RAMBLINGS OF A BORED LIFTER AT WORK
Why are all these people afraid of gear? ďYou didnít get that lift, your gear didĒ; do you know how many times I hear that . Dr. Judd attempted to answer this question in an article in PLUSA a couple of months ago. In my opinion, he did a poor job. Someone (I think it is Louie) has a famous thing with ďa triple denim and a bottle of test that says that the shirt and the test have yet to lift anythingĒ. He is right, they havenít donít alone, they are missing the lifter. You can pile on all the layers of material that you want, but with out a lifter, the bar ainít moving. Some say the extra layers will give the lifter the ability to lift more. Here is a test, go put on 2 double denims, can you bench more than you can with only 1 on? No, because if you actually did get the bar to touch, you would never get it up because of the incredible tonnage it would take to get it down. So the extra layers did nothing for you. I agree with Bill C. on this one, after 2 layers itís a waste of time.
Let even up the score a little for the larger crowd. If you want to make the gear game fair, the line will be drawn at 198 pounds. Everyone under 181 pounds gets single ply, who cares what type of material, so long as it is single layer. Knee wraps get cut off at 2.5 meters. Wrist wraps, who cares? Everyone over 181.5 pounds gets 2 plies if they choose so; material does not matter. Knee wraps are allowed to be 3.5 meters. Why is this fair? Take a 150-pound lifter, put him/her in a single ply poly squat suit. They would get all kinds of spring from this suit. Now put my 300-pound ass in the same suit, nothing. Here is another one to try. Wrap your knee wrap around your knee as hard as you can, now bend it. Kind of hard to do without a bar on your back. Now wrap the same wrap around your waist; lot different isnít it. I understand this may seem like an extreme way to make my point, but that is what I am trying to do, make a point. Since we are talking about knee wraps, is it fair that the 150-pound guy gets the same size wraps as me. My knees are huge; they can get almost 2 more wraps than I can. This is why they should cut them at 2.5 meters for 198 pounds and under. I have nothing against the 181-pound and under classes; I was just using it as an example. So now that all that has been said.
Who cares what you wear when you lift, so long as you are lifting. If you do not like the rules of your federation, you still have many options. When the BOSS suit came out, first it was legal, then banned, then legal, then banned. In the process of the federation presidents making up their minds, a lot of these suits were purchased. Instead of getting ED
off, quitting the federation and being stupid, a lot of us contacted our president, and eventually changed his mind (making it legal again). This is what is great about having all the different federations. If you are not happy with the one you are in, you can quit, change or contact your president and talk to him/her. The presidents are people just like you and me, some retired lifters, some still lift; the point is the majority will listen. Your state chairperson can also help. On the flip side, we all need to do our own part. Whether it is by becoming a judge, state chair, or being the guy that brings the Gatorade to the meet, do something. When you see the guys at the other end of the gym staring at you with a bent bar on your back, go talk to them. Get them interested, if that is what they want. When you see the guy on the bench next to you ing up every part of the lift, go help the poor guy, donít just stand there and laugh at him. The image of the powerlifters being the big, mean, loud guys that mess up the gym with chalk and leaving all the 100 pound plates on the bars is only going to go away if we make it go away. Some gyms donít like us and never will, thatís fine, donít lift there. If that is a problem and now you donít have anywhere to train, stop crying about it and make a place. We made a fully functional gym, not a garage gym, but a full gym for around $1000.00. We currently have over 20 pieces of equipment and over 1400 pounds of weight. How, we wanted it so bad, we let nothing stand in the way of building it. It only cost a few dollars, some beer and a good welder to make equipment. Just donít forget your family if you plan on doing this, they too need some of your time. If you do happen to have a family, remember that they need to come first. I have made the mistake of putting the gym and training before my wife and son, which was the worst thing to do. If your family is not happy with what you do, they will make you not happy about it, so either change their mind or quit doing it, because what would be the point of continuing?
Now back to the gear debate. Do you really think that anybody is going to sponsor a raw meet? Who is going to do it, Gatorade? Gear is here to stay my friends and if you cant deal with it, maybe you need start your own federation; good luck getting sponsors. When Tiger Woods starting using newly developed clubs, no one said a word. When the baseball was changed a few years ago to the new tighter windings that have been scientifically proven to go further went hit, no one said a word. If everyone has the ability to wear the same gear, how is this cheating, as our wonderful Dr. Judd would say it is. Gear serves many different purposes from safety to Performance
enhancement. Can I honestly say that someone could bench 900lbs without a bench shirt, no, not in our current time, but someday, why not? This sport is evolving just as everything else does in our world. Yes, that squat suit may give you 100lbs extra on your lift, but so what. If you donít like the fact that you cant do that, you still have options as I mentioned earlier. All the gear only boils down to one thing, someone wanting to win. I have a huge desire to beat not only myself but also, everyone on the platform; therefore I am going to take advantage of every possible chance I can get to win. I know that you are only supposed to be there to beat your own records and yourself, but who are you trying to lie to, you know that you want to win that trophy as bad as everyone else does. If gear can help you get there, use it dummy! Like I mentioned earlier, gear is not going to lift anything by itself, you still need to do the work.
If you take a man that can bench 700lbs in an open back double denim shirt, do you honestly think he did less work than the raw bencher who benches 400lbs. You cannot just throw on gear and think it is going to add weight to your lifts; you have to learn how to use it. Learning how to use your gear properly takes time, patients, and a ton of work. Chances are the 700lbs bencher did twice as much work as the 400lbs bencher did. You still have to lock the weight out at the top and as far as I have seen there is no gear out there that will do that for you. Look at the life span of the 400lb raw bencher. His shoulders are going to be gone in a matter of years; heíll be lucky to compete for 5 years like this. The gear adds a degree of safety and longevity to your career when worn and used correctly. Some people choose not to train in gear, some choose to wait until a few weeks until the meet, and others train in it all the time. It is all going to depend on what style of training you choose to follow. If you were going to lift in a denim shirt I would strongly recommend at the very least 10 weeks of training in the shirt before a meet. You have to learn how the shirt is going to change your groove, this takes time. This is where the 400lb raw bencher and the 700lbs shirted bencher are going to differ in training styles. More than likely the 700lbs bencher is going to warm up to 400lbs without his shirt, then put it on and start really training. No matter how much gear you have on, 700lbs is 700lbs, you still have to not only move it but also control it. Think about how your body is designed, your shoulders and hips have got to be some of the weakest joints in your body when it comes to their design. You basically have a bone with a small ball on the side of it that attaches to a socket but the pressure is creating a shearing force against where the ball connects to the bone. Why in the world would you not want to protect that area when lifting? Yes, some raw training is needed but gear is going to have to play a part somewhere down the line.
With all this said I believe I have expressed what I wanted. In case you were not paying attention let me make it real simple for you. Keep your training simple, you can try every new workout out there and never gain anything. Only you know what will help you. Our sport is growing so fast that I donít think anyone one person can keep up with it. Do your research, study, watch the stronger lifters, and ask questions. If it is no longer working, change it, if it is still working, leave it alone. Most importantly, lift for you, not the other people in the gym. Wear what you want to, lift where you want to, and how you want to.
KEEP AN OPEN MINDÖ
Thane T. Harrison Jr.
3 White Lights Powerlifting