Gripping a lie

I believe safety is a good thing and lying is wrong.

With that said, an employee working at Ferris’ Student Recreation Center told my work out partner that he or anyone else is not allowed to use weight lifting chalk in the weight room because it is a safety hazard. Those were her exact words. I remember them very distinctly because my immediate thought upon hearing those words was “that statement is completely ridiculous, not to mention 100 percent false.”

So let me educate the uneducated. Weight lifting chalk is a powdered version of magnesium carbonate. This acts as a drying agent for the weight lifter’s hands as it dries up any perspiration. The reason why this is important is that it enhances the lifter’s grip on the bar which ultimately reduces the chance of the bar slipping out of their grasp.

When it comes to lifting weights, a person’s grip is arguably the most important thing, not only in trying to get the most out of the lift, but also to ensure the individual’s safety. It has only been a little over a year now since Stafon Johnson, a former student athlete at the University of Southern California, had his grip slip while performing a bench press and dropped the barbell on his throat. He was an athlete at a major Division I school who had spent countless hours in the weight room. This only goes to show no matter how experienced someone is, one little slip could have life-threatening consequences.

It is absurd that Ferris is banning a product that could ultimately prevent someone from having a serious accident. Many powerlifting Web sites talk about the safety benefits from using chalk. When someone is holding 200 – 300 pounds over their head, they have to be focused. They can’t afford to have the thought in the back of their mind that they may not have as good of a grip as is needed.

I really do not have any idea why Ferris decided to ban the use of chalk. It provides a significant amount of safety for the weight lifter and in no way should it affect others around them. It should not even be a cleanliness issue as it only requires a small amount of chalk to get the desired grip. The only way it would get all over is if people were being completely obnoxious about applying it.

Now with this said, I am not asking Ferris to open up their wallet and start providing chalk to the weight lifters who frequent the gym; I am asking they allow those of us who recognize the importance of chalk to let us use it. Safety is important to us, and it should also be equally important to Ferris.

At the very least, do not lie to me about it. n