Today’s post reads like a rant, but it is not. It comes by request, and is an educational overview that relates to the use of chalk on the hands in the gym.
The primary purpose of the use of chalk on the hands is to keep the hands dry and free from sweat. The use of chalk in this way can reduce the risk of slipping off the pull up bars or rings and may decrease the chance of a barbell, KB or dumbbells from slipping out of your hands. So a little bit of chalk dries a little bit of sweat.
Chalk is NOT intended to soak up the sweat from sopping wet hands. For drying off very wet hands, one needs to use a towel or t-shirt or pants etc. If you are a profuse “sweater,” then definitely get in the habit of bringing a hand towel with you. I usually remind athletes to bring a towel with them when they are lowering soaking wet hands into the chalk bucket! Lots of chalk is NOT the solution. Lots of sweat + lots of chalk = very slippery, caked hands that make it MORE difficult to secure a solid grip on a bar. Overuse of chalk increases the risk of slipping. And you know this as well: it also makes a big mess.
Chalk is never needed to dry hands for any of these movements: push ups, burpees, wall ball shots, box jumps, sit ups, running, rowing, lunges, etc. If there is a met-con going on that does not feature any bar-related movements- you never need chalk. Ever.
If you do need to use a little bit of chalk to dry the sweet perspiration from your glistening hands (fingers and palms only), here is how to apply it. Pick up the biggest “bar” in the bucket. Keep both hands and bar of chalk inside the bucket. Wipe the bar a couple times across the palm and fingers on one hand- repeat on the other hand. Drop the bar of chalk back into the bucket. Before removing the hands from the bucket, clap or rub the hands together so that the residual dust that is left on the hands (the stuff that does not have any sweat to soak up) falls gently as fresh snow into the bottom of the bucket.
If there is not a piece of chalk in the bucket that at least as big as a small bar of soap then just let a coach know. We will get a new one for you. Please do not crush the bar of chalk into dust. It is easiest applied when it is in cake/bar form. If there is only dust in the bucket- you can still rub it one your hands… just be more careful about rubbing off all excess before removing your hands from the bucket. Do not remove the bar of chalk from the bucket and rub it on a pull up bar or a barbell. Chalk only goes on your hands.
Don’t ever remove a piece of hand chalk from the bucket and take it to a location so that you can use it during a workout. Chalk ALWAYS stays in the bucket. There is one bucket in each room. Please don’t use hand chalk to write on the floor or chalkboard. We have more chalkboard chalk than all the elementary schools in Malibu combined. Use that kind of chalk for the purpose of writing. Always wipe off chalk from any equipment it comes into contact with… if you get it on the bar
I hope that helps improve your relationship with the chalk bucket and its contents. Thanks for asking! Any other questions about basics around the Hut… just ask. Coming soon: barbell etiquette.
Thursday’s WOD at 6, 7, 9am and again at 4 and 6pm
5pm Open Training Hour- come work on some weaknesses
Gymnastics skills and drills for first half of the session
Interval Circuit of Three Movements
Wall ball shots
Muscle ups (or dips and “heavy” ring rows OR chest to sternum pull ups on rings)
Burpee over Rogue Block
Post total number of shots, MUs and burpees to chalkboard/journals