2014 USAPL Raw National Week 1 – Goals, Pre-workout, Spring! and Death by Volume

2014 USAPL Raw National Week 1 – Goals, Pre-workout, Spring! and Death by Volume

Mar 17, 2014

Last Week

Last week was pretty uneventful.  I got back into the gym a bit just to kind of move some stuff around.  We did try a 1RM on Press just because I was curious (It’s 135lb if you’re wondering) and that reaffirmed that press sucks and I’m glad it’s not a competition lift.   And because that was so anti-climatic, I push pressed a bit and worked up to 170lbs.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I haven’t push pressed anything since probably Barbells for Boobs last year so I’m a little rusty at it.  And by “rusty” I mean pretty much a complete travesty.  My timing was way off and there was way more press then there was push.  So, that kind of sucks.  But it also means that I probably could have gotten a good bit more if my form was better.  And nothing I did was dangerous.  Just really inefficient.

We also talked a bit about goals for Nationals.  We know were I want to be (I think) and we started getting the program together to get me there (threoretically.)  I would love to get a 500kg total at Nats.  I only need about 38 more pounds so this should be  totally do-able with about 18  weeks to train.  Of course I’m not going to complain if it’s higher either…………  I’d also like to get my deadlift up to about where my squat is (or will be) because I feel like I’m really missing out there and my deadlift, as usual, could be so much better.


Oh, Pre-workout! How I’ve missed you! I haven’t taken any since the Arnolds (of course, since there wasn’t any real training going on) and you forget what it feels like. But there I was, on my way to the gym on a sunny, warm-ish day, car dancing (Don’t judge. You know you do it too) and not even caring that some asshat cut me off and almost wrecked both our cars.

I’m not going to lie.  My first thought when I looked at the first week of programming was “I’m going to die.”  My second thought was “If I don’t die, there’s going to be a lot of whining.”  I like to train.  I do.  But going from about 6 weeks of almost no volume (tapering down for the meet, deload week before the meet, the meet, deload week after the meet….) to the higher volume that we always have at the beginning of any training cycle makes me a little whiney.  Aside from feeling a little bit like I’m going to die during training, I also find I miss being able to do the things I once took for granted.  Things like  sitting on the toilet and then getting back up without drama.  Or getting up and down the stairs without holding on the the railing for dear life.    Or being able to bend my arms enough to feed myself.  Or holding my arms above my head long enough to pull up my hair.  You know, the little things.  But since there’s not getting around it……..

I started off Tuesday with 5 x 5 squats starting at 305lbs and working up.  Since the volume was high and I knew this was going to be a little nasty, I kept the weights a little more conservative then I usually would so 305, 315, 320, 325 and 330.  And since there was so much to do, I also put myself on the stop watch to keep my rest to about 3 minutes.  None of this felt heavy but towards the end I started getting a bit dizzy after my sets.  This isn’t totally uncommon so I didn’t worry about it too much.


Next we had 3 x 5 paused squats.  I opened these at 255 which felt pretty good after my last set at 330 and then went 285 and 305 in an attempt to work these heavier and actually push myself on them a bit.  The last set was pretty brutal and at that point I’d done more squats than I probably had in the last month.

Finished out the day with 3 x 8 stiff leg deadlift (135, 185, 235)  and then 3 x 15 DB bench press (30, 35, 40) and 3 x 10 weighted behind the head sit-ups (15lb).


We’d been been having really good weather and it was starting to look like Mother Nature might be starting to get her shit together.  Until Thursday.  Thursday morning I woke up with a screaming sinus headache.  My allergies are normally really, really mild so this is not a good sign of things to come.  And to add insult to injuy, even thought there was obviously stuff out their polinating, we also had a cold snap.  So I got allergies without the perks of at least having nice weather.  Which is just wrong.

Started off the day with some front squat.  Or more accurately a bunch of them.  4 x 10 at 155 and then a set of 10+.  I was pretty stiff when I was warming up and my quads were definitely smashed from all the squats on Tuesday but these actually felt pretty good once I got to my working sets.  For my 10+, I got to 16 reps before my elbows dropped and I couldn’t get my upper back tight again.

I was a bit worried about deadlift going in.  It was just 1 set at 240lbs which is pretty light for me.  But that one set was a set of 12+.  I was a bit nervous about it.  We discussed rolling the bar outside so that I didn’t have to worry about puking in the gym if it came to that.  I decided it was too cold and moving everything was too much work so I was just going to have to not puke.  So the set turned out to be 25.  Only like the last 3 were dramatic.  At that around 21 or 22 my hamstrings started to threaten to take their ball and go home.  Everytime I bent my knees to set up, I could feel them shaking.  But I like round numbers so I decided to try to push through.  In case you’re wondering, this is what the world looked like when I was done……


Yes, I did make someone go get my phone so I could take a picture………

I was pretty smashed after this.  Sadly, I wasn’t done.  Once I managed to get myself back up, I still had 4 x 6 block pulls (225, 255, 285, 313) and then 3 x 15 back extensions and 3 x 10 hanging knee raises.


Saturday morning was hard.  Waking up sucked in general.  I wasn’t quite as bad as waking up Friday (since that felt a little bit like trying to come out of a coma) but I was not a happy camper when the alarm went off.

Started my day with more squats.  Basically from now until it doesn’t work or add any value to my training, I’ll be squatting twice a week.   These at least were lower volume.  Just work up to a heavy 3 by 3’s.  I managed to get up to 355.   And it felt way slower than it would ordinarily have felt.

Next was 8 x 5 bench starting at 115 with a minute rest between sets.  Even up until I started my sets, I wasn’t sure how much I would increase each set by.  I figured I go up by 10 at least until I hit 135 just so I could get the big plates on but other than that……..  So we were kind of playing it by ear.  And they felt really good.  115, 125, 135, 145, 155…… what the hell, might as well keep going….  165, 175…..  175 was slow.  So we decided to just go to 180 and play it safe.  Seems that wasn’t really safe enough.  I only got 4 reps.    None of those 4 reps felt bad and I was pretty confident starting the fifth rep but nope.  I got it about 3-4 inches off my chest before it died.

Moved on to a relatively undramatic 3 x 8 Press at 80lbs.  And then 3 x 6 paused close grip bench (135, 145, 155) and 1 x 10 barbell shrug (225, 275, 315).  The close grip bench ended just like my regular bench.  I was good until I wasn’t and ended up only getting 4 reps.  Went back for the last 2 and managed to eek out 1 more.  It’s a little weird to me that I don’t seem to really get good warning when bench and press fail the way I do with squat and deadlift.  We’re good and then it’s like someone hit the emergency off switch.  It’s just weird.

So how sore am I after all that?

Pretty damn sore.  I really started to hate having to get out of my chair at the office to go talk to someone.  I realized Saturday afternoon that I was in a pretty bad spot when I couldn’t lift my own hips to get the blanket I was sitting on out from under me.  Every time I tried to do it, my hamstrings freaked and tried to tie themselves in a knot.  And then there was yoga.  I never like downward dog but it doesn’t normally make my shoulders burn and my arms shake like that.  This meant I spent a lot of time in child’s pose.  And then there was this little bit of commentary from my training log:

Me:  “Everything hurts…….”

Choach:  “Hurts or is sore?”

Me:  “Which one gets me more sympathy?”  And then I thought about it.  There wasn’t really going to be any sympathy either way………   ” I’m sore.  Horribly, fantasitcally sore…..”

I was correct.  There was no sympathy.

So this is pretty much going to be the trend for about the next 5 weeks.  Higher volume than we typcially do.  Then (if I survive) we’ll have about 9 weeks of intermediate volume (more what I’m used to at least) and then 3 weeks of tapering down for Nats.

Let the madness begin………


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