Chalk is an indispensable part of CrossFit. Pullups, barbell lifts, ring work, kettlebell snatches and swings, grip work. Dust a little across your shoulders when cleaning heavy and smatter some on your back for squats and good mornings. I like a little on my hands to prevent slipping on sweaty palms when doing plyometric pushups. Yep, it’s a useful little chunk of decayed rock. Chalk gives you a psychological edge too. Chalking up your hands is a ritual that helps you get serious, helps you focus on the movement at hand. A gym without chalk immediately proclaims that it is not a real lifting gym.
But too much of a good thing is just that, too much. Too much chalk will actually hurt your hands by promoting tearing and rips. It can be a vicious cycle–hands sweat, add more chalk, hands sweat more and turn the chalk into mud, add more chalk, tear. And then your training suffers. Try a little less chalk when doing pullups. If you sweat a lot, just keep a small towel by your pullup station and use it to dry off your hands. You will be surprised how well a dry hand with a dusting of chalk holds the bar.
And, let’s be honest, excessive chalk use can be obnoxious. There is no need to scatter chalk everywhere each time you reach into the bucket or take loose chunks of chalk around the gym with you. Sweat plus chalk equals mud and the resilience of muddy chalk has to be scrubbed to be understood.
So, by all means chalk up, but also respect the gym and the hard working folks who clean it.