All posts by Mintra Mattison

Arete 2.18.21

Military / National Security / Foreign Policy

31st MEU tests artificial intelligence sensing gear to help Marines, soldiers see invisible threats, Defense News
Concerns raised about COVID-19 vaccines reaching deployed troops, Marine Corps
The Role of U.S. Airpower in Defeating ISIS, RAND Research
With the submarine threat on the rise, the US Navy looks to autonomous water sensor drones, Defense News
1st Special Forces Command – A Vision for 2021 and Beyond, Small Wars Journal
U.S. Army Europe and Africa Headquarters: Reforming for Future Success, War on the Rocks
Nearly 5,000 National Guard troops to stay in DC over concerns of potential violence in March, The Hill

 

Wildland Fire / Law Enforcement

NPR: Firefighters are facing a growing mental health challenge, Wildfire Today
4 tools that can make search and recovery operations successful, FireRescue1 Daily News
Combined, bark beetle outbreaks and wildfire spell uncertain future for forests, Wildfire Today
University of Alabama Develops Robot that Will Help Police Officer, Officer

 

Mountain

Watch Tom Randall Climb the UK’s Longest Urban Roof Crack, Climbing Magazine
What It’s Like to Ski-Tour for 60 Hours Straight, Outside Magazine
The Language of Kayaking, The Outbound Collective
4 Winter Camping Safety Tips for All Skill Levels, Therm-a-Rest Blog
Video: Freeskier Tries 5000 Year Old Skis | Red Bull Origins w/ Paddy Graham & Jon Olsson, Red Bull
Tanzania Approves a Cable Car on Kilimanjaro, Outside Magazine
5 Quick Hacks for Beating Cracked, Glassy Winter Skin, Climbing Magazine

 

Fitness / Health / Nutrition

Strength Training and the Efficacy of Electromyography (EMG), Breaking Muscle
The body produces new satiety factor during prolonged exercise, Science Daily
Does Nutritional Yeast Trigger Crohn’s Disease? NutritionFacts
Muscle factor that controls fat metabolism identified, Science Daily
How to Eat When You’re Injured, Outside Magazine

 

Interesting

Unlocking the mystery behind skeletal aging, Science Daily
Meet Elizabeth Ann, the First Cloned Black-Footed Ferret, NYT
How Your Body Does (and Doesn’t) Adapt to Cold, Outside Magazine
Daytime Napping May Be in Your Genes, WebMD Health

Q&A 2.18.21

QUESTION

I’m looking to purchase either the 30 min dryland ski training or the 7 week dryland skiing training.  I have a couple questions.
1. Will it work for snowboarding?
2. What’s the difference between the 2 programs and how do I choose which one is right for me?

ANSWER

1) Yes
2) the 30-min per day won’t prepare you as well. If you have 60 min, per day, do the full program.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m just curious what information informed the creation of the SFOD-D Selection Course Training Plan? Did someone who went through ASC create it?

ANSWER

The system we deploy for developing selection training plans is the same for all the plans.
First, we begin with publicly available research on the specific fitness demands of the selection.
Next, we ask individuals who’ve attended selection for any details they can share without violating any rules or NDA.
Next, we design the programming with a laser focus on the selection fitness demands and publish it.
Then we solicit feedback from those who have purchased the plan and used it for selection on the effectiveness and weaknesses of the plan.
Then we update the plan using any new information, and any methodology changes to our programming approach. We’re currently on version 2 of this plan – I updated it this time last year.
Then we start the process again and it continues.
– Rob

QUESTION

I had asked in the fall about which plans you would recommend for adventure race training. In short, you had suggested that the half-ironman plan would be a good base to adapt as a training plan for an AR race. I have follow-up questions about training for the racing season now that I’m putting together my racing calendar. I’m going to start the season with a warm-up easier 6 hour race in early May and then, starting at the end of June, I’ll have one 8-12 race per month through October.
  • Would you recommend doing the half-ironman plan with a finish date at the late June race and just work in the easier race as part of the training?
  • What would you recommend for training for July – October in the short windows between races?

ANSWER

We’re currently designing these plans, but they are taking longer than expected. Answers:
  1. Yes
  2. What you’re asking here is more complicated and I’d need to do some research … essentially you’re asking for an in-season triathlon-like training plan, and I’m not familiar with what this programming would look like. The goal is would be to have some recovery after each race, but then enough intensity/programming to stay at the near peak level of fitness for your next race. The danger is overtraining, and I’m not sure what that program would look like. We have an in-season strength training plan for endurance athletes, but it’s just the strength work. I’d recommend you research in-season programming for triathletes and see what you find. I’m sorry I can’t help more but haven’t programmed for this scenario before.
– Rob

QUESTION

My wife has been kicking around the idea of doing something for her, fitness-wise.
I’ve suggested MTI on several occasions but I think I’m just going to pull the trigger for her.
Essentially,
I want to keep it bodyweight/sandbag oriented.
Her main goal is to lose weight.
Shes 5’6″ 140lbs and in good health overall.
Any ideas are welcome, she will be conducting her routines at home.

ANSWER

Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. …. though be careful pulling the trigger for her. That’s dangerous territory as I’ve learned the hard way, time and again!
– Rob

QUESTION

I am just starting week 2 of the “hypertrophy for skinny guys” plan. Prior to this plan I’d usually do a 2 day split with boilerplate bodybuilding weight/rep schemes and run 3 or 5 miles 3-4 times a week. Typically averaging about 11-13 miles a week.
The plan says to avoid endurance work as it can decrease mass gains. If I eat the calories to offset runs, is it still recommended not to do any conditioning – can you ballpark how detrimental it is assuming I’m getting the calories?
The program is challenging for me so I am not sure how much mileage I would get while still leaving enough gas in my legs anyways.
I’m just worried about my legs deconditioning – I got up to running sub 40min 5 mile runs and ~20 min 3 mile runs over the course of quarantine after being someone who always overdid it and got shin splints.
So just looking for guidance or thoughts when you have athletes who want to add mass but maintain their cardio. Maybe they are truly mutually exclusive.
Vitals – 6’4, 27 y/o, 205lbs.

ANSWER

Extra endurance will limit your mass gains from this program. Complete the program as prescribed, then go back to your regular programming.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have two years left in the reserves before I plan on going into the National Guard as a 18x.  Should I do the 52 week ruck based selection program back to back, or do once then mix up my training for the last year?

ANSWER

There are plenty of plans and variety in the packet to complete it back to back – so if you wanted to save some money you could do that.
The other option would be to complete the plans/order in the Greek Hero packet now, then completing the packet the year before selection.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a 240 lb infantryman. Not a slob 240 I was just a power lifter before I came in. I scored a 570 on my ACFT which I’m proud of I just know my weakness lies in endurance. I want to submit my packet for rasp, I know they beat feet, so I assume I’m looking for a solid running/body weight program? Any suggestions on what program I should do or maybe stack a couple of programs?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve got 12 weeks before my Air Force PFT (assuming they don’t postpone it again for covid).  The program on your website is 6 weeks and says to email if I have longer than that to prepare.  I’m in decent shape now and run 4-5 miles 4x per week.  Looking for something to motivate me to be more well rounded (strength training mixed with cardio)

ANSWER

Valor if you don’t mind rucking.
Johnny if you do.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was looking through your training plans and was curious which you would recommend to prepare  for the US Marshals training academy.  Im what I understand it’s heavy on running and calisthenics. I appreciate any info.

ANSWER

Congrats!
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been working through your half marathon training plan (good training) but this weekend my home in the mountains is supposed to catch a lot of snow thus making running outside or even leaving home impossible. My younger years would have ventured a different opinion.
I have an airdyne in my lower level garage that would keep my training up but now I ask… what could I do with an airdyne which would supplement running 6+ miles?
I would assume tripling the distance of the run?   But for some other options, I’ll be curious to know from your professional stand point so I don’t fall behind in the program progression. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

ANSWER

Best to run outside with spikes.
Airdyne/spin bike/rower – the transfer to running is suspect. Too much of this and soon all you’ll be doing is getting good at the airdyne.
If you’re stubborn, double the distance.
– Rob

QUESTION

Which is the best backpack that you recommend for rucking sessions? I wanna buy one, but I don’t know…

ANSWER

Best is the one you’ll be issued for selection … not sure how this works, but it’s best to train with the equipment you’ll use for the real thing.
If not, for training purposes, any well build, durable, internal frame pack will do. It doesn’t need to very big, but needs to be strong.
Mystery Ranch makes great packs: https://www.mysteryranch.com/pop-up-38-pack?quantity=1, but they are expensive, esp. with shipping to europe. Look at alpine climbing packs.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am having a hard time finding a program that fits what I am looking for. I am looking at going into law enforcement but only have access to a conventional gym. I am looking at just trying to get started again with general strength training to build a foundation. Thank you for your time

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been checking out some of your strength regiments (notably your ultimate meathead cycle). I notice you rotate your excercises and basically have different workouts every time instead of  hitting consistent muscle groups on certain days vs others on other days. My question is what would be the reasoning for this? Are you focusing more on getting both eccentric and concentric strengths by doing so or is there some other reason? I’m a student of the art of fitness, your input would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

We have 8+ different strength progressions/methodologies, and some repeat specific exercises with consistent progressions, and some don’t. Big 24 does, for example, TLU doesn’t.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a 47 year old guy who is recovering from a stress fracture in my lower back.  I’ve been working out pretty religiously for nearly a decade (I’ve completed several MTN Tactical programs in that time mixed in with a lot of CrossFit as well) with very little time lost due to injuries in that period.  I’m in lockdown right now, so the only equipment I have is a MTN Tactcial sandbag holding about 50-55 lbs of gravel.

I don’t have a specific fitness objective right now so I’m focusing on general conditioning.  In fact, right before I got hurt, I was about to start your Gym Closure Plan.

The standard protocol for recovering from this injury is to resume training with an emphasis on increasing core strength.  I had hoped to start with your Low Back Program but, as I noted, I’m in lockdown and only have access to the sandbag.

My question is: what do you recommend for the injury recovery phase in light of my injury and lack of access to equipment?

ANSWER

Use a 20 pound pack/sandbag for the first 3 weeks, then increase to 40 pounds for the last 4 weeks.
– Rob

QUESTION

After looking at a good bit of ya’lls plans I am in need of some advice. Here is some of my med history that I must take into account when choosing a plan. I have had 2 vertebrae in my neck fused, 2 (R) ankle reconstructions (one of which was a calcaneal osteotomy), 3 (R) shoulder surgeries and a (R) bicep surgery. I am looking for a plan to build strength, address speed, endurance and is made for someone with limited time. If you could point me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it.

ANSWER

– Rob

Arete 2.11.21

Military / National Security / Foreign Policy

The Demand for Responsiveness in Past U.S. Military Operations, RAND
Why U.S. Troops Should Remain in Afghanistan, RealClearDefense
Somebody stole 10 pounds of C4 from Twentynine Palms, Task & Purpose
Thoughts on the Unfolding U.S.-Chinese Competition: Washington’s Policy Towards Beijing Enters Its Next Phase, War on the Rocks
Army Taking Serious Look at Composite Cartridges, RealClearDefense
Air war against ISIS holds lessons for future battles, Air Force Times
Marines seek new intel tool for public info online, Marine Corps

 

Wildland Fire / Law Enforcement

Two wildfires burn total of more than 600 acres near Denver on Superbowl Sunday, Wildfire Today
NASA uses UAVs and satellites equipped with radar to monitor recovery from vegetation fires, Wildfire Today
Vaccine storage: A firefighter’s guide to dry ice handling and hazards, FireRescue 1 Daily News
Three power companies in California to spend $15 billion to mitigate wildfire potential, Wildfire Today
Ore. lawmakers consider bill to repeal law that allows police to declare unlawful assemblies, Police1Daily News
Portland Has Fewest Officers in 25 Years, Chief Asks for Reductions in Budget Cuts, Policemag
Hack Brief: Anonymous Stole and Leaked a Megatrove of Police Documents, Wired
Why you should act out your next career move, Police1 Daily News

 

Mountain

Firefall Returns to Yosemite This Week But You’ll Need a Reservation, Adventure Journal
Finding a new route on the Grand Teton: the North Buttress Direct (5.10+ R), Alpinist Weekly
What to Know Before You Go Fat Biking in the Upper Peninsula, Osprey Packs
Rescue Techniques for Backcountry Skiing, Outside Magazine
An Impressive First Descent in the Monashees, POWDER Magazine
K2 Takes a Tragic Turn as Trio of Climbers Goes Missing, The Adventure Blog
Canadian Man Witnesses Elk Getting Buried By Avalanche…Runs Over And Saves It, Unofficial Networks

 

Fitness / Health / Nutrition

The Best Quad Strength & Hypertrophy Exercises, The Barbell Physio
Want to Improve Your Running? Focus on Recovery, Outside Magazine
Blink! The link between aerobic fitness and cognition, Science Daily
How to Train Power for the Lower Body, Outside Magazine
Running Is a Total Body Affair, NYT

 

Interesting

Friends matter: Giraffes that group with others live longer, Science Daily
College Student’s Simple Invention Helps Nurses Work and Patients Rest, NYT
The Nomad Life Was Never Part of Their Plan, But it Works, Adventure Journal
America’s Stockpiles Are Hardly Strategic, Defense One

Q&A 2.11.21

QUESTION

My goal is to whip myself into a little better shape in advance of some backcountry ski treks which I expect to take place late February and into March & April.  We’re running very lean on snow here in New England so far this year.
I’ve had a look at the preseason b/c ski training and I think it fits.  I do have a few challenges, which I believe I can address:
1. I work about 12 hrs per day 5 days per week, and off/on during weekends.
    Solution: get after it early, late, or take a break during the day for a workout.  Looks like the typical b/c preseason session would be maybe 45 min.
2. I’m a ski-patroller as well, and I pull a double shift on Thursday afternoon/evening. The double allows me to be on skis for approx 10 hrs per day, and add some skinning in to breakup the occasional boredom and get my uphill game on..  The once weekly shift eats into a “rest-day”, and after being on the hill for 10 hours, and enduring an hour-plus drive home, I’m beat the next day.
    Solution: Count my Thursday shift as rest-day, restart the sequence on Friday.
3. Our current gym is in the garage, as the basement is too crowded and the structure is too low.  We added some TRX straps, built a chinning bar, added rubber flooring, and moved  weights & bench to the garage.  Challenge is that certain times, the garage is like 10 degrees colder than outside, which – in spit of a lack of snow – has been somewhat chilly.
    Solution: bundle up like I’m going b/c skiing, peel off layers as needed
So, while I seem to have a solution for each of the challenges noted, I’m wondering if there’s anything else you may recommend as far as a plan or other potential suggestions.  Thx.

ANSWER

I’d replacing the Saturday Run with your Thursday patrol duty, and taking full rest on Sunday.
This is a limited equipment plan – you’ll only need a pair of 25# dumbbells, 60# Sandbag, bench and backpack with 25# (wrap a dumbbell in the towel and put in the pack).
Plan is simple, but no joke. Leg blasters, touch/jump/touch intervals and step ups will hammer legs/lungs.
Training before work will greatly increase your consistency – even for 12 hour days. Something will always get in the way if you try to train after work.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have really enjoyed Humility and I see that things have been updated recently.  More out of my own curiosity, what led to the update?  Was there a result in a Mini study that lead to the change? I know it’s probably a stretch to ask but I’d love to see the reasoning behind the update, if at all possible without revealing trade secrets or anything..  I’m still going to enjoy it the way I’ve enjoyed it before, cursing the people that designed a stupid thing and wondering about my own sanity for doing it.

Thank you for making such a great program and keeping things up to date and relevant.

ANSWER

Changes to Humility V3

  • Added a sandbag to the equipment list and updated the Chassis Integrity circuits accordingly
  • Changed from the unloaded run assessment to 5 miles, and added a 1-mile loaded running assessment (25#)
  • Changed and updated the Work Capacity Circuits in the Training Plan
  • Changed the pacing of the Friday unloaded runs to “Moderate”
  • Removed Dumbbells from the equipment list
  • Changed the leg strength work from the Quadzilla Complex to a Leg Blaster Progression

– Rob


QUESTION

I’m very interested in the programs you have and they seem like what I’m after. I’m looking for your advice on a specific training plan
I live in Maine so we have distinct seasons and I work as a flight paramedic. I also enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking climbing and mountain biking.
I want to add some bulk as I’m a light weight (6’2 175lbs).
My ideal training (at least I think) would involve some traditional lifts such as squat, bench, and deadlifts. Some sandbag training and I’d like to get in some heavy bag workouts with some jump rope and similar training that a boxer would use. In the summer some outdoor training with swimming,running, and rope climb. I have enjoyed swim run events in the past
By February I will have a home gym with a squat rack adjustable bench pull up bar dumbbells and Olympic bar. Currently I have sandbags plyobox balance board heavy bag and a good space.
In short I want to add bulk, strength, and overall usable fitness.
Thank you for your time and any thoughts. Please let me know if you need any additional information from me.

ANSWER

Now start with Apache – which is a limited equipment, sandbag-based, multi-modal training plan. It’s my most recent limited equipment program design.
Follow it up with the Ultimate Meathead Cycle. You should have your home gym set up by then. Ultimate Meathead is a hybrid plan which trains lower and total body strength, and upper body mass.
After Ultimate Meathead drop into the plans/order in the Wilderness Packet beginning with Jedidiah Smith. Used these as your “base fitness” programming. These plans are built for mountain professionals including rangers, wilderness SAR, game and fish wardens, etc., and concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (run, uphill movement under load) and chassis integrity (functional core). The Wilderness plans will align with your mission-direct fitness demands as a flight paramedic and complement your outdoor life.
MTI has two types programming: (1) Base Fitness, and: (2) Event/Sport-specific fitness.
Again, used the Wilderness Plans as your Base Fitness, day to day programming. But, drop out of these plans and complete the appropriate event/sport-specific training plan directly before your sport season. For example, if you start mountain biking in June, drop out of the Wilderness Plans mid April and complete the Mountain Biking Preseason Training Plan the weeks directly before your season begins. We have similar event/sport-specific training plans for rock climbing, alpine climbing, triathlons, etc.
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently bought your FBI PFT plan and have been working through it.
A few questions for you – why do you have 800s scheduled on both thursdays and fridays? I am a little confused about why you’d duplicate the same workout back to back.
I was also wondering why you don’t program in any “LSD” runs? A lot of other programs I’ve looked at have a long distance run programmed in on saturdays and I was curious why your program doesn’t do the same?
Do you recommend adding any additional lifting to this program / running it alongside a lifting program?
For your reference, I am male, 25, 5’5”, 145 lbs. My 1.5 mile time is 10:15 min, I can do 40 pushups in 1 min, 50 sit-ups in 1 min, and my 300 meter sprint time is 50 seconds. I am scheduled to take my pft in early January.

ANSWER

1) This is a PFT-specific training plan focused solely on improving your scores on the FBI SA PFT. Through testing we’ve found repeating interval sessions is the best way to improve test running distances. These 800m repeats – if you are following the running calculator and making the prescribed pace – should be very difficult. This is why we repeat the sessions.
2) LSD Runs? See above – we’ve found intervals the most effective method for improving running speed for PFT run assessments. For sure, we wouldn’t replace a day of intervals for an LSD run. I can only speak to MTI programming – which we’ve tested, improved and proven over near a decade and a half.
3) Additional work? No – not if you want to max your performance on this assessment. The progressions should be difficult … if they aren’t, you didn’t push yourself on the initial assessment. Make sure you push on the mid-cycle assessment.
– Rob

QUESTION

I want to let you know that I really enjoyed your “16 every day things“ article and will be adding a Sinn watch as an everyday carry soon.  I am also wondering if you have a 14-day quarantine program since I am shortly on the way to Korea for an exercise and along with every arrival, will be housed in an isolated barracks locked down with only 30 minutes outside time a day. If not, I would like to propose it since it is such a blanket policy and will be around for a while. Either way, best regards as always.

ANSWER

Closest is the Gym Closure Training Plan which I built last Spring.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am working through RAT 6 and love it,
I’m combining it with some rucking and running  twice a week but sticking to the strength protocol to a T.
If I wanted to through some arm work in, can you recommend a repeatable go to that would provide some mass in my arms?
Gorilla complex?
Barbell curls with BB skull crushers?
Weighted pull-up and dips??
Thanks for the help

ANSWER

4 Rounds of the Gorilla Complex – increase load each round until it’s hard, but doable.
– R

QUESTION

I’m a Marine Corps officer and have been following your leg injury workout program. So far it’s been great, I’m so glad I can still break a sweat even with a broken foot.
I’m currently using my home gym which has a lot regarding weights but not a lot with cardio equipment (I used to just run prior to the broken foot). So I don’t have a rowing machine or bike. For the 200m of cardio in some of the workouts, I’ve bought a set of battle ropes, cheaper than a bike or rowing machine but still gets my heart rate up. Do you have any recommendations regarding how to integrate the ropes with the cardio in this program? Or have other suggestions?

ANSWER

I don’t have any experience with battle ropes … so my best guess would be do to high rounds of 30 sec work, 30 second rest … so if the plan calls for a 30 minute spin or 1-leg row, do 30 rounds … and see how it goes. I have no idea if this is possible.
I’m assuming you’re standing on a boot? If so, you can do the same with with kettlebell or dumbbell swings or kettlebell snatches. I know you can do 30 min of 30/30 of both because I’ve done it. Start with 12kg/25#.
– Rob

QUESTION

Curveball for you. I am primarily a nordic ski /snowboard athlete, with a fair amount of backcountry snowboard touring thrown into the mix every week.  I ski almost every day 7-10 km with a longer ski or backcountry trip once a week. I realize this isn’t a ton, but don’t want to burn out with doing too much strength. Rest one day, sometimes two.
I have tended to lose muscle over the season and I ruined my lower back years ago because of lack of muscle balance, and I want to make sure not to repeat the past. I used to train Jiu Jitsu when gyms were open and that filled the void and kept the core strong, but now not so much. What plan should I use to maintain muscle, flexibility and chassis strength?

ANSWER

Designed to be completed 2 days/week – each session includes total body strength and chassis integrity.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m in week 2 of the backcountry ski training program. Loving it, but I messed up my back while rock climbing and hiking this Saturday and I think I need to modify the program for a few days till it heals.

I’ve got some fairly intense muscle pain between my right shoulder blade and my spine. I’m assuming I just strained something. I’ve been able to alleviate pain by using a heating pad, hydrating, and keeping it moving. I took NSAIDs the first night due to pain intensity (including radiating pain down my right arm), but have not needed them since.

I’m planning to do Saturday’s four mile run today, as I’ve been able to run with previous upper back pain and it actually seemed to help.

I’m thinking of trying the leg-blaster and step-ups tomorrow, but may not do a 25lb pack, as I think an overloaded backpack is what may have caused the injury this weekend.

I’m mostly worried about doing the sandbag (particularly the good mornings) and scotty bob routines. One reason I’m worried about the good mornings is due to my lack of flexibility (I can’t maintain a neutral spine as far as I should). So I’d like to find an alternative exercise this week that doesn’t depend on a neutral spine.

Any advice for how to handle those routines or find alternatives for the next few days?

Sorry to make a mess of myself so early–I think I know how I got the injury and it’s a learning experience.
Appreciate any input.

ANSWER

In general, I expect athletes to train “injured” but not “hurt.” The difference? Training injured won’t make it worse. Training hurt will.
Given that, skip any exercise that you think will hurt your back. If the SB good mornings do, try doing them unloaded. If it still hurts, stop.
If the scotty bobs do, just do push ups. If it hurts, stop.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a 25 year old who recently left the corporate life and am working to get back in shape. I’m in the federal law enforcement application process and also considering the military, planning to go 18X if I go that route.
My thinking is to train like I’m going 18X because that will have me in better than needed shape for any LE fitness tests / academy if I end up making it through the hiring process.
I saw you have a 52 Week SFAS program—I’m not sure I’ll have that long before. Plus if I do enlist the 18X pipeline involves both basic and AIT prior to SFAS (which is its own question—if I go that route, I’ve heard you should be doing extra training throughout basic and AIT as they alone won’t prepare you for SFAS).
Do you have any plans you would recommend operating on an ~6 month timeline? I have prior fitness experience, but have not been training recently.
Thank you.

ANSWER

Military OnRamp, then Fortitude, then Valor, the the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan directly before basic.
Each can be purchased individually and all are part of the Packet.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been a fan for a long time. I got first introduced with Marine Corps PFT several years back. Currently. I am a Fitness Coordinator for the my agency and I wanted to find out if you had any partnerships with LE agencies regarding fitness programs, and what they may look like?

ANSWER

No formal partnerships with agencies. Individuals use our programming.
Our Wilderness Packet of Plans are designed as day-to-day Base Fitness programming or wilderness professionals including Game Wardens, Rangers, Field Biologists, etc. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (run, uphill movement under load) and chassis integrity (functional core).
We do have unit-based pricing … let me know if you’re interested.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m excited to start a training regimen – the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Training Plan.

I wonder if I should adapt the plan for my specific goals.

Please advise.

My goal is to backpack the Appalachian Trail in sections over three years. This year that includes:

  • End of March – 100 miles over 4 days = 25 miles/day with 25# pack – 10K’ up/down per day
  • June – 440 miles over 19 days = 23 miles/day with 30# pack – 12K’ up/down per day
  • October – 300 miles over 12 days = 25 miles/day with 30# pack – 14K’ up/down per day

My reason for training is the need for increased endurance (and to lose some body fat).

  • Last year my peak performance was 20 miles per day over 6 days with 10K’ elevation gain/loss per day
  • In past have started trips with less mileage, building over the hike. Present goal requires I start ready for 25 miles per day right from the start, without injury.

I am 62 years old and walk steadily, only rarely run. So far, success has come from perfecting a relaxed walk geared for endurance. I am 6’1” tall, 215 pounds.

As I mentioned, I think the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Training Plan is the closest to what I need.

My difference is doing more miles and repeating it for many days back-to-back, without running, just hiking.

Please advise if I should make some adjustments to the training plan.

Thank you very much.

ANSWER

There’s not nearly enough volume in the Rim to Rim plan to go 25 miles/day. The plan is designed to prepare you for one, 20+ mile day, not four in a row.

I don’t have a perfect plan for you. From what I do have I’d recommend the 100-Mile Ultra Training Plan and hike instead of run in the plan. Hike trails with vertical, if possible, at 25# pack.

If not, replace the strength training in the plan with the Monday & Thursday leg blaster progression from the Rim to Rim Plan. You’ll have to skip the step ups.

You only have 7 weeks before the trip starts so I’m hoping your coming into significantly fit or have a high training age.

– Rob


QUESTION

Curveball for you. I am primarily a nordic ski /snowboard athlete, with a fair amount of backcountry snowboard touring thrown into the mix every week.  I ski almost every day 7-10 km with a longer ski or backcountry trip once a week. I realize this isn’t a ton, but don’t want to burn out with doing too much strength. Rest one day, sometimes two.
I have tended to lose muscle over the season and I ruined my lower back years ago because of lack of muscle balance, and I want to make sure not to repeat the past. I used to train Jiu Jitsu when gyms were open and that filled the void and kept the core strong, but now not so much. What plan should I use to maintain muscle, flexibility and chassis strength?

ANSWER

Designed to be completed 2 days/week – each session includes total body strength and chassis integrity.
– Rob

QUESTION

Thanks for broadening my workouts I got 2 more plans from you I’m starting with the body weight workout since I was struggling to do the mountain plan and couldn’t  touch the Afghan pre deployment.

I can’t seem to find a track anywhere by me do you have any other options on things I could do on a trail or on a street light post to post. Just wondering what other options I have so I can really start getting after it.

Thank you so much for your help love what you’ve put out there

ANSWER

I’m not sure what your training goal is, but if it’s the Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training Plan, I’d recommend Mountaineering & Hiking Prep.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am just signing up to your monthly subscription plans, but would like a routine for limited equipment (gyms closed) but for a climber?  I saw about 40 plans, so wanted to check.

I’m looking to stay lean, but strong.  I am a retired wrestler, so I bulk up too much where I am strong but seem to pack on too much muscle, so programming can be tricky for me.

Once the gyms open up, do you have a suggestion for a general training plan to use around my climbing?  I boulder 4 days per week with two of those days doing a VSum on one day and a 4×4 on the other.

ANSWER

Now …. Mountain Base Artimes – bodyweight strength, mountain-focused endurance (run, step ups), chassis integrity and work capacity.
– Rob

 

Q&A 2.4.21

QUESTION

I recently purchased the year long PJ/CCT packet while on deployment and have completed the on ramp portion and loved it and am a huge fan of your chassis integrity theory and style of training! I want to take a break from it though since I’m having hand surgery to remove some scar tissue in roughly 2 months and my timeline is looking like it’ll be about 18 months until I hit Phase II selection. Im active duty Air Force and wanna finish my degree before starting the long pipeline, but was wondering do you have any programs in the meantime before I return to the packet that focus heavy on endurance running and emphasize muscular endurance as those are weak areas of mine (I’m consistently high 13s to low 14s for my 2 mile run)? I still want to lift weights/improve work capacity so if there are even options to pair 2 separate programs I’m all for it. Only equipment I don’t have access too right now is a pool. Thanks for the help.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the plans/order in the Virtue Packet. Two of these plans are in the PJ/CCT Packet – Valor and Humility.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m reaching out because I spent the morning having a friend (she’s a firefighter, Laura Lyons) sign your praises.
I recently switched gears from doing crossfit 4-5x a week to American Kenpo and I’m having a lot of trouble balancing workouts with martial arts 3x a week.  I’m upper 30s and not competitive outside of my own school.
Pushing weights like I used to means that my flexibility will be suffering and the martial arts training requires a lot from me including flexibility.  I’ve been able to work running in on days where I do martial arts but that’s by not going 100%.
I’m fairly lost about how to work everything in.  After two weeks of back and forth I was looking at weight training M Fr- martial arts Tu Th Sat, along with running and mobility work.  Rest Wednesday and Sunday.
I would love your thoughts or if you have an idea of which of your programs would work for me.
Regards!

ANSWER

I’m not sure strength training alone, should hurt flexibility. It won’t hurt your martial arts performance – as long as it doesn’t impact fatigue … in other words making you sore or tired for your Kenpo training sessions.
The way you’ve got it set up seems right … don’t gym train on the days you have Kenpo training.
The Kenpo work is new, so your body is still accommodating to the stress. My guess is as you’re Kenpo fitness improves, your recovery will as well and you may eventually be able to double up on some days and gym train and do Kenpo on the same day.
Now, you may want to pull back on your running for your Kenpo days.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a question about the theory behind your courses, particularly the Sapper/Ranger train-ups. Why do you prescribe such a light ruck weight? Just about everyone I’ve ever talked to who has been to and/or passed one of those schools says to ruck extra heavy during training to get used to the load. Like 80lbs minimum.
Is it because the other exercises in the plan are designed to build leg strength, and rucking with heavy weight in addition to those raises the risk of injury? I’ve read enough testimonials that I have confidence in your plans, but I am curious.

ANSWER

Our focus is to ensure the athletes can make it past the course gate PFT / Ruck, then prepare the athlete, but not break him down, for the duration of the course. Day 1 of the ranger school plan is a 12 mile ruck at 60#, which we understand is the load for the RAP week 12 mile ruck. The load for the Sapper Plan also reflects what we understand is the gate ruck load. The feedback we’ve received from the Sapper course has not indicated going heavier has not been needed … but we could have gotten in wrong and will fix if necessary. However, no one whose used the plan has reported this was an issue.
– Rob

QUESTION

I came to your site after listening to The Hunt Backcountry podcasts referencing your background, MTI and sandbag programming.  My interests are mainly low elevation whitetail bowhunting…so I have been running 40 mpw for over a year but understand I need to incorporate more functional strength for backcountry bow elk at Colorado elevations.
So I am looking over your mountain programming and also wanted to know if the sandbags might be in stock anytime in the next 8 weeks?  If not, would you have an alternative suggestion on the gear.
Thanks for your time and consideration.

ANSWER

The factory is currently building some more sandbags … but I don’t have a finish date on them. Any sandbag will do … and amazon has several different vendors who make these. You can also make your own … my first was an old duffle bag filled with gravel and sealed with duct tape. Be resourceful.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just wrapped up an intense 4-day-ice climbing trip, and once again, wanted to say thank you for the Expedition Ice Climbing program. I feel stronger than ever, and was able to solidly lead WI4 right out of the gates this season.
I have never been great about stretching and wanted to ask about what kinds of stretches should I be doing before I head into the mountains? What should I be doing after for recovery?
Does it make sense to do both static and dynamic stretches?
On the note of recovery, despite eating a fair amount during my trip, I am still pretty beat up today. What kind of diet should I be doing to aid in recovery?
Any other information or suggestions to help with the recovery process would be great.

ANSWER

The research we’ve reviewed, and what we’ve done in the gym, have found no correlation between stretching and performance, or recovery.
In terms of diet, eating clean as per our nutritional guidelines is all I’d recommend.
We’ve studied the effect on recovery shakes post-workout and found no benefit – which is one reason we don’t endorse any supplements.
That being said, some of my mountain athletes swear by yoga, massage, pilates, stretching, etc. Others prefer certain supplements. My answer to them is, “if it’s working for you, keep doing it.”
What we’ve found is recovery improves as fitness improves. What you feel from your trip is the effect of volume. It’s hard to replicate long mountain days in a gym-based session.
Understand, in today’s sports performance world, I’m an iconoclast when it comes to this stuff. It’s easy to find someone who’ll be happy to sell you the gizmo, routine, pill, shake, or bar claiming it will aid in your recovery.
My advice is to take a couple ibuprofen, eat a good meal, foam roll a little (cheap massage), and get some sleep.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just finished the rat 6 program and I was looking for something to follow it up with. Any recommendations?

ANSWER

Balanced, multi-modal plan. Maintain strength …. build work capacity, endurance and chassis integrity.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking to significantly increase my deadlift and overall body strength (more focused on the deadlift) , what plan would you recommend for significant deadlift improvement?
Thank you for supporting me through my progressions,

ANSWER

MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan – with one change.  Replace the Power Clean in the Plan with deadlifts, but follow the same progression.
– Rob

QUESTION

Finishing up a backcountry ski program. All is good.

Looking to ski a lot this winter but also goof around a bit with working out.

A few others want to do a challenge / contest : most push ups / longest standard plank and a one-leg pistol squat.  I have 45 days from Jan 1. We’re all mid-50’s and active. Sort of a most fit without running. Need to win. Ideas?

I’ve looked at your push-up plan and chassis integrity and thinking about combining them. Any other thoughts?

Know it’s not ‘standard’ but appreciate your ideas.  I am on your athlete subscription plan.

ANSWER

Best to train sport-specifically for this assessment. Go to the FBI SA PFT Training Plan, do a push up and pistol squat assessment, and then follow the same progression.
Standard Plank? Go to the BJJ Training Plan and look at the Gi Grip Strength Assessment. It’s time based … do a max time plank and then follow the same progression that’s in the plan for the Gi Grip event.
You can do the progression for these together. I’d recommend 3-4 days/week, with a day rest each week. Re-assess every other week.
– Rob

QUESTION

Got a question regarding training. I am just coming off the entire run Improvement program so a good 5-6 months approximately of hard intervals, etc. I was wondering where to go to next I enjoy lifting and running and wasnt sure if I should drop into for example the 2 mile run improvement or lay off intervals for a bit? Fyi i have done big 3 and both run programs as well in the past. I have noticed in the past running is an area if I don’t keep up on i lose gains fairly quickly. Thanks for your input and keep getting after it!

ANSWER

You need to get under the barbell, and hit some work capacity and chassis integrity. I’d recommend Johnny which is a multi-mode training plan. Double the prescribed running in the plan and add in a 60-90 minute moderate pace run Saturday to maintain your running fitness.
– Rob

QUESTION

1st question-I’m prepping to start your Denali program. It says for a Sled drag to use a tire. I have a Rogue steel sled. If I use that instead of a tire, how much weight should I stack on the sled?
2nd question- While prepping for the Denali program, I’d like to accomplish 2 things, build mountain endurance and cut some weight. I’m currently using the peak bagger program. Any thoughts on another mountain program that can help with both?

ANSWER

1) drag it unloaded. You’re going to be dragging it for miles.
– Rob

QUESTION

Starting week 8 on the 50k plan, and I have a few questions now.
1.   The 7k intervals, starting with session 31.   What is the desired or planned percentage of effort required to reach the target goals?  For example, 90 %, or  full out 100% run till you puke, and/or be able to run both intervals at close to the same time. ?
 Maybe on the initial sessions the targets are unattainable, so you have the goal of reaching the target time by session 39 or so?
Obviously, by these questions you might surmise I’m not making my target times on those intervals.   Max effort is leaving me as much as 3 minutes slow, weather and snow cover are affecting that, so I’m trying to adjust by running a percentage of effort.
2.   The long runs – in my last 15 or 20 years of long distance running, the lore, or the culture, was to run long every other week to prevent fatigue and over training. The weekend runs on your plan are long, or moderate effort 30k each weekend.   I can adapt, change, new stuff can be good, just curious as to the reasoning.   Is it just for the distance training itself, or another goal to be gained as well? I am inserting extra rest days now, because I am definitely feeling tired and need some recoup.   This is one of the reasons I left an extra 2 weeks to finish the plan before the actual race.
Ok, the disclaimers.   I am, on a good day, just an average runner.   I have never been able to train hard for more than 6 weeks, before needing to back off some, and at 58 years old, it’s not getting better.  And, the long runs are being run on the “race course” which is a somewhat groomed dog sled and sno  machine trail that is much harder on legs to run on even at an easy pace.   The intervals are ran on snow on pavement, sometimes hard and packed, but mostly not.   I’m sure your program was not meant for these conditions, but being able to adapt and make it happen is part of the fun.
Any insight or methodology, interm goals, etc. you had while making the program you could pass along would be helpful.
Thanks,
Letta
P.s.   I really like the sandbag exercises.   Never done any of those before, even after years of CrossFit etc.   I had quite a time learning “getups”.

ANSWER

1. These times are based on your assessment result. They should be at a threshold effort (fast as possible), and most can make them. However, if your assessment was close to your genetic potential, and or you have a high training age for running, these will be very difficult. But regardless – run at threshold effort.  These intervals train speed over ground. The plan is designed to prepare athletes to finish the event, as fast as possible.
2. I can’t speak to the way other coaches program. I will say that MTI programming is unique amongst all the categories we program for (tactical, mountain, endurance, etc.). The assessments and intervals in this program are certainly unique in ultra programming. However, the weekly volume build is steady and week 9 is an unload week before the highest volume week – 10. Week 11 and 12 are unloads into your event. The longest run in the plan is 38k, in prep for a 50k race.
You’re age is likely impacting your recovery and you will likely need extra recovery to adapt. I’m not sure the 38 year old Letta would need the extra time.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking for a plan to improve functional fitness and raw strength.  My run times don’t need improvement but I don’t want to sacrifice too much of my run times if possible.
Currently my maxes are about
Bench – 235
Squat – 300
Deadlift – 315
1.5 – 8:50
Height – 5’10”
Weight – 165-170lbs
My shoulder strength and core/hip strength are my weak points and I’d like to see my lifting numbers go up.
I am in the Border Patrol.
Any advice on which plan would be best??

ANSWER

2 good options depending on how much you want to run …. the strength programming is the same in each plan.

QUESTION

Good morning – very happy MTI user here, having bought my first plan from you all almost 8 years ago and haven’t stopped since.

I am torn between a flat bench and adjustable bench upgrade for my garage gym.

I follow your program strictly, so I don’t sub (I trust you all!) movements. I’ve noticed that I’ve never done an incline bench during a MTI/SSD/MiA/MoA program and I assume likely will not, so I haven’t done an incline in years.

To that end, I was curious as to the methodology at not programing incline bench. It would help me justify a cheaper Rogue flat bench (as your equipment list recommends) as opposed to something like the Rep AB-5200, or GA$P the Rogue adjustable.

Thank you for all you do!

ANSWER

I do and have programmed incline bench press – but certainly not as often as regular bench press. Our benches aren’t adjustable, and when we do incline, we simply put one side up on a plyo box.

The problem with the adjustable benches – in addition to being more expensive – is they are so damn heavy. I like our system better.

– Rob


QUESTION

I’m progressing through the dry land skiing and enjoying and seeing good progress. The next program I want to use is pre session alpine rock. The problem is my local climbing gym is closed due to Covid. Is there a way to adapt the program to just a fingerboard?

ANSWER

Not a good way – but a finger board would be better than nothing. I haven’t built a finger-board only training progression yet – from what we do have I’d recommend the Hang Board Primary Position Complex. I’d recommend this 3 or 4x/week, and increase the work intervals to 10 seconds.
In addition, I’d recommend progressing hanging on the boards using the jugs for time – where you can move your hands as needed. Begin with 6 rounds of 60 seconds and increase, if possible, to 5 rounds of 120 seconds. So, you’ll grab on to the jugs and move around or dead hang, as necessary … to make the interval. I’d also recommend this 3-4x/week, after the Hang Board Primary Position Complex.
– Rob

QUESTION

Your programming is great and I’m looking forward to starting one. Having trouble figuring out where to get started though.
I’ve done CrossFit for about six years then switched over to a gym called line of departure in Charleston that loosely followed your programming.
I have low back issues which lead me switch over from CrossFit to the line of departure gym. Deadlifting just the barbell was giving me significant pain but now I can deadlift 275×10 w no pain. I credit most of my progress to your programming, thank you!
I still need to be careful w the low back and the new job I have requires driving for long periods. I’ve found lifting moderate weight for 10 to 20 reps is great for my back. I love the sandbag workouts and Turkish getups you all program.
I’m looking for a program to challenge me, keep low back healthy, increase strength and endurance.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the plans/order in the Country Singer Packet, beginning with Johnny.
Low back? 275×10 reps is no joke. You should be okay, but listen to your body and be smart.
– Rob

Arete 2.4.21

Military / National Security / Foreign Policy

Space Force is looking for a few good soldiers, sailors, Air Force Times
Foreign training programs could become a priority in Biden administration, experts say, Defense News
US Army Europe Wants New Hub for Artillery Fire, Defense One
Marine Corps looks at building 3 new Pacific regiments to counter China, Marine Corps Times
Biden to freeze Germany drawdown, The Hill
B-1 Bombers Are Deploying To Norway for the First Time, RealClearDefense
Access Denied? The Future of U.S. Basing in a Contested World, War on the Rocks

 

Wildland Fire / Law Enforcement

Calif. may hire more than 600 firefighters after shortage at inmate camps, FireRescue1 Daily News
Fuels reduction projects limited damage in some areas of California’s massive Creek Fire, Wildfire Today
How the Dingell Act is making progress possible in wildland firefighting, FireRescue1 Daily News
Do fuel reduction treatments increase resistance to insects and drought? Wildfire Today
On-Demand Webinar: Using data to support community policing strategies, Police1 Daily News
How law enforcement is using technology to track down people who attacked the US Capitol building, The Conversation

 

Mountain

The Fight for Workforce Equity on Kilimanjaro, Alpinist Weekly
12-Year-Old Blind Skier Takes on the Big Couloir, Outside Magazine
How to Use Maps to Avoid Avalanche Danger, Adventure Journal
Ski Mountaineering World Cup: Axelle Gachet-Mollaret, Robert Antonioli, Rémi Bonnet win in Verbier, Planetmountain
Skiing Curiosities: Sauna Gondola- Ylläs, Finland, Unofficial Networks
Climbing On Another Planet: Tasmania’s Sea Stacks, Climbing Magazine
X Games Aspen 2021 | Full results and highlights, FREESKIER

 

Fitness / Health / Nutrition

Childhood diet has lifelong impact, Science Daily
The Data Behind a Once-a-Week Strength Routine, Outside Magazine
What to eat on a high-protein diet, Medical News Today
Science Reveals Top Marathon Runners’ Secrets, US News
Should Men and Women Race the Same Distance? Outside Magazine

 

Interesting

New AI Can Detect Emotion With Radio Waves, Defense One
Proud Boys leader was undercover informer for police and FBI, says Reuters, intelNews
Two former military officers hope to walk on the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis Team, War is Boring

Arete 1.28.21

Military / National Security / Foreign Policy

Anticipating demonstrations and disturbances, DC Guard deployment to continue through end of March, Air Force Times
The Forgotten People Fighting the Forever War, Defense One
Commander Lists 5 Tasks to Ensuring Continued Space Superiority, Defense.gov
Why America Should Keep An All-Volunteer Military Force, The National Interest
CIA tells retired personnel to refrain from working for foreign governments, intelNews
This study will pay you to help prevent military suicides, Marine Corps Times
It’s Time To Move the Army Ladder, RealClearDefense

 

Wildland Fire / Law Enforcement

Fire crews and organizations produce videos summarizing their activities in 2020; Volume 1, Wildfire Today
Firefighters Battle an Unseen Hazard: Their Gear Could Be Toxic, NYT
Why fire agencies should be tracking exposure to fireground contaminants, FireRescue1 Daily News
Body Camera Policy and Training, POLICE Magazine
Majority of Mayors Do Not Want to Reallocate Police Funding, POLICE Magazine
RI bill would allow injured K-9s to reach vet by ambulance, Police1 Daily News

 

Mountain

The Few Remaining Single Chairs & Why They’re Rad, Unofficial Networks
Video: The World’s Hardest Downhill Ski Slope Seen From The Air | w/ Red Bull Skydive Team, Red Bull
Who Needs Warmth and Comfort When There’s Winter Bikepacking? Adventure Journal
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy Won’t Recognize Your 2021 Thru-Hike for Now, Backpacker
Watch This Video of the Historic First Winter Ascent of K2, The Adventure Blog
Vermont’s governor calls for a monumental investment in the outdoor industry, SNEWS
A Climb for Greater Accessibility. REI Co-op Journal

 

Fitness / Health / Nutrition

The Best Exercises for Runner’s Knee, Men’s Journal
Study compares low-fat, plant-based diet to low-carb, animal-based diet, Science Daily
Athletics Versus Aesthetics: What’s the Difference? Breaking Muscle
The Best Post-Adventure Food, The Outbound Collective
10 Post-Workout Recovery Methods That Haven’t Been Proven To Work … Yet, Semi-Rad
The Physiology of the Finishing Kick, Outside Magazine
See how they run: ‘Exercise protein’ doubles running capacity, restores function and extends healthy lifespans in older mice, Science Daily

 

Interesting

The Pandemic Is a Marathon. Here’s How to Stay Strong. Outside Magazine
The World’s Rarest Turtle Has a Shot at Escaping Extinction, NYT
Did You Know AeroPress Makes a Camp-Friendly Travel Coffeemaker? Adventure Journal
How a Surfer Survived Being Stranded in the Open Sea, Outside Magazine
2020 Was Tied for the Hottest Year on Record, The Adventure Blog

Q&A 1.28.21

QUESTION

When I played college football about 5 years ago I tore both my ACLs in a span of 3 years.  Ever since then it has been a struggle to squat heavy.  I just recently purchased the patrol workouts and have started them.  I’m still on the whiskey plan.

Would you suggest sticking with squats as the program says to or substitute a list that doesnt cause pain in my knees (deadlift)?

ANSWER

Modify the load and or the range of motion on the squat as needed for your knee pain. Deadlifts don’t train the quads like the squat, so I’d rather have you continue as best you can.
– Rob

QUESTION

Really enjoying the weight loss program, only thing is I am getting really tired by Friday. Have you got any advice diet wise to try and avoid feeling as flat as I currently am please?

For some background, I am 37 years old, 6 foot 3 and 110kg. Ultimately I am aiming to be sub 100kg for the submission grappling season next year.

ANSWER

Your fatigue/soreness will decrease as your fitness improves. Just keep grinding.
– Rob

QUESTION

Would like your advice as I am due to have both a rotator cuff and SLAP tear repaired in the coming weeks. Understanding there will be PT for the surgically repaired shoulder, what plan would you advise that I move forward with for the rest of me? I understand this recovery can be long and I have seen Q&A where you’ve advised to not do the same plan over and over.  Would appreciate any advice/direction.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’m loving your Sapper Leader Course training program so far. Got another question. I’m on Session 9, and I did the sandbag getups this morning. My wife will be gone after I get off work today, and I’ll be stuck at home with the baby.
I’ll do the 2-mile intervals when she returns at 2130 if I have to, but do you have a reasonable substitute workout to recommend?

ANSWER

No good options …. but closest would be 500x Step Ups at a 20″ box for each 2-mile interval.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m 45 and looking for something different. I do long distance running during spring, summer, and fall. I’ve also done Crossfit for several years. Ive done and enjoyed the run specific plans you offer (25k and run improvement), but would like a little more total body but with running incorporated. I recently built a home gym and have most of the equipment needed (all except sandbags).

One question, I don’t have room in my house and it’s quite difficult to do shuttle sprints outdoors in MN winter. Can I sub rowing?  I have a rowing machine. Long slow runs I can handle all winter or I can use my treadmill.
Thoughts?
I’m either considering this packet or the big 3 + 5.

ANSWER

Of the two plans, SF45 Alpha has more variety, but less focus. It includes work capacity and chassis integrity work (functional core), as well as strength and endurance (running). It’s also more equipment-intensive (sandbags, plyo boxes, dumbbells/kettlebells, etc.)
Big 3 + 5 is strength and running. On the strength days all you do is strength work – it’s focus is there. Same on the running days.
If you’ve never done a focused strength progression or focused speed work, I’d recommend Big 3 + 5. Don’t take the focus on strength and running to mean this plan is easier. It isn’t …. but you might really enjoy seeing the progression and hopefully seeing yourself get significantly stronger and faster at the same time.
Shuttle Sprint sub? Sure – you can row.
– Rob
FOLLOW ON QUESTION
The pure strength has me intrigued. I’ve done the focused speed work from your run improvement plans and the 25k plan, assuming they are similar. Never done pure strength.

If I was to pick one of your pure strength plans alone and skip the running for now, which to choose?  I read that the Rat 6 is best for people new to strength programming, but the other strength programs and the off-season training for endurance athletes has me intrigued as well.

Maybe I’ll just buy the subscription and experiment this winter a bit.

FOLLOW ON ANSWER
Rat 6 is solid!
– Rob

QUESTION

I have started the Big 3 + 5 mile run that you recommended, thank you. IF the 3rd set of 80% max is too challenging to complete 5 rounds of 4 reps what is the best way to modify? I feel challenged and comfortable completing 3 sets, but am progressing cautiously as this is the first time I have worked out with a barbell since college, currently age 36. I wasn’t sure if should just do 3 sets or decrease wait or do 1-2 reps on the 4/5 sets…..Really enjoying the programming and home gym. Thanks.

ANSWER

First, increase the interval to 2 minutes. You can “break” the sets if needed … i.e. do 3 reps, short rest, do 4th rep.
If this doesn’t work, drop down to 3 reps. Keep the load as prescribed.
– Rob

QUESTION

After 7 years of CrossFit and pandemic my wife and I do our work outs in garage gym and were looking for programming and I remember reading an article about Mountain Athlete featuring Exum Guide Christian Santelices who I Climbed the Grand with and remembered your gym and I liked that your focus is on mountain athlete as I live in Portland and spend weekends in the mountains.  I just completed one lift a day and am in week one of 357.  I really liked the one lift per day and the long grinds, sandbag (bought on of yours!) and the embedded links.  So far 357 seems “heavier” but I like it thus far.

I do like the videos, especially when embedded but the link on the app is easy enough.  Programming is working because I have seen my running improve but programming is tougher than before so I am dropping my running miles from 30/ week to maybe 20 so I can recover.  My push press 1RM went from 115 to 130 so I guess that is success!

I am 53 year old weekend warrior skier (nordic skate and resort skier), MTB, climber, runner so I use my training to keep me fit for my activities.  Any programs you would recommend for those activities would be great.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you pivot to the Greek Heroine Plans, beginning with Helen for your day to day training. These are designed as day to day programming for multi-sport mountain athletes and concurrently train strength, mountain endurance (run, uphill movement under load), work capacity, chassis integrity and climbing fitness (rock).
Drop out of the Greek Heroine Plans as you get closer to sport seasons/trips and complete appropriate the event/sport-specific training plan in the weeks just prior. For example, 8 weeks out from a mountain bike trip to Utah, complete the Mountain Bike Preseason Training Plan. Upon return, drop back into the Greek Heroine plans.
– Rob

QUESTION

I currently have been using the big mtn v2 plan to train for my sheep hunting trips in Northern bc.  Is this much different from module 4 of the back country big game pack?
And will this possibly over train me? I’m 57, so I dont wantnto over train and risk injury before my trip.

ANSWER

Big Mountain V2 will work for BC Hunting. The Backcountry Big Game Hunting Training Plan is limited equipment, and more focused.
Injury? First, MTI programming is focused on the fitness demands of the event, not the incoming fitness or age of the athlete. The fitness demands of a sheep hunting trip in BC are the same for everyone – it doesn’t matter your age or fitness.
I’m not sure of your current fitness, but I will say the fitness demands to climb a 8000m peak or hunt for sheep in BC are intense, and MTI programming for these events reflect this.
If your fitness is suspect or you’d like to start preparing soon, I’d recommend working through the plans/order in the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Training Packet. These plans are progressive – they increase in intensity and difficulty as you get closer to the season.
– Rob

QUESTION

Looking for some advice;
Since ~ 22 March 2020 I have completed three iterations of Gym Closure, Gym Closure, Bodyweight Baseline, and will complete Gym Closure (again) next week.  I recently purchased an MTI sandbag and am looking at the Great Plains series as a possible way ahead.
I am 54 yrs old, former military (combat arms) and was recently reminded by a Dan John podcast that athletes 55+ years old should focus on strength and hypertrophy.  My thoughts/interpretation of that advice is how could I periodize my efforts on those two areas either sequentially (one six/seven week program followed by the other) or maybe work on those areas simultaneously with an MTI package.
The various plans within the Great Plains series all looks very similar to me; apart from buying the entire package, what could you recommend?

ANSWER

I know Dan John, have worked with him, but I disagree that older athletes (I’m 52) should focus on strength and hypertrophy. I believe our programming should be multi-modal, and have a significant endurance emphasis. Yes on strength, but no on hypertrophy … just excess mass your joints have to carry around.
Do you have access to a gym?
If so, I’d recommend, for a Multi-Modal plan that is designed for older athletes and includes free-weight strength, I’d recommend SF45 Alpha, which is the first plan in our SF45 plans for athletes ages 45+.
If you just want to do a strength-focused cycle, and you have gym access, I’d recommend Rat 6 Strength.
If you want a plan with both strength (lower body, total body) and hypertrophy (upper body), I’d recommend the Ultimate Meathead Cycle.
If you don’t have gym access, go with the Tribe plans.
– Rob

QUESTION

I emailed recently as I am attending a UKSF selection soon. The course has been brought slightly forward from our original estimations.
You initially recommened that i complete the following programmes based of my original dates, however now I wont have enough time to complete the program as recommended (below)
Weeks Plan
8-10 Valor – first 4 weeks
11-18 Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan – 8 weeks directly before selection.
Currently I’m on week 5 of fortitude, should I reorganise the original plan you gave me?? Or keep going as I am until the start of selection?
I have 11 weeks until the beginning of selection.

ANSWER

You want to start and complete the Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan the 8 weeks directly before selection.
By my count, you can finish Fortitude (through week 7), then start the RBSTP and be good.
– Rob

QUESTION

I agree with your feelings on this subject matter.  Here in California it is illegal to keep our cops in shape because it is viewed as discrimination.  What a bunch of BS!!   We rely  of these people to save the lives they protect.  In law enforcement my expertise, I always wanted to protect the good people from the evil people.

A little background on myself.  I worked for the LAPD for 21 years.  My last assignment, I was a detective supervisor.  In 1991, I was severely wounded in a gun battle with a very bad man.  I happened to be a powerlifter in my early twenties and have continued to workout throughout my life.  I got shot with a 44 cal bullet that entered my left arm and lodged in my neck.  The reason it hit my arm was I brought my arm up to protect my face.  I was and still am, 509, 195 pounds of strength.  Not only physically but mentally.  I also got shot in my bullet proof vest which to tell you the truth hurt more than the bullet entering my body.  Even though severely injured, I got up off the ground, chased the bad guy and my partner who was also shot, shot and killed the bad guy.  If we were not in shape this predator would have gotten away to harm someone else.

The doctor told me if it were not for my conditioning the bullet would have continued thru my body and into my brain.  But because of dense muscle tissue the bullet stopped and I continued the good fight to stop evil.

Sorry to cut it short, off to work, I work dignitary protection for the State Dept.

ANSWER

It’s so much more difficult to establish a culture of fitness at a first responder unit than at a military unit. Military units automatically get time on duty to train … not so for the vast majority of first responder units. I’ve found Fire Rescue is a little better than LE, and within LE, only full time SWAT/SRT units regularly get time on duty to train and have their own, established gyms.
Plus – few LE units have high jeopardy PFTs (you get fired if you don’t pass) – unlike the military.
So … for LE it means your professional fitness is all on you. I do think it’s possible to establish a culture of fitness without time on duty to train and a high jeopardy PFT, but difficult as no one “has” to train.
– Rob

QUESTION

First, I want to thank you for your recommendations so far. Just wrapped up Valor and definitely feeling the better for it. My RASP 2 date slipped to the right and so I have an extra 5-6 weeks to train with for a total of 12 weeks (looking at a mid-March report date).
My question is whether I should jump into another plan (like another Greek/Virtue series?) prior to your RASP plan or start with one of your longer plans like the ruck based selection or Ranger school plan and then tag on additional work at the end? Or just start the RASP plan and do two rounds of it?
Curious for your thoughts.

ANSWER

Complete Fortitude until you start the RASP Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was looking for a training plan that for building strength while I either run or cycle 5 days a week. I am not specifically an endurance
Athlete but tend to mountain bike and run a lot because I enjoy it. I currently work as a Smokejumper and followed your smokejumper training program before I completed rookie training. I am looking for more of a lifting program
That is sustainable with endurance activities 5 days a week building core and upper body. Just looking for suggestions. The smokejumper selection program was great for rookie training.

ANSWER

Options:
Blackwater – Wildland Fire Specific Training Plan which includes endurance. The Strength days combine both strength and chassis-integrity (core) training. You could do the prescribed endurance in Blackwater, or install your own.
In-Season Strength Training Plan for Endurance Athletes – Strength only sessions you can implement 2-3x week.
– Rob

QUESTION

Looking forward to testing my new 1RMs next week from the Sandbag Test. Thanks again for including me.

Following the completion of this test, I’ll be on the hunt for a new program in 2021. I’m enlisting in the Army as an Officer and plan to ship out to basic just after July 4th, 2021. Following basic, I’ll attend OCS, Airborne School, Air Assault School, then Ranger School. Which program(s)  would you’d recommend to get me into the right shape before hitting basic and all that follows?

ANSWER

Plans/order in the Virtue Packet. , starting with Humility.
– Rob

QUESTION

I work as a wildand firefighter. I am currently applying and training for rookie Smokejumper selection which will begin in 17 weeks away.
My goals are to: 1) show up to SMJ selection as prepared as possible within the given time frames (train smart by using best plan available (thanks!), putting in the work, being efficient, not overtraining, and staying healthy with holistic [diet, rest, stretching, mind, etc] approach  2) avoid injuries during selection (injuries during training are one of the main reasons candidates have to drop out) 3) be able to endure endless calisthenics and running 4) have a good PT score (run 1.5 miles for time/ max pullups in 3 min time limit/max situps in 3 min time limit/max pushups in 3 min time limit) The PT score is our very first evaluation and the first impression made when candidates show up on day 1. I also will be calling in our PT results on a weekly basis during the interview process to confirm my training and progress leading up to April.
About me: I’m a 38 yr old male, 205 lbs, 6’2″, and have been Hotshotting for 6 years. I have above average endurance (I have trained and participated in a 100k ultra but even though that was years ago I would still say running endurance is my strongest asset). I have above average brute strength and working strength (I’ve been throwing around the weights in gyms consistently since high school and have even worked with a powerlifting coach a couple of years ago) I have below average strength endurance (my ability to do lots of pushups is fine but my situps and especially my pullups need significant improvement) I’ve had no major injuries or illnesses over the last decade. Just slight tweaks here and there. I have a decent home gym and access to a fully equipped gym.
Average of my past PT results over the years and my goal by the end of April
8:35 min. run 1.5 miles…goal is 8:00 min.
12 pullups….goal is 20 pullups
70 pushups…goal is 100 pushups
95 situps…goal is 125 pushups
Currently, I am about to complete your “Bodyweight Foundation” plan next week. During the 8 weeks prior to SMJ selection, I will be using your “Smokejumper Selection” plan to finalize my training/preparation. My question for you is…Which program would you suggest I complete between “Bodyweight Foundation” and “Smokejumper Selection” to meet my goals?
 
My initial thoughts are to combine a “Grease the Groove” for pullup program with a strength and endurance program (Keep building running/rucking endurance, increase strength to improve durability, and work specifically on weakness [pullups]) I am very interested in your Virtue Series plans. They seem to cover almost all the bases that I know are critical to my job: chassis integrity, strength, endurance, and work capacity…”Humility” especially. “Fortitude” looks appealing as well because of the heavy strength and military endurance components. I’m even considering your “Kettlebell Strength- Working Strength” plan because as you say, “…brings it all together- strength, mobility, fluidity, movement, body tension, and chassis integrity”
Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated. Your website is the fucking shit for people looking for help with moutain/tactical fitness. I felt like I found the Holy Grail when I was pointed to your website. We appreciate what you all do!

ANSWER

Blackwater from our Wildand Fire Training Packet. Repeat week 6 in the plan to stretch it to 8 weeks. You can do the GTG pull up protocol along with the plan. If you have equipment issues – do Humility instead.

– Rob

 

 

Arete 1.21.12

Military / National Security / Foreign Policy

The Faultline Between Futurists and Traditionalists in National Security, War on the Rocks
Fear of insider attack prompts additional FBI screening of National Guard troops: AP, The Hill: Defense Policy
Can the Pentagon prosecute military retirees under the UCMJ? Maybe — it depends. Air Force Times
Why America needs a layered homeland missile defense, Defense News
US military says troop withdrawal from Somalia is complete, Marine Corps Times
Army is developing ‘aim control enhancer’ giving soldiers ‘iron man’ like capability, War is Boring
What Is a Cyber Warrior? The Emergence of U.S. Military Cyber Expertise, 1967–2018, Texas National Security Review

 

Wildland Fire / Law Enforcement

President creates Interagency Wildland Fire Subcabinet, Wildfire Today
Pros and cons of being a wildland firefighter, Wildfire Today
Ban on tear gas, neck restraints, unleashed K-9s among changes proposed in Wash. reform bill, Police1 Daily News
Bill introduced to award Capitol officer Congressional Gold Medal, Police1 Daily News
NY Attorney General Sues NYPD Claiming Excessive Force During Floyd Protests, POLICE Magazine
NYPD puts temporary stop on COVID vaccinations due to shortage, Police1 Daily News

 

Mountain

List: Ski Resorts With The Most Snow In The United States, Unofficial Networks
NEWSFLASH: First Winter Ascent of K2 made by All-Nepali Team, UKClimbing
Backcountry Etiquette: The Basics, The Bird Blog
To Pull or Hang, TrainingBeta
Want Snow Data? Step up and Help…, FREESKIER
How to Make Safe Decisions When Avalanche Danger Looms, Adventure Journal
Video: Watch Oriane Bertone Climb Super Tanker (V14) at Age 15, Climbing Magazine
They Called Him Snow Leopard, Adventure Journal

 

Fitness / Health / Nutrition

COVID Shortened U.S. Life Expectancy by Over a Year, WebMD Health
The Best Shoes for Knee Arthritis, NYT
Decoding the DNA of 5 Olympic Athletes, Outside Magazine
No limit to cardiovascular benefits of exercise, study finds, Science Daily
Understanding Maximum Heart Rate, Breaking Muscle
Reevaluating Vitamin D as a Sports Supplement, Outside Magazine
Squatting with Long Legs – Strategies for Better Form! The Barbell Physio

 

Interesting

What we now know — and don’t know — about the coronavirus variants, STAT
It’s Not Your Parents’ Hip Replacement Surgery, NYT
Why Learning a New Skill Is So Good for You, Outside Magazine
Missing: One Black Hole With 10 Billion Solar Masses, NYT
Greenland Set to Have World’s First Sustainable Capital, The Adventure Blog
Family of first WWII Medal of Honor recipient, KIA, asks government to remove soldier’s name from buildings, War is Boring
DC pizza shop is helping feed the National Guard, Air Force Times
Stolen ancient coins returned after Italy church confession, Al Jazeera
The Secret Lives of Trees, Adventure Journal

Q&A 1.21.12

QUESTION

BLUF: I want to know which of the plans is best suited for my needs and if it can be tailored to incorporate equipment I have available.

Background and context: I have been a Combat Diver with the Canadian Armed Forces since 1998. My 25-year contract is coming to an end and I’m preparing my transition for my 2nd career. I want to be a Ski Guide with the ACMG!

I need to get my required pre-requisites before I’m able to apply, so I will be going on a 1 Month Back Country Ski course out west from mid- Feb to mid-Mar https://yamnuska.com/ski-mountaineering/one-month-ski-intensive-program/ 

I have been skiing since I was 5 years old and seriously got into Back Country skiing approx. 15 years ago.  

In my garage gym I have the fol eqpt: rower, squat stand with bumper plates, pull-up bar, road bike on a trainer for the winter, KB 16, 35, 53, 60, 100#, skipping rope, ballistic plates 20# and 45# weight vest. At work I have access to all the other stuff, but with Covid, nobody knows how long they’ll stay open for. 

My current stats are as follows: 5’6”, 165#, Squat 315#, Bench 200#, Snatch 145#, C+J 185#. 5km – 20:00, pullups 22, pushups 55, situps in 60 sec – 58. I’m in all around pretty good shape for my age and the type of career I’ve had. I’ve had my fair share of dive, airborne and ied accidents/incidents, so there are certain movements (ex: heavy deadlift, heavy bench) that I avoid or have to be careful.  

Discussion: I looked at the different training programs MTI offers and I could absolutely do any one of them and see results. I wanted to know if there was a way to incorporate my existing equipment into the training. The AMGA training course looks very close to what I would need and so does the BC ski pre-season one. The randonee race has a heavy price on time. I can do 2 x 60min sessions/day, but I can’t swing 4.5hrs training sessions with work and kids at the moment. 

As soon as I will be able to, I will start skinning, in the meantime I’m waiting for the cross-country trails to open. I can only skin once/week as the closest hill to me is 1.5hrs away. I live in Ottawa and it’s pretty flat.  

Conclusion: I have been doing my own programming as well as that of my dive team, and have been training on my own since covid hit in march.

I don’t mind paying the extra fee required for a personalized program.

I appreciate the help and steering me in the right direction. 

ANSWER

I read your email a couple times and it seems what you are asking for is if I will design you an individualized plan that will prepare you for the specific fitness demands of backcountry skiing, but still allow you to train the way you always have with the equipment you currently have.
You’ve been in the fitness world a long time and I think you already know my answer to this if you’ve followed our work over the past 14 years.
MTI programming is based on the fitness demands of the event or sport, not the individual needs or wants of the athlete. You don’t need an individualized plan – and I don’t’ currently design those anyway.
As well, to go long, you have to train long. There’s no shortcut that I’ve found. Backcountry skiing is 98% skinning uphill, 2% skiing down. You know this already with your own backcountry skiing experience.
The fitness demands and standards for a professional mountain guide are much different than those of a tactical athletes. The main differences are not as much need for strength and much more need for mountain endurance – which is pretty much uphill movement under load.
More specifically, the fitness demands for backcountry skiing are straightforward, – uphill endurance under load for skinning, eccentric leg strength endurance, and leg lactate tolerance for the downhill. Chassis Integrity (functional core) and upper body strength where you can work it in.
By my count, you have 11 weeks until your course starts.

Right now I’d recommend you dive into the Backcountry Ski Preseason Training Plan. This is a 7-week, limited equipment, sport-specific training plan designed to prepare athletes for the season in a situation like you – where they can’t skin.

I’d recommend working through this plan as prescribed – except as soon as possible, replace the Saturday run with a backcountry ski day trip.

When you get snow closer to your current location, and you can easily skin uphill, replace the Wednesday and Friday programming with fitness focused skinning laps. I.e. – find a steep hill, skin up, ski down, repeat. Since you know how to program, and depending on the time you have to train, you can either do hard, time-based intervals uphill (i.e. 6 rounds of 10 minute threshold skin, 3 min easy skin), or volume work based on vertical feet … i.e. progress from 1,000-feet to 4,000 feet (or whatever) in a day. I’d recommend leaving Friday as a relatively easy day, so you can get out and continue to do a daytrip on Saturday.

Use your Saturday mountain trips to train technique …. Avy safety, snow safety, dial in your gear, dial in and shorten your transitions (skin to ski, ski to skin), and especially, your skinning technique. Focus on shorter, more rapid strides, pole placement, and the turn on the switchback. I’ve done a little backcountry skiing with pro-ski-mo competitors and guides and they work a lot less hard than me to skin the same slope … they are so efficient!

Finally, focus your snow safety work on heuristics. These are what get people killed.

You’ll run out of this plan in 7 weeks. Hopefully, by then you have easy access to skinning. If possible, expand your BC trips to 2-3 days/week, spend one day a week doing hard uphill skinning intervals, another doing leg blasters and touch/jump touch intervals and chassis integrity to maintain, and finally a final day to train heavy strength (back squats, bench press, pull ups). Take one day/week full rest.

Bodyweight …. Try to cut down to 150#. I’m 5’7″ and got down to 150# for hunting season …. it’s amazing what 15# less fat/muscle will do for your uphill movement speed.

– Rob

QUESTION

I’m an Italian policeman, I wanted to congratulate you on your work.

I would like to prepare for the selections in the NOCS, the special forces of the Italian State Police the equivalent of HRT FBI.

The tests consist of:

5000 meter run under 20 minutes

100 meter run under 14seconds

100 meters of swimming.

High jump: 140 cm long jump, 4.5 meter climbing rope and pole with the use of arms only (easy for me)

I would like to obtain extraordinary results, could you kindly tell me which program is best suited to my needs, having a lot of time and being already quite fit.

In fact, now I can do more than 70 push-ups, 28 pull-ups and I can run 2 km in 7 minutes and 30 seconds.

The test is the entry test. I don’t know when the selection take place. Unfortunately the announcement only speaks of minimum requirements not making mention about progressive score. The only information about the access is the test and I don’t know how training will be in selection and if it will involve rucking or team events. I only know that the training is very hard and involves parachuting and HALO. I have already a paratrooper patent.

I hope that this answer could you let for thinking the best program or the best way to success.

I think we have six months or more to prepare, and I want to be in best condition possible.

ANSWER

6 months = 26 weeks. Here’s what I’d recommend:
Weeks.    Plan
10           Total Rest
11-17      Valor
18-26.     FBI HRT Selection Training Plan – Repeat it directly before selection
Notes: 
  • Change the FBI HRT plan assessment run from 2 miles to 3 miles, and for the Monday Intervals, do 3 Rounds of a 1-Mile Interval using your most recent 3-mile run time and the MTI Running Calculator.
  • My sense is the PFT test standards for selection are not difficult. The HRT plan doesn’t train specifically to these …. so you should take the test on your own now and see how you stack up. The 100m sprint should be fairly easy, but I’m not sure about the high jump and the broad jump. Test these and see if you can find out how they are administered. If you don’t pass the standard easily, you’ll want to practice the jumps on you own.
  • This programming recommendation again assumes that the “gate” PFT is the minimum standard, and the actual selection will last 7-14 days and be multi-modal and intense. Many candidates have had success with our HRT plan … it’s no joke.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

I just bought the SF45 packet # 1 yesterday.  As a reminder, I had hip placement surgery 14 months ago and the doctor recommends that I not run (for long term life of the replacement not because I can’t).  I think I will do the shuttle Sprints (cheat a little) but I am wondering how the Run assessment might translate to rucking or something else(my wife just bought an eliptical)? Example SF A week one Wednesday and Friday.

ANSWER

You can ruck – just convert time. Or bike, and convert time. Assume a 3 mile run will take 10/min miles, and bike for 30 minutes.
You could also do the elliptical – and do an assessment, then do the intervals at “threshold pace” – fast as possible.
You could also do step ups.
Chose one mode for this cycle and stick with it.
Understand that with all MTI programming, our goal is outside performance. Not sure about your recreation, but biking doesn’t transfer well to mountain movement – so go with step ups or rucking if you recreate in the mountains.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been a customer for some time and really enjoy your programs.  I wanted to reach out to ask if you have any recommendations for a tween girl. Her goal is to be strong — like an aname character.  We’re working through the potential of body image issues with her, yet I do want to encourage a foundation of fitness, and channel it in the right direction.

Appreciate your time and I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy during this challenging time.

ANSWER

I’ve developed programming for prep-aged athletes at prepstrength.com
From there, I’d recommend your daughter start with Girls Soccer Base.
– Rob

QUESTION

I completed the dryland ski training and have made noticable gains. Do you recommend something for maintenance while I wait for our ski area to open? I like how I didn’t need equipment other than the dumbbells.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you pivot to the Gym Closure I Training Plan. 
When you get a better bead on when your resort will open, try to repeat the last 2-3 weeks of the dryland ski plan directly before.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was looking for a plan to cut my run time from 9 min/mile to 6 min/mile. Currently training for the Navy Warrior Challenge and just needing improvement on the 1.5 run, 4 mile run and pull up. Any suggestions?

ANSWER

I don’t have the perfect plan for you, but close is the USMC PFT Training Plan, which trails for the 3-mile run and pull ups. The 3-mile will split the difference between the distances you describe. It includes focused 1-mile interval repeats.
– Rob

QUESTION

“Prepping” for SFAS (Civilian, 18X pipeline) and wondering where I should start. Looking to ship out around April/May of 2021 and I’m not sure where on the packet I should begin. Current stats/ scores (Official Navy PST)
19 year old male
6’2”
190lb

500m swim-  9:13
10min rest
88 Pushups (2 min)
2 min rest
82 Sit-ups (2 min)
2 min rest
24 pull-ups (max, no time limit)
10 min rest
1.5 mile run- 9:59
On other PSTs, my run time was much quicker with my swim in the 9:45ish range, obviously an endurance issue as after hauling ass on the swim my run time increased by roughly 30 seconds.

Gym Maxes
Bench Press #275
Squat #365
Deadlift #455
OHP #185 (a very sloppy 185)
Fastest Mile 5:15

ANSWER

You’ve got 17 weeks until April 1. Here’s what I recommend:
Weeks.   Plan
1-8         Fortitude – Repeat Week 6 to stretch this 7-week plan to 8 weeks
9             Total Rest
10-17      Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan – this is our specific train up for SFAS.
If your date is pushed to May, do the 7 weeks of Fortitude, then 3-4 weeks of Valor, until you’re 8 weeks out, then start the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan directly before selection.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve cycled through my training this year and I’m currently attempting “Fortitude” for the first time. Over the last year I’ve been having issue with my IT band on my left leg.
I believe I have an imbalance from my anterior chain to my posterior chain. Other than seeing a trainer, any suggestions on modifying the training to address my issue. Thanks!

ANSWER

Sorry. Can’t help here other than (1) Train injured, but not “hurt.” The difference – training while injured doesn’t make it worse. Training “hurt” does.
(2) I’ve never been a believer in the imbalance stuff. That this is occurring to just one side tells me it’s an injury to that side, or you’re favoring the other side or something like that.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hi Coach Shaul, I hope you are doing well. It’s been a long time!

I’ve been training an ok amount over the last 3 years (fair amount of CrossFit until year when I started working out in my office gym) and the shoulder impingement is still nagging but never out of control. I’m about now about 153# (up from 135 as you said would happen) but still very very skinny in my upper body especially, still about 5’9”, and now 28 years old. If I had to guess my body fat percentage is 15% but its hard to tell given my low muscle mass. I’m still very flexible, but not durable and have somewhat rounded shoulders. I’ve gotten some good coaching on lifting form, but could probably tune some of that up and have never really done any focused stability work.
I’m switching paths a little bit and while the mountain sports are still something I love, I am planning to join the military. My goal, which given my current fitness level is a little insane, is that I want to try to get into army special forces.
I have never trained specifically for it, but on the old army pft my score was about 43 pushups (I really suck at pushups), 60 sit-ups, and 2 miles in 15:30 minutes, so barely passable for normal enlistment and not even close for anything beyond that. (Last week my deadlift 1rm was about 240# and backsquat 5rm about 195#, benchpress 10rm about 110#)
Obviously it’ll take a ton of dedication, consistency and a fair amount of time to make this happen (not sure what you think, but I’m guessing at least 2 years).
Here are the things I was wondering:
1) I was looking back at the hypertrophy plan and for example it says  “8x Front Squat (Increase load each round until 8 is hard, but doable)” What do you mean by this? What level of difficulty in terms of weight should I be starting at? Is it more important to do all 8 rounds (I’d have to start pretty light to make that happen, meaning the first few rounds could be pretty easy) or do should I have something resembling more difficulty starting off…maybe starting with a lower number of rounds than is recommended?
2) What program do you think I should start with? Given that I’m still really thin, and the strength/durability demands of the military I’m wondering if you think it might make sense to kickstart this with some hypertrophy work? Or should I try a military base plan or start with the ACFT plan to get more in the range needed for that test? (Im assuming any kind of ranger/special forces rucking plan would be quite a bit later on). And for context my current job is not physically demanding. I also want to do what I can do bulletproof my knees especially but also the whole chasis.
3) On a 2 year (or possibly longer) fitness journey like this what do you think are going to be the keys to making sustained progress?
I have access to a decent gym and unlike generally in the past I dont have to travel much and should be in the same job/city for the next 17 months at least.
 Part of that lack of real sustainment in the past has to do with:
a) not pushing myself hard enough when working out alone (which is why CrossFit was good for me. I’ve gotten better at this aspect and have partners at my office gym that I can work out with.
b) Getting demotivated by being stuck in my head (by not being sure about whether or not I’m actually making progress/doing the right things).
Any advice on what it will actually take to make this happen would be amazing.
4) Nutrition: Up to this point I have been focusing on eating enough calories and protein, which is generally the big challenge for me since I tend to eat like a bird.  I’ve recently cut out the sugar, milk, fruit juice, honey, bagels, cereal, corn, soda, alcohol and I’m confident that I can maintain those cuts as well as my calorie and protein intake.  I’m Indian and so most of our food is very dependent on yogurt, daal/lentils, brown rice, and and occasionally naan bread. I’m basically wondering if the cuts I’ve made go far enough given that I definitely need to build muscle mass. 
I’d definitely really appreciate your advice on any/all of these questions. I know it’s quite a lot, so thank you so so much for your consideration! I hope you and your family are safe during this time!

ANSWER

1) Follow the programming as prescribed. Match the load to the prescribed rep count. For hypertrophy, the reps per set will be 8-15 … which is a lot – but is how you train muscle mass growth.
2) Work through the plans/order in the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet, beginning with the Military OnRamp Training Plan.
3) First, good programming. Second, consistently training. Just. Keep. Grinding.
4) Here are our nutrition guidelines. There’s no caloric restriction – eat as much as you want, just eat “clean” 6 days a week.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just ordered your Athlete Subscription Package and I’m trying to find the right plan for me. I am currently a body builder who has just gone into my off season. I am taking a step back from body building training to make a career change and also a mental change from body building.
I am in the process of going into law enforcement and want to make sure I’m physically ready for the POPAT and the academy and eventually change to a specialty. What plan do you think I should start with?

ANSWER

I’d recommend you go ahead and start with the LE Academy Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

First, thanks for the great training plan. I mean to follow to the letter to prep for Sapper School. I do have a question about the rucking calculator, though. I took the assessment today, and got the slowest time I’ve done in my military career–including as a cadet! 3:22:56. The rucking calculator spits out splits that seem reasonable for 3-mile repeats–under the 3-hour mark. But for 4-mile repeats it gives splits that would be too slow if extrapolated.
I’m usually a decent ruck marcher. Last score I got was 2:36:00. Would you recommend shooting for slightly quicker splits, or following the calculator precisely?

ANSWER

The ruck calculator 4-mile pace would cut 23 minutes from your finish time. These are designed to push a threshold pace. If they feel slow, go as fast as possible.
Week 4 in the plan is an unload week – so no Saturday session.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently working through one of your plans but it requests a sandbag for some exercises. I don’t have the space to keep a sandbag in my apartment and my building gym does not have one (I am avoiding the gym anyway due to COVID restrictions.)
Are there good substitutions for the sandbag exercises or a good substitute object to use instead of the sandbags?

ANSWER

No. Sorry – the sandbag is key to the chassis integrity work. Many make their own out of an old duffle bag or backpack. Be resourceful.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was wondering if you guys could include workouts that workout your calves, biceps, traps, and neck – directly. I would only use your workouts if you had programs that included these too. SFOD-D/Bodybuilding workouts would be something I’m looking for.

ANSWER

Sorry, no. Excess body mass for appearance purposes works against important military athlete fitness demands of work capacity, and especially, endurance. It’s just excess weight to run or ruck with.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a civilian working to get an 18x (SF candidate) contract with the Army. Do you recommend doing the Ruck Based Selection Plan V5 or the Q Course Training Plan?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a military athlete a little long in the tooth. I have trained my whole life.  I have been training with CrossFit since I discovered it in Iraq in 2009.
I was reading the study you conducted on improving strength in well trained athletes and have a few questions: how often did your test subjects conduct the complex as in how many days a week; how many times did they complete a complex in a workout session as in using a complex as a round; and were they conducting any additional training during the study.
These questions are purely for my personal knowledge as I am going to attempt to improve my strength using the study as a guide.

ANSWER

Our Barbell Complex Mini-Study write up has the details you need.
– Rob