Do you have any advice for getting a bench shirt on when you lift alone?



Hey Glen,

Right off the bat, you will need a shirt that is at least one size too big. Mine is two sizes too big, at least. In fact, I can put my entire fist inside of the left arm sleeve with it on.

Stay calm!

I've learned that the more you try to get it on...the more mad you get, the redder your face gets, the faster your hands start to cramp, the more your bicep tendinitis hurts, the more you sweat, and the more difficult it becomes. Next thing you know, you have one arm in the shirt that is stuck to "the point of no return," your fingers are bleeding, you are out of Jack's Blue Heat (shouldn't that stuff come in a spray for bench press days?), you are bleeding at your temple from where you stumbled into the squat bar that shouldn't have been in the Dog Nab way in the first place, you have sworn off geared lifting forever, and you have yelled "You Dog Nab Summawitch" when that kindly elderly lady walked by.

Get a fan!

I suggest having two fans at a minimum for when you are putting on your bench shirt alone. Ultimately, you need three—each very strategically aligned. One in front of you: pressing down hard on your "front section." One aimed from straight behind: keeping your lats, upper back, and triceps cool. You should already have butt sweat going anyway (and that was just during the drive to the gym), so don't worry needing anything for the waist down. The third should be from up above: blowing straight down upon you face and neck. I could go as far as to suggest using smaller ones with some sort of turbo blast coming straight at your face...and one to keep your Daddy Parts cool. Oh, and some type of ice bag bungee corded to the top of your head.

Buy Baby Powder In Bulk!

Even if you are out of town and training at the local Anti-Iron Sport Gym Fitness Center that has a sign that says "NO CHALK ALLOWED" didn't say anything about Baby Powder! Remember, if they say anything to don't speak English. And if they would just close their freaking holes and help, you wouldn't be taking up their Curl Rack for bench press this long anyway! As I was saying...cover your shirt, your arms, your chest, your lats, under arms, shorts, parts of your hair and face (beard is a given), the preacher curl machine, and a few trespassers that are in your gym space with baby powder. A tub of baby powder the size of your head was meant to last for one bench press session anyway, and I'm pretty sure that stuff expires within eight hours of opening it. Trust me, not only am I a Trophy Husband, but I'm also a House Wife.

*Side Note: If you take my Baby Powder Protocol and use it wisely, you will also need at least two liters of water sitting next to you in a bottle. Before every set, pour some on the floor and rub your shoes in it to get the baby powder off. If you get baby powder on your shoes, you will have no leg drive at all as they will slip and slide everywhere. A wet towel has the possibility to work, but we aren't training for "possibilities"...we are training on Sure Fire Methods! Take no chances! Don't miss a lift because you couldn't take the two-liter Coke Bottle that you drank for lunch and refill it with tap water for your bench press workout. Prepare for success!

**Side Side Note: I'm pretty sure that this is how Louie developed the Dynamic Effort Method as well. Forty-five seconds is just enough rest to fall off the bench, have your friend assist you up off the floor (he needs to be doing more lat work anyway), step into the water, chalk your hands, and get back onto the bench. Pretty sure it is science and the Russians were doing it back in the 50s.

Invest in Velcro!

Clearly you picked up an open-back shirt with the Velcro straps. Well, since we are fully bloated and haven't done any mobility work since 1984 (unless that time we had too much to drink and "managed" to get into a Mazda counts as mobility work), the Velcro that comes with the shirt will not be enough. Go to the store and pick up two 3-foot lengths of double-sided Velcro and attach each one to the straps already on your shirt. Now you just made a Velcro strap that you can actually reach! Why the heck doesn't elitefts™ sell Velcro Extenders?!

Invest in C-Clamps!

You will want to pre-attach a C-Clamp to the upper back of your shirt. They don't need to be so tight that you automatically poke a hole in it, but I am saying that you'd think that METAL would make a shirt with a few stainless steel grommets built in just for this purpose. don't want that thing slipping on you either. However, if it does, your YouTube video of it happening might just get more hits than the average Matt Ladewski deadlift video. Anyway, all you have to do is lean into a J-Hook with the C-Clamp and keep leaning to help pull the shirt on tighter and tighter. Again, video everything...remember, it made Matt Ladewski famous.

Make use of the Smith Machine!

The Smith Machine is a great piece of equipment, and I'm pretty sure that it was designed just for the bench press! Adjust the height as you see fit (we are talking trial and error here) and lean armpit first into the bar. The genius of the Smith Machine over the bench press and bar is that the Smith Machine is adjustable so that you don't have to lean way down. You can stand up or even be at a 45-degree angle when you do this, and you can even adjust the height as needed. You want to dig that armpit as deep into your chest as possible.

Remember your friends!

You know that guy in the gym that continues to drop deadlifts at the lockout because of his girly grip? Call that brother up! You have a grip program just for him, and it only takes a small amount of his time (about six hours per week). Then he will never miss a deadlift due to grip again! Guaranteed! Make him get that shirt on you, baby powder you up, set your C-Clamps, attach your Velcro, and Tug Baby Tug! He can also assist you with many other keeping the chalk "hidden" in your king sized gym bag so the owner doesn't see it, and covering your upper back so you don't slide on the bench. He may be called upon to assist you in other methods as well. Let us say that you start to feel dehydrated...he can add electrolytes to your double dosed sugar aided Gatorade. If you get hungry: he can open those Reese Cups and spread the peanut butter (all natural, buddy. We ain't buying that preservative filled crap they put on the shelves that "normal" people buy) onto your pre/peri/post bench press Snickers Bars, and he can even pour the Hershey's Chocolate syrup into your mouth between sets (we don't want our blood sugar getting low during a set now do we? We have all heard the horror stories of someone dropping a bar on them because they hadn't eaten properly).

Don't Forget The Preacher Curl Machine!

Once you have finished your benching (and your "friend" has worked on his sprinting skills out to his Mazda), you probably don't have time to unload all 22 plates that you just put on the bar or the Onyx Heavy Bands from the top of the rack...since the owner has called the police and they are making their way towards you and the curl rack. So, just undo your three-foot long Velcro straps, lower your shoulders, grab your gym bag like a fumbled pigskin in the open field, and dart forward—straight into the handle of the preacher bench. For sure the last "guy" that used it had it loaded up to about 300 pounds (comparable to a 15-pound dumbbell), and that is just enough pressure for you to get the collar of your METAL Jacked shirt under. Then leap as high as you can ( DO do plyometrics!), and at least one arm will come straight off and out of the sleeve. Just keep on sprinting (waddling, whatever) straight to your truck and never look back. I've heard that this method is just as good as buying a Prowler...and letting it sit in the corner of the gym to use as the base for your Christmas Tree.

Good luck, Glen. The World awaits your YouTube (security cam) Video!

- Clint Darden