I never understood the point with power pants, some of the worlds strongest olympic squatters never used them. If you have any pains, listen to your body, and use time and patience to work around it. I’ve been squatting for nine years, and had all kinds of pains, hip-pain, back-pain, knee-pain etc… But that comes with the territory, if you are patient and willing to learn from your experiences, then you will preserve. Have a long term view. Squatting heavy tomorrow, if your body is not ready for it because of pain, then you need to heal, and then slowly progress again.
There is no need to use these for “hip protection”, and if you are happy if you can squat more with them, then it is just weird, it is not like you become stronger when you use them. Your max is still your max, and if you can lift 10 pounds more with power pants, I don’t get what kind of happiness you would achieve from that.
I don’t get what kind of happiness you achieve from bouncing chump weight off your heel for sets of 20, but hey- whatever makes you happy is your own business brother.
As for wearing supportive gear to mitigate injuries in training, it works. Most of these great Olympic lifters you speak of are physically unable to perform at a national or world level by the time they are in their 30s. The joints and connective tissues have accumulated too much trauma by then. They can listen to their bodies- but the body will tell them to give it up and take up a less abusive hobby- most do. However, we know that a man can stay strong and get stronger well into his 40s and even 50s if he can put on some briefs, wrap his knees, and maybe put on a bench shirt. For a personal perspective, I tore my left pec a month ago benching raw. It wasn’t a seperation from the bone- just a rupture in the muscle belly with some internal bleeding, some swelling, and a little pain. Benching raw- even to a 2 or 3 board- was pretty painful- but in a shirt I could still train. One week after the tear, I was training hard again. Two weeks out, I hit a small PR benching full range with reverse bands. Three weeks out, I smoked a 40 lb PR off a 2 board. Absent a shirt, I would just be getting around to training heavy now.