Follow My Progress – Jamie (Week 1)

Week 1 has passed for Jamie and here are some details of what took place and his progress.


Name: Jamie McNeil







Age: 23

Training Goals: Build muscle, increase absolute and relative strength, improve anaerobic fitness, improve work capacity, improve posture, improve mobility and flexibility.

Athletic History: Jamie is very active and athletic. He plays competitive football at amateur level 2-3 times per week. He also has been regularly strength training (3-4 times per week) for the past 2 years.

Injury History: Broken hands, Dislocated thumb, numerous ankle strains (football)…Due to Jamie mistreating his hands J his grip strength has suffered. Traditional training exercises such as pull-ups/chin-ups/rowing variations/deadlift variations and grip specific drills such as plate pinching will be incorporated.

Other Details of Note: Jamie focused all his strength training sessions on his upper body. He also only trained in the sarcoplasmic hypertrophy rep range (8-12 reps) in order to increase muscle size. He has left his lower body neglected and missed out on the benefits of lifting in a different rep range (more on this later).

FQ strongly advocates lower body training and this will be a focal point of Jamie’s programme. The deadlift will be his primary lift plus we will include assistance work such as single leg quad dominant variations (reverse lunges/bulgarian split-squats aka rear foot elevated single leg squats) and hip dominant variations (glute-ham-raises/romanian deadlifts/hip thrusts).

Lifts such as the barbell back squat, front squat or box squat cannot be catered for due to no squat rack or power rack equipment.

Week 1

Last week Jamie sat a health screen, a functional movement screen, participated in numerous tests and was heavily critiqued giving his exercise form. Here are some of his initial results.

Health Screen/Stats

Weight (k): 75k

Bodyfat: 14%…good

Blood Pressure: 130/85 (good)…although still in the ‘green’ zone I was slightly surprised by this number due to how active Jamie already is. His diet will be closely monitored as a result plus we will look into his family’s history of blood pressure.

Selected Bodily Measurements (cm):

  • Chest 101.5cm
  • Stomach 83cm
  • Left bicep 34cm
  • Right bicep 33cm
  • Left upper leg 57cm
  • Right upper leg 57cm
  • Left lower leg 37cm
  • Right lower leg 37cm

To summarise, Jamie already has a very strong physique, he has a lot of muscle mass particularly in his upper body. His bodyfat is relatively low but we will be aiming to reduce this also.

Selected Fitness Tests

Please note that due to jamie’s training experience, I decided that he was conditioned enough to attempt single rep maxes (absolute strength) given two selected lifts. It is recommended you do not attempt a single rep max on a particular lift without professional supervision and somone to spot you.

  1. Bench Press (1RM) – 90k (Absolute Strength)
  2. Deadlift (1RM) – 130k (Absolute Strength)
  3. Pull-Ups in 60secs (Wide Grip -no crossfit form here, no swing, no momentum, controlled solid reps) – 10 (Relative Strength)
  4. Push-Ups in 60secs (Chest to floor, full extension of elbows, core tight) – 47 (Relative Strength)
  5. Full Bodyweight Squats in 60secs – 32 (Relative Strength)
  6. 500m Row as fast as possible – 98secs (ATP-PC System)

To summarise, Jamie’s initial test scores are very good. There are no major underlying issues that need to be addressed with the exception of his upper body mobility particularly in the scapula and shoulders (identified during his movement screen). Basically, Jamie needs to train with more intensity. This will be provided in the form of him lifting heavy weights for low reps (1-5). The hypertrophy range of 8-12 won’t be neglected altogether however as this will be incorporated giving his assistance exercises.

Additionally, we have spent and will continue to focus on Jamie’s form particularly with regards to the primary lifts. His deadlift has significantly improved with him pulling a 130k single beating his previous best of 60k. It’s amazing what improvements in technique, confidence and self-belief can accomplish.

This same outlook also concerns the bench press as he is trying to relearn a different bench technique commonly adopted by powerlifters. This involves arching (yes arching) your back with your glutes down and your upper back pressed into the bench (platform). You will also drive your feet into the ground (leg drive) while lowering the bar under control with your lats, elbows 45degrees, before exploding the bar upwards. For a detailed video, click here. Moreover, below is Jamie practising his new technique.

Contrary to popular belief, the above method of benching is actually safer than other methods due to less stress on the shoulder girdle and more muscle recruitment. In fact, previously Jamie was lowering the bar to his neck! I don’t think I have to tell you how dangerous this can be and rest assured this was corrected. The bench press is one of the most technical lifts to learn particularly if you have benched with a different technique for many years. In saying that, it’s also one of the most beneficial giving overall upper body strength, power and shoulder health (when used correctly and combined with relevant rowing and upper back exercises). Just don’t be one of these idiots when bench pressing!

Summary of Week 1

Fantastic start by a very able client. Jamie has made significant improvements in the short space with Fitness Qatar. Highlights included deadlifting a new personal best of 130k, benching a new personal best of 90k and remaining highly motivated throughout. Expect even more improvements from Jamie in the upcoming weeks. Well done.

The Scottish Trainer

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