T Nation

Horrendous Bench Lockout


OK well first of all thanks to everyone who has been giving tons of help lately! I don't mean to spam the wall it's just that I am a bit new and really want to get things straight.

So I am learning my first bench shirt (44 fury) @83kg jr IPF. Now I have a raw bench of around 290ish. So my problem is that in my shirt I have trouble touching anything light. My max is 350 (just set that PR yesterday) and it was a friggin struggle! The weight shoots up off my chest and honestly I am only straining for the last like 2 inches... Like a 5 board height! So my question is whether there is any point to doing like a 4-5 board??? Just feels like ROM is so short that it won't do me any good. I will put up a vid next week to allow for better critique but any advice would be super appreciated!


No advice for your bench since mine sucks ass but are you going to be at World Junior's in Moosejaw?


It sounds like board press is exactly what you need.

Also, it will probably take a little time to get totally used to the shirt.



Good stuff.


Especially since you are new to the shirt, keep working full ROM. You need to learn the groove and you can't do that with boards. Do whatever you want for assistance work but the main shirt work NEEDS to be to your chest. I would suggest reverse bands and chain work.

With the full ROM work you can better work on your competition technique as well. Use the boards too much and you will adapt a technique that is better for boards. Not competition. This is why a lot of bench only guys bomb out in my opinion. You see videos of guys hitting 60 billion pounds off a three board then can't get anything to touch in a meet. Those guys have shitty technique.

I think more advanced guys can benefit from doing board work just because their technique is going to be better than someone who just started using a shirt. Even with the boards, they can maintain full ROM form.

Finally, lockout is all triceps (and form). Work the shit out of those every bench workout.


Agree with STB and second the use of reverse band work. I like to pause my reverse band work because it really teaches you to explode off of your chest and drive through to lockout, which is exactly what you have to do in the shirt.


Sweet thanks for the advice guys. Now as far as getting it to the chest... I need near max weights to do that! You think its ok to do this once or even twice a week? Or is that overkill?


By the way, do you have a competition coming up soon?


I'd say stick with whatever routine was working for you. Or maybe have a geared and non-geared day.


Two times a week in the shirt is too much in all likelihood. If you just got the shirt, I'd try to get into it every other week or so. Eventually, you'll be able to touch lighter weights as the shirt breaks in. Just let the collar ride up on your earlier attempts and make sure that the shirt is totally seated in your armpits. As the weights get heavier, you can play with pulling the collar down and unseating the pits of your shirt.

That said, don't expect to touch light weights. I can touch about 90% in my meet shirt and no less. If you are able to touch light weights, i.e. less than 85% to 90%, you probably aren't getting as much as you otherwise could out of the shirt.


There's an article on Elite FTS that Vincent Dizenzo wrote about doing shirted triples on a single breath to get a shirt to touch...it works! It works even under less than ideal conditions. I got a Super F6 a few months back and I didn't think I was going to be able to get it to touch, but I got 315 after using this method and I didn't bother trying to go any lighter but I bet I could get less to touch.

In a perfect world you'd have someone who is familiar with shirted benching watching you...you'd take out the weight and lower it and when the shirt locks up, they'd give you the press command, as soon as it's locked out they are screaming "DOWN DOWN DOWN" and SURPRISE SURPRISE the bar WILL sink lower...repeat for 3 reps and by the 3rd rep that weight should touch.

Go find the article and try it.


Just out of curiosity, how much more weight does a shirt add to a person's raw bench? Is there any sort of standard percentage it increases someone's lift? Sorry, maybe a stupid question, just never used a shirt or wanted to so haven't put much research into it.


Depending on how well you know a shirt the more it can add. For me it adds 55lb to my max. Now this is for a single ply poly shirt. Some guys get more than 100 out of a single ply poly. In some other feds guys lift in ridiculous shirts that can give like 300... Sooo big variation!


wow... alright thanks for the answer. I had a friend who trained with some geared lifters said they averaged about 100 pound increases with shirts on their bench, but wasn't sure if there's a common percentage increase people experience or not.

Also, out of curiosity, what made you choose to lift with a shirt?