The drama that is the Great Gear Debate is overwhelming. Powerlifting is one of the few sports where men will bitch, moan, and criticize what another man is wearing. I never thought powerlifting could end up on Bravo but it certainly looks like it might. Do squat suits and bench shirts help? Yeah, they certainly help you lift more weight. For most, there'll be an immediate carryover, but not what most would consider outrageous. It's hard to get 200+lbs out of a bench shirt. The technique is different, the pressure in your head, chest, back and arms is insane and the weight can feel overwhelming; like your arms are going to break and your shoulder is going to pop out of its socket. The same with a squat suit. You might be able to squat more, but can you even take it out of the rack? 700 or 800lbs feels a bit different than 500 and that is something that no suit, brief or shirt can help you with. If you like your training to be simple gear isn't for you because what you can/can't get out of powerlifting gear is going to be determined by your dedication to learning the equipment and understanding the complexities. And if you don't get a lot out of it, you'll hate those that do and claim it's ruining the sport. And if you do get a lot out of it, you'll claim you really aren't. That's how it goes.