The Best Lifting Chalk of 2022 for the Ultimate Grip

Rogue Gym Chalk is our top pick thanks to its sweat-absorbing, secure grip

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Used by serious weightlifters, rock climbers, and gymnasts, lifting chalk can help those needing a secure grasp on their task. From sweaty palms to hot or humid environments, lifting chalk can be an athlete’s “swole”-mate for maintaining grip and achieving gains thanks to its magical moisture-absorbing ingredient, magnesium carbonate. But depending on your activity and personal preferences, there are some major differences between lifting chalks.

Reviewed & Approved

Our top pick, Rogue Gym Chalk, absorbs sweat and gives a strong, secure grip that is versatile for multiple sports. The popular block-style chalk is relatively mess-free, and pack sizes are long-lasting and affordable. For a mess-free liquid chalk option, we recommend the Fire Team Fit Liquid Chalk because of its clean and easy application and portable bottle with a carabiner clip. We also love that every purchase supports a small business in the USA.

In gym use, like weightlifting, gymnastics, or kettlebell training, “chalk is used to help you stick to the bar, it is not used to help you slip or slide or get rid of friction,” says Denise Cervantes, ACE-, NASM-CPT, a certified USA Weightlifting L1 coach and functional movement specialist with FMS L1. “So, you’ve got to find the right chalk that you like and that works for you and your sport.".

Regardless of your activity, the right lifting chalk should provide a safe and secure grip, stay on while you sweat, and be convenient to use based on your workout routine and environment. It should also suit your budget and last you a while. To help you find the right lifting chalk, we researched dozens of options on the market and evaluated them for convenience, consistency, mess, drying time, grip strength, staying power, overall value, and more. 

Based on our research, here is the best lifting chalk on the market.

Best Overall: Rogue Gym Chalk

4.9
rogue gym chalk

Rogue

Pros
  • Absorbs moisture quickly

  • Long-lasting bricks

  • Available in bulk

Cons
  • Debris can be messy

  • Not widely available

Reliable and straightforward, Rogue chalk is our overall top pick thanks to its sweat-absorbing performance and secure grip. The popular block-style lifting chalk—trusted and favored by professional weightlifters, Crossfitters, kettlebell enthusiasts, and gymnasts—is lightweight and versatile between sports. It is easy to apply to the hands or clothes for complete, non-slip contact with a barbell and stays on well between exercises.

Each brick of non-toxic magnesium carbonate Rogue lifting chalk comes individually packaged in paper wrappers, containing the compressed chalk until use. While it’s not the tidiest form of chalk on the market, any unwelcome mess is easy to manage with a little technique and smart storage. House the chalk block in your gym back between uses with the help of a lidded container or zippered storage bag.

You can also invest in a designated chalk bag (also available for purchase by Rogue) to keep in the gym for communal use. Affordable and available in bulk, we love this long-lasting, quality lifting chalk.

Price at time of publication: $17

Consistency: Dry solid | Pack size: Eight 2-ounce blocks per pack; five-pack bulk orders available | Scent: None | Drying time: None | Grip Strength: Strong 

What the Experts Say

“I love, love, LOVE Rogue chalk! I like it because I like the consistency of it. It’s not too grainy; it's more on the fine side, and it stays on for me. Usually, liquid chalk feels a bit stickier, and I don’t like sticking to my bar too much. Rogue chalk is the best!” —Denise Cervantes, ACE-, NASM-CPT, certified weightlifting and functional movement coach, Los Angeles, CA

Best Budget: SPRI Chalk Block

SPRI Gym Chalk

Amazon

Pros
  • Available in small pack sizes

  • Great for beginner users

  • Can be broken into smaller pieces

Cons
  • Debris can be messy

  • Doesn’t last as long as others

If you’re on a budget or simply want a smaller pack size, we recommend this wallet-friendly chalk block option. A similar 2-ounce brick comparable to our top pick from Rogue, SPRI chalk blocks are available in varying pack sizes, so you don’t have to commit to a large pack. If you are new to lifting with chalk or just don’t move through the stuff very fast, we recommend this option.

Firmly compressed, these blocks are easy-to-use, store, and apply, and can be broken apart for smaller containers or custom use. Like Rogue blocks, SPRI keeps its formula non-toxic and dye-free. The grip is strong, and it absorbs moisture from palms for multiple lifts before re-application, making it our top bang-for-your-buck pick.

Price at time of publication: $4

Consistency: Dry solid | Pack size: 2-ounce blocks in two, four, and eight packs | Scent: None | Drying time: None | Grip Strength: Strong

Best Liquid: Fire Team Fit Liquid Chalk

Fire Team Fit Liquid Chalk

Amazon

Pros
  • Low mess and dust-free

  • Refillable bottle with carabiner

  • Dries quickly

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Somewhat flaky as it wears

For more of a mess-free option, we love this liquid lifting chalk that comes in a convenient, travel-sized squeeze bottle. Without the dust of loose or block options, squeeze out a tiny amount, then rub the fast-drying chalk onto your hands where needed. Wait mere seconds, and you have a powerful, ready-for-action grip.

Portable and refillable, the small, US-based company developed the chalk with the military, public service people, and athletes in mind. They even designed the bottle with a clever carry loop and carabiner to clip easily to your gym bag, backpack, or workout clothes for quick, accessible use. 

We appreciate the quality of this odorless and non-toxic liquid chalk that doesn’t sweat off like some others on the market. It’s a bit pricey on the front end, but with a variety of pack-size options and a refill bottle to encourage less plastic waste, this handy liquid chalk ends up a great value.

Price at time of publication: $12-80

Consistency: Liquid | Pack size: 50 milliliter bottle in 2-, 5-, and 10-packs; 250 milliliter refill bottle alone; combo pack: 50 milliliter bottle with 250 milliliter refill bottle | Scent: None | Drying time: Quick | Grip Strength: Strong

Best Set: Togear Liquid Chalk Set

Togear Liquid Chalk Set

Amazon

Pros
  • Budget-friendly

  • Refillable bottle with carabiner

  • Flake-free

Cons
  • Takes longer to dry than others

  • Doesn’t last as long as others

Like the Fire Team Fit Liquid Chalk, this liquid chalk comes in a convenient, refillable bottle but is sold in different sets. The multi-pack options include various large, small, and pocket-sized carabiner bottles at a very affordable price. You can also buy it in individual sizes, and there’s even a special consistency for pole dance exercises.

This chalk goes on neatly and stores securely, too—just toss the mess-free bottles in a bag or locker until your next workout. This liquid chalk tends to dry quite a bit slower than others and sometimes needs reapplying sooner, but once it dries, it combats sweat very well and doesn’t flake as it wears off.

Price at time of publication: $8-18

Consistency: Liquid | Pack size: 50, 100, and 250 milliliter bottles; 50 millimeter in 2-pack; 50 and 100 milliliter bottle combo set; 50 and 250 milliliter bottle combo set | Scent: None | Drying time: Slow | Grip Strength: Strong

Best Refillable: Gladiator Refillable Chalk Ball

Gladiator Refillable Chalk Ball

Amazon

Pros
  • Small and compact

  • Thick, refillable cotton sock ball

  • Excellent value

Cons
  • Refilling can get messy

  • Some gyms may not allow it

For a refillable, non-liquid option, this chalk ball by Gladiator is an awesome value. Made of a thick, refillable sock-like cotton, the ball comes with a bag of loose, 100% magnesium carbonate chalk that keeps the hands dry and the grip secure.

Not only is this a good amount to last you for countless workouts, but the use of a chalk ball helps to contain the otherwise extremely messy, loose chalk. The bag material is thick, releasing small amounts of chalk into your hands for a cleaner, more controlled experience. 

The toggle on the bag closes tightly, and the remaining loop can clip to items if desired. It’s a good idea to place it in a zippered plastic bag or container before tossing it into your bag, just in case. Because it’s loose chalk, we also advise refilling with care and checking your gym’s policy regarding this form of lifting chalk.

Price at time of publication: $20

Consistency: Loose | Pack size: One chalk ball and one 400-gram bag of loose lifting chalk  | Scent: None | Drying time: Quick | Grip Strength: Strong

Best Heavy-Duty: Friction Labs Bam Bam Super Chunky Sports Chalk

Friction Labs Bam Bam Super Chunky Sports Chalk

Amazon

Pros
  • Blend for enhanced grip

  • Versatile range of chunk sizes in bag

  • Doesn’t dry out hands

Cons
  • Some gyms might not allow the powder bits

If you’re looking for super-grippy, heavy-friction lifting chalk to help with heavy lifts, try this popular chalk by Friction labs. A unique blend of lifting chalk made with a high concentration of magnesium carbonate, it’s very effective at keeping hands sweat-free without overly drying them out. It also has great staying power, a real time-saver when you want to rest and recover instead of reapplying between reps.

Climbers and lifters alike love the broken-up chunks and powdery bits inside that make it versatile in many situations, from toting it in a pocket to lightly dusting slick fingers. If you’d like a different consistency, this chalk comes in less chunky, finer grains that can still give a solid hold to your workout routine.

Price at time of publication: $7-27

Consistency: Broken-up chunks | Pack size: 1, 2.5, 5, and 10-ounce bags | Scent: None | Drying time: None | Grip Strength: Extra strong

Best Long-Lasting: Spider Chalk Black Widow Liquid Chalk

Spider Chalk Black Widow Liquid Chalk

Amazon

Pros
  • Long staying power

  • Great for long, high-rep workouts

  • Bottle lasts a long time

Cons
  • Somewhat expensive

  • Strong alcohol smell

Do you really, really dislike reapplying during your session? This liquid lifting chalk is definitely for you. With a special blend of bonding agents, nano-resins, and tackifiers, the Black Widow is aptly named—because once this stuff’s on your hands, it stays, helping you cling to your equipment like Spiderman. 

Consisting of a proprietary super grip-strength formula designed to last up to 60 minutes, this long-lasting chalk is a fan-favorite game changer for high-rep, long and sweaty workouts like CrossFit. 

It’s a bit more expensive than other options on the market, but a little goes a long way, supposedly containing over 200 applications per bottle. With that kind of longevity and tried-and-true testimonials by legit, competitive athletes, we consider this one a no-brainer. 

Price at time of publication: $18

Consistency: Liquid | Pack size: 4-ounce bottle | Scent: Yes, strong alcohol smell that fades | Drying time: Fast | Grip Strength: Extra strong

Best Bulk Buy: Primo Chalk 1 Pound Bucket

Primo Chalk 1LBS Bucket Loose Gym Chalk

Amazon

Pros
  • Excellent value

  • Great for home gyms

  • Smells great thanks to essential oils

Cons
  • Most conventional gyms won’t allow

  • Need small container or bag to transport

Can we interest you in a “primo” deal? With this top pick, you get a whopping pound of loose chalk in a bucket to do what you wish, as long as your gym or inner clean freak allows it.

This loose chalk not only helps with grip with sweaty palms but it’s also formulated to moisturize the hands with essential oils, a welcome touch for those who regularly endure chapped skin. The added ingredient makes this tub smell great, but might not be great for those with sensitive skin or anyone preferring a scent-free session. 

We recommend this Primo Chalk tub for anyone who has a home gym, uses refillable chalk balls, or owns or frequents a gym that allows the use of loose chalk. As always, it’s best to check with your home gym to ensure this kind of chalk is acceptable, and if so, find a mess-free, lightweight container to pack a little for the road.

Price at time of publication: $30

Consistency: Loose | Pack size: 1 pound bucket | Scent: Yes, pleasant | Drying time: None | Grip Strength: Strong

Best for On-The-Go: Bryo Refillable Chalk Ball Sock

Bryo Refillable Chalk Ball Sock

Amazon

Pros
  • Mess-free sleeve for travel

  • Pure magnesium carbonate

  • Bag and refill are inexpensive

Cons
  • Refilling can get messy

  • Some gyms may not allow it

If you commute to the gym with loose chalk, we highly recommend this portable chalk ball with a mess-containing travel sleeve. Pre-filled with pure, sweat-absorbing magnesium carbonate, this chalk ball is an easy way to get the benefits of loose powder without all the mess.

The bonus travel sleeve makes our tidy little hearts skip a beat, knowing it won’t fully dust the inside of a gym bag and prolong the life of the chalk purchase. It also keeps your stuff more sanitary, knowing the sweaty sock material has its own tote.  

As with all loose powder chalk, refilling can get messy, but every refill lasts quite a long time. Refill chalk is sold separately but is affordable. We do love a deal!

Price at time of publication: $11

Consistency: Loose | Pack size: 1-pound bucket | Scent: Yes, pleasant | Drying time: None | Grip Strength: Medium

Best Antibacterial: MIDAS Liquid Chalk

MIDAS Liquid Chalk

Amazon

Pros
  • Great for shared equipment

  • Gold tinted guide color

  • Smooth lotion feel

Cons
  • Somewhat expensive

  • Strong alcohol smell

In seasons of superbugs, it’s nice to know that this lifting chalk is on the market to combat contagious bacteria and viruses when you can’t wash your hands mid-session. Formulated with antibacterial properties, this clever chalk with a gold tint kills germs on contact.

Unlike many liquid chalks that are clear until they dry, the golden color helps you to see exactly where you’ve put it (much like a tinted self-tanning guide), then dries white to resemble chalk. This is extra helpful to avoid using too much or getting it on your clothes.

We love the smooth lotion feel of this chalk, as well as its staying power on the hands–it doesn’t rub off on clothes but washes off easily, which is another plus. It comes in two sizes—one with a handy carabiner clip—and while it’s a bit pricier than other chalks, this stuff is worth its weight in liquid gold during flu season, if you ask us.

Price at time of publication: $11-25

Consistency: Liquid | Pack size: 2- and 6-ounce bottles; two 2-ounce bottle packs; 2- and 6-ounce bottle pack | Scent: Yes, strong alcohol smell that fades | Drying time: Somewhat fast | Grip Strength: Medium

Best for Hot and Humid Conditions: Dry Hands "The Ultimate Gripping Solution" All-Sport Topical Lotion

Dry Hands "The Ultimate Gripping Solution" All-Sport Topical Lotion

Amazon

Pros
  • Repels rain and humidity

  • Compact bottle can fit in small pockets

  • Glove-like protection while lifting

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Small bottle size won’t last as long

This liquid chalk is our top choice for effectively combating hot and humid conditions where your sport has you dripping with perspiration. Not only does it manage sweat superbly, but it also repels water during wet weather conditions when your outdoor session gets caught in the rain. Users love it for its second-skin-like feel, which dries without powdery film.

This pocket-sized bottle is super handy to whip out when needed and then stow in the most compact of compartments. It is expensive for just 1 ounce of chalk lotion, but like others on our list, a little does go a very long way, making the purchase hurt the pocketbook a little less.

Price at time of publication: $17

Consistency: Liquid | Pack size: 1-ounce bottle | Scent: None | Drying time: Fast | Grip Strength: Strong 

How We Selected the Best Lifting Chalk

To choose the best lifting chalk, we first spoke with personal trainer and certified weightlifting and function movement coach Denise Cervantes, ACE-, NASM-CPT, and gym owner Heather Lachance, CPT, CNC, to get their expert advice on which features lifting chalk needs in order to be effective. Next, we consulted academic journals and scientific findings to understand the safety and performance benefits of lifting chalk in certain sports or circumstances.

Then, we researched dozens of lifting chalk from the top, trusted brands. We only chose lifting chalk that ranked highly in key areas, including convenience, consistency, drying time, and staying power. We also considered comfort, durability, any additional features, and overall value.

What to Look For in Lifting Chalk

Consistency 

Chalk comes in loose, solid, or liquid forms, and the main ingredient in all is magnesium carbonate. Loose chalk is in powdered form and isn’t used much or allowed in gyms as often due to its messiness. It can be kept in a container or pouch for application when needed. Solid lifting chalk is the compressed, block-style version that is applied to the hands by rubbing lightly and dusting off debris. It usually comes in varying pack sizes, depending on how fast you go through it.

Cervantes prefers Rogue chalk for its clean and easy application. “You’re able to sort of draw on the hand with the block on the parts of the lifter's hands that make the most contact on the bar,” she says, “and it stays on nicely rather than loose, broken-up chalk that kind of just coats the entire hand and is sort of messy and spills all over the place and wherever you touch.”

Liquid chalk is even more mess-free and can be applied to your hands exactly where you need it. It contains alcohol, which dries quickly, so you need to act fast to spread it to parts of the hand that will come into contact with the lifting surface. Because of the alcohol, liquid chalk feels a lot like hand sanitizer and often doubles as antibacterial, but take care not to use it if you are sensitive to the ingredients. 

Drying Time

When you’re in the middle of a workout, you may want chalk that dries quickly. Liquid chalk, like our top pick Fire Team Fit Liquid Chalk, contains alcohol to help it do just that, but as mentioned, you need to act fast to apply it to the areas needed. Other lifting chalk forms, such as loose or block-style, do not require drying time—just a careful dusting off of debris, and you’re set.

Messiness

Some gyms don’t allow lifting chalk in an attempt to prevent extra mess and chalk dust in the air, and almost all don’t allow loose chalk. But most strength training gyms allow chalk use and sometimes even supply it.

To prevent a chalk-tastrophe on your hands, gym owner Heather Lachance, CPT, CNC, says technique and containing chalk go a long way. “If you have a home gym, try to have a designated space to put away your chalk (like a chalk bin). If you go to a commercial gym, keep it in a sealed bag except when you use it, so you do not raise maintenance concerns with the front desk!” Check your gym’s policy on chalk, so you know what kind of chalk, if any, you can use. 

There are also many mess-free options, such as liquid chalk, that leave no debris. With the right technique, even block chalk can be pretty clean, says Lachance. “The way to make it the least messy as possible is to take the block and paint the inside of your hands. It doesn't have to be a thick layer.” 

Grip Strength

Lifting chalk helps you to better grip a surface, like a barbell, gymnastics ring or bar, or climbing rock, and can help you to safely maintain that grip for longer as you move up in weight, moves, or elevation. So depending on your sport, you might need lifting chalk that is stickier (or less) than others. Look for a grip strength level listed on the chalk to ensure it is designed to give (or layer on) the grip you need to safely perform your routine.

Staying Power

Working out, especially in hot, humid environments, can make hands super sweaty. That’s why we recommend going with a magnesium carbonate lifting chalk—like any of our top picks—versus regular chalk. And if you are in an extra-long and sweaty session, go with lifting chalk with boosted staying power like the Spider Chalk Black Widow Liquid Chalk, which has a special formula to make it last even longer between applications. 

Convenience

We recommend selecting lifting chalk that not only provides sufficient grip but is also convenient for you to use. Loose chalk can be messy, but chalk pouches are an easy way to contain the powder and coat the hands. Some pouches are sold with sleeves for transporting and keeping things tidy. Solid chalk blocks are less dusty, usually wrapped in paper, and can be placed in a small lidded container inside your gym bag for quick and easy use. Liquid chalk comes in squeeze bottles and sometimes has carabiners or loops that conveniently attach to bags or belts.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is lifting chalk made of?

    Whether lifting chalk is in loose, solid, or liquid form, the main ingredient is magnesium carbonate. Unlike traditional, naturally organic chalk (calcium carbonate), magnesium carbonate is inorganic (manmade) and insoluble in water. This means that it will stay on your hands as you work out, maintaining grip and absorbing moisture as you sweat. 

    Loose lifting chalk is powdered magnesium carbonate, solid lifting chalk is the compressed form with few or no additives, and liquid lifting chalk contains alcohol to help it dry quickly. Because lifting chalk can feel dry or even more grip is desired for certain scenarios, some lifting chalks are blended with added ingredients like essential oils, limestone, or drying agents. Unless other ingredients are added to the chalk, magnesium carbonate has little to no scent and is usually non-irritating to the skin. 

  • Can you use normal chalk for lifting?

    While lifting chalk (magnesium carbonate) and traditional, natural chalk (calcium carbonate) are similar in color, and both absorb moisture, our experts do not recommend using natural chalk for lifting. This is because natural chalk does not have the sweat-resistant staying power of inorganic, “performance” lifting chalk. It is also not as grippy or sticky, which is the other major benefit of magnesium carbonate chalk for lifting.

  • How to use lifting chalk

    Using lifting chalk is generally the same regardless of the type of chalk: you will apply it to your hands directly, where you will touch the surface to be gripped, remove any excess (or let it dry), then let it help your heavy lifting. Differences in loose, block form and liquid chalk techniques are as follows, according to our experts: “you might need to re-apply after a few reps or sets depending on what you are doing or how much you are sweating,” says Cervantes.

    • Use block chalk to paint your hands with the chalk onto any area of the hand that will come into contact with your surface to grip (e.g., bar, rock, rings, etc.). Rub your hands together (as if washing them) over a bowl or container to contain any mess and remove excess (which helps minimize build-up on a bar’s knurling or surface).
    • Apply liquid chalk directly to the areas of your hands that will come into contact with a surface, and rub your hands together lightly. It will dry quickly, leaving a chalk-like residue that will help you to grip, much like traditional chalk.
    • Pat a chalk bag filled with loose chalk between your palms, lightly rub your hands together, then dust off excess as needed. 

    Lifting chalk can also be valuable with lifts that use your back, like barbell back squats, during sweaty conditions to prevent the barbell from rolling down your back. Using block chalk, have a workout partner apply a line of chalk along your upper back where the bar will come into contact with your sweaty t-shirt. If working out alone, you can apply the chalk to your hands (a bit thicker than usual) and rub your hands along the bar to lightly coat the area that will sit on your back. 

    Our experts advise against rubbing chalk directly onto a barbell handle because it can fill in the knurling grooves and reduce the benefits of the bar’s texture, which can even potentially damage it with build-up over time. And if using lifting chalk for barbell weightlifting, it’s a good idea to brush the barbell handle regularly to remove any build-up over time.

  • How to make lifting chalk at home (DIY)?

    Our experts recommend saving yourself the mess and trouble of a DIY by just buying your lifting chalk since retail versions are inexpensive, effective, and nearly impossible to replicate out of regular chalk (see FAQ: What is lifting chalk made of?). Plus, lifting chalk is usually long-lasting. “When you purchase blocks of lifting chalk, they last for a long time,” says Cervantes. “For me alone, it takes about six to seven months to use up an entire block of chalk.”

  • What does chalk do for lifting?

    “Chalk is used in weightlifting to increase the grip you have on the object,” says LaChance. “It works by increasing friction between your hand and the object as well as keeping your hands dry.” Versatile and simple to use, she adds that lifting chalk can be beneficial for exercises like chin-ups or pull-ups and any push-pull strength training that uses a barbell and weights, like deadlifts, bicep curls, barbell rows, snatches, bench preses, and more. It’s even helpful when using kettlebells. Lifting chalk can also help with wear and tear on your hands by preventing excessive calluses while working to increase your grip strength.  

    Cervantes also observes a common misperception of lifting chalk. “When dead lifters have what looks like chalk on their thighs to help the bar go up without friction, it's usually baby powder not lifting chalk,” she says, noting that serious lifters don’t do the “LeBron” kind of chalking up. 

    Instead, it should be chosen based on preference and applied to the hands where it’s helpful. “You need the hand to move correctly around the bar and the lift.” The less you struggle with your grip, the better the exercise can strengthen the areas of the body the lift is designed to work. This is why we recommend choosing chalk for lifting that provides adequate sticking power to help you safely grasp, maintain, and adjust your grip on a barbell or kettlebell swing.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

A life-long athlete and certified personal trainer, Jessica Murtaugh, NASM-CPT, grew up strength training with traditional free weights and knows her way around a weight room. For this guide, she researched and prioritized brands that provide reliability, convenience, safety, and value in their lifting chalk for the optimal performance of their users. She is careful to recommend products and brands that are reliable, safe, and trustworthy and is dedicated to reporting authentic content to her readers.

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. BACON, N. T., RYAN, G. A., WINGO, J. E., RICHARDSON, M. T., PANGALLO, T., & BISHOP, P. A. (2017). Effect of Magnesium Carbonate Use on Repeated Open-Handed and Pinch Grip Weight-Assisted Pull-Ups. International Journal of Exercise Science, 11(4), 479-492. https://doi.org/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5841679/