My local outdoor pool has a chin-up bar (as part of a deployable multi-gym thing), but because it has to survive the elements, it's just a plain galvanized steel bar. The bar is less than an inch in diameter, so I can easily wrap my fingers around it.

Usually, such bars have rubber on the outside, or knurling, so that you really have to be sweating a lot before they become slippery. This one is completely smooth. When my hands get even a little sweaty, it becomes slippery, and I worry I'm going to lose my grip on it. Can I improvise something to cover it with to avoid slipping? It has to be something I can easily take with me, and remove when I'm finished. My towel is the obvious thing, but it would grip my hands well but still slide over the bar.

  • How thick is bar? Can you wrap your fingers and thumbs all the way around so they touch each other?
    – user2861
    Jul 16, 2013 at 23:12
  • Yes, I can. I edited this information into my question.
    – Dan Hulme
    Jul 17, 2013 at 7:11

3 Answers 3


I sweat a lot. When my grip slips because of sweat, I blame the sweat and not the bar. This approach works pretty well.

I wear sweat-bands on my wrists and carry chalk. I wipe the sweat from both sides of my hands onto a towel or my shirt, then chalk my palms copiously. This keeps my grip mostly dry.


This a multitude of things you can use. Here's a list that I suggest:

  1. Lifting straps
  2. Chalk
  3. Sand (I do this when I do my spartan races, right before the pull up bars)

Of course, if there isn't any sand, I suggest bringing a little chalk to rub on your hands before you do your chin ups. This dries up your hands and enables you to lift yourself much easier.

Lifting straps will help also, but I discourage using them whenever you're doing bodyweight exercises. In the long run, they will help you do the exercise but also neglect your forearm strength.


Although chalk works amazingly for grip (as a rock climber I can confirm from experience), I'm going to try to provide another answer rather than repeating what the others have already answered.

You could just obtain grip tape (like for tennis rackets) and wrap it around the bar (it's made to survive the elements, and wouldn't be damaging the bar, I don't see how people would have an issue with it).

What the others have answered are the ways for YOU to improve your grip, not employ a temporary solution.

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