T Nation

Using the Katana

Hey guys, I acqured a new Titan Katana from one of my training partners a few months ago and have been slowly working my way into using it. Prior to that, the only experience I had with a shirt was a looser fitting Fury. I am currently able to get it down to a two board, but at that point, the shirt starts to pull me forward and I get out of the groove. Iv heard people on here talking about getting 200 lbs of carryover out of their Katanas and was wondering if people could chime in and give me some tips in handling this shirt.

For what its worth, I bench with a moderate arch and tend to want to touch the bar around or just above my zyphoid process. As soon as I finish paying my training partner for the shirt, I think I am going to cut the back open a little, as I have heard that this makes it easier to handle and since I have no plans of competing in any of the single ply feds with it, its no big deal.

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Take a spray bottle of water and wet the chest plate. Spray the seams where the sleeves meet the chest plate from the top of the shoulder to the armpit and from the collar down to the logo. Guys in our gym are able to touch with about 20-30lbs less than with a dry shirt.

  2. Don’t jack the collar of the shirt down. In fact, let the shirt ride up to your adams apple if needed.

  3. Don’t wear a belt, yet. This stresses the chest plate even more, making it harder to touch.

  4. Turn your palms down when putting your arms into the sleeves. This takes pressure off the chest plate.

This is how most of our guys get a new shirt to touch, regardless of brand. I would wait to cut the shirt. There isn’t a lot to be gained since the neck of a Katana is already scooped.

David

I’d agree with everything David said above except for point 3. Surprisingly leaving a belt off made it much harder for me to touch in my Katana. It would bind up really badly without a belt and create a crease right on the chest place so it was effectively double ply in that area.

What I did was to put a belt on, stick my arms in front of me straight out and lift them up so that my elbows were about at ear level, and THEN close my belt. It pulls the collar up high, but prevents the shirt from creasing up.

Other than that, the only big thing for me in the Katana is that you need to aim lower than you think you do. I’m not saying go to your belly button, but I’ve always found the groove to be quite specific, and if I touch too high by even an inch or two the bar still jumps off my chest but stalls at lockout.

I wouldn’t bother cutting the back either. It won’t make it easier to touch or jack. The soft back and the scooped collar make the shirt really easy to adjust. Just get someone to stand on a bench and pull the back of the shirt up while someone in the front yanks the collar down hard and then tugs the bottom of the shirt before closing your belt and you’ll be all set.

Hanley, David thanks for that.
I just got a Katana and managed to get the weight down to touch but it was tough. I’m using it again this week with boards to try and find the right path the bar needs to take. From what I’ve read, I understand it’s best to start with the elbows out when you unrack, then start tucking them as the bar travels downwards, what are your thoughts on this?
I know I was touching way to high and it caused excessive bruising to the side boobs. How low on the chest should I be aiming to touch with the bar?

[quote]dianab wrote:
Hanley, David thanks for that.
I just got a Katana and managed to get the weight down to touch but it was tough. I’m using it again this week with boards to try and find the right path the bar needs to take. From what I’ve read, I understand it’s best to start with the elbows out when you unrack, then start tucking them as the bar travels downwards, what are your thoughts on this?
I know I was touching way to high and it caused excessive bruising to the side boobs. How low on the chest should I be aiming to touch with the bar?[/quote]

I think I remember Wendler saying that starting with your elbows out and then tucking them actually locks a shirt up more. Not sure on that tho.

I’m by no means an expert in the shirt, but I have spent a bit of time in it, and think I’m beginning to understand how to use it. In the following vid the first rep to the board was spot on, and I aimed a tad high in the second one, making it hard on myself; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv6ur6KYYGQ

The one thing you absolutely have to be careful of when trying to touch low is that the bar (and your wrists) can NOT get ahead of your elbows. If your wrists get ahead of your elbows (towards your feet) then you WILL miss. Lead with your elbows, and whatever you do, don’t try to let the bar drift down lower by moving your wrists forward.

“forward” above = towards the direction of your feet/bottom of the bench.

Gotcha on the wrist/elbow thing. I’ve got long arms so if I let the bar get ahead of my elbows it would touch hip bones LOL.
I read that elbows out thing in an article on Critical Bench:
www.criticalbench.com/benchpress-shirt.htm
They are not talking about one shirt in particular though, any thoughts on the points given?
That’s one hell of a nice arch in your vid. I had problems getting a good arch in the shirt. It looks like you touch just below the nips, but with the angle and board it’s hard to tell.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
I’d agree with everything David said above except for point 3. Surprisingly leaving a belt off made it much harder for me to touch in my Katana. It would bind up really badly without a belt and create a crease right on the chest place so it was effectively double ply in that area.

What I did was to put a belt on, stick my arms in front of me straight out and lift them up so that my elbows were about at ear level, and THEN close my belt. It pulls the collar up high, but prevents the shirt from creasing up.

Other than that, the only big thing for me in the Katana is that you need to aim lower than you think you do. I’m not saying go to your belly button, but I’ve always found the groove to be quite specific, and if I touch too high by even an inch or two the bar still jumps off my chest but stalls at lockout.

I wouldn’t bother cutting the back either. It won’t make it easier to touch or jack. The soft back and the scooped collar make the shirt really easy to adjust. Just get someone to stand on a bench and pull the back of the shirt up while someone in the front yanks the collar down hard and then tugs the bottom of the shirt before closing your belt and you’ll be all set.

[/quote]

Thanks Hanley…I usually pull down towards the bottom of my sternum and the shirt tends to want to pull me further down once I get around 2 board range. Im guessing this is where the “bubble” is in this shirt and I need to pull it down to touch lower from the get-go? I guess working my arch up higher will help this too…

A couple things…

SH, do you want to cut the back to jack it even more, or so that it isn’t such a bitch to put on?

Hanley, any tips on arching?

[quote]buckeye girl wrote:
A couple things…

SH, do you want to cut the back to jack it even more, or so that it isn’t such a bitch to put on?

Hanley, any tips on arching? [/quote]

So I can jack it up more once I can touch in it and to make it easier to get on for the time being. Also, the back of the collar tends to dig into my back and cause unscratchable itching. I know Im a pussy for letting that bother me, but I have no plans on competing in any feds that require a closed back shirt and this shirt is just a stepping stone until I am strong enough to handle a double ply.

I’m probably one of the weirder benchers here and its still my weakest lift by far but I’ve found the Katana to be the best single-ply shirt out there by far. I’ve tried the Fury, F6, Viking Presser, Rage, Rage X’s and with the exception of the Presser haven’t had much luck.

Personally I’m a bigggg archer so I find shirts with little to no scoop in the neck hard to arch with as the bare skin on my upper back allows me to better stick to the bench…I really don’t find chalk all that helpful in that regard. For those who want to arch more I would suggest investing in a bench belt or using a regular leather pants belt, I find the thicker belts to be restricting when aiming for the bigger arch. I do a lot of my training without a belt, my Katana does slip some when doing reps, which creates creases in the chest plate and can change the groove of the shirt between reps so I think a leather belt would be the best of both worlds, for me anyway…might be something to consider.

Here’s some light reps from early this week, no belt. I’ll get a video of next Monday’s reps up from the side to show how I set up my arch.

[quote]dianab wrote:
Gotcha on the wrist/elbow thing. I’ve got long arms so if I let the bar get ahead of my elbows it would touch hip bones LOL.
I read that elbows out thing in an article on Critical Bench:
www.criticalbench.com/benchpress-shirt.htm
They are not talking about one shirt in particular though, any thoughts on the points given?
That’s one hell of a nice arch in your vid. I had problems getting a good arch in the shirt. It looks like you touch just below the nips, but with the angle and board it’s hard to tell.[/quote]

Because of the arch it’s deceptive, I’d be touching a few inches below my nipples. When I touch just below them the bar springs off my chest but dies at lockout cos of the position it’s in.

As for the article, I’ve honestly no idea!

[quote]Stronghold wrote:
Hanley wrote:
I’d agree with everything David said above except for point 3. Surprisingly leaving a belt off made it much harder for me to touch in my Katana. It would bind up really badly without a belt and create a crease right on the chest place so it was effectively double ply in that area.

What I did was to put a belt on, stick my arms in front of me straight out and lift them up so that my elbows were about at ear level, and THEN close my belt. It pulls the collar up high, but prevents the shirt from creasing up.

Other than that, the only big thing for me in the Katana is that you need to aim lower than you think you do. I’m not saying go to your belly button, but I’ve always found the groove to be quite specific, and if I touch too high by even an inch or two the bar still jumps off my chest but stalls at lockout.

I wouldn’t bother cutting the back either. It won’t make it easier to touch or jack. The soft back and the scooped collar make the shirt really easy to adjust. Just get someone to stand on a bench and pull the back of the shirt up while someone in the front yanks the collar down hard and then tugs the bottom of the shirt before closing your belt and you’ll be all set.

Thanks Hanley…I usually pull down towards the bottom of my sternum and the shirt tends to want to pull me further down once I get around 2 board range. Im guessing this is where the “bubble” is in this shirt and I need to pull it down to touch lower from the get-go? I guess working my arch up higher will help this too…[/quote]

Sounds about right!! When I get to a 2 board it tends to try and kick back towards my face (so it’s a possibility that you’re in the right area and just need to keep working/add more weight). How hard are you fighting to touch it?? You have to resist the temptation to just press as soon as you hit resistance.

As for the scratchiness (sp??), cut the size label out of the back. That usually irritates me too!

[quote]Power GnP wrote:
I’m probably one of the weirder guys here
[/quote]

Ain’t that the truth :wink:

What shirt were you wearing in that vid?

And Buckeye girl, I don’t really have any secrets. Try to arch from your upper back as much as lower I suppose. And watch how I set up, when I get my position locked in I push back up the bench with my feet which tucks my ass in a little bit more and really forces my arch up higher (and locks in the shirt too). When you do that, pull your feet back another inch or two as well and it should give you a really good base for some leg drive.

Total misuse of the quote function haha, its a fairly loose 44 A/S NXG super+ Katana.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Buckeye girl and I have many secrets.[/quote]

Really now, care to share?

:wink:

[quote]Power GnP wrote:
Total misuse of the quote function haha, its a fairly loose 44 A/S NXG super+ Katana.
[/quote]

Shit… it must be!!

Is that the shirt you wear in comp? I’m off to the gym now to get into my 44!

[quote]Power GnP wrote:
Hanley wrote:
Buckeye girl and I have many secrets.

Really now, care to share?

;)[/quote]

Touche good sir.

Couple of things:
The sleeves are important. The closer the sleeves are to your elbow, the harder it’ll be to touch. If you can get them up far enough that it tufts up near the shoulder, touching is a lot easier.

Keeping the elbows under the bar is crucial. The shirt seems to throw your shoulders forward if you don’t.

The shirt locks up in the groove really easily. If you can’t get a PR weight down in the sweet spot no matter how hard you try, try a bigger shirt instead of changing the bench to a compromised position.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Stronghold wrote:
Hanley wrote:
I’d agree with everything David said above except for point 3. Surprisingly leaving a belt off made it much harder for me to touch in my Katana. It would bind up really badly without a belt and create a crease right on the chest place so it was effectively double ply in that area.

What I did was to put a belt on, stick my arms in front of me straight out and lift them up so that my elbows were about at ear level, and THEN close my belt. It pulls the collar up high, but prevents the shirt from creasing up.

Other than that, the only big thing for me in the Katana is that you need to aim lower than you think you do. I’m not saying go to your belly button, but I’ve always found the groove to be quite specific, and if I touch too high by even an inch or two the bar still jumps off my chest but stalls at lockout.

I wouldn’t bother cutting the back either. It won’t make it easier to touch or jack. The soft back and the scooped collar make the shirt really easy to adjust. Just get someone to stand on a bench and pull the back of the shirt up while someone in the front yanks the collar down hard and then tugs the bottom of the shirt before closing your belt and you’ll be all set.

Thanks Hanley…I usually pull down towards the bottom of my sternum and the shirt tends to want to pull me further down once I get around 2 board range. Im guessing this is where the “bubble” is in this shirt and I need to pull it down to touch lower from the get-go? I guess working my arch up higher will help this too…

Sounds about right!! When I get to a 2 board it tends to try and kick back towards my face (so it’s a possibility that you’re in the right area and just need to keep working/add more weight). How hard are you fighting to touch it?? You have to resist the temptation to just press as soon as you hit resistance.

As for the scratchiness (sp??), cut the size label out of the back. That usually irritates me too![/quote]

The heaviest Iv taken it to a two board is with 365…and once I fought that down, it felt like the shirt threw it came up like an opener weight. Im going to be back in it again tomorrow so I will see if I can get video or something of it. Once I get to just above 3 board height, I struggle pretty hard to keep getting it down. Going to try a thinner belt tomorrow too and see if that helps with getting my arch up higher.

Make sure you aren’t bringing it down too slow either.