The primary goal of METAL MILITIA TRAINING is to prepare for a meet. It is not a workout or gym exercise, it is training for a meet. The goal is to lift the most weight on the platform in front of judges in a meet. This could involve a six month meet prep or a 12 to 15 week meet preparation. 

Everything you do as a METAL MILITIA LIFTER is to improve and increase your lifts. This means using the right equipment, becoming a technician in bench shirts and squat and deadlifting gear, training with the right people, having a METAL MILITIA COACH, and breathing, eating and sleeping your goals and technique.


It is a way of lifting and a way of training. It is a culture of loyalty and support. METAL MLITIA is being strong and getting stronger mentally and physically. METAL MLITIA is Strength in Numbers with an army of brothers and sisters behind you. METAL MILITIA is an integrity and pride in doing the lifts properly.

METAL MIILTIA STYLE is a way of lifting and a way of training.

"He benches METAL MILITIA STYLE", or "she trains METAL MILITIA STYLE" means that METAL MILITIA is clearly a distinctive style of lifting and training. So what it so different and recognizable?


METAL MILITIA was started by Bill Crawford at a time when gear or powerlifting equipment was becoming popular. Lifters were trying to use gear but it wasn't working with the raw style of lifting or training. Crawford cut open the back of the bench shirt and focused on developing the best technique and training for benching in a shirt.

Bill Crawford on Powerlifting USA

METAL MILITIA TRAINING was born when geared or equipped powerlifting was the norm. Although much of the technique and training plans can be adjusted and will work well for raw competition training, the basis of METAL MILITIA TRAINING focuses on getting the most carry-over from the gear or equipment in each of the lifts by developing the best technique. For this reason, suits and bench shirts are used almost every week of the year. Lifts are performed with integrity as if you were at the meet on the platform. For example, in the bench press we hold the weight steady before descending and we wait for someone to yell out "press" and then wait for a few seconds steady at the top and wait for a "rack" call.

The majority of METAL MILITIA TRAINING, at least 80 percent is doing the full lift as you would at a meet. Training with different shaped bars, chains, bands and box squats are considered accessory work and are done only occasionally for fun and variety less than 20 percent of the time. The focus is on doing the lift as you would at the meet. We don't bench to boards, we bench using the same bar path all the time and try to touch or as get as close to touching as we can each time.

Strength is built through slow progressive overload over time.

Strength is built through slow progressive overload over time. Accessory work is more important for beginners and becomes less part of the training for the experienced competitor. Workload is accomplished through sets of heavy triples and singles. Accessory work usually focusses on developing the top end of the lift where the gear stops helping.

Learning to touch in a bench shirt is very important, which is why all benching is done to touch with a full stroke and not with partial benching to boards. Board work is done to develop strength as accessory work and is done raw, never in a shirt. More on the reason for this later.



Yes, METAL MILITIA STYLE will work to develop raw powerlifting competition performance as well. The same METAL MILITIA principles apply and adjustments are made to increase workloads and accessory work to compensate for the lighter weights used. This will be explained in more detail, but geared lifting means handling at least 200 lbs more than raw lifting and because of this more work upper level work is required to achieve the same overloading principle.


Anywhere you go in the world if you meet a Metal Militia lifter, they will be able to help you instantly whether it is to handle you at a meet, hand off to you, spot you or yell at you during your lift. It’s because Metal Militia is a way of lifting which once learned is consistent in its principles, training exercises, technique, volume and intensity. There is also a pride in the way the lifts are executed.

Metal Militia was founded by Bill Crawford. During a time in powerlifting where criticism and bashing other lifters, Bill wanted to get people together that were cool with each other and supportive. Bench shirts were becoming popular but not many people knew how to use them or how to train to get the most out of them. He began to travel across the US giving training seminars on how to put the bench shirts on, how to set up on the bench and how to get the most out of the shirt. With time, the camaraderie and the understanding of what Metal Militia was about began to grow and Metal Militia training chapters were formed across the world.

So What is Metal Militia

Mike Miller when asked this question in an interview, answered with “if you don’t know, I can’t explain it to you”. He's right, you have to experience it to understand it. Which means train with the Metal Militia or attend a seminar given by Metal Militia.

Let me try to explain. Metal Militia is “strength in numbers”, a slogan on one of their shirts, meaning Metal Militia is a team. You lift in a team, you support the team and the team supports you. When you experience that feeling of a team behind you willing to step up and do anything you need, you will know what it means. You will feel the strength of the team. Metal Militia now has chapters all over the world. When you are Metal Militia you have brothers that will help you everywhere.

Metal Militia is an attitude. A quiet internal rage for achieving your goals, unleashed in every workout in every lift. When you see Bill Crawford before a lift, don’t talk to him, don’t try to have a conversation with him, don’t even stand in front of his line of vision. He is focused on his training as if he was at a meet. He has goals for each training session and each lift and his lift begins long before he even approaches the bench. When you see that quiet intensity, you realize that everything that you have been doing up to now is nowhere near being serious enough. You learn that to make a lift, you decide to make it, you are deliberate in your movements. You take control of the bar, you are in charge, not the bar. You don’t let the bar come down until it stops, you take it to where you want it to go. You are in control. When you miss a lift it is not because you weren’t focused or didn’t push hard enough, its because something technically went wrong or the weight was just too much for now. There is no fear, there is no trying, there is just attitude and that’s how you make your lift. When you see a Metal Militia lifter at a meet, their chair is turned away from the platform, they are not watching the other lifters, they are mentally focusing on their next lift, building the internal rage to achieve their goal.

The other part of attitude is team based. After your lift, you focus on the other team members. Spot, load, help with setting up their gear and encourage them during the lift.

Metal Militia is a technique. Metal Militia are bench press specialists. Every Metal Militia lifter knows how to put on a bench press shirt to make it tighter or to make it looser. The technique extends to proper bench press set up which is more than half of the success of the lift, then the bar path and groove. The training technique is competition lifting every lift, which means hold the bar before descending, wait for the press call and then hold it at the top for a few seconds  before racking it. There is a pride in executing the lift properly. I saw Sebastien Burns almost attack a referee for giving a rack call too early on a successful bench. Burns was raging because to him the lift although was perfect, was taken away from him too early. You can fail on strength but you never want to fail on technique. This is why in Metal Militia training you ALWAYS touch in your shirt. The last two inches is where all the technique and groove come together. You are always working on technique. If you work up to a max weight and fail, it is because of technique. What you do then is go back down and work your way back up with better technique.

When you learn the Metal Militia technique you use it all the time. Your raw benching now becomes the same as your shirt style benching with just the exception of moving your grip in slightly. Bench the same way raw as you would in a shirt from now on and never go back. You are learning a new groove and reinforcing it every time.

Metal Militia is a way of training. Train the upper end and train to build strength. If you train for full power, you may bench just once a week otherwise you should bench twice a week. At Metal Militia Montreal, we added a second bench day to build our raw strength and build bottom strength. On our main bench day, we bench in a shirt every week of the year. In fact, if you want to build more raw strength, training in a shirt will get your body adapted to lifting heavier weights without the strain on the weak links such as shoulders and pecs. The rest of you will be overloaded.