T Nation

Why Use Powerlifting Gear?

At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot, what’s the point of gear? Once you learn to use it, you can lift more weight, but if that’s the only advantage, why doesn’t everyone just save their time and money and compete raw?

Or is it some sort of equipment arms race?

[quote]tom8658 wrote:
At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot, what’s the point of gear? Once you learn to use it, you can lift more weight, but if that’s the only advantage, why doesn’t everyone just save their time and money and compete raw?

Or is it some sort of equipment arms race? [/quote]

Why not use gear? It’s there, and it can help make one stronger than they could ever be raw. Safety is also an issue. Extra stability is always better.

Just my two cents, though.

Suggest you look up via search any one of the many gear/Raw pissing matches we’ve had over the years. There are way too many of them.

And look up the most recent article by Jack Reape. He mentions something about it.

I like to think of raw vs. equipped as boxing vs. MMA.

-Its safer with heavier loads (provides stabilty).
-Its within the rules of alot of federations (who want to compete to lose?).

maybe

Because you are allowed to is the main reason. Also because all the records have been set using lifting gear they would stand for YEARS AND YEARS before people would even contemplate breaking them.

Sure you could say, hey lets just stop using gear and reset the records, but thats no fun. As far as the boxing MMA comparison I would flip that. Afterall, boxers wear heaver gloves, groin padding (I dunno what its called), and shoes, they are certainly the equipped fighters… :slight_smile:

I have a back injury (not caused by using equipment) and using squat briefs gives my lower back enough of a load off so that I can constantly train heavy.

You are more stable with gear.If you have to question this, try some on and work with it a few times. If you’re not more stable, something is very wrong.

For me, it helps my joints and back more than anything.

[quote]Synthetickiller wrote:
I have a back injury (not caused by using equipment) and using squat briefs gives my lower back enough of a load off so that I can constantly train heavy.

You are more stable with gear.If you have to question this, try some on and work with it a few times. If you’re not more stable, something is very wrong.

For me, it helps my joints and back more than anything. [/quote]

To be totally honest, I use gear because it allows me to use more weight. If I didn’t compete I wouldn’t bother, but I do, so it makes sense to try and maximise carryover.

Like SK, it does help with stability and protection a huge amount. Even tho I handle much heavier weights in equipment, I don’t feel as sore the enxt day. I do feel tireder, but physically, my body seems to recover better.

Forgive me if this is wrong. An old power lifting friend of mine explained that originally they were developed to increase stability and prevent injuries. People found that they could also lift heavier. Consequently an arms race ensued. Now different federations have different rules and to each their own.

It is kind of like different classes for drag racing. Different people like different things. It is like saying why don’t we just get two brand spanking new Impalas and line them up.

[quote]hoosegow wrote:
Forgive me if this is wrong. An old power lifting friend of mine explained that originally they were developed to increase stability and prevent injuries. People found that they could also lift heavier. Consequently an arms race ensued. Now different federations have different rules and to each their own.

It is kind of like different classes for drag racing. Different people like different things. It is like saying why don’t we just get two brand spanking new Impalas and line them up. [/quote]

You pretty much hit the nail on the head there.

this subject came uo this afternoon at the gym . heres what I said .I compare gear to a football player using pads,etc . the pads dont make him stronger , faster , or bigger…but it sure does make the game more fun to watch !

but to anyone who’s never used gear…ya gotta at least try it ONCE . not necessarily JUST to lift more weight ; just for the experience…its that fuckin’ cool. if you’re a beginner and thinkin’ you slip on a shirt and immediately crank your bench up by 25% , think again.

the first time I used one , my buddies talked me into using one . I wanted nothing to do with it , but I tried it anyway . dont remember the weight , but I ran out of air trying to touch the bar to my chest…broke out laughing , my buddies had to pull the bar up .

and you get a whole new hurt going on the next day …which tells me that your muscles are being subjected to a new set of stimuli

I’ve got 15 weeks of raw training lined up until a push/pull in October;trying to match my last equipped total , but doing it raw . but I’m thinkin’ of doing 1 or 2 meso’s equipped after that …just for the fuck of it

[quote]tom8658 wrote:
At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot, what’s the point of gear? Once you learn to use it, you can lift more weight, but if that’s the only advantage, why doesn’t everyone just save their time and money and compete raw?

Or is it some sort of equipment arms race? [/quote]

You don’t sound like an idiot at all. It’s not a bad question coming from someone who has never used it and is just curious.

It’s just part of the game. I’ve had debates (me being pro-raw) and now totally see the other (equipped) side of the issue.

I could be wrong about this, and guys correct me if I am but, I’d hate to see what would become of many guys’ shoulders if they switched to totally raw comps. I see that part of it as a safety issue but there is more to it than just that.

Jack Reape made a great point about blasting the triceps using a shirt.

I kind of like the drag racing analogy. To compare PL to DR, you’d need to wonder why people use twin turbos, superchargers, nitrous, slicks, wheelie bars, nitromethane and on and on.

It’s part of powerlifting in every major federation. Simple as that.

Some people here like to give me shit for being against gear in competition. My view is that most of the gear provides mechanical assistance during the lifts, hence the lifter is not providing all of the force him/herself.

As far as training goes, I could see where gear could help someone get stronger by changing the force curve and allowing them to get used to heavier loads (much in the same way using bands for pullups can help or doing rack pulls can help the deadlift).

[quote]derek wrote:
tom8658 wrote:
At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot, what’s the point of gear? Once you learn to use it, you can lift more weight, but if that’s the only advantage, why doesn’t everyone just save their time and money and compete raw?

Or is it some sort of equipment arms race?

You don’t sound like an idiot at all. It’s not a bad question coming from someone who has never used it and is just curious.

It’s just part of the game. I’ve had debates (me being pro-raw) and now totally see the other (equipped) side of the issue.

I could be wrong about this, and guys correct me if I am but, I’d hate to see what would become of many guys’ shoulders if they switched to totally raw comps. I see that part of it as a safety issue but there is more to it than just that.

Jack Reape made a great point about blasting the triceps using a shirt.

I kind of like the drag racing analogy. To compare PL to DR, you’d need to wonder why people use twin turbos, superchargers, nitrous, slicks, wheelie bars, nitromethane and on and on.

It’s part of powerlifting in every major federation. Simple as that. [/quote]

Great point about the shoulder thing. My shoulders are trashed from years and years of benching. I just had my first surgery and I fully intend to wear a shirt from now on when benching. I’m pretty much to that point, or stop benching all together.

here a question , when should you start using gear ? what should be your max on the 3 lifts?

[quote]BigMike wrote:
here a question , when should you start using gear ? what should be your max on the 3 lifts? [/quote]

You should start when you want to. There is no right or wrong answer or minimum lift.

[quote]marlboroman wrote:
this subject came uo this afternoon at the gym . heres what I said .I compare gear to a football player using pads,etc . the pads dont make him stronger , faster , or bigger…but it sure does make the game more fun to watch !
[/quote]

Pads don’t give a football player better numbers. Are you saying PL gear doesn’t give the competitor better numbers?

There are reasons to use gear. I don’t see why there needs to be any analogies.

[quote]hoosegow wrote:
Forgive me if this is wrong. An old power lifting friend of mine explained that originally they were developed to increase stability and prevent injuries. People found that they could also lift heavier. Consequently an arms race ensued. Now different federations have different rules and to each their own.
[/quote]

This makes a lot of sense, especially with all of the other comments about stability. I would be worried about injuries too if I were moving that kind of weight.

[quote]
It is kind of like different classes for drag racing. Different people like different things. It is like saying why don’t we just get two brand spanking new Impalas and line them up. [/quote]

I don’t particularly like this analogy, but I see what you’re trying to say. The big difference to me is that a car is a purely mechanical contrivance; the engine is always doing all of the work regardless of how the it is specifically constructed, so any limits on cylinder displacement, etc. are arbitrary. If you were comparing geared federations with different rules vis-a-vis equipment, this analogy would make a lot more sense.

Lifters wearing gear, however, are not doing all of the work, so it seems to me that there is a very clear distinction between raw and geared. A better analogy would be a normal bicycle vs. a bicycle with a little motor on it, but that makes it sound like I’m ripping on people who use gear, which I’m not.

[quote]BigMike wrote:
here a question , when should you start using gear ? what should be your max on the 3 lifts? [/quote]

I’m sure some people will reckon you should be able to do more, but I’d say bodyweight bench, and 1.5 bodyweight squat and dead. Unless you’re 275+ lbs, in which case you might start with a bit less.
Generally you should be strong enough that you won’t hurt yourself with the increased load, and if you are a lighter bodyweight and can’t hit those numbers, it’s likely that you will.
A loose shirt and briefs, knee sleeves, wrist wraps and a belt are all a non-powerlifter needs. It’ll help protect you and get you stronger faster.