Magnesium Carbonate & Pull-Ups


Measuring the effect of chalk on climbing performance is a tricky business. Experiments are very hard to replicate and tend to isolate movements to rule out external factors. This is such a study measuring the effect of chalk on weight-assisted pull-ups. And yes, there seems to be a measurable effect of chalk use. This post is part of a series where we highlight the existing research around chalk.


Magnesium Carbonate Use on Repeated Open-Handed and Pinch Grip Weight-Assisted Pull-Ups

Abstract, emphasis ours: The purpose was to determine if pull-up performance was affected by the use of chalk (100% magnesium carbonate) during open-handed and pinch grip weight-assisted pull-ups (WAPU) in recreationally-trained rock climbers. Furthermore, the reliability of open-handed and pinch grip WAPU was also investigated. Recreationally-active volunteers (n = 9) completed six counterbalanced trials. Participants used chalk during four trials to determine the reliability (test-retest) of the open-handed and pinch grips. While two of the six trials were used to determine if open-handed and pinch grip WAPU performance was affected without using chalk. Three of the six trials included one set of open-handed WAPU, while the remaining trails included one set of pinch grip WAPU. Sets were performed until failure and consisted of either the open-handed or pinch grip pull-ups assisted by a 50% reduction of body weight. Heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion, perceived recovery scale and session-RPE were not significantly different (p > 0.05) among trials. Intraclass correlations (ICC’s) for test-retest of the open-handed (R = 0.99) and pinch grip (R = 0.96) WAPU evidenced reliable values. When compared to the non-chalked trials, chalk improved both openhanded (mean = 22.8 ± 4.53 vs. mean no chalk = 19.7 ± 4.39 reps; p = 0.006,) and pinch grip (mean = 14.4 ± 4.47 vs. mean no chalk = 9.1 ± 4.83 reps; p = 0.007) WAPU. ICC’s indicated a reliable measurement, while chalk improved performance for both open-handed and pinch grip WAPU when compared to no chalk trials.

PubMed Link Photo by Edgar Chaparro


MAGIC CHALK is the best performing liquid chalk on the market. It contains Upsalite®, the only porous chalk that delivers 2X absorption.

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