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  • Derrick Woods

My R.A.W Experience

And, how it helped me fully recover from 2 catastrophic injuries.


I am a 38 year old athlete, I've played basketball since I was 11, and I also played 3 years in High school. After high school I ran and lifted weights at least 3-5 days a week. I've had two trainers in my lifetime. The first was a competitive strong man who worked at the YMCA and the other was my fitness manager when I worked at Golds Gym. My goal however was always the same, to gain more muscles. That is why I've always lifted like your typical gym goer. I did all the bro splits. At my best I was 170, which is still where I'm at more or less. My bench was 315, my dead lift was 395, and I could run a 7 minute mile. That was about 7 years ago, when I worked at golds gym, and I was doing similar types of lifts when I worked at Lifetime 4 year ago. Two years ago all of that changed.

I stopped all my normal lifts, didn't bench press heavy, stopped squatting and dead lifting. Why the change? I got injured and started researching more about body function. Two years ago, I read, Thomas Myers book "Anatomy Trains". In short the book was a guide to how the muscles in the body function together by design. I thought, if this is how we are designed to move, then these are the muscles that need to be worked together. This by no means was an easy change, I had to figure out or modify movements that loaded those exact muscle groups. Quite often exercises felt weird and sometimes down right foreign. (Remember, I am a natural athlete so this was extremely confounding.) I found that I wasn't able to workout near as long and that my soreness was more intense and lasted longer in the beginning. Then after about 6 weeks, things started to change. The exercises got easier. I had more endurance and could lift a heavier. If those were the only changes I noticed, I'd think this isn't any different than any other workout program.

However, my changes weren't simply muscular, it translated to how I moved everyday. Not in the sense of less aches and pains because I never really had any of those problems. But, while walking, standing, and running I noticed glute, core, and lat engagement like it's supposed to function. (It was a figurative click.) From the outside it looks as if I'm simply working on balance or that I'm working on controlling a movement. At times, it even looked like I was working sports specific exercises. It's not that I was intentionally doing any of those things, but Raw training translates into being better in all areas. Raw increased my running and sprinting speed. My mile is still 7 minutes, but after tearing both Achilles. That also lead me back to the question of measurable strength after two years of no heavy lifting. My bench is 300 but my offset barbell press is 90 pounds. Offset barbell bench press will not only strengthen the chest, but also core glute and hamstring. That means I traded 15 pounds to throw better and run faster. It means when I'm working on chest strength, I'm also getting core and leg strength with it. It is like going to HEB and buying one item and getting two more for FREE. My dead-lift is still 395 but I've gained the ability to sustain sprints for a longer distance. RAW has helped me maintain my normal strength while cultivating a different kind of functional strength that helped me run faster after two catastrophic injuries.





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