2014 Arnold Raw Challenge Week 12 – The End and Letting the Universe Get all the Weird Out

2014 Arnold Raw Challenge Week 12 – The End and Letting the Universe Get all the Weird Out

Feb 26, 2014

So here we are in the last week of training.  As usual, I don’t know how we got here.  I distinctly remember after States thinking that I had practically forever until the Arnolds.  “Forever” never seems to be as long as I think it is though.


This being the last week, the my volume is way, way down and we’re still working some heavier doubles and singles just to get me more comfortable with that kind of weight.  So squats for the day were to work up to a heavy single which ended up being 410.  It felt fantastic.  Even though I wasn’t totally happy with how the bar felt on my back.  And it was only supposed to be 405 but the more I looked at it while I was taking my rest, the more I wanted the 410.  So I slipped the extra 5 pounds on the bar while my spotters were out torturing other people with the prowler.  It was also good to see that I could jump from a single at 385 up to 410 without it screwing with my head.  I’ve never made a jump that big so close to my max.

Then more paused squats.  This week doubles to a heavy 2.  So far I’ve been doing these without a belt but by the time I got to 295, it started to feel like I needed it so, 305 for a double and it didn’t feel too bad.

This week I actually did the bench from last week correctly – work up to something heavy-ish that I could do for 3  sets of 3.  175 felt so good that we just went ahead and jumped to 200 which I was pretty sure I had.  And I did.  Mostly.  The first to sets felt great.  The first to reps on the last set felt great too.  We were even doing them with commands.  But something got funky as I was bringing the weight to my chest on the very last rep and my shoulders slipped and I lost my arch pretty much completely.  I still managed to get it half way up but without the arch, I just didn’t have enough leg drive to finish it.  So bummer, but I’m still really happy with this.  Prior to this cycle I’d never hit 200 for more than a single so repping it feels good.

And finally, two sets of close grip bench to failure.  So 150 x 8 and then 135 x 9.  These were very weird.  Normally, my reps start to get a little ugly before they fail completely.  Not this time.  I was good and then *poof* I was pinned and couldn’t get the bar more than an inch or two off my chest.  At this weight, it isn’t really a concern (and I was able to bring it down under control anyway) but it spotter didn’t really appreciate the lack of advanced notice on my iminent failure.


Thursday was definitely my shortest day.  Work up to a heavy single on my deadlift and then do 2 more singles.  I would really have liked to hit something in the 400-405 range but I also didn’t want to play with my head too much so we set our sights on 395.  And it was pretty undramatic.  The last rep felt really long while I was doing it and was a little slow after it passed my knees but watching the video, it actually looked really good.

Last Deadlift of the Cycle

Finished out the day with some bent over barbell rows (3 x 8 at 135, 155 and 165) and 3 sets of 30 sit-ups.


Last heavy-ish squats and bench on Saturday morning.  I’d done really good the last couple of weeks not doing anything stupid.  No crazy heavy weights that I shouldn’t have been doing anyway.  No really horrible failures that messed with my brain.  Everything was feeling really good and stable and like it should.

Saturday morning, I woke up and decided that I was going to squat 405 for a double.  It sounded reasonable.  My coach agreed that it was something I should totally be able to do based on how my lifting has been going.  So I started working doubles up to a 2RM.  365 and 385 felt great but I’ve done both weights before for reps so no good reason why they shouldn’t.  Hit the first rep at 405 and it was good.  Went down for the second and…….  I’m not really sure what happened.  I think I managed to get a couple inches out of the hole before it died.

Failed Double at 405

I’m also pretty sure that the only reason I missed it was because I psyched myself out.  And if that’s not true, it’s still what I’m going to tell myself for now.

After that there were even more paused squats.  This time working up to a 1RM.  345 was good and I failed at 365.  That might also have been a bit in my head because I wanted to be done with them so I could get to my bench.

The goal for bench was to work up to a heavy single but to not have it be a 1RM.  Around the time I decided I wanted that double at 405 on my squat, I also decided I wanted to hit a single at 220 on my bench.  This went *much* better than my squat.  I hit singles at 175, 200 and then 220 with commands.  It wasn’t as pretty as I would have liked it to be but it was solid.

And for my last lift of the cycle – work to a heavy double on stiff leg deficit deadlifts.  I finally managed to get to 315.

Of course there was yoga on Sunday and a mess of mobility work this Tuesday.   Oh and pre-meet cupcakes with my team.

Somehow I only managed to get a picture of one person eating them though......

Somehow I only managed to get a picture of one person eating them though……

And that’s that for this training cycle.  Nothing left to do but get to Columbus and lift.

In other news……..

I’ve had a lot of weird in the last week.  Last Tuesday morning started with a dead car battery. I’d like to complain bitterly about it but it happened in my driveway instead of on the way to Columbus so inconvenient as it was it’s probably the best way it could have happened. And AAA rocks so I only ended up being about 30 minutes late for work.  Saturday morning I got run over by a dog on my way to let them out and her claws cut my foot.  Sunday, I slammed my other foot in the back gate (it was stuck and then it wasn’t and when it suddenly wasn’t, my foot was still in the way.)  In the middle of all of this, I’ve caught the cat laying across the stairs a couple of times, watching me, waiting…….  I’m hoping that all of this is happening now so that it won’t happen in Columbus.

I also had  mess of stuff to do to get ready to go. I’m told myself all week that I would do it early so I wouldn’t be rushing around the beginning of this week. Well……….


Nope.  Not even the anxiety of forgetting something I need while travelling to a major meet is enough to get me to really get stuff done ahead of time.  But most of it got done the beginning of this week.  I got in my last chiro (he liked how my deadlift was looking and complimented my coaches) and acupuncture appointments.  I got my nails done (seriously, this is important.  They match my singlet now.)   The laundry finally got done.  And as of Wednesday afternoon, I’ve packed exactly nothing.  Even though I leave early tomorrow morning.  So we all know how I’ll be spending my evening…..  Looking for my singlet, packing individual servings of protein powder and putting 4 pairs of socks in my lifting bag because I’ll keep forgetting that I already packed a pair.

If you can’t make it out so watch the lifting in person, go here to see it streamed live!

For everyone making the trip out to Columbus to lift or cheer, I’ll see y’all there!  Come say hi and remember:





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