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Op Massive – Week 2

Royal Marines Commandos green beret

Slow progression but noticeable strength increase during this week.

Here is a break down of week 2:

  • Mon – Weights (upper)
  • Tue – Weights (lower)
  • Wed – Rest/light CV
  • Thu – Weights (upper)
  • Fri – Weights (lower)
  • Sat – Rest
  • Sun – Rest

Upper Sessions

Warm-up 5mins – light version of exercises. Mobility for joints.

Pull-ups 3sets to failure

  • 1st – 10
  • 2nd – 9
  • 3rd – 6

Mon & Thur – I’ve started doing pull ups at the start of the exercise as I’m getting my full rested first effort to achieve better results, instead of trying to with blown out arms after the first three exercises. I’m not sure if it was intentional to do the pull ups like that for a reason but I’m noticing a lot better result this way.

This was done intentionally yes. The reason being that most bootneck fresh from training are far stronger in the pull movements than the push. This is due to press-ups being the main exercise for chest and rope climbs and pull-ups being the main exercise for pulls. The latter being a harder and heavier exercise than the former. I wouldn’t normally expect a bootneck to take the easy route 😉 and switch the order, but I understand why you did it.

Benchpress/dumbbell press 3sets 10-12reps

Mon & Thur – Using 32kg dumbbells I completed 2 sets of 12 and 1 set of 10 with a final set to failure after 10 sec rest from the previous set. This weight feels like a much more appropriate weight as I’m starting to struggle on the last few reps of the set.

Good effort, sounds perfect.

Bent Over row 3 sets 10-12 reps

Weight – 50kg

Mon & Thur – Still trying to find the best weight for this, using more weight with less reps feels more effective with bent over rows.

I often use a 25kg powerbag to perform the exercise really slowly sticking to tempo and squeezing the lats and biceps for 20reps and this is a suitable weight to still work hard for me, yet I can do 20plus pull-ups – my point being that extra weight/less reps may feel more effective but that’s not necessarily true. It may also be that your lats are fatigued from the change of order and putting the pull-ups ahead of the bent over row. That would make sense. if you continue to struggle with finding a suitable weight, just ensure you stick to one order of exercises session to session to allow progression for each individual exercise.

Military Press/Db mil press 3 sets 10-12reps

Weight –

  • 1st – 50kg 10 reps
  • 2nd- 45kg 12 reps
  • 3rd -45kg 10 reps

Mon & Thur – I tried to start off with 50kg and struggled for 10 reps so I went back down to 45kg to get the full benefit out of the 2nd and 3rd set.

Well done, good choice to drop down. Definitely better to do good reps with a lighter weight than poor reps with a heavier one.

Incline dumbbell press 3 sets 10-12 reps

Weight – 24kg

Mon & Thur – I was mainly achieving 10/11 reps for most sets here, still finding myself fatigued a great deal at this point.

Haha! You should be. By changing the order off your own back, you have put two push exercises together. Going from shoulder press to incline dumbbell press is asking a lot of your delts and triceps. hence the order originally given to you which ensured push, then pull, then push, then pull throughout the programme. Lesson learned for you: there’s usually a reason behind everything and if in doubt ask.

Renegade row 3 sets 10-12

Weight – 22kg

Mon & Thur – I’ve upped the weight here a lot more than last week but I’m finding myself still capable of doing this weight at a controlled tempo.

Good effort. This is an exercise where more weight is often beneficial, especially if you have a strong core, which having carried large bergens for the distances I expect you have done, you will.

Overall a bit of a messy session due to the re-order. Next time, drop me an email and I can ensure you re-order keeping to the original thought process behind the session.

Leg Sessions

Warm-up 5mins – light versions of exercises.

Squat (leg press worst case) 4 sets 10-12 reps

Weight – 70kg

Mon & Thur – With my squats, I’m trying to up the weight and keep the technique so this is a good weight for me at the moment. I’m struggling the right amount on the last set as well so I’m happy with this for now and I can keep the correct tempo.

Squats are one to go slow and steady, so take a chuck up for not jumping in too footed so to speak. Better to slowly increase the weight over weeks/months. This will ensure good technique which will in turn avoid injury. Well done.

Deadlift 4 sets 10-12reps

Weight – 110kg

Mon & Thur – I’ve managed to test my capability of the amount of weight I can use for this and it turns out I can manage quite a lot more as long as I can keep my grip.

Great effort! 110kg is strong. If the grip is a problem, don’t be afraid to grab some chalk/liquid chalk.

Glute bridge on bench 4 sets 10-12 reps

I’m using empty 20kg bar for this at the moment; still getting a lot of funny looks in the gym with it though, if I’m being honest. Is there any other variations or types of exercise you could do instead?

Is the exercise causing you pain or discomfort? If so, ditch it. If not, add at least 5kg or 10kg to the bar. If you can carry a 100lb bergen for 20hrs across Dartmoor on final ex and you can deadlift 100kg, you can glute bridge 30-40kg. Don’t be afraid of it and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Take a look at these pictures for guidance and note the weight that this female is lifting 😉 squeeze your glutes hard on the way up and control down. It’s possibly one of the best exercises for building strength and size in the glutes and will help your squats. Stick with it for now.

Glute bridge on a bench

Split squat 4 sets 12-15reps

Weight – 45kg barbell

Mon & Thur – I’ve changed from powerbag to barbell on this exercise now; I find the balance better and I can add weight easier when I need to.

Good man. I agree. Better with a bar. Remember to be strict with the tempo and make the legs work.

Plank 3sets 60secs hold 30sec rest

Week 2 has been a lot better in terms of using more weight for me and I’ve focused more on tempo like you said; I find the tempo most effective with exercises such as chest press, bench press, military press, squats and split squats.

Really good to hear. Look around most gyms and people aren’t thinking about tempo at all. they are either lifting fast and furious in a cross fit AMRAP style or lifting very heavy weight a few times. Studies show that having the muscle under constant tension for 45seconds-ish is most conducive to muscle building, and since that’s your aim, that’s what we are aiming at. Again why for bent over row, less reps isn’t what we want right now. We want enough reps to hit that 45sec mark with slow controlled tempo.

I’m pleased overall with this week. Keep the focus going into the next few weeks and remember, if in doubt drop me an email to ask before switching things up. Always happy to make it work around you if possible.

Jack Tomlinson - Author