Talcum powder, also known as baby powder, is composed of talc mineral (hydrated magnesium silicate or H2Mg3(SiO3)4). It is used as a lubricant in sports like powerlifting for keeping the legs smooth and basketball for keeping the hands dry.
Baby Powder Use in Powerlifting
- Deadlift (Depending on your technique, at some point during the lift the bar will come in contact with your thighs. Sometimes your suit, sweat or leg hair will cause friction and make the raising of the barbell pass that area more difficult. Coating the quads in baby powder will create slippery environment pass which the barbell can travel up smoothly).
Do not confuse baby powder to magnesium carbonate (gym chalk) because these two have completely different effects. While both chalk and powder are used for absorbing perspiration, chalk is used for increasing grip strength and powder for making thighs slicker. Therefore, pay attention not to get any powder on your hands since it may reduce friction at the moment when a strong grip is needed. Also, avoid stepping into powder prior to lifting because it may cause your feet to slip.
Each powerlifting federation has its own rules about accessories and apparel. IPF competition rulebook on personal equipment, for example, states the following about powder and related lubricating and drying agents.
- The use of oil, grease or other lubricants on the body, or personal equipment is strictly forbidden.
- Baby powder, resin, talc or magnesium carbonates are the only substances that may be added to the body and attire.
WPF federation, on the other hand, allows only block powder form since it’s less messy.
Talcum Powder Disadvantages
Overuse of powder by lifters became very common. Nothing can create a mess in the gym like using powder, especially the loose form. This is why in commercial gyms and meets it is usually forbidden due to the high clean up costs.