Why and when?
As a coach and affiliate owner, I don’t know what I find more vexing. Cleaning up chalk that no one seems to be able to keep in the bucket. Or tidying up the straps on the rings… probably chalk.
Let’s look at why and when to use chalk.
Firstly, chalk use is a carryover from rock climbing and it is actually finely crushed rock – calcium carbonate. CrossFitters and lifters use Magnesium Carbonate. So don’t be tempted to use blackboard chalk. It just becomes a chalky mud.
Back to the why. Moisture is the enemy. Your body produces natural secretions, oils, sweat, etc. and when it’s hot and you’re working hard you tend to produce more. Sweaty hands make it harder to grip a barbell or kettlebell or to stay on a pull-up bar. Chalk helps absorb some of that moisture and give the hands a uniform gripping surface.
As for the when. This is fairly straightforward – use chalk when your hands are sweaty and you feel like it is compromising your grip. Rub a little on your hands, and please keep it in the bucket. Get a nice even consistency and do work. You don’t need to keep reapplying – just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not working. And of course please, puhleez, don’t use chalk when you’re not using your hands. Chalk is not required for box jumps or air squats. And even though you’re using your hands its unlikely you’ll need chalk for movements like shoulder press and back squat.
The thing to guard against is that chalk can become a crutch. Something you need to apply in order to do a workout or execute a movement. Or some athletes feel that they can’t just stand there and rest they need to do something. So they go over and chalk up. Don’t do it! Use chalk when you feel like you really can’t hold on.
And if you ever do a LeBron, you will be tackled to the ground!
Inspired by an article written by Noah Abbott.