Chalk - is it cheating?

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by Harry Westgate, May 28, 2017.

  1. MattM

    MattM SFG1 Certified Instructor

  2. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I do a lot of lifting during short breaks in my office (no pun intended) where I can't use chalk. This is why I swing 40kg and snatch 32kg at home with chalk, and swing 32kg and snatch 24kg in the office without it.

    Thankfully no accidents in either location.
    ShawnM and damogari like this.
  3. StanStan

    StanStan Triple-Digit Post Count

    Just wondering if those who use chalk really need it. If the bell slip because of excessive sweating, is it not enough to dry handle & hand between sets (for s&s)?

    If it is not due to sweating, it would indicate that your grip is not yet strong enough.
  4. Kettlebelephant

    Kettlebelephant Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Usually I don't use chalk, only for the hot days when I sweat a lot. The towel doesn't really work. You have a dry handle, but your hands continue to sweat after you toweled them down. Your initial first reps of a set are ok, but at rep 3 or 4 your hands and the handle are wet again and grip is compromised. At the later stages of your session your towel will have a lot of wet spots aswell which will make it impossible to completely dry the handle and your hands. You'll need a second towel.
    Chalk keeps them dry for the entire set.

    Because of this thread I played around with chalk and even gloves the last couple of days. What Pavel says about improving grip and core strength to make you stronger is absolutely true.
    I already mentioned that I can swing the same KB with shorter rest periods using chalk.
    When I used gloves (gardening gloves with a rubbery palm) I could swing a bigger KB with as little rest as when using the lighter KB with chalk.
    This showed me just how much my lacking grip strength is holding me back :(
    damogari likes this.
  5. taikei

    taikei Triple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    70 percent humidity and a 36kg kettlebell, yes.
    It gives better concentration towards packing shoulders and breathing over concerns for gripping.

    Given I damaged my old apartment floor and paid for it, then it becomes a tool.
  6. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    In the S&S book Pavel comments about training in a spot where you are not afraid to drop your kettlebell. That's gotta be easier said than done however... Dropping a 32 or 40 from almost any height is going to damage most surfaces. (Probably even your lawn)

    That being said, I'm in the group that doesn't use chalk for KB work.
    ShawnM likes this.
  7. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @offwidth A climber who doesn't bathe in chalk?
    Harry Westgate, offwidth and rickyw like this.
  8. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts


    I do indeed use chalk (in copious amounts) at the climbing gym. Rarely outside though. And I never have used it for KB work.
    runninggirevik and damogari like this.
  9. StanStan

    StanStan Triple-Digit Post Count

    You can get 2cm thick rubber mats that will protect your floor. I've dropped the 32kg a couple of times on them!
    jmcli likes this.
  10. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    @StanStan, you can drop a lot more than 32 kg on those rubber mats, e.g., barbell deadlifts.

  11. StanStan

    StanStan Triple-Digit Post Count

    Good to hear! but not going to test their limits anytime soon...
  12. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    Those of us who deadlift them regularly drop a bar with 100 kg or more on them.

  13. fnds

    fnds Double-Digit Post Count

    This is what the S&S 2.0 book mentions about chalk:

    "Use chalk." p.63
    "I will say again:Use chalk." p.63
    "Why People Fail on S&S
    - Do not use chalk.
    ..." p.88

    Doesn't get any clearer than this.

    Discipulus and ShawnM like this.
  14. william bad butt

    william bad butt More than 300 posts

    Yes, I'm a recent convert. I've started using it with kbells. My swings are much crisper when the hands get sweaty.
    ShawnM and Sean M like this.
  15. Nacho

    Nacho Triple-Digit Post Count

    I bought chalk yesterday after reading S&S 2.0. :) Excited to see how it feels. Never tried it before.
    Sean M likes this.
  16. ShawnM

    ShawnM More than 2500 posts

    I use chalk every session. Keeps my hands dry and reduces tears. I’d rather not lose training time and keep moving forward than care whether someone believes chalk use equals cheating. I’m only competing with myself, and myself is just fine with it.
    JamesPTA likes this.
  17. BrianCF

    BrianCF More than 300 posts

    Always use chalk. For safety issues. I was at a hotel traveling on business and they had kettlebells. Good ones too, TRX, nice grips. Didn't matter. No chalk, I was constantly trying to dry my hands and handles. All I kept thinking was I wish I had chalk.
  18. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    These page numbers don't agree with my printed copy. Could you check them, or tell me if they're from Kindle or another source?


  19. Oscar

    Oscar Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I use chalk as a "same but different" variation. Most days I use it, but some days I dont to train the grip a bit more.

    In any case, I never use much. Fortunately I never had any blisters or skin issues.
    Bauer likes this.
  20. Sean M

    Sean M Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I have a (patched) hole in my living room floor from a 24kg swing that got away from me in the summer heat and humidity.

    I started using chalk after that.

    My wife also banished me to the basement or outside after that :oops: ROFL

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