Different Types of Gym Chalk and Why Gymnasts Use it

Cara DevenneyGymnastics Products5 Comments


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Have you ever seen a gymnast without chalk all over their hands, leos, feet and legs? If you said yes, please let me know where because I have yet to see this.

I never actually understood chalk and why gymnasts use it. I was honestly very curious about the subject, so I decided to talk to a gymnast that I am close with for a better explanation.

If you are like me and have no idea what gym chalk is and why gymnasts use it then you better keep reading!

What is gym chalk and why do gymnasts use it?

Gymnastics is a very tough sport that includes a lot of dedication, hard work, a lot of cheers, a lot of tears, sore muscles, hours of practice, and mind power. Gymnastics is not only physical, but it is mental as well. Naturally, gymnasts sweat just like every single active athlete. Performing in front of a crowd is not always the easiest thing to do!

Gymnasts use a lot of equipment, and I mean A LOT between the bars, vault, floor and beam. Having sweaty hands, feet and legs can cause injury or slippage while using the equipment. To help the gymnast get the perfect grip while performing, she/he will use chalk.

Gym chalk is not allowed to be put on the equipment directly and is to be put on the gymnast’s hands, feet, etc. Chalk will absorb the sweat making it easier and safer for gymnasts to do their routines.

Gym chalk is NOT like regular classroom chalk or sidewalk chalk so do not think you can pick it up at your local craft or dollar store, gym chalk is made out of magnesium carbonate. If your gymnast belongs to a gym it is most likely that the gym has a few tubs so no need to worry about buying chalk right away.

What different types of chalk is available for my gymnast?

To start off, magnesium carbonate comes in three different forms: powder, solid block, and spray (liquid). All of these different forms of gym chalk are legal in gymnastics.

Spray and Liquid: Spray chalk can also be known as liquid chalk (aside from actual liquid chalk) and turns to liquid shortly after it is sprayed. Liquid chalk becomes more solid after it is used.

Powder: Powder chalk is definitely the type to get everywhere. It is known for being the messiest, therefore, a lot of gyms do not recommend it or have it. Obviously, it is not illegal, but your gymnast has to be careful while using it.

Solid: Solid chalk looks like a bar of soap and turns into a powder after it is applied.

You can find chalk cheap online or you can probably purchase it at your gym store if you need it for your gymnast. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, most (if not all) gyms will have chalk at each station for your gymnast to use while she is practicing her routine or competing at meets.

It is your gymnast’s choice to which chalk she wants to use, there is no specific one that is mandatory. I personally would have her try all three types and see which one works best with her sweat and performance.

Another thing that I want to mention is that baby powder is a no-no when it comes to substituting chalk. Even though baby powder absorbs sweat and is “powder”, it actually will work against your gymnast. Baby powder will weaken your gymnast’s grip because it reduces friction.

Please feel free to leave any comments or advice below when it comes to gym chalk!

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

5 Comments on “Different Types of Gym Chalk and Why Gymnasts Use it”

  1. Our daughter is allergic to the chalk. Is there another type of chalk with different chemicals in them?

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