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Thread: GF needs advice on shirted bench

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  1. #1
    Senior Member jtteg_x's Avatar
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    GF needs advice on shirted bench

    Not to get into too much detail, when she goes 90% or above she panics and gets nervous, then mentally breaks down as she brings the weight closer to chest. I tell her to relax, trust her spotters (me) and the shirt. She ALWAYS cocks her wrist back and her forearms are not lined up with her elbows. She is fighting the groove of the shirt trying to accommodate her raw groove which is a big no-no. I have a general idea on what she needs to do and what cues to shout, but how does one convince a lifter to break that mental barrier? I'm getting frustrated myself as I been training her for months now but I know bringing negativity to the table won't do any good.

  2. #2
    Dr. Subtotal
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    Two things. Confidence and technique. She needs to build confidence and reinforce good technique. The second one can be fixed by positive vocal commands as much as possible during training and showing her video from the side. The confidence issue is a bit tricky. One is overload work. If she's handling weights above her raw max, she might see that this is not a big deal. You could also use different plates to make the same weight (alot of people get frozen when they see a certain number of 45s on the bar).

    Does she panic similarly at 90% raw? If not, that's a shirt issue and more practice touching weights will sooth that concern.
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    Senior Member jtteg_x's Avatar
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    I like the 25/35lb plate idea but come meet day, it'd throw her off. She is fine attempting PR's on raw benching. She uses the slingshot as well for overload work but she doesn't seem to be bothered by it. It's only when she puts the shirt on and starts handling weight over her raw max (+80lb over her best raw). She does well hitting 2-brd but any lower, she says "i feel like its gonna fall on my belly" "it doesn't feel natural to go this low". I had to give her a "motivational coach talk" if she trusts me etc etc to boost her confidence but no luck. As far as her technique, its not the best but pretty good. She is progressing her form as she recently started shirted benching and I can see where her weak points are. We hit those hard on DE bench days or after the main ME movement for "assistance work"

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtteg_x View Post
    I like the 25/35lb plate idea but come meet day, it'd throw her off. She is fine attempting PR's on raw benching. She uses the slingshot as well for overload work but she doesn't seem to be bothered by it. It's only when she puts the shirt on and starts handling weight over her raw max (+80lb over her best raw). She does well hitting 2-brd but any lower, she says "i feel like its gonna fall on my belly" "it doesn't feel natural to go this low". I had to give her a "motivational coach talk" if she trusts me etc etc to boost her confidence but no luck. As far as her technique, its not the best but pretty good. She is progressing her form as she recently started shirted benching and I can see where her weak points are. We hit those hard on DE bench days or after the main ME movement for "assistance work"
    If she is saying that, I'm willing to bet she's in the wrong shirt. I have worked with a couple of female lifters who's boyfriends insisted on them getting into a SK or an F6 because the guys were too stubborn to see that the woman had a completely different body shape and type compared to the guys and the shirt just wasn't working for her, but the guys were convinced it was "a great shirt".

    This happened with my own wife (Who basically said what your girlfriend is saying). We tried multiple shirts for her before I finally got pissed and got her a single ply phenom (a shit shirt in many peoples opinions), but it is one which she is consistantly improving with now. Look at how she's benching raw and get her into the right shirt. Start there before you do anything else.
    Last edited by JK1; 10-12-2011 at 12:02 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtteg_x View Post
    Not to get into too much detail, when she goes 90% or above she panics and gets nervous, then mentally breaks down as she brings the weight closer to chest. I tell her to relax, trust her spotters (me) and the shirt. She ALWAYS cocks her wrist back and her forearms are not lined up with her elbows. She is fighting the groove of the shirt trying to accommodate her raw groove which is a big no-no. I have a general idea on what she needs to do and what cues to shout, but how does one convince a lifter to break that mental barrier? I'm getting frustrated myself as I been training her for months now but I know bringing negativity to the table won't do any good.
    You said the biggest problem I can see with your girlfriend in a shirt yourself in your question---and this seems to be more so the case with some of the female benchers I've worked with, then males but it happens with both--she is fighting the groove of the shirt trying to accomodate her raw groove. If she is doing that, you have her in the wrong shirt for her body. I would strongly recommend getting her into a bench shirt that nearly mimicks (as close as possible) her natural raw groove. This will eliminate the feeling of fighting that she's having and give her a chance to adjust to the pressure and bite of the shirt. She needs to understand that for a big bench, a lifter needs to work with his shirt to lift the most weight. If she is fighting against it, she's just wasting energy and she sure as hell isn't benching what she is capable of.

    This may take some trial and error, but I'd start there with her.
    Finally ELITE @ SHW..

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  6. #6
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Get some video up so we can better help. Also, with video you can show her, her own errors. The visual usually helps.


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    Senior Member jtteg_x's Avatar
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    She's using a loose fit open back single F6. I was tempted to get her the fury but she benches with an arch. I'll see if I can get someone to video tape next come shirted bench session.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtteg_x View Post
    She's using a loose fit open back single F6. I was tempted to get her the fury but she benches with an arch. I'll see if I can get someone to video tape next come shirted bench session.
    Yes, video would be very good. If you can, don't just get it from the side, but try to get the video from above too, that way we can see the chestplate and arms on the shirt and how it is loading with her. Sometimes if you just shoot video from the side, things are missed because of the arch or the plates.


    Just a comment--this is a personal opinion and different people will think differently based on their experiences. I personally do not like an open back on an F6, Katana, or SuperKatana. It seems that for some people, the shirts will not lock in correctly if the back is open. They have great support coming down and either they lose it, or after they can touch, when coming back up, it is as if the shirt has moved and support is lost. You just can't seem to lock the shirt in without a ridiculously tight belt on some people. I have always thought that is partially because those shirts were originally designed for federations that demanded closed backs. Opening the back changes the load of the shirt. Again, this is just an opinion, so don't hold me to it.
    Last edited by JK1; 10-12-2011 at 11:11 AM.
    Finally ELITE @ SHW..

    Single ply: 931 squat, 760 bench, 530 deadlift and 2180 total
    Multi ply: 960 squat, 770 bench, 550 deadlift and 2250 total.

    The next stop: PRO total.

    HOO's Gym: building the strongest gym in the South, one plate at a time.

  9. #9
    Dr. Subtotal
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    I'm an absolute terrible shirted bencher and I got over 120 lbs from a five year old worn down loose closed back Fury and I bench with a decent arch. If she flares early and doesn't belly bench, a Fury is a very good fit for her. Sometimes its better to get the most out of an inferior shirt before moving on to a better one. You learn in steps.

    I'd also rethink using boards with the shirt. Boards are good as a tool to build the lockout and confidence holding heavier weights but watch how she benches with the boards. If she just looses control on the eccentric, uses momentum, or does a lot of touch and go, that will carry out in her technique with touching weights. Use a 1 board or 2 board in the shape of foam may help since she can touch the foam but then continue the eccentric through it as it compresses. Maybe sub in reverse band work for a while to still work in the overload aspect of her training.

    Controlled negatives and heavy triples (while focusing on breathing and lats) are a good start. A bencher must be confident in their ability to touch lighter weights before pressing big ones, especially when they first get in a shirt. That goes along way into developing the mentality needed to get a huge carryover.
    Last edited by BloodandThunder; 10-12-2011 at 08:03 AM.
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  10. #10
    illinois fattest lifter theBarzeen's Avatar
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    I've seen this a few times with both guys and girls....

    it takes 2 things to fix this, and I don't agree with just getting a few new shirts. That might help, but a loose, single ply f6 should be about as forgiving as they come....
    Practice, and patience

    I like building up the groove a little at a time.... take a weight that you think she can touch with and have her do doubles to progressively lower boards. We did this with my wife when she wanted to get in to her single-ply overkill, and then again for her double-ply. We used 205 for my wife, but use whatever weight your wife could easily double.
    Set one is the first rep to a 3-board and the 2nd to a 2.5. The next set is 2.5 then 2, then 2 and 1.5. then 1.5 and 1, 1 and .5, then .5 and touch.
    The last set is just a touch with that same weight.

    This teaches the groove a 1/2" at a time instead of just going for it. It helps to use some speed as well. Once she gets the first rep to touch, have her take the second rep there a little quicker.


    Different shirts might give you a chance of finding something closer to a comfortable groove for her, but it sounds like a technique issue. Personally I wouldn't throw that much money at it.

    As for the wrists, wrap up higher on the heel of the hand. It might also help to have someone watch her groove and call for her to pull straight in when she gets to the right spot.... just a barbell row.


    Then just add weight as she gets used to working the shirt.


    Good luck
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