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Archive for June, 2007

Chalk: it’s messy, but it works

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Yesterday, I got to try out chalk as a means of giving my hands a better grip on the bars. For the longest time, I used to train with gloves. I still got callus’ forming in my hands and I noticed my grip was very weak without them. When I started the strength training routine however, I decided to let go off the gloves and try to develop some grip naturally with the weights I was lifting. Sure enough, after a month or two of weight training, I developed a natural grip and had slightly stronger forearms. As the weights got heavier and heavier, I realized that my hands were quite moist resulting in me losing grip. I literally felt the bars slipping off my hands!

The solution was simple: use chalk. As a famous strength training coach once wrote in his book, “[Chalk] increases traction between the bar and the hand, reducing the likelihood of lost bars and grip accidents. It reduces callus formation, since stress against the skin of the palm and the fingers is a function of the movement of the bar against it, and callus forms in response to this stress.” (p. 211) Putting this little experiment to the test, I had a wonderful workout with the chalk. Well, except the first time I actually put it on my hands, it made a bit of a mess around me. One trainee looked at me and smirked at my novice attempt (there was a cloud of chalk around me). I quickly apologized for the mess. I understood to use minimal amounts of the substance upon the next time I applied it. Luckily, my local gym (the Monster Gym in Montreal) allows the usage of chalk (I made sure to ask one of the staff members about this). This is a great thing as many gyms do not permit such a commodity. Of course, every real gym should allow it, as the coach goes as far to mention that “A gym without chalk is a health spa.”