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Strongman Jamie Reeves Explaining his Training

Strength Oldschool

Strongman Jamie Reeves


I worked really hard in the autumn and winter on the powerlifts and overhead press. It was lots and lots of 10’s and 8’s.

The squats would be high bar, close stance and low descend. The bench press would have no arch or bounce. The deadlift no lifting straps – not even a knurling at all on the bar! I’d do standing strict presses with straight legs and straight back.

I was obsessed with punishing myself in those months without risking injury.

To keep speed, agility and movement, I’d do a lot of sprints and shuttle running, too. And keep practicing the weight for height with a 15kg plate, just so I didn’t have to re-learn that technique in any capacity and get my timing down again.

In the spring, I’d do five sets of five reps in powerlifting form and bring in high pulls and push presses. So I’d peak for the summer and autumn events, and if it was an international I’d cycle down to a double in the deadlift and overhead press – usually a rapid cycle.

The routine was:

Monday – Squat and legs
Wednesday – Bench Press and assistance
Friday – would be Deadlift and back
Sunday – Overhead Press and shoulders

Nutrition for Reeves:

12,000 calories, finances permitting. A dozen eggs, a dozen bananas, a gallon of milk, chicken and rice for lunch and supper, fish and vegetables for dinner. Some porridge and bread, some fruit. Difficult to eat potatoes or pasta when you’re not hungry, and steak lacked economy!

I took glutamine and whey at the end of my career, for recovery, as I do now. Tried creatine when it first came out and found myself dehydrated with too many muscle cramps. No, didn’t need supplements, really.

Gym lifts:

Bench Press – 575 x 3 (no shirt)
Deadlift – 795 x 2
Standing strict press – 440 x 2
Squat – 660 x 7 (just belt and wraps, shoulder width stance)
Squat – 730 x 5×5 (just belt and wraps, powerlifting style)

Also in that interview:

Jamie has great stories in-person about his time in 1990 doing expos around America with Kaz, Ed Coan and O.D. Wilson, and the drinking contests at his house in England with Kaz, Jon-Pall, Ab Wolders and Hjalti Arnasson!



Week 1

Squat (Olympic style, shoulder-width stance) - 3-5 ×8
Step-ups - 2×10
Stamina work

Bench Press - 3-5 ×8 (200KG)
Dips with weight (elbows tucked) - 3×8
Speed work

Deadlift (no straps, no knurling) - 3-5 ×8 (300KG)
High Pulls - 3×5
Hammer curls - 3×8
Pull-ups -1 x failure
Stamina work

Push Press - 3×5
Standing dumbell presses (palms facing) - 2-3 ×8 (90KG per hand, no legs)
Laterals - 3×10
Speed work

Week 2

Leg Press - 3-5 ×5
Step-ups - 2×10
Stamina work

Narrow-grip Bench - 3×5
Incline dumbell presses (palms facing) - 3-5 ×10-20
Speed work

Partial Deadlift (no straps, no knurling) - 3-5×5
Bent-over Rows - 3×8
Chins -1 x failure
Stamina work

Strict Press (standing) - 3×8
Standing dumbell presses (palms facing) - 3-5 ×10-20
Laterals - 3-5 ×10-20
Speed work

The stamina work was step-running.

For speed he did sprints and shuttle runs (shuttle runs “very important for me for side-to-side lateral movement and being quick on your feet”).

* Taken from British-based ‘Strength Athlete’ magazine.


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