The bench press shirt serves as both protective gear and a method of increasing your strength. Protective gear has been used by competitors for years and has been common in contact sports from jousting to football. It's easy to understand why helmets, pads, and guards of various types are use in most sports; especially if one wished to compete more than once. As a matter of fact in most contact sports, the gear evolved simultaneously with the sport, if not the event would more or less been a duel to the death.
This is a specialized shirt worn by weight lifters (generally power lifters) when they perform the bench press, to protect the shoulders and pectorals during competition. It was discovered sometime in the 1980's that certain types of bench shirts also increased performance. The drama thickens, or should I say coils?
What Is It Made Of?
The fabric coils as the lifter lowers his or her arms and then springs loose as he or she lifts their arms. This action puts additional pressure on the bar making it possible to propel more weight. I said "possible" because the lifters ability to develop and perfect his technique is directly proportional to the results. It's an art, not automatic. The more successful competitors use it to practice as well as compete.
Is it Fair?
Because of the considerable benefits (25% to 35%) INCREASE in strength is not that uncommon, the various governing bodies of the sport have the following rules:
- WNPF World Natural Powerlifting Federation - allows single or double ply, poly or denim, open or closed back, but no canvas
- WABPD World Association of Bench Pressers and Dead Lifters - allows single or double ply, poly or denim, but the neck must be closed
- USAPL USA Powerlifters - allows single ply poly only
- IPF International Powerlifting Federation - requires individual brands to pay a fee for approval of shirts and they must be single ply poly