T Nation

Bench Shirts

Are there any Powerlifters who compete who dislike the use of bench shirts? I ask this out of curiosity only. Anyone who wants to use this thread to shit on Powerlifters should go elsewhere.

I myself am an Olympic Weightlifter and am promted to ask this question after talking to a guy I know who Powerlifts. He said that he would rather that the equipment didn’t exist. He thought that lifting without equipment was a more realistic demonstation of strength. He himself does use equipment because he wants to win, but would rather nobody did.

So, if you compete in Powerlifting I’d like to know how you feel about this. If you could make shirts (or squat suits) disapear tomorrow, would you? Or, do you think they’re a great addition to the sport.

Thanks in advance for satisfying my curiosity.

I would rather them be extremely limited, if allowed at all. The only reason I think they should exist is to allow more people to compete. Some people do have legitimate issues that would prevent them from competing raw that a bench shirt helps, even if the shirt doesn’t “give” them anything.

I think an adequate shirt would be something like an Inzer blast shirt with a stretchy back (like from the Titan Fury shirts). The stretchy back would let it be easy to get on, and it would give enough support to let a lot more people compete than if they were going raw.

I am tired of the gear (including squat suits) and probably won’t be using much, if any gear, in my upcoming meets. It’s more of a pain in the ass than anything.

Equipment use has gotten way out of control. I competed quite a bit but haven’t for about 4 years. Never used a Bench Shirt. It always struck me as silly to see all these guys in shirts. Looked painful too to get one of those suckers on. I used a Squat suit and wraps though. I could Squat about 80 lbs more with a suit and wraps than ‘raw’. You hear and read about guys benching 100 lbs more with a shirt. Then, every once in a while, you hear about getting powerlifting into the Olympics while Olympic lifters compete without ‘supportive gear’. Or has that changed? If they outlawed all equipment the guys that are winning now would probably still win. This is a sensitive issue. Couple years ago I got hammered over at dr. Squats site by every ‘Big Bencher’ in the world because I think shirts are a joke. Yea shirts and suits should be outlawed, but it will never happen.

Barry

Forgive me, but I think you have asked a flawed question. It seemed that you implied that powerlifting gear is here to stay and that it was fanciful to think that equipment can be made to vanish. I don’t think that this is the case.

I think that Powerlifters have the, quite real, ability to make equipment disappear, or at the very least marginalize it. All they need to do is stop using it. There are raw leagues out there. More could spring up quite easily. Every league will let you lift raw, and I have never seen a lifter denigrated for deciding to lift raw at a meet. Quite the opposite in fact.

The much harder question I think you need to ask is: would you as a lifter rather train like mad to bench 215kg in a raw league, or train the same amount to bench 260kg in an equipped league? Most of us got into powerlifting to see how much weight we could lift, and giving up that 45kg is hard to do.

With that on the table: I like the equipment. I think it adds an interesting technical challenge with a significant feedback loop. I also enjoy handling significantly larger weights.

I guess I would rather pole-vault than high-jump; it’s who I am.

If your powerlifting friend doesn’t like lifting in gear: my advice to him is to stop! Pick a raw league: not only can you bench raw, but you are on an even playing field, so you can win too. If that is inconvenient, lift raw in a single ply league! I know several people who do that regularly and receive tremendous respect and support. You may not bring home hardware, but you’re not really doing this to yourself for a plastic, $5 trophy are you?

If the lifters really want gear to go away, you’ll see a mass movement to the Raw leagues, and Raw divisions popping up within existing leagues, while the equipped leagues become more and more marginal.

It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few years. Personally I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I could be wrong.

I love my shirt.

They are here to stay.

Hey, if you want to lift raw, or lift in a raw fed, hats off to ya.

There really is another side to this coin. You have to remember the first bench shirts to come out didn’t provide any carryover. They simple kept the lifter from blowing out a shoulder.

First and foremost, the shirt protects the lifter and extends the lifters career. Talk to any lifter who has done this a while- he has usually had surgery on one or both shoulders.

That said, the quest for carryover has led too many lifters to train a LOT in their shirts. I think it’s important for a lifter to have a high level of raw strength, as well as, being good in the shirt.

Rick, it sounds like you’re afraid of big weights. Gear is here to stay, for multiple reasons, one being that equipment manufaturers are our biggest sponsors. that and it does help protec the shoulders of older lifters.

[quote]tom63 wrote:
Rick, it sounds like you’re afraid of big weights. Gear is here to stay, for multiple reasons, one being that equipment manufaturers are our biggest sponsors. that and it does help protec the shoulders of older lifters.[/quote]

Many lifters have benched RAW well into their 40’s and 50’s. So whining about injury is for broken down high school stars singing Glory Days in small town bars. If you have to put on a shirt to bench, perhaps you should investigate stamp collecting.

Lifting RAW is about true strength, and not about how much you can jack your shirt up to inflate your RAW bench.

RAW, RAW, RAw, It’s all about the tonnage.

[quote]RickJames wrote:
tom63 wrote:
Rick, it sounds like you’re afraid of big weights. Gear is here to stay, for multiple reasons, one being that equipment manufaturers are our biggest sponsors. that and it does help protec the shoulders of older lifters.

Many lifters have benched RAW well into their 40’s and 50’s. So whining about injury is for broken down high school stars singing Glory Days in small town bars. If you have to put on a shirt to bench, perhaps you should investigate stamp collecting.

Lifting RAW is about true strength, and not about how much you can jack your shirt up to inflate your RAW bench. [/quote]

I like to watch men and women lift as much weight as possible, even if it is in gear.

Just as a slight aside, how much extra does a “whippy” Olympic bar give to the average Oly lifter?
Would all the records be unatainable with a really stiff (PL style SQ) bar?
Dax

[quote]Old Dax wrote:
Just as a slight aside, how much extra does a “whippy” Olympic bar give to the average Oly lifter?
Would all the records be unatainable with a really stiff (PL style SQ) bar?
Dax[/quote]

There is of course no exact answer to this question. I’ll give it some treatment though.
In the snatch the spring in the bar gives basically nothing, due to the wide hand spacing.
In the clean and jerk it clearly helps, particularly in the jerk. How much is difficult to quantify. I would guess that for top lifters no more than 10kg. What I can say for certain though is that the heavier the weight, the more you feel that spring. It changes the timing for sure.

How many people bitching about gear actually compete?