T Nation

Training for USAPL Raw Nationals


First time going to any contest this big so I'm excited. I'm now 24 and in the open class, and a very average lifter, so it's really just for fun and the invaluable learning experience. I'm usually around 255 so I will probably go 275 and try to lose some weight later, as I expect my weight to climb up a bit over the cycle.

In the off season I do alot more volume, typically 5x5 without any belt, wraps etc. For the next 12 weeks I am following a SQ/DL setup modeled after Rickey Dale Crain's program and for bench a 12-week cycle developed by Brad Gillingham.

Week 12

4/26- Sunday
Squats-135x10 225x5 275x3 315x3 330*x5x2 sets
Pause squats-280*x5x2 sets
Leg curls-3x10
Sit-ups- 3x12
Calf raise-3x20
Elliptical-20 min

4/28- Tuesday
Bench-135x10 185x3 225x3 250x1 275x1 295**x1 265x5x3 sets
paused last rep of each set and singles
Floor press-135x5 185x5 225x3x2 sets
Nose breakers-4x12
Hammer Curls-4x12
4-way neck
Bike- 20 min

**-wrist wraps


I'm planning to compete as well, so hopefully I'll see you there. It's a lot of fun - just make sure you're sinking your squats!


lol, I've done a few USAPL meets so I know how strict they can be.

I think I'm not lifting until Sunday but should be there for the whole weekend. Thanks and best of luck with your training.


Yeah, last year they were super anal with the squats, at least on the women/lightweight men day. More anal than they seemed to be with other National level comps.


4/30: Thursday

DL-135x10 225x5 315x3 365x1 385*x5
DL off plate-335*x5
Dummbell row-3x10 each arm
Farmer's walk- 2 sets
Reverse crunch-3x10
Neck bridges
Heavy bag- didn't keep time, will use a timer next time I'm pretty sure I chumped out here


5/2: Saturday
BP- 135x8 185x8 215x8x2 sets- last rep paused each set
Dummbell overhead press-3x10
Reverse preacher curls-3x15

/First week, kind of boring, everything still light


Best of luck! I'll be there competing in the 181s.


Week 11

5/3- Sunday
Sq-135x10 225x5 275x3 315x3 340*x5x2 sets
Pause squats-290*x5x2 sets
Walkouts- 455* 500*
Will tack these on every other week I didn't feel so brave under the heavier weights
Shrugs-315x8 405x8 495x6 585x2
Gym has these 1lbs collars so technically every set was 2# heavier but whatevs
Pull through-3x15
Ab wheel-3x10
Calf raise-3x20
Elliptical- 20 min

Felt easier than last week, everything felt real light


Thanks man right back at you!


5/5/2009: Tuesday
BP-135x3 185x3 225x3 275x1 305x1- tried cutting back warmups but didn't go so well, single wasn't hard but slower than I would have liked 270x3x5 sets- went alot better, good bar speed
Floor press-135x3 230x3x2sets
Westside extensions-3x10
Straight bar curls-5x5
Neck work- 4 way neck
Bike-15 minutes


5/8/09- Friday
Deadlift- 135x10 245x5 335x3 395*x5
DL off plate-345*x5
Bent row-245x5x2 sets
Farmer's walk with hex dumbbells-3 sets
Abdominal work


5/9/09- Saturday
Bench-135x10 205x3x3 sets (close) 205x3x3 sets(medium) 205x3x2 sets (wide)
Incline dumbbell press-3x10
Nose breakers with straight bar-3x8
Hammer curl-3x15
4-way neck
bike- 20 minutes


Week 10

5/12/09: Tuesday
Squat-135x10 225x5 275x3 315x3 350*x5x2 sets
first set a bit shaky, second set effortless, might not have been warmed up enough?
Pause squat-300x5x2 sets
Pull through-3 sets
ab machine- 3 sets
calf raises-3x20
*- belt

5/13/09: Wednesday
Bench- 135x10 185x8 225x5 250x1 275x1 300x1 315^x1- last rep of each paused
280x3x5 sets- had to dig deep on last set, got pretty tired
2-Board press- 250x6x2- paused all reps
Hammer curl-3x10
Pushdowns with rope-3x15
elliptical- 20 minutes
^-wrist wraps


Looks like there will be quite a few of us there. I'll be competing on Sunday as well. Good luck with your training leading up to the meet.


Thanks! It will be exciting to meet everyone there. Raw lifting seems to really be growing in popularity.

5/17: Sunday
Bench- 135x10 185x10 225x8x2- paused last rep each set
Dumbbell military press-3x8
Pull-ups: 8,7,6
Chest supported row-3x8
Rope pushdowns- 3x20


Week 9 -

5/18/09: Monday

Squat-135x10 225x5 275x3 315x3 340x1 360*x5x2 sets
very frustrating, this is a weight I can do in my sleep but for the life of me I couldn't keep the arch in my lower back today, I kept rounding over. That wouldn't make me miss here but in the back of my mind I know on a max attempt I can't afford to have my lower back round over, this is something I need to fix PRONTO.

Box Squat-275x2x6 sets

Bulgarian Squat-3x8

Pull through-3x15

Roman chair sit up-3x12

Calf raise-2x20

elliptical- 20 minutes


Cliff notes: did some brainstorming on the way home; lean forward on squats due to weak glutes and hamstrings; I'm going to switch pause squats out for manta ray squats, add box squats after deadlifts and do an extra exercise for the hamstrings. Hopefully 9 weeks is enough time to fix this


I realized that I have a tendency to lean forward alot and use almost all quad on the pause squats, which I think might have ingrained in me the bad habit of rounding my lower back. In addition although I feel stronger I feel slower, even on the lighter weights whereas I used to be very explosive. For that reason I tried doing box squats instead.

In my experience also I have had trouble gaining if I squat once a week, as I have been doing the past month. I think I'll add box squats after deadlifts Thursday, and Sundays when I squat I will do 2 sets of manta ray squats instead of the pause squats, which will hopefully teach me to stay more upright as the weights go up.

Finally, I had encountered an issue before in that when I set up my rear sticks out and my body is in an inefficient position to squat, which will tend to make the beginning of the movement into a good morning. I would say I "relapsed" last workout and the one before. To my understanding this problem is a result of weak glutes/hamstrings which would make sense to me as my quads are alot stronger and more developed than my hamstrings. I had to start the Bulgarian squats with a humble pair of 30s, which means I have a long way to go, but I guess I still have some time. Additionally I pushed the weight for pull throughs up, as I had just kind of been sleepwalking through them with a moderate weight, and am definietely feeling soreness in the whole posterior chain today.


5/20: Wednesday
Bench-135x8 185x8 225x5 250x1 275x1 300x1 320*x1- lost focus at the bottom wasn't a max but went up slow as hell
290*x3x4 sets 290*x2- locked out third rep but butt came off bench
*-wrist wraps

was feeling run down so I cut out assistance work today; didn't get much sleep last 2 days


Good luck to everyone competing at Raw Nationals. I will be competing at 242.


Thank you and same to you Phil!

5/21: Thursday
SQ(12 inch box)- 135x10 225x3 275x2x6 sets
Deadlift- 135x10 225x5 315x1 365x1 405*x5x2 sets
Reverse hypers-3x15
ab wheel-3x10
Bike 20 minutes

5/23: Saturday
Bench- 135x10 205x3x8 sets
Shoulder machine press-1x15 3x8- felt uncomfortable on shoulders will stick with dumbbells
Side raises-3x15
Westside extensions-7x8