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Old 06-24-2014, 07:55 AM   #1
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Question Training equipped bench

Soon I'll be starting to train in my shirt to prepare for an October meet. I train alone but I have access to multiple gyms and tons of equipment, but no special powerlifting equipment like a monolift. Back when I was training in my shirt before my shoulder injury I was training at home alone. I was able to get the shirt on after a while and a lot of wiggling around, but when it came time to lift I found it nearly impossible to lift the weights off the rack. I had to allow the collar to ride up almost to the point of choking me so that I could get my elbows flared enough to unrack the bar myself. It didn't help that I was working with weights that far surpassed what I was used to (obviously I was lifting more equipped than raw). At this point, I don't consider this a viable option anymore for my meet prep.

So my options are thus;

1. I can go to the gym and ask strangers to help me with a lift off/spot, and hope they are ready to grab 400lb+ when I get out of the groove and drop the bar on my face.

2. I can build a special rack just for benching that will allow me to train at home. I'm quite handy with a saw and a welder. I've spent lots of time thinking about this since last night and this is what I've come up with;

It would essentially be a short power rack, only 4-5' high. I'm thinking of using wood for the main frame of it and metal for the Jhooks, which would be similar to the monolift attachments available to put on power racks, like this-


The rack would be custom built for only bench, so I could hang the monolift Jhooks from the upper crossmembers of the rack. I could also build an integral system of safety racks, including higher racks placed strategically to protect my face and allow me a place to rack the bar if I fail on a lift and need to put the bar down. The swinging Jhooks of the mono would allow me to setup wit the bar already in the starting position, then simply lift the bar up and allow the Jhooks to swing back.

Many lifters don't like these monolift attachments because there's only a few inches of travel, which makes them hard to use for squats. But that's actually beneficial on bench.

The system would of course be over-engineered to hold lots of weights, and as the weights increase I can always reinforce the wood superstructure with metal bracing.

I did a ton of looking around online and I couldn't find anything like this. I don't have a power rack so I can't buy premade attachments like the ones pictured above. Using wood for the main structure would keep costs down and I could probably make the whole unit for around $100.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:45 AM   #2
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Trained at home in gear for a while making some good gains the return is far better training with a group as I found out later.
Some shirts are better for training alone, RageX is one I found easiest to put on but taking off I needed help(swellage) it also has the most forgiving groove. Keep in mind this was a loose fit shirt.
Another drawback was having to use lose fitting gear, there's no way you could get on competition fit gear alone.
Poundage; you simply cannot use as much training weight without at least 1 spotter.
Having said all that if your okay with loose gear, lighter training weights, and know risks associated with gear'd training then go for it.
Make a safe power rack priority number 1.
After much searching attachments, Racks, I was going to weld up a home style monolift that would adjust for benching too.
Look into something you find suitable online find the dimensions.
Know where you can order a 200.00 power rack if you interested. That would give you a cheap platform to modify to your needs.
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:06 PM   #3
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I gotta say find someone with experience in lifting equipped. So much to learn and the assistance is priceless. I trained alone for years raw then with the help of Ryano and The Mecca my bench went through the roof (broke 500 finally and 600+ for reps equipped).
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:02 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I actually have a Super katana size 46 that's really too tight for someone as new to equipped lifting as myself, but I was able to get quite proficient with it back before my injury even though I had to get the shirt on and off and the weights off the rack myself. I was able to touch after a few weeks and ended up getting 90lb of carryover in training with no spotters and a water soaked shirt. With no hand off I couldn't experiment with jacking the shirt, so I know there is more to be pulled from the shirt if I get the chance to work with it more.

As far as coaching I live a couple hours away from Mike Womack and have contacted him in the past about doing a couple sessions just to get some pointers. I'm still 19 weeks out now, so I'm not ready to start bringing in the shirt yet, but I'm going to have to make sure I can really train it so I don't make a fool of myself on the platform.

OMP, thanks for the offer on the rack, but I'm not in the financial position to spend more than I absolutely have to right now.
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:57 PM   #5
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I can put my competition shirt on myself, but I have years of experience doing it. I WOULD NOT be able to unrack competition level weights. Even if you have a rack that you can unrack it, it's not safe. I've seen arms snap under this extreme weight.

Like Gasp says, there is no substitute for experience. I travel 180 miles, one way, to shirt bench. It's worth every minute for the help and experience. I would suggest finding some people and traveling to them.
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryano View Post
I can put my competition shirt on myself, but I have years of experience doing it. I WOULD NOT be able to unrack competition level weights. Even if you have a rack that you can unrack it, it's not safe. I've seen arms snap under this extreme weight.

Like Gasp says, there is no substitute for experience. I travel 180 miles, one way, to shirt bench. It's worth every minute for the help and experience. I would suggest finding some people and traveling to them.
As always Ryano, your advice is truly appreciated. Thanks.

Looking back now, I can't comprehend how I was able to unrack 400lb+ with a crap rack and my shirt choking me out, and those are relatively light weights for guys like you.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:52 PM   #7
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If you are wearing a shirt with the collar high enough to choke you, it's not going to give you the support you need to do the lift. The collar is where the power of the shirt is.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryano View Post
If you are wearing a shirt with the collar high enough to choke you, it's not going to give you the support you need to do the lift. The collar is where the power of the shirt is.
Exactly. And I still got 90lb out of it.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:30 PM   #9
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Soldier, don't think you mentioned what type of shirt you have, but a Titan or Overkill single ply, you should be getting at least 200.
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:30 AM   #10
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Soldier, I've got a size 48 S-katana laying around looks like won't be using it for quit a while, getting cut soon. If you want to give it a try let me know.
The Ragex & the Katana both gave me 150 carryover with some work training alone.
The Overkill was my Meet shirt, taken very few reps, gave me the 150 first time out but couldn't touch.
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