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View Full Version : Should equipment be limited to advanced competitors?



Erik2003
01-14-2009, 05:27 AM
I am not a too much of a fan of Bench shirts or poly suits (squats or deadlift Suits) as they are used in competitions, but I do not oppose them either. I have used the Inzer double poly squat pant , for regular lifting, and I do like it.

I am just asking this as a discussion piece. Those who do compete in equipment, more power to them, pardon the pun.

I competed last year in the New Jersey Power Challenge, an IPA competition. It was run very well and enjoyed the competition.

But...

While competing I saw practically every use a bench shirt and suits. The equiped division was twice that of the raw division. Also the equiped division consisted of a lot of young lifters (less than age 30) with probably less than three years competition experience. Many of those equiped users lifted less than 600 on squats and deadifts, with equipment. It was nice to see more competitiors than I thought would be there, but there were only a few raw lifters.

My discussion is this... Why should every one be allowed to use equipment in a competition, or should it be reserved for those after a qualification time. For example, after three years of raw competition, or after one totals, say 1400? 1500?

Also why are wrist wraps considered out of bounds for raw lifters? I really think thay may be more lift lifting belts and protect more than assist...

Personally I think there are too many divisions in the sport, meaning, raw, single ply, double ply and unrestricted (poly and canvas), etc. I think there should be RAW and equiped, and thats it.

What would be better for the sport?

Just my rant...

Sensei
01-14-2009, 05:47 AM
Interesting discussion question. I don't know if it will stay civil or not, but an interesting question.

I've known a few lifters who jumped straight into equipment from the git go and it seemed like they were always looking for new and better equipment to improve their lifts, rather than just plain old time under the bar. I'm not saying everyone who starts early with equipment is like that mind you.

But, honestly, unless you are training in it all the time, I don't see the harm in using equipment in meets from the very beginning. It's fun and it's different. Should they be using high-end stuff? No, but a lower price range, relatively loose suit or shirt can give you minimal support and a mental boost without totally changing your groove.

slashkills
01-14-2009, 06:03 AM
I really dont believe in using any equipment outside of a belt or wrist wraps for support. Any suit once you figure it out will help you lift more weight. Whats the point then. Powerlifting is about being strong. I think that using suits is just a cheat then and defeats the purpose of the sport.

Reko
01-14-2009, 06:08 AM
Some divisions allow wrist and knee wraps in their raw divisions. You just have to see what the federation rules are.

I don't really have a comment as far as the other stuff though. If people want to get into gear (too soon or otherwise) that is their choice in my mind. If the competition rules allow it, people will use it becuase their competition will be. If they get into it too early, they might pay the price with injury or lack or progress, or just a depleted bank account. That is where having good training partners who know what they are doing with the gear comes in. They can guide the more novice lifters into stuff that is more appropriate for them.

drew
01-14-2009, 06:13 AM
I think the sooner you can learn to use equipment the better. But you should at least be strong enough to get something out of it without killing yourself.

NASAKYCHAIRMAN
01-14-2009, 08:24 AM
Equipment should not be limited to advance lifters and will probably never happen. A rule such as this will prevent some lifters from competing, limit equipment companies profit, and infringe on lifters rights.

There are plenty of federations that offer unequipped division.

Pete22
01-14-2009, 08:48 AM
No. Using gear is a personal choice and it's up the lifter to decide when he/she is ready to use the gear they want. Our sport is small enough that we don't need to start limiting people from competing the way that they want to. To Drew's point, gear is tough to learn, so the sooner you can start learning how and what suits and shirts work for you the better.


I think that using suits is just a cheat then and defeats the purpose of the sport.

No offense, but at your current level this is a pretty bold statement to make. Get stronger, pay your dues, then you can formulate an opinion on the matter.

accuFLEX
01-14-2009, 08:55 AM
I wouldn't really say gear is a personal choice if you want to be competitive....and I think that's the problem "raw" lifters have with geared lifters.

Pete22
01-14-2009, 08:59 AM
I wouldn't really say gear is a personal choice if you want to be competitive....and I think that's the problem "raw" lifters have with geared lifters.

You could still be competitive in raw divisions or feds. Just sayin'.

johnnyo_99
01-14-2009, 09:31 AM
I really dont believe in using any equipment outside of a belt or wrist wraps for support. Any suit once you figure it out will help you lift more weight. Whats the point then. Powerlifting is about being strong. I think that using suits is just a cheat then and defeats the purpose of the sport.

I understand you have a strong opinion on this as you have expressed it in many other posts, but please do not confuse gear as cheating. Powerlifting is a competitive sport and mastering your gear is a part of that sport.

to the OP question, I personally believe gear makes the sport safer, single-ply should be a requirement for beginners imo.

AlMohr
01-14-2009, 10:39 AM
I understand you have a strong opinion on this as you have expressed it in many other posts, but please do not confuse gear as cheating. Powerlifting is a competitive sport and mastering your gear is a part of that sport.

to the OP question, I personally believe gear makes the sport safer, single-ply should be a requirement for beginners imo.

I agree. Also If you enjoy raw lifting then lift raw.

mike95763
01-14-2009, 11:09 AM
As this is only my second post you will all realize that I have significantly less experience than most of the lifters who frequent this forum. I have been lifting most of my life and done powerlifting off and on a few times, but only recently taken it seriously (about 3 months or so). I have always been relatively strong and have respectable totals (I havent competed in a meet yet so I will refrain from posting my gym lifts as though they are meaningful). My initial impression of equipped lifting was negative (you all have to admit it looks pretty silly struggling into a bench shirt and then walking around like an old zombie movie reject), but as I have gotten more involved in the sport and had more contact with "real" powerlifters I have come to realize the value of equipped lifting. From what I have seen equipped lifting has many benefits. Because everyone needs help getting gear on and setting up for lifts etc, it tends to bring people closer (how much closer can you get than reaching up some other guys singlet to help pull down his bench shirt). Also, more importantly it makes people stronger. In reading these forums I often hear people calling bench shirts etc. cheating, but the bottom line is that in gear a person can lift more weight, and while the technique is not identical from equipped to raw there is some carryover so that most of the equipped lifters I have lifted with are incredibly strong with or without their gear (most have gotten much stronger raw while competing and training in gear). I am not sure if I will ever compete in gear, but I will almost certainly sometimes train in gear because from my limited knowledge it seems that lifting heavy weight makes a person stronger and the heavier one can lift, with good range of motion and good form, the stronger one will become.

NASAKYCHAIRMAN
01-14-2009, 11:56 AM
As this is only my second post you will all realize that I have significantly less experience than most of the lifters who frequent this forum. I have been lifting most of my life and done powerlifting off and on a few times, but only recently taken it seriously (about 3 months or so). I have always been relatively strong and have respectable totals (I havent competed in a meet yet so I will refrain from posting my gym lifts as though they are meaningful). My initial impression of equipped lifting was negative (you all have to admit it looks pretty silly struggling into a bench shirt and then walking around like an old zombie movie reject), but as I have gotten more involved in the sport and had more contact with "real" powerlifters I have come to realize the value of equipped lifting. From what I have seen equipped lifting has many benefits. Because everyone needs help getting gear on and setting up for lifts etc, it tends to bring people closer (how much closer can you get than reaching up some other guys singlet to help pull down his bench shirt). Also, more importantly it makes people stronger. In reading these forums I often hear people calling bench shirts etc. cheating, but the bottom line is that in gear a person can lift more weight, and while the technique is not identical from equipped to raw there is some carryover so that most of the equipped lifters I have lifted with are incredibly strong with or without their gear (most have gotten much stronger raw while competing and training in gear). I am not sure if I will ever compete in gear, but I will almost certainly sometimes train in gear because from my limited knowledge it seems that lifting heavy weight makes a person stronger and the heavier one can lift, with good range of motion and good form, the stronger one will become.

Great post!!

Why bring a pen to a sword fight? For example: I would like to compete at the IPF World Bp Championship and the Arnold Fit Expo someday. This will only happen if I use a bench press shirt. I have no chance making it by competing unequipped.

BigTallOx
01-14-2009, 12:04 PM
My discussion is this... Why should every one be allowed to use equipment in a competition, or should it be reserved for those after a qualification time. For example, after three years of raw competition, or after one totals, say 1400? 1500?


I don't see the point in limiting it to a time or total. I'm also new to powerlifting and I'm relatively old. Old enough that when I squat heavy raw my hips ache. When I squat in my suit, there's no issues with my hips. I don't yet squat 600+ pounds, but there are benefits to me using equipment, at least for squatting.

I still haven't figured out my bench shirt, and honestly I don't really like all the pressure it puts on my chest. Maybe it's not the right shirt for me, I don't know.


most of the equipped lifters I have lifted with are incredibly strong with or without their gear (most have gotten much stronger raw while competing and training in gear).

I agree.

BFGUITAR
01-14-2009, 12:15 PM
Something people keep messing up is that strength training and powerlifting are two different things.

Powerlifting is the act of competing in powerlifting according to specific rules and guidelines. Strength training is about literally using what you have to get stronger so you can do certain tasks (like sports for example). Both groups of people are strong people as you have to be to lift heavy weights. Saying using a shirt or suit is cheating is stupid because if it isn't against the rules it isn't cheating. Saying the suit is lifting the weight and not you is irrelevant. You can't compare a raw lift to a geared lift, they are different. I don't use suits and I already realize that. Of course, if your goal is to get stronger for sports and such a suit would be useless to some degree (aside from safety) because you don't play sports in a squat suit.

Slashkills obviously doesn't understand that powerlifting is a sport with gear. The competition isn't simply who can lift more weight, but rather who can lift more weight according to certain rules ie using specific gear. That changes everything.

When should someone start using gear? When that person decides to compete. You wouldn't play soccer without cleats would you? Same thing, why limit yourself? Of course you don't want gear too early before you really learn how to lift, but how early is too early? No idea.

Reko
01-14-2009, 12:43 PM
Old enough that when I squat heavy raw my hips ache. When I squat in my suit, there's no issues with my hips. I don't yet squat 600+ pounds, but there are benefits to me using equipment, at least for squatting.

I agree, except change old to young and suit to briefs :P

BigTallOx
01-14-2009, 12:47 PM
I agree, except change (snip) suit to briefs :P

But briefs are still equipment, right? Are you suggesting that I train in briefs but still compete raw? Sorry, I'm kind of confused as to what you're suggesting.

Nevermind, I think I understand your post. Opps, sorry.

Detard
01-14-2009, 12:51 PM
Coming from the point of view of a guy who only totals a little over 1000.

I bought a squat suit, and started training in it 2 months before the meet. I purposely bought it a larger size so that it will give me some strength gains/support, but is easy to learn, which will eventually set me up in the future when I decide to get into tight gear. I got a 20lb PR over my raw lifts that day. I have been training raw since the meet (may 2008), and plan to continue to train raw until 2 months out from a meet I plan on lifting in this year. I realize that we need to learn our gear properly to get some decent poundages out of it, but at this point (18 years old), i'm not too concerned with getting the most I can out of my equipment, since I have a ton of potential to gain raw strength still.

Just my .02

Reko
01-14-2009, 12:51 PM
But briefs are still equipment, right? Are you suggesting that I train in briefs but still compete raw? Sorry, I'm kind of confused as to what you're suggesting.
Lol, no I was saying that I had issues with hip pain after squatting wide raw also, but not when I did so in briefs, and that I was a youngin.

And yes, briefs are still equipment.

BigTallOx
01-14-2009, 12:53 PM
Lol, no I was saying that I had issues with hip pain after squatting wide raw also, but not when I did so in briefs, and that I was a youngin.

And yes, briefs are still equipment.

Sorry, I get your post now.

slashkills
01-14-2009, 03:44 PM
Ok ill first say that I have the utmost respect for you guys. You are all much stronger and are much more knowledgeable than me. Thatís why I come here for help. I shouldnít have said its "cheating". Thats not what i think at all. I stupidly wrote that with out really thinking this morning. I do think though that powerlifting is a strength sport and by using gear takes away from it a little. But i dont think its cheating. Im sure like some have said that once i get to your levels of strength and begin competing i will try using gear. So I apologize if anyone was offended by that comment.

Chris Rodgers
01-14-2009, 04:06 PM
I think the sooner you can learn to use equipment the better. But you should at least be strong enough to get something out of it without killing yourself.

I actually only read down to this post and realized he said exactly what I would say. I think you can go whichever route you want, but if your goal is to lift equipped, there is no sense in waiting 2, 3 or more years to start to learn it.

I think a huge part is technique. If you put a semi-newbie in a suit or shirt and his form is terrible(and doesn't improve) you may have to back him off to lesser gear. I started my way up from a champion suit and a blast shirt all the way up to top of the line Multi-ply. I think this helped me with the learning curve and allowed me to get strong over a number of years to get up to the current numbers I am lifting.


Since we have had many new guys come and go through the past few years I have seen it both ways. Some guys we started right into gear(single or multi) and others stayed RAW for a while. It seems to be more on a case by case basis.

Cards
01-14-2009, 04:27 PM
My outlook, besides personal preference would be the cost of gear. Maybe training raw would be less of a financial burden on younger people whose finances aren’t in check. In my eyes the only gear that's cheating is the gear that makes you put on 15 lbs in 10 weeks but again that's only my opinion.

Hazerboy
01-14-2009, 10:38 PM
For me personally I don't really see any point in getting into gear until my raw lifts are competitive. If I throw On a squat suit, spend a few months learning it, I may hit 475 or 500 or something, but thats still not very competitive for my age/weight class in any fed. So I'm not going to spend the money or time learning it until I know I can be pretty competitive in it.

I think some restrictions would be cool. It would help promote raw lifting for those that like it because everyone would have to start raw, but for the serious geared lifters it wouldn't really matter.

Big LaP
01-15-2009, 06:29 AM
I really don't mind how a person competes. I have been competing for some time now and I have done both. I have done well in shirt and also raw. To me powerlifting is a game I need to play against myself. It's all about the pr's at meet time. I will help and cheer anyone on. You can have 15 people in my class and it doesn't matter how they or I finish. I care that I beat my numbers each and everytime. You want to wear gear great! You want to go raw, BLOW IT UP! But please lets no beat a dead horse.

ACaslow
01-15-2009, 08:13 AM
Great discussion....

A lot of this you need to keep in mind is due to what's available and what's recognized around you. If you join a team that lifts raw, more than likely that's your path. I know the only reason I started in multi ply is because those who introduced me to the sport were already involved in multi ply. it's what they knew, it's what I saw and what seemed to be the "cool thing" to do.

Personally, I don't think there is a right or wrong time or period to use/introduce gear. If you have the proper equipment and proper training partners it should work out fine. Gear is just that: gear. It doesn't debilitate a lifter at all, if the training is correctly handled gear won't have an influence on whether you develop your strength correctly. We have 16-44 year olds and all have one way or another become better athletes with and without gear.

Just gotta know what your doing.....

JasonLift
01-15-2009, 08:37 AM
A lot of this you need to keep in mind is due to what's available and what's recognized around you. If you join a team that lifts raw, more than likely that's your path. I know the only reason I started in multi ply is because those who introduced me to the sport were already involved in multi ply. it's what they knew, it's what I saw and what seemed to be the "cool thing" to do.


I agree 100%. I am not opposed to using gear, infact I use wrist and knee wraps as well as sometimes briefs, but the team I just started training with competes raw so it is the way I am going, as it is a great atmosphere and in just 2 weeks time my training has shot thru the roof.

Brad08
01-15-2009, 08:57 AM
A lot of good opinions in this thread, from guys with a ton more experience & strength than me.

I've always believed people should spend a lot of time under the bar learning and getting stronger before using gear. I have a problem with guys putting on a shirt when they can't bench 225 raw.

Maybe that's not the best way to train or approach it, but that's just my philosophy.

Ben Moore
01-15-2009, 09:30 AM
Natural selection - let em do what they want...

KarstenDD
01-15-2009, 09:52 AM
No..