Lab Rats Needed for the MTI K9 Handler Fitness Assessment

By Rob Shaul

I’m working on a packet of training plans specifically for Military and LE K9 Handlers, and am starting the process by designing a K9-specific fitness assessment.

It seems on the surface K9 fitness demands mirror that of SWAT/SRT:
  • High Relative Strength
  • High multi-modal work capacity, with an emphasis on sprinting and repeat sprinting
  • High Chassis Integrity
  • Tactical Agility (handler alone, and handler + dog)
But include ….
  • Endurance …. esp. multi-modal endurance 60-90 minutes long, in Kit
  • Grip Strength and Grip Strength Endurance
Below is the protocol and events for the Proposed MTI K9 Fitness Assessment. I’ve designed this to last 75 to 90 minutes so it cumulatively tests mission-direct stamina from long tracks.

MTI’s K9 Handler Fitness Assessment

Warm Up:
4 Rounds
Assessment:
1) Max Rep Bench Press – Women @ .75x Bodyweight, Men @ 1x Bodyweight. 
Use this protocol:
8x Bench Press @ 40% Bodyweight for Women, 50% Bodyweight for Men
4x Bench Press @ 60% Bodyweight for Women, 75% Bodyweight for Men
Then …. Max Rep Bench Press – Women @ .75x Bodyweight, Men @ 1x Bodyweight
***** Rest 3-5 Minutes
2) Max Rep K9 2-Box Step Over with Dog in 7 Minutes
Set two 20″ Plyo Boxes up 6 feet apart. Add a cone 6 feet from each box – so in a line you have:
        Cone … 6ft … 20″ box …. 6 ft … 20″ Box … 6 ft … Cone
On “Go” Handler and Dog start behind the cone a one end, move up and over both boxes, circle around the cone at the far end, and return. Each length = 1x Rep. Max reps in 7 minutes.
***** Rest 3-5 Minutes
3) Max Rep Pull Up (women unloaded, men weighted @25#).
For Men, it’s easiest to load a backpack with a 25# dumbbell and us the pack for load.
***** Rest 3-5 Minutes
4) Max Rep Sandbag Get Up in 7 Minutes @ 40/60# (women 40#, men 60#)
***** Rest 3-5 Minutes
***** Rest 3-5 Minutes
***** Rest 10 Minutes
7) 1.5 Mile Run in 25# Weight Vest or Body Armor – with your dog

I’m looking for lab rats to run through the assessment, give me feedback, and set a baseline of scores.
So far, one K9 Handler has completed the assessment. His results are below:
Handler:
Age- 42
Height- 6-0
Weight- 190lbs
K9:
Age- 6
Weight- 65lbs
Results:
1) Max bench body weight- 10
2) K9 two box step – 48
3) Max pull in 25#vest- 11
4) Sand Bag Get Up (all I have is 95# bag) – 39
5) Gi Grip Strength Assessment – 8
6) MTI Work Capacity Assessment – 51
7) 1.5 miles in 25# vest- 14:02
Total time : 1:16:00
Interested? Questions? Please email me: rob@mtntactical.com