Breaking in a Jack Shirt

Everyone has experienced the pain of a properly fitting new shirt. It hurts, the sleeves are like vices, and the thing doesn’t want to come off. The Jack shirt feels impossible to break-in, and only starts to come around after several sets where you feel pretty much on the edge of killing yourself by dropping the bar.

Here is a possible solution:

I needed a shirt I could comfortably open with, so I ordered a shirt with a chest plate one size bigger than my normal shirt. I've been wearing a 52/50, 52 arms with a 50 chest plate. My newest shirt is a size 52. I thought it would be an easier shirt to break-in, but I was completely wrong. It proved just as difficult to get on, and the initial sets were just as difficult as my previous shirt was after my normal break-in process.

My normal break-in:

I stretched the shirt in the monolift using the weighted barbell method. I left it hanging with 500 pounds on it for two days. I soaked it six separate times.

I trimmed the sleeves at least a quarter inch. I usually go more than that, but with a bigger chest plate, I didn’t want to take too much away from the shirt.

Time to bench:

When it was time to bench, I put on my shirt with the hope that it would be fairly easy. It was not. There was all the pain I remembered from the last break-in and maybe more. Plus, I was weighing a little more. I tried to do a few sets, but they were ugly and scary. It was locking up and the pain was too much to endure for more than one set. Taking a tight shirt on and off every set can get pretty time consuming, so I wanted a solution.

After taking the thing off for the second time I was looking at it while it was still inside out. I notice it looked exactly the same as it does in it’s proper form. I compared it to my other shirt and couldn’t tell any difference. The arms were pitched the same, it seemed like it would sit the same on my chest, and it was obvious that it would give me more room in the sleeves to work with. So I tried it.

It was immediately clear that the sleeves were bigger as we were sliding it on. Once I had it on, it was clear that I was more comfortable. The sets were easier. They felt much less on the edge of suicidal, and I could leave the shirt on for several sets. Success!

Last night was my second session in the shirt. It was as easy as I was the first time, and after four sets I was able to turn the shirt right side out and perform a few more sets.

This makes for a great way to break-in a shirt that at first seems impossible.