APT's APEX Bench Press Shirt Review by Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench.com
It's pretty exciting for those of us who bench with shirts when a new shirt comes out. The fact that APT is new on the bench press shirt scene makes it even more intriguing. As soon as it was announced that APT Pro Gear launched its first bench press shirt I knew I had to try one out.
First I wanted to know some background about the shirt. How did APT engineer it? What is it made of? What kind of shirt is it similar to? Alan the owner of APT said it was reverse engineered by APT and tested and further developed by some of his elite bench pressers. Well that didn't tell me too much. I know APT just sponsored Ryan Kennelly but whether or not he had anything to do with this shirt is yet to be determined.
Not much left to do but get a hold of one and see what happens and compare and contrast it to some other shirts.
At the time of this review APT is taking pre-orders for double and triple ply APEX bench shirts but the only one that is ready is the single ply. Personally I compete multi-ply, but my first bench press shirt was a Rage X single ply size 52. Currently I own a Rage X double ply size 52. The APEX bench shirt that I tested out was a size 50 single ply.
My first impression when it arrived in the mail was that it had a real nice sturdy collar, the sleeves felt like a similar material as my Rage X, and the chest plate actually seemed a little bit smaller than I expected. However the sleeves were loose which might make the tighter chest plate work out. I thought maybe I got the wrong size since the sleeves were lose but I read the product description and it seems as though the shirt was designed this way on purpose. I don't understand the engineering behind this concept, but what do I know I'm a former personal trainer gone Internet geek.
I brought the shirt to the gym the other night for a bench workout. I have not had a bench shirt on since my last powerlifting meet which was at the beginning of December. Usually when shirting up after taking some time off it takes a few weeks to acclimate to the heavier weights.
Test Shirt Bench Workout:
Bar x 10
Put The APEX Bench Shirt On
Okay let me break this down. I really didn't much help putting the shirt on which is different. I cut the back of the shirt because I don't' like the closed back and I don't compete where you have to have a closed back so I cut it making it less confining. I noticed the material from the sleeve actually continued back over the rear delts which was different as well. I wet the shirt down just a bit with some water from a spray bottle before starting.
I know when I was breaking in my Rage X I had no intention of touching for a few weeks. I worked boards and did some reverse band presses. I didn't touch until week 3 with my Rage X.
Seemed like it might be the same dealio with the APEX. Didn't come close to touching with the 225. Felt a ton of support. 315, getting closer but still no touch. Next set was 405 pounds. I did two reps and they were probably an inch from touching. I could have battled it down but saved it for the next set. Next set 455 touched and shot up, still no problem. This shirt was panning out pretty good. I'm not going to lie, it bit me a bit at the top of my triceps in the back. It's a good hurt though, it wakes you up for the heavier sets.
Last set of the day to test this shirt was 500 for a single. My best in a single ply shirt a year and half ago was 480 lbs. Hitting 500 here would be a new single ply gym personal record. I took the weight down real slow and pressed up! Got a video below to show the lift. Did I have a few more pounds in me? Maybe, maybe not, who knows. The point is this single ply bench shirt is legit. Plenty of support, a little bite, and a new PR. Can't complain about that.
APEX Single Ply Bench Shirt - 500 LBS
So for a frame of reference, I'm about 6'0 feet tall, 245 pounds. Best double ply bench in a meet is 622. Raw bench? Probably 400 even right now. So with this single ply I think I'm about 100 lbs over my raw bench and 100 lbs under my double ply bench.
Had to test this toy out on one other dude just to get a 2nd opinion. Lucky for me my old college football teammate Greg was in town visiting from the Boston area, and he wanted in on the action. He used to play safety in college
but put some weight on since than and some strength for that matter. He's been in a shirt before, but hasn't competed in a while so I was interested to see if
he still had the magic touch.
Greg touched with 405 as well. First heavy set was 545, smoke show! 2nd set was 585, good lift. Next attempt would be a single ply personal record with 605 pounds. Watch the video to see if he gets the PR.
My College Buddy Sets PR With 605 LBS in the Single Ply APEX Bench Shirt by APT
To be straight up I've always been a big supporter of APT. We've done a lot of cross promoting with our Web sites and I personally use APT belts and I'm using APT convict wrist wraps in the video. I was hoping this would be a good shirt, but I am glad to report this is a solid shirt. The bites don't bother me, it touches with a weight I can handle and it's actually kind of nice that the sleeves aren't cutting off my circulation.
The APEX Bench Shirt gets my stamp of approval. Looking forward to trying out the Double Ply version to see if I can set an overall bench PR with it. I also read something in the fine print on the product
description page. Usually you find something shady, but I was happy to see there is a 12-month warranty against blowouts or failure. Sounds like is APT is standing strong
behind this shirt and I don't blame them.