T Nation

Complete Newb in Search of Knowledge


I am new to Powerlifting meets. I have never even thought of competing in one until recently, but now I hear lots of shit about Single Ply, Double Ply, briefs, suits, and I have no clue what the hell any of that is... Could you guys spell out the basics for me and tell me what they are and what they do in terms of lifting?


There is a difference between geared and raw powerlifting. Raw lifters are only allowed to wear belts, wrist wraps, and such things (and clothes, of course) depending on the federation. These things don't really do any of the lifting. However knee wraps, bench shirts, and squat suits do. They do more than make the lifter more stable and safer like a belt, for example, does.

The ply count refers to how many layers of fabric there are in the shirt or suit. Generally, the more ply the more weight the shirt or suit can add.

To put all this in perspective the raw bench press record is 715. The shirted record is 1075. The raw squat record is 934. With wraps it's 1000. With a suit it's 1250. The raw deadlift record is 975. With a suit it's 1008.6.

Hope that helps.


Robert "Big Rob" Wilkerson squatted 1000lb raw.


Don't worry about any of those things. Worry about getting on a good program and getting really strong. Most of the people who spend time comparing geared vs raw vs federation vs whatever else people bitch about, are very weak minded and, more importantly, physically weak.

Get up with some good people if you can find any. If you can't start reading everything you can get your hands on. I mean books. Not articles. The only articles that are any good will be way too complicated for you to understand right now.


Basically they're extra pieces of equipment people put on to lift more weights in competitions that allow them. As you could deduce from the names, 2 ply equipment allows one to lift more weight than 1 ply, which allows you more than no equipment.

Suits are used for squats and deadlifts, shirts for bench presses, and briefs are put under suits for even more leverage.

I suggest not fiddling with this stuff unless you happen to be taught by experienced and competent people in using and teaching the use of this equipment, otherwise the risk level jacks through the roof.


One time, I did meet a "good person". He was a Powerlifter at my local Commercial Gym, ashamed of even being there. The guy was a good 325 pounds and training for 350 to hit one more competition at around 45 years. He thought me a lot more than I had learned in a year. Me, being an idiot, did not really memorize his name. He told me his name was Alex C. or something. Anyways, I just wanted to know what these terms meant because, well, who knows, one day I might need to fit under one.


Yes, it does help. Thank you for your response. Putting everything under perspective really did help.