T Nation

The tired issue of gear (pretty long)

Because iamnobody doesn’t wish to continue this via pm, but rather issue insults…

The bottom line with gear:
People use it because they wish to. They are the ones who a paying their dues, literally & figuratively, and thus it is up to them. There exist a huge variety of feds with a variety of rules and any powerlifter can pick anyone he chooses. A lifter shouldn’t have to defend his personal choices. It is enough that he is putting himself out there, against competition, on the platform.
Most of the feds. allow some form of gear that “enhances” one’s so-called raw total. If someone wishes a lot of serious competition, he is going to have to go with an established and large fed, most of which allow gear (excepting the AAU, I think). It is foolish to bring a knife to a gunfight. Powerlifting has involved gear since I have been alive (i.e. 26 years)…that, IS the sport. The sport INVOLVES gear. And, the gear evolves (and new feds spring up for the interested).
Furthermore, gear isn’t an automatic strength booster. Gear requires technical mastery, something many powerlifters enjoy pursuing. Anyone who uses a tough shirt will tell you that the bench press becomes the most technical of the 3. Some enjoy the challenge. All of one’s fellow competitors have to deal with the same problems. It is not unfair or any such hogwash.
Training raw with heavy weights beats you up over a lifetime. I’ll take the word of lifters far more experienced than I on this, as I wish to be competing well into old age.

 The thing that irritates me the most regarding this whole 'gear issue' is that people always make such claims that a 500lb shirted bencher can only REALLY bench 450.  Well, among his competitors and within the federation, the bench is what the fed. defines it.  It's not written in stone anywhere that a bench must be in a t-shirt, without an arch, no leg drive, no chalk, without his corrective eyewear.  The only thing that matters is context.  I know a lot of lifters that don't know their "raw" bench because they never test it.  WHy should they? It's not the sport that they are playing.  Who does that hurt?  Again, choices...
  Another trait of those who criticize or doubt those in gear is that they tend to be spectators, i.e. they never put themself out there.  Why not?  If it is so important, do it.  If a 13yo girl outlifts you, so be it.  Powerlifters are a pretty welcoming group and the general attitude I have gotten is one of support & encouragement regardless of strength level of "choices" involving gear (check out Dave Tate's contribution to this site).  How often do you hear the strongest of the strong belittling those who don't compete in gear?  Why is it always 150lb. guys who can't squat to save their life who detract from those who use gear? ENough of the "yes, he's strong, but..."  He's strong or he isn't and his standing amongst his competitors should be good enough.  I'd just say put up or shut up. If the lifts of guys participating in a sport in which you don't compete in concerns you so greatly, you have a couple of choices:
  1. Go lift in a raw fed… become a superstar.
  2. figure out why it bothers you so much, you may need to spend more time worrying about your own strength/performance
  3. bite the bullet, try a meet, and see what it’s really about
  4. continue being bitter while everyone else gets strong.

I’ve competed raw and with gear. Good experiences in both circumstances.

and, iamnobody, you can still pm me. I live in NY. I’d be happy to train with you and you can see my pink bench shirt and give me that punch in the mouth you wish to give before I squat. :wink:
Or, alternatively, compete in the USAPL NJ bench meet coming up in a few months and we can see who’s what. Anyone else too, it’ll be a good time…

Just get strong and stop being so negative.

I hate gear debates…but any ways…WOW what a GREAT GREAT post…it was very well said and right on target…nice work bangs…now let me give you some thoughts…i will never be negative with any one on this issue there is no need if one wants ot ocmpete raw there are plenty of opprotunities…and if they have a ego problem with lifters who use gear there is a very very simple solution STRAP ON THE GEAR AND BEAT THEM…because i gurante you a equiped lifter does nto want to lift raw to prove you wrong…cause lifting raw sucks…its like playing in the nfl with out a helmet…

Furthermore, gear isn’t an automatic strength booster. Gear requires technical mastery, something many powerlifters enjoy pursuing.

****this is a perfect statement…and is my favorite part of the sport and let me tell you why…because like 2.5 years ago when i could raw bench like 315 i used to beleive well fuck if i had a bench shirt i could easy bench 400…so i orded me a bench shirt and guess what…i benched less in it the fist time i used…i tried 315 and got smashed several times…took off the bench shirt and benched 315 for 3 reps out of anger…it took me well over a year to master the shirt and near a year and a half to get 400 pound bench…and after 3 years of powerlifting i have just now found a bench shirt that actually gives me any carryover at all and during this time i have gotten my raw bench near 400 lol…and i know goldberg has had the same troubles…and about the squat suit dont even get me started because the first 100 reps i ever done in squat suit ended with me dumping the bar into the racks…lol…

Training raw with heavy weights beats you up over a lifetime. I’ll take the word of lifters far more experienced than I on this, as I wish to be competing well into old age…

this is very very true…thats why most strongmen wear supportive gear such as breifs and squat suits under there gear for health reasons…


well thanks for finally replying. you took my entire comments wrong to begin with. i respect all lifters who work hard. you just assumed for some reason that i was disrespecting her & saying everything she is doing is a farce. when i said she is a TWIG squatting 275, i meant it in a good way. a strong ass twig, i didnt mean it negatively. you probably get so pissy because you actually compete and must hear this alot.

i probably shouldnt have typed the comment… i agree, i had no intention of causing a gear debate, i was just curious of the thought…

on that note, “I” prefer no gear, “I” wonder how much it adds to certain lifts, “I” wonder why gear-meets recieve all of the attention while raw ones are almost unheard of (at least from what ive seen), “I” don’t like wrist straps in WSM or that sticky crap they use, “I” don’t like steroids in professional athletics. IIIIII*

a portion of this forum probably isn’t into “gear” as well, i remember a thread saying “im going raw!”.

the problem is you (or pl’ers in general) take everything as a threat or complete disrespect that questions your sport, if i had said it in a more offensive manner then i could understand why you got so bitchy about it.

and let me clear something up, just because someone doesnt attend or compete in a meet doesnt mean they dont have a valid opinion on this subject. maybe my mesely 300 squat since begining weightlifting in september of 2003 (at a 135 squat barely) is a little pathetic. hell, a lot of women out deadlift/squat/bench me, thats pretty sad. i bet some outlift you as well (hahaa you got outlifted by a chick). give me 2 years, tell me which apf meet you are at, and im going to destroy you. sounds like a deal? hah

and to keep ranting, this is nowhere near ‘that guy must be on steroids’ comments. if a pl’r admits he’s on steroids, puts up great ass numbers, wouldn’t you still question slightly and at the same time still give him his respect? on the other hand if a pl’r puts up great numbers and says he’s natural, and people say ‘he must be on roids’, that is entirely different. it’s the same in your sport, when i look at the picture i see her all wrapped up/suited/back belt etc, its just a g`damn question, it takes nothing away from them unless you say ‘that little shit couldnt have squatted 100lbs without that’, and thats not what i said.

get it?

also pm’s suck, let everyone read this and im glad you finally posted, and for that, i say thank you bangs! :slight_smile: as i said i would apologize, and i do, for any disrespect you thought i meant towards you or your pl’er sport buds.

different strokes for different fokes

and let me clear up i dont live in ny.

ok goodbye and let me continue to watch my basketball. see you in two years BANGZZZZ

It’s not really a gear vs. raw debate. I have nothing against raw lifting. ALL competition is good. The thrill of the hunt and cajones check…

The best are still the best. They would be the best without steroids, gear, etc. So who cares. I wonder when was the last time iamnobody competed.

The difference is if you have never used gear then you know absolutely nothing about it. Your opinion cannot be respected because it is an ignorant opinion. If you are wondering how much it adds, buy some, put it on, and see how easy it is to use. If you have not used it extensively, your opinion has no merit.

This discussion got me thinking what exactly happens if you lift for many years without gear at a high enough level (elite)? What sort of injuries occur? Is it just overuse?

I had always been critical of gear. It was always very frusterating seeing guys who could bench “nothing” raw, then get 150lbs out of their shirt, and they become big benchers. BUT, after years of beating myself up lifting without gear, I decided to use it and could not be happier. I am 40 years old, and can now expect to continue to powerlift well into my 50’s and 60’s. Since using gear on my ME days, I have experienced what pain free powerlifting is. No more NAGGING elbow tendonitis, pulled pec muscles etc…

As mentioned, it is not as simple as throwing on a shirt and adding 100+ pounds to your bench. I have gone through three different shirts to get the one that works as well as perfecting my technique…which still is not perfect.

I have adopted the “if you can’t beat em, join em” attitude.

Oh, you’ve been lifting since September. You must, by now, have an educated and experienced opinion. Are you a college sophomore by any chance? Check out the definition of “sophomore” and then you might understand.

Moreover, 2 years? What an empty challenge…that doesn’t take any balls.


Ask Jim Wendler/Tate about how beat up some of the WB boys are (from training raw most of their lives).

ya in that little amount of time, ive experimented tons, lifted hardcore, and seen my body mass go up 43 lbs and my lifts blow up. but again, that has NOTHING to do with the opinion of gear.


and no i never said it was “easy” to just put on the shirt and adds lbs. yes i know you have to find the groove of the shirt/blah blah and there is technique involved.

and goldberg, why dont you try reading my reply before asking some stupid shit like “when was the last time iamnobody competed”. if you read anything i typed, you would have seen where im coming from and known i never competed.

this debate changed course, because it was never a debate to begin with. the debate now is, “do you have to put on gear or compete in a pl meet in order to have an opinion on this”, and no, you dont.

i had asked about the question of gear in previous threads and never did one pl’r just briefly explain why they use it, so im glad bm/stupidbangs finally decided to. emphasizing the technique involved and making the sport more challenging, these are good reasons.

i’ll put it in caps so people like goldberg can see it when scrolling down to reply some stupid nonsense:



stupid anology: its like nba players now wearing state of the art shoes that actually add 10 inches to your vertical, but they cost 10000, i dont have to wear them or play in the nba with them in order to dislike the thought of them or use of them. realize this, and stop calling people ignorant, check yourself and your own brain before you mouth off.

o and bangs, i got balls bigger than your b*tchtits :DDD


Yeah, you have a right to an opinion…even an uneducated one. That’s the great thing about this country. Even the dummies get to be heard. You’re like a cop his first year on the job who thinks he’s knows everything.

But enough, your opinion is worthless and unnecessary to those us who actually participate or know anything about the sport.

Good luck squatting 300lbs. soon! You should train with that 12yo girl, since you two are more or less in the same spot.

iamnobody is kind of a tool.


this was never a debate to begin with, in fact this was completely worthless. you tried making it into a debate, but who is debating? no one.

complete waste of time.

bangs, you are a retard.

hmm… as a 20 plus year competitive strength athlete, i can say that i am somewhere in the middle on this. when i first started competing in the late 80’s, single ply suits and wraps were common, but shirts were not really around very much. injuries and the proliferation of more and more restrictive equipment soured me on the sport, especially the coming of bench shirts.

my last comp was in 1994, and i used a denim bench shirt, and at the time i thought that because i had to have help putting on my shirt and squat suit that the equipment had become the most outrqageous it could, and i did not forsee it getting any worse. boy was i wrong!

at the time, i felt that increasingl;y supportive equipment allowed one to lift far beyond there capabilities, which increased the risk of injury. i still feel that way to some extent.

however, now at 36 years old, and 10 years away form the powerlifting, i have recently ordered a loose single ply suit to help me train through reacuring back and groin injuries!

if i was ever to grace the platform again, it would probably be in the ipf, as there equipment standards and strict judging are more in line in what i feel is “safety” oriented rather than “performance enhancing”, lol!

here is an analogy that i think sums it all up. take a high jumper and a pole vaulter. both athletes compete in height events, but one uses only athletic ability the other athletic ability AND equipment. is the pole vaulter a better athlete thatn the high jumper caues he can elevate himself to 18 feet, while the high-jumper can only go 7 feet? of course not. BUT, the high jumper is no better than the pole vaulter because he uses no pole either.

the pole vaulter has to train differently that the high jumper, to get the most out of his equipment (the pole). for example, pole vaulters work a lot on there sprinting speed as high jumpers do not.

the “equiped” lifter trains differently to learn to use and get the mopst out of his equipment as well as train his body differently, for example, equiped benchers work far more on lockout strength and less on shoulder and pec strength that a RAW bencher. the raw bencher has to do more Full ROM stuff than the equiped bencher.

bottom line, two different sports, cant compare the two.

iamnobody-This isnt a board where your reply goes up immediately. I put that up after the first post was made. However I stand by my statement. If you have never used the gear, you have no business talking about it.

This thread is getting a little silly. Some people use gear and some don’t. Those that do use gear, use it because it is allowed and they want to have higher totals and in order to compete against other equipped lifters. The truth is if you go into a meet that allows gear and you do not use it you are going to have a tough time competing because of the work that the others have done to perfect the use of their gear and increase thier lifts. I recall reading on the Westside Barbell site that Louie Simmions had a double denim benh shirt in his office and he had yet to see that shirt bench even the bar by itself. I don’t think it’s right to criticize something that yo have never tried. The fact is the elite guys liek Gary Frank, Steve Goggins or Paul Childress are strong mo fo’s and could move serious weight with or without gear. They just choose to use gear because it may be safer than just a belt and it allows them to have higher totals. I say keep those totals going up and pushing the bar literally and figuratively higher. There are organizations that are totally RAW and people who compete in those organizations are also very strong. I don’t think it makes them better or worse than an equipped lifter it is just the choice they make a great TOTAl at a meet either with or without GEAR is still a great meet and something to be proud of. So kick some ass in the gym and on the platform with whatever you choose and keep those totals rising.

Stay Strong Folks

“If you have never used the gear, you have no business talking about it.”

Yeah, nice fucking attitude. Sounds pretty much the same as the arguement PtrDR and Montrosefan used when they couldn’t get anyone to agree that BB’ing was a sport. The whole, unless you’ve done it, you have no right to an opinion attitude is bullshit!

I have never worn gear, nor have I ever competed, nor do I plan to. So feel free to ignore my worthless opinion. Personally, I see no problem with people using gear. Anything that allows you to train and compete with heavy weights, while reducing the chance of injury and making you stronger, is a good thing. If everyone in a given federation follows the same rules about what kind of gear is allowed, then there is no unfair advantage.

What I take exception to is someone taking their lifts with gear, comparing them to someone’s else’s raw lifts and then claiming superiority because their total is higher. If someone else’s raw total is higher than your raw total, guess what, THEY’RE STRONGER THAN YOU!!

okay, i think you caught me on a bad day, but here i go…

i am fucking sick and tired of people busting into a thread just to say that the thread is stupic or should die, blah, blah blah…

if you dont like the thread, keep your freaking mouth shut and dont respond to it. there are a lot and i mean a lot of juvenile and silly threads on this forum, and i dont waste my time butting in and complaining about them.

dont like the thread,? shut the fuck up and go post on the ones you deem “worthy”.


That thing about comparing raw totals is not necessarily true. You are assuming that STRENGTH is some single faceted trait a person possesses. Likewise, if two guys wear the same gear and one outlifts the other, is the winner the strongest?

The whole thing misses the point of regulated competition.

Anyhow, iamnobody, hurling insults at me will not get you closer to that elusive 300lb. squat. Shut up & lift.