Lifting Gear > The 6 Best Gym Chalk Alternatives to Get A Grip

The 6 Best Gym Chalk Alternatives to Get A Grip

We are all familiar with the feeling of that secured grip on the bar, which the gym chalk delivers! But what if you hate the mess it leaves, or your skin can’t bear it? Then you’re gonna need to use one of the many gym chalk alternatives.

Don’t worry; I brought you plenty of gym chalk alternatives you can choose from and can meet your needs! I will state the 6 best ones below, including:

  1. Liquid Chalk
  2. Rosin
  3. Grip Tape
  4. Gloves
  5. Wrist straps
  6. Pull-Up bar wax

But before I show you all the chalk options in detail, let’s see why you should use chalk for lifting in the first place!

Why Should You Use Chalk?

The gym is home to groaning sounds and labored breaths leading to sweaty palms, making gripping and lifting more challenging. 

While gym chalk won’t ease the most challenging part of the lifts, it will absorb moisture and sweat, giving you a firm, non-slippery, and secure grip on the bar or other equipment. This can be amazing as it allows you to focus on the ‘more important things,’ like your technique! 

Chalking hands before lifting

Why Choose a Chalk Substitute?

Some gyms don’t allow gym chalk as it’s hard to get it off the rubber flooring and the knurled part of the barbells, which can damage the equipment in the long run. That’s when you can use these substitutes below. 

Using chalk can also prevent injuries and help you lift more. 

The 6 Best Chalk Alternatives

1. Liquid Chalk:

The liquid chalk is made of magnesium carbonate and alcohol. It gives you a firm grip, similar to the gym chalk, with a few different advantages! Once you apply it on your hands and it dries, the alcohol evaporates, while white chalk magically appears. 

Liquid chalk can help with grip as well


  • It’s long-lasting.
  • It is less of a mess! 
  • The natural ingredients in the liquid chalk cause less irritation to your skin.


Like mostly everything, this has some drawbacks too:

  • The alcohol can dry your hands out, so moisturize your hands after sessions.
  • Some liquid chalks contain rosin as an ingredient, which may not be an issue for most but can trigger allergies in some. 

2. Rosin Bag

Rosin is a sticky, orange-colored powder reaped from pine trees. 


  • Its sticky texture provides a secure grip on the bar. 
  • You can apply and wash it off easily. 
  • Does not leave a mess behind


  • It can trigger allergies, so stop using rosin if you get reactions.

3. Grip Tape

If your aim is a good grip, invest in a high-quality tape made of 100% cotton!

It’s a flexible material that you wrap around the bar or pull-up bar. Some athletes wrap it around their hands too! 

So even if you have sweaty palms, grip tapes get you covered. If you want dual power, use it together with the liquid chalk.

Warm Body Cold Mind has some excellent quality grip tapes!

4. Gloves:

The fitness industry underwent phases where gloves were trendy and times when they were ‘unfashionable.’ 

Of course, whether you choose this alternative shouldn’t depend on what others think, but whether it feels good for you and meets your expectations! 

So here are some pros and cons to help you decide: 


  • They protect your hands from damage while lifting.
  • Your skin can stay ‘softer.’
  • You get a better grip with gloves. 
  • They prevent calluses.
  • They are available in various sizes, colors, and styles.


  • Many nerves end in your hands, and wearing gloves can reduce the feedback, connection, and sensation you get through them, affecting your lift and power output. 
  • They can smell pretty bad as they absorb the sweat. 
  • It’s made of thick material, often making the bar feel ‘thicker.’ 

5. Wrist Straps:

Sometimes your grip lets you down before any other muscle; if this is an issue for you, use the help of a wrist strap. It locks your wrist on the bar. This means you don’t have to worry about your grip failing first, as the weight is loaded on your wrist with the strap through the palm, wrapped, and attached to the bar. 

However, I do not recommend relying on them too much, especially not for lighter lifts. It can weaken your grip in the long run. 

How to use a wrist strap:

  • Start by putting the end of the strap through the loop 
  • Put your hand through the wrist strap.
  • Ensure the excess strap is in your palm, so you can wrap it around the barbell while your palms are facing down.
  • To tighten the strap, twist the bar toward you; you won’t need to tie a knot. 
  • Make sure that the strap is tight and secure around your wrist and the barbell before beginning your lifts.

6. Pull-up bar Wax

This wax variation is getting very popular among athletes, mainly because of its antibacterial properties (tea tree oil) and lovely smell. It’s suitable for sensitive skin while giving you a solid grip, which all lifters dream of.

All you need to do is apply it directly to the bar!

What Not To Use As An Alternative

You might be tempted to pick up some similar-looking powders to gym chalk, so it is worth mentioning what not to use as well!


I am sure your gym would not be pleased with the incredible mess it leaves! Neither the bacteria this ‘cooking ingredient’ attracts. Furthermore, it does not make your grip ‘better’. 

Classroom Chalk

Classroom chalks are made of calcium carbonate. It is not suitable for lifting! It’s dusty, irritating your skin and eyes, and worsening asthma symptoms. Avoid it if you are dealing with respiratory issues. 

Baby Powder

Baby powder contains talcum powder. It makes things more slippery and soft, and I’m sure you agree; this is not ideal for a good grip. So rethink using baby powder as a gym chalk alternative!

Baking Powder

No one talks about this ‘BAD’ boy here, but I have met people attempting to use it. Believe me when I say it didn’t work! It becomes sticky when it gets in contact with sweat, and we want to get rid of the moisture on our palms when lifting.

The baking powder just won’t do the job!

Athletic Tape

I mean the finger tapes/athletic tapes that athletes use for jiu-jitsu or grappling to protect their fingers and get a better grip on the Kimono (Gi). It may be suitable for fighters, but it doesn’t stick too well to barbells or dumbbells. 

So it will not provide you with the same benefits than chalk does. 

Final Thoughts

Even chalk can give you a solid grip; I always recommend using it as an assistant rather than expecting it to make up for weak grips. 

Your grip is involved with most exercises you perform at the gym. It should be your priority to strengthen your grip or keep it strong. There are several simple ways to do so: KEEP LIFTING!

Alternatively, you can use the spring collar clips to squeeze between your sets; they are challenging and keep your grip and forearms busy! 

Choose the most suitable gym chalk alternatives for your needs and expectations for any additional support!

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Alexandra Kovacsova

I'm Alexandra, a UK-based strength coach & rehab specialist. I help people prevent, treat, and resolve pain, improve their movement, and maximize their performance. I share my expertise through writing, offering relevant and scientifically supported content, and practical exercises. In my free time, I train for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and enjoy a honey oat latte at a local coffee shop.

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