Crystal McCullough – Introduction and Week 9 Training (12/19-12/23/2016)

Many of you probably know me as the mom to the 13-year-old Weightlifting Wonder with the handle of @mad_lifts_15, and that is something I am beyond proud of. That kid is something amazing (and I’m not talking about how he lifts weights good).


First blog post for Mash Elite, so introductions are in order!!

I am 40-years old, mom of one, wife to an Army soldier (soon to be retired!!!), AND I like to lift heavy things. I manage a CrossFit gym (CrossFit Haymount) in Fayetteville, NC.

I compete on the Mash Powerlifting Team! I am a 72k lifter in the USAPL Federation and 148# lifter in the USPA Federation(which I hope to do a meet in 2017). I also compete in CrossFit, but that has taken a back seat to my powerlifting. A chronic shoulder issue pushed me toward powerlifting in early 2015 and I fell in love with it. My son just celebrated his one year anniversary with the Mash Mafia team yesterday and I decided to switch teams and join Mash Mafia in late Spring of 2016.

I competed in the Open Division at USAPL Raw Nationals in October. I had my best competition total with that meet! 130k/286# Squat – 75k/165# Bench – 155k/341# Deadlift for a 360k/792# Total. My best training lifts are 140k/310# Squat (which I just hit last week), 175# Bench, and 355# Deadlift (which I hit last week as well!!).

I am currently in Week 9 of my first 12 week training cycle following Nationals and it’s been an amazing breakthrough!! My next meet is in 15 weeks at USAPL Battle on the Border April 8 and we are working on building absolute strength. I have big goals for 2017!!

Week 9 calls for high percentage work, which means heavy weight/few reps.

Monday 12/19

Back Squat (worked low bar) 90% 2×1, 93% 2×1, and 75% for 2×3 2 sec pause speed squats

Deadlift 80%x3, 85%x3, 90% 2×1, 93% 2×1

**Both called work up if feeling good! Wasn’t feeling it :/ I just PR’d both lifts last week, so already working with much higher percentages.

Below are my top % of the day at 290# Squat and 330# Deadlift

Accessory work consisted of supersetting with Box Jumps, Weighted GHD situps, and 100m of bodyweight walking lunges.

Tuesday 12/20

  • Front Squat 1rm with 10 second pause (yes! 10 second pause!) at RPE7. Top weight was 89k/195#. I know I look bored LOL but it was tough sitting down there.

Bench Press high percentage work. 90% 2×1, 93% 2×1, then 83% for max reps. I worked with Frank Volrath on Saturday and he gave me some pointers on my set up. Shown is my 93% for 162.2# and then max reps at 145# for 5 reps (all paused). Trying to remember to pause every one of my reps so it becomes second nature. In a powerlifting meet, there is NO touch and go. You have to wait for the press command.

Accessory work was close grip floor press, chest supported batwing rows, and staggered carries (OH and farmer) for 40 yards each.

Later in the day, I did some conditioning that consisted of rowing, slam balls, and the airdyne!!

Wednesday 12/21

More SQUATS!! 3rm at RPE8 on HBBS. In retrospect, probably should have gone one more set. But, 111k/245# felt smooth and pretty darn good 🙂 There was a point in 2016 where this was a true 3rm.

Travis also has me doing an accessory movement he calls squat bottoms. Today, was 3rm. Heaviest set was 230#. The purpose of them is to work on my speed out of the bottom of the squat. They seem to be working!!

Accessory work was wide good mornings and sled drags forward and backward!! LOVE sled drags!!!!

Later in the day, I joined in one on of my classes and did our Endurance Day. Don’t be jealous!

For Time: Buy in : 100 Double Under, 5 Rounds: 500m Row, 10 Thrusters 65#, 20 V-ups. Time: 22:49

Thursday 12/22

Alternate Grip (close grip) speed bench with bands. This is a new one for me. I had to rig it up with heavy kettlebells.

35%+bands  4×3, 45%+bands 3×3, 55%+bands 1×2, and 58%+bands 1×1. Shown is last set was 101# + bands.

Thursday is my shorter day. Accessory work called for plate front raises, horizontal bodyweight rows with feet elevated 3x submaximal (first set shown below with 9 reps), and lying db external rotations.

Finished last night off with an impromptu Hero WOD session with my husband Wayne, one of my coaches (Tim) and his wife Morgan, and one of my athletes. We did DT which is 5 Rounds of: 12 Deadlifts, 9 Hang Power Clean, 6 Shoulder to Overhead all at 155/105. I think I actually PR’d my time at 9:44. Holy traps and upper back this morning.

Looking forward to the last couple of days of training this week. It is the eve before Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to you all!!!

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