Recently I had a conversation with Chris Pappillion, a well-known lifter out of Texas. Chris currently competes in both the United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) and the United States Powerlifting Federation (USPF) in the single-ply gear. Right now he is ranked 3rd in the 242 lb. weight class on PowerliftingWatch.com’s lifter rankings. He has decided to give it a try in multi-ply gear and compete in the upcoming Southern Powerlifting Federation (SPF) Longhorn Classic Powerlifting and Bench Press Championship being held in Texas next month. New to multi-ply gear, Chris asked me for some advice on how to make the transition from single-ply to the multi-ply gear.
Our conversation went as follows:
Chris: Man what’s the best way to cross over from single to multi-ply on squat?
Me: Start with the suit first. Use your single-ply briefs under the multi-ply suit. Once you feel comfortable with that combination, train in the multi-ply briefs alone for a while to get used to them. Next, put them both together. You will also need to brief and suit up early in your work outs. At 315 lbs., put on the briefs. At 500 lbs., put on the suit over the briefs. Always pull straps even if you can’t get down, this way you can get used to the gear with weight that is easy to handle.
You will also be forced to hold the bar higher on your back with the ticker material, so put the mono-lift up a little higher than your normal rack height. This way you can get set up properly under the bar.
The biggest thing with multi-ply gear is that you need to stay upright throughout the lift as much as possible, from start to finish. If you aren’t upright, the gear will try and keep you locked in the wrong position and it will be hard to get back into the position during the lift. It’s not as forgiving as single-ply gear.
Chris: So you think I should use a multi-suit no briefs to get used to it first?
Me: You can do that or use the multi-ply briefs alone first. Either way, use one or the other, not both, until you get used to them, then put them together.
What suit and briefs are you using?
Chris: Titan Boss suit and Titan Boss briefs! I hit 900 lbs. in the suit alone no straps but when I put the briefs on, 900 lbs. is 3 inches high and at this meet we have to break or bomb!
Me: Do you have single-ply briefs?
Me: What kind? Titan?
Chris: Yes! Should I do legless or regular?
Me: Try the regular; the longer leg will let the suit slide up on top of them better and get settled in more on your body.
Chris: I’ll try it Friday. Joe thanks!
Me: On the Boss suit you can get away with leaving the straps a little loose. Try it with the straps almost falling off your shoulders, then as the weight gets heavier, tighten them up accordingly.
Chris: What happens when I jack them? Man when I was going down with all that gear it messed my form up bad!! I got to get this multi-ply gear down, cause I already said I was going to do it! I want a 2,500 lb. total. I got the bench and dead just need the 1,000 lb. squat.
Me: The most IMPORTANT thing to remember is to stay in form, if you don’t get down, don’t worry. Do not break form, just keep going up in weight until you can reach parallel.
Chris: K I got you man! Let me know when that book comes out I want one! You need to get dealers to sale it for you that shit will go Joe! You got enough credit to do it!!
Me: Good luck and keep me up to date on your progress.
When crossing over from single-ply to multi-ply gear or even the other way around; it is always a good idea to gear up early in your workouts. This way you can adjust your form with lighter weight. One last thing, remember the golden rule “DO NOT COMPROMISE YOUR FORM!” no matter what. To lift the big numbers you will need perfect form, so stay in form, break in the gear and squat.
GO MOVE SOME METAL!