What are the best lifting chalks?
Have you been keeping up with your grip work?
If the body is a chain, the hands are hooks.
Without a strong hook, the chain’s not going to get much pulling done.
Of course, your hands are a bit more complex – and they sweat a whole lot more.
We not only have to hook on to a weight, but also keep it from slipping out of our fingers. Cue: lifting chalk.
Barbell slipping? Sweaty palms? Humid gym environment? Chalk is your answer.
The granular, powdery consistency of lifting chalk dries out moisture and provides greater overall contact with the bar.
Of the tools at a lifter’s or athlete’s disposal, chalk is arguably one of the most impactful and worthwhile for performance and safety.
In that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best lifting chalk brands (that will have your next deadlift PR virtually glued to your hands).
Here’s our list of the 10 best lifting chalks:
Best Lifting Chalk Compared
Our supplement lists are created by researching the best-reviewed products from the most reputable companies and web sources.
In A Rush? Here’s Our Top Pick:
Need a quick fix for your grip issues? The Z-Athletic Chalk Ball will have you covered.
Chalk balls prioritize versatility and clean-up-friendly design.
Z-Athletic’s product is exactly as it’s named: a cotton sock filled with pure magnesium carbonate-based lifting chalk.
Roll the fabric around in your hands gently for a few seconds, and you’re good to go.
No scent, no mess, and discrete enough to use even in the most anti-chalk gyms without turning heads. Of course, we would never encourage a thing like that – would we?
10. Togear – Liquid Chalk Pack
The first item on our list is Togear’s Liquid Chalk Pack.
Like dry chalk options, Togear’s liquid formula is made with pure magnesium carbonate and offers nearly identical friction-enhancing qualities.
Liquid chalk is a popular choice among mainstream gym-goers who need to keep their chalk use private – or others who simply like having a personal pocket supply.
- Liquid chalk made with pure magnesium carbonate – no dyes or added scents
- Contains bonding agents to increase friction and reduce flaking
- Customers have remarked on the lack of longevity per application and a longer dry-time than alternatives
9. Friction Labs – Bam Bam Super Chunky
Friction Labs Bam Bam Super Chunky Chalk is a highly popular option boasting 100s of athlete endorsements.
The product comes ready-to-go in a broken down, “chunky” form. Friction Labs offers a number of grain sizes, as well – including the finer Unicorn Dust, or coarser Gorilla Grip.
- Chunked formula means easy storage of small, individual pieces
- Pure magnesium carbonate – no additives, dyes, or fillers
- Some reviews have received the product in smaller chunks than expected, often completely powdered
8. Rage Fitness – Gym Chalk
About as straightforward as chalk can be: Rage Fitness shows up with 8 blocks of solid, 2 oz magnesium carbonate.
There are no complications here. The block form allows for cleaner applications than powdered chalk variants, but can also be broken down into chunks if desired.
- Eight 2 oz blocks per order – great value for the price point
- 1 pound total of pure magnesium carbonate – no additives
- Block form is difficult to keep discrete in public and anti-chalk gyms
- Customers have noted brittleness and a lack in overall consistency
7. Gladiator Gym Gear – Battle Armor
Gladiator Gym Gear Battle Armor chalk includes a bagged supply of magnesium carbonate chalk and a cotton sock.
For 400 total grams and a re-usable cotton container, it’s difficult to beat this value. The sock is rather thick, lending to more controlled applications of chalk on the hands.
- Comes with a large bagged supply of chalk and sock ball – great value for the price
- 100% pure magnesium carbonate with no additions or fillers
- Reviews have indicated the consistency of the chalk makes applications somewhat difficult / not smooth
- Sock ball fabric is on the thicker side – transmits a lower amount of chalk to the hands
6. SPORTMEDIQ – Pro Grade Liquid Chalk
Another great liquid chalk option, SPORTMEDIQ’s blend, is fast-drying, completely sweat resistant, and anti-bacterial.
This liquid chalk dries in under 25 seconds and stays saturated on the hand even across multiple high-volume sets.
It’s a bit pricier than dry chalk options, but you can’t argue with its efficiency.
- Fast-drying, sub-25 second formula
- Bottled container means easy to access, discreteness, and no mess
- Some reviews have complained about the fragility of the bottle cap – if the seal breaks, chalk is able to leak out
- Chalk formula can be flaky
5. Primo Chalk
Primo Chalk is giving you a 1 LB bucket – yes, a bucket – of powdered chalk.
Not just that, but the formula includes essential oils that moisturize the hands while drying their surface layers for improved grip.
Perform well, and smell great – the latter can’t be said of most other chalk options.
- Massive 1lb tub of free chalk – great value, likely will not need a replacement for some time
- Made with essential oils built into the formula – improves the effectiveness of the chalk and conditions skin
- Scented or conditioning chalk may not be everyone’s cup of tea
- Freestanding chalk means more difficult transporting it – and few ways of being discrete in anti-chalk environments
4. 321 STRONG – Refillable Chalk Ball
The 321 STRONG Refillable Chalk Ball provides both a cotton sock and Ziploc container.
Perhaps one of the lowest mess-prone options on this entire list, this chalk ball runs a bit thicker than other options – meaning you’ll get a thinner layer of chalk on your hands per application.
For lifters who prefer a thin coating of chalk, the 321 STRONG cotton sock will do the trick.
- Sock ball design with finely powdered magnesium carbonate chalk – easily stored and used
- Includes re-sealable Ziploc bag for the sock container – zero mess
- Several reviews have suggested the sock thickness is too great – chalk can take several applications
- The fineness of the chalk can require extra volume to get the same effectiveness as coarser brands
3. SPRI – Chalk Block (8 Pack)
What more is there to say about SPRI? They offer an 8 pack of high-quality, 2 oz chalk blocks.
The blocks hold a firm consistency, but can be easily broken up to be used as pocket-sized pieces.
If you want an old-fashioned, no-nonsense supply of quality lifting chalk, SPRI has what you need.
- 100% pure magnesium carbonate – no add-ins, fillers, dyes, or scents
- Large volume order of blocks – great value for the price
- Easy to store (e.g. in a tupperware container)
- Several reviews have noted the consistency crumbles fairly easily
- Some issues with an unpleasant scent have been pointed out
2. Fire Team – Liquid Fit Chalk
The Fire Team Liquid Fit Chalk comes in as one of the more expensive options on our list.
However, as a top-quality liquid chalk, it earns our second-place spot.
Fire Team’s formula is one of the fastest drying and longest-lasting liquid chalks you can get your hands on.
The effectiveness and resourcefulness of Fire Team’s chalk justify spending a little more compared to dry chalk brands.
- Contained in a bottle – extremely easy to use discretely
- Leaves very little residue on surfaces – no extra powder
- Fast drying and easy to wash off
- Some reviews note disappointment in how long each application lasts – somewhat flaky
1. Z-Athletic – Chalk Ball
The best gym chalk on our list is also one of the most simplistic.
The Z-Athletic Chalk Ball is a cotton sock – with multiple sizes offered – filled with a supply of magnesium carbonate chalk.
It nails the top spot for its overall value, the consistent positivity of its public reception, and its balanced design compared to other chalk balls (even on this list).
Whereas cotton sock designs are often too thick, the Z-Athletic Chalk Ball sock is thin enough to allow an ample amount of chalk through to your hands – while still minimizing the chances of a mess.
- Sock ball design – ease to store, use, and transport without making a mess
- 100% pure magnesium carbonate – no scent, no additives, no dyes
- Re-usable and long-lasting – high value for the cost
- Can be difficult to be exact with the amount of chalk you’re applying
- Tied shut with a drawstring – possibly breakable
FAQs About Lifting Chalk
Q: What Is Lifting Chalk For?
Lifting chalk is used almost exclusively to enhance the grip of lifters and other athletes (such as rock climbers).
Q: What Does Chalk Do For Lifting?
Weightlifting increases the total contact between our hands and the surface of our training implements – barbells, dumbbells, pull-up bars, etc.
Put simply: weights will be less likely to slip from your fingers as you’ll have a closer, dryer, and stronger grip on them.
Q: What Is Lifting Chalk Made Of?
Traditional lifting chalk is made of magnesium carbonate.
Q: Is Lifting Chalk The Same As Regular Chalk?
Classroom chalk (also known as sidewalk chalk) is formed by calcium carbonate.
If you’ve ever gotten calcium carbonate chalk wet, you know that it quickly becomes a dissolved, smeared mess – certainly not ideal for lifting or grip purposes.
Magnesium carbonate tends to do a better job of absorbing large quantities of water and/or sweat.
Q: What Are The Benefits Of Lifting Chalk?
- Increases friction between our skin and a weight’s surface (barbell, dumbbell, etc.)
- Absorbs moisture on the surface of the skin
- Absorbs moisture on the surface of the bar
- Our nervous systems regulate grip strength by the sensation of friction in the hands – more friction, stronger grip.
Q: Why Does Chalk Help Grip?
The granular structure of chalk effectively fills in the empty space between the creases of our hands and the knurling of whatever surface we’re grabbing.
This means the chalk acts to provide a greater surface area of contact. Since magnesium carbonate is a salt, it also absorbs any moisture where it is applied.
Removing moisture – of course – further increases the potential friction of our hands against the weight.
There is some evidence in a number of studies suggesting that our grip strength is partially influenced by the perception of friction in our hands.
If our grip feels more secure and confident, our nervous system will actually increase muscular recruitment and provide a stronger overall grip.
Similar to pre-workout, chalk can inadvertently prime the mind!
Q: What Is The Best Liquid Chalk For Weightlifting?
Liquid chalk is sometimes preferred as it is a bit more discrete than powdered chalk options.
With many gyms prohibiting chalk use, covert options can be highly valuable.
We suggest Fire Team Liquid Fit Chalk, SPORTMEDIQ Pro Grade Liquid Chalk, and Togear Liquid Chalk brands.
Q: Does Chalk Help You Lift More?
Grip is a limiting factor for many lifters. Further, nothing destroys your hands quicker than a bar slipping out of your fingers – tearing calluses and instigating blisters.
Chalk resolves both issues in one fell swoop. Reduced moisture means less risk of blisters.
Heightened friction means the bar won’t roll as much in your hands – keeping any knurling from mincing up any calluses.
Keeping your hands healthy will help you lift with greater volume and frequency, and potentially contribute to pushing heavier numbers.
Q: Is Chalk Necessary For Lifting?
No, lifting chalk is not absolutely necessary. However, its usefulness in training and competition is nothing to dismiss.
Q: Is Climbing Chalk The Same As Lifting Chalk?
Yes. Climbing chalk is made from the same magnesium carbonate base as lifting chalk.
Climbers are a bit more selective about communal use, though.
They tend to prefer keeping their own supply in a small utility bag, whereas many lifting communities will use an open bowl filled with powdered chalk.
Q: Why Is Chalk Good For Lifting?
Weightlifting chalk increases friction with the bar, improves our perception of grip strength, and reduces the risk of a bar slipping and causing torn calluses or blisters.
Q: Is Using Chalk Cheating?
That depends on your definition of cheating.
In a word: no. Chalk is completely legal for use in every competitive lifting federation, be it powerlifting, weightlifting, or CrossFit.
However, maybe you’re big on a raw, naturalist approach to lifting.
Some would argue you’re not training your grip as well while using chalk, or that the chalk is doing most of the work for you.
Whether that holds up to scientific scrutiny or not, every single one of the best lifters in the world uses lifting chalk regularly. Keep that in mind.
Q: What Is The Best Lifting Chalk?
Our top choice for best gym chalk is Z-Athletic’s Chalk Ball. Easy to use, versatile, clean, discrete – the list of possible descriptors goes on.
It covers every base you’d want to see and feel in weightlifting chalk.
That said, the best chalk for you might be more circumstantial. Are you lifting in a gym that absolutely prohibits the use of chalk?
Do you need to cover up any and all traces that you’re using chalk? In such cases, a chalk ball is a decent option – but you might be better served by liquid chalk.
Liquid chalks are entirely contained in a bottle, dry and wipe away very quickly, and leave very little residue on surfaces.
Q: How Long Does Liquid Chalk Last?
After application, liquid chalk dries in around 10 to 20 seconds and typically maintains a high degree of dryness/friction for half an hour or more with moderate use.
If you are performing a high-volume workout, are attempting a series of max-effort PR lifts, or are lifting in a humid/sweaty environment, you may want to re-up a layer every other set.
That might sound like a lot, but most lifters re-apply standard dry chalk options every few minutes.
Lifting chalk comes in a handful of different forms.
It can definitely be worth trying out multiple styles to find which one suits you best (block, chunked, powdered, or liquid).
The bottom line is the same: your grip holds everything else together, and chalk can help you do the job. Grab some chalk – whatever the style – and get lifting!
Here’s a quick recap of the best lifting chalk on the market:
- Z-Athletic – Chalk Ball
- Fire Team – Liquid Fit Chalk
- SPRI – Chalk Block (8 Pack)
- 321 STRONG – Refillable Chalk Ball
- Primo Chalk – Best Bulk Supply of Chalk
- SPORTMEDIQ – Pro Grade Liquid Chalk
- Gladiator Gym Gear – Battle Armor
- Rage Fitness – Gym Chalk
- Friction Labs – Bam Bam Super Chunky
- Togear – Liquid Chalk Pack