Answer: It’s all about friction, baby.
In Kettlebell Sport, efficiency is the name of the game. If the kettlebell handle is slippery, you have to squeeze it tighter to hold on, fatiguing your muscles faster. Once your grip goes, the kettlebell slips out of your hand, prematurely ending your set.
Here is the gripping truth: A slick kettlebell will actually cause blisters!!! Long sets make you sweat, and sweat makes your hands wet. Moisture is the enemy when there is friction. Wet skin is softer and more vulnerable, leaving the top layer much more susceptible to separating and filling with fluid. Ouch!
The solution: VIKN Performance Chalk
Magnesium Carbonate, AKA chalk, is the only substance approved for competition in most kettlebell organizations (sorry, no pine tar allowed). Luckily, the chalk will help keep your hands dry and the skin on your palms more resilient. As you sweat, the chalk will rub off of your hands. This is why the we recommend applying multiple layers of chalk directly to your kettlebell to achieve what some call, the “fur coat” look (as shown below). Here are instructions on "How to Chalk Your Kettlebell Like A Pro".
But why so much chalk?
As your set goes on, the thin layers of chalk will fall off the bell handle. A light dusting of chalk will not last for a full ten minute set. If you don't chalk up well, you’ll be left with a rougher handle and too much moisture - possibly tearing your hands to shreds!
PRO TIP: High humidity is one of the toughest things to deal with as it can leave you so sweaty that the chalk turns to mud. This is where a thin wristband to absorb sweat from your forearms can help immensely.
There is some contention, especially from newer lifters, that chalk makes the kettlebell too rough and causes more hand discomfort. Those complaints are generally due to the lifter over-gripping. The kettlebell handle should be rotating within the hand, however, the grip should be loose while it is rotating, only tightening when the rotation is over. This is why a novice lifter will often prefer a very slick kettlebell handle. Nevertheless, as technique improves, the benefits of chalk become more and more apparent.
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