4 weeks out Bench press and leg accessory

Knowing this is my last competition for about 9 months has changed how I'm looking at it.  Back in January of 2011, after a year and a half of competing in gear (with the goal of making it to Nationals achieved), I decided to simplify things and compete raw.  I was also nursing an injured shoulder so it was a pretty easy decision to train without the overloads required of equipped lifting.

In that first meet back as a raw lifter, I weighed in at 113.6 kgs and squat/bench press/deadlifted 205 kg/140kg/272.5 kg for a 617.5 kg total.  The weight class limits back then were 110 kgs and 125 kgs but because there was no raw or "classic" divisions, I didn't try to cut weight to make the 110 kg class.  There was no point in jockeying for a placing when in all likelihood, I would be lifting against a lifter in equipment.  Lifting raw and without cutting weight was about as stress-free as one will ever find in competition and I liked it.  That was the last time I simply "showed up and lifted".  11/29/2012 edit:  I mis-remembered.  The weight classes were 105 kgs and 120 kgs, the reason I didn't bother to cut weight was because I was too far above the 105 kg limit at the time combined with there not being a "classic" division.

Jan 2011, OPA Provincials, a no-stress meet for me

Looking at my upcoming meet and my planned long break from competition, I'm strongly considering just "showing up and lifting" again.  If I'm within a few pounds of the 105 kg limit I'll cut weight but otherwise, I'm just going to lift at the weight I am that morning.  My goals are still to hit some all-time raw PRs and since I achieved them at higher bodyweights, for those purposes it doesn't matter what weight class I'm in.  My all-time raw PR in the squat is 470 lbs and my all time raw PR in the bench press is 340 lbs, at a weigh-in bodyweight of 275 lbs.  My goal in December is to beat both of those lifts.  If I need to retain my bloat and lift at 245 lbs, I'm going to do it and erase my personal bests from 2008.

This week is the last week of straight weight in the bench press, the next two weeks I'll be doing 2-3 negative activation reps and following that up with repetition work in the 85% range.  A week before the meet, I'll do some training singles and some repetition work in the 85% range.  Assuming all goes well, I should be primed for a go at a third attempt 155 kg/341 lb bench press.

After bench presses, I did my usual easy high bar squats to loosen up my shoulders and get some blood flowing through my legs.  I added in an extra exercise, sumo deadlifts, because I had my curiosity piqued by a blog post by an excellent and very intelligent lifter, Greg Nuckols.  He wrote about how, after many attempts, the sumo deadlift finally seemed to 'click' for him.   In the past, any attempts I've made to build a rapport with the sumo deadlift have been rebuffed like me in high school trying to talk to girls.  It just felt awkward and there were never any signals that I should continue trying.  After reading Greg's post I decided to try it out and amazingly (and probably not surprisingly), the squat form improvements I've been making carry over nicely to the sumo deadlift.  I worked up to a light set of 5 but I'm optimistic there's actually some potential there.  Given that I'll have 9 months between competitions, I'll have a chance to put some time in with it.  If it works, it will be awesome since there will be much more carryover between my squat and deadlift and I hopefully won't have to work around lower back recovery so much.

Bench Press:  135x10, 185x10, 225x5, 255x3, add wrist wraps, 275x2, 295x2, add belt, 315x2, 315x2, 315x1, just wrist wraps, 285x3, 285x3, 285x3

High Bar Squats:  135x10, 225x10, 225x10

Sumo Deadlift:  225x5, 315x5, 405x5

Dips, 12, 12, 10


  1. Amen to the Sumo! I love your thought process. Please drop me a no subject e mail


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