Chalk (Magnesium Carbonate)

Chalk is an easy way to maintain grip while using traveling rings.

What is chalk and why do ringers use chalk on their hands?

Magnesium carbonate (or Mg CO3) is colloquially referred to as “gymnastics chalk”, “climbers chalk” or just “chalk” and is used by athletes to minimize perspiration on hands or elsewhere. This is the same substance that gymnasts use but quite different from the chalk used in schools to write on blackboards (which is actually calcium sulfate).

It is very important to keep your hands as dry as possible while on the traveling rings in order to keep a firm grip on each ring without slipping. Swinging without chalk increases the risk of injury and decreases your ability to maintain a firm grip on the rings. Losing hold of a ring and peeling is not fun and could be dangerous.

How do I apply chalk to my hands?

To apply chalk you simply rub the block or powder on your hands until they are white (like a mime).
Do not clap your hands
or rub them together after application; it may look cool but it negates the effect of the chalk and must be reapplied. If you are using a block of chalk (recommended) it is best to keep it as a solid block instead of breaking it, since this just wastes chalk. Reapply chalk before every run you do. You can never have too much chalk!

If you are using gymnastics grips you should still apply chalk to the outside of each grip to increase friction and minimize your chance of slipping. Remember, even if you are using chalk there may still be others who aren’t and thus leave sweat on the rings. Encourage everyone to use chalk before each run on the rings.

Where can I buy chalk?

Most gymnastics and rock climbing supply stores should carry chalk in both powder and block forms (recommended). Try stores like REI, EMS or the Spokes N’ Stuff bicycle shop in Santa Monica. You can also order chalk online from numerous vendors such as Frank Endo Company. Endo chalk is of very high quality and is used by many ringers, climbers and weight lifters.