2014 USAPL Raw National Week 2, 3 and 4 – Volume, Field Trips, the Plague and Trying to Catch Up

2014 USAPL Raw National Week 2, 3 and 4 – Volume, Field Trips, the Plague and Trying to Catch Up

Apr 14, 2014

Hey, look at that!  Only 4 weeks into training and I’m already behind on my training log.  I’d love to be able to promise that this isn’t going to become the norm but I’d probably be lying to all of you lovely people and that would be wrong so……  I promise to not get too far behind.  Also, you might want to get comfortable becuase getting all caught up is going to take a minute.

Week 2


This is the second week of the really nasty volume and I got to start it off on the stop watch.  Squats were 8 x 5 starting at 225 and working up 10lbs every set with 1 minute of rest between sets.  These went pretty well.  They were light enought that I didn’t feel totally like I was going to die.  But there were enough of them that my hips kind of took except to the whole thing and were pretty tight and angry by the end.

Stretched everything out and moved on to 3 x 5 paused high bar squats (275, 295, 315) and 3 x 8 Stiff leg deadlift from a 4″ deficit (185, 225, 255).

And finally…… 4 x 5 heavy-ish bench (145, 155, 165, 175) with all reps paused and 4 x 20 sit-ups.


Finally got to the chiropractor.  He used one of the words you never want to hear a medical professional use when examining you – “Wow…..”  Telling him that yes, I still lifted on Tuesday and that it actually felt much better than it felt on Sunday got me another “Wow…..”  So an adjustment and a stern look later, I was on my way and feeling much better.


I didn’t go to the gym on Thursday like I normally do.  I know it’s shocking.  But I do occasionally have other stuff that’s temporarily more important.  In this case, it was a book signing.  So we wandered down to Northern Virginia to buy books, listen to the Q&A and have dinner.



Because I missed Thursday, I had quite a bit to do when I got to the gym on Saturday morning.   As soon as I looked at it I knew that combining all the stuff from Thursday and Saturday just wasn’t going to be feasible.  So I pulled out all the main lifts, dropped front squats in favor of back squats and got to work.

Worked triples to a heavy 3 on squats of 365.  The only goal we have for these is that the number goes up every week.  For myself, I’m trying to keep it to a fairly minimal number of sets since this also lets me experiment a bit with making bigger jumps between sets and getting used to how that feels.

Deadlift was 5 x 5 starting at 305 and working up 10lbs every set (so up to 345).  I’m pretty satisfied with this.  This it the first time I’ve been able to work heavier on my deadlift than I have on my squats.  I’m hoping this keeps up and translates into my deadlift being better on the platform.  Also, I really don’t like deadlifts this early in the morning so this felt much better than I thought it would.

Bench was 1 x 12+ at 125lbs.  I got to 20.  After that, I couldn’t feel my arms for a couple of minutes.  Then Press for 3 x 8 at 85lbs.

And that was it for the day.

Week 3


I had mixed feelings going into my Tuesday squats.  1 x 12+ at 240lbs.  Just one set.  And a relatively light set at that.   I kept looking at it thinking “I could do 20” mostly because I did 25 deadlifts at that weight.  But 20 squats kind of makes you want to die by the end.  But I did them…….

[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZ4_5fObeA4[/pro-player]

So after surviving that, I finished out the day with:

3 x 5 paused high bar squats (275, 300, 325)

3 x 8 Stiff Leg Deadlift (205, 235, 265) – These went poorly and felt horrible.

3 x 10-15 Incline Bench (95 x 15, 115 x 11, 125 x 8)

3 x 20 sit-ups


Started out trying somethng different for front squat since we don’t really want the volume of them to take away from my deadlift.  So now, we’re just working to a heavy 3 x 5.  I think this week I might have been a little too agressive and they went 185, 205, 225.  They were pretty slow and the last couple of reps got a bit grindy.  Mostly I’m concerned that starting here, I’m not really going to be able to keep slowly increasing for the rest of  my cycle.  So we’re going to have to play with this a bit.

Deadlift was 3 x 8 with 1 minutes rest starting at 225lbs.  Since my goal is to still work these heavier than my squat, I worked up to 315 for the last set.  These were brutal.  The last 2 sets had more like a minute and a half of rest and by the end, my hips had tighened up to a point where I just had to lay down and to try and get them to loosen up a bit.  And this is why I get stern looks from my chiropractor……..

Moved on to:

2 x 8 block pulls (275, 295) – These also made my hips unhappy

3 x As many as possible Ring rows (6, 7, 9)

3 x 15 kettlebell swings (24kg, 28kg, 32kg)

I was pretty smashed when I left.  I actually had to sit down to change my shoes and pack my gym bag which I almost never do because there was just too much tension in my hips.


Which brings me to Saturday……  I didn’t feel great when I woke up but I mostly ignored it and told myself, I’d feel better once I got up and moving around.  I was wrong……

Worked my squats in 3’s up to a heavy 3 of 370.  The reps themselves weren’t that dramatic but squatting with an upset stomach is it’s own cause for anxiety.  If you don’t know why that is, count yourself lucky and move on.

Bench was 5 x 5 heavy starting at 160 with all reps paused.  I worked up to 180 and they all felt pretty good.

Press was 3 x 8 at 90lbs and those got a little weird.  None of them felt heavy, really but I could tell that I just wasn’t really up to it.

So I skipped the assistance work for the day and just went home.

When I left the gym on Saturday, I told myself that I wan’t really getting sick.  It was just an upset stomach.  Probably something I ate.  Because I don’t get sick.  I’m impervious to all the stuff that other people catch.  No mere stomach bug was going to take me out.  I’m invincible.  Yeah………  Not so much as it turns out..  By Saturday night I had a full blown fever and had to admit to myself that I’d finally caught some version of the plague that has been circling my office for the last month.

I hate being sick.  I know everyone hates being sick but I don’t just hate it because I feel bad.  I hate it because I spend most of my time sick negotiating with my body and worrying over the things I would be getting done while I wasn’t sick.  In this case Sunday yoga at a minimum and possibly lifing on the following Tuesday.  Even thought this is the beginning of the training cycle and I have all kinds of time, I still feel like I’m wasting the time I have.  And even if I’m technically better, I hate the thought of having a week of bad workouts while I get over the after effects of not being able to eat for for some number of days and being dehydrated.

This makes me a bad sick person and kind of unpleasant to deal with.  Good thing everyone in my life knows to just make sure I have soup and ice water and to just let me sleep it off.

Week 4


Coming back from being sick was both more and less dramatic than I thought it would be.  I did manage to stay fairly well-fed and hydrated so that was good.  But….  I spent 3 days alternating between sleeping on the couch (also known as watching TV or reading) and sleeping in my bed.  So I felt pretty stiff going into my squats.

Squats were 5 x 3 starting at 330.  I made a 10lb jump each set and ended up at 370.  But seems the stiffness was still with me even after warming up and even though my hips felt pretty good, I could feel some pulling in the top of my knee as I came out of the hole on the last couple reps of every set.  It didn’t hurt but it didn’t feel right either.  I tried 1 set of the paused high bar squats at 285 that I was supposed to do that day and those actually felt worse so i skipped the last 2 sets and moved on.


3 x 8 Stiff leg deadlift (215, 245, 265)

3 x 6-10 Close Grip bench (115 x 10, 135 x 10, 160 x 8)

3 x 12 Hanging Leg Raises


Front squats were 3 x 5 at 195, 215, 230.  I got through them and there was only a little pulling in my knee but I definitely wouldn’t say they were comfortable.  Really think we’re going to have to re-look at the weights in the next week and make some decisions.

Deadlift was 1 x 10+ at 265.  We capped it at 15 and that’s what I got.  I do think there were probably a couple more in there but I’m also looking forward to not being as smashed as I was after the 25 at 240.


5×5 Block pulls (225, 255, 275, 315)

3 x 10 DB Rows at 60lbs

3 x 15 back extensions (BW, 10, 10)

30 GHD Sit-ups in as few sets as possible (20, 5, 5) – I really thought I was going to get them all in one set.  That lasted until about 16.


Worked up to a triple at 375 on my squat and this was probably the best squatting felt all week.  Only just a tiny bit of pulling in my knee and all of my reps felt smooth and non-dramatic.

Bench was 8 x 4 with 1 minute rest between sets starting at 125 and working up to 185.  These all felt really good too.  I seem to be on a bit of role with bench lately and it’s a nice change.

Finished out the day with:

3 x 8 Press at 95

3 x 15 front raises (10, 15, 15)

3 x 15 DB bench at 40lbs

3 x 12 BB curls (35, 40, 45) – And let me just say, if you want to get some weird looks in a Crossfit gym, doing culs is the way to make that happen.  I got quite a few looks that very clearly said. “Wait…..  what?”

And then there was 10 x 30m prowler sprints at 165lbs because it was beautiful outside.  Even though we had that kind of wind that seems to come from everywhere so no matter what it seems like you’re running into it.


So there it is……  Now I’m finally, mostly caught up.


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