Bench Shirts, Squat Suits, etc.

A couple questions regarding equipment.

  1. At what level of lifting do you think a powerlifter should buy/use shirts/suits? I would like to compete eventually, but I feel my lifts are just too weak right now. So I’m not pressed for time as to get used to them for a meet. BTW, I’m 215, and lift approx. 405-290-445.

  2. Could someone explain the materials and terminology in the equipment, denim, poly, etc? What’s stronger? Why would you use a weaker material? And sinlgle ply, double ply…is that just like toilet paper, you know, 1 layer, 2 layers?

Thanks for the help.

You won’t need to mess with the competition gear, for some time to come. PL suits and bench shirts should fit like a second skin. By the time your “raw” lifts are at the point where you want to compete, your body will have changed shape, enough to make the gear fit funny.

Most of the powerlifting associations allow only single-ply material (no canvas or denim) and 2-meter knee wraps. APF/WPC, WPO and some others allow multiple-layer suits and shirts, including canvas, denim, and, sooner or later, bulletproof body armor, plus longer knee wraps. (I dearly love the APF/WPC, but we’ve let the equipment rules get outta control.)


I don’t use a bench shirt yet, I am doing my first meet in October and if that goes good and I want to compete again then I am going to get a bench shirt and squat suit. I don’t know the exact benefits of a shirt other than when used in training they really save your shoulders. I can tell you that different federations have varying rules regarding the amount of layers and the materials the shirts can be made of. There are a number of experience pl’ers on this forum who are very helpful who I am sure will answer this thread. Good Luck

Stay Strong

You aren’t too weak to do a meet. So get in there and do it. One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking they can’t compete until their lifts are x,x,x. That’s frickin’ stupid because gym lifts mean NOTHING. Meet day is “anything can happen day.” You may spend two years getting to a certain strength level only to hit your first meet and not get past your openers. Hell, you may not get the lifts passed until third attempt. All the sudden you are at 75-80% of that fabled gym total. Now what?

In regards to strength, I see no reason why you couldn’t compete in gear. It comes down to stabilizer and core strength, bar control, and consistency in form. This varies by lifters in relation to strength levels. If you think your form is tight, then go for it.

Good luck!

I agree…get into a meet. Those numbers are raw. Who knows what you could do in some gear. Plus it takes awhile to understand how to find your grooves in the gear and how to use it to your benefit. I am definately still learning this.

Where are you at in Cali?

Hey coach I only have one point I want to clarify about the knee wraps. The knee wraps are longer because the bigger lifters cannot do much with shorter wraps. I can barely go around my knee once with a 2 meter wrap. On the other hand, a small lifter can go around his knees a bunch of times with a 2 meter wrap. A guy like Garry Frank wouldnt be able to get a 2 meter wrap around at all. It is there for equity.

your lifts are not to weak…you would do fine in any local meet in the country…every one has to start some where…my first meet i was right at your strength level and i was heavier…if you really want this choose a fed buy some gear learn to get the most out of it and compete soon…if you dont dive in head first usually life ends up getting in your way…bm

Thanks for all the replies. Maybe I will go for it and find a meet to compete in. I guess I need to get some gear to learn to use. The stuff is just so damn expensive!

Ericka, I’m in Santa Clarita, by Magic Mountain, but I’m moving to Milwaukee, WI next week. I grew up there so it’s home to me. I hope I can quickly find some lifters to train with.

Also, can someone explain the differences in the materials; canvas, denim, etc? Can someone tell me whats strongest and what’s weakest?

Oh, and what are people’s opinions on the brands. What would be some good starter equipment? What would be a good value for the dollar?

Again, thanks for all your help.

I can hook you up in Milwaukee. Wisconsin is one of the strongest PL states in the union. Shoot me a PM when you are ready to move.

ok gear 101…

squat suits…
poly squat suits usually give you a lot of pop out of the bottom…but becuase 99% of the time poly straps are pre-set usually they force you into a certain position this i why i dont like them…but my training partners all love poly and hate canvas…i like canvas becuase i am a good box squater…i get really good carryover off a box…so i like the way the canvas stops me dead in the hole…I am using the inzer canvas hybrid…it has poly sides and gives more pop out of the bottom than any cnavas suit and the stoping power is unreal…my partners all love the metal pro sq suit…i used the poly metal ipf v-type and liked it but it is not comparable to the inzer hybrid…but all my partners swear by the metal pro poly and i know goldberg also loves his metal pro…if you squat better of a box than you free squat or the carry over is close i would go with a good canvas suit and really practice in it plus it will last you for years as they hardly ever blow and dont stretch out like polys…if you are a much better free squater than box squater i would definately go with a metal suit from elite fitness…

briefs…if you get a double ply poly suit and it is fitted right you probally wont need breifs…if you go with the canvas i would get a pair of power pants from inzer there thin and give pop and protection but dont get in the way…i use the metal pro breifs in training there UNREAL THE POP IS INCREDIBILE AND THERE ULTRA STRONG AND THICK…my only problem with them is when there under usit it is very hard to reach depth with out being a massive squater…i can reach depth in my inzer canvas wiht 20 pounds under my opener in power pants…with the metals on i have never reached depth and havent even been close so i have to wait to get stronger to reach depth in them…but metals there the best ot train in…

bench shirts…i hate them all lol…i am using a fury right now and like them for the first 3 weeks i use them and then they stretch out…i suck at a denim…and the funniest thing ever is my favorite shirt i have ever used it a cheap inzer high performace hd blast the 77$ one…i could get near 70 pounds out of it…my next shirt i plan to try when i get money is either a metal pro poly or a inzer 2 ply phenom both open back…i would probally start out in either a denim and work until you get it perfect or try a poly open back…the fury i like but there so damn unfleibile you loose the grooove easy and they stretch so damn fast that unless your sposored by titan your fucked cause you need to get one every 6 weeks…

dude the best thing to do is just get gear give it a try if you like it great if you dont try other kinds…yes it is expensive…but if you truly love to powerlift it become the best part of the sport…nothing is better than learning lifting to learn to use gear…i get butterfly just thinking about the next itme i get to use my inzer hybrid sq suit…bm