T Nation

Newbie Powerlifter Needs Advice


Hello all,

I just started powerlifting about a year and a half ago, and I was hoping someone could answer a few questions about squat suits. Before I ask my questions, let me give you a little background information. I started powerlifting in 2010 and entered my first competition (USAPL) last July. I weighed 145 pounds, competed raw, and squatted 275, benched 242, and deadlifted 335. Now, almost a year later, I weigh about 160 and have the follow gym lifts (just a belt):

squat 315 x3
bench 265 x1
deadlift 335 (my deadlift hasn't gone up but I switched styles, from conventional to sumo, and it took awhile for my sumo to match my conventional.)

I just bought a squat suit (Inzer TRX) and need some direction. My questions:

1) Is a squat suit supposed to leave welts? My thighs are torn to shit after just using it for one day.

2) I plan on competing again in July, and using a Korte 3x3 program to get me there. When should I incorporate my suit into training? The entire 8 weeks? The last 4?

Many thanks in advance for any advice!


I am guessing that you will be using knee wraps along with your squat suit? If so, if you have 8 true weeks of training ( I don't count meet week) then I would take the first couple of weeks and only use knee wraps. The next 2-3 weeks I would use the knee wraps and suit but with the straps down progressively lifting heavier weights each week. The last 2-3 weeks you should hit a single or double with the straps down then move to some heavy doubles or singles with the straps up. The final week every lift would need to be straps up.

People may choose to disagree with this and that is up to them. I felt that by easing into the gear I was more comfortable with heavier loads. Plan on adding weight with each progressive piece of equipment and as the weeks go on you should naturally get closer to your maxes. Use the week of the meet to rest and focus. That's my two cents.


1 - yes. embrace the pain, its part of the fun

2 - as I have not done my first meet yet, I cant answer.


Dixie and Smiley,

Thanks for the replies and advice. Now that I have welts all over my legs, I might as well go ahead and get them on my arms.

Is it too early for me to use a bench shirt? I can hit 265 raw@ 160 pounds pretty regularly. Too soon?


Don't be a gear whore.


I wouldn't say mentioning a suit, wraps, and bench shirt would necessarily make him a gear whore. That is pretty standard for anyone doing a single ply powerlifting meet. I am a raw lifter but when I lifted with any gear I used it all like he is.

As for the OP I would be getting into the shirt and start some board pressing. If you have never used one before you will need help getting it on and some spotters. Work into it a little lower and a little heavier every week. Watch some videos over it or get some help if you have never used one.


Sorry, if it takes you ten minutes just to put your hydraulics on, you're probably a gear whore.


No need to start this debate in this person's thread. Make your own thread, don't hijack.

As for OP, yes, it will leave welts. I bruise on my knees from wraps, hips, thighs, and shoulders from a suit, and tris and chest from a shirt. Part of learning gear is learning how to not panic from the discomfort.

When I first put on equipment, I spent a lot more time in it before a meet than I do now. It takes a bit of learning to figure out how to use it right, but now that I know my suits and shirts and how things need to be, I put on equipment maybe once a week the last six weeks before a meet - and that's if I've planned well and the meet doesn't sneak up on me.

As for when you're ready to put on a shirt - that's a respectable raw bench. I think if you want to compete equipped, you might as well try it out. Are you still gaining weight? If so, see if there is anyone around you with an old shirt for you to try out. It stinks to invest in a shirt and then grow out of it immediately.


Thank you PMPM for properly chastising the attempted thread hijacker. And I agree that OP should go ahead and start trying a bench shirt. If you are going to compete in gear, you only put yourself at a disadvantage by not using all the gear. I also thing the amount of time you spend in gear is somewhat dictated by how often you plan to / are able to compete. I only make about two meets per year, and training in gear for six to eight weeks twice a year just isn't enough. This year I did a cycle of training that imitated meet prep to have more time in gear, feeling heavier weight. It seemed to help.


I agree. I just did my first single-ply meet, and the guys I train with had me in gear as much as possible. I spent 3 weeks getting accustomed to the gear and took a deload before we even started our 13 week meet prep. Then I spent maybe 3 weeks with straps down no or light knee wraps, and the rest of the cycle was done in full gear doing singles - not every single needs to be a max - we only maxed out 2 or 3 times total.

The biggest thing is just getting used to the heavy weight - I did a ton of heavy supports. My best gym lift was 565, but I would put as much as 675 on my back and just stand and brace my core for 10 seconds.


This is me in the Inzer T Rex Double PLY... The answer to question one is yes, if it fits right... and the answer to question two is the last 4 weeks to learn the suit and make sure your technique is on point...


Khalid, Tom, DrJ, Push, and Smiley,

Thank you. These were exactly the kinds of comments I was looking for in this thread. I plan on competing in the NJ State Champs in Atlantic City this July. It's a USAPL run meet, so I'm guessing I'd better practice going deep in my suit.

I don't mind getting the welts and bruises, but it's really hard to explain to other people how you got them.


Proudly a gear whore.

Anywho, listen to PMPM, she knows things about stuff.


I'm sure I have the local reputation for being the girl who likes to get tied up.


I don't think you need to get your panties in a bunch.