Here’s my new article, in which I chalk things up to my experience.
Bad puns aside, the article’s thesis is that weightlifting chalk may be the “missing ingredient” in your weightlifting, and can give you an extra 5-10 pounds on any given lift.
The various chalks, or calcium carbonate (CaCO3) are a common sedimentary rock that is formed from calcite shells and millions of years of weathering and surface gradations. Indeed, most “chalks” purchased nowadays are, in fact, calcium sulfate, talc, or some other powdery mineral more common than naturally mined calcium carbonate. Whatever the composition of the purchased “chalk,” they all have in common a property of increasing friction and wicking up moisture. And this property is where chalks benefit you…
You’ve likely seen Olympic weightlifters using chalk on their hands before lifts to reduce perspiration, as well as other strength-intensive sports such as gymnastics and rock climbing. Even in the “barest” and most simple of these sports, such as Olympic style lifting or free-scale rock climbing, chalks are used. As stated previously, the chalk does not enhance strength at all so much as allow you to lift to your maximum strength and ability. To speak from my own experience, my maximum deadlift is 350 pounds with chalk, but only 325 pounds without—a discrepancy that can only be attributed to sweaty palms weakening my hands.