Posted by: Chad
Okay, I understand safety equipment like belts and wraps. What I don't get is... why suits? Why shirts? What is the difference, aside from the number, between squatting 600 raw or 650 with a suit? What don't I know about this?
Posted by: Bob
In the old days, guys would use a very tight cotton t-shirt and wrap their elbows. The lifting suit was tight and they still wrapped their knees but some would use a tennis ball behind the knee for more spring.
I guess after a while someone discovered that a tight poly t-shirt would give more support than a tight cotton shirt. The if you brought the arms out the front of the shirt it would give more support. These things generally follow a natural progression.
Not totally unlike the improvements in pole vault poles and sprint shoes. You don't need spikes to run a sprint but without them youare giving the rest of the field a 10 yard head start.
You could use an aluminum, or before that - bamboo, pole or you could use the same carbon fibre poles that everyone else is using.
If you really think about it, you don't need wraps or a belt in order to compete either. A bench shirt helps protect the shoulders an also adds to the weight you can lift. Sometimes one happens because, in part, the other happens.
Same in the squat. People with bad knees or hips can continue to be competitive in spite of their injuries but also, eveyone gets to lift more.
This doesn't mean that the equipment is doing the work. Far from it. In order to make the equipment work for you it is important to train for it and with it. It changes the lifts. It becomes more difficult to reach depth or maintain a pause because the groove changes. Unless you have prepared for this and changed the way you perform the lift. The equipment makes the lifts a bit more technical.