Crystal McCullough – Week 1 of 2017 Training

Ended 2016 and a 10-week cycle with a bang, so I am super excited to see where this next cycle will take me.  I am on a longer break from competing and won’t hit the platform again until April 8.

Travis didn’t want to switch things up too much because something clicked and I made some major breakthroughs in my lifts. What he has done is changed up my rep schemes on Friday squats and Saturday bench presses using his ‘Mash Method’.

So, with that….here is what my first week of 2017 looked like training wise!

First off, I feel I need to explain my New Year’s Day shenanigans. Three years ago, we were visiting friends over New Year’s and we all did a 10k row on New Year’s Day. My family and I liked starting the new year out that way, so we’ve kept to that tradition since. This year was no different, well except for Morgan opted out. I think he was the smarter one between he and I (to be honest). Nevertheless, I went in on my usual Sunday off and rowed a 10k. It wasn’t my best, but my goal was not to get off the rower and just keep rowing!!

The aftermath:

Monday 1/2 Day 1

Started off great! Squats felt a little off due to some tight hammies (insert sigh over 10k row), but I hit some good numbers.

Low Bar Back Squats w/Belt 5rm (1st rep paused 3 seconds) I didn’t write down the pause and for some reason thought it was 5 seconds, so I made them a little harder on myself. LOL Worked up to 255#/116k.

Then, took -15% for 2×5 with last set being 5+. I hit 10 reps at 215#/98k and stopped. Back was already starting to feel weird.

Deadlift 8×1 (70% –>83%) with 2 second pause 2″ off floor and at knee

Started out good. Hit my % just fine.


these were ss w/box jumps (24″) 5×3 landing strong at parallel

On 295#, I pulled to my shin and felt a huge pull in the left side of my lower back. Then, I failed the rep from there. I haven’t failed that weight in a LONG time. I went to pull again and pain hit me just getting in position.

I went on to finish my accessory work (lighter than normal), but nonetheless, I got it done.

BB elevated hip thrusts 3×8 with axle bar at 95#

BB lunges (8RPE) 3×10 each leg at 55#

Saw my chiropractor that day and he did some ART and adjustments plus e-stim.

I decided later in the day to just get on my assault bike and ride for calories for 30 minutes at a Z1 conversational pace. Then, I did some very light reverse hypers 3×10.

Tuesday 1/3 Day 2

I had a horrible night of sleep due to back pain when I turned. Woke up super stiff. Had no idea what to expect of training.

Front Squat w/belt 1rm paused 5 seconds 7RPE

I could feel the load on my back fairly early on, so decided to continue only until I couldn’t stand it. I was able to still get below parallel and hold a good position. It was just the pressure of the load causing the pain. I ended up only working up to 125#/57k before I called it. The weight was light, but it was not comfortable at all.

Bench Press 5rm (5 second pause each rep) 

I was worried how my back would also affect this movement since it IS an entire body movement. I surprised myself and was able to work to 140#/64k.

Then -15% for 2×5 (last set 5+). Hit 120# for 10 reps all with a pause.

Accessory work:

CG Floor press 8rm then -10% for 2×8 (125# top set and 115# for downsets)

DB power cleans seated 3×12 (25#dbs), BB rows paused 2 seconds at sternum 3×10 (65#) – had to stay light on these in order to get into position with minimal pain.

OH axle carries 3x40yd – stayed light at 45#.

Wednesday 1/4 Day 3

Again, back wasn’t 100%, so went into training just winging it and seeing what I could do. Surprised myself, but again stayed safe by not pushing it.

HBBS 3rm (1st rep paused 3 seconds)

Worked my way up to 245#/111k and felt comfortable there with minimal discomfort. Then -10% for 2×3 (last set 3+). Hit 220# for 6 reps and stopped. Didn’t want too much time under tension.

ss these w/prisoner squat jumps 3×5 focusing on height

Squat bottoms 8rm

These actually hurt more than anything else last week. Worked up to 165#/75k and called it. Too much pain with the bounce. -10% for 8 at 150#.

2″ Deficit RDLs w/bands 3×8 progressing up to RPE 7-8

Started at 135# and stayed double overhand. Moved up to 155# and finished at 165#. Stood on a 35# bumper plate with a light red band for tension.

Unilateral RDLs 3×8 each leg w/44# KB

Later in the day, I decided to just get some movement in without being timed. 50 burpees, 50 calories on airdyne, 50 burpees. No idea how long it took 🙂

Thursday 1/5 Day 4

Speed Bench (Alt grip-CG) w/10% of 1rm in chains

65%+chains 2×5 (115#) then 75%+chains 2×5 (130#) then no chains for 5rm. Hit 140#, then 145# for 4. Butt wanted to come off the bench.

ss this with explosive clapping pushups 5×5 then 4×4 (resting 60 seconds b/t sets of 5 and 90 seconds b/t sets of 4)

Accessory work:

KB bottom up Z press 3×10 each arm w/20#

Pull-ups 3x submaximal (8/7/8 – strict and DOH) NOT MY BEST

Hang muscle snatch 3×5 at 55#

Friday 1/6 Day 5

Back felt mostly better, but still not 100%. Decided to play it smart on this new addition to my program and begin conservatively.

Back Squat w/belt -based % off my high bar, but did low bar. Should have been 83% and 63% of my low bar (319#), but based that percentage off my high bar (285#). I worked my way to my true 83%/63% of my low bar on my final set.

Set 1 83% x3 (235#) rest 2 minutes 63% x10 (180#)

Set 2 250# x3 rest 2 minutes 190# x10

Set 3 265#x3 rest 2 minutes 200# x10

Goal here is to try to add 5k each set

Glad I did it this way this week. Back didn’t feel trashed!!

Deadlift (alt stance) w/5 second eccentric then -15% for 2×5

Worked up to 205#/93k and stopped. It wasn’t that it was heavy, but was starting to feel an uncomfortable pull in my left hamstring.

Accessory work:

KBS w/band at hips 4×12 w/35#

Plate around the worlds 3×8 each way w/10# bumper

Saturday 1/7 Day 6

Bench Press

Set 1 83% (145#) x3 rest 2 minutes 63% (110#) x10

Set 2 155# x3 rest 2 minutes 120# x10

Set 3 165# x3 rest 2 minutes 130# x10

Failed last rep of 3 on set 3, but it is still a 2rm PR!! Video shows last 2 sets. And pause on all reps!!!

Accessory work:

DB Tricep ext. 6×8 (25#) ss Band pushdowns 6×15 (med. band) resting only 30 seconds b/t sets

Fat Bar Curls 3×10 with axle bar (45#)

Row (75#) ss Band pull aparts (light band) 3×10+10

Despite the setback with my back, it was a great training week and I finished the week out healthier than I was on Monday!! Looking forward to Week 2 and being 100%!!!!

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