WATCH: Everything You Wanted to Know About the Metal Canvas Squat Suit

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COACH columnist

When I visited the elitefts S5 Compound this summer, I knew I had to come back home to Cyprus with a souvenir from there.

I ended up going with a new squat suit: the Metal Canvas Squat Suit, to be specific.

For those of you who haven’t worn a squat suit or just want to know more about the Metal Canvas Squat Suit, this is the Q&A for you.

Is the Metal Canvas Squat Suit a lot stronger than the Ace?

Well, if the Metal Ace Squatter is 85 percent difficult level to get on, I’d say the Metal Canvas Squat Suit is anywhere from 85 to 90 percent difficult. That’s mostly because the canvas material is stiffer than the material Ace is made up of. It doesn’t want to expand or bend as much, but it’s not like the old poly gear that you had to spread on your body to get it on. But that stiff material is a benefit. It doesn’t want you to bend at all. Also, it’s a little baggier — maybe it’s extra roomy for Big Macs? But that hasn’t affected my lifting.

Keep in mind I tend to size my gear big, which answers another question:

Is the Metal Canvas Squat Suit for a beginner, novice, or intermediate lifter? Or is it only for advanced lifters?

I think it’s for everybody. There is a fairly narrow margin of what you have to hit in a suit technique-wise, and that margin might be bigger with the Metal Canvas Squat Suit than the Ace suit.

Poly gear tends to have multiple grooves in terms of movement whereas canvas has one groove. It doesn’t want you to go in, and that’s what you’ve got to it. There is a spot in this suit that doesn’t want you to hit. It won’t let you go any deeper or lower than it wants you to.

The Metal Canvas Squat Suit forces lifters to stay upright, which isn’t a bad thing since I lose my arch when I squat.

I think it’s not the gear or the type of gear you have that makes it a beginner, novice, intermediate, or advanced suit. I think it’s how tight you get the suit. If it’s super tight, there’s no room to grow. If you lose a bunch of weight, give it away and buy a new one for celebration. But buy your suit bigger; it gives you a bigger margin of error. Besides, you can just re-adjust the straps and grow into it.

With my Metal Canvas Squat Suit being a bigger size, I can wear my Ace briefs beneath it. I can also compete in powerlifting and do my best numbers. I can still use this to help me with strongman as well as for fun and training. Plus, I can always re-adjust the straps to be tighter to make things more difficult if I want to.

The best lifters will buy the suit that will fit them the way they want it to fit. It’s not about the quality or fit of the suit — it’s knowing how to use that suit that works best for you.

What are the Velcro straps all about?

As someone who gains and loses weight all over the place, these straps are great for adjusting tightness and size. The first thing I did when I tried this on was cinch them down around my legs as tight as I could.

When I went down to test the squat at that level of tightness, the suit threw me all over the place. I couldn’t hit depth and I had to round my shoulders and bring my knees in. So I loosened all of the straps — especially the one I really felt dig into the back of my leg — and gave it another go. I was able to squat with four plates on the bar, proper technique, and hit the depth I wanted to hit in training.

When I added more weight, I just tightened the top strap to add more compression near the hip and a little bit at the bottom. For the max lift, I tightened the middle one.

It’s not going to get a lot tighter, but it is going to squeeze and compress a little bit.

There is some polyester material, which adds a little bit of stretch and bend, and I think that makes a difference. It’s nice to have that poly material for a little bit of extra bend or even a few pounds.

Where does this suit need to be tight?

I’d say the hips are the important thing. Keep it snug, not tight on your hips.

I needed to do a little bit more than just step into the suit, and I think that has to do with the friction of the material because it wants to grab you — or whatever briefs you have on.

Metal, if you’re out there listening to this, my friend and I have an idea to pitch to you: canvas briefs!

In all seriousness, we’ve reached out to a couple of gear manufacturers, and they think canvas on canvas is too much. I’d argue that tight canvas on tight canvas too much. That might be difficult to get into place because it’s a stiffer material. It doesn’t quite want to slip on.

Keep the suit snug, like a nice pair of jeans.

You’ll want the legs to be snug, and luckily this is easy to adjust, regardless of leg shape and size. If you want a good measurement, talk to Jo Jordan. He’ll set you up and get you ready for a suit. If your measurement is just really out there (or as a general rule of thumb), go by your limiting factor.

What are the downsides of this suit?

The only one I can think of is that it’s white. It’s going to get dusty and dirty, no matter what you do.

At least you can judge depth easier on a white suit than you can on a black suit.

Overall, it’s really sexy and I really like it a lot. I can’t imagine why I didn't go with this the moment it came out. It’s magical, I love it, and I feel great in it.

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