I am wondering under what circumstances that powerlifting gear might be acceptable for a high school student to wear. I primarily mean suits and shirts. My general thoughts are that gear should only be used when an athlete can perform a raw lift correctly(neutral spine, rooting to the ground, good hinge mechanics, etc..). I also feel that a certain level of strength should be attained prior to adding a suit or shirt. Am I off base here?
I ask because I am a lifelong lifter who is now the coach of a high school powerlifting team. Our state’s high school powerlifting association has traditionally allowed geared and raw lifters compete against one another. It is currently trying to decide on whether or not it should be exclusively raw or keep it as is. They do not feel that they have the resources necessary to run two divisions simultaneously.
Thank you so much for your time, and I apologize for the novel.
Thats a tough question. I feel that most kids at that age should build a foundation and understanding of the lifts, FIRST. Then if they want to get in gear, then so be it.
I played in gear in 12th grade some and it only helped me when I went back raw (no shirt). I think that a good starting point is a blast shirt which won’t require too much of a form change or approach.
But I feel you should build minimal strength first, for sure. I was already benching 350 or so raw by this time. This needs to be considered with each lifters.
They don’t need to be benching 315 at 190, but I feel they should be able to bench well over their bodyweight prior to pursuing any gear. Then, progress them to a blast shirt or a single ply rage x: https://www.inzernet.com/search_results_benchshirts.asp?txtsearchParamTxt=&txtsearchParamCat=4&txtsearchParamType=ALL&txtsearchParamMan=ALL&txtsearchParamVen=ALL&txtFromSearch=fromSearch&iLevel=2&subcat=24
I’m interested in seeing what others on the team think.
This is a double edge sword for me to answer! I started powerlifting with my high school coaches and a local team when I was 15 years old. I think what they did with me, and what I suggest for the kids I coached in high school is a pretty safe plan of attack. Once you got to a certain level of strength you were able to add gear. Started with wraps, then eventually a used champion suit, and a used blast shirt. I think the smart plan of attack is to use minimal gear and add gear as the strength levels and ability to complete quality lifts increase.
Agreed with both Brian and Byrd. A high level of proficiency has to be built before ever getting into gear. If a kid can’t squat to save his life in just a belt, adding anything more will just make worse.
I waited much, much longer than most before seriously competing in gear. So long that I totaled 2000+ raw before doing it! While I don’t think that is necessary, I do think a level of strength has to be built first. It’s all too common to see some lanky weakling get into gear to move more weight and never build a solid base of strength. How much is needed first? I’m not sure. Maybe 1.25x BW bench, 1.75x squat and deadlift? Again, my standards are skewed, but I think that is where I would start.
If your state won’t run two divisions, find other ways for the kids to compete, the USAPL has a strong high school following and will accommodate for both equipped and raw lifting.
I agree with my fellow teammates. Form should be first and foremost when working with high school kids. I think each kid is going to be different though. I think when you feel that the kids have a good handle on their technique in each lift and they have been doing it for a period time, then you can slowly introduce gear. Start out with the least aggressive equipment and have the kids master technique before moving on to more aggressive gear.