I'm having a lot of trouble with tight shirts. I am again trying to dial one in for a possible meet on December 11th.
I got this single ply Fury on the 'Net for a good price and sent it to Titan for them to reduce it from a 44 to a 43. I get the thing back and the sleeves are tight as hell.
I have a loose 44 which I'm getting like 25-30 lbs carryover from. A 42 was too damn tight (tried one).
From this video you can see what typically happens as I try to bring the bar down fast (here to a 2 board). I lose the groove and dump the bar downwards.
This is the first time trying the shirt. Hopefully it will get better as I break it in.
Should I try to loosen the sleeves? Should I bring it down slow and when it locks up on me, press it back up? Questions questions, I've got lots of them. Please help! This is really getting to me
You're simply going to need more weight on the bar until your technique is dailed in. No arch and no leg drive are taking alot of pounds off your max. Also, you need to wear a belt to secure the shirt in, otherwise it's going to ride up as you lower the weight. Anything from a simple leather dress belt to an actual PLing belt.
You also want to make sure the shirt is set properly (not just "put on"). Assuming your raw max is 280, trying to touch 290 is not going to happen overnight. Get in the mindset that you should be pressing in the mid 300's and start preparing your body to handle that weight. A properly sized Fury is still a very good shirt with a large pocket to touch, so just keep working hard.
Search this forum (WBB) and you'll find advice from some of the best benchers on the planet. You gotta work on your form bro... Check some of the vids on youtube would be a good start also... Tuck the elbows at the bottom for the shirt to touch. You should be gettin at least 100+ lbs out of a tight 1-ply shirt once you get your form cleaned up!.
Good luck, RC
BloodandThunder is right on all points. You need to work a lot on your setup. If I were you, I would try to hook up with some guys who have more experience in the gear. This is also why I like open back shirts, there's more adjustability to them. Lastly, I like your idea of just bringing the bar down and pressing it when it locks up. The boards are going to ruin your groove. They are overused in shirt benching in my opinion. Check out this article I wrote on triples, it might help. http://articles.elitefts.com/article...rt-of-triples/
I will put a belt on as you say. I will also keep working on establishing more of an arch (I have developed a slight one, but need more) and becoming more proficient at my leg drive, especially in a shirt. I'm better at leg drive raw, and at sub-maximal weights.
I need folks who know gear around me as Vinny says in his Post below. Until I get around these folks, I'm going to have to do my best with what I've got. That being said, your comment "You also want to make sure the shirt is set properly (not just "put on")" really hit the nail on the head in terms of this. I don't know how to set the shirt properly. Any tips on what I should do AFATIC?
Do you know DJSTARER from the Penn State Powerlifting team? Are you doing the meet in December in PA (USAPL)?
Last edited by smitsky; 10-12-2010 at 06:50 AM.
Yea I know Dustin, he's a good kid and trains down at SSPT with Matt Gary. Very knowledgeable and has come along way since I started training with him. I'm doing the American Open in December in KOP.
Read Vinnie's article. I actually use alot of those points (triples, breathing properly, etc.) with many kids who are new to entry level shirts. Once they can triple a moderately high weight, they have little to no problems touching in the shirt. I agree you shouldn't be using boards so much with the shirt. I actually like to use a piece of 1-2" high density foam as a board with tighter shirts. This way you touch it, then realize to get tighter so you can compress the foam til you hit the chest.
Youtube simple videos about putting bench shirts on. Mike T puts one on by himself when he trains in his gym. Use plastic bags or shirt slippers to help slide the sleeves up. eventually, you'll know through training how low to jack the collar, how much torque should be applied to the sleeves, where you want the sleeves, where your belt should be placed (low if you're a USAPL guy). for now, just practice arching hard, maybe play around with different foot positions (try a wider foot position perhaps), and getting your belly up to the bar as you lower the bar (while tucking). A Fury has a very large pocket so it shouldn't be that hard to touch with say 340-350. then work your way down and try to find the minimum amount of weight you can touch. Open higher than this obviously.
Preparing your body to handle those weights is simply by practicing overload. Plain and simple. How are you going to bench 350 if you've never even handled it. Why do you think multiply guys can bench so much weight over their raw max. The shirt helps, but it takes lots of practice and handling insane volumes. Start by incorporating rack presses, reverse band benches, and raw board presses.
Ok, I'll keep working on tucking the elbows at the bottom. I have to work harder on that.
My training partner is a good lifter (USAPL 1450 220's). God bless him. Unfortunately he is under the impression that it's BS that 100+ lbs can be gotten out of these shirts. I keep tellin' him that guys like you are assuring me of this. So, like I said in my above Post, I really need to surround myself with folks who know what they are doing with this stuff. I'm a pretty fast learner, and am confident I'll get it in time.
Are you planning to do the IPA NJ States again this year?
Like I said above, I need to do just what you are suggesting ( try to hook up with some guys who have more experience in the gear). I'm in NYC and you guys are up in CT and John Bernor is way out in LI, so it ain't easy.
Actually, I'm in the market for a good beginner-level multi ply shirt. Any suggestions?
Yup, I use your technique all the time in my loose 44 Fury. I've been using Eric Talmant's coach Dave Bates geared Sheiko program with the shirt. I always hold my breath doing the Triples. I'll re-read the article and adopt it to benching in the tighter shirt, doing what you have suggested (not) using boards.
You have some really good ideas as well. As I said above in my Post reply to Vinny, I'm going to try to apply the Triples to learning the tight shirt. Hopefully what you're describing will work well. I'm a positive thinker, but I guess my past experience has resulted in the development of a moderate mental block WRT getting a tight shirt to work. I bought a Katana and worked really hard to get the thing to work for a meet last year. I actually tried working the thing about 6 weeks on two different occasions. The end result was always that I couldn't get a touch. I kept dumping the weight on my belly to try to force a touch. What I didn't do was use more weight as you are suggesting. Heck, who knows, maybe I'll even get that damn old Katana working after this, right? I know the groove is way less forgiving than the Fury though.
Good idea. I'll look for some of those videos. I met a bench specialist at last year's USAPL Atlantic City meet: Dr. Bill Ross. He was trying to hit a 500 lb bench in the 198's that day, but the judging was tough. I think he wound up with like 480. I was pretty amazed when he told me that he wears a loose shirt that he can put on himself. He told me that the trick was how to tweak the sleeves, etc. Yeah, here's to me learnin' those tricks one day.
I see that you're doing Sheiko. I ran Dave Bates reduced volume 12 week program and knocked the s**t out of myself. High volume is good - if you can handle the effect it has on your system. I think I really knocked my T levels way down, and was walking around feelin' like a zombie between sessions. I've modified some stuff and am back on track for the most part now (long story)...
Last edited by smitsky; 10-12-2010 at 05:09 PM.
One thing about Sheiko and gear. I wear loose gear and rearrange my tonnage to get a proper amount of volume each week in the gear. Don't be afraid to bump up the percentages and reduce the amount of reps/set.
But I would make learning how to touch properly your priority immediately if you plan to use that shirt. Your other option is to open with the looser one then attempt two benches with the tighter shirt. Many IPF guys will do this since the closed back and head on the bench doesn't give you much room to touch easy on your opening attempts.
Take a workout to do some negatives with three spotters. Lower the weight, touch your chest, hold it for a 1 second pause (since at a USAPL meet, that's about the equivalent of a long press command). Then lower the weight and do the same until you get to a minimum amount you can touch on a bad day. You should be able to press +10 lbs with this for your minimum opener.
Do you think I should try working with 340 lbs the next time I bench which will be Monday? The most I have ever attempted in a shirt is 305 lbs.
I usually warm up raw and do a heavy single. I then put the shirt on. If I can only do negatives, will I be getting stronger? That's one of my concerns. Also, after the shirt work I usually do heavy raw board work or rack lockouts. If I can't touch in the shirt, I guess I should bring a weight down - as far as I can - that I can press back up. How does this sound?
With 4-5-and 6 hundred pound benches in shirts really not being all that impressive I don't consider myself a real good bencher yet. But, fortunatly over the last 6 months I've gotten some very helpfull advice from some of the very best benchers in the world. I'll try to pass on what they have had me working on.
Set-up is important. In your video you have no arch. Get a 4 inch 1 foot long piece of plastic pvc pipe at the hardware store. It'll cost you $5 max. Do every set with it under your back and very soon it will be natural. Pull your feet back under you as far as possible because it will increase your arch and make your whole body tighter. Your shoulder blades MUST be squeezed together through-out the entire lift from unrack to rack.
I don't understand why you're trying to drop the bar fast? It's all about staying tight and controling the weight. You should unrack the weight and bring it towards your knees as far as possible. Start the lowering with your elbows traveling out. As the shirt starts to lock up start bringing your elbows in towards your lats. As you do that force your chest belly up towards the bar and begin to pull the bar down HARD with your lats just like a barbell row. There's no way you can do that fast the right way unless you are an absolute expert in your shirt. If you let your arch cave in all you'll do is loose all the pop from the shirt that's why I like the PVC pipe because you can't cave in. If that is a new shirt or even new to you, you have no business trying to touch your first time.
Pileing on more weight than you can handle to press right now is only gonna get you hurt. Boards are crucial to learn how to use a shirt. As you get decent form and find weight you can handle say off a 3 board you can begin to work your way down. Your goal obviously has to be touching weight to your chest but, trying to do it the way you're doing it isn't a good idea in my oppinion. Start slow and keep asking questions. I wasted a year trying to learn to use a shirt as I started to learn the importance of these seemingly small things and practicing them every week I put over #100 on my shirted bench and only #15 raw in these last 6 months. I wasted a year getting only about #50 out of my shirt and almost bombing in meets because I had no idea what I was doing. I have to continue to practice these things myself because as I get better I know I can still get another #100 out of my shirt.
Don't quit focusing on your raw strength. I made this mistake as you can see above. Good luck.
I'd honestly spend more time touching if I were you. What good is bringing the bar down as low as possible with low weights without touching when you will never do that in a meet. If you can't touch consistently in that shirt, reserve it for a 3rd attempt. If you can't press a 3rd attempt weight you can touch, don't wear the shirt. Save it, use it in the offseason to get better with it. Competition prep has alot to do with confidence. You need to be confident in your attempt selection, your equipment, and your ability to perform consistently (especially under IPF rules). Right now, you can't be confident with any of those three things, so hammer those three home before it's too late.
To answer your question, I'd use a weight for negatives that you're comfortable with (probably no more than 110% of your bench) and can handle (say your 2 board max) safely. Don't just throw 500 lbs on lol.
Last edited by BloodandThunder; 10-13-2010 at 01:39 PM.
In my opinion your main issue is technique. Not the fit of your shirt or your training program.
Several people have pointed out flaws in your technique, but your replies tend to gloss over these pointers and focus on other things.
Good technique, especially with a bench shirt, can put lots of weight on your max in a fraction of the time it would take to get stronger with bad technique and lift the same weights.
You appear to have no arch and no leg drive and aren't tight at all.
750/500/690 APF Elite @ 242
Bench Only - Multi Ply SPF - 600 @ 275 (251)
Bench Only - Single Ply USAPL - 501 @ 275 (255)
Bench Only - Single Ply SPF - 550 @ 259 (257)
Before continuing the Thread, I'll give a report of injury status pertinent to my possible upcoming meet (USAPL New England States):
I was evaluated today by a doctor who is part of a team of 3 doctors working together. I thought he did a good job.
After questioning me and giving me a physical examination, his conclusion was that I had strained the muscles of my lower back, and had Tendonitis of my right elbow.
He sent me for an X-Ray of my lumbar spine (front and side view; side views of me bending forward and backwards as well as straight). He said he would call me tomorrow to give me the results of the X-Ray. He also scheduled me for Physical Therapy sessions. He prescribed a 1% Voltaren gel for the elbow.
I decided that I would stop training the Deadlift after asking him for an opinion about whether he thought I should train to hit a PR at the meet I've been training for on Dec. 11th. He said that he thought my back muscles were "maxed out" at this point and needed rest. I can tell you that this is exactly how I feel
I have a minimal arch. I'm working on improving my arch. My training partner recently tested my arch while benching: his arm fit under my lower back. If I had zero arch, his arm would not have passed under my back. I purchased an instument from Lifting Large called Back Magic:
I have used it on and off for the past year as part of a comprehensive stretching routine. I have lifelong chronic back problems that have been from moderately to somewhat severely debilitating. Within the symptomology of this issue is the fact that my lower back is very tight and I have great difficulty arching - I tend to round in everyday posture. I have to force an arch. I try my best, and will not stop trying.
This being said, I notice that it is harder to arch wearing a bench press shirt. It is also harder to squeeze my shoulder blades together and keep them squeezed together. We all know that single ply shirts are not comfortable and easy to use in most cases. I'm working hard to overcome these issues. I appreciate your help, and every lifter who has helped and will help in the future.
I have tried to place a piece of PVC piping under my back when I bench. So far it has proved to me very uncomfortable, and seemed counterproductive. I will try again. Thanks for that tip.
Louie Simmons recommends that you lower the bar as fast as you can. My training partner got it from Louie and swears by it.
Just so you are aware, I did not try to touch anything except a 2 board the first time using the shirt. I started with a 4 board and then a 3 board and then a 2 board. I have a training partner who is overzealous. He would have had me try to touch on this occasion. He believes that I should have the uncanny ability that he possesses: He touched 185 lbs in a tight-as-hell new Katana the very first time he used it. A very accomplished bencher asked me to show him a vid of this, as he could not believe it. As I posted above, because lowering the bar as fast as possible works well for him, he is always nagging me to do it and shouting it at me after he hands the bar off to me.
I mainly focus on my raw bench. I need to do more upper-end work and need to be in a shirt more often. Both Ben Brizendine and Jared Bachmeier have influenced me to do a heavy raw Single before putting the shirt on every time, to keep up my raw strength. I spend a good deal of the off-season focusing on my raw bench each year.
Because I have never gotten a tight shirt to work so far in my career, I have benched in a loose shirt and used the geared Sheiko routine that Dave Bates (Eric Talmant's coach) devised. In this routine you do doubles and triples with 80-85% of your 1RM in the loose shirt.
Last edited by smitsky; 10-13-2010 at 09:34 PM.
Yes, my technique leaves much to be desired. Yes, several people have pointed out the flaws in my technique. I appreciate your opinion and concern, but I do not agree with your assessment that my replies "tend to gloss over these pointers and focus on other things." While I respect the subjective opinion that you have WRT this, I can only say that, if I was to focus solely on responding to these statements, there wouldn't be any room for me to move on and ask questions regarding related issues.
Hopefully my above Posts will address the arch, leg drive, and tightness issue. I did explain why I thought my leg drive was present in an above Post. I'll restate it here: "I will put a belt on as you say. I will also keep working on establishing more of an arch (I have developed a slight one, but need more) and becoming more proficient at my leg drive, especially in a shirt. I'm better at leg drive raw, and at sub-maximal weights."
To reiterate: I am aware of my weaknesses WRT technique and am doing my best to address and correct them.
While I respect the opinion of all who have replied to the Thread that I have started, I'll like to make a related observation which I think is pertinent.
Not every bench press star in the world utilizes a big arch.
IPF/USAPL/NAPF bench specialist and multiple-time world champion Dennis Cieri benches flat-backed for the most part. While he does utilize Wrestling Bridges and related stretching techniques to facilitate an arch, he doesn't have a pronounced one. Since no one has beaten him at raw benching in the 198's (not counting past greats such as legendary bencher Mike McDonald), I think he's a good example.
Last edited by smitsky; 10-13-2010 at 10:25 PM.
If you want to minimize your chances of success, by all means bench with a flat back. None of us here will lose any sleep when your bench numbers languish. Before any of you go off calling me a jerk, keep in mind this is the exact thing I would say to a visitor at our gym or a seminar attendee. Sometimes the truth hurts.
Did you see the reply I posted to your first Post in this thread? I asked you a question in that Post.
I received a very good answer from a great lifter who is on his way to the RUM: "A shirt is too tight for you if you cannot press the weight that it takes to touch back up." This is a very pertinent question I have: How do you tell if a shirt is too tight?
Yes, IPF rules are tough. Do I have an easier time in Feds which allow me to raise my head off the bench? Yes. I feel that, and I speak for myself here, I should learn to be able to lift in any Federation and conform to the rules of that Federation. So far I have lifted in the USAPL, WNPF, and IPA. I would like to lift in the APA and the APF soon. I want to learn both single and multi ply, and am not afraid to do a raw meet either.
On that note, I would like to address the issue that Soco raised: having all parts of your feet on the floor is a USAPL rule. I had been training for a USAPL meet up until I received an injury diagnosis yesterday, so I was training for having my feet placed flat on the floor. In meets such as these, I try to utilize leg drive by following Jim Wendler's advice: push your toes to the front of your shoes and try to push yourself backwards on the bench without raising your butt.
You said you don't have a car to get to train with others. There's reasons you can't get a great arch. If I attended a seminar. Do you really think I care about any of these things? It does not effect my lifting in the least. These are excuses for you. We don't need to hear them. You either do or do not. I know you will think I'm a dick for this, but really stop and think about what I'm saying. I wish you the best on your lifting. I really am trying to help.
I hear what you are saying. Since you are a moderator on these Boards, I will do exactly what you tell me to do WRT my posting style here.
I appreciate you trying to help.
I was also interested to hear if you had an opinion on an entry-level multi ply shirt that you think will be good for me to try. Thanks in advance. I wish you the best in your lifting as well.