It is similar to when that favorite song of yours comes blasting through the speakers at the gym and you get that little extra charge of power for the movement you are performing. It is not unlike that extra focus you feel when you just know that the folks on the other side of the gym are noticing how much you are squatting and are asking, “How many 45’s are on that bar exactly?”

A little external stimuli can affect us in both positive ways as well as negative ways. You change AC/DC’s “Shoot to Thrill” to Debbie Boone’s “You Light up My Life” with 800lbs waiting for you on the rack, and that could take a little more focus to drive that weight out of the hole.

Lifting with a TEAM is potentially the most positive external stimuli a powerlifter could ever have. Think about this for a minute. You are working with a TEAM of people who, just like you, have that internal fire to be a champion, who, just like you, have the same longing to be the very best they can, who, just like you, share the same realization that life is indeed a collection of moments in time and working toward bringing out the best that is inside you is an investment in both your existence and your essence, and who, just like you, they want to work to help their TEAM members reach all of their goals.

Having a true TEAM around you is vastly different from having a lifting partner or some spotters around you for your lift. With a team you are talking about people who share your philosophy of life, lifting and competing. They share your zeal for each of the three lifts. The TEAM wants you to be great, and you want them to be great as well. The relationship is totally symbiotic in nature.

Think of some of the best powerlifters you can and for the most part, they lift on a true TEAM. Louie Simmons has a true TEAM. Joe Avigliano of the LA Lifting Club as a true team. Ernie Frantz has a true TEAM. When I lift in Aurora with Ernie at Frantz Gym you are totally surrounded with champions, but more importantly, you are surrounded by the Frantz TEAM. Not simply individual champions, but individually great lifters who have become champions because of the power of the TEAM. When a legend like Ernie Frantz is helping you with your briefs, or a many times over WPC World Champion like Bill Nichols crouches down to check your squat depth or a guy like Tom Carnaghi who squats 880lbs at 198lbs, cleans the powder off the bar for your deadlift, that is a TEAM. Every detail is important to you and thus it is important to your TEAM.

Look at a guy like Chuck Vogelpohl for a moment. This man could spend his whole life winning meet after meet squatting 850-900lbs based on nothing but his own freakish power, focus and explosiveness. With the Westside TEAM around him and guys like Angelo Berrardinelli, Louie Simmons and Rich Wenner to name just a few, he has claimed his rightful place in powerlifting history as the first man to squat 1000lbs at 220lbs of body weight. The power of the true TEAM will always improve the power of the individual.

Can powerlifters become great without the TEAM? Absolutely they can. Would they become even better with a TEAM? Absolutely they would. Dr Jerry Bellon, the foremost authority on TEAM lectures about the collaborative TEAM. Dr Bellon would tell you to take time and look at the group of guys lifting at the gym together. Are they a collaborative, symbiotic TEAM, or nothing more than a group of guys with one strong guy as the glue of the group? Keep in mind that when you put together your TEAM each member from the strongest to the not so strong should have a key role on the TEAM. So you are a 400lb squatter within a TEAM of 900lb squatters. Well, you might be the member of the TEAM who everyone trusts with racking the Monolift, or the one that makes sure the bar is loaded properly, or the one that sees that the CD is changed from song 8 to song 9 because everyone hates song 8. Being a part of the true TEAM is about functionality, utility, caring and concern. It is not based on your 2300lb total or the number of State, National and World Records you hold. It is based on what you bring to the table for the betterment of the true collaborative TEAM.

Regardless if your goals are world records or personal records, the TEAM you build or become a part of should be a mirror of your moral compass, your lifting goals both long term and short term, and should be solid enough to grow stronger from the diversity and challenges which will undoubtedly occur within the TEAM itself.

Never forget that when you find yourself thinking that a small group of individuals couldn’t possibly change the world, always remember that is the only thing that ever has.

Ever Onward,
Eric C. Maroscher