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View Full Version : Why lift anything but raw?


Neal Winkler
07-03-2007, 09:13 PM
Maybe it's because I don't lift big weights, but I just don't get the point of lifting with squat suits and bench shirts.

What if I made some robot arms that still required me to exert my maximal muscular effort, but at the same time allowed me to lift 1,000,000 pounds, then I went around telling people that I lifted 1,000,000 pounds? I honestly don't see the difference between that and squats suits.

If I'm wrong, please enlighten me.

Garrett Smith
07-03-2007, 10:29 PM
No argument here...

Dave Van Skike
07-03-2007, 11:28 PM
To compete....I have no idea why someone just screwing around a gym would use a suit.

If you want to compete in powerlifting you go to where the good guys are...most of those are in gear equipped organizations. That is the baseline. it's that simple. You want to compete with the best, you go to where they are, you use what they use. You don't show up to a local bike race on your 3 speed chuffy and expect to clean up.. you roll the same gear as the competition. That's not cheating, it's playing along.

That said, everyone squatting a huge amount in a suit can squat very big out of suit.

Yvana van den Hork
07-04-2007, 04:21 AM
There's something to be said for using straps, but even there I'm both too lazy and a bit much of a chicken to use them. E.g. I'd rather give up on a deadlift or BOR because of lacking grip than because my back gives up.

Re grip , a slimmer bar helped TONS!

As for the actual gear (ply suits etc.) for powerlifting (not the same as weight lifting, at least this is how it is pereceived), I can understand how it came about. But what about those who want to lift RAW at meets?

A friend of mine started out as a powerlifter, but because she disliked the gear (suits, wraps etc.) decided to take up Olympic lifting instead, because this is done without suits.
Anyone who can relate?

Mike ODonnell
07-04-2007, 06:17 AM
What if I made some robot arms that still required me to exert my maximal muscular effort, but at the same time allowed me to lift 1,000,000 pounds

That would be sweeet! I'd order a pair.....Robot arms go!

Ken Urakawa
07-04-2007, 07:05 AM
Not that I necessarily agree, but I remembered reading about Louie Simmons' take on equipment. Interesting perspective if nothing else: http://www.westside-barbell.com/Articles%20Top%20Ten/PDF.Files/02PDF/Training%20Equipment%20Never%20Looking%20Back.pdf

"Nothing has changed since powerlifting began. Everyone looks for an edge. That's simply sport. I remember 20 years ago some knee wraps had a rubber lining. Bill Kazmaier had a pair of shoes that were supposed to be worth $1000. In 1979 at the North American Championships in Canada, Fred Hatfield (Dr. Squat) showed up at the equipment check with a pair of knee wraps make of jock strap waist bands. The IPF ref looked at them and said he couldn't wear them. They were twice as thick as normal wraps. But Fred won the argument and proceeded to break Ron Collins world record squat."

Neal Winkler
07-04-2007, 09:50 AM
Dave, but what if I made a powerlifting federation that allowed the robot arms, and like I said, you still had to be strong to use them.

For example, in my new powerlifting federation you get to use robot legs, and the robot legs allow you to get out of them what you put in. Let's say they increase your strength by 10 times, so someone that can squat 800 pounds raw can now squat 8000#, and someone that squat 900# raw can now squat 9000#. Therefore, you still have to be strong and put in hard work to win the competition but what the hell was the point of using the damn robot legs?

If you agree that my new powerlifting federation is silly, then you must follow this to it's logical conclusion - squat suits and bench suits are pointless too.

Now, I am willing to follow all this to it's logical conclusion, because I try to be as honest with myself as I can. Let me take down some other sports too.

For example, creating track shoes and manipulating the tracks themselves to make people run faster is silly for the same reason powerlifting suits are silly. What the hell do I care that you took .01 seconds off the world record 100m time? You didn't do it!!! You're shoes did, or the new tracks did! Or, maybe you in fact did do it... but we'll never know will we?!?!?!?!

Hey swimmer guys and gals, yeah, I'm talking to you now. Wow, congradulations, you have a new body suit that allows you to glide through he water like a shark, wow, you're so awesome to circumvent true human potential like that, it must make you feel special.

I could go on but I digress.

Here's what needs to be done to save sport:

1) Go back to ancient greece style and make everyone be naked.

or a better option...

2) Make a standard set of rules that have clothing/environment minimize performance enhancement, and stick to them so long as sport exists so that records can truely be compared accross time.

Rick Deckart
07-04-2007, 12:07 PM
Neal, no offense but what is your point? That using gear, all kind of gear is silly? Your example is silly but illustrates a very profound lack of understanding what gear in the context of powerlifting does and how it works. Sorry but I have a distinct dislike of arguments based on hearsay or believes without the slightest first person experience of the issues at hand. If you don't like gear this is fine, but who cares?

Dave Van Skike
07-04-2007, 12:37 PM
Dave, but what if I made a powerlifting federation that allowed the robot arms, and like I said, you still had to be strong to use them.

For example, in my new powerlifting federation you get to use robot legs, and the robot legs allow you to get out of them what you put in. Let's say they increase your strength by 10 times, so someone that can squat 800 pounds raw can now squat 8000#, and someone that squat 900# raw can now squat 9000#. Therefore, you still have to be strong and put in hard work to win the competition but what the hell was the point of using the damn robot legs?

If you agree that my new powerlifting federation is silly, then you must follow this to it's logical conclusion - squat suits and bench suits are pointless too.

Now, I am willing to follow all this to it's logical conclusion, because I try to be as honest with myself as I can. Let me take down some other sports too.

For example, creating track shoes and manipulating the tracks themselves to make people run faster is silly for the same reason powerlifting suits are silly. What the hell do I care that you took .01 seconds off the world record 100m time? You didn't do it!!! You're shoes did, or the new tracks did! Or, maybe you in fact did do it... but we'll never know will we?!?!?!?!

Hey swimmer guys and gals, yeah, I'm talking to you now. Wow, congradulations, you have a new body suit that allows you to glide through he water like a shark, wow, you're so awesome to circumvent true human potential like that, it must make you feel special.

I could go on but I digress.

Here's what needs to be done to save sport:

1) Go back to ancient greece style and make everyone be naked.

or a better option...

2) Make a standard set of rules that have clothing/environment minimize performance enhancement, and stick to them so long as sport exists so that records can truely be compared accross time.

There has been several attempts at raw federations. Another one might be welcome. No sport will ever be comparable across time. Who cares?

Neal Winkler
07-04-2007, 02:00 PM
Neal, no offense but what is your point?

That there is no difference between robot legs and squat suits. My argument goes something like this:

1) If robot legs are silly, then squat suits are silly
2) Robot legs are silly
3) Therefore, squat suits are silly

Your example is silly but illustrates a very profound lack of understanding what gear in the context of powerlifting does and how it works.

The suits store up energy during the descent and allow you to bounce out of the bottom. That's why they work better for the squat and bench and don't help as much in the deadlift. What about the context in powerlifting am I missing that would help me to see why it is different than robot legs? Like I said in my original post, if I'm wrong I welcome someone to explain to me better.

Sorry but I have a distinct dislike of arguments based on hearsay or believes without the slightest first person experience of the issues at hand.

I already stated in my first post that I may be missing something because of my lack of first person experience, showing that I was well aware that might be my problem. But instead of you explaining the first person experience that would be required to enlighten me, all you gave me was a grumpy response. Don't worry though, I won't hold it against you, maybe you're just having a bad day. Here's a smile to make you feel better. :)

If you don't like gear this is fine, but who cares?

Well, if my arguement is sound, hopefully everyone that likes squat suits because it would show an inconsitency in their thinking, and we should all strive to remove inconsistencies from the set of our beliefs.

Dave Van Skike
07-04-2007, 04:24 PM
That there is no difference between robot legs and squat suits. My argument goes something like this:

1) If robot legs are silly, then squat suits are silly
2) Robot legs are silly
3) Therefore, squat suits are silly



The suits store up energy during the descent and allow you to bounce out of the bottom. That's why they work better for the squat and bench and don't help as much in the deadlift. What about the context in powerlifting am I missing that would help me to see why it is different than robot legs? Like I said in my original post, if I'm wrong I welcome someone to explain to me better.



I already stated in my first post that I may be missing something because of my lack of first person experience, showing that I was well aware that might be my problem. But instead of you explaining the first person experience that would be required to enlighten me, all you gave me was a grumpy response. Don't worry though, I won't hold it against you, maybe you're just having a bad day. Here's a smile to make you feel better. :)



Well, if my arguement is sound, hopefully everyone that likes squat suits because it would show an inconsitency in their thinking, and we should all strive to remove inconsistencies from the set of our beliefs.

you have already shown you don't understand the mindset ....you're wasting your time. the argument is reductionist to the point of absurdity......it's easier to lift a barbell loaded with 300 than a rock..hell, the squat as a competitive lift is pretty unnatural...sound like you want some ancient celtic rock lifting contest......to each his own.

Neal Winkler
07-04-2007, 05:27 PM
Well, you guys don't seem to be having very much fun discussing this. You're not elaborating on why you think you're right and just seemed to be annoyed. I guess it's just the philosopher/ass in me that enjoys arguing things that most people see as pointless. :)

Mike ODonnell
07-04-2007, 07:31 PM
Well I like fun and robot arms.....but why do:

Nascar drivers not just use the same exact car
Golfers just use the same type of clubs
Runners use the same shoes
Swimmers use only speedos and not those swim suits...
etc...etc...etc....

find a sport that is uniform across the board....I can't think of one....even pool players bring their own sticks....

Of course you could also take the whole performance factor up with supplements and other things.......

It's just engraved in any sport...advancement and competition through technology....thats why you see records falling in all sports....

Dave Van Skike
07-04-2007, 11:22 PM
Well, you guys don't seem to be having very much fun discussing this. You're not elaborating on why you think you're right and just seemed to be annoyed. I guess it's just the philosopher/ass in me that enjoys arguing things that most people see as pointless. :)

there is no "right"....there just is.

how's that for yer ....fy loss sophy?

John Alston
07-05-2007, 09:47 AM
There's something to be said for using straps, but even there I'm both too lazy and a bit much of a chicken to use them. E.g. I'd rather give up on a deadlift or BOR because of lacking grip than because my back gives up.


I have this debate with a friend of mine who is a regular xfitter. When the WOD asks for max deadlifts he usually reaches failure b/c of grip failure.
I think that this is a failure to reap the benefits of the lift. Your hands are tiny compared to the muscles along the posterior chain working to get the max weight off the floor.
If you want to max out a pull, don't let the smallest muscle limit the work the biggest ones can get. If you're not ready to max out, then it's not so much an issue.

Dave Van Skike
07-05-2007, 11:11 AM
I have this debate with a friend of mine who is a regular xfitter. When the WOD asks for max deadlifts he usually reaches failure b/c of grip failure.
I think that this is a failure to reap the benefits of the lift. Your hands are tiny compared to the muscles along the posterior chain working to get the max weight off the floor.
If you want to max out a pull, don't let the smallest muscle limit the work the biggest ones can get. If you're not ready to max out, then it's not so much an issue.


I have a tough time with this...Certainily in a testing environment (gym maxes etc) straps are not giving you a chance for accurate feedback on your lift. I do think straps have a place for lots of different elements of the lift like overload work, higher reps work, hi -pulls etc also think it's less stressful on CNS to pull with straps...no I have no basis in science to tell me why I think that, it just seems to work that way for me.

I have read the work of severla very, very good pullers advocating straps but these folks typically don't have grip issues. Like you said, if grip is holding you back, fix it. Personally I have only medium size paws and fairly weak grip (I can't close a #2 COC ) but have never missed a lift using the hook grip.

Steve Shafley
07-05-2007, 11:40 AM
Do not fear the big weights.

The bottom line:

To get a better total. PL equipment is a way to improve your competitive total.

That's it.

If you don't like it, lift WARISWAR style.

Obviously a lot of people love the stuff.

Yvana van den Hork
07-05-2007, 12:29 PM
I have this debate with a friend of mine who is a regular xfitter. When the WOD asks for max deadlifts he usually reaches failure b/c of grip failure.
I think that this is a failure to reap the benefits of the lift. Your hands are tiny compared to the muscles along the posterior chain working to get the max weight off the floor.
If you want to max out a pull, don't let the smallest muscle limit the work the biggest ones can get. If you're not ready to max out, then it's not so much an issue.

True, but sofar I'm happy enough with the results I got from using a slimmer bar (shorter too, which makes balancing even more easy). Combined with a mixed grip, this made a difference of over 20kg. Once I'm again having grip problems, I'll reconsider straps.
But I'm thinking there still is more progress possible with smarter training. Really liked wave loading for instance.

And then again, I'd probably still like practicing grip first, with your CoC grippers. ;)

John Alston
07-05-2007, 12:44 PM
I have a tough time with this...Certainily in a testing environment (gym maxes etc) straps are not giving you a chance for accurate feedback on your lift. I do think straps have a place for lots of different elements of the lift like overload work, higher reps work, hi -pulls etc also think it's less stressful on CNS to pull with straps...no I have no basis in science to tell me why I think that, it just seems to work that way for me.

I have read the work of severla very, very good pullers advocating straps but these folks typically don't have grip issues. Like you said, if grip is holding you back, fix it. Personally I have only medium size paws and fairly weak grip (I can't close a #2 COC ) but have never missed a lift using the hook grip.

I am not sure what feedback you think you are missing, beyond the feedback of grip failure. Do you think that beyond what's happening at the local hand level, there is a significant form change based on being stapped(less)? I think the form challenges come from the weight's pull on the back, hams, etc.

Most people I think are stronger in the large muscles that are used in the DL than they are in the grip. It still seems to me that grip failure means your big muscles didn't get tested fully, which I think is the point of the max/near max lift.

Yes, if grip holds one back, one should fix it, but one could well never be able to "fix" this imbalance. I think for most people the summit of what they could/do get strong enough to pull will/does surpass their summit of what they can hold onto.
For me, I guess, straps are acceptable gear, just like o-lift shoes and neoprene knee sleeves (the only gear I rock, though of course never straps on the classical lifts, though yes on pull reps, like you mention).

Dave Van Skike
07-05-2007, 01:29 PM
I am not sure what feedback you think you are missing, beyond the feedback of grip failure. Do you think that beyond what's happening at the local hand level, there is a significant form change based on being stapped(less)? I think the form challenges come from the weight's pull on the back, hams, etc.

Most people I think are stronger in the large muscles that are used in the DL than they are in the grip. It still seems to me that grip failure means your big muscles didn't get tested fully, which I think is the point of the max/near max lift.

Yes, if grip holds one back, one should fix it, but one could well never be able to "fix" this imbalance. I think for most people the summit of what they could/do get strong enough to pull will/does surpass their summit of what they can hold onto.
For me, I guess, straps are acceptable gear, just like o-lift shoes and neoprene knee sleeves (the only gear I rock, though of course never straps on the classical lifts, though yes on pull reps, like you mention).

The feedback I was thinking of was the feedback of failing the lift... As always, the answer is...it depends on your goals. I totally agree that straps are a legit training tool like a belt or sleeves or lifting shoes...used intelligently in that context, these tools can allows you to see the maximum payback from your work. (except sleeves, these are just nice. I have so much cash sunk into my knees that I wear sleeves even though I can't say what exactly they do, they don't help my squat any but they do feel good.)

If you are using the DL as way to build your pull for other competitive or personal benchmark lifts (like the OL lifts) then it would totally makes sense to use straps to increase the load or the reps. On that, I think we essentially agree.

If you are lifting the DL to lift the DL (this is the case for me) then some deadlifting work will have to be done sans straps even if it is maxes only.... but again, it depends on who and where you are in your training. I'm a relative novice and my DL is not very high so I can tax myself plenty without straps, so I rarely use them when doing DL….I do use them for snatch grip DL and for rack pulls. There are indispensable for these assistance lifts.

I do think that ultimately with limit level deadlifts, the grip thing can be fixed for a lot of people with "normal" sized hands. From competitive lifters to the weekend warrior, grip does not have to be the limiting factor for maxes….. but you have to be willing to make it a priority...if the deadlift is an important lift for you, you'll train it. If the DL is not an end in itself but a component of a program, and grip is preventing you from seeing a benefit from the lift, then strap up by all means.....

Which gets back to the original thread topic, moralizing about whether certain types of gear are right or wrong.....there is no right or wrong on this stuff, just effective and ineffective for your individual purposes....Showing up to a geared meet and lifting raw may be effective for your sense of personal integrity, but not effective for winning under those rules. For me, it works best to be clear on what my goals are not bother judging folks who have different goals.

Neal Winkler
07-06-2007, 06:08 PM
Well, I've thought about this and realized that I was wrong.

The reason that I'm wrong is that I didn't realize that I was presupposing that the point of sports in general is to see what the human body is capable of by itself. What I thought was that there is an actual definition of sport, but there isn't, sport is an arbitrary convention and therefore is whatever we make of it.

So, in regards to powerlifting, the more and more sophisticated squats suits become, the more and more the human body gets taken out of the equation, and hence the greater the sport becomes about the equipment. But since powerlifting can be whatever we make of it because there is there is not true definition/essence of powerlifting, it doesn't matter how much of the job suits do.

So, that's where my argument came from - the presuppositions that I didn't realize I had.

Steve Shafley
07-08-2007, 08:02 PM
Powerlifting equipment has gotten, in my opinion, way gonzo goofy. When I can outlift, equipment-free, in the gym, a guy who totals almost 500# more than me in a meet, basically I feel two things:

1. Vast amusement. In fact, outright hilarity.
2. A deep, almost geologic, sadness.

Conversely, a guy who out-totals me by 300 lbs in an OL meet is pretty damned studly, and it's unlikely I'm going to stomp them in the gym in a strength or power based workout.

It's why I don't powerlift anymore. I guess I now consider myself a born-again Highland Games thrower.

Dave Van Skike
07-12-2007, 03:42 PM
Hijack in effect......

How did you find the process of breaking into Highland Games? any practice throwing before?

I've toyed with the idea but i'm such a wee littel slip of a thing I'm not sure I wouldn't be crushed by lack of technique and overall incompetence..I haven't thrown a discus since middle school.

Chris Rice
07-12-2007, 06:04 PM
Just tell the truth when someone asks - if you used a suit, just say so. I understand the different feds etc and which gear is allowed in each. Do not just "omit" the fact that you used gear and try to make it sound like a "raw" lift when you talk about it. It doesn't matter what others do as long as it does not effect you - we all have freedom of choice in the way we lift and compete. Have fun!

John Seiler
07-16-2007, 02:30 PM
That's funny, Chris. We've got a kid who trains here. At 165# he put up a 516 in competition with shirt. He lifts in the high 3's without it!