Many lifters are confused about choosing chalk or straps for their daily workout.
High-level athletes have access to professional coaches who guide them in the right direction but our gym bros are usually confused choosing between lifting chalk or straps.
If you observe closely, you will find bodybuilders using lifting straps and powerlifters relying more on the chalks. That’s because bodybuilders trains for muscle hypertrophy and powerlifters train for maximum strength.
Both the lifting straps and chalks are utilized to improve grip strength but both work in quite different manners. Lifting chalks improves grip strength by eliminating sweaty hands, chalks are also a versatile solution that can be used in different training styles. Straps on the other hand create no mess and help in improving strength and muscle size while reducing stress from grip and forearms.
Ahead in this article, we are going to cover down a variety of differences between lifting chalk vs straps.
Lifting Straps vs Chalk – 5 Differences
1- Absolute strength
Absolute strength can be defined as the ability of an individual to exert maximum force without any external help or support.
Lifting chalks on the other hand allows the trainee to improve absolute strength by allowing the lifters to engage all the muscle groups in a single movement.
Straps provide support to wrist and grip strength to allow us to lift more weight without letting the weak grip restrict the lifting ability.
Lifting straps allows you to generate more power while deadlift by eliminating the role of grip strength. It surely allows the lifter to develop more muscle mass but at the cost of weak grip strength.
Most of the powerlifting competitions are about the absolute strength of the athlete, that’s the reason they do not allow lifting straps.
Who is a winner? Incorporating lifting straps may help you get stronger but won’t really help in improving the absolute strength.
2- Lifting ability
Lifting straps and lifting chalk, both improve the ability to lift the heavier weight by facilitating better grip.
It’s said, “you are as strong as your grip strength”.
Lifting chalk eliminates sweaty hands and allows you to lift weight at the maximum potential of your grip.
Lifting straps on the other hand eliminates the role of grip strength and allows bigger muscles to do the lifting work.
Who is the winner? Lifting straps will allow you to deadlift with heavier weights which will result in better muscle development.
Getting bloody blisters, torn calluses, and busted hands is common among professional lifters due to their training frequencies and intensity.
Even the elite lifters train with lifting straps during most of their training sessions to prevent calluses and blisters.
Chalk on the other hand provides improved grip but does not do a lot to prevent damage to hands.
Who is the winner? When it comes to preventing calluses, straps are a better choice.
Lifting straps are good but their utility is limited to pull movements only. Lifting straps can be used while heavy deadlifts, barbell rows, farmers’ walks, shrugs, but they are not designed for push movements.
Chalks, on the other hand, can be used for a wide variety of training styles, it can be used for the puss and pull movements, CrossFit training, functional training, and calisthenics.
Who is the winner: Lifting chalk is a clear winner.
Using chalks at the Powerlifting or CrossFit competition is accepted, but using lifting straps is not allowed in most of the competitions.
Not all commercial gyms allow the use of chalks, due to the messiness it creates. You should ask the gym authorities before making a purchase or you can invest in a “liquid chalk” which is less likely to create any mess. Additionally, carrying gym chalk in a gym bag can be quite messy too.
Listing straps on the other hand are easy to carry and have been highly anticipated by strong lifters.
Who is the winner? Lifting chalks are acceptable at competitions but not at some commercial gyms but straps are acceptable at gyms but not at competitions.
1- Why use weight lifting chalk?
Lifting chalks are basically used to improve grip strength by eliminating sweaty hands.
2- Lifting chalk vs regular chalk
Lifting chalks are not the same as the Chalks used by our professors. Regular chalks are made of “calcium carbonate” and lifting chalk is made of “Magnesium carbonate”. Lifting chalks are insoluble in water, so it doesn’t dissolve with the sweat.
3- What are lifting straps made of?
straps are made of nylon, canvas, and Leather. I personally prefer leather straps created by a rogue, they allow non-slippery natural grip.
4- When to use lifting straps?
A lifting strap is a tool that can do wonders for your strength only when used ‘strategically.
Relying too much on lifting straps for deadlifts, shrugs, and farmers’ walks will impair the ability to strengthen your grip and forearms.
The best method is to use straps only with your heaviest lifts.