T Nation

Learning the Katana... Any Tips?

So, I’ve got a new custom Katana and three sessions in, I’ve only been able to touch weight once that I could actually press. The shirt feels broken in enough, but for some reason, I just haven’t been able to get it to work for me so far.

I’ve used a custom Fury for a number of years and absolutely love that shirt. I seem to get a lot of support out of the Katana at the top end of the bench, but there just doesn’t seem to be any pop off of the chest. In the Fury, I’ve always relied on generating a lot of speed off of my chest to carry through to the lockout. With the Katana, I just don’t fee like I’m getting any real pop off of my chest. It’s not a tightness issue as I’m certainly having trouble touching weights, even when the shirt isn’t totally belted down. I’m wondering if I should ditch it and just get a new Fury instead. If a lack of pop off of the chest is typical of the Katana, I’m not sure it is for me…

Any one have ideas on how to get used to this shirt? Is it typical in this shirt to feel little explosion off of the chest?

Is your Katana a Single or Double, Open or Closed back?

I’ve found that the Katana has a ton of pop out of the chest when jacked. In fact I got almost the same out of a Single Play, Closed Back Katana as I did with a Double Ply Metal Viking.

I do notice that when jacked, it’s tough to touch, or tougher than other shirts like Metal for example.

I’ve never tried the F6, but most guys that I know that have thinkthat the Katana blows it away, especially off the chest.

It is a single-ply, closed back shirt.

Hey Barrett,

Post up your question on the Super Training forum too. We have a number of guys using Katanas.

[quote]JimMcD wrote:
Hey Barrett,

Post up your question on the Super Training forum too. We have a number of guys using Katanas.[/quote]

Good idea. I’ve felt pretty good about my bench the last couple of years, but my recent shirt sessions have left me sharing Hoss’ sentiments – benching is the lame part of powerlifting where you get to lie down between the real lifts.

I have made a similar observation about the 2-ply katana. It’s the best 3 board shirt I’ve ever used. But where I touch- upper abs- there is shockingly little pop.

[quote]Pinto wrote:
I have made a similar observation about the 2-ply katana. It’s the best 3 board shirt I’ve ever used. But where I touch- upper abs- there is shockingly little pop.[/quote]

I noted that in your gear review. Others I have talked to have told me that they’ve just crushed weights off of 2-4 boards, but that it has been an entirely different situation when they’ve taken weights all the way to touching.

I was thinking some more about it and wondering if not belting the shirt down, plus still touching at my upper abs took me entirely off of the shirt’s bubble. That could explain the total lack of pop off the chest.

Oh, if your not belting then the shirt can ride up massively on the last 2 inches and not give much. Also it doesn’t give much outside of the bubble so you may need to jack it down a bit to have it in the right spot. Might have a bit of trouble touching the right spot for a while if it’s belted, but it’ll break in a little bit more if you’ve only worn it like 3 times.

You absolutely HAVE to have the shirt belted down. I can touch easier with a belt on that without (the chest plate creases really badly without one and I can’t touch anything).

You need to pull the front of the shirt smooth with a belt in place ready to be closed, stick your arms straight otu and reach up for the ceiling and then belt it. That’ll pull the collar up high and leave it there, once you set up on the bench it’ll pull out all the creases.

As noted aleady, if you don’t hit the bubble, support will be minimal.

Now… for the controversial part. I feel I get more “rebound/pop” out of my F6, but I’m press a fair bit more in my Katana. When I first made the transition I was alot slower off my chest with the Katana. Once I started to add back in some speed work, learn where to touch properly, stay tight and strengthen my lats/upper back things picked up a lot.

One of the biggest problems I had was staying tight and getting the bar to my chest. I was going slack to get a touch, but that left me in a crap position to press. You REALLY need to press as hard as possible off your chest to get the max out of the shirt. You can’t just let it carry you to mid range.

I would consider my f6 and “explosive” off the chest shirt with not much mid range support. My Katana is what I’d call my “slow start” shirt which carries me all the way thru the lift.

I’ve heard the same thing about F6’s, that they provide more pop off the chest. Unfortunately the experience of the lifters who said that was that they got about 10 good benches out of the shirt(benches, not sessions) and then it lost “it”. Katana seems to stretch out initially and then just stop stretching, so they’ve moved on to them rather than having 6+ shirts of the same size.

Looks like I’m the only one that thought this was about a yard-long razor blade.

/me wanders off to do something else.

Thanks for the responses. I must have been coming down off of the bubble of the shirt. My concern is that to come down on the bubble of the shirt, with this particular shirt, I may need a weight I have no chance of pressing to get something to touch. My new Katana is a custom from Titan and I told them to make it a competition fit, which is the tightest fit Titan provides. The sleeves on the shirt are not terribly tight, but the chest panel is really, really small.

I’m wondering if the solution may not be to just order a stock size that’s on the looser side, get used to working with the shirt and the new material and then go back to my custom as I get used to the more supportive shirt. I’m generally really strong off of my chest with lockout troubles so if I can get a shirt to work that provides more support throughout the entire range of motion, that will be a good thing.

Hanley, that’s a good tip on how to work with the shirt. I’ve got one bench session left before my next meet in two weeks. The meet is a tuneup, so I’m not against using gear that I’m not totally comfortable in. I’ll try your suggestion and see what happens. Has anyone had luck with wetting down the chest panel?

Where about on the shirt is the “bubble”? I was going down to where the IPF approved logo is which is just below the sternum last night. I’m taking it that that’s a bit too low. Is it about right where the Titan name is when the shirt is pull down? I’m using the A/S since I arch.

Any other tips to jack the shirt up? I just found out that the seams should start right under the arm and end up in the middle of the biceps when your arms are straight out with your palms down. does pulling the sleeves out of the armpits a bit help tighten it up even more?


Most of our guys shoot for that logo.

Here was the answer that the OP got on our forum: http://supertraininggym.com/mbbs22/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=554&posts=14&mid=7846#M7846

Great stuff on there. Thanks for the link! One other question I forgot to mention. It takes a long ass time to get that bar down to touch. During the decent what’s the best way to breathe. I find it’s a long time for one long inhale.