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Single Ply Shirt Training

Was going to just DM @corstijeir but figured I’d post up on here in case this info is helpful for anyone else.

I’ve got a new guy I’m about to start coaching who is just getting into single ply. Now, I’ve benched a grand total of 2 times in a shirt and made it very clear to him that this would be a big learning curve for both of us.

He did his first single ply meet (has several years of raw competition experience and is an active judge and meet director, not a newb to PL) and expressed that his previous coaching left a lot to be desired. I think he said the guy had him in his shirt 2-3 times in the 12 week prep for the meet. He was in an old Super Katana for that prep and is getting an F6, which I understand is a more entry level shirt.

So here are the questions…

How many “touches” does a bench shirt have in it before it will loose pop? I know this is a vague question but even a wide range can help. Are we talking 10-20 touches or 100-200? That sort of thing.

I’ve found that Inzer makes some cheaper “training” shirts (blast, HD blast). Would something like this be useful for getting more touching reps in for practice work?

What are some effective raw benching methods that target that 0-3 inches off the chest groove range in a shirt? He mentioned this being the most difficult region, that once weight is past that it’s fine. I’m thinking something like aggressive reverse bands that are set up to only kick in on the lower half of ROM, maybe even set up to pull back some like how you have to fight a shirt from dumping backwards.

Any and all help is appreciated!

Inzer ( at least the SDP and phenom multiply ) are like race cars,they perform very well but require frequent maintenance, ie tightening the chest plate back up.

Depending on numbers being pushed a single ply shirt shouldn’t need to be “tightened” back up unless it just blows out. Which at that point just replace the shirt.

My Katana has a ton of customization to it ( I actually want to get more done ) and for the last 40 weeks. I’ve put in at least 3-5 work sets at various rep ranges every other week. So there is at least 100 reps and it’s still the exact same stiffness. I’d say I’m probably on the verge of 250 reps, I could add them all up but I wont right now. I’d say you should be able to get at least 2-3 years out of a solid shirt.

No, the grooves are entirely different. IMO

Welcome to shirted benching. Patience. Patience is key. You’ve got to build the muscle and coordination for that range.

Some examples:
I got in this shirt 40 weeks ago for the first time

385 5x5 3 board

425 36 weeks ago touch

415 33 weeks ago touch

475 off a 3 board 14 weeks ago

460 touch 6 weeks ago

My body weight went up around 15lbs between start and current. The shirt fit “looser” then than it is now ( I still have some arm room to grow into )

What you’re going to notice is patience. You can’t rush the touch, sure if it goes down quick great but that doesn’t mean anything. For example:

Watch the last 2 slides:

Notice how the quality of reps changed between the videos. Rushing is going to lead to a mess.

Air boards is the way to go to practice in the shirt IMO. Basically you just work the groove as far as you can go, take an extra second or two and then press. It almost becomes a spoto press.

I will say I think it’s better to start with a fairly loose shirt so you can “learn” the groove but nothing, and I mean nothing is going to beat patience and time under the bar. It’s going to depend on how the lifter recovers but every other week up to 2/3 weeks in the shirt should be doable for someone sub 550 bench. You might find over that 1/3 is the way to go.

After that very last video above, I had to lay down for 15 minutes for my body to come out of shock. Jimmy Kolb in his single ply will puke after some of his sets. He’s benching 1k for REPS and his shirt holds up fine. He even throws on some really old shirts now and then to get a break from the super tight gear.

The most important thing is queues and learning the groove. You’ll hear my hand off guy yell “stay in the bubble” a lot. somehow it just works for me, my brain turns it into my stomach is the bubble and the bar/elbows are parts of the level, It’ll turn 3D in my head in the event one arm is going lower quicker than the other. you’ll also hear belly up, tuck, flare, etc.

@tasty_nate i’m always happy to consult with you on some of his videos, Jimmy Kolb is good about questions, Jo Jordan, and so many others as well.

Ask anything else!

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FWIW, I agree…touching requires patience…a LOT of patience depending on shirt sizing.

I wear a Super Katana 48, which for me is a competition fit by Titan sizing.

I had an F6 also. Good shirt to learn in provided sizing is correct. Whatever his chest size I’d suggest a size or 2 bigger. F6 is an inexpensive option to learn in before going with a more expensive shirt.

Training I’d suggest 2 board every other week for a few singles. There shouldn’t be a ton of break in if he buys the right size. As he gets more comfortable, drop it to a 1 board. Try and touch the 1 board with the 2 board weight and so on until he’s ready to touch. Things change drastically when that shirt starts to lock up. This requires good technique and patience.

Just remember as the shirt begins to tighten up you start tucking those elbows or it’ll never touch. Just don’t give up. It is by far more difficult than learning a squat suit.


Guys this is freakin gold, thanks for the input!

@corstijeir re: the blast/HD blast shirts, that’s good to know! Sounds like since “loosing the pop” isn’t an issue (he’s a sub-400 bencher) breaking in and working his new shirt more frequently will be the way to go.

I’ll probably be posting on this thread more once I start having more questions and such pop up.

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