2014 Arnold Raw Challenge Week 4 – Screaming at Barbells and Crossing the Line

2014 Arnold Raw Challenge Week 4 – Screaming at Barbells and Crossing the Line

Dec 30, 2013

This weeks schedule was more forgiving than last week at least in the sense that I managed to find 3 days to train.  Even if they weren’t my normal days.


Since this week got re-organized a bit and I lifted on Monday for a change, I walk into the gym and the first thing I see is one of my old training partners that I haven’t seen in forever standing at the front desk.  And what’s the first thing she says to me?

“Yeah!  Now I have someone to squat with!”

This is exactly the greeting I would like to get everytime I walk into the gym.

After this phenominal beginning to my day, I warmed up and got started in my squats.  2 x 5 starting at 340 and working up in 10lb increments.  I had some tighness in my knee while I was warming up.  It went away and I tried not to think about it but I think it was still on my mind when I started on my working sets.  340 was fine.  So was 350.  And then I got to 360…….  Something got weird at the bottom of the squat on my first rep…..

Let me just say that turning a squat rep that’s around 85% of your 1RM into a paused squat is a fairly awful idea.  So awful that for about half a second, I thought about just dumping it on the rails and moving on.  But then I thought about needing to unload the bar to get it back into the rack and then re-loading it and decided that was too much work.  I don’t have a really firm memory of it but it appears that I might have screamed at the bar on the way back up (because it’s scientifically proven that screaming at the bar makes it like 50-60lbs lighter, right?)  So there I am, standing in the rack, with the bar on my back, talking to myself “Well…..  That was stupid.”  (I’m not the only one that talks to themselves, am I?)  And from across the now freakishly quiet gym I hear:


“YEAH! I’M FINE!” I’m still standing there trying to get my head straight for my second rep.


So now that we’ve established that no one has died…….  Finished the set with much less drama than the first rep.  Then I went and re-evaluated the rest of my plan.  Decided that instead of going up 10lbs on each of the next two sets, I decided to just go up 5.  So I didn’t get to 380 like I planned but I did still get to 370 and I’m (mostly) satisfied with that.

Next, I had 3 x8  paused squats (135, 165, 185).  I can’t tell you how light 135 feels after 370.  Even if they were paused and there were 8 reps per set.  It was awesome.

And finally, 3 rounds of 12 good mornings (135, 155, 165), 12 reverse dumbbell flys (15) and 15 weighted sit ups (15, 20, 25.)  Just because we needed a new wrinkle, all of the weighted sit-ups now have to be done holding the weight behind our heads.  I thought they wouldn’t be that bad so I cut the weight down to 30lbs and gave them a try……  and couldn’t get off the floor.  OK…. On to plan B.  Since I had the 15lb dumbbells sitting there from the flys, I started with those.  Once I got it sort of figured out, I was able to go up in weight but these are still going to be kind of gnarly for a while.


Since we’re mixing things up a bit by moving deadlifts to the evenings, I decided I would also start the day with front squats just to make sure that everything really was warmed up and and ready to go for deadlifts.  Front squats were 3 x 5 and a 5+ at 185lbs.  This is probably the best set of these have felt in a while (especially nice since I’ve now had 2 weeks of weird on my back squat) and I got 10 reps on my plus set before my upper back started to give up.

Deadlift was one quick-ish set of 8+ at 285lbs.  All the warm-ups felt good which is always nice so I had high hope for the set.

[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmJrYtlgAL0[/pro-player]

So there are only 12 reps in the video becasue I dropped the bar and we stopped recording but I got 15 total (which is also where we capped it to try and make sure this didn’t piss off my hip flexors).  And I’m really pleased that these didn’t leave me feeling really destroyed.

Finished out the day with 3 rounds of 5 4″ deficit deadlifts (185, 225, 275) and 15 GHD sit-ups.


I rolled out of bed Saturday morning a little concerned about how my hips would feel after Thursday’s deadlift since it normally takes about 2 days for whatever weird to settle in and things to get tight.  But they felt great.  No tightness.  No stiffness.  It’s kind of awesome.

Bench today was 3 x 8 with one minute of rest between sets starting at 135lbs and increasing the weight 10lbs every set.  Because I was working  by myself for the first half of this (since it was light enough to lift it off without worrrying about it effecting my form) I didn’t bother with the stop watch for most of these.  The only rest I took was however long it took to reload the bar and put my wrist wraps back on.  And they went really well until I got to 195.  The last rep was really slow so we decided to only go up 5lbs to 200 AND took the full minute of rest to try and make sure I finished the last set without failing. It didn’t work out though.  The second rep was slow and the third got out of the groove and went back towards my face instead of up.  So I we racked the bar, I reset my self on the bench and did the last one as a single.  Bench has been feeling really good and I’ve been pushing it a bit so it isn’t really a suprise this happened.  I pushed just a little too far this time.  Next time, I’ll get it.

Press was 3 x 10 at 90lbs.  The first set felt really solid.  The second set was OK.  The third set……  I got 8 and then had to finish the last 2 seperately.  Damnit!  So I’ll be trying this again next week. (And of course I had to go back and look it up but it does make me feel a tiny bit better that the last time I failed at set of 10 it was at 80lbs so…….Yeah, Progress!)

And finally….  3 rounds of 6 paused CG Bench (95, 115, 135), max time planks (61s, 65s, 75s), and 15 DB lateral raises (15lbs).  I should have started the close grip bench heavier but I wasn’t sure what would happen when I paused them.


More yoga.  It’s actually starting to feel pretty good.  Downward dog still sucks though.  This probably means I need to do more of it.


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