T Nation

What's a Bench Shirt?


Maybe I'm a bit out of the loop on some things (I'd always thought of myself as well-informed),but what is a bench-shirt and how does it improve your lifts? Is it anything like wearing a belt?


A "Bench Shirt" is a lifting tool that
has found its way it power lifting. It is a shirt that you wear during the lift and is made of special materials. Now a days shirts can be made from denim, canvas, or multi-layered polyester. Many people order these shirts over the internet to their specific body measurements. The shirts
are usually extremely tight therefore given the athlete more support throughout the execution of their lift. In turn allowing them to push more weight because of the support and stability that is achieved by wearing the shirt.


they are cheating gear that allow you to cheat and lift more weight, more weight then you can actually do without a shirt and thats why they are considered cheating, but allowed at virtually every power meet in one material or another.

Before everyone jumps on me about that statement I also wear a bench shirt at meets ONLY so I can compete with the other guys wearing shirts.
If you've ever seen a bench shirt break mid lift the lifter ALWAYS get crushed, ALWAYS (which goes to my previous point)
hope this helps


You are not a very smart person. You basically just called yourself a cheater, but somehow the fact that you don't practice and learn how to ues the shirt makes it so much better. Yeah that makes a lot of sense.


yes a shirt is cheating but what's wrong with that ? that's how it's done . using a bat to hit rather then your frickn hand is also cheating. but that's how it's done. using a plane to fly -cheating. a surfboard to surf -cheating. a 2 foot cheater pipe to crack the axle nut on your chevelle -cheating. here's to the cheaters !


shirts are cheating, everyone knows that when you put on the magic shirt with a big "S" on the front, or "inzer" you magically get stronger, the strong guys from the days must get sick that these little wimps can put up the amount of weight that they can.

There will always be improvement in every sport, but gravity hasnt changed neither has movements, but clothing that restricts movement is allowed- total bull
By the way I currently am in the TOP 20 strongest drugfree lifters in America, go check, are you impressive, at all?
you probably type better though


So I take it wearing a shirt is big deal? I mean yeah, I guess it is cheating, but I suppose so are half a dozen other things we do to enhance our physique/performance.
I used to wear a belt all the time until it came out that they actually weaken you over the long haul. I can see how wearing a shirt on occassion would be helpful. Maybe on a day when I'm unable to go 100% or such.
I don't see the need to criticize someone for using one.


Something is only cheating if is against the rules or gives you an unfair advantage over your competition.


How do you know who's drug free and who's not? What list are you looking at?


Sorry, but that's a load of crap.


Exactly what I was thinking. A lot of guys competing in the WPO are drug free but don't compete in drug free feds because of lack of good competition.


Why is that crap? What are the facts on that?


So your either a cheater or a competitor. Which is it.

Why must it always be one way or another. I mean, if that's the way you choose to view gear, then using anything other than a standard O-bar should be outlawed. What's the difference between using a Texas Power Bar and a bench shirt?????

Facts are facts, a bench shirt is nothing more than a tool to supplement strength. Embrace it as such and it stays that way. View it as the only source of your strength and it stays that way.


How much does this help? How many lbs (approx.) can one lift more with this shirt on?



Not a good idea to wear a belt 100% of the time. But, selectively, say for some of your heaviest lifts, you should be fine and won't get "weaker" over the long haul. I think there are very few "absolutes" in lifting (i.e, never wear a belt... years ago it would have been always wear a belt).


It's impossible to give you a number on that. You need to learn to use a shirt before it can help you at all. A regular inzer blast shirt probably give you 5 lbs. The range is as big as 50-300 lbs. carryover. 300 pounds is extreme but top lifters like Gene Rychlak and Shawn Lattimer get that much only because of impeccable technique, practice, and an extremely strong lockout. I get 150-200 out of my double denim. But the first time i used it i got 0 lbs out of it honestly. I couldn't touch any weight and what i could touch i couldnt press. So practice and lockout work are a must to maximize your performance in it.


Exactly. The belt is a tool. Not necessary for all goals, but many of the strongest people in the world at the lifts we all do (squat, bench, and deadlift) wear belts very often. You don't need to wear it to the water fountain, but it's not like wearing it for a few heavy sets is going to make you weak.


Does the shirt provide any carryover effect, as far as strength is concerned? Say that you max bench 300 raw but with the shirt you can bench 320 with a little practice. Would your raw bench gain any improvement due to this?


The difference is this...

A belt is a tool to enable you to lift heavy without getting severly injured. I don't think its possible to really gain any stregnth increase from putting a belt on.

A bench shirt literraly enables you to life more than you can given sufficient technique. Think of it at that "Gravitron" machine for benching or something similar.


Maybe not with that small of a gain. But in my experience, yes, the shirt gains do carry back over to your raw bench. Provided that you have the same form for raw and shirted bench. In training, the shirt bench is a different stimulus like reverse band presses and will give back strength.