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Arbfox

How big a difference does chalk/belts make?

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Hi all, long time lurker asking a probably fairly stupid question.

Roughly how much difference would a belt make to my squats and deadlifts? 5%? 15%?

How about chalk?

Are there any downsides to using them, such as less conditioning for the back in the case of the belt?

And how big can my biceps get before I find it hard to wipe my own bum?

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This guy is gonna require some assistance, right?

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I love chalk! It made all the difference to my grip on DL's. However, I lift at home and the gnarly bit on my bar isn't nearly as rough as those at the gyms, so for me it worked like magic! :)

Still getting used to my belt, some days it feels really good, others it seems to just be a hindrance. It is a work in progress.

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Chalk as mentioned is good to keep your palms dry. If your palms stay dry, then you have no need for chalk.

Belts are a touchier subject. My personal opinion is that lifting with a belt will make you stronger at lifting with a belt, so unless you're willing to wear a weightlifting belt 24/7 (just in case a situation requires you to use some strength), then it's probably not worth your while. Of course if you're competing and the belt is a means to compete at the highest level possible then that's entirely different. Basically, it all comes down to your goals.

Regardless, both chalk and belts are minutia. Use them if you want to, don't use them if you don't, neither is a replacement for sweat, blood and time spent under a bar.

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For the most part I agree with Turtle. Chalk is good, belts are good under certain circumstances.

I'm a competitive powerlifter and I only really wear a belt when training above 80-85% of my max (which isn't that often). For the most part, I lift beltless to try to strengthen my back as much as possible. If you're not competing, then there's no desperate reason to wear a belt. If you are competing, get a belt which is legal in your chosen federation.

And I wouldn't worry about your biceps getting too big to wipe your bum unless you're sticking things into either your biceps or your bum that you really shouldn't.

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For the most part I agree with Turtle. Chalk is good, belts are good under certain circumstances.I'm a competitive powerlifter and I only really wear a belt when training above 80-85% of my max (which isn't that often). For the most part, I lift beltless to try to strengthen my back as much as possible. If you're not competing, then there's no desperate reason to wear a belt. If you are competing, get a belt which is legal in your chosen federation.And I wouldn't worry about your biceps getting too big to wipe your bum unless you're sticking things into either your biceps or your bum that you really shouldn't.

So lifting without a belt may be better for my back? Noted, cheers.

I may have to look into getting some chalk, deadlifts can get a bit slippy.

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I just started lifting a few weeks ago, and chalk has been a lifesaver.  I do deadlifts last, and by then, I'm soaked head to toe.  I don't think I'd be able to hold much more than 135 without chalk.

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The belt thing is one of the long going arguments in the lifting world, I don't see it ever stopping. Wearing a belt lets me lift 5-10% more with good form. My form slips around a 395 squat without one, around 435 with one, for singles. That means I can lift more weight safely and give my full body a harder workout. The abdominal muscles have also been shown to contract harder when wearing a belt, which means they're working harder and getting worked out more. However, it's very specific and they may not be getting that much stronger in their beltless position, which is the argument against belts. Most people tend to work without a belt up until the weights where they start to need one, and they either stop the weights there and keep working without a belt until they can further increase without a belt, or they strap one on and go a bit higher as it lets them.

 

For chalk, that takes sweat out of the equation and makes it less likely your grip becomes the weak link. no reason not to  use it.

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I had trouble doing a single 315 for deads prior to chalk.  Added chalk, and presto, hit a a 385.  I'm a big fat sweaty dude though.

 

Belts... other people have covered.  I'm finding I like training without it, so I'm doing more and more of my programming without it, but it's a good thing to have for the really heavy stuff.

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I will fourth or fifth (6th?) the chalk for sweaty palms. 

 

As my coach likes to say, chalk is the magic pixy dust of the weight room: put it on, and suddenly everything just flies up.

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I'm not sure theres a huge difference in chalk quality.  There are different forms and some gyms only allow liquid or none.  I like a chalk ball and I just got a cheap one off amazon.  Plenty of loose chalk in the ziploc bag I keep it in.  Never tried the blocks or liquid

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I buy blocks because that's what the supplier I buy from carries, and I keep it in a Tupperware container. But short of impurities, chalk is chalk. Liquid chalk though, there is liquid grip and then there is liquid chalk, and apparently they're different, although I've used neither...

 

Basically, if your gym allows chalk, buy a block/ball/bag, it's all about the same. If they don't, I'd try liquid chalk until they tell you not to. Then maybe try a liquid grip as a last resort.

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