Chalk is one of the most important powerlifting accessories. A lot of lifters only use it for the deadlift, but it is often used by powerlifters performing the squat and bench press. Chalk is typically only applied to the hands to help with grip, but in the case of the squat and bench press, it is applied to the hands as well as the upper back. It is applied to the upper back so you can get a nice arch on the bench press without sliding back. Some lifters apply the chalk to their upper back when squatting too. This is typically done when their shirt gets sweaty and the bar starts slipping.
Which Chalk is Best for Powerlifting?
The majority of lifters use the same powder chalk, which is called magnesium carbonate. This is the same stuff used by rock climbers and gymnasts. It’s extremely inexpensive and a block should last you a very long time. 1 lb of chalk goes for just over $12 on amazon. That should last you many many years.
You can also get a smaller amount like this 2 oz block for just over $5 on Amazon. This may be cheaper, but you’ll get much more bang for your buck getting the 1 lb block mentioned above.
What About Liquid Chalk?
Liquid chalk is another option that many lifters use. A lot of gyms don’t allow powder chalk due to how messy it is. So liquid chalk ends up being the only viable option aside from using straps. Liquid chalk does help, but it is not nearly as effective as regular powdered chalk. It is also more expensive. One good thing about liquid chalk is that it doesn’t make a mess like powder chalk.
If your gym allows it, use powder chalk, if not, liquid chalk is your best bet. This 1.5 oz container of Liquid Grip will give you around 45 uses, and it goes for $8.
A more convenient option is this chalk bag. You just hold the bag in your hands and the chalk is applied. Not nearly as messy as applying the chalk straight off the block.
How do you Store Chalk?
It is important to keep powder chalk stored properly so it doesn’t get all over everything and make a mess. It may be in block shape, but as time goes on, little pieces break off and you end up with a lot of loose powder.
Some people use big ziplock bags for storing their chalk. This is a great choice because you can stick your hands in the bag to apply it and you won’t get chalk residue all over the ground. The downside to using a bag is the chalk is easily crushed. This may or may not be an issue depending on your preferences. Some people like rubbing the block of chalk on their hands, others like dipping their hands into the powder and pretty much saturating their hands in a bath of chalk.
If you prefer to have your chalk in block form, consider storing it in a tupperware container. You may have to break your block into smaller pieces to do this, depending on the size of the block.