Liquid Chalk vs Block Gym Chalk (Differences, Pros, Cons)
I’ve always been a regular block chalk guy for lifting weights. Call it “old-school” if you will, but block chalk is what I grew up on and what I’ve used ever since.
However, I finally dipped my toe in the water and gave liquid chalk a try. I kept getting told by multiple friends that they had switched to using liquid chalk and had no plans of ever going back to block chalk.
In this article, I’m going to share my experiences using both liquid chalk and regular gym chalk including the key differences and pros and cons. Finally, I’ll give you my opinion on which I think is better and situations where I think one may excel over the other.
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Why Trust My Reviews? I’ve spent 20 years as a collegiate sports performance coach and have been lifting personally even longer. I’ve bought and used equipment for both 14,000 square foot weight rooms and for my own garage gym. Finally, I only review products I’ve personally tested.
Quick Side By Side Compare
- Improves Grip and Protects Hands
- Less Mess
- Only One Application Needed*
- Better With Extreme Sweat
- Improves Grip and Protects Hands
- Quick and Easy to reapply*
*This is for moderate activity working out in a climate-controlled environment.
Why Use Chalk?
My assumption here is that most people arriving on this page already know the advantages of using chalk in general so I’ll keep this short. Basically, chalk (magnesium carbonate) is used to keep the hands dry for two reasons:
- Improve grip strength and therefore lifting performance
- To protect hands from wear and tear through repeated grip-dependent movements
If you want to know more about the why of using gym chalk, check out this article.
Liquid Chalk vs Block Chalk
Now let’s take a look at both Liquid Chalk and Block Chalk individually and go over the characteristics and pros and cons of each.
Block Chalk has been used in weightlifting for as long as I’ve been on this Earth. In Olympic weightlifting competitions, the last thing a lifter passes on their way to the stage is a bowl of chalk. Same goes for Powerlifters and Powerlifting meets.
I’ve worked in college weight rooms where gym chalk containers numbered in the double digits, strategically placed throughout the room.
So, what makes gym chalk – specifically block chalk – so popular?
Pros of Regular Block Chalk
First, block chalk is effective. It wouldn’t be used by the most elite-level competitors if it wasn’t.
If you want to improve your grip strength for performance, block chalk is incredibly effective.
Second, block chalk is cheap.
Now, depending on where you get it, block chalk can run anywhere from 3 or 4 dollars a block all the way up to about 10. You can get an 8-pack of chalk from WBCM for $22. That’s less than 3 bucks a piece and an 8-pack will last me a couple of years.
That’s a pretty good value for something that gets used almost every day in the weight room.
Cons of Block Chalk
Block Chalk is amazing, but it’s not perfect. Here is where regular gym chalk struggles.
I work out in my garage here in Georgia. When it’s the dead of summer, 90 degrees with crazy high humidity, I’m sweating pretty much the moment I step foot in my garage.
If you’re really sweating, powder chalk has a really hard time sticking and staying on your hands. Eventually, it just turns into a gritty, clumpy, sweaty mess on your hands.
To be honest, I never really used Liquid Chalk until very recently. I was aware it existed, but never really saw the need for it so I never gave it a fair shake.
Turns out, the stuff is really good and a quality alternative to block chalk. Here is what I’ve liked about it so far.
Pros of Liquid Chalk
Perhaps the biggest pro of Liquid Chalk is it’s less mess.
If you’ve never used Liquid Chalk before, you apply some to your hands, rub it in and wait about 5 to 10 seconds for it to dry.
You’ll still get chalk marks when picking up plates and things of that nature, but you won’t end up with chalk dust all over your… well, everything.
The other big pro is that it tends to stay on my hands a bit better with sweat. Yes, it will come off with sweat, but not as easy and you don’t end up with a gritty mess if you try to reapply during your workout.
Cons of Liquid Chalk
Easily the biggest drawback to Liquid Chalk is the price.
It’s not crazy expensive, one bottle runs about twelve bucks and will last you a pretty good while. It’s just that compared to block chalk, it’s going to be much more expensive long-term (if you get a good deal on powder chalk).
Which Is Better: Liquid Chalk or Block Chalk
Ultimately, I don’t think one is necessarily better than the other. I think it’s going to come down to personal preference.
I never thought I’d ever say that until I actually tried Liquid Chalk. I guess it just goes to show, ‘You never know until you try’.
If you want gym chalk that is going to be inexpensive and you don’t have to worry about extreme heat in your gym, then regular block chalk is going to work great.
However, if your gym doesn’t allow powder chalk or if your gym is in a garage in Georgia in July, then there may be some merit to giving Liquid Chalk a try.
Chalk is a staple in any serious lifter’s gym bag – right next to a good pair of lifting straps and a belt.
But, when it comes to whether to go with block chalk or liquid chalk, the choice is yours – I don’t think you can go wrong either way.
If you want to a quality company to grab your chalk from (at a quality price) then I would suggest checking out Warm Body Cold Mind’s chalk.
You can find the block chalk here (definitely go with the 8-block which is only like ten dollars more than 1 block).
Or, check out their liquid chalk here.