Let’s look into the supportive gear available to you to help get the most out of your bench press.
One of the most commonly used bits of supportive gear, wrist wraps usually come in stiff or flexible versions. They’re very simple to use, you simply put the elastic loop round your thumb and wrap the length of elasticated fabric around your wrist, using the Velcro to fasten it down. These are great for maintaining wrist stability and strength and to stop your wrists from bending backwards when benching and can also be used for other pressing movements such as shoulder press. These are one of the few bits of supportive gear that can be used in powerlifting competitions, so long as they are from an approved manufacturer such as SBD or A7.
One of the simplest bits of supportive gear, chalk can be found in solid or liquid form. You can apply it to your hands to help grip the bar and stop yours hands slipping at all when benching, or across your back to help wedge yourself under the bar and keep tightness in your back. Many powerlifters aim to get a big arch when benching to reduce to range of motion and chalk can help your t shirt and singlet grip to the bench to stop you from slipping down when setting up. Similarly, it can be used to help grip for deadlifts and can be used for numerous events in strongman that require grip of any kind. Chalk is legal to use in both powerlifting and strongman competition.
Elbow sleeves are often made of neoprene and can be thought of as knee sleeves for your elbows. They provide compressive support to help ease the load on your elbow joint without affecting range of motion. They can be useful when training with heavy loads to prevent injury and help to maintain joint health. These however, are not legal for use in powerlifting but are fine to use in strongman so long as they are from an approved manufacturer.
Compression shirts are skin tight t shirts that can be worn on their own or under another t shirt/vest etc.
They help to keep your muscles warm and can reduce fatigue when bench pressing, especially during colder periods.
These are also not legal for powerlifting competitions but can often be used for strongman.
The slingshot is a piece of tight elastic with holes on either side that goes over each arm and across your chest. It essentially helps to force your arms into the final/locked out bench press position and takes a lot of strain off of you shoulder joints and chest. They are best used at higher weight loads and help you to focus on your lockout without fatiguing your chest too much. They are also beneficial for training your Central Nervous System to get used to handling max loads to alleviate the risk of your CNS/mind not being used to handling high weights when it comes to competition day. The original slingshot is the Mark Bell Slingshot but they can only be used for training purposes as they are not legal to use in powerlifting or strongman competitions.