Why Weightlifters and Powerlifters Need Singlets

You’ve probably never seen anyone wearing a singlet in the gym. But in competitions, that’s all we ever see. Let’s face it, singlets, whether for powerlifting or weightlifting, aren’t very flattering. They also reveal a little too much of our bodies for some peoples liking. This being said, if you want to compete, you don’t have much of a choice.

The simple truth is that it’s the rules. Almost every powerlifting organization, as well as most weightlifting ones, require that you wear a singlet. While this might be unfortunate, they have their reasons. Judges at competitions and meets need to see your legs clearly to judge you. You’re partly judged on the depth of your squats, and that’s hard to see in baggy shorts or pants.

While singlets are a bit more expensive, you can pick one up on Amazon much more convenientlyOpens in a new tab. than finding a weightlifting store in person. They’re comfortable, and they’ll last you a long time.

You might be nervous about wearing a singlet in front of people, and that’s ok. This being said, you shouldn’t be too uncomfortable. When there’s a big crowd, or even if the event is televised, just remember that everyone else competing is wearing one, and probably feeling the exact same way you are.

When you’re going to a meet, you should be more focused on your lifts than how you look. You’re competing on lifting big weights, and after all, it’s not a fashion show. It’s normal to feel self conscious, but just remember that the way you look isn’t the point of why you’re there. Nobody else is concerned with how you look, so why should you be?

After all, you should be proud that you competed at all. There are millions of people that haven’t even stepped in a gym. There are also many people that workout, but aren’t interested in going to meets or are too afraid. While that’s ok, the fact that you competed is a serious accomplishment and something to be proud of.

Explaining why powerlifters and weightlifters need to wear singlets.

Competition Rules

Blonde woman at a powerlifting competition, finishing a deadlift.

Every weightlifting and powerlifting competition will have rules about what you can and can’t wear. With the exception of a few weightlifting organizations, usually smaller ones, you’ll most likely have to wear a singlet when you go to a meet. Almost everybody hates it, but it’s a fact of life as a competitive weightlifter or powerlifter.

When you’re squatting at a competition, part of the judging is how far low you can go, and the depth of your squat compared to your knees. Baggy clothes tend to block the key areas judges need to see. If you’re wearing baggy clothes, like shorts or sweatpants, it can be very hard to accurately judge your squat.

This being said, you’re sometimes allowed to wear tight fitting shorts along with the singlet, but you still need the singlet itself. This, along with being able to wear a tight t-shirt, gives the weightlifters more flexibility in what they can wear.

There’s a lot of rules on how the lifters are judged, but there’s also a lot of rules restricting what they can wear and do. For example, they regulate the length of almost every piece of clothing, as well as requiring a gap between two different pieces. This all might seem way over the top, and to be honest, it probably is. This being said, they do have a reason.

Different articles of clothing, like wraps, can give you an advantage over other weightlifters. Most of these complex rules exist to ensure that all the lifters are competing with their skills, and without extra help from their gear.

Bodybuilding, weightlifting and powerlifting competitions all have very complicated rules, and there’s no way I can go over all of them here. All you need to know now is that with very few exceptions, you’ll most likely have to wear a singlet at any meet you compete at.

Don’t Worry About How You Look

One of the biggest concerns people have, whether they’re weightlifters or not, is how they look. Most people worry a lot about the way they look, whether it’s their body or clothes, and this is normal. But in a weightlifting or powerlifting competitive setting, you have other things you should be worrying about.

When you’re spending time in the gym or in a competition, you should be more focused on your performance. Your ability to lift is the point of being there in the first place, right? While you’re worrying about how you look, everybody else is too worried about how they look to care about how you look. Keep in mind the things that really matter, like lifting.

Man at a powerlifting competition who just hit a big lift.

Everybody worries about how they look, and that’s normal. This being said, when you’re weightlifting, focusing on that can hurt your progress. In order to become a better weightlifter, you need to stay focused on your goals. Worrying too much about a singlet or anything else that might make you self conscious can seriously hinder your ability to progress with weightlifting.

This is easier said than done, but in the gym, focus on the things that matter. Learning better skills to help you focus can help you inside and outside the gym. Better focus can help you with your career, schooling, relationships, hobbies, and almost anything you can think of. Learning these skills isn’t easy, believe me, but their benefits are definitely worth it.

Even though you shouldn’t worry about your looks, they’re still a huge benefit to weightlifting. Along with attractiveness, weightlifting can also make you happier, and even have better relationships. If you’re interested in the benefits of weightlifting, check out this article I wrote a while back.Opens in a new tab.

Overall, in competitions, don’t pay any attention to the way you look. It’ll distract you from meeting your goals or winning your competition. Don’t let superficial things like looks keep you from doing what you need to become a better weightlifter. Everyone at the competition is wearing a singlet, so you shouldn’t dwell on the fact that you’re wearing one too.

Confidence Tips

Most confidence comes from inside your head. You might look like a goof wearing certain clothes, maybe even singlets, but if you don’t feel like one, there shouldn’t be any issue. If you train your brain in the right way, you can become confident in any situation, weightlifting competition or not. Confidence can also boost your performance in the gym, believe it or not.

Weightlifting or powerlifting can help you gain a lot of confidence. Looking better, getting stronger, and being healthier can all help you be more sure of yourself. Confidence, along with other things you gain from weightlifting, can transfer outside of the gym. Being more confident can help you make more money, have much better relationships, and lead an overall better life.

One of the best ways to gain confidence is to face your fears. Are you afraid of wearing a singlet at a competition? Try wearing one to the gym and start getting used to it. Although it’s less normal to wear one in the gym, it could be a good stepping stone to a competition. If you don’t want to do that, try jumping right into a competition. It might be nerve wracking the first time, but you’ll feel much better afterwards.

One other way to combat self consciousness is to fake it. You’ve probably heard the phrase “fake it ’till you make it”, and it can definitely work. You might not be completely confident, but if you look like you are, nobody will know anything different. If you’re wearing a singlet in a competition, and you’re visibly uncomfortable, people will notice. However, if you look confident, but aren’t yet, people will have no idea.

Faking confidence can be a great way to build up to true confidence, but it’s no permanent substitute. True confidence comes from within, and you can only gain that until you’re comfortable with yourself. Weightlifting can be a great way to achieve this, but you can only really have confidence within your own head.

Be Proud That You Competed

Like I mentioned before, you should be proud that you competed at all, no matter how nervous you were or are. While competing isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok, that doesn’t take away from your own accomplishments. Even if you don’t win, or even come in last, you still had the guts to get up there and compete with and in front of other people.

Man at a powerlifting competition wearing a t-shirt under a singlet.

Let’s face it. Competitions, of any type, weightlifting or not, can be scary as hell. Unless you thrive in stressful situations, they can be very daunting for almost everybody. It can even be so bad that it keeps some people away from weightlifting or powerlifting competitions completely. And this is okay, because competitions aren’t for everybody.

For other people, competing isn’t their goal for weightlifting. Some people go to the gym to get ready for competitions. Some other people, myself included, going to competitions was never our goal. The gym has different purposes for everyone, whether it’s competing or getting stronger and looking better. The majority of people you find in the gym aren’t training for competitions, and that’s okay too.

No matter what your purposes for weightlifting are, you should be proud of yourself. Many people all over the world don’t even put in the effort to make themselves stronger or healthier. Whether it’s the fact that you put in time to better yourself or had enough guts to compete in front of other people, you should be proud of what you’re doing.

Although you should be proud for weightlifting or powerlifting, don’t be condescending about it. If you know a lot of people that don’t go to the gym, don’t put them down for it. At the very most, encourage them to go with you and try it out. Nobody likes the gym rat who puts everyone down for not weightlifting. All this aside, you should still be proud of your accomplishments.

How to Pick a Singlet

As I said before, many people are uncomfortable with the way they look in a singlet. Because of this, it’s important that you find a singlet that you feel comfortable in.

Before this, the most important thing is to make sure that you’re following your organizations rules. You want to find singlets that comply with the rules, so you aren’t disqualified before you even get to lifting. Google the rules you need to follow, and be safe from disqualification.

After narrowing these down, look for ones that appeal to you. They don’t need to be flashy, but they don’t need to be ugly either. After this, try them on in stores if you can.

If you can’t try them on in person, look up a sizing guide online and find the right size. Order one or a few of them, because they won’t cost you too much. If they don’t fit, or are uncomfortable, return them if you can and try another.

Why People Don’t Like Them

I’ve gone over this earlier, but I want to go in depth on this subject. Many people don’t like singlets because of how they make them look, how they feel, or they’re just embarassed to show that much skin.

These are all normal, but you can overcome them. Lot’s of people are uncomfortable with their bodies, when they really shouldnt be. This comes down to confidence in yourself, which can always be improved.

If you simply don’t like the way they feel, there’s not much you can do besides finding better singlets.

If you want to continue being a competitive weightlifter or powerlifter, and you don’t like singlets, you’re pretty much out of options.

Some people also aren’t used to showing that much skin in front of other people. This is normal, because it can feel unnatural at first.

Over time, you’ll hopefully get over this. As you progress with your fitness, you’ll develop more confidence and feel better about yourself and the way you look.

For the Non-Competitive Weightlifters

Man deadlifting in a gym, wearing normal clothes instead of a singlet.

This section is for people that aren’t competitive weightlifters, and don’t have to wear a singlet. If you’re not one of these people, you don’t really have to read this section.

If you don’t ever wear a singlet, it can be easy to mock those who do. I’m all for jokes, and many of them carry truth with them. This being said, a lot of it is unnecessary.

If you’re one of these people, just remember the ones wearing singlets are out there competing with other people and in front of other people. It’s similar to people who don’t play a professional sport calling those who do “bad“, when they themselves couldn’t do what those players do.

Make whatever jokes you want, personally I find a lot of them funny, but remember to not take them seriously and don’t harass anyone in particular.

The Bottom Line

Overall, you shouldn’t be embarrassed because you’re wearing a singlet. Everyone else at the competition is wearing one too, so you shouldn’t worry. People are more focused on how much weight you’re lifting, and sometimes your form, so you shouldn’t concern yourself over things like looks. Focus on lifting more weight and developing better form instead of distracting yourself by being embarrassed.

You might not like wearing a singlet, but if your goal is competing, you don’t have much of a choice. In competitions, the judges need to be able to see certain parts of your legs in order to accurately judge you. If you’re wearing baggy shorts or sweatpants, which would be more comfortable, it can make it hard for them to do their job.

Even if you’re uncomfortable in a singlet, don’t worry about how you look. In a competition, you have bigger things to worry about, like how much weight you’re lifting. Spending too much time concerning yourself with your clothes is a waste and distracts you from things that really matter. It might be hard, but try to keep your mind on your lifting.

If you can’t seem to get your mind off of your singlet, you might need to gain some more confidence. Weightlifting is a great way to build confidence over time, but it can’t fix everything. One tip is to face your fears, and go to the competition anyway. It’ll be hard, but afterward you’ll feel much more confident. One other tip is to fake your confidence until you can be confident for real.

Find a singlet that’s comfortable for you to wear. In order for you to perform at your best in a competition, it’s important that you feel safe and comfortable. If you’re too nervous, you won’t be able to lift as much as you should. Make sure you buy a singlet that follows the rules, fits well, and that you think looks good.

Even if you’re nervous as hell, or come in last place, you should still be proud. Not everyone works out, and even less people compete. It takes a lot of guts to compete, and working out to better yourself is a great thing to do. Many people aren’t physically or mentally strong enough to do either of these things. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be concerned with wearing a singlet, because you most likely have to and everyone is wearing the same thing.

Pete Schenkel

My name is Pete Schenkel, and I've been into weightlifting since I was a teenager. Now, my main focus is growing Powerful Lifting and putting more information out there. In fact, I'm also currently working on becoming a certified personal trainer.

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