T Nation

Shirted Bench Help


I'm having a lot of trouble with tight shirts. I am again trying to dial one in for a possible meet on December 11th.

I got this single ply Fury on the 'Net for a good price and sent it to Titan for them to reduce it from a 44 to a 43. I get the thing back and the sleeves are tight as hell.

I have a loose 44 which I'm getting like 25-30 lbs carryover from. A 42 was too damn tight (tried one).

From this video you can see what typically happens as I try to bring the bar down fast (here to a 2 board). I lose the groove and dump the bar downwards.

This is the first time trying the shirt. Hopefully it will get better as I break it in.

Should I try to loosen the sleeves? Should I bring it down slow and when it locks up on me, press it back up? Questions questions, I've got lots of them. Please help! This is really getting to me



Here's the link to the vid:


It looks to me like you have little control of the bar on the descent. Taking the weight down quickly is a good idea IF you can control the bar path, something that it doesn't look like you are able to do. I'd focus on lowering the weight more slowly, control the bar path, keep it in the groove and when the shirt locks up on you, press the weight back up. I like doing this without boards so you can feel what will happen with the shirt when you're actually competing -- for me, boards tend to change my groove. Work through a couple of sessions, adding weight each session until you can get something to touch. If you can't press what it takes to touch after 4-5 sessions in the shirt, it is probably too tight for you.


I'm not a natural bencher so I spend a lot of time playing with shirts. I recently inherited a custom super katana. When I first put it on, it was too tight and I pretty much did what you do. I felt like I couldn't flex/flare my lats and my elbows pulled in. I couldn't do anything with easy weights because I was worn out trying to control the shirt. I couldn't touch with any weight I could lock out.

I started playing with letting it ride up on my neck and chest so I'm getting pop from it but it's not so tight it throws me all over the place. Over time, I've been pulling it down increments at a time and finding the 'good' spot. If I pulled it fully down right away, it'd be useless to me. Even letting it ride up, I get more out of it than my last shirt. It just takes patience... plus a tolerance to being choked out when you bench. I get some pretty spectacular abrasions but it's working for me.


Looks like your grip is fairly close, but that may be the angle. Try widening your grip out abit, with a closer grip, the shirt is maxed before you can get to your chest. Also, you spend alot of time setting up, then on the handoff your shoulders pop right back up. Focus on rolling under on the handoff, which will retighten the back and keep the shoulders down.

On the descent, don't think about bringing the bar down, focus on bringing your chest up. Use your back to bring the bar down and dont let gravity do any work.


I don't know a whole lot about powerlifting, but I feel like I've gotten lucky and am actually able to get seom decent carryover from a bench shirt so I'm going to try and help you out.

First of all, in my opinion your set up sucked. When you get in a bench shirt you really need to keep your upper back tight to keep you from collapsing and to pull the bar down to your chest.

Secondly, you're benching what like 300 pounds? and your what like a 198r or 220r. I'm not trying to make fun of the weight your lifting but you can't touch with light weight and apparently it's just too damn light. grab three spotters, sack up, and keep putting weight on the bar until you can get it too touch. side note: If you want to touch with a lighter weight, don't have some one yank down on your shirt. Let it ride up a little.

From the video it looks like you're just letting the weight drop and you clearly lose it out the front and it falls on the board. as whats already been said lower the weight under control until the shirt stops the weight, at this point you can either press it back up, roll up to touch, or try to row the bar down to touch.

what's your raw bench and previous shirt experience? any videos of you benching not in this shirt.

ps. that shirt isn't tight.


I second the notion of the previous posters about your set-up and letting the shirt ride up a bit. On your set-up, really work on achieving and HOLDING as much arch as possible; REALLY flex your lats and keep your upper back tight; dig your traps into the bench, both to hold your arch and to keep your back tight. Control the bar, keeping it in the groove of the shirt.

When you let the bar wander out of the groove in order to touch, you completely defeat the purpose of wearing a shirt in the first place. Generally speaking, the higher up the shirt is, the easier it is to touch. The lower you pull the shirt, the more support you get and the harder it is to touch. I keep my shirt really high-in fact the front has big wrinkles in it-for my opener. Then, I pull it lower and lower for heavier attempts (ATTEMPTS often being the key word, sadly).


Some good advice here so far. But one point; why a Fury? That's pretty much the bottom of the single-ply hierarchy...I might get bashed by those saying "it's a good starter shirt" but really I just think it's a waste of money, especially to get it customized.

Start off with a loose AS Katana or Rage X, learn the shirt then work up to a tighter or Super variation or as Ouro said start pulling it down incrementally as you learn the groove and can touch lighter weights.

Obviously you still have a lot to learn about getting into proper position and just about everything else to do with shirted benching (and I wouldn't be surprised if your raw bench form was a work in progress). Start there about your choice of shirt.

Watch Dave Tate's "So You Think You Can Bench Series" in it's entirety, start here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byOk4OE_6uI


I really have no clue why people seem to think thicker and thicker is better for everyone. Go to an international meet, you'll see a lot of F6's and Fury's, trust me..it's not the "bottom of the single-ply hierarchy" although the F6 is more forgiving than the Fury..but a lot of people seem to forget theres been a lot of huge presses done in the early to mid 2000's with Fury's and F6's


My stock 2play Fury treats me pretty nicely:)