T Nation

Deadlifting with Chalk?


Hey first post here ... I am 19 years old, 185lb body weight, and relatively new to lifting (1.5 years). I am going for a PR on my deadlift next weekend, and doing an active recovery week right now. My highest pull was 455lb as of last month, at 182lb body weight. I have always used straps for my max pulls, my gym has never allowed chalk use. But I decided that that was really dumb, and I am going to use chalk and just clean it up after.

I have heard the form is totally changed when using straps, and to be honest I HATE having to set up the straps before going for my max lift. Totally takes me out of my zone, if you know what I mean. The highest deadlift I have hit without straps or anything was 415. Barely could lock it out at the top, but it was clean ... If I am going to use chalk (bought the blocks from Rogue), is it realistic to think I can pull something like 465 with just chalk on my hands? Any help and tips appreciated! Cheers!


I don’t notice any difference between what I can pull for a single with straps versus without. It’s more a factor for multiple reps. As long as you’ve been training your grip strength, you should be fine.


I assume you’re talking about using a mixed grip when not using straps? Do you use double overhand when using straps?

Straps allow you to start a little higher both because you don’t have a supinated hand and because you can let the bar settle a little further down your fingers and still have a strong grip. And for some people mixed grip causes the supinated side to rotate out from the body slightly. All of those can be a factor, although with mixed grip most people are strong enough that grip won’t be a factor for a max single (this changes for elite levels from what I understand).


So…You barely lock out 415 at the top, and you think chalk…on your hands…will raise your max attempt 50lbs?


No one can really answer whether it’s realistic or not for you to pull 465 with chalk, it’s gonna depend on your grip strength, whether you use mixed grip or double overhand with straps and then when not using straps. Personally I can pull less for a single when using straps because I find I lose tightness/any sort of elastic tension when using straps, but as punisher says when doing higher reps it’s obviously likely to be easier. You’re just gonna have to see how it goes without straps and find out for yourself!

On a side note if your gym has banned chalk then why did you go and buy a block of chalk instead of liquid chalk? Liquid chalk is much more discrete and will cause less of a mess.


Don’t expect chalk to put on 50 lbs onto your lift unless your grip is always the first point of failure with submaximal weights. I would compare it to using double over hand and failing only because grip strength was the limiting factor, but changing to mixed grip would eliminate the grip problem. The knurling and finish on the bar can also make a difference.

You can always build your grip strength on the side, use the wrist wraps loosely or just loop it around once to get less help from it.