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  • In-Human-"the Shirt question"

    Just curious big guy-and everyone else-

    How much do you think these shirts and wraps and stuff helps these powerlifters on max bench attempts?

    I spoke with a former drug free powerlifter that had a record or 2 in his day-he felt the old shirts were worth 40 pounds or more. He was hitting around 475 for a single in competition if memory serves correct.

    Personally....I will never do another max on anything but whenever I did I never used gloves, shirts, belts,wraps, etc.

    Just me and the steel you know.
    [email protected] http://www.proactivehealthnet.com

    " We know that to err is human, but the HIV/AIDS hypothesis is one hell of a mistake"
    Dr. Kary Mullis, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry for inventing the Polymerase Chain Reaction


    "The fact is that you can not start off with bad science and end up with good medicine"


  • #2
    SS,

    Depends on the shirt and/or the gear.

    I don't give a rat's ass what some nay-sayers say - anybody benching 900lb is a strong mofo. Gene R, Scott M, and those other monsters have my respect, w/o a doubt.

    It is a shame that there can't be an absolute comparison between today's bencher's and those of 20 yr ago. I def. think there's an amazing group of PL'ers out there right now.

    It is the nature of the sport, though. I think you put the (relatively contemporary) great's of any sport in a more recent era and you'll still have a great athlete. I have a feeling that Jesse Owens would have been hanging with Carl Lewis. Bill K. would have been benching much more. Wilt Chamberlin would have been an even better player than he was...

    -R
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    • #3
      how did wilt fuck so many girls and not get an STD, blows my mind...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Richard85
        how did wilt fuck so many girls and not get an STD, blows my mind...
        I am sure he did....he just didn't get on the news with that sort of thing...


        Randy...I know what you are saying. Guess the competition has a way of elevating one's performance.

        I would really like to see what Kaz in his prime could do the way things are today.

        Kaz was, and still is, the man. He must be 50 years old today. looks like he can still pick up a Volkswagen.......

        I agree...anyone that can get under 900 has my respect too.....lol.

        Hard to believe these guys are benching fairly close to the world record in the squat.

        I think when Arcidi was hitting 700 on bench Pasanella set the record in the squat at 1000 and some change....
        Last edited by SuperSport; 08-13-2004, 08:06 AM.
        [email protected] http://www.proactivehealthnet.com

        " We know that to err is human, but the HIV/AIDS hypothesis is one hell of a mistake"
        Dr. Kary Mullis, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry for inventing the Polymerase Chain Reaction


        "The fact is that you can not start off with bad science and end up with good medicine"

        Comment


        • #5
          A raw bench is the only true test of strength IMHO.

          Look at the guys who are setting these records. Their stomachs look like sand bags, and they touch the bar mid to upper abs with their stomachs full of air. dont' get me wrong, there are stome strong MOFO's out there, I've witnessed a 700lb bench several times, raw even. Their bench is maybe, I mean maybe 7inches at absolute most.
          Cliche 'Everyone wants to be big, but no one wants to lift heavy weight'.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by SuperSport
            Just curious big guy-and everyone else-

            How much do you think these shirts and wraps and stuff helps these powerlifters on max bench attempts?

            I spoke with a former drug free powerlifter that had a record or 2 in his day-he felt the old shirts were worth 40 pounds or more. He was hitting around 475 for a single in competition if memory serves correct.

            Personally....I will never do another max on anything but whenever I did I never used gloves, shirts, belts,wraps, etc.

            Just me and the steel you know.
            SS, You know I speak with a the monster "pullinbig" or "exmgq" before he was banned on Animals's board, and now he is on Ology, but we talk shirts and the main thing is that some of these shirts if the weight is not heavy enough you cannot bring it down to your stomach, so you know that would give you the thrust so to speak to come out of the whole, but remember they ain't benching like you and I are, its more Triceps then Pecs with the way they have thier form set up.

            If the shirt never matter so much then why is the "raw" not going up and the shirt benches have gone up over 300 lbs in less then what 10 years maybe, you know its helping way to much.

            Ok here is a good one, no PB had been powerlifting for many years, hell he hates BBers, anyway, he told me, that since I can do in the low fives for Declines that if I was to practice with a shirt for a year I would be able to do 7s, now that just blew me away, I could never imagine doing 6 plates plus a 25 per side shirt or not, that is some serious stuff to me anyway...
            "That damn log book"

            www.trueprotein.com Highest quality protein at the lowest price...

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            • #7
              SS, If you don't mind I thought I would through this in:

              The Basics

              Bench shirts were originally brought to the market as a protective device, much like a lifting belt. The original shirts were a tight polyester material that helped protect the shoulders and pectorals during heavy benching, such as during a competition. Somewhere in the 1980's, lifters discovered that these bench shirts also could be used to provide an increase in the weight a lifter could move.

              While the use of bench shirts has been hotly debated on the Internet, it is a fact that the majority of lifters use them. In particular, the vast majority of elite and famous lifters use some form of bench shirt. Today's shirts are highly evolved, purpose built garments designed with the intent of lifting more weight. While some powerlifters take offense to this, and feel that the purity of Powerlifting is negatively effected by bench shirts, it is very clear that the shirts are here to stay and have been solidly ingrained in the sport.

              In the beginning, there was only one type of bench shirt available. Now, several companies sell varying levels of shirts, in various materials, ranging in price from less than $40 to well over $200. While I have not worn every shirt on the market, I have worn several of each type, and I can comment from personal knowledge on the characteristics of each type. I have worn at least 10 different bench shirts in the last 5 years. For the sake of generalization, there are basically two main categories of bench shirts, polyester and denim.

              Poly Shirts

              Polyester (poly) shirts were some of the first designs on the market, and are essentially the standard equipment choice of powerlifters from beginners to world record holders. The poly shirt consists of one or more layers of polyester or similar fabric sewn into a tight fitting garment. In general, the sleeves of the shirt are angled in such a way as to require stretching the fabric to move the arms toward the chest when holding the bar, such that the stretch of the shirt adds to the force a lifter's muscles can provide.

              Poly shirts are made by several manufacturers in many different designs. Some shirts are made entirely of the same material throughout, others have a different material for the back of the shirt, and still other have the back of the shirt split open and fastened with Velcro, or even left completely open. In general, poly shirts must fit the wearer very tight. They are extremely uncomfortable, and are known to chaff the underarms severely. If a poly shirt doesn't hurt, it is much too loose. Different lifters like their shirts to fit differently, but it is universally accepted that tighter is usually better.

              Each type and brand of poly shirt has its own unique characteristics. Some work very well benching high on the chest, such as the Inzer Blast Shirts and the closed back Phenom. Others such as the Titan Fury, or the open back version of Inzer's Phenom, seem to work best in a low groove where the bar touches below the pecs. The poly bench shirt changes the way in which weight is lifted. For example, the Inzer EHPHD Blast Shirt tends to drive the bar path over the lifter's face. The lifter has to compensate for this by purposely forcing the bar path lower. Each individual shirt has its own unique groove, which must be learned in order to achieve maximum performance.

              The additional benching power of the poly shirt comes from the stretching of the shirt material and the compression of the lifter's body. This power can make it difficult to make the bar touch the chest. For advanced lifters, thicker shirts built from multiple layers of material can make touching the bar even more difficult. The multiple layers do add additional resistance, and therefore power to the shirt.

              Incidentally, since the poly shirt is meant to be so tight, it can be very difficult to get on. Shirts made entirely from one type of material with a fully closed back are especially difficult, and may require several helpers to place the shirt on the lifter. Shirts with Velcro backs, stretchy back material, and completely open backs have become much more common simply because they are easier to get on the lifter. Some lifters use liberal amounts of baby powder to help the shirt slide onto their bodies.

              All poly shirts must be pulled up the lifter's arms as far as possible first. It is always important to make certain the shirt is straight. If the sleeve is twisted, it can very negatively affect a lift. The seams of the shirt can be used as an indicator of straightness and positioning of the shirt. Once the shirt is in position on the arms, it must be pulled over the head, or pulled around the shoulders for an open back model. The shirt must be pulled down the torso, and all of the wrinkles worked out of the fabric. If the shirt is a Velcro design, the Velcro should now be fastened. At this point, final adjustments to straighten and position the shirt must be made. Typically, the seams around the deltoid and under the armpit need adjustment. This can be a painstaking process, but patience and attention to detail will prevail. I have often spent over 20 minutes putting a very tight poly shirt on a lifter.

              Denim Shirts

              Many lifters find denim shirts intimidating. I spent two years deciding if I was "ready" to move up to a denim shirt. Only after taking the plunge did I find that the denim shirt suits me much better. Denim shirts provide more support than poly shirts, and are considered to be the top of the line. There are also shirts made of canvas, but those work on basically the same principle as denim shirts. I have no personal experience with canvas, but from stories I have heard, they are even more supportive than denim.

              Denim shirts are sewn from one or more layers of denim material (basically the same material as blue jeans), into a shape very similar to a poly shirt. Most denim shirts have at least a mostly split back, making them significantly easier to put on. I prefer to use completely open back denim shirts, which are simply slipped up the arms, and tugged into place. Denim shirts are not required to be as tight as a poly shirt, making them infinitely more comfortable. I can wear my shirt for over an hour without any real discomfort.

              In general, denim shirts all perform better when used in a low groove. Open back denim shirts work best when the bar is actually touched on the lifter's stomach. A denim shirt does require a great deal of very refined technique to use properly. I have spent a great deal of time with the best coaches in the world, and I have yet to reach proficiency, let alone perfection.

              The denim shirt creates its power by twisting and straining the fabric, and by compressing the lifter's body. Because of the tenacity of the fabric, the denim shirt can support much more weight than a comparable poly shirt. The stress placed on a lifter's body by a denim shirt can be severe. In many cases, a lifter will not be able to even touch the bar to his or her chest with weight he or she could bench without the shirt.

              Because of this, precise technique becomes very important in a denim shirt. Some lifters will see "hit or miss" results, and that is because of technique. Everything has to come together perfectly for the denim shirt to perform. What would normally be an off day can easily become a complete disaster in a denim. Everyone has seen meet results where a normally flawless lifter not only performed sub-par on the bench, but bombed miserably. Technique is paramount.

              Single Ply vs. Double Ply

              This is a simple concept that improved shirts by leaps and bounds. A single ply shirt is just that, one layer of poly or denim sewn into a shirt. A double (or more) ply has multiple layers of material in critical areas. For example, a double ply poly shirt will be two layers of polyester material sewn together for the front and the arms of the shirt. Especially in poly shirts, a double ply shirt will increase the weight a lifter can move. Double ply is essentially a standard in denim shirts, as the extra layer prevents ripping of the material under extreme loads.

              How to Choose a Bench Shirt

              With all the choices available, how does a lifter decide which shirt to use?? Start off with the rule book of your chosen federation. Each governing body has a set of regulations pertaining to the bench shirt. WABDL allows single or double ply, poly or denim, but the neck must be closed. WNPF allows single or double ply, poly or denim, open or closed back, but no canvas. USAPL allows single ply poly only. IPF requires individual brands to pay a fee for approval of shirts, so individual brands may or may not be legal, even though they must al be single ply poly.

              So, once you are familiar with the rules of the federation you intend to lift in, and you know which shirts conform, how do you choose? The best way is to find lifters who use the various shirts, and find out how they bench. Do they bench elbows out, high on the chest? Or do they bench elbows in, touching the stomach? Different shirts all have different characteristics. Do some research, compare your budget against the price of the available choices, and pick the highest performance shirt you can use in your federation.

              Conclusion

              Once you have done the research, picked the shirt you want to use, and you are ready to go, be ready to do some real work. You can not simply put a bench shirt on and add 50 or 100 pounds to your bench. A shirt requires technique, special training methods, and extensive practice. I spent 4 years teaching myself to use a poly shirt effectively. I spent the entire year of 2003 learning my denim shirt under the best coach in the world, and I'm not entirely proficient yet. Train in your shirt as often as possible, and keep practicing technique.

              Enjoy...
              "That damn log book"

              www.trueprotein.com Highest quality protein at the lowest price...

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              • #8
                Interesting topic. The gym I train at has a loyal powerliftering group. They train 3-4 times a week around 6:30 PM, so I usually get a chance to watch them. In fact, I often purposely train while they are in there as the energy they create is amazing.

                Anyway, one of the strongest ones overall, threw up 585 on the bench with a fairly new denim shirt last Friday. That was a new PR, and beat his previous which was 565. He also broke his raw PR with a 435 on that same day. That's right, his raw or true bench press PR is 150 pounds less than his shirted max. I asked him how he broke his old PR by 20 pounds and he said it had to do a lot with getting better with his shirt? Is it just me, or is that completely wrong?
                What really happened to Abe Lincoln - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQtzryVP1BA

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BeeJ
                  Is it just me, or is that completely wrong?
                  Very good question, I can't say either way cause we all have a different thing we need to accomplish here, hell I use a belt, elbow and knee neoprenes with knee wraps and wrist wraps, so I know they aid me in my lifts for injury sake also, so I really don't know what to think with the shirts...
                  "That damn log book"

                  www.trueprotein.com Highest quality protein at the lowest price...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by In-Human
                    Very good question, I can't say either way cause we all have a different thing we need to accomplish here, hell I use a belt, elbow and knee neoprenes with knee wraps and wrist wraps, so I know they aid me in my lifts for injury sake also, so I really don't know what to think with the shirts...

                    I think preventing injury (such as you are doing) and improving performance are two different things. You could make the argument that athletes are using performance enhancing drugs in the same way and that isn't fair. I don't know. Upon further thought...I am utterly confused. I guess drugs are more excepted than shirts at this point. In 10 years or so, this will probably be a mute point.
                    What really happened to Abe Lincoln - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQtzryVP1BA

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BeeJ
                      I think preventing injury (such as you are doing) and improving performance are two different things. You could make the argument that athletes are using performance enhancing drugs in the same way and that isn't fair. I don't know. Upon further thought...I am utterly confused. I guess drugs are more excepted than shirts at this point. In 10 years or so, this will probably be a mute point.
                      Good point there and you are right, they are not correct, it does seem not fair if you will, I feel the worst part about this whole benching thing besides the shirts, have you watched the way the bar travels? it does not go up and down, I have talked with many powerlifters and I still do not understand, hell I love to lift heavy, but I go up and down...
                      "That damn log book"

                      www.trueprotein.com Highest quality protein at the lowest price...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by In-Human
                        Good point there and you are right, they are not correct, it does seem not fair if you will, I feel the worst part about this whole benching thing besides the shirts, have you watched the way the bar travels? it does not go up and down, I have talked with many powerlifters and I still do not understand, hell I love to lift heavy, but I go up and down...

                        Oh yeah, the bar travels as described in the above article. The PL will place his feet under the bench, and high up, almost under the butt below the bench. The back is arched significantly, but still tight. The belly is filled up with air (which some would say is to prevent injury), to decrease the distance the bar has to travel. The arms are also tucked in tight, much more like a close-grip bench press to help with decreasing the length of bar travel. The bar then touches the abdomen and not the chest. Also, more often than not, the bar needs to have at least 315 on there before the shirt allows it to touch the lifters abs/chest region.

                        Can you really fault the powerlifter here though? They are trying to get the best total. This is the drive behind all of their training. They can do whatever is within the rules of the sports governing body to achieve this. So if they can tweak form and use gear (both physical and chemical) than why not do it? If the governing body decided against these things and set up some guidelines things would change, but who is to say they need to be changed?

                        PS I like to go up and down, and so does my girlfriend :sex:
                        What really happened to Abe Lincoln - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQtzryVP1BA

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BeeJ
                          Oh yeah, the bar travels as described in the above article. The PL will place his feet under the bench, and high up, almost under the butt below the bench. The back is arched significantly, but still tight. The belly is filled up with air (which some would say is to prevent injury), to decrease the distance the bar has to travel. The arms are also tucked in tight, much more like a close-grip bench press to help with decreasing the length of bar travel. The bar then touches the abdomen and not the chest. Also, more often than not, the bar needs to have at least 315 on there before the shirt allows it to touch the lifters abs/chest region.

                          Can you really fault the powerlifter here though? They are trying to get the best total. This is the drive behind all of their training. They can do whatever is within the rules of the sports governing body to achieve this. So if they can tweak form and use gear (both physical and chemical) than why not do it? If the governing body decided against these things and set up some guidelines things would change, but who is to say they need to be changed?

                          PS I like to go up and down, and so does my girlfriend :sex:
                          Yes I understand the form and how its done, but it still ain't right, unless I was taught how to bench the wrong way years ago, but I think the bar should touch your pecs not your gut, and no that ain't air...
                          "That damn log book"

                          www.trueprotein.com Highest quality protein at the lowest price...

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by In-Human
                            and no that ain't air...
                            LOL :iagree:
                            What really happened to Abe Lincoln - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQtzryVP1BA

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                            • #15
                              Very good post
                              I never got to the point of needing a shirt as my bench never got above mid 300's
                              Now I know I will never need one as (after surgery) my wrist is the limiting factor in my ability to push a straight bar (after my shoulders).

                              Along these lines, do you feel an entry level squat suit or compression briefs could help keep my hips in line and help me with my form on the heavier stuff.
                              Much like a belt, I think I'd use them until I got comfortable with a certain weight, then try to work up to that weight without them. (IE.. I never thought I'd do a set with 405 and no belt until I got up to 500. Then 405 wasn't that heavy)
                              Lift big 2 get big
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