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Training At The Compound: 'Back In The Saddle Again - Part One.'

Curtis and I are back in the saddle again. We are back with the boys at Metal Militia after a long layoff due to various reasons that were out of our control. Learn more about it right here.

Back in the saddle again! Yes, after a two-year layoff ( shoulder surgery for myself, then both Curtis and I getting hernia surgery done), I think we've had enough of being on the other side of the tracks. Now it's time to get back into serious benching again.

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That's why we are now training twice a week at the compound, the Metal Militia compound at Adirondack Barbell club in Glens Falls, New York, home of Bill Crawford and Sebastian Burns - the Metal Militia guys.

At first, Curtis and I were a little hesitant to go up to the compound and get started. We figured that maybe it would be better for us to do a few training sessions in our shirts and make some more strength gains as we did not want to totally embarrass ourselves in front of this crew.

Curtis Shultz Benching 520
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Curtis Shultz Benching 520.

That's easy to do, you know, considering the amount of weight these guys and gals push. But, we could not wait to get in touch with our old friends up there. We took a drive up just to stop in and say hello and there was Bill behind the counter of the gym with a big smile and immediately came around to the front of the counter and gave us both a big hug and welcomed us back.

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Sebastian saw us and came up to welcome us back with a big hug and a handshake too. We asked Bill and Sebastian about showing up to watch one of the workouts and they stated that Fridays were the day they did shirt work and for us to bring our shirts and come up to train with the team.

Our response was, "But we haven't worn our shirts since our last meet two years ago!" "Good," was their reply, "then you'll be fresh and ready to go!" They speak and we obey. The drive is nice, actually we only live about 20 minutes away from the compound, and the drive up takes us alongside the Mohawk River and wouldn't you know it, on two different occasions we, Curtis and I, have seen a bald eagle.

Adirondack BBC
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Adirondack BBC.

I'm telling you, if you haven't seen a bald eagle up close in the wild, they're beautiful and huge! Now, back to the first training day at the compound. Whoa! It was, how should I say: brutal. Our bodies took four days to recover from all the training we did, and this workout was our real welcome back.

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Our First Real Bench Workout In Two Years

To start off, I can't even begin to describe how nervous I was about training with this crew again - that is nervous about making a fool of myself. I have not trained with these guys in two years and, of course, the last time I had my bench shirt on was when I trained with them.

Sebastian B & Big John Metal Militia Girls!
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Sebastian B & Big John; Metal Militia Girls!

So, to summarize in a few short words, it had been awhile since I had done this and to top it off I was going to do it in front of the best of the best. Fortunately, you never forget as much as you think you do.

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At first I felt a little awkward only because I had not trained with this crew for quite sometime. But, once I got under the bar, I was fine. When I finally got up to the weights I needed to be at to put my bench shirt on, boy, did that feel odd!

I had forgot how benching in my shirt felt. Anyway, I ended up getting 200 lbs. for two reps on my first day back in my bench shirt since two years ago when I had my shoulder surgery. It is funny, but every week thereafter I kept thinking that I would not be nervous each time we headed up there to work out, yet it took me almost a month before I started feeling less nervous and more focused.

Bill Crushing 800
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Bill Crushing 800.

To get back to my statement about how you never forget as much as you think, it is truer than you know. I had some technique issues when I was benching before that I was trying to work on but just never got the chance, because of having to take time off for my shoulder.

Well guess what, those technique problems are still there and I have been working very hard at correcting those issues for almost a month or a little more. Now, finally, I believe I have these issues somewhat under control as I got a "PR" on my last Friday benching day and actually did it while I was still very sick from a cold.

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Training at the compound with the team is very different and exciting for me, especially coming from a bodybuilding background. I have not trained in a team environment in a very long time and training with this team is awesome.

There can be anywhere from 6 of us to 10 or 15 of us lifting on any given Friday, and it is truly amazing to see the weights that are getting lifted on a weekly basis and the fun, intensity, and camaraderie that is there.

Curtis Shultz's Take

My husband, Curtis, says, "That is so true, Anita. The weights and the intensity go up and up every workout. I do have to admit, I too was at first a little nervous about training with the big boys of bench. I still have a torn pec that I try not to worry about every time I bench but when the load keeps increasing... Sebastian and many others at the compound all say I have the strength and when I get my technique down 600 is easily attainable for me.

Adirondack BBC Gym Banner
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Adirondack BBC Gym Banner.

Actually, they predict I should get that at the APF Bench Wars on April 15th, 2006. Oh, we forgot to tell you - Anita and I are prepping for the Bench Wars (all this training isn't for nothing!). My first workout in the shirt was an easy 500 again, then some rack work and triceps.

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Like Anita, on my second-to-last Friday workout I got an easy 520, and then next week nailed 500 for 3 after hearing an uneasy crunching sound in my already torn pec area. I heard the sound on the first rep, but still did 2 more.

I'm a little upset that it happened, but after I get my shirt tuned up and tighter and rest for about two weeks we'll see how things are. If I am to go for it, or wait until the next meet if I need a longer rehab, we'll see.

Metal Militia Crew
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Metal Militia Crew.

I've attached photos of us benching, and also others from the Metal Militia doing their lifts, too. This goes on every Friday. It's great! These workouts are fun and intense. Check this video of us lifting, too. (Scroll down, group two; second video from top on the right - me doing 520 easy.)

If the video does not show up, download the flash plug-in here.

The last video bench press shows Anita doing 225 easy for 2... We'll be back in a couple weeks with Part II of our workouts and training at the Compound!

Update: On Friday, February 17th, Bill Crawford (who was prepping for the Arnold WPO Bench Meet) nailed 855 easy. So, if you are at the Arnold this year, go watch the boys bench some big numbers. They are going to be nailed this year at the Arnold for sure!

Arnold Classic 2006 Coverage And Results
Click Image To Visit Arnold 2006 Special Feature.
Arnold Classic 2006 Coverage And Results.