Don't Sweat The White Stuff: Chalkless Chalk Reviewed

A look at the Metolius Eco Ball.


Chalked.
Chalked.
Chalk is awesome. We use it all the time to keep our hands dry and improve our grip. It's used in competition and in training alike, and it's the reason many of us have hit the PRs we have.

But most commercial gyms look down on chalk and have rules against its use on the training floor. The dust, they say, is too messy and gets everywhere, destroying the knurling on the equipment.

Management wants to keep their facility clean, and I can respect that. But what do we do then if we're not allowed to use chalk? The solution, it turns out, can be found in a simple product rock climbers have know about for years.

Metolius Eco Ball
Metolius Eco Ball.
Climbers use chalk for the same reasons we do and to minimize chalk build-up on the handholds and dust on the floor a lot of them use a synthetic chalk substitute. Metolius, a climbing supply company, calls theirs the Eco Ball and it's the one I use during my workouts.
I first discovered the Eco Ball last year when I stated rock wall climbing with my girlfriend and her crew. While most of the climbers we met used traditional chalk, a small number of them preferred using the chalk substitute. It seemed to work just as well as chalk and cost about the same.

You Might Also Like...




NB : For a complete list of everything we use and recommend, swing by the reviews area. And of course the Straight to the Bar Store. It's all in there.

To learn how to put it to work, swing by the Guides area.


Gripping the Bar
Gripping the Bar.
So when I received a chalk bag for christmas the first thing I did was buy one of these chalkless chalk balls. I figured, if it didn't leave marks on the rock wall it might not leave marks on the barbells at my gym. And I was right! The Eco Ball is full of tiny flakes of blue-green particles that just suck the moisture from your hands. It works so well, in fact, you may want to rinse your hands off at the end of your workout because they will be very dry.
Usually, there is just the faintest hint of color on your hands when you use it, so I had to really work up a layer of particles to take the photo above. Particles disappear completely when they hit the ground and leave a very faint trace on equipment, far less than actual chalk does.
Bag it
Bag it.
Because I keep my Eco Ball in a chalk bag, it's very easy to transport and use discreetly during my workouts. I never worry about spilling chalk all over the floor or tupperware breaking in my gym bag. And if I wipe down the equipment after I'm done, you'd never know I was there.
The Eco Ball costs about $4 on MetoliusClimbing.com and a decent chalk bag will run you another $20 or so depending on the supplier. Climber superstition says you should never buy your own chalk bag, so maybe have someone buy it for you as a present. Whatever you do, this is a great alternative to traditional chalk and will allow you to hit new PRs no matter what gym you train in.
Derek 'D-Rock' Peruo

Derek Peruo, CSCS, is the owner of Renaissance Fitness, an exclusive personal training service based in New York City. He shares his training philosophy via magazines such as Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, and Men's Health. And of course Straight to the Bar.



Like this? Check out :

Campusing.Campusing is a rock-climbing training technique, making use of the decidedly evil campus board. Developed in 1988 by climber Wolfgang Güllich (german site only), the board consists of a series of strips affixed in a ladder-like fashion. The entire board...
Looking At : Week Ending Apr 27, 2014.

During the past week we've discussed a number of great links; on Google+, Twitter, Facebook and so on. Here are a few of my favourites.

Video for Gymchat 243 - How to Improve Your Pull Ups (Frank DiMeo).

Thanks again to everyone who watched and sent in questions for the discussion Gymchat 243 - How to Improve Your Pull Ups [with Strength Coach Frank DiMeo, joined by Personal Trainer (and Strength Athlete) Josh Hewett] - much appreciated. If you haven't seen it yet (or simply want to go over a particular point again), here's the entire video.

Fine-Tuning the Vertical Bar Path.63kg division at Beijing. Photo by Vilkku.How a minor change in technique can pay huge dividends - particularly in explosive lifts.
Straight to the Grip Contest: Pt II.

The grippers themselves.

Mixed Combat Conditioning Footage.

Time to add a few more cards to that muscled sleeve of yours?



Of course, if you enjoyed these, I'd highly recommend grabbing the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Delivered weekly, and absolutely free.

(there's also a Daily Update, if you're looking for an even larger dose of training-related goodness.)

NB : If you'd like to write a guest post for Straight to the Bar - I love hearing how other people are training - get in touch. If you've got a fitness competition or seminar coming up, add it to the calendar.

Look forward to hearing from you.


Over to you. Leave a comment below, or send us a tweet :


blog comments powered by Disqus
Straight to the Bar Strength Kit

Are You as Strong as You Could Be?

Grab the Straight to the Bar Strength Kit.

Training Guides, eBooks and of course the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Absolutely free.