T Nation

First Bench With a Shirt

I got my Titan Fury today and got my buddies over to spot me in my basement. I started out with 135 w/o the shirt 8-10 reps just for a warm up.

After that I did 185 for 5 w/o the shirt. Next lift I shirted up. This was the first time I have ever put a shirt on and despite the extreme tightness of the arms, the back seemed fairly loose which I think is not suppost to happen. I obviously didn’t know 100% how to put it on but I followed a guide I got off the internet.

Once shirted I had real trouble touching the bar to my chest, in fact I never actually was able to touch the bar to my chest. I was getting about 2 inches above my chest on every press. I also experienced extreme pain under my arm pits where the shirt was pinching every time I lowered the bar but it slightly faded towards heavier lifts.

Once I figured the shirt out best I could, I put on 225x5. My next lift was 245x4. (My 1RM raw is 250). Next up I hit 275x1, it felt pretty easy so I went up to 295x1, again fairly easy. My last attempt was of 315. I failed both attempts but almost got it. I think I could have gotten it but I had had a hard chest workout on Monday and was still slightly sore.

Removing the shirt was easy although I found some pretty nice welts under my arms and from the seam of the arms. They hurt like fuck. I’ll probably go for another lift next month around this time.

One other question, does anyone ever feel back strain after benching w/ a shirt? Could possibly be the heavy weight I was exposed to but my back is very sore after benching.

Couple things:
Where is your back sore? Low back from arching, lats from squeezing?
The soreness and tightness you mention probably means you’ve got nearly the right size shirt.

Read some articles over at elitefts about setting up your shirt properly and finding the groove. Not hitting the chest is either from too light a weight or improper groove; sometimes you can row it down but thats another story entirely.

Also there’s no such thing as too strong at the lockout for a shirted lifter. Just from your post you should be able to perform the top 3-4" of the lock out with at least 350lbs right now; if you cannot work that lockout. Pin Presses, 5 board Presses, etc.

so these bench shirts, they store energy in the shirt to make the concentric easier?

if thats the case i’m not a fan at all. the thing i love about the iron game is that no matter what country you’re in 300lb is 300lb. through in a shirt and whoever has the better shirt has the advantage… what’s the point!?

What’s the point in being an idiot and starting a debate that comes up every month.

Naughty- welcome to the world of gear-assisted benching. It sounds like you got a real good starter shirt. Some lower back soreness (especially if you have a good arch) would not be unusual. It’s just a function of the overload effect provided by bench shirts. Sure, you get some pop off the chest- but you still have to control the bar. When you have 50, 100, 150 lbs over your raw max on the bar, that translates into some hard work. Train in your shirt often, learn the groove, learn to not let the weight flatten your arch and learn to touch (these last two go together.) At the same time, train youor lockout. Those single-ply Titan shirt give a lot of pop and have a pretty predictible groove. However, it will loosen substantially in the next few workouts. Good luck!

The point is that we use a bench shirts because they give us magical powers. My bench shirt allows me to travel through time like Mr. Peabody. I made me an excellent speller as well. Sometimes I just rub it for good luck. Oh- and it gets me chicks- lots of them really. I bet your corporate fun-run shirt that you wear to train in can’t do any of that.

[quote]ZedLeppelin wrote:
so these bench shirts, they store energy in the shirt to make the concentric easier?

if thats the case i’m not a fan at all. the thing i love about the iron game is that no matter what country you’re in 300lb is 300lb. through in a shirt and whoever has the better shirt has the advantage… what’s the point!?[/quote]

[quote]ZedLeppelin wrote:
the thing i love about the iron game is that no matter what country you’re in 300lb is 300lb.[/quote]

Well, that’s not exactly true. In most countries, 300 lbs. is actually 136.2 kilograms.

[quote]Pinto wrote:
The point is that we use a bench shirts because they give us magical powers. My bench shirt allows me to travel through time like Mr. Peabody. I made me an excellent speller as well. Sometimes I just rub it for good luck. Oh- and it gets me chicks- lots of them really. I bet your corporate fun-run shirt that you wear to train in can’t do any of that.

[/quote]

Not to mention that it gives me a chance to take my shirt off not once, but TWO TIMES at the gym.

This provides me with periodic affirmation of the fact that I am a damn sexy man.

This is question is more out of curiosity and not meant to incite argument, but isn’t a bench shirt meant for very heavy poundages? Like when one can already bench three hundred pounds plus raw and uses it for comps to get closer to 350 - 400?

D

The Titan Fury has a very easy learning curve, the first time I wore mine, after having someone help me put it on right I put up some big weight.

It sounds like you didn’t have the shirt on right for your form.

You have to adjust it to fit your needs and the way you bench. A guy with no arch and wide grip is a different shirt setup than a guy with a crazy bench, and tucked elbows.

[quote]Dedicated wrote:
This is question is more out of curiosity and not meant to incite argument, but isn’t a bench shirt meant for very heavy poundages? Like when one can already bench three hundred pounds plus raw and uses it for comps to get closer to 350 - 400?

D[/quote]

I was thinking the same thing. I guess he is just learning the shirt first, which I can understand. Unless you are 118pds I don’t think you really need a shirt for protection with a 250 raw max. I mean wouldn’t you want to push your bottom end strength up a little more before going to the shirt? What do I know, I lift raw.

Good lift bro.

Yea, the shirt never really felt like it was on correctly. Like everyone is saying I need to get the grove. Unfortunatly the members of my gym probably have never even heard of a bench shirt or what it does so I’m sort of SOL when it comes to getting experienced help with being shirted properly.

The soreness is mostly mid to low back. I am more of a arched elbow tucker. I used to use a more arms flared approach but I experienced some uncomfortable pain in my shoulders. I’m benching more with my elbows tucked as well. Does one have an advantage over another when it comes to shirted form or does the shit just need to be adjusted to which preference you use?

To everyone talking about my raw lifts being fairly weak and still wanting to lift with a shirt: I was just always curious on what benching with a shirt would be like and how much I could press. I guess to some degree it gave me more motivation and confidence in my lifts although I didn’t think about that aspect until after completeing my lifts.

Also my raw max of 250 was rougly 2 months ago, maybe 3. Since then I have been on sort of a clean bulk and I’m predicting my max raw is close to 275. This making my shirt assistance pretty miniumum to some degree. So I’m assuming the shirt is not on 100% the way it should be. I also noticed with belt I have to secure the shirt, it’s fairly loose standing and when laying it really provides no assistance in keeping the shirt tight, I’m not sure how much of a problem that causes?

I might be able to get a video up on youtube of my lifts, not super exciting but if anyones curious.

Don’t let the shirt dictate where you bring the bar. Once the bar is handed off to you bring the bar down to YOUR normal touching spot on your chest to get the most rebound out of the shirt. Do this quickly, because if the bar starts to drift you’ll miss the lift. Your shirt is made for an elbows in back arched lifter, so make sure you change your benching technique / set up accordingly.

The tightness and welts are part of it. You are always going to get those.

The best advice I can give you is to find a powerlifting gym in your area and learn something there.

[quote]Dedicated wrote:
This is question is more out of curiosity and not meant to incite argument, but isn’t a bench shirt meant for very heavy poundages? Like when one can already bench three hundred pounds plus raw and uses it for comps to get closer to 350 - 400?

D[/quote]

Or people that bench 500 raw now and want 700

So being 25 pounds off from 300 means he can’t use it?? That’s stupid. And who is determine what is heavy. I bench 300 raw now and weigh 180. My training partner benches 250 raw at 135. I would consider his 250 huge. He definitely should be getting into a bench shirt.

It doesn’t matter where you are as far as strength goes. It will bring up your bench no matter how much you currently bench. Gear is just a tool to make the strength gains come quicker. Raw strength doesn’t just disappear like most people seem to think.

I started using one when I joined a powerlifting gym benching only 200. Over the course of a year, using a shirt my bench almost hit 370.

Go ahead and bench the hell outta that shirt. Board presses are your new best friend. Get it!

[quote]Florida Titan wrote:
Don’t let the shirt dictate where you bring the bar. Once the bar is handed off to you bring the bar down to YOUR normal touching spot on your chest to get the most rebound out of the shirt. Do this quickly, because if the bar starts to drift you’ll miss the lift. Your shirt is made for an elbows in back arched lifter, so make sure you change your benching technique / set up accordingly.

The tightness and welts are part of it. You are always going to get those.

The best advice I can give you is to find a powerlifting gym in your area and learn something there.[/quote]

That’s another thing that I thought was lowing my presses. The fact that I wasn’t touching my chest and I was trying to press right at a normal sticking point. Rather than getting the spring from the “spring” from the shirt with the added compression.

[quote]Florida Titan wrote:
Dedicated wrote:
This is question is more out of curiosity and not meant to incite argument, but isn’t a bench shirt meant for very heavy poundages? Like when one can already bench three hundred pounds plus raw and uses it for comps to get closer to 350 - 400?

D

Or people that bench 500 raw now and want 700

So being 25 pounds off from 300 means he can’t use it?? That’s stupid. And who is determine what is heavy. I bench 300 raw now and weigh 180. My training partner benches 250 raw at 135. I would consider his 250 huge. He definitely should be getting into a bench shirt.

It doesn’t matter where you are as far as strength goes. It will bring up your bench no matter how much you currently bench. Gear is just a tool to make the strength gains come quicker. Raw strength doesn’t just disappear like most people seem to think.

I started using one when I joined a powerlifting gym benching only 200. Over the course of a year, using a shirt my bench almost hit 370.

Go ahead and bench the hell outta that shirt. Board presses are your new best friend. Get it!

[/quote]

What I meant to convey is the fact that if a regular sized guy can’t bench 300 raw he hasn’t come near to reaching his raw potential and it seems getting in shirt at that point is jumping the gun.

Of course it will help a 500 bench go higher I never meant to imply it wouldn’t you missed the point. However, I am not a powerlifter just a stupid lifter and if you want to recommend guys that bench 200 jump into shirts by all means go for it.

D

[quote]Dedicated wrote:

Of course it will help a 500 bench go higher I never meant to imply it wouldn’t you missed the point. However, I am not a powerlifter just a stupid lifter and if you want to recommend guys that bench 200 jump into shirts by all means go for it.

D [/quote]

Ehh, stupid is a little harsh. I think that this line of thinking is very common and not altogether unfounded. It makes sense- keep your training simple, train raw, get strong, then you add a shirt and move even bigger weights- right?

The joker in the deck is that optimum shirted benching technique is so very different than raw technique. The peculiar strength curve and coordination required to get the most out of a shirt these days are somewhat unlikely to be developed with raw pressing alone- even with board presses.

[quote]Pinto wrote:
Dedicated wrote:

Of course it will help a 500 bench go higher I never meant to imply it wouldn’t you missed the point. However, I am not a powerlifter just a stupid lifter and if you want to recommend guys that bench 200 jump into shirts by all means go for it.

D

Ehh, stupid is a little harsh. I think that this line of thinking is very common and not altogether unfounded. It makes sense- keep your training simple, train raw, get strong, then you add a shirt and move even bigger weights- right?

The joker in the deck is that optimum shirted benching technique is so very different than raw technique. The peculiar strength curve and coordination required to get the most out of a shirt these days are somewhat unlikely to be developed with raw pressing alone- even with board presses.

[/quote]

I see your point.

Take care,

D

[quote]Pinto wrote:
Dedicated wrote:

Of course it will help a 500 bench go higher I never meant to imply it wouldn’t you missed the point. However, I am not a powerlifter just a stupid lifter and if you want to recommend guys that bench 200 jump into shirts by all means go for it.

D

Ehh, stupid is a little harsh. I think that this line of thinking is very common and not altogether unfounded. It makes sense- keep your training simple, train raw, get strong, then you add a shirt and move even bigger weights- right?

The joker in the deck is that optimum shirted benching technique is so very different than raw technique. The peculiar strength curve and coordination required to get the most out of a shirt these days are somewhat unlikely to be developed with raw pressing alone- even with board presses.

[/quote]

nice post