July 9, 2015In Royal Marines, TransformationsBy Jack Tomlinson9 Minutes

Hi, my name is Jack Tomlinson. I recently passed out of Royal Marine Commando training and have asked for help and advice from Sean. The reason for this being that RM training meant I lost a lot of muscle and strength, but gained a lot of endurance ability and mental strength instead. I have asked Sean to help me to gain back some muscle and strength by creating me a 12 week program which I am going to follow along with a diet plan (that I will try my hardest to keep to!). As military or ex-military you will know the food isn’t exactly the greatest of quality especially when on exercise. I appreciate Sean’s efforts and I will do my best to regularly update you with progress throughout this plan.

Here is a break down of Week 1:

  • 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.

Benchpress/dumbbell press 3sets12-15reps:

Mon & Thur – Using 28kg dumbbells I completed 3 sets of 15 reps with a final set to failure after 10 sec rest from the previous set. Chest exercises are by far my favourite and with the high reps and good technique I got a good pump of it.

Bent Over row 3 sets 12-15reps

Weight – 40kg +45kg

Mon & Thur – This was an enjoyable and comfortable few sets. I got a good feeling off the reps but felt I could have gone heavier which I did on the Thursday. I completed all 3 sets with 15 reps.

Military Press/Db mil press 3 sets 12-15reps

Weight – 40kg

Mon & Thur – I have to admit I have never been the strongest when it comes to shoulder exercises and with the high rep ranges I definitely felt this on the last sets. Using a bit of thrusting from the legs I was able to complete a full 15 reps on each set.

Pull-ups 3sets to failure

Mon & Thur – At the start of training I used to be able to smash pull ups easy! Then at the end of it I was struggling to do a measly 7-8 good form! Each set was to failure with me achieving 8/6/3.

Incline dumbbell press 3 sets 12-15reps

Weight – 20kg

Mon & Thur – After the other exercises I was starting to get very fatigued forearms and when doing these sets it was more my arms failing then my actual chest. I managed to complete the sets between the rep ranges but didn’t feel it as much in my chest more in my arms.

Renegade row 3 sets 12-15reps

Weight – 12kg

Mon & Thur – This wasn’t exactly the heaviest weight to do this exercise but as I had never done it before it was best to get used to the movements and ensure I was doing it with correct form. I liked it though as it is and enjoyable exercise which you can feel in your core and back.

Good effort for Day 1, Week 1, Jack. I only really have a couple of small comments:

  1. Make sure you are sticking to the tempo given within the programme. For week 1 it’s 3010. You may have been doing this anyway, but you didn’t mention it so wanted to reiterate.
  2. Rep ranges. If you hit 15 reps on all three sets as you did with a couple of the exercises, then you probably do need to be on a heavier weight.

Again, good effort all round, especially as you’ve been away from weight training and pull-ups due to RM training.

Leg sessions

Warm-up 5mins – light versions of exercises.

Squat (leg press worst case) 4 sets 12-15reps

Weight – 60kg

Mon & Thur – After 9 months of putting my legs through hell during RM training I have to say they were not as flexible as they used to be so getting that deep squat with weight did start off a little painful. This probably just the fact my muscles are so tight and could do with some more stretching which is my own fault. Other than that when I got into it I could definitely feel the high reps. I’ve never been a great fan of training legs as the morning after I can’t really walk normally!  It was even worse than that; Thursday’s session was painful due to my legs still hanging out from the previous one!

The body becomes its function is something I learned on my RM PT course. You’re a yomping machine at the moment; but the more you do squats the easier the movement will become.

Deadlift 4 sets 12-15reps

Weight – 70kg

Mon & Thur – I have always been strong with deadlifts the only problem I tend to get is I lose my grip when I go heavy or doing a lot of reps. I stuck to a lighter weight for good form with a slower movement. I completed the full reps and sets.

Get some chalk or some straps if the grip is a real problem. The grip will get training with pull-ups anyway and should be strong from rope climbing etc in RM training.

Glute bridge on bench 4 sets 12-15reps

I can’t really say I’ve got to grips with this exercise I can’t feel the movement or feel I’m doing it right. Plus you look a bit weird doing it in the gym.

Most underrated leg exercise there is. Glutes are the biggest muscle in the body and this trains them specifically. Try squeezing your backside like you have the sh!ts as you lift up to fire the glutes.

Split squat 4 sets 12-15reps!

Weight – 30kg power bag

Mon & Thur – This is good for blowing out your legs and the end of a session. Making sure you get a deep lunge and good movement. I comfortably completed this on the Monday whereas Thursday my legs were a bit swore.

Plank 3sets 60secs hold 30sec rest

Great exercise after the 1st set I was feeling the tension in my core and felt it after completion.


Week 2 to follow….

Well done overall, Jack. Again, make sure you are lifting to failure within the rep range. If you hit 15 reps on all 3 sets on Mon or Tuesdays exercises, as you have the same exercises repeated Thu/Fri you know you can increase to ensure you fail between 12-15 rather than complete 15.

Keep the tempo in mind; it’ll make the strength gains far more speedy and make the sessions more worthwhile.

Food wise, as you say, Pussers’ scran (RM food) or rations is never going to be perfect. Just try to ensure enough food; so if in the field, eat everything going.

Good effort Royal. Keep it up.