Bench shirt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Powerlifters pulling on a bench shirt.

A bench shirt is a stiff supportive shirt, used to improve performance in the bench press, most often in powerlifting competitions. Bench shirts are usually made of polyester, denim, or canvas and come in single- or multi-ply thicknesses. The extremely tight fit of a bench shirt supports the weightlifter's shoulders and deltoid muscles.[1]

Different powerlifting federations have different rules governing allowed equipment—for example, the only supportive equipment allowed by the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation for bench press is a leather belt,[2] whereas the International Powerlifting Federation stipulates that support shirts must be "of one ply stretch material".[3] As the same lifter's performance may vary significantly depending on the presence and design of a bench shirt (for example, Scot Mendelson, whose shirted bench press record is 1030 lbs,[4] while his unshirted best is 715 lbs), records across different federations or categories may not be directly comparable. A bench press performed without the usage of a bench shirt is referred to as a "raw" or "unequipped" lift.


  1. ^ Levin, Josh, "One Giant Lift for Mankind: The race for the 1,000-pound bench press.", Slate, 9 Aug. 2004. Retrieved 8 August 2007.
  2. ^ 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation Rules Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine (PDF), p. 4. Retrieved 8 August 2007.
  3. ^ International Powerlifting Federation Technical Rules Archived 1 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine (PDF), p. 12. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  4. ^ All-Time Powerlifting Records Archived 15 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Powerlifting Watch.

External links[edit]

  • "Compare Powerlifting Federations". Powerlifting Watch.
  • "IPF proposals to get rid of the bench shirt". Archived from the original on 15 October 2007.