Training - BEHIND BARS 2ND EDITION

To follow on from the article which was provided by David Brown, a Prisoner from HMP Hull, we had a discussion with Gareth, his training partner, who gave us his insight into training and provided examples of their training routine.

Gareth Yeaman is 34 years old, has just over 2 years left of a 6 year and 4 month sentence to serve and has always been very active; he started weight training at 18 years old and more serious amateur bodybuilding in 2013. Gareth currently does weight training 5 or 6 times a week plus some cardio. Here he explains how going to Prison made him realise while he wasn’t going to make significant gains regarding his size and strength, he had to focus on maintaining a good base so he has a platform to build on after he is released from Prison.

The food at HMP Hull isn’t too bad, but it’s not food I would personally eat. On the outside I live quite clean, I eat a lot of chicken, eggs, steak, fish, tuna etc but obviously that isn’t available in jail so you have to make the best of what you have.

Me and my training partner, David Brown train 4-5 times a week, we have both learned off each other in the past 12 months, he has learned the body building side of the sport from me whilst he has shown me some good circuit workouts. We try to shake our training up and have a 4 week split, 2 weeks heavy training, 1 week 15 rep range and 1 week 20 rep range then repeat the cycle again. We find it keeps the body guessing and we respond quite well to this.

I have lost weight in the last 12 months in Prison, this is mainly due to lack of quality food and supplements, which were available to me on the outside. I know I cannot train to the extent of my abilities on the outside, so am now focusing on training what I can and training up David who is responding well and has a lot of potential; his physique has improved massively since we’ve trained together.

Training in general, but especially in Prison, has helped me personally; it keeps me focused and gives me goals to achieve. While the PTIs are always on hand, I am also helping people regarding their training and giving advice. Whenever somebody comes to Prison, I would advise them to train, as it is not only good for your physical health but also extremely beneficial for your mental health; keeping your mind focused and active.

We regularly do circuit training for Fitness, this is probably my favourite circuit, as we find it pretty intense, works every muscle group and burns a lot of calories. You don’t need any equipment, just some space- so we can even do this on the yard outside the wing.

Our idea is if you pick 10 body weight exercises, ideally progressively getting harder, you start with 10 reps on the first exercise, jog a set distance (we use the furthest point away on the yard which is around 20 metres) there and back, then repeat the 10 reps on this first exercise and then do 10 reps on the second exercise, jog again there and back, then back to the top 10 reps on the first exercise, 10 reps on the second exercise, 10 reps on the third and so on.

By the end of this circuit you’ll have completed 100 reps of your first exercise, 90 reps on the second, 80 reps of the third….giving you a total of 550 reps.

Some of the exercises we use are;

Press Ups

Squat Thrusts

Star Jumps

Squats

Sit Ups

Burpees

Tuck Jumps

High Knees

Burpees with tuck, jump, squat thrust and press up

After this, depending on how many people have taken part I like to do up to 10 sprints (width ways across the yard) there and back.

The final part of the circuit is to focus on endurance, again depending on who is taking part and their fitness levels/ weight/ ability, we partner up and do a minimum of 5 fireman’s lifts and piggy backs there and back across the yard.

Then to finish off I like to do sprints again, but I tend to walk one length then sprint one and end with stretching.

With regards to weight training a lot of the first timers (in Prison) are advised to stick to 3 sets of 10 reps, which is understandable for beginners, but I have now known people who have been weight training for over 10 years who still stick to the same principle. Personally I think the best way forward is to change things from time to time; to shock the body, make things more interesting and breaks up the monotony of doing the same exercises, number of reps and number of sets.

This is an example of a routine we follow based on what equipment is available to us and time we can dedicate to the routines;

Weeks 1 and 2

Free weights; heavy sets 6-8 reps

Week 3

Free weights and machines; 12-15 reps

Week 4

Free weights and machines; 20 reps on the last set of each exercise incorporate a ‘drop set’

A workout may look like this (3 sets of each);

Flat Bench Press

Dumbbell Press

Dumbbell Flyes

Dips

Cable Cross Overs

When I am released from Prison my aim is to continue Bodybuilding and helping people with their training. I also intend to start competing, starting with the local Mr Hull Show.

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