Effects of the bench shirt on sagittal bar path
Powerlifting, like many sports, uses specialized equipment to enhance performance and decrease the chance of injury. The purpose of this exploratory study was to determine whether wearing a bench press shirt would alter the natural mechanics of the bench press, causing a more efficient lift when pressing the same weight as without the bench shirt. Participants (n = 5) completed 2 series of 1-repetition maximum (1RM) bench press tests, with 1 week of rest in between 1 series without the bench shirt (no-shirt), and 1 series with a bench shirt (bench shirt). Results revealed that the vertical bar path ranges were significantly less in the bench shirt condition (35.7 +/- 4.8 cm) compared with the no-shirt condition (40.2 +/- 7.0 cm) (p < 0.05). Significant differences were found between the bar's optimal (81.4 +/- 14.2 cm) and observed (96.7 +/- 19.1 cm) total distances traveled in the no-shirt condition (p < 0.01), but no significant differences were found between the bar's optimal (71.6 +/- 12.7 cm) and observed (86.3 +/- 10.5 cm) total distances traveled in the bench shirt condition. These findings suggest that the bar path in bench shirt trials is more efficient and consistent than in the no-shirt trials. This pattern demonstrates that a bench shirt can improve load capacity. It is also possible that the bench shirt decreases the forces that act on the shoulder for a given weight and, thus, may decrease the risk of injury.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Silver, Tobin A.; Fortenbaugh, D.; and Williams, R., "Effects of the bench shirt on sagittal bar path" (2009). Department of Health and Human Performance Faculty Articles. 45.