortar and pestle. LOL

  11. I find chalk really good for gripping and lifting corpses. Along with a good dose of kratom to block out the reality and keep things normalized.

  12. Most globo-gyms don’t allow chalk, unfortunately. Have to use gloves.

    1. My gym has a 5 gallon painters bucket of chalk half filled sitting in the weight room. It’s great!

        1. Equinox. They are a little prissy in some ways, but they take care of their lifters. The one near my house has 3 power racks on both floors and the one near my office removed their smith machine to have room for another power rack.

        2. Oh yea… I was dating some Russian high maintenance girl a while back and I went to lift with her there. You think it’s worth the money? Imo that place is all amenities and not really offering anything special i couldn’t find any other decent gym. In fact I was lifting my usual compounds and caused all the usual skanks and douche bros to look. An indicator most of the actual weights are probably not being used by the common guests.

        3. I think it is worth it for me. Here are some of the reasons
          1) Many locations in the city including a location just 4 blocks from my house and another 1 block from the train
          2) There are several locations with good sized swimming pools that I can go to
          3) They are seriously geared towards lifters and lifter friendly. None of this pony ass no loud grunting, no chalk. They have bucks of chalk, a dozen benches, a lot of power racks and even have a texas bar (not that I need one) if you need to start pulling 16 plates or more lol
          4) The locker room is immaculately clean. I mean, it is really spotless and even smells nice.
          5) (Big one here) They open at 5 am. Not 515. Not 502. They are open at 5 am. So when I want to get my am session for rested cardio in, there they are.
          6) they have, and I’ve been to like every gym in the city, the hottest eye candy in the gym business
          7) When I am done with a heavy deadlifting session, so long as they are not busy, a guy will often times ask if he can deload for me. This is such a cool service.
          8) The trainers wear either a blue (not in session) or black (in session) shirt. Any trainer in a blue shirt, so not currently in a training session, will gladly spot you, give you advice or just shoot the shit with you and for the most part they are very knowledgeable.
          all in all I have to say that I feel equinox is well worth the money I spend.
          Yes it is expensive. Like 200/month for my global membership. But I don’t go to happy hour. I don’t go out to dinner after work or hang out with friends. I would bet that every single guy I work with who goes to happy hours once or twice a week spends more money on getting fat than I do getting in shape.
          Add to that that my health insurance will write me a $500 check once a year as long as I go a min of three times a week (hint, I check in 11 times a week min) and I feel I get my money’s worth. I could pay half that money for NYSC but it is a shit hole. And David Barton is even more xpensive and like 80% fags. Crunch is nice but not convenient to my home and not nearly as clean. Obv no planet fitness.

        4. also, as for the skanks and douche bros, yeah but they are at every gym. I go at 5am and then again at 6 pm. At 5 am I see the same people every day. Super good shape, totally chill and doing there thing. At 6 I see the assholes. Most of the time they leave me a lone. I lift heavy and have a regular schedule which lends itself to my knowing people. The one time I can’t take it is that 10am-2pm window on sat and sundays. I need to get my ass in on sat morning at 7 while the cunts are still sleeping.

        5. Dude. I didn’t even think of it like that. I go to nysc. It is a shthole. But then again it has everything u need plus bumper plates. The staff spotting you thing is amazing as is the deloading. Maybe that one time I checked in as a guest was a bad example. Plus it was during rush hour.

        6. Rush hour is always bad at pretty much any gym. I went to NYSC for a while. They were fine. My experience is just a lot better where I am. Ymmv though. Convenience is like number one thing because it helps to get there

  13. If your gym doesn’t allow chalk, I’ve used these before with very good results:
    Much safer than lifting hooks, which are dangerous if you need to drop the bar quickly.
    I’ve found using a “hook grip” helps a lot as well.
    I’d recommend avoiding Fat Gripz. If your grip is weak, train it separately. You want to be able to squeeze/crush the bar as hard as you can for that “neural connection”, something Fat Gripz prevent.

    1. I bought hooks but they didn’t feel safe when I first tried them. Felt like I was going to drop the weight, I could be wrong.
      I use wrist straps similar to what you linked to (but with the cloth strap to wrap around the bar).

  14. I’ve found that when looking to enhance performance while lifting, Colombian sniffing chalk works best. It is considerably more expensive than other chalks and only lasts for a short time, but I’ve been able to lift cars with my bare hands, survive shootouts, and run on two broken legs while using it.

  15. Gym Staff hate it. Prepare to be asked to not use chalk and get dirty looks from everybody. Unless you are at a hard core power lifting gym.

    1. Yeah, unfortunately there are so many chain gyms where it is actually rare that men are serious about lifting, and hence chalk sticks out like a sore thumb.
      I used good quality straps at this moment, although I’d love to find a gym where I could try chalk.

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