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How RAW is RAW?

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Old 08-16-2006, 06:11 PM
Darkhorse Darkhorse is offline
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Cool How RAW is RAW?

This has been brought up over at another site. Some members believe RAW is wearing a belt and wraps. My opinion is otherwise, but I feel that it's worthy to post up here. I found a terrific article that I already posted over there that illustrates why RAW means RAW. Maybe many members here have the same views? In any event, we might as well get everyone's views here on what qualifies and WHY?

Originally Posted by 0311
Raw means no belt, wraps, nothing.

You have to ask yourself this question, "Would you still pull or squat the same weight you would normally if you took the belt/wraps off?" If you are wearing a belt/wraps for SAFETY, then yes, RAW it is. However, most people throw that stuff on to lift numbers they ordinarily would not be able to perform. That's called assisted lifting. I know I can deadlift 455 raw (no belt/wraps/ect) because I just did. However, I know for a fact that if I threw on a belt I'd obviously be pulling a whole lot more.

Here's a great article that illustrates this a lot better than I could:
Source: http://www.powerliftingwatch.com/node/2052
How raw is raw?? No wraps on wrists? No chalk? How far do you go before youare "assisted"?

If the equipment is a safety device meant for injury prevention, you're still raw. In that case, only the belt qualifies. If the equipment is used so you can handle more weight than your body can otherise handle, then you are lifting assisted. In that case, ALL joint wraps and sleeves and tension storing devices like squat suits and bench shirts are assistance equipment.

The first thought to athletes new to the lifting game when they see the gear is: I could do a lot more in that stuff, too. I've never heard a person rationalize wearing assistance gear by saying: I could lift the same weight much more safely if I got all that gear.

I'm fine with lifters who wear gear. However, with all the attention RAW vs Gear has been getting the fact that gear is artifically inflating lifters' numbers has been brought to the forefront of everyone's attention. I don't think it cheapens the efforts and achievements of assisted lifters. Instead, I think that it points out how subjective the gear factor makes assisted lifting.

So -- if you get a lot out of gear, good for you: keep using it. If you don't but still are winning, then keep it up. If you aren't getting crap for your efforts, you'll love how much competing RAW levels the playing field.

How can you justify "only the belt" qualifying as injury prevention, and not wrist/knee wraps?

The belt is a compression device, meant to tighten the midsection (abdominal wall, vertebrae, etc). Wraps are also compression devices, meant to keep the joint capsule tight and supported. Truthfully, I think both the belt and wraps can assist you in lifting more weight. When any joint is compressed, not only is it protected from injury, but that compression actually makes the joint stronger. This point can be demonstrated...make an "OK sign" with your index & thumb. Have a friend pull it apart, which unless you have a crushing grip, he will do... Now, put your wrist wrap on nice & tight. Have him do the same thing. You will likely find that the friend can't even budge your fingers apart now, or at least it will be significantly more difficult.

I know I can bench more with wraps on and deadlift or squat more using my belt than I can going without either of these items.

Well, no, wraps don't prevent injury, at least I honestly don't think so. The weights lifted would be so much lower without any wraps that it sort of has a self-correcting mechanism built in. I posted a month or so ago about Tom Overholtzer holding the record in the squat in the upper 600s decades ago, then going to a Senior Natls where wraps were prohibited and squatting a very low 500 number. His knees were in no danger of damage at 500 pounds... his quadriceps were too weak to put them in jeapordy I suspect.

The same argument, against heavy equipment usage, has been made regarding football where over the years more and more advanced equipment has allowed harder and harder hitting and much more serious and even deadly injuries. In the old days when players weren't all wrapped up and wore simpler leather head gear sort of like bike riders wear today, injuries were much less common. A defensive player is much less likely to dive into a player like a torpedo if it hurts him, and an offensive player with the football is less likely to drive into a pile for another yard for the same reason. Powerlifters would do just fine "wrapless," they'd just lift a whole lot less.

easy. No recoil devices

Knee And Wrist Wraps Are A Good Idea because they do protect the joints. And I've never heard of someone getting hurt because their wraps were making them handle more weight than they had business handling. Suits and shirts on the other hand.............just look at how many spotters are needed for when the lifter gets out of the groove. I believe that wraps are protection devices (even rehab companies like Mueller make them) and that their protection/support factor far outweighs the boost they give to numbers (the opposite of gear.)

Knee wraps are about increasing the weight lifted and not protecting the joints. They are the same thing as suits and shirts.

I know that reasonable people disagree on this point. I talked to 1 of the top PLers in America and he told me that his knee wraps give him apx. 100 lbs. in the squat. However, if it helps proliferate raw lifting, I vote to keep wraps.

According to your definition of what qualifies as raw, a belt would NOT be considered raw because it DOES let you handle more weight than your body could normally handle, and it IS a "tension storing device".

The belt prevents lateral movement and shearing in the spine. Unlike the other gear, you don't need a belt to do more than without. Unlike the other gear it isn't storing energy via compression or elasticity. The belt makes up for the lack of ribs between the Illiac Crest and the bottom of the ribs. If someone rolls forward over the belt a little they lose more leverage than they ever get back in support. Anyone who is bowed over in the squat or deadlift won't be competing for long anyhow.

If you'd like to lift without a belt go ahead and do so at your own peril. It is the ONLY fully recognized SAFTEY device on the platform.

As for the wrap guys: All this crap about knee wraps protecting the knee is ridiculous. So, smashing one's kneecap even harder than the quad tendon is already pulling it against the femur, plus impinging the back of the joint with a wad of material is to promote safety? Come on -- everyone knows we wear wraps so we can come up with more weight.

The belt still inflates people's lifts artificially over what they would be without the belt, so it has to qualify as both safety gear and assistance gear, as it serves both purposes for many people.

However I know there are some top deadlifters that choose to deadlift without a belt - obviously a belt is not necessary for everyone to lift safely with. So is equipment that only reduces injury potential for parts of the population acceptable?

Another good question - what about shoes with heels? They let you assume an artificial position that your normal flexibility wouldn't let you. It's akin to asking to have the bench declined a few degrees because it feels better.

I think the major distinction is in elastic energy storing devices vs others. Trying to outlaw anything that assists a lift gets rediculous pretty quickly (no chalk, smelling salts, all wearing the same shoes, etc.).

By this standard suits, shirts, and knee wraps are out. Wrist wraps and belts are in. The wrist wraps are elastic but do not store energy at one point that then later contributes to the lift. The belt contributes to intra-abdominal pressure, which can help some people's lifts, but is not elastic and so does not store energy.

I'm willing to listen to an argument for the safety of a belt, but it needs to be made clear that while the belt provides protection that it also artificially inflates the poundages used at the same time. Unfortunately, this sport can never be truly raw.

would u consider wrist wraps then to be assisted lifting... i dont get nay extra kg out of my bench weather i have them or not.. same for the squat... some days i wear them just to prevent any pain when im lifting

At first, I'm slightly inclined to say wrist wraps would be OK -- they don't offer energy storage potential, because the wrist joint doesn't articulate much. However, considering that they aritificially propping up the wrist, thereby allowing a shorter stroke in the bench, I have to say NOPE -- I consider it a supportive wrap.

I think that if lifters can decrease their range of motion using a piece of equipment then that is an unfair advantage.

If a person is injured and can't bench correctly by the rules, then they shouldn't be allowed to compete. If someone can flex their wrists back and still support their bench weight, then lucky them. If someone can't do this kind of flex unsupported and instead props their bent-back wrists using the wraps, then they shorten their bench stroke and gain an unfair advantage over their peers. Who benefits from wraps and by how much is subjective; so removing it from the equation is the fairest solution.

Anyone who lifts competitively knows what an advantage an inch of range of motion means. rolled back wrists are easily that kind of advantage.

By far I'm no expert, but wouldn't the use of a belt and knee wraps be a safety factor in lifting maximum lifts? I know it is a tremendous feat of strength in not using some euipment but, I feel the use of knee wraps and a belt should be used in attempting record PRs and World Records. Without the use of some gear, one could have a career ending knee or back injury, espescially the younger, less inexperienced lifters. I don't think you need a suit when competing in Raw competitions but, belts and knee wraps should be used in my opinion.

Many (most) of our AAU lifters lift raw. The key to being injury free is technique. I honestly believe that the raw lifters actually perfect their squat technique more then our equipped lifters. In the last 10 years with meets averaging well over 150 lifters each, I have seen ONE raw squatter have an injury (he was brand new and his technique was weak.

For me I get about 60-80 pounds out of wraps and the same from a suit. Thus I am handling more than my body can squat when I use equipment. Thus I feel that I am safer when lifting raw.

As far as bench shirts. We seldom see injuries with or without. But we do see more "near misses" that are caught by spotters with the equipped lifters. This is usually because of trouble finding the groove and or blown shirts.
Great board discussion here: http://forum.mesomorphosis.com/train...t=wearing+belt

Might as well throw in some RAW motivation for you as well LOL ->


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Old 08-17-2006, 09:12 AM
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sdf42450 sdf42450 is offline
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RAW = no wraps, no straps, no chalk, no hooks, no suit, no bench shirt, no assistive devices/contraptions whatsoever.

a steak is RAW until it's been cooked... even if you only cook it a little bit, it's not raw anymore
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:18 AM
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But does it make me UnRAW when I use a walker to get back to my car after leg day?
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Old 08-18-2006, 09:38 AM
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BG5150 BG5150 is offline
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Why not chalk? Or gloves? (I'm just talking about regular ol' gloves)
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Old 08-18-2006, 12:09 PM
Darkhorse Darkhorse is offline
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Originally Posted by BG5150
Why not chalk? Or gloves? (I'm just talking about regular ol' gloves)
Chalk's good to go. I didn't know people still wore gloves!
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Old 08-18-2006, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by 0311
I didn't know people still wore gloves!
The bars at my gym are all brand new so my hands have become gloves....Am I still RAW?
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Old 08-18-2006, 01:50 PM
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Well I'm raw until it gets real heavy then on goes the belt and straps. And yes I would lift less without them. I couldn't even deadlift heavy without a good belt.

On a side note I don't care either. I just want to ge big.
The Fool say in his heart "There is no God"
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