Originally Posted by Denny
What makes those sirts so much of an aid?
Basically they are maid on NON Stretch material and the shoulder seems (chest plate) are only a few inches apart so when you have 400lbs+ coming down something has to give. Usually your skin is pinched and arms and chest is crushed. You have to pull down with the 400lbs to even get it to touch your chest and it hurts like hell. So, as you push up the lift is assisted for the first few inches.
So you ask, why use one then? They were original designed to help keep from injury when lifting heavy weight on bench. The shirt keeps everything tight and inline. When people found that it added to their bench the materials keep getting stronger and stronger and now it's got out of hand. Some Feds in powerlifting allow 3 plys of material! Imagine it taking 400lbs to get 1 ply to touch the chest while pulling down on it. Then 3 plys! It takes 700 plus. You have to be able to lock the weight out though. Obviously you cant just put one on and add 100lbs to your bench. That's why you see powerlifters working off boards, and benching off the floor to practice the top part of the bench and doing heavy tricep work to help with "Lockouts"
Really it’s a skill that takes practice to master. Some people cant get use to the “groove” of the shirt and cant lift with it period.
So then you ask, why do feds allow them if they give false weight to lifts?
One reason is that people like to see BIG numbers. The record is approaching 1100lbs with a shirt now. Another reason is that it does still prevent injury.
The most important reason gear is allowed is because it brings $money$ to a hurting sport. The gear makers (Inzer,APT,Titan, and others) sponsor and pay for all the events around the world.
Do i like using gear? NO, however the fed i lift in and the fed that does the Firefighter/Police Olympics is APF and they allow Gear so i have to use it to be competitive.
That's the basic overview, i hope that helps understand gear.