Liquid chalk won’t make you deadlift any more weight, but it will help your hands stick to the bar, allowing you to get the most out of your session.
A few days back, I was deadlifting as usual on a warm day in Malibu. I reached my heavier working weights, dipped my hips down and back and stood up successfully…right before I unintentionally dropped the weight to the floor. The bar had slipped out of my barely sweating hands. I looked to my left, and there was my friend Cassidy, mocking me for my ineptness. She looked at me disappointedly and said in a matter of fact tone, “I’ve got some liquid chalk in my bag.”
Had I had water in my mouth, I would have shot it out of my nose laughing. Instead, I just rolled my eyes as she marched to her backpack to retrieve the bottle. Now, I could have, and may otherwise would have, been stubborn, but there were onlookers clearly gauging my flexibility of thought and willingness to make an adjustment. I took the bottle and squirted generously. As I bent down to grab the bar, I envisioned power-lifting dudes donning huge leather lifting belts, ritually slapping themselves with chalk covered hands to fire themselves up.
Still semi-scoffing, I stood up, and the bar was glued to my hands. I immediately felt stronger. Damn. Maybe those power lifters were right. From skinnybulkup.com:
A slight amount of perspiration on your palms significantly reduces grip strength. And grip strength is a determining factor in success during “pulling” lifts like cleans, deadlifts, and pull-ups. Kettlebell athletes chalk up before a set of kettlebell snatches. To get better at these exercises, use gym chalk.
Many people object to chalk because of the residue. I’ve been to the gyms with chalk all over the place. I personally don’t care. I dig a grimy feel to a weight pile. I don’t dig fancy equipment, and I don’t need my workout area spotless. That said, I can respect the folks around me and am perfectly willing to adjust. I will be using chalk for my heavier lifts going forward, but I will be utilizing the liquid variety that Cass hooked me up with to optimize for cleanliness. From nobrainermuscle.com:
Liquid chalk is magnesium carbonate mixed with alcohol and some thickener.
Awesome grip strength but without the mess.
Apply a few drops of liquid chalk to your hands at the start and you’ll have sweat-free palms for the rest of the workout.
Make sure that the liquid chalk you buy has magnesium carbonate. Don’t buy fake liquid chalk – note the main ingredient being Aluminum Chlorohydrate and not Magnesium Carbonate. Always get the real liquid chalk, the fake stuff just won’t cut it.
Here’s to flexibility and grip strength.