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Chris_ottawa's Training Log


How well have you been responding to CAT?


No I don’t get cramps at night. Maybe try stretching your calves before you go to bed. I heard trenbolone causes that, but I don’t think that’s your issue and not mine either.


It helped my squat a lot, seems to work alright for bench too but not as much. For deadlift I don’t seem to get anything out of it, but maybe that’s because with sumo the hardest part is breaking the floor. I’m doing CAT DLs between sets of isometrics because apparently you need to do that to get the most out of the isometrics, otherwise I guess your body doesn’t get the correlation between straining at one spot and a full range lift. I was doing well with a heavy triple and then some lighter singles after, but the singles were a bit heavy to for CAT work.


What is CAT work?


Last night I loosened up my hips and legs, mostly just with a lacrosse ball and no crazy stretching. I had to drink some rum to ease the pain because it was torture, but I felt a lot better. One thing that I noticed was that the left side was way more sore when I rolled it, the right side actually felt OK, and once I got the left side to relax the right side did too. It seems like your body tightens up on the opposite side to keep things in balance.

A couple years ago I was deadlifting with a tight and achy lower back, I spent most of the previous day sitting because I was at home with my kids and it was raining hard all day long. I went to pull a new 5rm and as the bar came off the floor on the last rep my back cramped up so I dropped the bar, I tried to loosen my back up but it was cramping worse and I was stuck in anterior pelvic tilt for a few days. I figured out it was my psoas and QL that had cramped up and when I released the right side suddenly the whole problem was gone and I was back to normal. The human body does some interesting things.

Anyway, this morning I’m about 90% better than yesterday, my left hip area is a bit sore but that might be from the stuff I did last night and the right side feels fine. Also my left lat feels tight again, and it was OK since yesterday morning. I’m pretty sure I will be OK to squat as planned on Tuesday, I just need to go easy on the mobility stuff so this doesn’t happen again. As much as it sucked, I did manage to sort out my left adductor which was the main problem in the first place and appears to be the thing that was messing up my squat depth the last couple weeks.


CAT is Compensatory Acceleration Training, basically it’s the idea of putting maximum force into the bar on every rep with a submaximal weight, sort of like speed work but normally you would do this with 70-80%.


Monday, January 7 - Main bench day

T&G bench
330x4 - failed 5th rep right around the level of the pins, my usual sticking point. I felt stiff in all the places that need to be loose to arch properly, my abs, upper back, and front of my hips, it felt better by my last warmup and close to normal on the top set but I get the feeling that might have messed me up. All this mobility work seems to be making my mobility worse, keeping up with this shit would be a full time job. But still, last week was a hard set of 5 with 325 so it was no guarantee I would get 5 today. I know from experience that once I get to a certain point the reps drop off fast as I add weight, it also appears that I suck at doing reps vs. heavy singles.

Floor press
300x6x3 sets - this went well, at least I’m making progress on something.

Close grip incline
200x12, 12, 11 - Actually one more rep than last week on the 3rd set

Floor pause DB flys
55’s x15, 11, 9

Band pushdowns
light band x10, 6, super mini w/knot x11, 10

Chin ups - wide overhand grip
bw+15x10, 9, 8, 7 - my left lat felt weird, it was tight again when I woke up this morning but I sorted that out although here something wasn’t right. It felt like something that was supposed to relax on the way down (my lat?) didn’t want to let go and something else was loosening up to compensate, that’s my impression at least. These actaully felt kind of weird on my left shoulder the first time I did them a couple weeks back, I figured that it had to do with the fact that I hadn’t used this grip in some time but now I’m wondering if something else is going on. My left shoulder used to be real messed up, I dislocated it several times when I was younger and it took years to get it working properly so I definitely don’t want to mess it up now. I think I would do well with lat pulldowns but those aren’t an option, I think either I will just do them with bodyweight and try to get more reps and focus on doing the strict or otherwise another variation.

As far as all this mobility nonsense, I think I have things under control for now. I’m just going to stick with what I was doing before plus tactical frog stretches to keep my adductors from locking up. I hate mobility work and it seems like it can backfire and cause more problems, it has happened to me before but maybe not quite this bad. I should try to loosen up my thoracic spine (rolling it and hyperextending on a foam roller does the job) but not today or it might mess up my squat session tomorrow.

As for my squats, I’m going to see hoe things go tomorrow and then decide how exactly I’m going to proceed. I was thinking to just keep doing a couple heavy triples in wraps and adding weight each week but if my technique is shaky and depth is not consistent then that’s not much use either. The other option would be to drop the weight a bit, maybe around 475, and do 3x3 instead, one more work set and lighter weight so that I can actually squat it properly. As I get closer to the meet it’s going to be heavy doubles and singles but right now it’s a balancing act between lifting heavy enough weight for it to actually challenge my technique but still being able to lift it correctly.


Was just thinking for your bench maybe since you got that big arch your near lock out fails are actually mid range fails? Maybe solution for missing in mid range would work?


Not really, when I fail I can feel my triceps trying to extend and they just can’t move the weight any further. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to work on the mid range though. Josh Bryant said if you miss in the mid range it’s usually due to weak shoulders and you should aim to get your OHP to 70% of your bench, my OHP is almost there (after close grip bench) and I’m still trying to bring it up. More power off the chest will help through the whole ROM too, on floor press the bar grazes my chest so that should help.


This is why whenever something is funny I try not to just attack it with everything but the kitchen sink.

For adductors I really like body tempuring and some banded frog stretches on lower days. Nothing aggressive with the stretch, just some movement and light stretching to make sure they are primed.

But you are correct that it can make things worse while you try to get them more functional. Which is more infuriating than the original issue.


This lady says that the TFL cramps up because your body is trying to use it instead of your abs and glutes. The move she talks about is kind of like a McGill curl up, but with more hip involvement and internal rotation in the joint, to un-learn the improper movement.


@chris_ottawa what do you to for stretching lats? I have not been able to find anything that helps.


How exactly do you do this? I assume it’s something like the tactical frog, correct?

The weird thing is that the day that I felt the worst (my deadlift day) I made sure not to overdo the mobility stuff the day before. I think I might have spent too much time sitting, but I still don’t understand how my glutes were so tight and achy. But this is definitely a lesson learned, and one that I should have learned long ago.


@FlatsFarmer - Thanks, I will watch that later when I have some time. My left TFL was bugging me regularly a while back, it calmed down for a bit but then the adductor became the problem. All I know is the TFL externally rotates the hip so if the glute medius isn’t working properly then I imagine the TFL would get overworked.

@duketheslaya - I grabbed the chin up bar on my rack and kind of leaned into the lat, also just leaning back like you are going to pull your arms out of the sockets (for lack of a better description) can work too.


Tuesday, January 8 - Main squat day

Squat w/ wraps
500x3x2 sets - So the story here is I did the same warmup sets as last week because the working sets were only 5lbs more, 425 in sleeves was to depth but just barely and 465 in wraps was borderline. On the triples with 500 everything was approximately parallel, there were a couple reps that might reasonably pass but I wouldn’t count on it. So it’s not terrible but not great either, another inch or two and it would be good for sure. I think part of the problem is I’ trying to stay too upright which is causing my knees to travel too far forward, and that in turn makes them go lower so my hips have to go lower so I reach depth. The solution is to lean forward just slightly more and kind of tuck my pelvis in as I descend. I’m close, but not quite there. Next week is a deload, after that I think I will drop the weight a bit and do 3x3 (which is pretty much as much volume as I can stand to do in wraps), I’m squatting 500 for triple with no problem in terms of strength so realistically I’m strong enough to squat close to 600 right now. The limiting factor is technique, and if I can’t sort that out my squat isn’t worth shit.

On the plus side, hips and adductors feel fine today. the only thing bothering me is my right forearm from holding the bar on my back. It seems like lately that arm always hurts but never in the same spot.

CAT squat
370x3x8 sets - 90 sec. rest - this was good, all well below parallel. I tried leaning forward a little more like I was saying, it feels fine and I’m hitting depth consistently.

Pause squat
365x4,4 - I get the feeling that working up to some fairly heavy pause squats would help me.

SSB good morning
220x10x2 sets

I skipped upper back GMs, I get the feeling that they might have something to do with my aches and pains. I don’t have anything to lean on as I do these (a GHR pad would be perfect) so I’m arching my lower back, but then last week my lower back cramped up. Also my lats seem to be doing something they don’t normally do here, maybe that has something to do with my lat issue. All I know is I don’t really need these and I didn’t feel like I was getting much out of them, plus I also just didn’t feel like doing them so fuck it.


Very similar to the tactical, just don’t do the leg lifting parts.

I take 2 orange light bands, choke them up on a post, then put each leg through a band around my groin and do the forward and back part of the stretch with the bands pulling back.


Thursday, January 10 - Bench assistance day

Close grip bench - paused
310x5 - failed the 6th rep. Looking at the video, I realized that my head slid upwards on the bench about 2 inches from start to finish, I’m not sure if it’s because I let my arch collapse slightly (I assume it must have because my feet didn’t move) or I just leg-drived myself up the bench. Anyway, I think that must have screwed me up, I thought I had the 6th one but it just wasn’t there today. My biggest problem is that I suck at grinding on bench, once the bar speed slows past a certain point I’m done.

Close grip slingshot
360x5, 5 - Not sure if I would have had 6 on the first set so I stopped there, 2nd set there was no chance for another one.

Military press
195x10, 8, 7 - I hit my chin on the way up on the 9th rep, first set, almost lost that one.

Neutral DB pushups
+light band x9, 7

Skull crusher
110x15, 12, 8, 6 - triceps were done after this

Face pulls
light band x25, 20, 16

Side raise
25lb plates x15, 11, 8


Friday, January 11 - Light squat/main deadlift day

1-1/4 squat/vertical jump between sets
315x2x5 - 1 min. rest - This went well, good depth, good speed. My left leg has a vague tightness about it but it’s not stopping me from squatting like I’m supposed to, doesn’t hurt at all, and after a few sets I don’t even notice it anymore.

Deadlift - more garbage today

The plan was 575 for a single, just to see how that goes. Last warmup was 535x1, moved fairly quick and felt like I could do maybe 3 more reps. As for 575, I got it an inch or two off the floor and that was it. In the past when I would fail a deadlift I either couldn’t get it off the floor at all or I would get it a few inches up but my hips would rise and I couldn’t finish the lift, here there was no for breakdown but for whatever reason I just couldn’t manage this. Rising hips isn’t great, but not finishing the lift isn’t any better. This wasn’t supposed to be a max attempt either, just a heavy single to get an idea of what I’m capable of. I pulled 560 for a couple singles two weeks ago so 575 should be manageable, but it’s not.

So next, I dropped it to 500
500x3x2 sets - I was thinking to do about 5 reps but 3 felt kind of hard, not sure if I could have done another two. Seeing as I pulled 550x2 3 weeks ago you would thing 500x3 would be easy, but it’s not.

I skipped the isometric deadlifts because based on how things are going I don’t believe I’m getting anything out of them. I will get into that at a later time, but I have another strategy in mind for this meet prep, similar to what I was doing leading up to when I pulled 545x3 and 555x2 a few months back. I was struggling with my deadlift for a while and suddenly it took off, but now it looks like it fell back in the toilet.

345x8x3 - This does something for my glutes and hamstrings but Im not sure its any better than snatch grip RDLs, I took a break from those but I will start the up again after the deload.

Barbell row
365x8, 7, 6

So what was working for me not too long ago was that I did two mesocycles of high rep deadlifts and deficit deadlifts, gradually increasing the weight and then switching to a heavy triple for the top set followed by some moderately heavy singles (80%+), for one block I did deficit deadlifts after and then dropped them when it felt like it was too much.
Singles alone didn’t work, regular CAT deadlifts don’t seem to work either, and this isometric thing seems to have improved my technique to some degree but it hasn’t increased strength off the floor. Or if it has, it’s only the first inch. Andy Bolton talks about doing something similar in his book, but the idea there is to wedge yourself into position but not put maximum force into the bar. So anyway, my start position was kind of sloppy and inconsistent before, I fixed that part but either I just had a really shitty day or I made absolutely no gains on my deadlift in the last 3 mesocycles, and possibly it even went down slightly. Hey, there’s always next week.


For CAT squats and deadlifts, how do know if you’re actually using max force and getting the intended stimulus without equipment that measures bar speed and force? I don’t do them, but they sound interesting and I was listening to a podcast that talked about their benefits.


The whole point is to move the weight as fast as possible. Unless your technique is unstable, this is something you absolutely should be doing. Otherwise submaximal work is a waste of time, if you just put enough force into the bar to complete the lift then you aren’t training your body to produce large amounts of force and that is the whole point. It’s irrelevant whether you put 100% or 90% or 85% of maximum force into a rep, the point is for the intention to move the weight fast to be there and not slow down once you pass the sticking point.