MORE ABOUT METAL MILITIA TRAINING
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.