T Nation

Bench Shirts

Hey everyone, I had a few Q’s on bench shirts.

In the next 3 years I would like to start going to bench contests (don’t know the correct term) and was wondering if I should get a shirt now or hold off? Since I have a fairly significant time to train before them (need to drop weight, and of course, raise my bench lol) should I just focus 100% on raw lifting like I’ve been doing? I know there is no magic number, but what can I expect out of a shirt, a certain % modifier?

Any help is much appreciated.

My initial reaction is to say hold off on it. It’s 3 years down the road, you dont know how big you’ll be then, and I’ve never heard of anyone needing 3 years. Of course, if your raw bench stagnates at some point, you may want to train in a shirt fo ra while just to change things up. You may very well find that it improves your raw bench. Bottom line, if you want a shirt, buy it, but theres nothing saying that you “should” buy a shirt now

As far as what you’ll get out of it, I’ve heard of people getting less than 100 lbs out of theirs, I know people who get over 200 out of theirs. It depends … on a LOT of things.

[quote]KBCThird wrote:
My initial reaction is to say hold off on it. It’s 3 years down the road, you dont know how big you’ll be then, and I’ve never heard of anyone needing 3 years. Of course, if your raw bench stagnates at some point, you may want to train in a shirt fo ra while just to change things up. You may very well find that it improves your raw bench. Bottom line, if you want a shirt, buy it, but theres nothing saying that you “should” buy a shirt now

As far as what you’ll get out of it, I’ve heard of people getting less than 100 lbs out of theirs, I know people who get over 200 out of theirs. It depends … on a LOT of things.[/quote]

Just what I need to know, thanks.

I say 3 years because for the weight class I want to be at (anywhere from 240-270) assume I am going to need at least 500+ to compete.

[quote]daltron wrote:

Just what I need to know, thanks.

I say 3 years because for the weight class I want to be at (anywhere from 240-270) assume I am going to need at least 500+ to compete.

[/quote]

Get out there and compete. You don’t need be hitting a certain number to compete. Here’s the truth about local meets- most lifters are not freaky strong. Some are- but most aren’t. Take a look at meet results for meets in your area. Even in multi-ply non-tested feds, most local meet benchers are not hitting in the 500’s. Besides, the point is to step onto the platform, get amped up, and have some fun. Also, it’s my expeerience that lifters tend to make more progress after they start competing.

Get in a lower-level shirt and start learning it now. I’ve been competing since 1995 and it has taken me until recently to realize my shirted bench potential. Besides, the changes in gear from then to today is incredible. If I were to jump in gear today, having no prior experience, I’d feel overwhelmed. My suggestion…get a single ply Inzer Rage for $95. I got 50-75 out of mine the first time I got in it. Easy to learn, not too restrictive, and still get a reasonable amount of weight from it.

[quote]Pinto wrote:
daltron wrote:

Just what I need to know, thanks.

I say 3 years because for the weight class I want to be at (anywhere from 240-270) assume I am going to need at least 500+ to compete.

Get out there and compete. You don’t need be hitting a certain number to compete. Here’s the truth about local meets- most lifters are not freaky strong. Some are- but most aren’t. Take a look at meet results for meets in your area. Even in multi-ply non-tested feds, most local meet benchers are not hitting in the 500’s. Besides, the point is to step onto the platform, get amped up, and have some fun. Also, it’s my expeerience that lifters tend to make more progress after they start competing.

[/quote]

I agree with Pinto. I have gone to several small meets and most lifters are not benching over 500 lbs. Work on increasing your weight every meet.

It takes practice to master a shirt so make sure you give yourself several months before a meet.

Good luck!

Thanks for the advice guys.

[quote]Antman517 wrote:
Get in a lower-level shirt and start learning it now. I’ve been competing since 1995 and it has taken me until recently to realize my shirted bench potential. Besides, the changes in gear from then to today is incredible. If I were to jump in gear today, having no prior experience, I’d feel overwhelmed. My suggestion…get a single ply Inzer Rage for $95. I got 50-75 out of mine the first time I got in it. Easy to learn, not too restrictive, and still get a reasonable amount of weight from it.[/quote]
Absolutely!!!

I say you’re probably being a little over-modest. I wasn’t “ready” for my first meet but i was still very competitive. Let’s hear the stats. Age, weight, bench?

[quote]TTewell342 wrote:
I say you’re probably being a little over-modest. I wasn’t “ready” for my first meet but i was still very competitive. Let’s hear the stats. Age, weight, bench?[/quote]

20 this month // 324~ pounds

Last september I started @ 185x5, and my best PR this year was 340, I’m going to attempt 350 this week.

I’m also working on the weight issue.

[quote]daltron wrote:
TTewell342 wrote:
I say you’re probably being a little over-modest. I wasn’t “ready” for my first meet but i was still very competitive. Let’s hear the stats. Age, weight, bench?

20 this month // 324~ pounds

Last september I started @ 185x5, and my best PR this year was 340, I’m going to attempt 350 this week.

I’m also working on the weight issue.

[/quote]
I would get a shirt and start working with it. Even if you use it one workout a month. Some shirts take years to learn (ie. denim) so the sooner you start useing one the better. Just because you have a bench shirt doesn’t mean you need to cut out all raw work.

I agree with Pinto as well…pick a local meet and sign up, the experience you get from competeing and talking to people at the meet is invaluable.

I agree with Pinto as well. I have my first meet in about a month. I am on my second shirt since last sept. I ordered my first shirt and a couple of months later it ripped due to me gaining size. I am using a RageX now and I like it so far. As previously stated learning a shirt takes time. Best of luck.

This may sound like a stupid question, but what exactly is a bench shirt look like and what does and do, and where could i find one?