I just got into a Katana A/S about 2 months or so ago, and have figured out it’s quite a versatile shirt… I have only been powerlifting about a year and haven’t done a meet yet, but I’ve been taken under the wings of some world-class in my short career. Here’s what I’ve found out about it so far:
Gear Being Reviewed: Single Ply Katana A/S (Scoop Neck, Closed Back)
Pros: As I said before, the great thing I have found about this shirt is that you can use it many different ways. I have long, monkey arms built for pulling, so I’ve found that I PERSONALLY don’t like it jack it down TOO much, and like this I am able to flare, THEN tuck, to get the best of both worlds poly-wise.
When I first got into the shirt, I played it like most people do the Rage-X or Phenom- building it with the elbows tucked as hard as possible. Either way, it gives a great sling back for a single-ply shirt.
I have also learned that putting it on inside out, palms neutral, twisting the sleeves so the seem is an inch inside the elbow, then pulling it over the head gives a better carry-over throughout the lift and lockout, it’s just harder to use.
Cons: This shirt can be very frustrating. I ended up switching benching styles because it was SO HARD to get shit to touch without flaring, letting the chest plate lock up, then tucking and shifting your elbows toward your feet… and if you don’t like to get cut up by shirts, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU.
Not only can it be a pain in the ass to figure out, if you put it on like I do (inside out) it will obviously shorten the sleeve length, and tear the SHIT out of your armpits and around the nipples, depending on how low you have it jacked down.
Also, you have to follow the groove off the chest/board JUST RIGHT or you’ll fucking dump it into your face or it’ll jump about 2 inches and die like it ran out of gas. I can tell this shirt is going to take a while to master, but I know the carryover will be worth it once you get the groove down.
Comparison: This shirt is a one of a kind shirt, and could be compared to numerous shirts. I prefer to use it like the BASH, while I know a guy who uses it like most people use the Rage-X. Like I said before- it all really depends on YOUR benching style and what works best for you, IN THIS SHIRT.
I bench best in the Rage-X by taking the bar really far out, and coming straight down, tucking the whole way; while I flare, then tuck with the BASH. It’s all personal preference here.
Thoughts: If you want a bigger bench, this shirt can definitely give it to you. However, it may take you a little longer to find YOUR groove in this shirt. I have never had difficulty benching in a shirt until this one. It’s not like it’s uncomfortable, it’s just difficult to handle.
However, if you have the time to put in to learn this shirt, go for it. I’ve learned what little I’ve learned from using a program like Metal Melitia’s, or the Yard Program. Try it out and let me know what you guys think.