Friction Labs athlete and competitive powerlifter Connor Borkert, based in Fairfax, Virginia, has been weight lifting professionally for over three years now. In this article, he speaks to the hazards and obstacles the coronavirus pandemic presents for weightlifters, and how Friction Labs’ new gym chalk, Secret Stuff Hygienic Liquid Chalk, can help to overcome them.
At the start of the pandemic back in the spring, the owner of my local gym in Tysons Corner, Virginia closed down. Luckily, this meant he was able to loan out a lot of competition-style equipment to many members, allowing us to continue training at home. This was great for a while, but as the gym opened back up, obviously he needed the equipment back. That meant I had to start going back into the gym.
The competition scene also started back up a few months ago, when USA Powerlifting decided to open meets again (with enhanced safety precautions, masks, personal gym chalk, limited spectators, and so on). All this meant that if I wanted to continue lifting professionally, I had to figure out a way to get back into the sport, and safely.
I’ve been a fan of Friction Labs for a long time, even before I was sponsored. Even if I wasn’t sponsored I’d only use their stuff. Unicorn Dust, in particular, is one of my favorite chalk lines in the Friction Labs family. I used to just buy the crappy Amazon lifting chalk… and it was god awful. Just like gymnastics, weightlifting performance is heavily improved by the use of gym chalk. It’s quite important for powerlifting, in particular, and Friction Labs is a game-changer.
As with rock climbers and gymnasts, chalk is critical for grip in lifting. In order to compete effectively and lift at your max, you need a good friction base on the bars. This allows you to get a firm grip and complements your grip strength. Friction Labs chalk is great both to get that friction base and to keep your hands dry, as well.
It really shines during deadlifts. I have a pretty strong grip, but 700 pounds is still 700 pounds. Especially at the end of the session, if I have any sweat on my hands at all, I’m not going to be able to lift much. My current deadlift max is a little north of 700 pounds, but without gym chalk, even on a fresh try, it’d probably be barely over 600 pounds. Chalk isn’t just important for performance when lifting, but for safety, too. For example, if I’m doing a really heavy squat, I’ll have someone put chalk on my back, where the bar is going to rest, to help stop it from slipping.
Anyway, I had to figure out ways to get back into the gym safely. The pandemic has made training in large public gyms difficult for many people, but there are ways around it. As a long time user of Friction Labs chalk, I’m particularly stoked about their new Secret Stuff Hygienic liquid chalk. This chalk includes 80% ethanol and is clinically proven to be more effective than traditional hand sanitizer at killing COVID-19.
Secret Stuff Hygienic is an excellent product to use while working out on public gym equipment during the pandemic, and I’ll explain why.
First of all, one really cool thing is it’s been proven through independent laboratory testing to be more effective than hand sanitizer when it comes to neutralizing the coronavirus, like I mentioned above, which is phenomenal. So it keeps your hands clean and keeps you from getting sick. But even more than that, using Secret Stuff Hygienic makes it a bit easier for the gym staff to clean their equipment after you use it.
At least the way it works at my gym, we have time slot sessions of an hour and forty-five minutes to workout. Then there’s a 15-minute block between each session where the gym staff comes in and sanitizes the equipment. Using Secret Stuff Hygienic helps to enhance those protocols all around, and provides a safer workout experience for everyone.
So Secret Stuff Hygienic isn’t just a great way to protect yourself (and get a secure grip on your weights at the same time). It’s a good ethical choice, because you’re leaving the equipment clean for the next person who uses it as well. This augments whatever standard cleaning protocols are in place, and has a good measurable impact on overall safety for other people in the gym.
What’s more, liquid gym chalk like Secret Stuff Hygienic doesn’t leave the same particle dust in the air, or as much of a mess, as traditional loose chalk. So it’s a great choice for public use even outside of concerns regarding COVID-19.
Particularly if you train in a gym where either rigorous cleaning methods aren’t in place OR capacity and access to the equipment isn’t well-restricted, then Secret Stuff Hygienic is an excellent choice to stay safe and do your part to keep others safe, as well.
Connor Borkert is a competitve powerlifter and Friction Labs athlete based in Fairfax, Virginia. Borkert grew up playing strength based sports, such as wrestling, shot put, and javelin, before begin to powerlift in 2017. Through his young career, he has amassed a Junior World title and several high rankings at other national and international competitions while competing in the 93kg/205lbs weight class, including the Arnold Sports Festival. His personal records are a 666lbs squat, 457lbs bench press, and a 700lbs deadlift.