What makes a competitive champion? Besides technique and a training plan what else is required to become a METAL MILITIA WARRIOR?

Desire, heart, belief, stubbornness to not quit, internal fire, fighting for the right reason, team synergy and support, the right atmosphere, the right equipment. Eating, sleeping and breathing your goals.

Top Ten Traits of METAL MILITIA WARRIORS / Powerlifting Champions

  1. Extreme focus on technique.
  2. Maximize all equipment advantages - don't race a 4 cylinder car in an 8 cylinder race.
  3. Eat big. Love eating.
  4. Drink a lot. Water is best.
  5. It's your top priority and always on your mind.
  6. Never skip a training session.
  7. Do the hard work. Love the hard work. The hard work is the reward.
  8. Meticulous attention to detail.
  9. Head Strong.
  10. Stay Humble.

1. Extreme focus on technique.

Squeeze every advantage out of your techique. Technique will beat brute force several times over. Techinque will keep you safe and as injury free as possible. Never lift heavier than you technique will allow. As soon as you feel yourself going out of technique, go back down in weight and work your way back up again with good technique. Sometimes your best technique will come in the last few reps or your work sets when your brute force is exhausted and you have to rely on technique to get the weight up for a few more reps.

Always take videos and analyse your technique or have a METAL MILITIA coach watch you or watch your videos. A few adjustments in technique can give you and instant increase in weight lifted, as much as 50 lbs more immediately. Go to a METAL MILITIA SEMINAR.

Watch lifters with good technique and turn away from watching lifters with bad technique. It all goes into your head.

2. Maximize all equipment advantages.

If you are lifting in gear, get all the right gear. Don't spend $1000 and your only vacation time going to a meet and not have the best gear you can get for the maximum advantage. Get the right length wrist wraps and knee wraps. Make alterations to ensure the tightest fit of your suit, briefs and shirt.. Plan for weight gain or loss and equipment adjustment including belts.

3. Eat Big.

Eating is part of your training. One of the most common traits of the strongest lifters is they love to eat. Even those that don't, force themselves to eat.  When Al Mehan came to train with METAL MILITIA MONTREAL at Montreal Barbell for a week, I tried to keep up with his eating schedule. I was still full from the last meal when he said, "ding, ding, ding, time to eat!" in the one week of eating and training with him, I gained 6 pounds and benched a 20 lb bench PR. Nothing happens without eating big.

4. Drink Lots of Water.

Water is anabolic. If over 70% of your muscles are water then what do you think happens when you are not fully hydrated? Drinking water helps in quicker recovery and less injuries and pain. Chris Skoda worked long shifts as a heavy truck mechanic. When he arrived at work he lined up 10 water bottles and drank them all before the end of his shirt.

5. It's your Top Priority and Always on Your Mind.

Most of the top powerlifters in the world either own their own gym or work at one. We have had some lifters in the Top 20 All Time World rankings who held full-time jobs, had families and children and went ot their church, synigog or place of worship.

6. Never Skip a Training Session.

Eating is part of your training.

7. Do The Hard Work.

Eating is part of your training.

6. Never Skip a Training Session.

Eating is part of your training.

6. Never Skip a Training Session.

Eating is part of your training.

6. Never Skip a Training Session.

Eating is part of your training.


What makes a competitive champion? Besides technique and a training plan what else is required to become a METAL MILITIA WARRIOR?

Desire, heart, belief, stubborness to not quit, internal fire, fighting for the right reason, team synergy and support, the right atmosphere, the right equipment. Eating, sleeping and breathing your goals.

What's Inside Your Head?

What's inside your head? What are you made of? This is what will be brought out in your journey to building a champion, a warrior. It is already inside you. You know it and you feel it and it is time to bring it out. METAL MILITIA TRAINING is about bringing out that inner beast, that inner warrior, that inner strength and belief you already know that you have.


METAL MILITIA WARRIORS are already champions in their head.

Steve before his first 600 lb bench pressIn training with and meeting METAL MILITIA WARRIORS, I have found one thing that happens to each lifter 100% of the time. It is a door that eventually every lifter walks through. Some go through it early, some take months, most take at least a year. It happens one day, one lift or one competition. All of a sudden, nothing is the same and everything before that moment was child's play. The lifter crosses over into Mental Toughness and experiences the strength and focus that it brings. Every METAL MILITIA lifter that I have seen and worked with crosses over eventually. And, the feeling and understanding when they get there is unlike anything they have ever experienced.

METAL MILITIA training is about getting to and staying in that place of mental toughness. Every training session, every lift is now done with it. And, huge PR's all of a sudden appear and keep coming.

I have personally trained several people who found their mental toughness early and used it to get on the Top 20 All-Time World rankings in powerlifting. Mat Court, Mike Guay, Shany Gilbert and Shawna Geraghty-Saldan all made this list within 18 months of training METAL MILITIA. Many others in our team reached within 50 lbs of this list as well and made huge personal transformations. Most notably Ghislain Roy squatted 550 lbs with fear and shaking and with his personal transformation to a warrior mental toughness he squatted 900 lbs within 4 months at just over 200 lbs and drug free. Joanick Boilard also at just over 200 lbs squatted 900 lbs and benched 650 lbs. All within a matter of months and drug free.

So how do you cross over into this mental toughness? It's a matter of bringing it out in each person. Hard work, watching the courage and success of others on the team, consistant commitment, a frustration with fear and a desire to excel and exceed.

How to Build Mental Toughness

Who you are comes out under extreme stress. Getting under heavy weight that can crush you and pushing for a Personal Record is extreme stress. So, who are you under that weight? Are you a detemined, focused hungry beast? Or, are you a wimpering child looking for an excuse for a way out? Actually, most of us have both of these characters inside of us. We all have the scared child but we also all have the fearless beast. Which one of these

Everyone has a crying point. It's that point where it's just too much and we let go. It hurts too much, we let go. It is too scary, we let go. It won't work anyway, we let go. Something went wrong, we let go. We don't feel like it today, we let go. Developing mental toughness is all about raising that crying point to a higher level before we let go.

Our head tells us to let go. Your head wants to protect you. STOP listening to your head. You head does not know what your body is capable of. Your head has never seen you do this before. You have to override your head. In fact, just get your head out of it altogether! Shut down all the voices and all the beliefs in your head. How do you do this? There are many approaches.

Get your head out of the way - Get Out of Your Head

Well, you could just tell your head to "shut up" but usually that won't work for long. But wait, if your are telling yourself to shut up, then who is talking and who is listening? Are there two of you inside your head?

Yes, actually there are two inside your head. Let me explain without getting psycho. Let's call them Self 1 and Self 2*.

Self 1 is your conscious self, the one that is aware of what is happening. This is the one doing the talking. This is also your ego self. Unfortunately, this Self 1 is not always right and in fact is almost always wrong. Self 1 is the one that tells you things like, "who are you fooling, you can't do this", "this is too much for you", "you didn't eat breakfast this morning, so you know you are weak today, right?", "you missed this the last time", "you are weak", "you are tired, quit and go home". And on the other negative side it tells you, "you are better than everyone else and you don't have to do this work", "don't listen to anyone because they don't know", "this is just stupid, don't do it".

Self 1 is the many voices in you head that undermine you, that talk to you and distract you from what you are doing.

Self 2 is your unconscious mind. This is the one listening. It doesn't think, it does. In fact, it has no judgement at all, it does not question right or wrong, it just does what it is told. Wow, that's scary. Yes it is, that is why Self 2 is not easily available. We protect it. But, there are a few ways to access it. You can access Self 2 through repetition, for example flicking on a light switch hundreds of times then becomes automatic. Or, Self 2 can be accessed through hypnosis. Self 2 can also be accessed under extreme focus, pressure, emotion or desire. This in sports is called "The Zone".

Accessing Self 2 in sports or "Being in The Zone" is a blank state of mind, not thinking just focus.

So, to get your head out of the way really means to shut out Self 1 and let Self 2 take over. Ok but how do you do this? How do you stop yourself from talking to yourself?

There are two approaches to do this.

Distract Self 1 with something else. I could write a few more pages on this but just let me list a few ways to do this. 

  • One, go through all the steps of doing your lift, all the things you need to do technically to make the lift perfect. 
  • Two, replace every negative thought with a positive thought instantly. Replace, "I am afraid" with "I am not afraid". Take all the negative thoughts and replace them as soon as they come up with, "I want this", "I can do this", "I am strong inside", "I AM A WARRIOR", "I am all my ancesters inside of me", I represent METAL MILITIA", you get the idea. Replace every negative thought with a positive thought. 
  • Three, call up an extreme emotion. In a forum discussion, about 80% of the powerlifters said that they used anger as a way to focus. You can try that or you can just focus on why you really want to do this. 
  • Four, use repitition. Shut the voice of Self 1 our with a repetitive mantra. Repeat it to yourself over and over. Try, "I want this", or, as Ghislain Roy did, "I am not afraid, I am a Warrior!". 
  • Five, listen to the music, listen to your coach yelling at you.

Focus on emotion, desire or

Here are a few ways:


Don't overthink it

Break it down to big chunks

Focus on the feeling. Remember the entire feeling of a good lift.

100% commitment to being in the moment, being right here, right now and nowhere else.


Guy Razy had been training for 14 years when he came to train METAL MILITIA style. The first 3 and a half weeks were spent introducing him to technique and getting him mentally tougher. His introduction was a Korke 3x3 program where he trained 3 times a week and did all three lifts each day. He squatted 4 heavy work sets of 10 reps, three times a week increasing the weight each time until he squatted 40 reps with 365 lbs which was just 40 lbs less than his personal best or PR. He also benched 20 - 25 heavy bench reps ( 4 sets of 5 or 6 reps) and deadlifted 20 heavy deadlift reps (4 sets of 5 reps) on the same day.  Many times he pushed and added an extra rep to a set just to push harder. At the end of this, his confidence and his mental stick-to-itness went through the roof. Then we went into regular METAL MILITIA training and withing four months, Guy squatted over 500 lbs raw at just over 180 lbs which was a gain of over 100 lbs on his raw squat.

* Timothy Galloway first described this concept in his book "The Inner Game of Tennis".



Some basic rules of gear are as follows:

  • Have back-ups available. Don't lose an entire training cycle and meet time and expenses because a piece of gear ripped and was unusable. Always have at least two bench shirts, best if both are identical, or one could be tighter and one looser.
  • Try to get settled with the gear you will use at least 8 weeks before the meet and don't change gear after that. Gear takes time to get used to and changing to another piece or brand or size may take too long to get used to the new gear and how it works. Of course, there are exceptions, but don't count on it. Changing gear before a meet is usually a bad idea.
  • Make adjustments to your gear to fit properly. Rarely does something fit exactly. Sew new seams yourself or send it to a seamstress.
  • Always have a sewing kit with you. Scissors, 100% nylon upholstery thread, needles, a stich removal tool.


How tight should a squat suit and briefs be? At least one of them should be very tight, tight enough that you cannot just pull them on yourself. As tight as you can stand them actually. It depends on how much weight you squat - more weight needs tighter gear and a bigger carry-over. A rule of thumb is if you can slide your hand or fingers down along your hips inside your briefs or suit, then you should tighten them up.

The tightness is most important across the hips. Tightness on the leg can help by not letting the briefs or suit rise up as you squat and locking it in place. But, sometimes too tight in the leg will not allow you to achieve optimum form and a knees out stance.

Straps can be loose for lighter weights to assist in getting depth. As the weight is increased, tighten up the straps more. Too tight straps will pull you forward. If you can keep your form or if you squat over 800 lbs then go ahead and tighten up your straps as tight as you can. You will have to practice various strap tightness for different amount of weights in order to figure out how to dial in your suit.


Single prong or double prong is just a personal preference. Lever belts allow for quicker tightening and releasing but not for easy adjustment. If you use a lever belt make sure to bring a screw driver with you in case of loosening or needing to change hole positions.


Knee wraps wear out. Some lifters buy three new pairs for each meet. Three pairs is a good idea so that you can prewrap them for each lift attempt. Knee wraps hurt and take getting used to. Ideally, the tighter the wrap the more stability and assistance you will get in the bottom of the squat.

Time how long it takes to wrap your knees. Try to wrap your own knees in training and teach someone how to wrap your knees for a meet. At, first increase the time you can stand in your knee wraps. You may have to stand all ready at a meet while a problem happens and you have to wait for your turn to squat while your legs start to go numb and lose colour. With practice you will have the confidence to go ahead and squat anyway and know that it will be fine if you have to.


There are several types of material and types of bench shirts, but basically they can be divided into two types: stretchy shirts and almost no stretch shirts. Each requires a different form and bar path to find the sweet spot and most support.

METAL MILITIA lifters first started out in canvas and denim bench shirts. The give and rebound came more from their body than from their shirt. In this way, the shirt had to be dialed in perfectly for their body and for the amount of weight lifted. Adjustments were made by pulling the shirt up for light weights and pulling the collar of the shirt down for heavier weights. Also, since the sleeves were tight, putting the shirt on palms down loosened the shirt while putting the shirt on with hands outstretched palms up served to tighten the shirt. Make sure the sleeves are long enough that they are very close to the elbow. If your sleeves are short by an inch or two above the elbow, you will not have the full support of the shirt.


Similar to the knee wraps. Make sure that you use the full length allowed in the federation that you will be lifting in. The purpose of the wrist wrap is to allow you to bend back your wrists while the wraps hold and support your wrists like a solid cast. The tighter and firmer the wrist wraps the more support. When you wrap don't just wrap in the same spot, wrap a bit higher right up to the bottom of your palm and wrap a bit lower.


The only purpose of a belt while benching is to hold your shirt in place and not let it rise up while you bench. Powerlifting belts are not good for this purpose for two reasons: one, they limit your abitlity to arch your lower back and two they don't work very well in holding your shirt down. Get yourself a belt especially for benching. This is a narrow belt and it can be a tool belt from a hardware store made of leather or a bench belt. 


Many lifters use their squat suit for deadlifting but a better choice would be to have a special deadlift suit made. For sumo deadlifting use a suit with very short legs and strong adjustable straps that have spring in them. The support in a sumo deadlift suit works like a 'V' from the straps through the crotch. Long suit legs will make it impossible to get down to the bar with a wide stance without loosening up the suit straps. If you have to wear your squat suit, then try to roll up or jack up the legs as much as you can so you can really tighten the straps and still get down to the bar in the starting position. A good fit with a stretchy sumo suit will give you 100 bs of carry-over from raw.

For conventional deadlifting, the suit does not give as much carry-over, usually only about 20 lbs. The way the suits works in conventional is not the same as in sumo. Tight straps in conventional will work against you by first not letting you get down to the bar and second by not letting you lock out. Instead, the support from a conventional deadlift suit comes from a tight fit across the hips allowing you to sit and pivot. Sometimes, in a stretchy deadlift suit you can feel some back support as well. Deadlifting conventional in a suit requires a lot of adjustment to try to figure out how tight you need the suit in the hips with the belt on while still being able to get down to the bar and all this still only gives you about 20 lbs more than raw. This is why Andy Bolten said he may just lift raw next time.


Ah, here is the big question. Well not a question at all for METAL MILITIA lifters. Should you use the wedge high heel olympic shoes or flat soled shoes for squatting. Our answer is always flat soled shoes. Try to find shoes with some ankle support as well. Chuck Taylors are fun to lift in but they offer nothing in support. A better choice would be a tight fitting wrestling shoe or a powerlifting shoe with a flat sole. Old school squatters used to lift in construction boots which gave them good support.

For bench use any shoe that has a grippy sole.

For deadlift use anything that has an extremely thing sole. Ballet type or wrestling shoes with a sticky sole are good.


Here are some tips: Chalk for your hands and for on your upper back for squatting, bring your own chalk to a meet in case they don't have any or run out or it is not as good as yours. Baby Powder on your legs for deadlifting. Stickem or chalk on your legs or inside of your knee wraps will keep them tighter. Nose torque or not, just a personal preference, for some people it gives the extra advantage of clearing your head or waking you up. Make sure to check what the rules are for your federation and when you put baby powder on, do it outside or in a designated area, it's really hard to clean it up. With sticky grip bench pads don't use chalk, it will make it more slippery and will mess up the bench for everyone else.