T Nation

New to Shirts... Have a Question


i have read the bench shirts guide thread- a lot of great info in there. i feel my question was not quite answered in there, so's i have one to ask. 1st off- about me: i will be 30 in 2 weeks, i have been lifting since about age 13, i am 6' and weigh around 285-290. i have a raw touch and go bench of 525. about 4 weeks ago i ordered the apt apex single ply shirt(my 1st shirt)- and cant even touch with 6 wheels PER SIDE.

SO, i ordered a titan fury, and when it arrived last wednesday, the ziplock it came in said FURY SIZE 58, but i open the bag and its a F6 size 58, well, i am a flat back bencher- no arch. So, i called this morning, and was fixin to order a fury 58, when the gentleman says with a 525 raw(and no 58 fury avail) i should go with a 58 super katana, i said OK since i sure as hell cant find a fury to save my life- and local guys tell me the super k is awesome. So, i have a 58 super katana straight sleeve on the way.

my question is: i read alot on here about the correct 'groove'- and that with a super katana, i need to be 'spot-on' - or i may bomb out. does anyone have experience with the super katana straight sleeves that can give me some sort of idea as to the optimal zone to touch the bar at? remember- i am VERY NEW to using a shirt. I read about the angled sleeve super k on the bench shirts thread- i am interested in experiences with the straight sleeves. thank you.


holy shit on the touch, did you board train at all? you need, need, NEED to break that shirt in, it may be months before you ever touch, if you have, sorry for the comment. Also, this advice was given to me about katanas, if you are new to the shirt, give it back and get something diffrent, its hell man. I used a katana, and Its a bitch if your not experienced with a shirt. when I used the reg. katana, Iwas going to fgar down, because I am more of a belly bencher, and I had to got closer to the KATANA emblem, now this was what I had to do, and I still couldnt touch, so if all possible, keep that katana new and use the apt. Thats my advice, take it for what you want.



Is there any possibility you can find a group of lifters where you're at to help you? That would be your best bet. I would think a Super Katana would be pretty tough for a first shirt, but if you have guys that know them they should be able to help you.


First off: +1 to Matt; your best bet is to find an experienced crew and do some training with them. There are several good groups in California, and even if you have to drive a ways it is well worth it for at least a session or two. An hour, hands on, with someone who knows what they are doing is worth more than all of the help you could possibly get over the internet.

If you are running any sort of modern single ply poly, you are likely to have a significantly supra-maximal touch weight, especially if you are flat backed. I would be a little surprised if you could touch only 60 lbs over your raw max in a regular fitting shirt. I am an arched bencher, and I usually try to have a single poly touch around 100 lbs over my raw max.

If you are just starting out, and are planning on lifting flat-backed, you may consider moving up a size on the shirt. A looser shirt of any design will make it easier to touch and as your shirted technique improves, you just get tighter and tighter versions of the same shirt. It is better to get 70 lbs you can count on than 120 that may or may not get you bombed.

To your question: A straight-sleeve Super Katana had a surprisingly low groove on me. I was touching right at the lowest point of my ribs, and struggling to keep it IPF-legal. If I moved up to where I lift raw (just below the nipple line) the shirt felt pretty dead to me. It had lots of stop, but little pop. Now remember that your mileage WILL vary because of varying biomechanics. Longer or shorter arms, length of ribcage, even body fat % all make a difference.

BTW LiftingLarge claims to have a 58 fury in stock:

Last but not least: Use 3 spotters. The side spotters must be attentive, and have their hands under the bar, but not touching it. It is very easy to lose control of a shirted bench, and some of the common mistakes leave you trying to french press a hundred pounds over your max raw bench. Seriously. Get some spotters you trust and make sure they are paying attention.


if you cannot find three spotters, find at least one good one and bench inside a power rack setting the pins just below were you touch weight in the shirt.


Ditto on getting with a crew of experienced lifters. A good hand-off and competant spotting- not to mention competant help in getitng your shirt set and real-time coaching- make a big difference.

As for as touching in a shirt, I disagree with some others above. I am a big believer in touching weight every time you shirt up. This is tough in a tight shirt- but it is critical for bringing results to the platform.


Agree with Pinto. I work with people all the time, in Katana's and in about 20 minutes have them touching weight they swore to me they would never be able to.

Touching comes down to technique. Most people don't understand how to tune up a bench shirt so they go for the tightest fit they can. This is largely a benchers mentality and account for a large percentage of the bombs you see.

Anyway, IRT the Katana, you when you get it, lay it down on a flat surface and pull the sleeves up. Take close note of where the seams are. You will want to place them in that spot on the arm.

Now, we use plastic bread bags but shopping bags are acceptable, as well. Put them over your arms with the handle down. Push the sleeves up as high as you can get them. I strive for 4 finger widths from teh tip of the elbow when it is bent. Never less and a little more is fine. The problem with these shirts is once you pull them over your head, that's pretty much as high as the sleeve is gonna get. You can pull it down once it's on but pulling it up is a bitch.

When you pull it over your head and pull it all the way down, have somebody grab the shir just behind the armpits and pull up. Now seat the pits by having somebody hold the shirt at the shoulder seam in the back and moving your arm forcefully across your body. It's a hard movement to describe but you will know when you are doing it right. Seat the neckline in a comfortable place where it is less likely to creep up and choke you but DO NOT pull it down.

As a flat backed bencher in that shirt, your biggest challenge is going to be getting your upper back tight enough to fight against the shirts natural tendency to push your chest down which is largely what is going to lead to your decapitation because the groove in the shirt is linear and you will end up only hitting it maximally midway through the movement which equals face dump.

What I do when I first put someone in a shirt is show them how I want them to set their lats and upper back. Pull your shoulders down to your hips and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

As the bar is coming down, think about pushing your chest up to meet it. Use a max legal grip and get big air before you descend.

Now what I will do is have you lower a reasonable weight as far as you can before you start to collapes your chest. Then we press up.

This will teach you to feel when this is happening and begin to self correct. This is waht you need to learn to fight in this shirt.

Gradually, you will get tired and your natural resistance to the descent of the bar will decresase.

Eventually, you will touch.

Also, when you are descending in a shirt you are feeling for the path of most resistance. You need to be stubborn and determined about putting the bar right on that spot. Many lifters never get optimal performance out of a shirt because they collapse their chest and let the bar drop below the path of most resistance. This leads to sub optimal pop off the chest and basically a loss of assistance at lock out.

Like these guys said, get at least a competent spotter and a power rack. The problem is if you have a spotter who has no experience spotting people in a shirt, he may not recognize what is going on until it is too late. I guess what I am saying is do your self a favor and set up in a power rack. That way if something catastrophic happens, it will be an "oh shit," instead of "Holy shit, get the mop."


I'm preparing to use a shirt for the first time in a contest later this month and from what I experienced, the advice here is spot on.
I'll add a couple of things:
The shirts seem to break in fairly quickly, so even if you aren't able to touch right away, you may be able to after 3-4 times in the shirt.
If you can't get three spotters, it may be possible to bench in the rack and have it set below your chest height but above you face. This saved me a couple of times when I tried to french press a weight greater than my max. I'd still say get the spotters if possible though, especially with the weights you are using.


thank you all for the awesome info. :slight_smile: I just found out that the super training gym is where i live- in sacramento. the gym i train at is like a commercial gym- kinda a foo foo gym. I have been using the rack- and luckily i havent missed a lift yet(but im sure i will). i thought i had read-up pretty well on the shirts- bought the APT- really tight- and was pulling hard to get it down- no luck- my dad told me probably 7 plates a side to touch- and i tried the f6- which actually made it harder to lift weight then if i had no shirt at all. I shoulda just sent it back- but i was SUPER STOKED- so i just ordered a 58 fury from plgearonline- be here aug 12, and the super k will be here the same day. the APT is 56, the 2 titans i ordered are 58...liftinglarge.com is the spot that sent me the f6 on accident.

i have NEVER done board presses- but i CANT WAIT!!! im going to do them this weekend!! i have been reading a lot about it- for about a year now.

once again- thank you guys for the great info.


Off topic, but threads like this are what shows that the strength sports section is hands down the best section of this website. Now back to your regularilly scuedueled programming.


Dude, if you are in Sac definitely get over to Super Training. I believe Mark helped Ken/Titan design the Super Katana so he'd be the man to see about it.

Good luck, I'm jealous


Yeah. Basically, problem solved.


Lucky bastard, I would love to train at least once with those group of guys. best of luck man.


lol good luck over there man, keep us posted!


LOL!! thanks guys- i just called the midtown gym today and got marks #. i just got home from work tho- and they are working out- so i will shoot him a call tomomorrow- im pretty stoked! the fury just arrived, and the super k will be in tomorrow. awesome! :wink:


Fantastic. Keep us posted.