2014 Arnold Raw Challenge Week 1 and 2 -Catching Up and What Doesn’t Kill You……..

2014 Arnold Raw Challenge Week 1 and 2 -Catching Up and What Doesn’t Kill You……..

Dec 16, 2013

……..Will probably still scare the crap out of you.

I’m (obviously) a little behind thanks to being very busy at work and all the general chaos of the holidays.  Which means this is probably being a bit longer than usual.

Week 1


My first official day back to training for the Arnolds.  Still taking it a bit light as we ramp back into everything but still not that light…..  First set of squats back was 2 x 5 starting at 320.  Totally do able but a little intimidating to start that high at the beginning of the cycle.  So sets were 320, 330, 340….  sort of……….

Everything had been feeling a bit slow out of the hole and rusty.  My first rep at 340 felt pretty awful.  I tried to speed up my second rep, got forward into my toes and tipped over forward.  The safety rails caught the bar so it was all good, until I tried to crawl out from under the bar and snagged my belt on it.  I’m not sure how it happened but once it did, I couldn’t crawl forward and I couldn’t crawl backwards because of the way my foot had gotten twisted.  Yep.  I was stuck.  Pete came and saved me (Thanks, Pete!) and I got on with my sets……

345 felt much better and had much better speed (something about giving yourself a good scare will make you pull your head out of your ass with a quickness) and finally 350.

The rest of my workout was much less dramatic thankfully.  Moved on to 3 x 10 good mornings (95, 115, 135) and then 3 sets of 16 box step ups (BW, 20lbs x 2), 15 back extensions and AMRAP ring rows (12, 13, 15).

That should have been everything.  But for some reason I’ll never be able to completely explain, I decided it might be fun to go push the prowler with everyone else.  4 x 30 sprints at 165lbs with the only rest being the time it took my partner to push the prowler her 30m.  It was rough but not too bad.  Until I walked back into the warm gym from the cold.  Hello, Prowler Flu!  Oh how I’ve missed you…. not.


Bench was 3 x 8 with 1 minute rest between sets.  Since this was pretty light for me and I was working alone, I didn’t actually bother with the stop watch.  Instead I only rested for as much time as it took to add weight to the bar and retighten my wrist wraps.  Sets were 120, 130, 140, 150, 160, 170, 180 and 190, pausing the 1st and 3rd reps starting at 160lbs.

It's a little tiny bracket.  Why does it always end up being in my way?

Press was 3 x 10 at 75lbs.  Then super sets of 3 x 6-10 close grip bench (115 x 10, 135 x 10 and 155 x 5) and 3 x 15 lateral raises.  My last set of close grip bench was close but I couldn’t quite get the last rep.  I should have been able to do it based on last weeks numbers but I think the volume on the regular bench and press just made it too much.

Finished out the day with 4 x 15 GHD Sit-ups.  These made my hips pretty damn unhappy.


My first chiropractor appointment since I strained my hip flexor and the meet.  He was not especially happy with what he found.  My SI joint was very much not where it was supposed to be, probably mostly due to the tightness in my hips pulling it out of alignment.  So I got an adjustment and an appointment to come back before the end of the year.


Because of my strained hip flexor, I’m still not doing conventional deadlift to give it some time to sort itself out.  So I started out the day with front squats.  One set at 190 for 8+ reps.  I got 5.  Total.  After getting no reps on my first try.  My warm-ups didn’t feel especially good and I just couldn’t keep my upper back tight at my working weight.  I thought about giving it another try but decided that the real answer was probably to walk away and let it be.

Moved on to 4 x 8 still leg deadlifts from a 2″ deficit (135, 155, 175, 195.)  The goal was to keep these pretty light and to stop if I felt any kind of pulling in my hip but they felt fine.


And then 3 x 10 reverse hyper @ 220lbs and 3 x 15 behind the head weighted sit-ups @ 25lbs.


Yoga!  Two things happened at yoga that are noteworthy: 1) It’s just wrong when you’re in bridge and you realize “Let’s Get It On” is playing and 2) I managed to get into shoulder stand which I was pretty sure was never going to happen.

Week 2

Week 2 started with a snow storm and me being snowed in at the house and teleworking for 2 days.


Which means by the time I got to the gym on Tuesday, I was all ready to do *something.*  And yes, I know that it says something that I’m way more willing to risk the roads to get to the gym before I risk them to get to work.

3 x 8 squats with one minute of rest between sets starting at 235 and working up in 10lb increments to 305.  Since we’re trying to push this training cycle a little harder, I’m trying to make sure the rest is closer to a minute so I’m starting my set up for the next set at 50 seconds.  All of these felt really good compared to last weeks sets.

My nemesis.

After that were 3 x 10 RDLs (135, 145, 155) and then 3 rounds of 10 split squats (BW, 20lbs, 40lbs), 10 up/down planks and 20 back extensions.  It’s really hard to imagine having so many things I don’t like doing all in one place.  Pointing this out (“Why do you hate me?”) got me laughed at.  I’m seeing a lot of single let stuff in my future and this makes me kind of sad.


Bench was one set of 8+ reps at 135lbs.  I was incredibly sore going into this workout but my warm-ups all felt really good.  And it’s just one set so how bad could it be?  I got 16.  They were all very solid until the last one and even that one went up fine.  I just had a tiny bit of trouble locking out my right elbow at the top.

Followed this up with 3 x 10 press @ 80lbs and then 4 x 12 incline bench press (75, 95, 105, 115.)  The last rep of incline bench was very, very ugly.  Like my hips came far enough off the bench to almost make it a regular bench.  But I somehow got it.  Then 3 rounds of 10 leg lifts and AMRAP push ups (8, 9, 6.)  I wanted more push ups but the wheels came off pretty quickly.


Still no deadlifts today.  I’m really starting to miss them.

Front squats were an easy 3 x 5 (95, 120, 145) as a deload after last weeks issues.  Then more stiff leg deadlifts at a 4″ deficit for 4 x 12 (160, 175, 190, 205).

Front Squat

Finished my very short day with 3 x 12 rows (115, 125, 130) and 3 x 20 sit-ups and then 20 seated chins in as many sets as possible.  It took 5 sets (5, 4, 3, 4, 4.)


I was the only person that showed up for yoga on Sunday so I got a private class just to work on my stuff.  Which is cool.  And also kind of intimidating.  It’s a lot of attention on just me and that never really makes me comfortable.  We got in a lot of work on my hips though and it was great, if slightly painful.


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