Benching for Records Part II - Metal Militia Style by Anita Ramsey
I explained previously, when I train, I max out for 1 rep on certain lifts, once a week, sometimes every two weeks! My rep schemes are 1, 3, 5, 6, 8,10, 12, 20, and 100. I used to do the Westside style for benching along with my old bodybuilding movements too but I've incorporated Metal Militia Style for my benching now. Do you know what Metal Militia is? No!
First Things First
First, let me back up a little. A few weeks after the ECC bench/deadlift, meet Curtis was surfing the wonderful world of the net and came across some of the big benchers and found out what gear they where wearing and how they where training. Again, we all have our way of training and it is VERY hard to change, but if you want to be the best or better at what you want to accomplish then you do change and always go to the best for help.
The best in benching techniques and bench training is Bill Crawford the man behind the Metal Militia compound where the baddest bench pressers in the world flourish.
The Metal Militia has adapted some of Louie Simmons suggestions; they alternate & combine training between the Speed Day - Moving the bar as quickly as you can use either lighter weights or light weights with bands. And the Maximum Effort day - Using very heavy weights in benching and heavy assistance exercises.
The meet was only weeks away, two to be exact, and I just didn't know how to work the shirt. Let's back up a little. I first used a closed back Inzer for the ECC meet and then was told to get a Karin's Extreme Powerwear shirt by Mike and Deb Miller of NazBar.
My Karin's shirt is an-opened back double denim. Ok, now, I called Bill Crawford "the King of Bench" for help. We (Curtis and I) made an appointment to spend the day with him in Glens Falls, which is about a 5 ½ hour drive for us.
With a little excitement and nervousness I walked into Adirondack Barbell Club home of Bill Crawford and gym owner. We exchanged pleasantries and immediately Bill wanted to see my shirt. I was then instructed to warm up. Ok! No questions, the man has spoken. I also explained to Bill about my shoulder injury and that I was very nervous benching.
First, I am given a quick instruction on proper set up on the bench by Bill and his lifting partner Sabastian Burns, who is another 700 plus pound bench presser. Now, I always knew that setting up and getting the right bar alignment is very, very important to benching big, but I also found out, on this day, that getting a big arch was also very important to benching with a shirt.
After a few warm-up sets with each rep performing the proper technique we then went right to work with the shirt. Learning to work in the shirt is imperative to getting your lifts legal. It's a different grove than a raw bench. We pounded the weight until I handled 200 really well.
Nutrition & Supplements
Also here is my new meet nutrition and supplement prep too…
5:30 am - Wake, one "Kranker" (similar) (oops again, I'm still alive) with one aspirin and 4 caps Eclipse Glutamine. 30min Stationary bike.
6:30 am - Bulk Whey (3 scoops) with ¼ cup Heavy Cream
Meal 3: MGF-2: 3 scoops with Heavy Cream
3 Eclipse 2020 Amino Acids
2 Chicken Beast with ½ cup uncooked rice
3 Eclipse 2020 Amino Acids
Either 2 chicken breast (breaded) or ½ pound ground chicken with some steamed vegetables & 3 Eclipse 2020 Amino Acids
1 cup Irish Oatmeal with 1 tblsp peanut butter & 6 egg whites with 2 yolks
I use extra supplements as follows: Eclipse Multi Vitamins, an extra 2 grams of Vitamin C, Saw Palmetto, and Antioxidants.
Bench Press Workouts
The following is my bench training workouts Monday is for Raw and Thursday is shirt day.
Monday Raw Bench: Grip (Index Finger On Ring)
We work our way up to a 3 Rep Max (3RM). If we get all 3 reps we will go up 10lbs and try another 3 reps. If we don't get 3 we then go for singles. Total sets = 5 to 8. The more you arch on the bench press the better your techniques gets. I usually do Boards: 5, 4,3,1.
We usually work up to a 3RM on the boards then we may go for 1RM depending on energy levels and soreness from the previous workout. Total sets range from 8 to as many as 15. Total sets on this day range from 15 to 30.
Other Exercises That Can Be Done On This Day:
Incline: 4 Sets 5 to 1 Reps
Rope Extensions: 2 Sets 20 to 40 Reps.
Shrugs: 4 Sets 10 Reps.
Close Grip Bench: Grip This exercise is used as a warm up and we use the same progression as raw bench for the sets except we don't go back down for a 5RM.
Shirt Bench: Grip
(Index Finger On Ring)
We will put our shirt on here if the meet is within 4 weeks or so. If the meet is farther away we will do our shirt work at the end before rack work. Everyone usually starts off with their shirt where they left off with the close grip bench. Starting with 3 to 5 reps in the first few sets to get into a grove of the shirt. Then onto a few doubles then some singles. If the singles don't go well or if there is problems touching or with your groove then we will go right back to the beginning and work all the way back up again trying harder to get everything right.
Sets here could range from 5 to 6 or more depending on how everything goes. If you don't get it right you must work back through until you get it right. Then 5, 4, 3 Boards: Grip (Pinky Finger On Ring). We will usually try to max on all of these boards and sometimes work through the same board twice if the groove does not feel right or we miss our goal weight on a certain board.
Tricep Pushdowns: 3 Sets 10 Reps
Rope Extensions: 2 Sets 20 to 40 reps
Shrugs: 4 Sets 10 Reps.
As you can see there is much more volume done and nothing is set in stone. The workouts are dictated by the way we feel and where we feel we need the most work to produce improvement. It's grueling. My arms feel like noodles and my shoulder is killing me. Metal Militia Style workouts are not for the week hearted.
Intensity is the key. No "extreme" intensity is the key to getting through these workouts. If you don't have any, intensity that is, then you're done. You might as well stay home and work on that beer belly or for you ladies stay home and watch your arms getting giggly. So, get ready; pound your head on the bar the best is yet to come.
We, my husband and partner (Curtis Schultz), worked out together for this meet, we wanted to compete together. Curtis was there for me when I did my bodybuilding competitions and I was there when he did his Powerlifting meets and I am here to tell you, bodybuilding has its thing but powerlifting has true camaraderie.
Though, like bodybuilding, once you step onto the platform powerlifting is an individual sport. But, the fellowship is like that of football players or other team sports, a brotherhood and sisterhood. On Saturday, November 1st lifting started at 11 AM and ended at 4 PM. The event site was held at NAZARETH BARBELL Club in Allentown, PA. Big Mike Miller and Deb Ames place.
I competed in the sub-masters 148-pound class. I opened up with 190 - got it! Then my 2nd attempt was an easy 200 - done. The 3rd and last attempt an easy 215 - got it! Was I happy! Of course it was a new IPA 148 sub-masters World Record. But, I was told to calm down and get focused because "You're going for a 4th attempt."
Metal Militia's Bill Crawford got me ready and set me up for 220. The weight went down and then something happened. I don't know what, but the command for me to press was given I didn't move, the bar sat on my chest, and then I heard it again and Curtis screamed "Move!" The bar went up, and an inch away from lock out I missed it. But, no worries I still got 1st place in my class and a World Record!
Curtis did the sub-masters 275-pound class. Again, he hasn't benched wide grip and heavy since 1998 when he tore his right pectoral. So, needless to say I was very nervous for him. But, that wasn't needed as he smoked each attempt. Curtis opened with 405 - easy. His 2nd attempt was 425 and that went up easy. Then his 3rd he wanted to just get 450. Well, he not only nailed it, the bar went up so fast like he had nothing on it.
Everyone there was telling him he had 500 easy. At an IPA meet it is the meet directors discretion if someone can do a 4th attempt if it isn't a World record attempt and even Mike miller told Curtis to go for it. But, Curtis was OK with that for now.
Our other lifting partner, Joe, did very well for his first time in a meet. Actually he did very well, getting a 325 bench to win the 242 Jr. Division. We're all happy with our numbers and celebrated in true powerlifting style. After the meet we hung out with ALL the Metal Militia (here). At home we all got together and had dinner, toasted our victory, and inked our bench weight inside our bench-shirts.
After talking it over, Curtis and I are doing another bench meet at Bill Crawford's place in Glenn Falls, New York on December 20th. I couldn't stand not locking out 225 and Curtis want's 500 before his birthday.
" Next it's December 20th, 2003 for another IPA meet and another go at that 220 "new" World Record for 148 sub-masters! I have been training Metal Militia style for a few weeks now and I would like to share with you my last weeks up to the next meet day.