03 Sep Irawny
By: Daniel Dalenberg
I’ve lifted raw almost my entire powerlifting career. I started out raw and trained that way for several years before ever touching a piece of powerlifting gear. In college, I lived in Greensboro, North Carolina for a few months and trained with a great group of equipped lifters…so I put on gear. As they say, when in Rome. Powerlifting gear was fun but once I moved back to Indiana I didn’t have the right group to lift in gear and went back to what I knew best. I continued training raw and ended up getting fairly good at it.
Raw is funny. “It’s unequipped, it’s a show case of real strength! You have to really lift the weight!”
SHUT UP. Just stop.
I lift in the raw division but wear every piece of allowable gear in that class. I do that in an effort to lift more weight.
Ever worn a pair of 3 meter wraps cranked down really tight? How about 36 inch wrist wraps casted half way down your forearm? These are pieces of powerlifting gear; they are used to help you lift more weight. Knee and wrist wraps have absolutely nothing to do with protection and keeping the joints safe- it is all about a bigger total. For me personally the best wrap jobs ended up taking two people to put them on and a pair of pliers to get them off. I wear them to squat more, period.
We do have our purists though. Those guys that only wear knee sleeves. You don’t get any carry over from knee sleeves right? If that is the case then why have I watched lifters use suit slippers to put on a pair of SBD sleeves? Those things were so tight it took slippers and a handler to get them up all the way! If knee sleeves weren’t helping in some way, people wouldn’t be wearing them. Once again, this is powerlifting gear.
I wear a 13mm thick, 4 inch wide leather belt. Say whatever you want about it, it has nothing to do with safety. I wear it because it gives me something to brace hard against, stay upright and move more weight. If I can’t stay in that upright position, I’m not nearly as powerful. Wearing a belt allows me to hit bigger squats and deadlifts.
At the last meet I did, the platform and warm up room were equipped with Iron Wolf bars as well as custom monolifts and benches. Those bars are awesome. The squat bar is rock solid and has no whip. The deadlift bar is on the other end of the extreme; lots of slack to pull out of that bar and excellent knurling to really grab onto your hands.
These bars, monos and benches are all designed to make lifting weights easier. This equipment is made specifically for the purpose of bigger powerlifting totals and making the execution of the lifts easier. They make the “pure showcase of strength” of moving a loaded barbell several inches considerably more efficient.
Raw and Gear
The point here is that I don’t really understand why anyone gets into arguments about raw versus equipped powerlifting. At the end of the day, everything that we are doing on the platform is about lifting bigger weights and clawing our way closer to the top. Equipped powerlifting is just the next level of extreme, taking all the wraps, belts, big weight cuts and equipment of the raw divisions and adding another layer of assistive equipment. Lose the holier than thou raw attitude- you wear a decent amount of gear yourself.