The Chalk Bucket is Killing You

June 10, 2016


Allow me to paint a quick picture for you…

You’re dead in the middle of a workout. It’s hot, it’s humid, and most of all: slippery.

You head over to the chalk bucket, then do some more reps.

Back to the chalk bucket, finish those reps.

On to the next exercise….

But back to the chalk bucket first.

Can’t forget the chalk bucket, right?

I think you might know where I am going with this… We’ve all been there. However, are all those little trips limiting your potential?

Let me be clear:

If you’re going to swing a kettlebell directly overhead- you’ll need a pretty good grip.

Personally, nothing motivates me more to test my grip strength than having a 70 pound iron ball over my head.

That being said, there is a point where your hands are chalked and your grip is fine. From here the only thing that’s holding you back is your mind. Your brain is a survival mechanism, it’s always going to choose the easy way out. If you’re 10 reps into a 15 rep pull-up set and your grip starts fading, don’t run to the chalk bucket.

Hold on for dear life.

Think about it. Everything is burning, you’re gasping for air, and in your mind a trip to the chalk bucket is a pretty great reason to drop off that bar.

Self: “Hmm, a little chalk break would feel really good right now…”


Don’t listen to that voice.

Drown it out. Shut it up.

I dare you to finish those 5 reps. If you’re grip is truly going, drop off (for safety), wipe your hands off, then immediately get back on the bar.

The chalk bucket pilgrimage is NOT the answer.

Believe me, nobody loves getting a big old handful of chalk before a workout and “Lebroning” more than me (besides maybe Lebron- he really seems to enjoy it).


 It keeps our hands dry when they’re hot and sweaty, and gives us confidence when holding onto to equipment.

But we’ve all taken that trip to the chalk for some rest in the middle of a grueling workout.

Did it help? Maybe. Was it necessary? No.

What if you didn’t go for that chalk, and instead pushed yourself even further?

Here’s the thing: If you’re always at that chalk bucket you’ll never know! Just because everyone is breaking to get some of that “barbell snow” doesn’t mean you have to do the same.

Keep pushing, see how many more of those reps you can get without taking a break and I promise you will thank yourself.

NOTE: I’m not saying you should completely abandon chalk for the rest of your WODing days. If you’re doing some heavy lifting and need a great grip for every set, feel free to hit the chalk bucket in between sets because you’re resting anyways.

However, when you hit your next met-con I dare you to try ONE trip to the bucket, or if possible, NONE.

Do you think you can handle that?

I KNOW you can. 

This is a guest post from Ben Dziwulski, the founder of WODprep. He is a former affiliate owner that specializes in teaching athletes in a simple, easy-to-understand way. Right now, he is traveling around the world with his wife and does 100% of his coaching online! For more instructional videos, tutorials, and free WODprep coaching check out and subscribe to his YouTube Channel, InstagramFacebook. Also, feel free to shoot him a personal email:


Chalk Up and Lift Heavy #crossfit