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Bench Shirt 101...

APFwildman

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Bench Shirt 101; or what I’ve learned from Metal Militia.
By Jim Wendler
For EliteFTS.com

It is no secret that Bill Crawford and the Metal Militia are the undisputed kings of the bench press. They have taken the bench shirt to new levels. Not only have they revolutionized how to put the shirt on, but they have learned how to correctly bench with a shirt. The bench shirt is a difficult thing to master and is probably the most frustrating piece of equipment in the powerlifter’s arsenal. I am by no means a master of the bench shirt. In fact, I’m in the same boat as most of you. I can’t count the number conversations that I’ve had with other powerlifters on how to use a shirt and (more importantly) how to use it correctly.

Earlier this year, I had the chance to attend a seminar given at Nazareth Barbell by Mike Miller and Bill Crawford. This was a great experience and I came away with a ton of great information and a new gym PR. Coming home, I was excited to begin teaching myself and others what I’ve learned. Unfortunately, there was a lot of information and a lot to go over and digest. With the help of Bill, Mike, Dave Tate and Bob Youngs, I started trying some of the new techniques. Here is a brief overview on what I learned. Remember that this is second hand information. Some of it may be slightly skewed but this should help you get started.

Putting the Bench Shirt on

1. Put your shirt on and have someone pull the shoulders on as tight and high as possible. Do this one shoulder at a time. The best way to do this is to have your partner pull on the back of the shirt while you lean forward. If the arms of your shirt are tight, it would benefit you to wiggle your arms back and forth. This will help pull the shirt on and place it in the correct position. Your partner may have to brace one of his arms on your middle back to give him better leverage.
2. Now that your shoulders are in the shirt, attach the Velcro straps on the back of the shirt very lightly. You do not want these to be tight. Usually, the bottom two straps are the only ones that are fastened.
3. Put your belt on. It should be loose at this point.
4. Have your partner stand in front of you. With your arms out in front of you, cross them so that the chest plate of your shirt develops “shirt cleavage”.
5. With your arms crossed, have your partner tug on the bottom of your shirt. This will eliminate the “shirt cleavage”.
6. Once the cleavage is gone, your partner should hold the bottom of your shirt taut. At this point, arch your lower and upper back and uncross your arms. The shirt should be very tight in your chest and shoulders. With your partner holding the bottom of your shirt, have someone tightened your belt. This will keep the shirt in place. Make sure the belt is very tight. You will have to suck your stomach in to achieve this.
7. Once the shirt is in position, have your partner adjust the shoulders again. You do not want to pull them as high as they were in the beginning, but just enough to be comfortable. This will vary from person to person and in time, you will know exactly where you want the shirt.

Technique


1. When setting up underneath the bar (setting your upper back, lats and your low back arch), the shirt will have a tendency to ride up and lose position. In order to combat this, set yourself up using an underhand close grip. This will keep your shirt in perfect place. Once your body position is perfect, grab the bar at your competition grip. I personally like to pull myself up (like an underhand pull-up), tuck my feet underneath me, pull my upper back together and push myself into position. This is what I’ve always done, but was reinforced over and over again at Nazareth Barbell by Mike Miller and Bill Crawford. Your upper back should feel spring loaded. If you do this correctly, you will probably be sore the next day.
2. Once you receive your handoff, hold the bar for a second or two. This will accomplish two things. One, it will allow you to start the bar where you want it. Too many times people will rush the descent and thus lose their groove. Two, it will allow you to let the bar sink and reduce the distance the bar has to travel. When you hold the bar, push your shoulder blades/upper back into the bench and push your stomach up. I’ve seen a lifter take more than 3” off his stroke by simply mastering this technique. To learn how to do this, put your shirt on and practice this with light weights. You’ll be surprised at how much this helps.
3. When you begin lowering the bar, do not tuck your elbows in the beginning. Keep your elbows out during the first inch or so. This will help lock your shirt into your triceps. Once the back of your shirt sleeves lock, begin tucking your elbows. This is one that needs to be practiced over and over again. You will develop the feel of when to begin tucking your elbows over time. Again, this is very individualistic.
4. When you are lowering the bar, keep your head on the bench and keep pushing your chest and stomach up as high as possible. This will reduce the distance that you have to push the bar. Having someone yell, “Big stomach!” or something similar will help. Make sure you are keeping your upper back and lats tight and pulled together.
5. Keep tucking your elbows as hard as you can. Once the bar touches your chest/stomach and you receive the press command, drive your feet into the ground and your upper back into the bench.
6. At about ¾ of the way up, begin turning your elbows out. This will ensure for a stronger lockout and a more advantageous pressing position. In order to see how to do this, I highly recommend going to a seminar by Bill Crawford or Mike Miller. Also, the Nazareth Bench Video is a great way to see this technique. This has to be practiced over and over again. You will not get this down on the first try so don’t get frustrated. There is an incredible amount of timing involved.
7. Once you lockout the weight, hold it and wait for the rack command.
8. Some of the key points such as pushing your belly out, tucking your elbows, holding the bar at the top, keeping your head down, etc. are things that need to be coached throughout the lift. This is what training partners are for. They need to be coaching you throughout the entire lift. I also recommend trying these new techniques one at a time. Trying all of these things at once will result in sensory overload.

I realize that it is difficult to “see” some of these things in an article, but you should get an idea of what most of this means. The best way to learn is to get out and do it! Even if you don’t get it right the first time, you may stumble onto something. Again, I highly suggest trying to go to a seminar with Mike Miller and/or Bill Crawford. Call EliteFTS @ 888 854 8806 if you are interested in the Nazareth Barbell Bench Video. Also, I will not answer any question such as, “What does Louie Simmons think of all of this?” If you want to know, ask him yourself. EliteFTS is not a messenger for Louie Simmons. Now go get some chalk on your hands and learn how to bench.
 

warriordog

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I was at one if Millers seminars also. Before he turned strongman competitor. Now he's a fighter.

The set up and technique are 100 % on the money.
 

Hydran

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Does this website give you viruses?

I got a virus in my computer, the virus randomly poops up websties when im online, or when i click on a link fro example a link from somthing i googled it send me to this ramdom pages. My internet explorer also keeps on saying that there was an error so it keeps shutting down. I already scaned my compuer several times and all it catches is a tracking cookie, It never picks up any virus. Also one of the sities that popped up was about norton popping up sites and had people's comments of how annoying that was. It was a Norton site(wich pooped up too) I dont know if that is even relevant to this. Does anyone know what i can do about this, or how i could take the virus off? i dont wanna have to buy another antivirus? Please Help, my computer is even slower now and the sites are super annoying i cant even search anything either. Thanks guys I appreciate it


_________________
wow guide
 

fina

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hey stopit person that in a powerlifting furom
go to zone elarm its free.
ooooooo my god
 

yzfrr11

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thanks, good read
 

Westerdam

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Confused on why someone would wear a bench shirt. Does it stop injury or do people only wear it to improve their bench numbers?
 

saps

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Confused on why someone would wear a bench shirt. Does it stop injury or do people only wear it to improve their bench numbers?
Yes and yes
 

sbc5966

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Some feds allow it. If they do and you don't use one, it's kind of like going to war without a gun. (on top of the previous yes and yes)
 

mass_chaos

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I prefer raw benching,those are the real record's that count!
Im a raw lifter but I enjoy watching the shirted lifters as well. Hell anything withs weights, I enjoy.
 

bwilly

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This is the old time debate that will go on for years.. But granted people love raw lifting and only think the raw records count.. Most of the new raw records are being set by geared lifters because it allows your body to handle more weight. And in the end helps the raw bench tremendously. That and the slingshot by mark bell or then one titan makes. Now in say that with the exception of Jeremy hoonstra who is just a freak at 242 for a raw bench..
 

metromuscle

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shirts

I've always benched raw, but in competition used a shirt. The key for me has been to get a shirt that will do the trick without injuring my shoulders...it can get pricey trying different ones out, but once a person gets one that fits right, you can really make some progress.
This is the old time debate that will go on for years.. But granted people love raw lifting and only think the raw records count.. Most of the new raw records are being set by geared lifters because it allows your body to handle more weight. And in the end helps the raw bench tremendously. That and the slingshot by mark bell or then one titan makes. Now in say that with the exception of Jeremy hoonstra who is just a freak at 242 for a raw bench..
 

Bull_Nuts

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Titans f6 is a good shirt

Sent from my LG-LS970 using Tapatalk 2
 

metromuscle

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Titan and Metal stuff is all good IMHO...I hurt my shoulder on Overkill and don't think I'll ever have that shirt broke in
 

Pops2302

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Thanks man for this! I was thinking about transferring from raw to geared here soon. What brand would you recommend? I know Inzer is extremely popular but what is your preference?
 

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