T Nation

First Meet Equipment?


I'd like to enter my first meet at the end of August, and I was wondering what equipment would be good to start off with. A little background - I've been lifting for around 5 years now, and my best lifts are 305 BP, 345 SQ, 450 DL completely raw. I bought a pair of squat briefs about a month ago to use on my DE days, which seem to help support my hips, although they are probably a little large. I can get them on in about a minute, and the only really tight area is around the bottoms across my thighs. I'd like to get some equipment with a small learning curve if possible, although I might just enter the RAW class to get some experience. I've looked at the Inzer shirts such as the heavy duty blast shirt as a cheap way to get acclimated into equipment, but if price is any indication, I might be better suited to look for quality. Tell me what you think; I appreciate the help.


My First bench shirt was a Inzer HPHD, I thought it was an easy shirt to get the groove, took me about two months. You have a very short time to learn the shirt, personally I'd suggest that one. The most I ever got out of it was about 12%, which isn't bad.
However, you should call the manufacturer of your shirt and talk to them about your benching preferences. The way you take the bar down, your arch, and your elbow flare, as well as your size should help determine your first shirt.
Hope this helps, good luck.


I would just do the first raw (that is what I am doing) to get the feel for it and if I enjoy it I will look into getting gear. No use buying things if you will not end up using them.

I'm just hoping not to bomb out, I don't even plan on being competitive at this time. First meet, learning experience.


It's common practice for first timers on my powerlifting team to lift raw in their first meet, not only because they usually don't have the equipment.

But because the experience is fast paced and confusing enough without equipment to worry about.

Get a good handler to help you out.


Get the tightest titan centurian you can stand (don't worry if you can't make depth in the first session with it- it'll stretch.) That's like $100. Get a tight single RageX or F6. That's another $100. Get the longest knee wraps your fed allows (2m for USAPL and maybe USPF, 2.5 for all others). Get the longest wrist wraps your fed allows. That's about another 55-60 bucks.

Use these items enough in training that you are comfortable making good openers in your gear. If you think your knee wraps are tight, they can still be tighter. If you pull conventaional you might just use your singlet if you are not comfortabel pulling in your squat suit. Also, check ebay, sometimes new shit is onsale thatere for a little cheaper than through a regular dealer. On the other hand, there's no returns on ebay if the gear don't fit. Give that a try.


Do your first meet in belt and wraps. Get some lifts passed and have fun. We never start a lifter out in gear.

I personally do not subscribe to either of the ideas of getting an inferior outdated shirt (EHPHD) because it is easier to learn, or buying the tightest equipment you can stand for your first experience in gear.

For starters, at this point, you don't even know what constitutes tight, in relative terms, or how it should fit (ie. where it should be tight) to maximize performance.

Additionally, suits and shirts can be taken in. All it requires is a competent tailor who understands what you are trying to get the material to do.

My advice would be to purchase a stock Centurian and F6.

The NXG Super Plus material is pretty stout, and can take a seasoned lifter several weeks to consistently get depth in it. If you can, I would suggest buying an NXG+ to start out.

I probably wouldn't even consider a Katana bench shirt at your current level.

Bottom line, if you don't descend tight and fast in your squat in the new Super Plus material, you are going to have trouble, so you better start out with a relatively loose fit, and alter the suit as your strength level and competence comes up.

Depending on the federation you are planning on competing in, newbs starting out in tight gear almost always equals a bomb, or tough meet because they are going to have gear related technical problems that will probably result in turned down lifts.

Correspondlingly, spending your hard earned cash on a bench shirt that is obsolete the moment you break the seal is silly. Just buy a looser fit F6, learn the shirt, and tighten it up as you go.

In case you are missing my point, you are much better off buying good stuff, starting out with a relatively loose fit, and tightening it up as you get stronger and more confident.


I agree with everything apwsearch said. I personally would choose a Super+ Centurian and a Katana, but that is simply me. I have nowhere NEAR the experience he has, so I'd suggest ignoring my advice!

Your first meet will be difficult enough without equipment complicating things. Looser gear allows you to get bigger and still use it, and you still get protection and carryover.

A snug bench shirt can be jacked to the max to give big carryover, often the same as a beginner or intermediate lifter would get out of a very tight shirt.

And it doesn't matter how much a suit adds to your squat if you can't get white lights for depth.

Looser gear gives you the option of jacking or taking in the gear to get more out of it. You can grow and still use it. You don't have any options with tighter gear except to get much stronger or bomb.