Bench Press Shirts Review
Understanding the Bench Shirt
I have to laugh every time I think about the first time I saw a bench shirt. I think it was a small meet in Norwalk, Ohio. Someone approached the bench, wearing a single ply Poly. "What the hell is that"?...Must be a really tight tee shirt! Geez, and thick, too! That was over 20 years ago. Now we have Denim and Poly, in layers ranging from 1 to 3, in open backs & Velcro backs, etc.
You'll hear stories about shirts adding anywhere from 20 lbs., all the way to 150 lbs. I have personally seen 75 lb. increases but, only in rare instances. However, I have no doubt, a number of Elite benchers have experienced increases well above the 75 pound mark. Some of the top benchers have 20 shirts or, more. If money is no object or, you just, flat become obsessed with the pursuit of the perfect shirt, your chances of, finally getting the perfect fit, becomes more likely.
Before I get too many beginners excited, I must tell you, I wouldn't consider running right out and buying a shirt if you've just recently started training. Give yourself some time to build a foundation. If you are still building mass, a shirt that fits you today might not fit you at all, in 6 or 8 weeks.
That said, the fun begins.
Lately, I see more denim shirts on the top male benchers. Occasionally, I still hear from those who get their best results from a poly. With such a wide variety in body types, shirts become a dilemma to anyone trying to explain the simplest method for choosing a type. On top of this, measurements are called in over the phone or, mailed in so, here we have another roll of the dice, especially when choosing a denim. Before you get upset with the Mfgr. over a denim shirt that doesn't fit, think about this...
Let's take a 16 inch arm. Sounds simple enough to measure. Why would a Mfgr. get that wrong?
In most cases, they won't. Am I saying it's always the customer's mistake? Well...sometimes it's the customer and many times it could be the composition of the arm in question. If the arm is as soft as a baby's behind, the shirt sleeve will feel loose. If the arm is solid as a rock, naturally, it will resist compression and feel much tighter. Same alternatives apply to the rest of the shirt.
Are you starting to see how difficult it is to get that one "perfect fitting shirt"? If a Mfgr asks for a measurement from shoulder to shoulder, I guarantee you, 6 different helpers will get 6 different widths, measuring the same individual. Obviously, the Poly shirts aren't nearly as critical when it comes to communicating with the maker. Since we all can't jump a plane and fly to the Mfgr.'s back door for a precise measurement, consider sending a photo or two, with your measurements.
This way upper arm length, lat width and chest thickness, can easily be combined with your body weight and specific dimensions to aid the assembler Many times, a customer will return a shirt, saying, "It's too small" when actually, they didn't realize the work involved and the extra help needed, to get into a properly fitted shirt, Poly or Denim. It's not uncommon to see two big brutes work to near exhaustion, in the process of slipping a friend into a tight shirt.
Hopefully, most will avoid the pitfalls of a hasty measurement or, a misconception of "what's tight and what's really tight enough. Once you've experienced the feel of several shirt types, you'll quickly develop a preference for one material or the other. The well endowed ladies would probably be better off with a Poly in the beginning. Next month, I'll share some of the Underground's experiences with both, Poly and Denim.