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View Full Version : Bench Press Style: Metal Militia vs. West Side Barbell



Phil Bailey
05-13-2008, 12:01 AM
After going over Jim Wendler's Bench press index video, I've noticed he talks about 2 slightly different benching styles: Metal Militia and West Side Barbell. The set up looks very simialr but the execution is different.

Correct me if I'm wrong but the west side style is a straight up and down press and the metal militia has a bit of an arch throught the ROM.

What style do you guys use and is there an advantage of using one over the other? I use a West side style but find that when I set the bar at the top of the press I am not always lined up to go down straight which throws the press off. I train alone most of the time and do not have someone to give me a hand off.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

BigCorey75
05-13-2008, 12:50 AM
well both of them have produced some of the best benchers in the world so they both must have some merit



i say it all goes to biomechanics

naturally i press stronger in a straight line like in westside, and some guys are gonna be stronger with a slight arch, just depends on the person, for me pushing in a straight line works best, ive heard arguments for both try it and see what works for you

dblahnik
05-13-2008, 01:03 AM
Yep try both and see thats what i am doing as of now..

Phil Bailey
05-13-2008, 06:24 AM
When pressing Straight line style, do you guys ever find it difficult on the start position of the press (when you pull the bar off the hooks and just before the start of the decent)?

I find when you pull the weight off the rack (just before the decent), in a straight line press, you have to position the bar slightly past your arms being perpendicular from your body in order for it to go up and down in a straight line. It's ok when the weight isn't heavy, but when it's starts weighing close to my 1RM, it feels like the bar is off poistion. Although I could be doing them wrong like this.

My other thought on the straight line press which I think they showed on the index is to start with the weight straight up (arms perpendicular to your body), then as you lower the bar it comes down in a slight arch (to hit the lower chest/ab area), then press up in a straight line (westside style).

Any thoughs or tidbits would be greatly appreciated.

Rob Luyando
05-13-2008, 07:31 AM
Metal Militia style is the top of the food chain. Crawford and Burns have helped out several of the best benchers in the world. And even some of the Westside guys have come to Melitia lifters for help with their bench.

Travis Bell
05-13-2008, 08:03 AM
Alot of us use a little bit of a hybrid of both at WS now. Not all, but Greg and I put just a slight arc into our bar travel path. Its not something I really do intentionally, but came natural for me

From my own personal experience, when guys have tried the MM style, they attempted to flare too early, so keep that in mind when you're doing it. I'd give both a try and see what fits best

Phil Bailey
05-13-2008, 10:09 AM
Travis - that makes sense considering when I tried the MM style I found that I felt off and was probably my elbows coming out too much. I should try it again now that I am analyzing my technique a little more closely now. Also, I think I will try a hybrid of both to see how that feels. That might help with my problem of the weight feeling off position.

What percentage of my 1RM should I use to practice to make sure the technique works for me. I think too light might be unrealistic and too heavy might cause bad habits to form.

Also, here's an off topic question that I'm try to find an answer on the other thread. What is a good rep range to do 'h-rolls' and is it better at the start or end of bench day.

Phil Bailey
05-13-2008, 11:56 AM
Never mind about the rep range for the 'h-roll', I just saw the info on the original post. I must be blind or something.

vdizenzo
05-13-2008, 12:20 PM
I have used both extensively. MM really preached set up and technique before WS even considered it. I remember wathcing Rob Fusner just lay down flat backed and use brute strength to push weight. So clearly the WS template has merit. Then watch Crawford the technician bench. He is the master. This is not to say Bill is not strong. He's an ox. However, if I had to bet my life I would have said Fusner was stronger.

What does this mean, more guys are focusing on technique than ever ever. That is definitely a result of MM. Like I said, I trained MM and WS for years and made great gains with both. Almost any plan with a little science behind it will work if you train intensely. I currently use the WS template so take that for what it's worth. That being said I cannot put a price on the many years of training I did with Crawford and Sebastian. I would not have accomplished anything near what I have without them.

Ryano
05-13-2008, 12:50 PM
I don't think anyone should discount "The Kennelly Method". Ryan doesn't set up MM style, but benches flat footed. I think he still arches somewhat and has the MM style(sloped) barpath. That being said, I used to bench Kennelly style, until I attended a MM seminar with Burns and hit a PR. Best thing to do is try all the methods and pick the one that suits you. IMO.

Travis Bell
05-13-2008, 01:01 PM
Travis - that makes sense considering when I tried the MM style I found that I felt off and was probably my elbows coming out too much. I should try it again now that I am analyzing my technique a little more closely now. Also, I think I will try a hybrid of both to see how that feels. That might help with my problem of the weight feeling off position.

What percentage of my 1RM should I use to practice to make sure the technique works for me. I think too light might be unrealistic and too heavy might cause bad habits to form.

Also, here's an off topic question that I'm try to find an answer on the other thread. What is a good rep range to do 'h-rolls' and is it better at the start or end of bench day.


Use a weight that your comfortable with. A light weight. Doesn't really matter what percentage it is because strength gain isn't the objective at that given momement, techinque improvement is.


I like to arch, but I don't have a great one by any means.(MM) But I do bench flat footed. I'm much more stable and get alot better leg drive (WS) I set up really high on my upper back and traps (MM) I raise my head as I bring the weight down (that was taught to me by Lou so I'll call it WS) and I don't flare my elbows until I get closer to the top (MM)

My point is create something that works for you but very few of our lifters at Westside dont try for some arch and have a little arc in their bar travel.

Rob Luyando
05-13-2008, 01:10 PM
With today's modern equipment you have to be all about technique. If you don't have technique your not going to make lifts that simple. Brute strength also plays a roll. Fusner was an animal but in todays equipemnt he wouldn't have been able to successfully muscle stuff up with out technique. And that isn't any disrespect towards him as i was a huge fan and actually got to meet the legend about a year ago. This day and age you have to have both brute strength and technique to survice with the monsters that are competing.

As for Pop's comments about Kennelly. He has his own set up but also incorperated MM style into his set up with the help of the legendary Bill Crawford. And I know that to be fact. Kennelly is a perfect example of brute strenght combined with technique.

So here is my advice to all of you that read this and you can take it for what its worth. Keep an open mind and always be willing to try different styles and techniques. You never know when you willl find something or learn something that will work for you and get you out of a rutt. You can be an technichian and have brute strength with MM or Westside templates you just have to adapt them to fit your needs. I don't use either template but i do use MM set up to the best of my ability.

PriestCometh
05-13-2008, 02:23 PM
Rob said all that needed to be said.

David_HoffWSBB
05-13-2008, 02:58 PM
me personally i have only used straight westside and its worked for me,

David_HoffWSBB
05-13-2008, 02:59 PM
personally i was never a fan of MM i have only used westside methods my entire career and it seems to do the trick

Phil Bailey
05-13-2008, 08:52 PM
Thanks, there is a lot of good tips here to try out. I guess I'm going to spend the next little bit droping a little weight and experimenting with different technique. I've had some issues with arching while keeping flat footed so I might try reducing some of my back arch to keep a flat foot to maximize leg drive.

In competition, is it illegal to press of the balls of the foot, or does the feet have to be flat through the full movement?

waynedang
05-13-2008, 09:01 PM
Thanks, there is a lot of good tips here to try out. I guess I'm going to spend the next little bit droping a little weight and experimenting with different technique. I've had some issues with arching while keeping flat footed so I might try reducing some of my back arch to keep a flat foot to maximize leg drive.

In competition, is it illegal to press of the balls of the foot, or does the feet have to be flat through the full movement?


Depends what fed you lift in.