Sweat is a mechanism for keeping your body cool, which is a good thing. So when you train (and your body temperature naturally rises), you sweat. And if you climb, boulder, lift weights, CrossFit or have a background in gymnastics, you know that your palms sweat.

If you do one or more of these activities, why are sweaty palms a problem for you? Because when your palms sweat, it’s much harder to maintain a grip or hang on to a hold, bar or rock.


Let’s talk about chalk. First, not all chalk is created equal. The chalk you see in gyms and rock-climbing bags is not the same as what you see on the sidewalk. Performance chalk is made of magnesium carbonate. A readily available portable substance that:

  • Stops sweat
  • Increases friction
  • Provides a better grip

The Problem with Chalk

The problem with chalk is that sometimes it can be too readily available. Yes, in the case of chalk, there can be too much of a good thing.

Overdoing it at the chalk bucket can mean extra dry skin, which increases the chance that your hands will tear. Not to mention, too much chalk makes a big mess. It gets everywhere – your hands, clothes, equipment and the floor.

But aside from the messy white residue, there is another problem with chalk. Some athletes chalk their hands as part of a pre- or mid-workout ritual. If you approach this ritual with intention, great! But be careful that chalk doesn’t end up being a time suck. For example, you’re in the middle of a workout, and instead of knocking out a steady stream of reps, you’re over at the chalk bucket. Again.

The Chalk Solution

One solution to overdoing it with the chalk is simple: use less and take fewer trips to the chalk bucket. Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • Use chalk only if you can’t hang on to the bar anymore.
  • Always leave the chalk in the bucket.
  • Be courteous to your coaches and other athletes; clean up your equipment or workout space after a WOD.

To learn more about Rhapsody Fitness in Charleston and our range of programs, get in touch with Team Rhapsody today.