I'm looking for a new usapl legal bench shirt. Right now I am lifting in a way too loose F6 and getting ~40lbs out of it (size 46 at 220)
I also have a Rage-X (size 48) that I can't make work. I train by myself in a campus gym and I just can't handle the difficulty of touching in it. I don't think its too big, probably too small by ya'lls standards. If I was in a different situation I think I'd really like it but while I can do geared squats/deads fairly well in this gym I need a easier bench shirt
So I am looking for something in the middle of these two... something to give a little more than the f6 that doesn't require tons of traveling to PL gyms to work in (closest one ~3.5 hours away)
Bigger Rage-X, Smaller F6, or something else? I bench with a big arch and my raw bench is done with minimal tucking which does cause some issues in shirted benching
I'm also thinking about a new DL suit, I like my TRX for sumo pulls and hated the velocity, thinking between the Max DL and whatever Metal's usapl legal sumo suit is (King sumo?)
Thanks for everyone's help!
As someone who was in your situation a while back (train alone in campus gym), you're going to most likely hear an answer you don't want to hear.
Shirted benching requires a good team. People to cue you, help you into a shirt that fits properly, and to keep you accountable in training - not to mention - ensure that you the lifter feels safe with them spotting. I would never put on a shirt if I didn't know the spotters or at least know if they were lifters themselves. A bro spot from some randoms in the gym is ok once in a while for a raw bench, but things happen once you add that shirt.
So to get the most out of your gear, you'd have to change your situation which is most likely hard to do. Therefore, try to maximize what you can in loose gear for the time being. I'd bet good money that the Rage X works, you just need work in it. But I'd go with a Titan Fury for the easiest shirt to really break in and use. Instead of buying it new or getting a discount if you're a Uni-student, try to find a used one perhaps.
DL suit really depends on the build. Old School centurions wore backwards have worked fine for people. Again, it's really the work that goes into maximizing the carryover. No single-ply, non-velcro DL suit is magically going to add 100 lbs. Takes work.
If you're only getting 40 lbs out of your shirt then there isn't much point in using it. I'm guessing it is incredibly loose and rightly so if you have to train alone. If I was in your situation I would get a better shirt like a katana or something similar and drive the 3.5 hours to train in it. Failing that I would just buy a 2-ply RAM or a slingshot. You should be able to get at least 40 lbs out of one of those and it would be safer and easier to use by yourself.
Last edited by mike95763; 12-03-2012 at 04:49 PM.
I guess I should rephrase my question to be more specific (I do hate when you give people good advice and they don't take it, so I don't want to be that guy): Should I buy a tighter f6 or a bigger Rage-X?
I have a single ply Katana and have only had 4 sessions in it so far. My max raw bench is right around 405. In the first session I hit 455 and then 495. Second session I hit the previous two lifts as well as 540. The next workout I hit 550 and on the more recent workout we did reverse band with average bands and I just barely missed locking out 615. Get a Katana, you won't be disappointed.
To maximize the carryover, the shirt is going to have fit properly and you'll need training partners who know what they're doing to keep you in check.
You're obviously not going to push the extremes of carryover so it's best IMO to pick a loose shirt and become very very consistent with touching and hitting reps. That 40 will become 60 and then 70. You really don't have the resources available to become a guy who will go 1/3 or 2/3 but hitting a PR especially on a USAPL platform.
Another issue is how you train with the shirt. Since you train by yourself, I'll assume you do mostly volume work with submaximal weights which means you have very little experience holding 500+ lbs in your hands with board work, reverse bands etc. This is another problem.
All-in-all, it was a seamless transition to each tighter size, even though my weight was not dropping fast enough to keep up with the changes. I don't think a tighter F6 is that difficult to touch in either--at least in my expereince. (At a recent meet, I had a 100lb. misload on my second attempt and was able to touch with the lighter weight! 390/290) In the size 44. I have some experience in the Rage-X too, and think its a great shirt. But I have loved the F6 and am just starting to appreciate benching in a tighter shirt.
Do you have a couple of guys at your gym that you could train with? Or at least the same few guys to learn what to do and establish consistency?
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One easy hack with a higher frequency, volume loading scheme is to substitute a few sets with overload/shirt work. If you have 5x3 planned at 80%, 2 or 3 of those sets can be done with reverse bands, boards, foam, RAM, or with the shirt (same percentage of that variant). You'll need to do this almost every training session besides the planned low volume/intensity day. This is a necessity unless you are going into 90%+ zones often like with ME workouts. You won't burnout and you'd be handling 400+ lbs often enough to develop top end strength while still lifting frequently in that 70-85% zone.
Last edited by BloodandThunder; 12-05-2012 at 09:16 AM.
When I first started out I used a loose Titan Fury (basically the same as an F6 without the angled sleeves for arched benching). I used a size 44 and weighed around 195 lbs. I was lucky and had a crew of experienced lifters around me and within a few months I was getting a little over 100 lbs out of it. The problem is, when the weight starts to get heavier than what I could handle out of the shirt I would sometimes loose control of the weight. If I didn't have good spotters I would have seriously messed myself up. Even in a rack with the pins set just above your face I don't think a person can really push themselves in a shirt to get the most out of it. I still think you would be better off taking your 48 rage x or even better getting a 48 katana and driving to a good gym once a month or so to learn the shirt and be able to push yourself. On the other weeks just use boards and bands/chains to get your lockout work. If you throw in the ram sometimes too you should be able to get sufficient top end work to help your shirted lifting, then you can learn a shirt that you could get a significant amount of carryover from and stay safe doing it. A few hours drive once a month is worth it in my opinion. I've had multiple situations in the last few years in which good spotting saved a guy from serious injury or worse.
I know it probably seems like it but you won't be in college forever. You've got a lot of years of lifting ahead of you (I've lifted from 14 to 56 YO). If you are getting 40 lbs. out of the F6 and able to do it safely that's still 40 lbs. more on your total and you're getting a lot of shirt experience that will pay off later when you're out of college and can find a good group of PLers to train with. Then you won't have any trouble progressing to a SK or SK Extreme...and you'll still have your best years as a lifter ahead of you...trust me on that. Good luck.
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Thanks though man, I just ended up getting a tighter f6. Think its the best combination of pounds, safety, and minimizing time I need to spend in the shirt.
I've been having some pretty serious training issues this whole past year though (arguably 2 years) so we'll see if/when I ever compete/train in gear again