We've all seen weightlifters, gymnasts and rock climbers utilize chalk for their grip while training. The scientific name for performance chalk is magnesium carbonate and it very well may possess superhuman properties. If you lift heavy things and you are not utilizing the power of chalk you are wrong. Yep that's right, you are wrong. Go buy some chalk now and here's why...
#1 It allows you to lift more weight
For many of us grip strength is a common limiting factor during many exercises, such as deadlifts, RDLs, cleans, snatches, or any rowing movement. Chalk helps absorb the perspiration and oils on your hands increasing the friction produced between your hands and the lifting implement. This increased friction equates to better transfer of force. Increased force transfer means you stop blaming your wussy grip for missed lifts.
#2 It helps you maintain technique
When your grip begins to fail, your body will start to compensate in other ways to finish the lift. When this happens performance suffers and we set ourselves up for sprains, strains and other horrible things. Solidifying your grip throughout the set will allow to focus on the proper execution of the lift instead of simply holding on for dear life.
#3 It's a hand-saver
Anyone who has lifted for any appreciable amount of time understands that dumbbells, barbells and other steel and iron implements can do a number on those supple hands of yours. Yes, we wear our calluses as a badge of honor but if callus formation gets too bad it can actually become a limiting factor. The increased friction of your hand and the bar or whatever your hand is wrapped around allows a larger surface area of the hand to distribute the mass you are lifting, holding, and or pressing in a more efficient way, which equates to less wear and tear on those high pressure spots on your hands.
#3 It changes your mindset
You're not going to apply chalk all over your hands and then go to the pink dumbbell rack and grab the five pounders. Chalk is for those who need it, so when you apply it you are almost forced it move something respectable.
#4 It's just plain cool
Chalk is fun, there really isn't anything else to say here.
#5 It's dirt cheap
If you can't afford chalk, it's time to reassess a few things. A two ounce block of chalk which would easily last you two months goes a low as $4. Just make sure you are buying magnesium carbonate, as this is the scientific name for performance chalk. Teacher's chalk, talc or baby powder won't cut-it, get the real thing. If you train at a gym that doesn't allow the use of weightlifting chalk I would strongly consider finding a real gym, or go get some liquid chalk; yes they make that too.
So I may have exaggerated a bit about the power of chalk, but the point remains. If you are interested in lifting heavier things then you need to be using chalk.