New to Gear? Start Here!

TAGS: Lily Starobin, deadlift suit, squat suit, powerlifting gear, bench shirt

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Lately, I’ve been seeing people asking about how to get started in multi-ply while training alone. I don’t know who you crazy fuckers are, but I love it.

The rest of us were lucky enough to have large sweaty people guide our tender flesh sacks through the process of learning and fucking up gear. We take for granted all the little tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way.

Yes, these tips are incredibly basic. But you have to learn them somewhere. You could write tomes on the comprehensive guide to gear and then all the differences between each type of shirt/suit themselves. Wowee. But for now, here’s just the tip to get you started in the right direction, whether you are training alone or with other gear babies.


RECENT: Putting Me Back in Max Effort


Thank you to Seth Albersworth for contributions to this compendium!

Everyone, add your beginner gear tips in the comments!

More and Tighter Gear is Not Always Better

Please listen to people when they tell you this. I know you think you know better, and that super tight shirt will give you a big bench at the meet. But then you can’t touch because you’re not good in a shirt, and you’re still working on hitting your opener for your third attempt. Gear helps until it doesn’t. That means too many layers, having your straps too tight, or shoving yourself into a tiny shirt won’t always be the answer to your problems and can create more issues than it solves. It can pull you into the wrong position, make it harder to touch, harder to get down to the bar for deadlifts and pull you forward in the hole. WHY DIDN’T I LISTEN WHEN PEOPLE TOLD ME THIS?

Don’t Force it with Gear

If you are in full gear and you can’t quite make it to depth with the weight, just come up. If you force it, you will most likely end up in a compromised position for nothing. That isn’t to say, don’t work hard to get in the right positions. Find the difference between working on getting in a good position and forcing something that might get you hurt.

Put Your Gear on Early in Warm-Ups

Don’t wait until you hit your raw max. The point is to learn how to be proficient in gear and have a good geared session. Some days you might hit a heavy raw squat before you put the gear on, but when in doubt, get some good time in the gear.

If shit is too tight, spray some water on it while you are getting into it. Lube it up. That is always the answer.

Squat Briefs and Suits

  1. Get your briefs and suit pulled up as far into your crotch as they can go. You don’t want any extra bagginess pulling you around. Get the legs up a little bit if you feel they are pulling your knees in.
  2. To get tight briefs on, use a carpet puller. Hang it on some hooks, then get in there and grind away. Somebody come get her, she’s dancing like a stripper.
  3. To get into your suit, wrap the straps over a bar (HAVE SOMEONE HOLD THEM OVER THE BAR) then hang there like a little baby. Chances are you are lazy, and getting your briefs on sapped you of your virile energy, so it’s a good time to take a lil nappy.
  4. If you have adjustable legs, keep the bottom of them looser than the top to give your massive tree trunks room to smoosh out when you’re getting down into the hole.
  5. When in doubt, leave a grown man’s hand worth of room when setting the straps. I know my straps are loose enough if some big man can slide his hand between the strap and my shoulders. As I stated above, having your straps too tight can cause you to get pulled forward/rounded in the hole. Believe it or not, trying to do a good morning out of the hole is probably not optimal. Weird, huh?
  6. When setting your straps, make sure you are “arched” with your shoulders down and back before you velcro those bad boys down. You want to set them while your upper body is in your optimal in-hole position.
  7. Extra exciting tip: Cross your straps in the back and get the slack out for a little extra oomph. Baby likes that.
  8. I like my straps outside of my belt.

bench-shirt

Bench Shirts

Bench shirts probably have the most variation in terms of brands, shirt types, cuts, etc., so it’s harder to generalize. The tips below work across the board but are also based on my experience with gear from he who must not be named.

  1. The more your shirt is pulled up all the way, the easier it will be to touch. If your shirt is jacked (collar pulled down, etc.), the harder it will be to touch. I generally like to have my shirt pulled up for warm-ups/opener then jack it down as the weight gets heavier. So if you are struggling, pull it all the way up in your pits.
  2. If you feel like the shirt is pulling your shoulders forward, peel them down off your shoulders (don’t move the rest of the shirt). I peel mine down to the first seam then fold them up in half again to keep them put. I do this all the time, even if the shirt is pulled up all the way. Plus, then everyone can see how huge I look.
  3. Try to make sure everything is even. Get unintentional creases out. Make sure the shirt isn’t bunched up weirdly under the belt. Pay attention to the small details. They can make a difference.
  4. Some people like belts, some don’t. I don't like to wear a belt on warm-ups so the shirt can move around a little and make it easier to touch. Then once the weight gets heavier, and the shirt is set, I need the belt to hold it into place.
  5. Learn how to set up, so you don’t move the beautiful collar/shoulder setting of your shirt. Don’t flail around while you are wrapping your wrists (or wrap them before you set your shirt). Pull your elbows down to keep the collar pulled into your chest. Grab the bar underhand when you are setting up, then flip your hands and move them to your wider grip. You will find what works for you but don’t undo all the hard work the other fatties put in sweating their assess off trying to jack your shirt down.
  6. If you are training alone, the ol' carpet puller works for shirts, too. Plus, then no one will be there to see when you are flailing your arms and accidentally come loose from the carpet puller and go flying unceremoniously across the gym.
  7. Reach out to people to ask for their tips on specific shirts. We are all friends here, RIGHT??!!

deadlift-suit

Deadlift Suits

  1. The biggest issue you can run into with deadlift suits is when they negatively impact your ability to set up properly. Having too much/too tight of a suit can hinder your ability to get down there and get in a good starting position. Deadlift suits are a “less is more” situation in some cases.
  2. With that said, mix and match to find what you like. I wear a deadlift suit that is a single-ply front, multi-ply back with adjustable straps—some people like briefs under their suits, some people like squat suits.
  3. Make sure the legs are even and pulled up enough.
  4. Again with the crotches, pull it all the way up into your crotch and pull the front up nice and tight. Let your moose knuckle take center stage.

Okay my gear babies, go fuck some shit up! Make your mommy proud.

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