This is a 7 Week, 5 day/week strength training program which deploys MTI’s Eccentric Strength progression methodology.
Eccentric training develops the muscles as they are lengthening under load, as opposed to “concentric” strength which trains muscles as they are shortening.
Consider a simple 1-armed dumbbell curl. As you curl the dumbbell up to your shoulder, you are training “concentric” strength. If you were to slowly lower it to full elbow extension, you would be training “eccentric” strength.
Consider a front squat and you quad. At the bottom of the squat, as push against the floor and lift the weight up, your quad shortens, and you are training “concentric” strength. At the top, if you were to slowly drop down into the squat, your quad would lengthen and you’d be training “eccentric” strength.
Now think about hiking up a steep hill, with a 45# backpack. With each step, as you rise up, you are using “concentric” strength – just like you were as you came up out of the front squat.
Now, hiking downhill: with each step your foot touches the ground at full knee extension and your quad has to “catch” your weight as you weigh the food. You knee bends some to do so, and your quad lengthens – you are using “eccentric” strength.
Studies have shows eccentric strength training is much more intense on the muscles and central nervous system than “concentric” strength training.
This strength plan deploys eccentric strength training for five exercises: Back Squat, Bench Press, Split Squat, Military Press and Pull Ups by causing you to slowly lower the weight over a 5-second drop for each rep.
You’ll begin by finding your 1RM (Back Squat, Bench Press, Military Press) 3RM (Split Squat), and max rep bodyweight Pull Ups, then use a percentage based progression (for all but Pull Ups) to increase the weight each week.
You’ll also use eccentric strength for Pull Ups, but the progression is based on your max pull up number.
You’ll train strength 4 days/week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
On Tuesdays and Fridays, you’ll complete a short, intense gym-based, multi-modal work capacity effort.
On Mondays and Thursdays, you’ll grind through a 10-15 minute Chassis Integrity circuit.
On Wednesdays you’ll complete a mid-distance 4-5 miles easy run.
Here is the Weekly Schedule:
- Monday: Strength, Chassis Integrity
- Tuesday: Strength, Work Capacity
- Wednesday: Endurance – Easy Run
- Thursday: Strength, Chassis Integrity
- Friday: Strength, Work Capacity
- COMMON QUESTIONS
Who is this plan appropriate for?
Anyone who wants to dedicate 6 weeks to building strength. We’ve deployed MTI’s Eccentric Strength Progression with SOF personnel, professional mountain athletes and high school athletes.
How Long should the strength sessions (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri) Take?
60-75 minutes. It will take a week or two to figure out the flow, and these sessions may extend to 75 minutes for the first couple weeks. But beginning week 3, you should have a good idea of the flow and move through them quicker. Aim to finish right around 60 minutes.
If after Week 2 your are taking much longer than 65 minutes, you are resting too long between rounds and/or lingering with the mobility/stretch exercise too long.
If these sessions are taking 50 minutes, you aren’t lifting heavy enough. Each circuit is not a mini-Crossfit WOD. You want the load to be as heavy as possible, but still make the prescribed reps. Work briskly, but not frantically.
What does “1RM” Stand For?
1RM = 1 Repetition Maximum … the most you can lift for 1 rep of that exercise
How do I work up to 1RM?
For the Bench Press, Back Squat, and Military Press, Do this:
- Set of 5 Reps, …. add weight
- Set of 3 Reps, …. add weight
- 1x Rep …. add weight and keep doing singles until you reach your 1RM. Aim to get there by your 4th or 5th Single.
For example, here’s how I would work up to my 1RM Bench Press:
Round Reps Load
1 5 135#
2 3 165#
3 1 195#
4 1 205#
5 1 225#
6 1 225#
7 1 250# …. 1RM
How do I work up to 3RM (3 Reps Max) for the Split Squat?
Same Idea as the 1RM above, but use 3 rep for each level:
- Set of 3 Reps each leg …. add weight
- Set of 3 Reps each leg …. add weight
- Set of 3 Reps each leg …. add weight
- Set of 3 Reps each leg …. add weight …. etc. until you reach your 3 Rep Max load.
For example, here’s how I would work up to my 3RM Split Squat:
Round Reps Load
1 3 95#
2 3 115#
3 3 135#
4 3 145#
5 3 155#
6 3 165#…. 3RM
How long should it take to work up to my 1RM/3RM?
10-15 minutes. Work briskly, not frantically. Generally, by the time you add weight, chalk up, and rest for a second, you should be ready for the next round.
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 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?
On our “Exercises” page HERE
What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.
Can I see sample training?
Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming.
Note about Safety and Having a Spotter
Eccentric strength training is intense and taxing. Often, you will need help to stand up out of the “bottom” of a Back Squat/Split Squat and help needed get the barbell back to the “up” position for the bench press and military press. We strongly encourage the use of a spotter or at a minimum, safety bars on the rack for the back squat, split squat and bench press. For the military press, you can use your legs and “push press” the barbell back to the top position if needed.
What if I have more questions?
1) Mission Direct
Gym numbers mean nothing. All that matters is mission performance.
To this end, MTI's fitness solutions and programming are not boxed in by convention, tradition, orthodoxy, public opinion or any other artificial constraint driven by inside or outside forces.
We begin with the raw fitness demands of the mission and build a fitness solution which directly prepares the athlete for those demands.
2) Fitness Solutions Built from the Ground Up
MTI's programming is not "re-tread" bodybuilding, football, CrossFit, kettlebell, strength or general fitness programming. We've built our fitness programming for mountain and tactical athletes from the ground up.
The Fluid Periodization methodology we deploy to concurrently train multiple fitness attributes is completely original and has continued to evolve and improve over the years.
Our mid-section training methodology, Chassis Integrity, is also original, as is our endurance programming, 7 strength training progressions, tactical agility, and work capacity programming.
Our mountain sports pre-season training plans, tactical PFT, selection, school, course, and fitness improvement training plans across military, LE and Fire Rescue are MTI-developed, tested and athlete-proven.
Over the years hundreds of athletes and coaches have taken our advanced programming and unit fitness leader programming courses and MTI is widely recognized within the mountain and tactical professions and fitness media as a thought leader in fitness programming for military and tactical athletes.
3) The MTI Method
→ Research: MTI begins program design with extensive research of the fitness demands of the mission, sport or event, identifies the exercises and progressions which sport-specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the training plan.
→ Deploy & Assess: We deploy the training plan "Lab Rats" at our Wyoming facility. Training session and cycle issues are identified and fixed as we work through the training plan. Post cycle we assess the programming's effectiveness and efficiency. We keep the stuff that works, and fix or toss the stuff that doesn't.
→ Publish & Assess Again: Plan is published for purchase as an individual training plan and made available to our subscribers. Feedback/results are assessed.
→ Iterate: We take what we learn from lab rats and athletes, re-visit, update and improve already published training plans. Several of our individual training plans are on their 4th or 5th version.
4) Mission-Direct Research
MTI exists to "Improve Mountain and Tactical Athletes mission performance and keep them safe." To that end, we have developed a unique research methodology aimed at identifying real world areas of improvement and identifying immediately deployable mission-direct solutions. Click HERE to learn more about MTI's Mission-Direct Research methodology, and Here to read about just few of our research efforts.
5) Field Proven
Our stuff works. Weekly we receive unsolicited reviews of our programming and testimonials to its effectiveness.
6) Programming Breadth
MTI's library of 200+ sport-specific fitness plans for mountain and tactical athletes is unmatched. Resources range from specific programming for tactical special forces selections, to specific plans for climbing Rainier and Denali, to general fitness solutions such as running improvement, to post-rehab from injury.
Over the past decade, MTI has partnered with hundreds of athletes throughout their individual mountain and tactical careers, and provided fitness solutions as they face new mountain objectives, tactical schools, selections, PFTs and deployments, and came back from injury.
7) Worldwide Influence
Our work is not limited to US Athletes.
We've developed selection-specific training plans for Canadian, UK, Australian and German Special Forces Selections and worked with individual military personnel from Scandinavia, South, and Central America.
Canadian, Australian, UK and western European law enforcement and fire/rescue athletes have used MTI programming for mission-direct fitness.
On the mountain side, Alpinists from Japan to Slovakia have consulted with MTI and used MTI's programming to prepare for mountain objectives.
8) Mission Performance beyond Fitness
MTI’s exists is to improve Mission Performance for mountain and tactical athletes and keep them safe.
This focus on “mission direct” solutions, enhancements and improvements drives our work and research and extends beyond fitness solutions to include training, leadership, gear, team culture, and safety.
Fitness is just one area of our work.
Our non-fitness research has included tactical cultures, combat uniforms, and gore-tex performance, and effect of stress on marksmanship.
Our work on defining what it means to be a Quiet Professional has had penetrating influence and driven healthy conversations with both mountain and tactical professionals.
9) Direct, Honest, Clear Answers
Since 2007 we've taken and answered dozens of questions weekly from mountain and tactical athletes. We've saved these individual Q&A's and now thousands are archived on our site.
We're not salesmen, and our answers are noted for their directness, honesty, and clarity. Our stuff isn't for everyone. If we can help, we'll let you know. If we can't, we'll let you know that, too.
- Rob Shaul, Founder
All of the Above is Backed Up By Our Promise: Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.
Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.
By Rob Shaul
I received notes frequently from athletes hesitant to purchase a subscription or training plans asking me to sell them on why they should make the purchase.
While I understand the question, I’m not a salesman - so I can't put a hard sale on anyone for our programming.
I can tell them the process we go through to design our programming.
We begin with extensive research on the fitness demands of the event, identify the exercises and progressions which sport specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the plan.
Then we test the cycle on ourselves and our lab rats here in Wyoming. We document, note what works and doesn’t work, re-assess, and make changes and modifications.
Then we publish the programming in the form of one of our plans or as part of our subscription daily training sessions for tactical and mountain athletes.
We don’t stop there - our daily programming is the “tip of the spear” for our programming evolution. We use these sessions to learn and make continuous improvement.
As we learn more and improve, we go back, and update the sport-specific training plans on the website. For example, we’re currently on Version 5 of our Ruck Based Selection Training Plan and Version 3 of our Dryland Ski Training Plan and Version 4 of our Big Game Back Country Hunting Training Plan.
We understand our programing isn’t cheap, but we believe it’s a great value. The $79 for the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan, and $39 for the Dryland Ski Training Plan reflect the, research, work, innovative theory, iteration, testing and feedback we've put in and received to make these plans effective.
All that matters for us is outside performance, and we feel strongly that Our Stuff Works in the real world.
Here’s our guarantee:
1) Individual Training Plan Purchase:
If you purchase an individual training plan, follow it as prescribed before your season/event/pft/selection, and if you don’t feel you were physically ready for your season/event/pft/selection, and/or didn’t see dramatic improvements in your early season performance, we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.
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If you purchase an Athletes’ Subscription, follow the training sessions as prescribed, and are not satisfied with the quality of the programming, notify us within 30 days of purchase, and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.