Singles night and bench press desperation

16 days and 5 workouts (including today) left until the 100% Raw Eastern National Championships.  On the schedule today were heavy squat singles.  As with all of my scheduled 'heavy' days, the goal is to single up until a training max (9 RPE) but with the competition so close, instead of following up the training max single with 3-5 sets of 2-3 reps, I would do singles with 90%+ to practice the competition squat.

I've been watching the live feed of the IPF Sub Junior and Junior Worlds and it has been inspiring to watch those kids move some monstrous weights.  I hoped this inspiration would lead to some smashed weights and a training PR.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen but I was able to get in some very good work.

Warm-up sets:  145X10, 235X10, 325X3, 375X2
Singles:  415X1, 450X1, 450X1, 450X1, 425X1X4 sets

I had hoped my training max would be higher than 450 but my first single felt very slow so I decided to stay there.  After the third single, I dropped the weight and singled until I ran out of speed. I think the single strategy worked well as I was able to develop a consistency from set to set.  I'm looking forward to the next heavy single day late next week.

I haven't documented much about my bench press training because it has been so discouraging.  My right shoulder hasn't felt good ever since my last shirted training cycle leading up to last year's Niagara Open (August 2010).  Since that time, I've been doing minimal volume and keeping the weight low in the hopes that whatever was hurting would resolve itself.  My goal for this meet (and the past 2 meets prior) was simply to maintain a raw bench press in the 305-310 range and avoid further pain.

Tonight's workout was scheduled to be 3 sets of 5 with 225.  I'd like to call it 'speed work' but in reality I can't move it all that fast with a sore right shoulder.  As usual my shoulder hurt as I did my first set of 5.  For some reason, I was more discouraged than normal so I decided to try something new. I remembered a Christian Thibaudeau article he posted over at T-Nation where he described his unique raw bench set up. For raw bench pressing he recommends setting up so that your shoulders are shrugged towards one's ears rather than back and down as in a shirted bench.  After so many months of bench press frustration, I decided I had nothing to lose so I gave it a shot.  I won't say it was miraculous but that set up did result in less shoulder pain.  I'm not scheduled to press any heavy singles until next weekend at Toronto Rex headquarters but I'll give the new set up a shot in the next couple volume/speed workouts.

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