T Nation

2 Qs


A couple of questions:

  1. Are there any federations where athletes compete raw (no suits, wraps, belts, etc...)? I'm interested in how far records done raw are from those with equipment.

  2. How much do you think someone can add to their there lifts (SQT, BP, DL) by using equipment (both short term and after some experience using them).


1) Yes, there are several federations. Many federations also keep track of raw records while being equipped federations. Just do a Google search on "raw powerlifting" and you should find several.

2) The most help from equipment comes in the squat and bench press. I'm not sure about the squat. Some guys get 150lbs+ out of double denim shirts. A lot of people only get 70lbs out of the same shirts, though.


holy shit thats a lot of extra weight.
I always thought i was more of a safety thing that maybe added an extra 5-10lbs on a max lift.
hmm... got me thinking now :wink:


Let me clear some things up here, first off there are very few people in America who get 150 pounds out of there shirt I could count them on one hand. I would say most people get around 40 out of a 2denim and that is the best shirt. And to tell you the truth about raw comp is the numbers are going to be diffirent because the most talented lifters usually choose to wear equipment. and equipment is part of the game it is a art to use it, every one else gets to use so if you are stornger raw with equipment you will win. what i dont understand is how people say equipment proves powerlifters a are a joke when george halbert bench 733 at 220 he was raw bneching in the 600's and 1 board pressing close to 700. wearing a shirt is smart and safe lifting raw in my opinion is like going and palying foot ball without pads, strength is strength you are either strong or you are not and a bench shirt wont make a weak person strong, like louie says i have a double denim bench shirt and a bottle of test sitting on a chair and he has never seen either bench anything. trust me go into westside and watch them do 500+ pound 2 board press and then tell me these guys are not strong raw.


There are plenty of raw federations around and i view equipment as a personal choice, if you feel better about completing a lift in this or that, it doesnt matter to me. The one peice of advice i can give is that you should be careful with raw lifting because it will beat up your body faster than geared lifting. Even single ply, basic gear that wont give you a huge increase in strength will protect your groin, shoulders etc from damage.


I appreciate the feedback. I hope I did not come off as implying that competitors that use equipment are not as strong as or some how inferior to those that don't. I'm just curious about how it affects ones lifts (which is what I thought the main purpose was) given I've never used the stuff myself. For that matter, I've never competed either...

The safety issue never really occurred to me. Can someone elaborate a little on how equipment makes lifting safer?

Genuinely interested.


From the numbers of the people who post there logs here namely steve copola Jared NFS etc it seems to be over 40 pounds but less then 100...

Jared for example maxed out at 330 raw and then got 405 off one board the first time he used a shirt a couple of weeks later.

Steve got 420 with a shirt and from his log i would guess that his max raw bench would be 350ish...

The above numbers are from memory but i think they are correct I apologise ahead of time if i am wrong.

I just did a search to see if this has been asked in the past and came across this statement from Irondoc.

"...I want everyone to realizesomething about equipment. People are getting 200+ pounds out of a good shirt with triple denim velcro doohickey etc. stuff. That's rigth two hundred pounds. 150 is not out of the question. That puts you Goldie at 450 -500 now, if you get the technique down..."

Ohh that reminds me, where did Jared go. How did his comp go?

What about goldberg where is his log where is he?

oh and did jared change his name to something else?


in terms of safety, the compression provided by a shirt really saves the shoulders. I damaged my shoulders alot in football and using a wide bench grip (competition grip) is often to hard on my shoulders raw. However with a shirt the shoulders are protected through compression. The same goes for the hips and groin when using a wide squatting stance, just a loose squat suit with straps down or breifs really save that area from the compression provided.


I use an Inzer single ply poly and I can get another 10% on it. I can bench 405 raw and am now hitting 440 with it. I use an old marathon deadlifting suit (1 ply) and can go from a 495 deadlift to a 545. The suits help but like everyone says...the suit doesn't jump off of a chair and move the weight.


i never played football with pads, that just an american thing :slight_smile:
I dont think anyone with half a brain has aver really questioned the strength of the hardcore powerlifters, lets be honest now..


Based on what's been said so far, I'd conclude that using equipment does increase ones lifts (how much will depend on the person) and they promote safety when lifting competition style or with heavy weights (i.e. wide grip or wide stance).

This raises some other questions for me. In thinking about the first conclusion I figure that people will get more or less out of equipment based on several factors not limited to but that might include:
-experience using equipment
-relative strength in various portions of lift. I take it that since the equipment provides more resistance at the bottom than near the end of the range of motion (ROM) that people who have trouble at the bottom and are stronger at the top will benefit most. It makes sense that if your weak link in the ROM is the last portion of the lift that you won't receive as much benefit from equipment since they help more near the bottom.
-the type of equipment used

The second conclusion regarding safety got me thinking about the old story regarding using a lifting belt during training and how it can lead to weaker core strength making you more susceptible to injury (not less). But using equipment properly is "an art", so obviously if you get more practice with it (by using it more during training) you get better at using it = bigger numbers in comps. On the other hand, wouldn't this make you MORE prone to injury based on the same rational as in the example of training with a lifting belt? So how does one balance getting proficient at using equipment and maintaining adequate strength in the areas "protected" by this same equipment? Also, if one does not use an ultra-wide grip or stance or one is not supper strong is equipment still important for safety?

Lastly, no one has said anything about the squat. Is it same story there (you get about 10% or more depending on the person). Do knee wraps help much for squatting and do they promote safety (some people have them on so tight it looks like they might be more dangerous than safe)?

Thanks for the feedback everyone.