Wondering Why?

Why do gymnasts use chalk?

Gymnastics is one of the most gruelling Olympic sports in terms of the discipline and practice required.  Most world-class gymnasts start their training as early as their toddler years with skill after skill developed and perfected over time. This particular sport is one of the most-watched and favorites among sporting fans, and this is also the reason why many people have noticed that many gymnasts use chalk before they perform their routines on various equipment.  Oftentimes, gymnasts rub the chalk on their hands in the few moments just before their actual routine.

The basic reason for using chalk is that many gymnasts want to have a firmer grip on the equipment during their whole routine.  By rubbing chalk on their hands, moisture will be absorbed making their hands less sweaty and, therefore, providing more friction for a more firm grip.  For a male gymnast, for example, performing on the ring apparatus requires a firm grip to make their routine smooth and efficient.  Using chalk will basically help their hands have more friction with the rings and, therefore, there is also less chance of them slipping off.  In the very demanding ring apparatus, a gymnast’s routine is not only dependent on his strength and control but also with his tight grip on the rings to ensure a good-quality performance.  The use of chalk is also important for the vault apparatus for both male and female gymnasts.  With chalk powder drying sweaty hands, gymnasts will have a better chance of not slipping while making their vault moves more stable and injury-free.

Some gymnasts even use adhesive-based sprays which they use on some equipment before their performance or routine. The adhesive-based formula is literally sprayed on the apparatus like the parallel bars and uneven bars to help promote better friction between the equipment and the gymnast’s hands.  With the chalk powder and adhesive spray combined, gymnasts will have a better grip on their various equipment.

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