T Nation

Bench Shirt Experience


#1

A friend of mine gave me an old single ply bench shirt that he used for powerlifting in the late 80's, like '88-'90. I washed it in cold with bleach, and tried it on and if fit pretty well-not loose at all, but not painfully tight anywhere.

So I tried it out for bench pressing yesterday and did 335, 350, 365, 375, I think 385 but I may have skipped it, 390, 400 and then missed 405.

My raw max had been 355 touch and go and 345 with a 2 second pause.

I just wanted to share the experience bacause a lot of guys ask about how much can you get from a shirt. Anyway, I've always been impressed by raw AND equipped lifters, so I wanted to see what it was like.

Some points I'll share:

1) I bench in a power rack for safety, but I would never have taken 405 out of the rack myself except that I felt more confident and stronger with the shirt on. In other words, the 405 didn't just feel crushingly heavy. If I take out a raw weight more than I can handle-say 375+ right now, I'm not gonna even try it raw, I will know that I can't do it when it's at arms length, but with the shirt on it just felt different.

2) I didn't feel like it helped me more than about half way up, but I did have a little speed going at that point.

3) There was no question about the pause. In fact, I could have held it on the chest for 4-5 seconds with no problem, unlike raw where I just want to get it going as quickly as possible.

4) It was much nicer on my joints than raw benching, even with a lighter weight.

5) I'm sure it was nothing like the all out double ply altered shirts out there-still, I can see the attraction for them. Has the shirt been a lot tighter, I still don't think I could have finished off more than maybe another 30 pounds or so.

All in all, I think I'll use a shirt for one of my 2 bench workouts for a while for the "joint saving" effect and also getting confidence unracking and finishing off 400.

By the way, he has an old squat suit also that I may try out-again he says its "single ply" but I'll probably wash it twice.


#2

i dont see the point in using a bench shirt unless you plan on competing.

I also dont know how lifting a weight thats higher then your body is ready for is joint saving.


#3

All I can say here is that 400 with the shirt seemed to tax me differently than heavy weights without it, so it lets me accomplish something-getting used to controlling heavier weight at the top and getting tighter set up, but its not stressing me the same way as raw benching which seems to be tougher at the reversal. All I can say for sure is that the feeling of joint stress was much less even with the max weight I could handle with the shirt than lifting raw.


#4

three things:
Why are you washing it? I have never washed any of my gear. It damages the fibers regardless of hot or cold water. I know that the shirt will get weaker if you continue to wash it and it MAY blow out. Just a warning.

And, I dunno how you can take anything out of a rack with a shirt on. It's probably because I only use radical cut shirts but I would think it would be a good idea to get someone to hand out.

Lastly, why the heck don't you want to compete???


#5

It seems the No-Washing admonition seems to only be for denim and canvas gear.

Some Poly manufacturers not only recommend that you wash your gear, but make detergents for you to do it with! (i.e. Titan Powerwash)

I've washed my poly shirts often without difficulty.

As recommended by the manufacturers: I've never washed any of my denim or canvas gear, so I can't say first hand whether it would hurt or not.


#6

Ditto. Especially with the Inzer Blast shirts, washing them tightens them up and makes them work better.

Washing a denim or canvas is a big no-no. really hurts the integrity