This benching picture is from 2009 or 2010. This is at an orthopedics clinic training center called Biodelta, in Sao Paulo. There is 135kg on the bar. I started lifting equipped, as everybody at the time. It is funny to think about that, because it is absolutely wrong. Before I even had automatized the bench press, I was squeezed into a bench shirt. Soon I got pretty good on equipped benching, tried many different shirts and settled for the one I still consider the best ever bench shirt in the market: the Inzer Super Duper Phenom. I was the first tiny female lifter for whom Inzer made a shirt, a request mediated by my friend Shawn Lattimer, one of the greatest benchers and certainly the most knowledgeable.
I moved to raw benching in 2011, did good, but I still had that goal in me: break the all time record for my class, then at 158kg. I decided to go for that in 2012, during the World Championship that was not-IPL, my present and only organization. Each training session was painful, my elbow cartilage was partly eroded and inflamed. But at the warm up room in that championship, the benches were out of specs. I couldn't even touch the bar. As I tried to accommodate into position with the bar being carefully transferred to my hands by friends assisting me, the left elbow rotated in an awkward way and the cartilage was torn. Beautiful MRI, by the way. But cartilage gone forever. My last training session was 2 X 145kg. I felt I was good to go for the all time record, which will never be mine.
Lessons learned: equipment protects at some ranges of motion and exposes the lifter to higher risks of injury at others. I wrote about this at http://www.mariliacoutinho.com/raw-equipped-choices-health-decisions/ . Second lesson: competitive equipment needs to follow specifications for your safety. Serious organizations do it for that reason. That was how the face-savers were made mandatory, for example. And how we, at the IPL, have very detailed specs for platform material.
Do I miss equipped benching? I'd be lying if I said I didn't. But I'm fine with what I have. People get injured, get older and a also wiser.
#powerlifting #benchpress #flashbackfriday