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A well-fitting powerlifting singlet is a staple to ensuring you’re ready for competition and have a good day on the platform. As you head into your first competition, it’s important to know what things to look for in terms of how a singlet should fit.
A powerlifting singlet should be form-fitting to your body. It should not bunch up around the hips/butt, and should be tighter rather than looser around the thighs to leverage any additional support during lifting. When trying on your singlet, check that the singlet is not revealing and is not cutting off any circulation to your legs.
In this article I will go into some of the more specific details around what to look for, how you know you’ve selected the right fit, as well as recommending some personal favorites of mine for great quality powerlifting singlets.
How Should A Powerlifting Singlet Fit?
Most size charts for powerlifting singlets are decided by your weight. If you find yourself between sizes, you should go for a smaller size if you’re unsure as the material will be very forgiving.
While the idea of sizing down might be confusing at first, I’ve listed a couple of reasons why this is the best course of action below.
1. Singlet Materials Are Very Forgiving in Terms of Sizing
Powerlifting singlets are usually made of sheer lycra, or a similarly stretchy material. These materials are usually meant to stretch to accommodate the full body movement in the squat, bench, and deadlift. This means that sizing down provides a tighter fit while still being comfortable enough to wear through a full-day powerlifting event.
2. A Tighter Singlet May Give You a Very Slight Competitive Advantage
In order for a singlet to be approved for competition, it needs to be on the IPF Approved Equipment List.
The singlets on this list may have varying materials, but with the stretchy material of any singlet, more support in the bottom of the squat is beneficial so long as it’s not cutting off circulation.
When it comes to powerlifting, any competitive advantage we can get in terms of a better stretch reflex coming out of the bottom of the squat that is still within the allowable rules is definitely a win.
What Happens if Your Singlet Is Too Tight?
If your singlet is too tight, you risk the material becoming see-through when you’re in the bottom of a squat or deadlift position. On top of that, some powerlifting singlets have a tighter elastic in the legs that could become uncomfortable or be cutting off circulation to your legs.
If this is the case, and you can’t see yourself comfortably wearing this singlet for an entire day, go to the next size up. However, I’ve rarely seen that to be the case.
Want to see my top reviewed powerlifting singlets? Check out my article on the 5 Best Powerlifting Singlets, including the best overall best budget, and best for women.
What Happens If Your Singlet Is Too Loose?
If your singlet is too loose, it’s likely to bunch up around the legs, hips, and glutes. If this is the case and the referees decide this is no longer considered “form-fitting”, you will be asked to find another singlet to compete in.
Why does it need to be “form fitting”? Because the referees need to see your hip crease while you squat so that they can tell if you’ve achieved proper squat depth.
If this is the case, or you find yourself in-between sizes, go with the smaller size – the material will be snug, but not too tight.
If you’d rather keep your singlet and would instead like to modify, you must abide by the IPF’s rulings on suit modification. While these rules generally apply to suits in equipped powerlifting, the same can be applied to singlets:
- Any alterations made cannot change the singlet’s width, thickness, or length
- Any pleats used to tighten the singlet must be made on the original manufacturer’s seams, and must be made in the single of the singlet
Does a Powerlifting Singlet Require a Break-In Period?
Powerlifting singlets are generally ready to go as soon as you pull them out of the packaging and don’t require a break-in period. Singlets will stretch a touch after a bit of wear, but it won’t be a noticeable amount. This is in contrast to a powerlifting belt, which does require a 1-3 month break-in period.
I would recommend wearing your singlet for a couple of training sessions, or even around the house if it’s your first time wearing a powerlifting singlet, or if you’ve switched to a new brand.
Getting used to the feel of the material on your skin, and how it moves with you throughout a lift shouldn’t be a surprise on competition day. This has nothing to do with “breaking in” the singlet, but more so just feeling comfortable being in the singlet for longer durations.
Will a Powerlifting Singlet Lose It’s Support Over Time?
A singlet is like any other piece of workout gear – if you take care of it, wash it after use, and hang it to dry, there’s no reason that it can’t go at least a few years before needing to be replaced.
Avoid keeping your singlet in your gym bag, and I would recommend only throwing it back in when you’re packing your bag the night before your next meet.
Singlet Brands And Their Fit
Singlet fill will vary depending on the product that you go with. And while there is a small break in period where you’ll gain a bit of room in the fit, it’s worth knowing ahead of time which singlets are going to fit small versus large.
Singlets That You Can Expect to Fit Tighter/True to Size
1. Titan Triumph – Best Overall
The Titan Triumph is one of the best singlets on the market, fitting snugly but offering excellent support with TItan’s Comprexx material. It was ranked #1 on my list of best competition-approved singlets.
2. Virus Elevate V3 – Best For Women
The Virus Elevate V3 is one of the best fitting female singlets, fitting true to size, sizing well over the chest, and not being revealing while squatting or deadlifting. It’s the only powerlifting singlet that was made from the ground-up with women’s sizing in mind.
You can check out my Virus Powerlifting Singlet Review, which is a separate article going into the benefits for women.
3. Inzer Singlet – Best Budget
The Inzer Singlet is known for having poor sizing, fitting overly tight in the crotch area, while having too much material around the hips, allowing it to be tight in the wrong places and loose in places it shouldn’t be. It’s a good budget option, but it won’t fit the best.
Singlets That You Can Expect to Fit Looser
1. Lifting Large Basic Singlet – Affordable, But Likely Requires Some Customization
With reviews stating that this singlet fits very large through the straps and upper body, you may want to size down. Personally, I’ve never worn this singlet, but it looks like a good budget option.
2. Strength Shop Singlet – Similar To A Wrestling Singlet
A singlet that fits true to size, as most do, but leaves a bit more room if you have especially large quads. Again, I haven’t actually worn this singlet personally, but it looks more like a wrestling singlet, which typically has thinner, non-supportive material.
3. Beast Genetics Singlet – Good For Tall Lifters, But No Longer Approved For Competitions
The Beast Genetics singlet is a good choice for someone who’s taller than the average individual, it gives good room length with that extra height, but may not fit as well on someone shorter or more average height. However, as of this year you cannot wear this singlet in powerlifting competitions anymore. It was removed from the IPF Approved list.
For the average lifter, I would go with the Titan Triumph, as it appears to give the best support, fit, and competitive edge for your buck. However, all women should be opting for the Virus V3 Singlet.
Related Article: Why Do Powerlifters Wear Singlets? (5 Reasons Explained)
Official Rules for Powerlifting Singlet Sizing/Tightness
The IPF rulebook, powerlifting singlets should be form-fitting without any looseness when worn.
Powerlifting singlets need to be form-fitting to ensure that the referees can fairly judge the movement of an athlete without any fabric impeding their view, such as the hip-crease in a squat position, or the placement of the butt on the bench during a bench press.
My Final Recommendation
When you first bust your singlet out of the packaging and throw it on, it will likely feel almost uncomfortably snug, and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. You need this piece of equipment to be supportive, move with your body, be form fitting, and not bunch up in areas that could lead to a lift getting disqualified.
If you find yourself between sizing, always size down when it comes to singlets. All of the materials should have a decent amount of stretch; if the singlet feels tight when you first put it on, run through a couple of training sessions and you should feel it relax a little bit. From there, if you’re willing to take care of your singlet, there’s no reason it can’t see you through years of competitions to come.