All posts by SSD

Sandbag Squat Thrust

With the sandbag on the floor, bend your knees and grab the sandbag. Kick out your feet so that you are in the forward leaning rest position, and then bring them back in behind the sandbag. From here, Clean and Press the bag.

You can drop the sandbag from the top, or lower it for another rep.

Arete 3.23.17

HOMELAND SECURITY/TERRORISM
Jihadi Killer Of Americans Added To FBI ‘Most Wanted Terror List’ While Happily Tweeting Away, HSToday
Cyber War I has already begun, Belfer Center – Harvard Kennedy School
Securing Global Cities, Brookings Institute
Former Israeli counterterror chief: War with Hezbollah is “only a question of time”, Homeland Security News Wire
Mexican Cartel Tactical Note, Small Wars Journal

MILITARY
Energy Drinks and the US Military, Bloomberg.com
The Dangerous Effects of the US Military’s Embrace of Energy Drinks, Modern War Institute
The Five Fatal Challenges of Korean Conflict, Modern War Institute
Any Fool Can Obey an Order, Modern War Institute
Anticipating Transitions to Seize and Maintain Initiative, From the Green Notebook
Military Personnel Bureaucracy Drives Out Talent: BPC, Breaking Defense

FIRST RESPONDER
Murder of Self Defense if Officer is Killed in a SWAT Raid?, NY Times
Forced Entry Drug Raids Leave a Trail of Blood, NY Times
Facing the WUI Fire Threat, Fire Chief Digital
Keep an eye on state-level firefighting bills, Fire Chief
Evacuations Ordered in Boulder, CO Wildland Fire, Fire One
Keep the Saws Running, Firefighter Basics
Assessing Police Department Performance, Police One
A police officer view from street level, Cop in the Hood

MOUNTAIN
The Essential Ski Mountaineering Gear, Men’s Journal
Video: Hardest Rock Climb in Thailand, Gripped Magazine
A Mountain Bike Film to Take You Places, Adventure Journal
The Joy of a Sufferfest, Powder
Skiing Is Not Important, Powder
Video: Colorado Backcountry Ski, Freeskier
Geography Lessons, Patagonia
Hiking and Mountaineering: Unbound, Salomon TV
Always Above Us,  The North Face
Hunting in Azerbaijan, Sitka Gear
Video: Mountain Running with Anton Kupicka, Outdoor Live
Video: “Drive” – Short Film Honors Female Bowhunters
Video: Snowbiking in Idaho, Redbull TV.

GEAR
When to Replace your Gear, Rack and Rope, Gripped Magazine
A Glove Built for Uphill Skiing, Powder
Gear That Doesn’t Work, Outside
Gander Mountain Files for Bankruptcy, Outdoor Life
The Backpacker Magazine Gear Hall of Fame, Backpacker
Gear Week in Review, Gearjunkie.com
Best Sleeping Pads, Outdoor Gear Lab
7 Reasons Cops Chose 9mm over .40, Tactical-Life.com
Hard Knuckle Gloves, tacticalway.com
New Soldier Body Armor System, Army News Service

FITNESS AND NUTRITION
Do WE Need to Give Up Alcohol to Lose Weight? Not Necessarily, NY Times
You Can Never Escape Runner’s Guilt, Outside Magazine
The World’s Most Unhealthy Health Foods, Outside Magazine
Feel The Burn? Or Is That an Injury? How to Tell the Difference, Men’s Journal
Is Vitamin D Causing Your Headache, Breaking Muscle
Parenting Strategies For Healthier Kids, Breaking Muscle
Want to Crush Your Inner Demons Use The Skywalker Theory! Nerd Fitness
Raman as A Recovery Food, Outside
Keys to Aging Well as an Athlete, Outside
De-Mystifying Flow, Black Diamond

Q&A 3.23.17

QUESTION

Rob, I am a 44yo firefighter that has been enjoying the big cat programs for the past 6 mos. I just finished lion. I wanted to take a break from the barbell work and was looking into different bodyweight programs. Should I stay in the big cat program and do panther? I was interested in the humility program but didn’t know if rucking and the long distance running was applicable to the fire ground. Thank you for time.

ANSWER

Humility will transfer good enough and give you a break from the barbell. Enjoy.

– Rob


QUESTION

Rob,

Touching base to get your input on what plan I should hit next.  In the last 4-5 months, I’ve done Bodyweight Foundation followed by Dryland Ski, w/ great results.  FYI, I’ll be  49 in July & weigh in at 210 (on my way to 200).

For the last couple of months, I’ve been doing in season ski maintenance w/ run improvement layered in as I haven’t been skiing as much as I had hoped.  This of course sucks given the epic season, but hey, responsibilities are responsibilities.  I’ve picked up a bit of a calf/achilles strain which is I’m thinking it would be good to back away from double horizontal hops for a bit.

Also, I’m planning a Whitney climb this summer & plan on doing Peak Bagger six weeks out from that trip.  What plan would you recommend for me these next few months? BTW, I’ll mention that I’ve tried Big 24 twice & haven’t been able to make it out of the second week.  My shoulder simply doesn’t like heavy hang cleans so no sense in continuing to piss it off. 

I appreciate your support & guidance.

Regards,

ANSWER

Strength for sure … Big 24 with exercises that work for you, or one of out other strength plans. If you can bench, Super Squat Strength (http://mtntactical.com/shop/super-squat-strength/) is pretty awesome. 

But you should drop volume some and get under a barbell – strength will help with durability and give you a mental break before Peak Bagger.

– Rob


QUESTION

Rob, 

What does your cheat day meals look like? I need a baseline on how to cheat like a motherf.

ANSWER
A couple months ago I finished Whole 30 diet and have actually moved away from a cheat day … but before, my weakness was bread!  

Breakfast would be toast, butter and honey. Yum!! 

Lunch – a big sandwhich on heavy wheat bread. 

Booze? We have a couple convenience stores which sell alcoholic slushies. My favorite is strawberry lemonade with Vodka.  I’m a total lightweight, and one of these and I’m pretty much hammered and ready for bed. 

Desert? A big bowel of granola with yogurt or milk. Sometimes ice cream. 

But again, you can eat anything you want on your cheat day. What you’ll find is when you do, you don’t feel good – not guilt, but your stomach. Over time, your cheat days will decline in decadence, unfortunately – because eating bunches of carbs and sugar upsets your stomach.

– Rob


QUESTION

Hey there

Im overseas right now and I have been doing Starting Strength as it came recommended from a friend.  Im a about 6 or so weeks into it and I realize that its good for strength but not for fitness in relation to the military. My questiom has 2 parts. One , should I try and finish a 12 week cycle with Starting Strength to get a foundation or should I start looking into different programs now? And two, do you have a recommendation for a plan when I do get to that point? We dont have much of a gym and for running tread mills are as good as it gets.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you transition over now to Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

Fortitude trains heavy strength in the gym, concurrently with military endurance (running/rucking). It also includes one day of hard work capacity. 

– Rob


QUESTION

I’m finishing week 5 of bodyweight foundations and looking for advice on which plan to start next. My hunting partner and I are planning on doing a train to hunt (TTH) competition on June 3rd as a goal to start getting prepared for a wilderness back pack hunt in late October. 

The fitness portion of the TTH competition consists of 5 stations that start with 10 reps of a movement (sandbag getups, burpees, weighted step ups, etc.), then a 300 yard run, followed by shooting one arrow. The final portion consists of a 2 mile, 50 pound hike, with a couple more shooting stations. I have noticed that you point many folks towards Humility after completing Bodyweight foundations but your description of what the Ultimate Work Capacity plan prepares you for seems to make that plan a good fit for my short term goal. However, I’d really appreciate your insight on that question. 

If I did do Ultimate Work Capacity prior to TTH, I was planning on starting into Humility afterwards, moving towards the Big Game plan the weeks immediately prior to the hunt. Thanks for this great training resource. It has really helped me get my fitness on track 

ANSWER

Keep your focus on the hunting season and work back from there. You’re right in completing the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Training Plan directly before your season.

Moving into June, Humility is a great option. Another is Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/), also focuses on Work Capacity and includes hard ruck running intervals. Humility’s loaded runs are at 25# … Valor’s are at 45# – and will better prepare you for your event. Valor also has a significant gym-based work capacity element.

– Rob


QUESTION

Hey,

I just bought a subscription and was curious as to what programming would be suitable for an FPE type deployment, more focused on CPP, Mounted QRF etc. Would it be more useful to program for a Grey type role or Green? 

Much appreciated,

ANSWER

Green. You have to be prepared for the longer mission/infil or exfil. 

– Rob


QUESTION

Love and respect everything you. Your passion and critical analysis is great. Just wanted to make a few comments, with all due respect.

1) I completely agree with your thoughts on junk reps. Remember when people would do hundreds of situps and pushups? It got to be ridiculous. Great for mental toughness, but not great for your body. So yeah, we need to weed out junk reps. That got me to thinking about some stretches that you throw into the middle of your workout plans. I don’t like that type of stretching. I’d rather just collect my thoughts and rest for a moment. Is it possible that tossing in a stretch between sets is “junk stretching?” Stretching is great, but I personally get more benefit doing a slightly longer more focused session before bedtime or right when I wake up. Lots of benefit in stretching, as I feel more balanced, more symmetrical, more able to get into different positions. Wondering what you thought about keeping stretching separate from strength and cardio building and doing it in a way that doesn’t feel like filler.

2) Although it is true that the mountain doesn’t care, it is also true that one day we will all probably be 70. Performance athletes do need to perform, but it is still important to think about longevity. I’ve had the back surgery, the torn meniscus, and am on the back side of 50. Some of the rhetoric coming from young super athletes seems to create a needless paradigm of “great performance now and who cares if I’m in a wheelchair later.” A better approach may be “maximum performance now, AND maximum performance later.” Tom Brady jumps to mind, playing pro football at a high level for a long time. Is it worth thinking about high performance over time vs. get to the top of Denali right now, damn the consequences? Maybe we should look for a way to climb Denali now and still be active and relatively pain free later?

3) Also, I laughed out loud at you trying to sneak a peak at the clock as you exercised. Thanks for all you do.

ANSWER

1) It’s been my experience that most men will skip stretching all together if we don’t integrate it into the circuits. My thoughts on this are continuously evlovling but we are again working on a “mobility” standards of our own which may bring clarity.

2) Not sure you’re point here, but it’s safe to say Brady is an outlier. More interesting may be to look at the pro hockey players into their 40’s. Back to Brady, my sense is over the years his mental game has improved to a point where it’s overcome/made up for the natural declines in his physical game. I’m not sure he’s where he was strength and other wise now compared to 24 yrs. old, but he’s far ahead on the mental side. From a tactical perspective, durability when you’re 35 doesn’t matter that much if you can’t get out of a bullet’s way when your 25. Same is true for Denali. Durability doesn’t matter at 70 if you physically couldn’t escape the wind and cold at 25 and died on the mountain. 

Even more broad, it would be interesting to compare 60 year old mountain guides/carpenters/linesmen and other “industrial athletes” to 60 year old white collar cubicle workers for current health across a broad spread of measures. Certainly the guides have “beat” up their bodies in a narrow sense, but one could argue decades of sitting isn’t good for you either. 

There’s just lots of different ways to think about it….

– R


QUESTION

I am a Marine currently at a training command trying to figure out a program that I can realistically accomplish, while still getting the training results I want.

Our schedule allows for limited amounts of personal physical training, set alongside physical training requirements and field exercises which obviously disrupt any programming I try to implement. The constraints I am working with are- no guarantee of gym time, limited time to train, and a frequently disrupted schedule.

Is there a particular program that you would recommend? The Greek Hero series was attractive, I am not sure how I would implement it.

I would appreciate any thoughts or advice you have.

Respectfully,

ANSWER

The plans in the Greek Hero require frequent access to a functional fitness gym, which leaves you with an equipment issue while in the field. 

Options: 

(1) Do Humility (http://mtntactical.com/shop/humility/), which requires minimal equipment and you could do wherever….

(2) Do Humility in the field, and one of our strength plans, Super Squat Strength (http://mtntactical.com/shop/super-squat-strength/) when in garrison. 

– Rob


QUESTION

Hi Coach!

Thanks for all your awesome work. I’ve been following the site for years and I’m really loving it now more than ever.

I’m training up for the Tahoe 200 Endurance Run in September http://www.tahoe200.com/about/overview/, and was wondering what you might recommend as preparation.

The race is a non-stop 205 mile loop with a 100h cutoff and 35k feet of gain/descent over some occasionally rugged terrain, though nothing too technical. I’m thinking the Denali plan subbing the tire drag with running (Big Mountain V2 doesn’t seem to have enough running/mileage), followed by the 100 Mile Ultra plan, perhaps with some extra mileage on the weekends or one or two all day events.

Happy to provide more details if you have any questions. Excited to hear what you think, thanks for your time!

ANSWER

I don’t have a plan for you for that kind of distance and I’m not experienced designing a plan for something like that. I’m not sure if it’s something you can properly train for based on the normal/typical running programming … simply because you’d be running like 150 miles/week … I’m now sure you could endure that volume without over use … or time!

My guess is guys train for 100 miler’s then just suffer the last 75-50 miles … as if the first 100 isn’t enough suffering! 

If you were to supplement the 100-Mile Ultra plan, I’d push you to the Peak Bagger Training Plan, vice Big Mountain V2.

But better, I’d recommend finding a professional Ultra Running coach and getting a 200-mile specific plan.

– Rob


QUESTION

Sir,

                I am currently a senior at the United States Military Academy. My twin brother and I began your Ruck Based Selection Packet Plan in December to get ourselves in the best possible shape before we report to Infantry Basic Officer Leader’s Course (IBOLC) in late July, and then Ranger School in January of 2018.

                Unfortunately, I suffered an injury in my knees and had to stop the Humility program 5 weeks in (early January). The last two months I have tried to work around the injury, completing your Upper Body Round Robin plan, various operator workouts, returning to running for a few weeks prior to reinjury, and now I’m currently on week two of the Single Leg injury program. I have almost made a full recovery and anticipate returning to full exercise in the next couple weeks. However, due to the established report date for IBOLC I am now far behind in the program and would like to jump in during Phase 3 (Fortitude) so I can complete the last phase during IBOLC.

                I have a background in track and cross country from middle/high school, as well as 2 years of powerlifting experience from my first few years at the academy, so I’m not new to gym-based strength or running. However, it has been a few months since I’ve done any real LB weighted strength training, especially axial loading, so I think it may be in my best interest to prepare my body for the stress induced by the running, rucking, and heavy lifting characteristic of the later phases of the Ruck Based Selection Packet. Are there any programs you suggest for this Sir, or any other recommendations you may have? Thank you very much Sir, I really appreciate the help and I apologize for the lengthy email.

Very Respectfully,

ANSWER
You’re good with Fortitude … the loading will scale. The one change I would make is to complete the ruck running in the plan with 25# for the first 2 weeks, increase to 35# for weeks 3 and 4, and then bump up to 45# for weeks 5&6. 

Just be smart and listen to your body along the way – it’s okay to drop ruck run loading if needed.

– Rob 


QUESTION

Hello,

I am about to start Infantry Basic Officer Leaders course (IBOLC) soon. I will have free time in the afternoons and weekends to workout on my own when IBOLC begins and nearly all the days to myself until march 20th. I have been attempting to do the ranger school prep program while I have had free time but I am just not physically “there” yet in terms of being able to do the program with all of the rucking involved while still recovering enough to complete the next workout to satisfaction. I wanted to get your recommendation on a plan to improve physically as a future infantry officer looking to improve the most he can throughout IBOLC and then moving on to pass ranger school. My current weak points and my push ups (low 50s) and pull ups (can manage 4), in addition to just a generally weaker upper body compared to my lower body. Time to workout is somewhat of a concern but I can make time to get to the gym and have access to dumbells/kettlebells at home if need be as well as full TA-50.

I hope to hear back soon, thank you for putting out great products for us who need to work a little differently 

ANSWER

Pull back from the Ranger Plan, and go to work on Humility: http://mtntactical.com/shop/humility/

– Rob


QUESTION

Hello coach, hope all is well. After a successful trip trekking to everest base camp this past october ive signed on for my first big himalayan climb in october 2018. Im sure you are familiar with Amadablam given your athlete roster.

I wanted to discuss a plan that will start this spring and prep me for a month (august) in the tetons and carry thru into 2018 with a taper leading into the climb in october.

I know what it takes to get to the base of the mountain having spent a couple days there during my everest trek. What I need to be prepared for is the 8k feet of alpine above base camp.

Ive done a few of your programs in the past ( kettle bell, peak bagger, hypertrophy ) and have extensive experience in the tetons and other ranges.  Ideally the first portion preps me for august, grand in a day, crest trail, middle in a day etc. Im sure I can figure on my own but feel I need to take it to the next level for the Himalayas and would like to start sooner than later.

Will be arriving first week of august and will be in town until sept 9th.

The tentative plan was a GT in a day, possibly the crest trail,  lots of road cycling and paddle boarding. Will probably be doing a bunch of day hikes ( amphitheater, delta etc).

Let me know your thoughts, happy to jump on a call to discuss further.

Thanks for your time

ANSWER

I’ll be designing a Grand Traverse Plan this Spring, and would recommend you complete it directly before your trip here. It will likely be 8 weeks long (check back in May).

Between now and then, work through the plans in the Greek Heroine Mountain Base Packet: http://mtntactical.com/shop/greek-heroine-training-packet/

We’ll touch base again after August, but likely I’ll have you drop back into Mountain Base, and then complete our Denali Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/denali-training-plan/) directly before your climb.

– Rob


QUESTION

Hey Rob,

  Just curious if it’s advisable to mix RAT 6 and the ruck run improvement programs.

I’m training for Nijmegen in Holland with the Canadian Armed Forces. You’re required to ruck 180km in for days with 10kg. There’s only 9 spots and about 20 people gunning for those spots, so I’d like to kick some ass.

Thanks for your time

ANSWER

You could mix – by doing 2-a-days. Better would be to do the ruck-intensive SFOD-D Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/sfod-d-delta-selection-course-training-plan/) and decrease the prescribed ruck weight in the plan to 15kg.

– Rob


QUESTION

Hello Rob,

I’m 29 and just beginning the SFQC after completing SOCM. I just purchased a subscription and would like your advice regarding which plan to begin with. I have 7 weeks until I begin my next phase of training in the Q. My primary goal is to improve my rucking and overall strength, as well as some improvement or at least maintenance of pushups. I’ve been looking at Fortitude. Is there a way to incorporate pushups in Fortitude or do you recommend a different program? My distance running is strong. 

Thanks,

ANSWER

Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/) – the second plan in the Virtue Series, includes focused push up work, and will also push your rucking speed. I’d recommend it. 

– Rob


QUESTION

Hey,

I’m trying to determine the best plan for my given circumstances…

I am currently lifting 4 days per week, per Wendler 5/3/1, with

conditioning work and a Chassis Integrity workout on 2 additional

days, and 1 day of complete rest. I plan to continue this through a 12

hour GORUCK event in mid-April. I then have approximately 6 weeks

until a 2 week vacation, which will see extensive walking and a few

body weight workouts, but little else in terms of exercise. I will

then have approximately 4 weeks before a back-to-back GORUCK Heavy,

Tough, and Light (24 hours, 12 hours, 6 hours, respectively) the

weekend of July 4th.

Based on that, should I use the Heavy training plan and somehow scale

up volume, the Ruck Based Selection program, or something else

entirely? How do I best adapt the ideal plan to my schedule?

Thank You!

ANSWER

I’d recommend you move now to the GoRuck Challenge Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/goruck-challenge-training-plan/

After that event, move to the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-plan-v5/

Take your 2 weeks off, then finish the last 4 weeks of the RBSTP … you’re repeat weeks 5&6. 

Even better, skip totally the Heavy, Tough and Light GoRuck events, and do a real adventure that first week in July – 7 days – …. traverse the Wind River Range in Wyoming following the Highline Trail from Big Sandy to Green River Lakes (60 miles), over the course of a week. Bring your fishing pole. Drive to Pinedale, Wyoming and arrange a shuttle with the Great Outdoor Shop. 

The mosquitos will be out with a vengence, so bring a head net and some deet. 

You could do it faster, but you’ll want to take your time and enjoy. 

It is hard to describe how awesome this will be. Let me know if you’re game and I’ll send you a proven gear list. 

– R


QUESTION

Hey Rob,

I have a general strength question . I have been following your strength programs for over a year and made significant gains. I began with ultimate meat head then did strength & honor, 357 then big 24.

Prior to the strength push I did about 6 months of operator sessions. My goal is to meet or exceed your relative strength standards, I’m still short on all of the lifts. Here are my stats:

 I’m 6’2 202 lbs 10% body fat (according to the box pod).

Bench 230
FS: 195
DL: 360
BS: 250
Sqt clean :  180
Push press: 180

I am 37 years old and have been in Army SOF for 18 & 1/2 years. I have always been a decent runner/rucker/good in full kit. I am still on a team and want to remain operational for many years to come.

Focusing on strength as opposed to endurance or crossfit style suffer-fests for the past year has made me feel amazing .

As I said before I want to meet the relative strength standards but I need to maintain my “green fitness”.

What plan do you recommend I take on next?

Thanks !

ANSWER

Move to our most recent evolution of Fluid Periodization for military athletes and a plan from our Green Hero series, Apollo: http://mtntactical.com/shop/operator-apollo/

– Rob


QUESTION

Hello Rob,

Hope all is well. Big fan. Just wanted to ask you a couple of questions. Im a career firefighter here in Canada and im looking to do a GORUCK tough in July. So 12 hrs around 15 to 20 miles. Just wondering what plans I should follow to develop my PT numbers and Rucking ability. Im completly new to it. 

Also I was wondering if your planning on releasing any online knowledge courses. Id love to learn to program the way MTI does and bring it to the guys in the hall. 

Have a great day, Thanks,

ANSWER

I’d recommend our GoRuck Heavy Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/goruck-heavy-training-plan/) for your GoRuck event.

We are currently building out our online programming courses, and actually finished 3x last week. Here’s the latest selection: http://mtntactical.com/product-category/programming-courses/online-courses/

– Rob


QUESTION

Coach,

I’m a Firefighter/SWAT Medic and I just started back practicing ju jitsu.  What plan do you offer that would help both in my fire career and in ju jitsu?

Best Regards,

ANSWER

You’re like the 50th guy who’s asked, so I’ve finally broken down and we’re actually building a Ju Jitsu conditioning plan right now. It should be out this coming week or the next. 

We’ll announce it in our weekly newsletter, “Beta” (sign up here if you’d like: http://mtntactical.com/betasignupemail) … or email back next week.

– Rob


QUESTION

I am a 51 year old recently retired Cop.  I am probably 10-12 pounds over weight…..too much retired fun.  Currently I have be doing the Gun series….in the middle of Glock now.  Some stuff I scale down a little.

Any way, at the end of June they are doing a LE memorial hike to support fallen guys and their families.  12000 ft peak.  Sorry I don’t have the starting elevation or the total up distance, but the town is at 9000.

Looking of r some guidance on a plan or two to work on leading up to the hike.  Will be in Flagstaff so warm weather and only load I carry will be snacks and water for the wife and I.

Take care

ANSWER

6 Weeks out do the Peak Bagger Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/peak-bagger-training-plan/

This plan is perfect for your trip.

– Rob


QUESTION

If i purchase a plan, does it come in a book or is it a pdf.

ANSWER

Neither, 

Access to the training plans is online via a login/password.

– Rob


QUESTION

I have FBI Special Agent test in the next 3-4 months. How effective is the training plan if followed correctly? Also, how do I access the plan? Is there an app so I can follow on my phone or do I have to print off the plan to follow along during my workout? 

Thank you for your time,

ANSWER

We generally see 15-40% athlete improvement with our PFT plans – and much depends upon the athlete’s incoming fitness. The more fit coming in, the less improvement. 

Access is online.

– Rob


QUESTION

I purchased a monthly subscription to MTI. I take my FBI SA PFT in June. I have two questions. 

1. If I do the FBI SA PFT Prep, can I lift weights while doing the prep?

2. If I wait to do the FBI SA PFT Prep close to May, what program do you recommend I perform until then?

Thanks,

ANSWER

1. Yes, but you won’t see the gains you would on your PFT score if you didn’t do extra. 

2. Humility: http://mtntactical.com/shop/humility/

– Rob

Plan Focus: Resilience

Amy builds chassis integrity for her upcoming backcountry snowmobile riding season.

By Rob Shaul

Resilience is a 7-week, 5 day/week training program with a strong focus on the athlete’s “combat chassis” and overall Chassis Integrity. It is the fourth training plan in our “Virtue” series for military and tactical athletes. 

The “combat chassis” is the musculature between the knees and the shoulders which supports loading, braces for impact, and is the power center for explosive movement.

“Chassis Integrity” is the MTI mid-section programming methodology of functional, transferrable core strength programming to the battlefield and real world.

Our Chassis Integrity programming theory evolved in the fall of 2015 after a personal experience. I had moved away from the tactical programming to some distance running and bodyweight work. The bodyweight training included plenty of core work – sit-up variations, bridging, lower back complexes, EO’s, and some ground and equipment based work such as Russian Triangles, Ankles to Bar, GHD Sit ups, etc.

Further, my core circuits pushed beyond what I commonly programmed for athletes in both rounds and duration. I really hammered it – or so I thought.

After a couple months I got back underneath the barbell for some front squats and struggled to go heavy. My legs were strong, in isolation, and my core was strong, in isolation, but the link and coordination between the two wasn’t there – I lacked “chassis integrity.”

This had a real impact on me – as I’d hammered my mid section, but all that work hadn’t translated into a the functional task of lifting heavy while standing. It caused me to question my core programming theory to that point and I began to develop the Chassis Integrity model.

Specifically, the experience caused me to question why were we doing so many ground or equipment based core exercises when in reality most core work is done standing? I reasoned that not performing core exercises from a standing or kneeling position had compromised my chassis “integrity.”

Second, I questioned the need for isometric and flexion core exercises in general. Real life mid-section strength demands for the athletes we serve (mountain/tactical) is dominated by extension and rotational movement patterns. Real life also includes isometric work, but not in the way we had been training it. More specifically, rather than isometric work, what really occurs is anti-rotation. Mountain and Tactical athletes must fight force trying to torque them rotationally.

Third, previously I had programmed core circuits using the standard round and reps format used as examples above. This approach seems to train strength, but not necessarily strength endurance. Perhaps grinds for time would be more transferable outside the gym, I reasoned.

Resilience is designed for Military Athletes looking to strengthen their combat chassis and complete which builds integrity across the entire “combat chassis” skeletal/muscular system.

Resilience strengthens the combat chassis and builds Chassis Integrity in three distinct ways:

  • Complexed Total Body Barbell Exercises with significant level changes: i.e. taking the barbell from the ground and putting it overhead. Exercises include complexed versions of the power clean, hang squat clean, and snatch.
  • Extended Chassis Integrity Circuits which build both mid-section strength and endurance by deploying Total, Rotational, Anti-Rotational and Extension mid-section exercises from primarily kneeling or standing positions.
  • Heavy Ruck Running, out to 5 miles. Ruck Running by definition mission-specifically trains the combat chassis in a mode which directly transfers to the tactical mission set. Ruck running is also mode-specific military endurance training.

As well, Resilience dedicates one day/week to speed, and work capacity deploying unloaded sprints out to 800m. We deploy a 1-mile time trial, and use your assessment results to determine follow on 200m, 400m and 800m repeats. In this way the plan automatically “scales” the sprint pacing to each individual athlete – everyone gets pushed. Ouch.

Finally, Resilience trains upper body strength in a focused manner via the Bench Press and MTI’s Eccentric Strength programming progression.

WEEKLY TRAINING SCHEDULE:

  • Monday: Strength, Chassis Integrity
  • Tuesday: Strength, Chassis Integrity, Eccentric Bench Press
  • Wednesday: Unloaded Sprinting, Work Capacity
  • Thursday: Strength, Chassis Integrity, Eccentric Bench Pres
  • Friday: Ruck Running out to 5 miles

This is the second version of this training program, updated in March 2017.

MTI Fellowship Program

MTI has developed a 2-4 week Fellowship program for active duty military, law enforcement and fire/rescue personnel, as well as professional mountain athletes, mountain professionals, and strength and conditioning coaches.

MTI Fellows can spend their entire Fellowship at MTI, split their time between MTI and their home duty station, or complete the fellowship remotely from their home duty station under MTI guidance.

For the Fellows who do travel to Jackson for all or part of their Fellowship, MTI will provide austere living conditions, and a stipend toward travel expenses.

Course outcomes:
MTI Fellows will become de-Facto staff members, and work at the direction of founder, Rob Shaul, on focused mission-direct MTI projects within their area of expertise to include job-specific fitness, research articles, tactics evaluation, development and critique, leadership and organization, etc.

As well, MTI will work with Fellows to brainstorm and complete a focused mission-direct research project or white paper during their fellowship.

To Apply:
Prospective fellows should send the following to Rob Shaul at rob@mtntactical.com

1) Biography not to exceed one page. Biography should include brief personal background information, level of education attained, professional schooling completed, and the last 3 jobs held.

2) Proposed Mission-Direct Research Project/White Paper subject(s)/idea(s).

3) Describe why you’re applying for the MTI Fellowship, and what about MTI’s approach synchs with yours.

Deadline?
None – This is a rolling Fellowship and it is possible for MTI to have multiple Fellows at one time.

Common Questions.

Is there a rank or experience minimum to apply?
No. But in general, we’re looking for Fellows who have enough experience in their job to bring perspective, reflection and insight. The MTI Fellowship is not appropriate for brand new members in their field.

So I could complete the Fellowship remotely, from my current duty station?
Yes – we understand it will be very difficult for many candidates, especially first responders, to get extended time off from or away from work for this type of professional development. MTI Fellows can complete their Fellowship completely at MTI in Wyoming, remotely from their duty station/home, or a combination of both. Once accepted, we will work with individuals to make it happen.

More Questions?
Email rob@mtntactical.com

Archery Stress Marksmanship – Part I

This guys’ a pretty good shot under stress.

By Rob Shaul

At the beginning of last year’s bow hunting season, I was nailing tacks at my home archery range. My 20-yard groups were under 2”. My 40 yard groups were right at 4”. Out to 70 yards, I was hitting inside a 12” circle 7 of 10 shots.

Then, during the actual hunting season, I missed an easy 60 yard shot on a monster mule deer. An easy 50 yard shot on a young buck antelope, and a really easy, 40-yard shot on another monster deer.

No pressure, on my flat range in the yard, I was cool, calm and lethal. My fundamentals were solid.

Out in the field, with an animal standing there looking at me, I was an emotional wreck … hearth thumping, hands shaking, release finger twitching. My fundamentals sucked.

I made many mistakes hunting last year, but not systematically training accurate archery marksmanship under stress is especially embarrassing.

Those of you who have followed our work over the years know of our Range Fitness program – which systematically trains accurate marksmanship under stress suing assault rifles and side arms.

Turns out that all the matters in bow hunting is accurate marksmanship under stress. And to improve this skill, bow hunters need to practice it.

Looking back now, a couple major distractions blinded me to what was important last year.

First, I spent a lot of time and money trying to develop a reactive archery target. Our stress marksmanship systems require reactive targets – where the shooter immediately gets hit or miss feedback.

We use metal targets for our firearm Range Fitness system. Last summer I hired an engineer and together we spent several weeks trying to develop a fancy similar reactive target for archery. It was a huge distraction. Turns out Balloons are a simple, cheap and super effective reactive archery target. Stupid distraction number 1.

Second, I got sucked into the bow hunting circle jerk of bows and sites and releases and arrows and bow tuning and bunches of “experts” with advice all trying to sell me something. They made a lot of money off me last year – 2 bows, multiple sites, 3 releases, dozens of arrows, hours at the bow shop tuning and tweaking. Turns out the fanciest bow, best reviewed release, highest-end bow sight, and carbon arrows won’t stop your heart from pounding, hands from shaking, and complete ignorance of archery fundamentals when you’ve worked 4 hours stalking a buck antelope and finally line up for the shot.

Stupid distraction number 2.

Here is a concise list of my archery marksmanship mistakes from last year

  • – Thinking a gear “upgrade” would make me a better shooter. Gear is never the reason.
  • – Placing way too much value on target shooting improvement. Never will the target I shoot at (big game vitals) be smaller than 9-inches in diameter. “Experts” argue that shooting at small targets on the flat range  will give you a greater margin of error during the real thing out in the field. This certainly didn’t work for me, and hasn’t for many others. Bad advice.
  • – Not systematically training accurate archery marksmanship under stress – like I’ve done so many times using firearms. This is a big one.

Moving forward
Myself and any lab rat I can find with a bow are now developing the MTI system. “System” is important … we want to apply the rules of “purposeful practice” quantified by researcher Anders Ericsson and already deployed in our firearms Range Fitness system. (I strongly recommend Ericsson’s book, “Peak”)

In general, the goal is to develop a system to constantly push the shooter to his/her edge of performance. We’re not starting from zero … We’re deploying many of the lessons learned from our Range Fitness system. Here are the stressors:

  • – Fitness hit (simple shuttle sprints) – it’s amazing what just 4x 15 yard shuttle sprints can do to your breathing and heart rate
  • – Time limit (still tweaking here, but first level is 30 seconds. Second likely 25 seconds)
  • – Ammo Limit – you only get one shot at the target – just like during hunting season
  • – Competition – in the video you’ll Wyatt and myself conduct this event individually. Later we conducted it side by side … and it increased the stress. (I beat him – so awesome!)

Progression?
Right now I’m thinking the first “standard” will be 3 hits at a certain distance and 30 second time limit, from 3 shooting positions – standing, kneeling, sitting, starting at 20 yards. In the video you’ll see us shoot at 30 yards, 30 seconds.

Below is my initial thoughts on progression moving forward. Note that the archer cannot move to the next progression level until he/she has hit 3 balloons in a row, with a 25 second time limit from all three shooting positions – standing/kneeling/sitting.

What about practicing fundamentals?
With Range Fitness we learned fast that we could only improve so much doing these stress events over and over. We had to back up, and take time to purposefully practice shooting fundamentals and in the end, every Range Fitness training session began with a stress shoot, then spent time practicing one or two fundamentals, then finished with another stress shoot.

However, we did learn that not all shooting fundamentals are equal in they’re impact on our stress shoot performance. Specifically, trigger control was by far the most difficult to master, but also had the greatest positive impact on stress shoot performance. Next came follow through, then breathing, and finally weapon handling (shooting position stuff.)

Already I’m betting trigger control for mechanical releases will be the most important fundamental impacting our archery stress marksmanship. I’ll learn more over the next few months.

Comments/Questions?
Email coach@mtntactical.com

Tried the Whole 30 Diet. Liked It. Still doing it.

By Rob Shaul

I started Feb 1, ran it strict for all of February, and have kept mostly strict since.

The Whole 30 Diet was developed by Mellissa and Dallas Hartwig. Melissa is a nutritionist, and Dallas a PT and nutritionist.

The idea behind the diet isn’t fat loss, but health, and it has it’s roots in the paleo diet. It first came on the scene in 2012 via the Hartwig’s book, “It Starts With Food.”

Health Focus
“The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy,” write the Hartwigs, “Those are your options.”

They argue that certain food groups – processed sugar, grains, dairy and legumes – could be having a negative impact on your health and their diet is simple. Cut this stuff out completely for a 30 days, cleanse your body of the possible negative effects of any or all of these food groups, and see how you feel.

Then, reintroduce these food groups into your diet, one at a time, and see how it affects your health.

What you can eat:
Meat, eggs, seafood, veggies, some fruit, oils, nuts and seeds. No processed food.

What you can’t eat:

  • No added sugar of any type …. No syrup, honey, agave nector, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, stevia, etc. No cane sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, etc.
  • No alcohol.
  • No Grains … wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, gluten, etc.
  • No Legumes … beans of any type including peanuts and peanut butter, soy beans, soy sauce, soy milk, etc.
  • No Dairy … milk, cheese, cream, yogurt, butter.
  • No Carrageenan, MSG or Sulfites … this stuff is common in processed food.
  • Don’t try to recreate baked goods, junk foods or treats with “approved” incredients i.e. no “paleo” pan cakes.

A few exceptions

  • – Clarified butter or Ghee … not sure what this stuff is, but you can eat it on this diet.
  • – Fruit Juice – you can use it as a sweetener
  • – Green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas are all legumes, but you can eat them anyway.
  • – Vinegar is okay.
  • – Salt …

More on the Whole 30 Diet HERE.

Differences from Our Current Dietary Recommendations

  • – No Cheat day. We have a cheat day, there is none on the Whole 30
  • – No Dairy.  Our guidelines allow it
  • – More strict. I’ve never read labels for sugar … I had to on the Whole 30.
  • – Potatoes are okay on Whole 30, not our guidelines.
  • – Our diet allows artificial sweeteners. Whole 30 doesn’t
  • Importantly, Whole 30, like our dietary guideline, has no caloric restrictions. You can eat to satiety. You should never feel hungry.

MTI’s Nutritional Guidelines HERE.

My Experience
The only “cheating” I did on this diet was using half and half or artificial dry creamer (the nasty stuff) in my coffee. Everything else I completed strict.

Because our dietary recommendations are fairly close, Whole 30 wasn’t a drastic change for me. But there were some changes … I began reading condiment labels for added sugar, and found it everywhere – ketchup, salad dressing, etc. It did open my eyes up to the sugar food manufactures add to just about everything.

Second – no energy drinks. Previously I’d throw down 1-2 zero calorie Monsters or Red Bulls/day, esp. in the afternoons, but these all have artificial sweeteners. I had to cut them out.

Cheat day … over the years of doing my own dietary guidelines, I’ve come to cheat less and less on my cheat day. But I still cheated – especially with bread. I love bread – toast and honey in the morning, big sandwich at lunch, cookies for desert. I cut all that out.

I found myself eating a lot more vegetables – at first because I had to. But later in the diet, because I liked them. I found a new appreciation for a simple pealed avocadoo and salt and pepper, cherry tomatoes as a snack, raw cucumbers and zucchini squash with salt and pepper, and small sweet peppers.

I actually cut down some on the fruit during the diet – not on purpose, but just naturally – esp. apples. My go-to lunch for years has been an apple and hard, sharp, cheddar cheese and this had to change.

Almond butter – I found myself eating a lot of almond butter.

Berries and seeds for dessert … frozen blueberries or cherries, and raw sunflower seeds are my go-to desert at home. I nuke the berries for a minute, dump in a handful of sunflower seeds and I’m in heaven. If I’m feeling especially decadent, I’ll use frozen cherries. This stuff is awesome.

Weight loss … the authors recommend avoiding a scale during the 30 day effort, but I was curious. I found I lost maybe 5 pounds, but did see a little decrease in mid-section body fat.

Overall – I can honestly report that overall I did feel better – had more energy, mind is more clear, etc. I esp. found a new love of vegetables which has endured. Also, I’ve seen a significant decrease in my cravings for sweet stuff – including fruit, and especially the afternoon energy drinks.

Moving Forward
I’ve pretty much maintained the diet even though my 30 days ended March 1. I’ve avoided sugar – including artificial sweeteners and the sugar food companies sneak into condiments. I have had a little cheese in dinner dishes with the family, but have not gone back to my old cheese and apple lunges, and overall would say my cheese/dairy consumption is down 98%.

My “cheat” day has become even more strict: no sugar and no bread (my craving for it is gone) – it’s not that I feel guilty, but I simply don’t crave this stuff any longer.

The one thing that has returned is a stiff cocktail on Friday, and sometimes Saturday, nights. And I guess I have had wine with dinner a couple of times, as well.

So overall, the enduring changes in my diet are 98% less dairy, no sugar or artificial sweeteners, no bread/grains – even on my “cheat day,” and no afternoon energy drinks and lots more vegetables.

Right now I intend to continue with this.

Will My Experience lead to a Change in Our Dietary Recommendations?
Most likely – especially the strict avoidance of all sugar and artificial sweetners. But we’ll still keep the cheat day. Gone are my afternoon “crashes” and I am more mentally alert overall.

Comments/Questions?
Email coach@mtntactical.com

Plan Focus: Military On-Ramp Training Plan

By Rob Shaul

I just updated our Military On-Ramp Training Plan this week.

I developed this On-Ramp Plan specifically to build reasonably fit military athletes to the point where they can complete MTI’s Operator Sessions and other training plans designed for SOF personnel and those who aspire to that level of fitness.

This program program is progressive in nature. It increases in difficulty and intensity as the athlete works through it’s 7 weeks.

It includes bodyweight, dumbbell, and barbell exercises that train the main targets for military athletes: strength, military endurance (running, ruck running), work capacity and Chassis Integrity (MTI’s functional core/midsection training. Click here for more).

The program also deploys multiple bodyweight strength and running assessments and uses the assessment results for follow-on progressions. In this way the program keeps pushing athletes as their fitness improves.

WEEKLY TRAINING SCHEDULE:

  • Monday: Bodyweight Strength, Work Capacity (sprint intervals)
  • Tuesday: Dumbbell Strength, Chassis Integrity
  • Wednesday: Ruck Run (begins at 3 miles/25# and builds to 3 miles/65#)
  • Thursday: Strength, Work Capacity (gym-based, multi-modal)
  • Friday: Endurance (3 mile run assessment or 1 mile intervals based on the most recent assessment)

Common Questions: 

What equipment is required?

  • Fully Equipped Functional Fitness Gym including barbells, racks, bumper plates, sandbags (40# for women, 60# for men), Dumbbells and/or kettlebells, plyo boxes, etc.
  • Ruck and 65# of filler/load
  • Stop watch
  • Foam Roller

Who is this plan appropriate for?
Reasonably fit military athletes who want to build their fitness to be able to complete MTI’s Operator Sessions and plans built from these, as well as MTI’s Selection Training Plans.

I think I’m “reasonably” fit, but how do I know I’m ready for this plan?
Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the first full week of programming. Try it. If you survive, you’re ready. If not, complete the Bodyweight Foundation Program first, then come back to this plan.

How long do the training sessions last?
– Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday’s sessions are all designed to be completed within 60 minutes.
– Wednesday’s Ruck Run may push past 60 minutes, depending upon your pace.

What does “4/8x” mean? How about “15/25#”?
First number is for women, second is for men, both for reps, and loading. Examples:
4/8x Chin Ups = Women do 4x, Men do 8x
15/25# = Women us 15#, Men us 25#.

What does “Increase load rapidly each round until hard but doable” mean?
Exactly what it says. Don’t over complicate it. The aim is to use the first 3 rounds of the exercise as a rapid warm up, and complete the last three at the “hard but doable” load. For example, below is how I would work up to 5x Walking Lunge:

6 Rounds
5x Walking Lunge – increase load rapidly each round until 5x is hard but doable.

Round   Load
1           16kg
2           20kg
3           24kg
4-6        28kg

What does “Grind” mean, exactly, for the Chassis Integrity training in the plan?
“Grind” through the circuit for the prescribed time. Work briskly, but not frantically.

The prescribed load says 65#. Does that mean both the barbell and the plates or just the plates?
Generally, both the barbell and the plates. Exceptions are for Standing Russian Twists and 1-Sided Dead Lifts, where the prescribed load refers just to the plates.

What if I miss a training day?
Ideally, you will train 5 days in a row, and take 2 full days off for rest. If for some reason miss a session,  do not skip ahead. Start again where you left off and complete the sessions in order throughout the plan.

Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE

What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.

What if I don’t have Dumbbells or I don’t have kettlebells?
All the dumbbell/kettlebell exercises in the training plan are interchangeable. For example, if the training session calls for a “5x Slasher @ 16/20kg” and you don’t have kettlebells, women use a 35# dumbbell and men use a 45# dumbbell. You’ll need to make the pound to kg conversion. Use google.

My gym doesn’t have sandbags. What should I do?
Make one and take it to the gym when you train … a sandbag (40# for women, 60# for men) is required for this program. We sell sandbags at mtntactical.com, other venders sell them, and you can make your own. Be resourceful.

Questions?
Email coach@mtntactical.com

Everyone wants 7.62… Until They Have to Carry It

Above: Sen. Ernst questions Secretary Mattis

By Charles Bausman

During the recent confirmation hearing for James Mattis as Secretary of Defense, Senator Joni Ernst (R) of Iowa questioned the lethality of the caliber of round currently used by U.S. military forces (5.56x45mm) primarily with the M4 carbine.

 

“Our military currently shoots a bullet that, as you know, is illegal for shooting small deer in nearly all states due to its lack of killing power… Do you agree that we cannot grow a more lethal force while using outdated small arms and ammunition?”

 

Senator Ernst did not directly request information pertaining to moving a to a larger round such as the 7.62mm, but the reference seemed apparent. We requested clarification from Senator Ernst’s office, but received no reply.

 

Secretary Mattis responded that he wasn’t currently up to date with the ongoing testing to improve the 5.56 round due to his break in service, but made no mention of moving to a 7.62 caliber round or carbine weapon system.

The 7.62 vs 5.56 argument stems back to the Vietnam War and clearly continues today, despite a plethora of testing by the Department of Defense and independent research. Complaints of lack of stopping power, barrier penetration, and reduced yaw at the outer limits of effective ranges are common. Various departments of the military have continued to improve upon 5.56x45mm round as a result of user feedback, resulting in the advent of rounds such as the Mk318 SOST and M885A1.

 

The Russian military, commonly known for the production and proliferation of the 7.62 AK-47, has utilized a smaller round since the 1970’s. Following research of American combat operations in Vietnam, Soviet researchers determined the ammunition carrying capacity of a 7.62 rifle was not great enough. The ammunition carrying capacity was a primary reason for the U.S. military determining that the M-14, a 7.62 rifle, did not meet the needs of troops during the early days of the Vietnam advise and assist mission.

 

The Soviet government initiated a projected which resulted in the adoption of the AK-74, utilizing a 5.45x39mm round. The Russian military continues to use the 5.45 round in their next generation rifles, the AK-12 and A-545.

 

Because 5.56 vs. 7.62 ballistics debate has been so heavily covered by a multitude of researchers and internet commandos, we will focus on the realities of what a switch to the 7.62 round as the infantry rifleman’s round might look like in terms of weapons platform and performance, weight, and effect on physical performance. For the sake of comparison, we’ve chosen to focus on the M4, the MK 17 “SCAR Heavy” , and the AK-15.

 

(Interested in getting nerdy on ballistic comparisons? See “sources” below the article for several articles which cover the subject.)

 

Weapon System Comparison

M4 Carbine
The M4 is the most common weapon system employed by U.S. military forces, and serves as our baseline for comparison to other 7.62 options. An adaption of the M16, it entered service in 1994 and is the primary personal carbine used by conventional and special operations forces.

  • Weight with Loaded Magazine: 7.31 lbs
  • Max Effective Range: 500 meters
  • Magazine Capacity: 30 Rounds
  • Cartridge: 5.56x45mm NATO
  • Fully Loaded Aluminum Magazine Weight: 15.875 oz

 

MK 17 SCAR-H
The MK 17, also known as the Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) Heavy is a 7.62 weapon system developed by FN Herstal and first fielded by SOCOM units in 2007. It is currently the only 7.62 rifle in the U.S. Military not used for long range precision fires, although it can be adapted for such use.

  • Weight with Loaded Magazine: 9.56 lbs
  • Max Effective: 800 meters
  • Magazine Capacity: 20 Rounds
  • Cartridge: 7.62x51mm NATO
  • Fully Loaded Aluminum Magazine Weight: 1 lbs, 10.5 oz

 

AK-15
First fielded by Russian forces in 2014, the AK-15 is the latest AK style rifle, to be utilized as a individual rifleman’s suite or a squad automatic weapon. The AK-15 is still undergoing testing trials with Russian operational forces, with the the AK-12 (5.45mm) as it’s competitor.

  • Weight with Loaded Magazine: 9.04 lbs
  • Max Effective Range: 500 meters
  • Magazine Capacity: 30 Round Magazine or 96 Round Drum
  • Cartridge: 7.62x39mm
  • Full Loaded Aluminum Magazine Weight: 2 lbs, 11.37 oz

As the chart below displays, the weight difference between weapon systems is marginal. A SCAR-H with a fully loaded magazine of 20 rounds weighs 2.25 lbs more than the M4. Similarly, the AK-15 comes in weighing 1.73 lbs more than the M4.

In terms of general performance, the 7.62 rifles are able to reach out further on area targets, while point target max effective range is similar between the SCAR-H and M4. The SCAR-H magazine capacity is limited to 20 rounds in comparison to the M4 magazine of 30, although extended SCAR magazines are becoming commercially available.

 

M4 Carbine Mk 17 SCAR – H AK-15
Weight w/Loaded Magazine 7.31 lbs 9.56 lbs (+2.25 lbs compared to M4) 9.04 lbs (+1.73 lbs compared to M4)
Max Effective Range 500m Point Target

600m Area Target

500m Point Target

800m Area Target

800m Area
Magazine Capacity 30 Rounds 20 Rounds 30 Rounds
Cartridge 5.56x45mm NATO 7.62x51mm NATO 7.62x39mm

 

It should be noted that FN Herstal reports the SCAR-H MOA of 1-1.25. The MILSPEC for the M4 is 4.5 MOA, although it can shoot considerably better dependent on the round. We were not able to find information on the AK-15 for point targets or MOA data.

 

The Fighting Load and Physical Performance

Weight Comparison

 

Based on the normal ammunition fighting load of 180 rounds, and a magazine in the weapon, we calculated the approximate weight difference of rounds, magazines (30x rounds per), and weapon. In comparison to the weapon only weight difference, the full combat load out has a significant difference.

 

180 Rounds Fighting Load and Weapon with Loaded Magazine
M4 Carbine Mk 17 SCAR – H AK-15
Number of Magazines Required 6 9 6
Magazine and Ammunition Weight 5.95 lbs 14.9 lbs 16.26 lbs
Weapon Weight with Loaded Magazine 7.5 lbs 9.56 lbs 9.04 lbs
Total Weight 13.45 lbs 24.46 lbs (+ 11.01 lbs compared to M4 Fighting Load) 25.30 lbs (+ 11.85 lbs compared to M4 Fighting Load)

 

With the weight of fully loaded magazines equal to 180 total rounds and the weapon with magazine inserted, the SCAR-H and loadout is 11.01 lbs more than the M4. With the same variables, the AK-15 is 11.85 lbs more. While not as large of a weight gain as we expected, it is significant for an already loaded down rifleman.

 

The Soldiers Load and Speed

We’ve studied the effect of weight on rucking speed before, but the study’s focus was on long distance movements over varying terrain. We wanted to see what the impact of increased weight might be on short, sprinting speed starting from the ground. While nothing will replicate the demands of a maneuvering under fire, moving from micro-terrain cover to micro-terrain cover while accurately engaging your weapon system is the foundation.

 

We conducted a mini-study with two of our lab rats to better understand how short sprinting might be affected by increased load.

 

As our baseline combat load weight, we referenced a Army study “The Modern Warrior’s Combat Load” which analyzed the soldier’s load during a 2003 Afghanistan deployment.

 

Source: “The Modern Combat Warrior’s Combat Load”

 

We conducted three iterations of a 35 ft sprint, starting from the prone, with three weights. With two timers, we used the average of the three sprints at each load to determine how speed was affected.

 

  • Sprint #1: Unloaded
  • Sprint #2: 63 lbs (Average fighting load with M4)
  • Sprint #3: 74 lbs (Average fighting load with 11lbs weight difference between M4 and SCAR-H)

 

Sprint #1 Average @ Unloaded Sprint #2 Average @ 63lbs Time Increase – Sprint #1 to Sprint #2  in Percentage Sprint #3 Average @ 74lbs Time Increase – Sprint #2 to Sprint #3  in Percentage
Athlete 1 2.83 seconds 3.42 seconds +21% 3.75 seconds +9.6%
Athlete 2 2.75 seconds 3.2 seconds +16% 3.37 seconds +5%

 

The mini-study shows that the added weight of a 7.62 load out did have an impact on short distance sprinting. Athlete 1 increased by 9.6%, and Athlete 2 increased by 5%.

 

The athletes reported that they felt the weight affect their speed most while getting up from the prone position. The actual sprinting portion felt similar regardless of which load they were carrying. We would like to explore this further, as the traditional fire and movement requires the soldier to complete this motion multiple times. We would expect the percentage in time to increase as the movement was conducted repeatedly due to soldier fatigue.

 

If we were to increase the number of repeated prone to sprints to ten total sprints, or approximately 100 meters, repeated consecutively similar to fire and movement, the results would be more significant. The increase in load from 63lbs to 74lbs would increase the total exposure time (time spent sprinting forward) by 3.3 seconds.

We haven’t tested this yet, but would expect the time increase to be even more significant than our math, as the athlete would clearly tire and become slower with each sprint. It does not take much knowledge to understand that heavier generally means slower, but quantifying that number in relation to performance is critical for military leaders of all ranks.

 

The problem of the “Soldier’s Load” has existed since the earliest armies. Assyrian spearmen carried a load of up to 80 lbs. Vietnam era infantry reported loads of ranging from 80-99 lbs for extended missions. The infantryman in the Global War on Terror has maintained or increased that weight according to the “Modern Warrior’s Combat Load” study.

 

The U.S. Military has made significant efforts to reduce the load burden placed up soldiers, particularly infantrymen. Batteries, radios, weapons, body armor, bipods and tripods for various weapon systems have all become lighter, yet new equipment is fielded which maintains the soldier’s load at a cumbersome weight.

 

Overall, the results were not as dramatic on performance as expected in terms of weight increase or it’s effect on short sprinting speed, but the implications of the increasing load are significant. Follow on testing which can thoroughly analyze the specific motions associated with fire and movement, as well as additional gear requirements for 7.62 weapon systems would be beneficial.

 

Questions, comments, or feedback? Email charles@mtntactical.com

 

Sources

  • http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/m4-specs.htm
  • http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/12/mattis-admits-its-time-to-upgrade-the-m16s-lethality/
  • http://tacticalgear.com/ak-47-vs-ar-15
  • http://www.usariem.army.mil/assets/docs/publications/articles/2010/LoadCarriagePDF.pdf
  • http://thedonovan.com/archives/modernwarriorload/ModernWarriorsCombatLoadReport.pdf
  • http://www.krtraining.com/KRTraining/Archive/PracticalRangeSmallArms.pdf
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6952680
  • http://images.military.com/pix/defensetech/cna_m4_study_d0015259_a2.pdf
  • http://militarymedicine.amsus.org/doi/pdf/10.7205/MILMED-D-11-00017
  • http://uknowledge.uky.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1022&context=khp_etds
  • http://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm
  • https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2014/5/21/testing-the-army-s-m855a1-standard-ball-cartridge/
  • http://mtntactical.com/military-athlete-articles/external-loads-walking-speeds-0-70-body-weight/
  • https://works.bepress.com/rob_orr/4/download/