The main reason to chalk your hands or wear gloves is to prevent sweat from screwing up your grip, so chalk and gloves both work—but chalk is tough to top, says Nick Tumminello, owner of Fort Lauderdale’s Performance University.
Chalk helps absorb sweat and lessens the chances you’ll get blisters, he explains. “Gloves are less messy, but they don’t stop sweat from getting on your fingers,” which could make you lose your grip. Also, not having direct contact with the bar may give you less sensory awareness of what you’re doing. In other words, “It’s just not the same feeling.” Not to mention chalk looks badass, which can earn you your man-card in the eyes of some lifters.
So it’s up to you as to what’s most important, he says. “But lifting hard and heavy is lifting hard and heavy, regardless of what you do with your hands.”