All posts by Mintra Mattison

Q&A 6.30.22

QUESTION

Longtime listener, first time caller, I’ve been using many of your plans over the years, I recently found the 6,12,24 hour Adventure Race training programs, I am curious if the difference between the each plan is the number of weeks under each plan or if there is something more subtle that I am not seeing in the sample training? I am not actually planning on doing an adventure race but figured it’d be a fun way to incorporate multiple sports in a single training plan. Thanks

ANSWER

Volume/distance.
The non-running/rucking, biking and paddling portions of the plans are pretty much the same. As are the weekly training schedules.
What is different is the distances. For the 24 hour plan you’ll be running/rucking, biking and paddling much further distances.
Hence the plan duration differences … it takes longer to build you up to the distances for a 24 hour race than it does for a 6 hour race.
So … starting out, I’d go with the 6 hour.
– Rob

QUESTION

You guys have several plans on your site. I need help finding one that will fit my needs. My wife is about to go hospital for 5-6 months with my son during his chemo and transplant. The room she will be in will be fairly large, so she will have some room to workout and to store a minimum amount of equipment. I was wondering if you had a plan that would work for her? She is looking for a plan to help her get/stay toned while she is there with him. She said she would like some resistance band, body weight, and maybe some small hand weights. I didn’t see one that fit that style but I feel like there are so many options that I may have overlooked one.

ANSWER

Closest I have is the Quarantine Training Plan. She could work through it twice.
– Rob

QUESTION

First 5 weeks of run improvement program completed.  So far things are great … I dropped a minute from my 1.5 mile time and am finally able to complete the leg blaster intervals without stopping ( the first few weeks it was a process of slow and just get the work done).
My goals are to do a 10 mile road race… if the training continues to go well I would like to do a 1/2 Marathon in September and then there is a very hilly 1/2 Marathon on October that I would like to give a go.
I have two questions… 1. The weight for females is only 15lb do I increase it if  I find it too light or would that be a detriment to increasing my running speed? My background was CrossFit and lifting was my strength.
I guess my second question is the hinge lifts… are they supposed to be like straight legged DL ?
Thanks so far for the program… I’m enjoying it, it’s tough but it’s exactly what I was looking for.

ANSWER

– Increase load as you see fit.
– Hinge Lifts? – not a Romanian Dead Lift – you should have a slight bend in your knees.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am in the hunt for a new training plan for general Ski Mountaineering, Mountain Running, and Cycling fitness. I would love to know what y’all think would be a good plan for me.
A little background on myself:
– 28, Male, 6’5 and 245 pounds
– Primarily a skier, cyclist and trail runner
– Looking to increase uphill capacity to ensure good decision making can be made and train for October Ultra (55k)
– Past Accomplishments: 100k mountain run (2020), multiple 100+ mile bike rides
If there is any other information needed, please let me know.

ANSWER

I’d recommend starting out with the Peak Bagger Plan which has a significant uphill component. Add in a long weekend run to maintain running fitness.
Follow it up with the Power-Based Endurance Training Plan for Cycling.
Then, drop into the 50K Ultra Plan beginning 8-12 weeks out from your race. Giving your distance training age, you likely won’t need the full 12 weeks. Start at week 5.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been looking at the wildland fire training packet for a long time. I used to be a wildland fighter and still wish to be as fit as one. It has been awhile since I trained hard and was thinking about getting back into it with some simple rucking. What plan would you recommend for novice rucking? And is there a way to find out the exact equipment needed for each wildland fire plan? Because I am considering a gym nearby to join and want to make sure they have the equipment needed for such plans. Thanks.

ANSWER

Equipment – the required equipment for each plan is listed. After Rucking Improvement, drop into the Wildland Fire plans and email back with any specific questions.
– Rob

QUESTION

Is there a training plan for baseball / softball off season ?

ANSWER

From what I have and this close to the season I’d recommend Gladiator – with one change. Replace the 3-mile run assessment with a 1.5 mile run assessment and do 800m repeats.

– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been working your programs for years now. About to start the third iteration of Busy Dad LE. For the first two I was using kettlebells in place of sandbags, but I want to make the jump to an actual sandbag for this next plan.
I’m trying to decide which one to buy off your site. But, I’m curious if one approach to size/fill/density is preferable for any reason of it’s just personal preference. Any guidance would be appreciated.
Thanks for everything! Love your work!

ANSWER

Sandbag 2. Easier/cheaper to fill, smaller and easier to store.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am just about to finish up week 2 of the Fire/Rescue Academy Prep plan.

Just want to say that I am loving it.

I start the academy for the CO Springs Fire Department on June 13th and I am confident that through disciplined effort grinding through this course I will be well prepared. So thank you.

One question I have is regarding altitude adaptation.  I am currently living in IL at roughly 600ft.

We will be moving to CO Springs a week before the Academy starts and I am thinking about how much that almost 6000ft elevation increase will effect my fitness level.

Other than time at elevation and making sure I am well hydrated, do you know of any other things I can be doing now to better prepare myself for that elevation change?

ANSWER

I’m sorry for the delay in responding.
There’s no shortcut – other than arriving a week or 2 early and giving yourself time to adapt.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hi I’m trying to look for a program to help me with my departments scuba tryouts. My main focus is on improving pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups and my 1 Mile time.

ANSWER

Closest I’d have for that selection would be the USMS PFT Training Plan. 
You’d need to add pull ups to the assessment – and follow the same progression as the push ups and sit ups.
This plans trains for the 1.5 mile run – but it would transfer well to a 1 mile as well.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been following the year long SFAS plan just about to the end now, in careful preparation for the selection class on June 1st. I’m on track, but I just found out there there is a high chance that I wont get my paperwork done in time, and will have to attend the next class on August 15th. If this outcome becomes a reality, how do you suggest I proceed for the 2 1/2 months of time leading up to it since I finished the program? Will I lose some base strength if I just rewind the program 2 1/2 months as well? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

ANSWER

It doesn’t sound like you know for sure now, so keep going now with the original plan and the June selection date.
If it changes … continue with the plan anyway – you should complete the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan.
Then, take 1 full week’s rest, and re-start this plan from week one.
You should have 9 weeks until selection and it’s an 8 week plan. Repeat week 5 in the plan to stretch it to 9 weeks.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ll keep it short I am interested in Hypertrophy for skinny guys because… I am a skinny guy.
That being said what do you do if you get gassed before you are able to complete the circuits and you cant complete the reps without failure?

ANSWER

Drop the load until you can complete the reps, then start increasing the load back again as you gain strength.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently prepping for the CFA and the ACFT. I wanted to know what program would suit me best? Currently I do high intensity cardio 3 days of the week ie: sled pushes, farmers carry, mile jog one day; sprint intervals over a mile with lateral work the second day; and third I would do assault bike work. The 2 days of rest would include high incline fast walks.

Both are important. The way I see it CFA is more body weight so I can see it transition into the ACFT. As for something like the deadlift which is overall strength is also what I really want to improve. So I guess a mixture of bodyweight strength and lifts? But I guess if I were to answer that question its gonna be the CFA.
That’s my cardio for after my lifts. Before my lifts im doing 150 reps of pushups and core work that comes out to about 30 to 40 minutes. And before that im doing pull ups.
Im doing all of this to not only improve my score on a bunch of these tests but to also gain muscle. I want to get stronger and lose body fat as well and was wondering as to how I can achieve a high test score as well as get stronger and faster. Kind of a tough combo I suppose.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the ACFT Training Plan. 
However, I’d also have you work pull ups into the plan, and work on technique for the CFA Basketball Throw.
– Rob

Q&A 6.23.22

QUESTION

I used One of your programs in the past (ruck based selection) before attending SFRE and it worked awesome. My body felt more than prepared to handle the events and I was Very very satisfied with the results. After this, I was Awaiting a slot to SFAS. I ended Up going on a shorter notice and did not have time to prepare as I would’ve Liked. My body was feeling worn out from trying to maintain the rucking volume. I ended up going to SFAS, getting injured (sprained Achilles) and getting a 6 month return. I will be going back it would be either October or February. So I’d be looking at the best way to break up those plans in those timeframes. I’m currently working through a size/strength program and slowly working running back in as I continue To heal through physical therapy. I’m hoping to hit the ground running towards the end of may. Giving me between 3-6 months. I’d like to use your selection series but before purchasing wanted to know your best recommendation on how to utilize the programs with a condensed time window. Thank you.
 after consulting with the recruiting battalion

ANSWER

Weeks.  Plan
1-7         Fortitude
8-10       Valor – first 3 weeks
11-18     Ruck Based Selection Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Last year i purchased the backcountry hunting program and i was as far as ive been in 10 years heading into the mountains! Thanks!

This year, i want to run a 50 mile ultra in the fall after my mountain hunt. I was wondering how you would suggest tweaking the backcountry program to get ready for the mountains and the ultra.

ANSWER

I wouldn’t. – the BC Hunt plan has a lot of loading, and not enough running volume for a 50 mile.
To go long you have to train long.
I’d recommend our 50-Mile Ultra Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I usually run ultras so have a decent base, recently running 40 miles a week.
I am doing a half marathon September 25th.
I am starting the Run Improvement plan now as I want to spend the summer getting faster and losing some weight rather than ultras due to lack of time for regular long runs in the hills.
I don’t have time to finish both Run Improvement and the Half Marathon plan.
Should I start Half Marathon a couple of weeks into it as Run Improvement will keep me sharp? Or shall I finish Run Improvement a couple of weeks early and do the whole Half Marathon plan?
Or something else? Loving the site since I subscribed. I have been reading through all your Q&A articles heading back years so far. Great work, keep it up.

ANSWER

You’ve got 21 weeks until Sept 25:
Weeks.    Plan
1-14        Running Improvement Plan
– Rob

QUESTION

Hey guys looking for a new plan. I would call myself a high milage athlete with typical injuries coming from an infantry/sof background. I’m looking for something with functional body building styles along with getting back into ruck and running. My current fitness is nothing to write home about.  Thanks for the info

ANSWER

I’d recommend starting with basics… strength and endurance – and the Big 3 Strength + 3 Mile Run Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am writing to see which training plan you would recommend I start with.
I am Active Duty Army. I am coming off a Labrim and ligament tears in my right arm from BJJ and have not been maintaining fitness for at least the last 6 months.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

Just finished a marathon, now I don’t have any particular fitness goal until next winter when I’ll start to train for another marathon.
Looking for a plan to maintain general fitness (ACFT) and that will pair with 3x weekly Olympic lifting.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently in the Army and have been able to max everything on the ACFT except the trap bar deadlift, I have plateaued at 300lbs and can not seem to get over this number, do you have any recommendations on what I should try to get over this hump and get to that 340lb max?

ANSWER

Big 3 + 2 Mile Run Training Plan and sub the Trap Bar Dead Lift for the regular Hinge/Deadlift in the plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have just started my enlistment process and I probably will not be shipping to basic for another 3-4 months. I just finished my first year of college and I was a college lacrosse player. I did lose a little of my aerobic and strength ability. I’m currently running at around a 7-7:10 pace on runs and lost a lot of leg strength from not lifting as much in season. I want to make sure I am exceeding the standards even on a day that I am sick. What would you say is the best course of action if I have longer than 8 weeks? This is also my first time consider MTI.

ANSWER

Until you know more I’d recommend the plans/order in the Virtue Packet, beginning with Humility.
Email back when you get a date/course established.
Humility is no joke.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently living overseas on a small compound with very hilly terrain. Getting off compound to run is difficult and not always feasible. A loop around the compound is only about 800m but has an elevation changes of +/-100 feet during the loop with some pretty steep grades. I’m trying to figure out how to do some of your programing’s longer runs/ruck runs/rucks while compensating for the hills and also protect my knees when running down them. Do you have any ideas for that?

ANSWER

Quick answer is no. If you start and stop at the same spot – you essentially have no overall elevation gain.
If you had one tall-ass steep hill (1000 feet or more) you could carry water up, and dump it at the top, for the run down.
Knees? Again – nothing for you here other than perhaps wearing sleeves.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a Seaman in the coast gaurd getting ready for rescue swimmer school. At school we use a variety of ergs and calisthenics  and need strong legs for buddy towing. I’ve been using Marcus filly’s programming which incorporates a lot of tempo work that I like but honestly it’s just sorta silly how I have to YouTube every movement in the program because he calls stuff different names  and I feel like he’s making it more complicated that it should. Give me a call or an email I’d love to chat and see what we could figure out for a program.

ANSWER

We’ve built a program for Rescue Swimmer School. Click HERE.
The program, like school, is swim intensive. It’s specifically/professionally designed to prepare you for your school events including water con, treading, finning, etc.
It’s what I recommend you complete the 7 weeks directly before reporting.
If you have several months until school – email back with your exact reporting date and I’ll give you a plan progression.
– Rob

QUESTION

I acknowledge that this is a very convoluted question, and I apologize for it in advance. I have utilized mtntactical on and off for years now. I have completed many of the programs available on the site. I work in law enforcement and work overseas a lot, and at times I conduct training with the military. I usually piece a few programs together to meet my fitness needs. However, I also believe I lose some of the progression by not following the program fully. My work requires me to maintain and improve my conditioning-getting my heart rate up and being able to slow it down repeatedly-and at the same time being able to do stuff carrying a good amount of gear, such as climbing, pulling myself up, changing levels, changing direction, etc. There is also a requirement of strength and long distance endurance. My daily workout looks similar to this:
1. Aerobic activity, such as running for time, or interval running, or endurance run for 30 mins.
2. Strength component, such as bench, or squats, or pull-ups, depending what muscle group(s) I want to isolate.
3. I try to finish with some conditioning work, 15 – 20 mins of rowing and adding dumbbell cleans, jump squats, box jumps, etc.
I would appreciate your help in finding a program, or piecing a program together, to optimize my training.
Also, even though I enjoy reading the Q/A newsletter a lot, I would appreciate if this request doesn’t get posted.
Thanks in advance for your help,

ANSWER

What you’re doing now is what you want to do and likely what you’re good at or have done before. This is “working out” and not “training.”
This is natural and it happens to most of us – myself included. If I’m not following a plan I do what I’ve always done, and what I’m naturally good at (which are usually the same).
But .. based on your question I’m not sure you’re ready to break out of this pattern and it seems you’re asking me for my approval/help to cobble together exercises/programming which will allow you to keep up the same pattern. I won’t help.
Here’s the problem with doing the same thing every day … you plateau fitness wise, and it simply gets stale. My guess is your fitness work is getting “stale” for you now which is why you’ve reached out to me.
I’m sure you’re not going to be surprised when I say it’s best to follow a plan and finish it to completion.
Here’s what I’d recommend for you:
Then, drop into the plans/order in the Spirits Packet for LE patrol/detective, beginning with Whiskey.
Email back after you finish the Spirits Plans.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a recently hired paramedic looking to switch over to firefighting in about two years. I’ve been looking at your firefighter oriented plans and would love to start one, but had a quick question. I enjoy bouldering in my spare time. I don’t train intensely for climbing, I just love it as a de-stressor. I wanted to see if you had any advice regarding integrating climbing for fun with a plan such as the Fire Academy Training Plan. Is this too much volume? Is it reasonable to drop one of the Fire Academy Training Plan days to climb?

I also wanted to ask your opinion on rucking for firefighter fitness. Does rucking carry over much benefit to firefighting? Or should I stick to running?

I very much appreciate your time and love your programming.

ANSWER

Bouldering – you should be able to do two-a-days with the academy plan. Bouldering is very specific to grip strength and should’t interfere. If you’re feeling fatigued – take a rest day.
Rucking & Firefighting? Certainly movement under load – but you don’t need anything more than the fire academy plan. If you wanted to ruck on your own, I’d go heavy – 65-70 pounds, and short – 1-3 miles.
– Rob

 

Q&A 6.16.22

QUESTION

I just finished SF60 Alpha, and am about to start Mountaineering prep, then Peak Bagger.

Question: I live near plenty of vertical trails: can I substitute loaded uphill trail hikes occasionally for the step-ups?  If so, is there a way to equate distance or elevation gain with step-ups, or count only the uphill part of the workout?

ANSWER

Yes – assume 1x Step Up = 24″ for the sub. So 500x Step Ups = 1,000 feet of vertical gain and do it accordingly. Use Google Earth to get the vertical gain for your course.
Also, I’d recommend packing up water. 1 gallon = 8 pounds … and dumping the water at the top for the run/hike down.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was introduced to MTI through The Deliberate Discomfort Challenge. I am a firefighter and one of our peer fitness trainers. I have sent several guys your way to subscribe to the big cat series and have jumped in myself when we work together.

My question is this: I just turned 50 and have a history of low back issues. I typically work through them pretty quickly, but the low back problems have been more frequent lately. I am an engineer and the physicality of the job has lessened a small amount, but I want to continue to be fit enough to do the job.

Which program(s) would be most beneficial at this stage of my career?

ANSWER

SF50 Programming beginning with SF50 Alpha.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m in the 75th RR wanting to inquire about some of your programs. I did your Ranger School recovery program last year and really enjoyed it. I’m looking to get back on another program with you guys but not sure which one would be best for me. I’m lookin for something that’ll build strength in Bench,DL, and squat but isn’t just a straight up meat head program. I’d like something that focuses on those 3 lifts but has a functional aspect to it as well.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

Working through Running Improvement, looking for your advice on how to best modify based on advice found in your article “The Training Lifecycle.”
I love your focused programming balanced with base fitness.  Age 42 male, Navy reserves.  For reference, I made it through the quarantine program with no problem.  First three weeks of Hector were good, fourth week started to wear on me, by the end of 4th week I had overtraining/overuse foot injury (severe arch pain) and had to stop to recover (couldn’t walk, should have backed off…).  Same thing happened first time I started running improvement (ankle strain).  These were injuries I had never had before, and went away after a couple weeks rest/recovery.  Taking a wiser approach this time with running improvement by taking a rest day between days 5/6 long runs.  So a 5-1-1-1 split.  At the end of week 3 I was feeling pretty beat up (coming off rotating mid shift work also…), and had to add an additional two days to recover.  Felt great great starting week 4 (performance on the 4x800s was really good).  However, re-reading and thinking about what the 40-50 advice in “The Training Lifecycle,” would it be a better split to rearrange the workouts into a 2x 3-1 split?  So Speed over ground – Strength – Easy Distance Run – Rest?  Or some other combination?
Also, to prep for Navy PFA, I added a 1x max effort front plank on the three shorter running days.  Not concerned about the plank, just don’t want to be unprepared.  Last time I maxed with only planking a few times a week for 6-8 weeks prior.
2022 Fitness goals are to get my 1.5 mile run time down by July, and prep for Ragnar trail relay mid October.  Plan is to finish up Running Improvement, considering Military On Ramp, then Ultra prep right before Ragnar Trail?  Thoughts?
Would love to see some more P:E nutrition articles and sample diets.
Love what you are doing.

ANSWER

I’m not sure your injury issues are related to your actual age – they might be related to your “training age” – which is how long you’ve actually been consistently “training” and not occasionally working out.
The reason I say this is there are plenty of 40+ year old ultra runners putting in 70+ miles/week. But their “training age” – years they’ve been running – is high.
My sense is as you work through the running improvement plan, your “training age” is increasing, your connective tissue toughening up, and you’re adapting better.
At 42 I was in the gym pounding really hard … harder than my 30s … so it’s not like 42 is super old. I went super hard until 48 … so don’t underestimate yourself, esp. if your training age is relatively young.
In terms of split …. if what you’re doing now is working, keep doing it. If you find you aren’t making the first and or second intervals, you may want to consider more rest.
Schedule? …. make sure you look at the first week of the Ultra prep running mileage/volume. The Military OnRamp plan includes running, but you may want to replace the rucking in the plan with more running to get ready for the first week of the Ultra Pre-Season.
– Rob

QUESTION

I and have found you guys through a friend. I’m very intrigued by what you have to offer as I’ve done various programs in the past. In addition, I plan on purchasing the subscription and have a few questions about where to start. My intent is to be an overall athlete, having served in the Military I’ve done multiple CrossFit programs, I’ve done bodybuilding, and I’m a Deep End Fitness Instructor. But, now I’ve learned to love being a well-rounded athlete, that is strong, that has endurance (someday do an Iron Man), and preparing for my new endeavor of being a Firefighter, and staying injury-free. I have a small garage gym I’ve been able to outfit over the past few months, literally everything in the required equipment tab. I know this email was very lengthy, and I hope I am able to illustrate my goals to you. I am really looking forward to hearing back from you guys! Cheers!

ANSWER

I’d recommend starting with our Country Singer Packet of plans which concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance and chassis integrity (functional core). Start with Johnny.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hey! I just recently got your subscription to your app. I was wondering you have a program for someone who is going to leave for basic training?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’m an athlete’s subscription subscriber, and I am a single-role paramedic who works in a couple different services, doing everything from simple transports to 911 response. I am a reasonably fit 27 year old male and I was wondering if you had any specific program recommendations for single-role paramedics. I also served in the army for 6 years and would like to hold myself to that kind of fitness standard as long as I can.

ANSWER

Our Big Cat series is what I’ve built for Fire/Rescue. Start with Jaguar.
If you want to push, drop into the Virtue Packet of plans beginning with Humility. These are designed for military, but the fitness will transfer.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just purchased the MTI US Marshals academy plan , I’m so excited to get started! I am a police officer and I am most of the way through the marshal service hiring process but I want to make sure I get in great shape , so I’m a little early. Do you think it’s ok for me to run through this program multiple times if I am a little ways out from the academy? Thanks for your help and for this program I’m getting started right away!

ANSWER

No … issue is after a couple times you’ll plateau and the programming become stale.
What I’d recommend is doing the plan now, then dropping into the plans/order in the Spirits Packet of plans for LE Patrol/Detective, then repeating the US Marshall’s Academy Plan the weeks directly before the academy starts.
– Rob

QUESTION

I bought your Meathead Cycle program a few weeks ago and can feel and see myself gaining muscle (very little fat gain too with the nutrition plan.), but I wanted to get your opinion on something. I weighed in at about 195 pounds 3 weeks ago when I started, and have gotten to about 200 pounds as of Sunday. I am commissioning Active Duty Infantry soon and have noticed over time that I don’t like the way I perform as a tactical athlete overall when I reach the 200ish level. I am going to finish up this week on the Meathead cycle and then start your Ranger School plan to hopefully get below 185-190, but wanted to know if you’d recommend your IBOLC plan instead and why? Because I would think using the Ranger School plan would be indirectly training for IBOLC.

ANSWER

If you’re going to IBOLC that’s the plan I’d recommend as it is event-specific.
Will the Ranger School Plan transfer? – yes – you’ll be overprepared, most likely.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m on the back country hunting build 1, i’m doing the backcountry hunting program. I am 42 years old, 5 10, about 190 pounds.
I recently, about three weeks ago, started training jujitsu. I train five days a week for an hour during the lunch hour. Then i workout at the gym before dinner.
Do I need to modify the workouts in anyway to accommodate for the jujitsu training?

ANSWER

What’s most important to you? Jui Jitsu or hunting?
Jui Jitsu won’t prepare you for hunting – which has a strong endurance component. But, esp. as you move to the hunting pre-season plan, the programming is intense with high volume, and there’s a good chance you’ll overtrain.
Can you do both? Depends on your fitness.
An option now is to continue with your JJ and pull back on the BC Hunting Build sessions as needed for recovery, then as you get closer to your hunting season, (6-8 weeks) stop JJ to focus on hunting prep.
You can do JJ all year long. Hunting is only 1x/year.  Easy decision for me, but it’s up to you….
– Rob

QUESTION

Which of your plans would you recommend for me with the following:
1. 40 yo
2. Participates mostly in endurance events (focusing on olympic triathlon) – I would continue to use 8020 tri plans
3. Some history of injury so mobility/stability important
4. Decent strength levels (2xBW DL, 1.5 BW SQ)
5. Some interest in moving in to obstacle course racing, with an emphasis on racing, not just participating. No particular race currently planned.
I have looked at the SF40 plans – are those the best bet to keep baseline strength/chassis and supplement with the tri training as appropriate based on the season phase (base/build/peak/etc.)?

ANSWER

I don’t have the perfect answer for you as I’m not sure the intensity and recovery needed from your tri plans. Also – it seems you’re interested in trying something new, but not sure.
For most in-season athletes, I recommend our In-Season Strength Training Plan for Endurance Athletes as a way to train/maintain strength 2-3x/week while not impacting their endurance programming.
You’re plenty strong … so either you are a mutant or you’re already training some strength.
What I’d recommend is committing to an Obstacle Race and training specifically for it – using one of our Obstacle Race Plans or your own programming … and seeing how you like it.
If not, you could drop into the SF40 Plans, but skip the endurance in them to maintain strength/Chassis Integrity.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am planning to go to Peak Lenin (7k meters) in July. Debating between the two plans mentioned in the subject.

The big mtn plan seems more focused on strength and work capacity. The Denali plan seems to incorporate more long runs/rucks which seem more ideal for my goals – but I could be wrong. Which of these plans do you suggest?

Big supporter of the plans I’ve used! Will be using the 50k ultra and Everest for next spring.

ANSWER

Denali has the long approach on skis …so it’s a different animal than many big peaks. I’m sure about the climbing details of Peak Lenin … so I’d recommend looking at that and comparing it to both plans.
But don’t overthink it …. I’m sure either will do a good job of preparing you.
– Rob

 

Q&A 6.9.22

QUESTION

I am looking at beginning the Athlete’s subscription and am curious what plan would best fit my goals.
I recently got selected for Civil Affairs and start SOCM later this year. I felt good during selection but want to improve on my base.
I am looking for:
-Increase in strength on lifts
-Build onto cardio with runs pushing 10 miles
-Rucking development pushing out to 20 miles
Thank you for any insight and feedback. Your programs have been highly recommended by everyone I talk to in the SOF community.

ANSWER

Plans/order in the Greek Hero series, beginning with Hector.
These plans are designed as our day to day programming for military athletes/SOF and concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity, military endurance (run, ruck) and tactical agility.
– Rob

QUESTION

I wanted to ask about the pull-ups. I can do a pull-up from the standing/flat foot position with no problems but for some reason I can’t do them from the hang… difficulty getting out of the hang pocket at the bottom. Just wondering how to remedy that?
Thank you for your time in advance

ANSWER

You need to engage your shoulder before you start pulling up with your arms/lats.
Pay attention to how you grab onto the bar, and make sure you are not dead hanging on your wrists.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am signed up for a half marathon trail run with 3,000 ft gain through out the race. What plan would be the best for this race? I saw that you have a half marathon plan, but I was curious if it had the elevation gain that I would need. Thanks for all the information you provide us with!

ANSWER

Do the Alpine Run Training Plan, but don’t carry weight for the step ups or runs.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking to start one of your plans. I am going to climb mount Rainer this summer, and want to be prepared for that via your training plan. I am also a climber though in my off season, and want to continue to climb and maintain my upper body strength. I was wondering if you have any suggestions or thoughts on combining plans together.Your program is fascinating! I have never seen anything like it, and look forward to learning a little more about it.

ANSWER

By my count you have 14 weeks. Here’s what I recommend:
Weeks.     Plan
1-7           Mountain Base Helen
8-14         Rainier Training Plan
Note – Don’t let gym-based training (my stuff) interfere with your on-mountain performance because of soreness or fatigue. What that means is that as you move into the climbing season, you’ll need to be flexible with this programming.
So … if you’re headed out for a peak-bagging mission early on Saturday morning, pull back on Thursday’s programming and rest all day Friday, then again the full day on Sunday, before returning to the programming.
When you return to the programming, don’t skip ahead …. start back where you left off.
Regardless – start the Rainier Plan the 7 weeks directly before your plan, no matter where you are in Helen.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently debating on purchasing either the Fire Academy or the Fire/rescue on-ramp training plan. I’m planning on tentatively attending a fire academy this July.
I’m concerned my current baseline fitness will not cut it for the academy. I regularly worked out from November until Mid February when I got a new dog. Currently, on a daily basis I climb about 15 sets of stairs a day and walk between 7-15 KM.
That being said, I’ve taken a look at the sample training & required equipment for both plans. I am personally leaning towards the Fire Academy plan due to having most of the the equipment and I enjoy the layout of the programming.
I’d really appreciate any input you have into picking either of these programs.

ANSWER

The Fire Academy Training Plan is only 7 weeks long, and you have 10-14 weeks before you start the Academy.
If you have 10 or less weeks, I recommend the Fire Academy Training Plan and repeating weeks 1-3 to stretch it to 10 weeks.
If you have more than 10 weeks, I’d recommend starting with the Fire/Rescue OnRamp Plan and then, 7 weeks out from your Academy date, dropping into the Academy Plan and completing it the 7 weeks directly before the Academy starts.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently training for a SWAT tryout. I want to purchase your 7 week training program. However I have approximately 12 weeks until test day.

I am fairly fit. I feel like I have a lot of work to do before July but I think I could make the PT test portion of push up sit ups and a 1.5 mile run. That being said, is it reasonable to purchase this program and repeat some of it leading up to test day. What are your thoughts? How should I approach this?

ANSWER

The plan is intense, but based on your current fitness you’d could probably suffer through.
In general, I don’t recommend repeating selection plans because of their intensity … but if you wanted to do that you could complete weeks 1-7 of the plan now, take a full week of rest, then repeat weeks 4-5, then skip to 7, right before your selection. Week 7 is a taper/unload week.
Another option would be to complete weeks 1-4 of our MTI SWAT/SRT Fitness Assessment Training Plan, take a full week’s rest, then drop into the SWAT Selection Plan directly before selection.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently separating from the United States Air Force, and will be joining the United States Army National Guard for the state of North Carolina. I’ve been following both your programs and CrossFit workouts for the past 3 plus years now, and after I join the guard I will be attending college, and after school am planning to try out for SFAS. Since that gives me roughly a 3 to 4 year gap to train, what program(s) do you recommend I follow for now to help me maintain a good level of fitness before I’m roughly 6 to 12 months out from attending SFAS? I would say I’m a military athlete and a mountain athlete since I enjoy being outside and in the mountains, and because I’m in the United States military.

ANSWER

Don’t specialize in your training, and instead train the multiple mission-direct fitness demands of military and/or mountain athletes.
On the military side, from MTI programming, start with the Virtue Packet of plans, then follow them up with the Green Hero plans. These plans are designed as day to day, “base fitness” for military athletes and concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (run/ruck), chassis integrity and tactical agility.
On the mountain side, follow the Greek Heroine plans. These plans are designed as “base fitness” for mutli-sport mountain athletes and concurrently train strength, work capacity, climbing fitness (rock), mountain endurance (run, uphill movement under load), and chassis integrity.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been doing “Hector” and I love it!

It’s incredibly novel and I look forward to each workout because different days have different attributes. My strength has gone up and my physical body weight has as well (something I am trying to increase). The exercise demonstrations are very helpful as well. I am excited to transition to “Apollo”, but curious to how the programs are different and if Hector progresses you to Apollo.
I am someone who needs a routine to follow, if I create my own then I would overtrain. The “Greek Hero Packet” is extremely helpful and just what I need!
Thank you for your help.

ANSWER

Thanks for the feedback.

While often the programming inside each plan might be progressive, the plans in the packet are not. So you don’t necessarily need to do Hector before Apollo.
Each plan uses the same general ingredients – strength, work capacity, endurance, chassis integrity … but the actual way each is trained, and the mx between them differs.
That being said, there is a method to the way the plans are ordered, and it’s best to follow them in order.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m looking to purchase your FBI training program because I have to take my PFT in about 4 weeks. I know this is a 6 week program, so I was wondering if you had a recommendation for where I should start. Would it be best to just start on Week 3 or should I start on Week 1 and skip some of the middle weeks. I’m coming in with a pretty good level of physical fitness. I’ve been working on push ups and sit ups for awhile, and I can almost max out the 1.5 mile run, but I want to work on my sprint and just do everything I can to get a higher score. I would love to know your opinion!

ANSWER

Follow the plan in order starting at week 1, and get 2 days full rest before your PFT.

– Rob

QUESTION

I had a few questions regarding my next training plans.
I am currently in my second week of the Bodyweight beginner program.
Really enjoying the program so far it’s been a good introduction back into training.
I used to train regularly but have not trained much the last 2 years and am pretty out of shape. I’m definitely underweight so my overall goal is weight gain. I would also like to build my endurance back up but I know that doesn’t always go well while trying to gain weight. I’ve gotten my diet back on track but am wondering where to go training wise.
What would be the next few plans you would recommend?
I’ve been a big fan of your blog and have been looking into the subscription package and finally signed up, I’m glad I did!

ANSWER

Hypertrophy Program for Skinny Guys is what I’d recommend to add mass.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am starting to train for TACP school. I dont plan on going for about a year or so. I am currently in the Army National Guard and pass the APFT with little problem but have a ways to go to get where I want to be before I enter this training pipeline. Currently at 18 min 2 mile, 45 pu, 65 su, 5 pull ups. I had a long recovery from covid and it took me down quite a bit. I currently do not do any training in the water but know how to swim and spend quite a bit of time at the lake in the summer. Would you recommend doing the TACP training program or starting with something else before moving to that.

Also, does the TACP program or the program you recommend to start with contain recovery information?

ANSWER

I’d recommend you jump right into the TACP Course Training Plan. Doing the plan now will give you a good idea of what you’re signing up for.
Take a full week rest, then drop into the Virtue Packet Plans, beginning with Humility.
Then, repeat the TACP plan 8 weeks before your course starts.
– Rob

QUESTION

I got a class date of 10 July. Started humility and am on week 3. Should I stick with humility until I’m 7 weeks out or is there a better suited program to work with until then? Thanks!

ANSWER

Yes … timing should work out just about right for you to finish Humility and roll into the LE Academy Training Plan directly before you report.
Good luck!

– Rob

Q&A 6.2.22

QUESTION

I recently purchased the FBI Special Agent PFT.  I’m currently applying to South Dakota’s Division of Criminal investigation.  The physical requirements are similar to the FBI’s process except there is not a 300m sprint.  Instead, there is a vertical leap requirement.

As an attorney, I worked primarily behind a desk and neglected my physical fitness for some time.  I’m looking for any advice to adapt the FBI Special Agent PFT  training to the South Dakota DCI requirements.  I thought the program would be consistent with SD DCI’s requirements, but would appreciate any advice.  Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.

ANSWER

I’d recommend following the plan as prescribed and adding in 5 sets of 1x vertical leap, at max effort, after sprint intervals.
Take a good 60 seconds + rest between jumps – to fully recover.
Sprinting has proven to be just as effective as plyometrics for increasing power, and practicing the leap will help you become familiar with the event.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been struggling with nutrition all my life. Do you have a complete list of foods what you can and can’t have? I am about to start the Firefighter Academy Workout and I read what is listed on the website, but just wondering what other foods are acceptable?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I am going to have about 8 weeks to get ready for ranger school.  I purchased a plan that has the RASP and ranger school programs.  Which do you recommend doing?
Thank you for your time.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I am reaching out to you and your team to see if there is a custom workout plan or recommendations for an older candidate (42 years of age).  I will be attending SFAS in 22 weeks and have a good foundation for what is needed physically, but I was hoping you could suggest, direct or outline an optimal plan for the next four months to help guide my training.
My current PT score is about 240
Pushups 62
Situps 62
Run 14 minutes
5 miler 38 minutes
14 pull ups
I know that with anxiety and adrenaline my scores will go up slightly the day of the testing at SFAS, but I would like to try and max the PT test now and really improve my core strength, back strength and shoulder strength to try and prevent injuries if possible.
My current plan is:
Ranger PFT improvement as my morning split for the five week course starting in two weeks in the AM (will be able to complete the cycle 4 times), keeping close tabs in my PFT score and improvement
For twenty one weeks I plan on utilizing the (1) the ultimate work capacity workout for the PM sessions (7 weeks), (2) SFOD-D at about 5 weeks and do this for ten weeks (3) SFRE training plan the last seven weeks.  Combining a good PT schedule with the ranger PT program four times and then transitioning from work capacity to more selection based training will continually increase my endurance and leg/back/shoulder strength.
However, I am open to modifications to this plan and hope you may have some tips or programs for an old dude trying to complete SFAS and make it to the Q course.

ANSWER

Here’s what I recommend.
Weeks         Plan
1-7              Fortitude
8-17            Valor
18-22          Ruck Based Selection Training Plan (our SFAS prep plan – complete the 8 weeks directly before)
Pls know this is what I’d recommend irregardless of your age. The demands/standards at SFAS are the same for everyone.
Good for you and Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking for a plan reccomendation to get my fitness on track and weight loss going.
I am 26 years old. I am 5’6″ and currently weigh about 185lbs. I have been decently fit in the past but have always been a poor runner with bad stamina. I am in EMS and typically work 48 hours at a time. I typically have access to a limited gym with a squat rack, bench, and kettlebells/dumbells.
My biggest concern is losing fat, however the fat loss program has me nervous because I have never ran that much before. What do you suggest?
Thank you for all your help and work.

ANSWER

Please email back when you’ve completed the plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

You guys have a great set of programs, so thank you.
Do you have any suggestions on which program to drop into next, to expand on the muscles building, to build off the programs you already suggested ( I just finished Tequilla) ? As I stated before, I usually have 45-55 minutes in the am to get a work out in before work.
Thanks for the suggestions.

ANSWER

Continue with the Spirits Packet Plans – Vodka next, then Bourbon and Gin.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am 40, a former Royal Marines Commando and reasonably fit still. I run 5/6 days a week, usually 7/8 miles with a long run one day of 10/11 miles. I do bodyweight work in the gym and did a little bit of weights in recent months but not too much.
I usually train for ultramarathons, the last one being November 2021.
I am 5’11”, 89kg so a little overweight. Next year, summer 2023 (no set date) I want to be fit enough (the fittest I have been) to complete a local 100 mile route (FKT, Unsupported) and do it fast to have the record (maybe 22 hours). Unsupported means carrying everything I need apart from water which can be collected from public taps if available, but otherwise I would carry it.
So I want to train hard, carrying weight but also covering long distances in a fast time. I thought about doing the year package for SFOD-D but without the helmet and dummy rifle? I looked at rucking plans but unsure if they will have the distance for me to build the endurance?
Would SFOD-D be best or do you suggest a different route?

ANSWER

In terms of next year’s 100-mile effort, I’d recommend, depending upon your weekly mileage prior, the 100-Mile Ultra Training Plan directly before. The SFOD-D Selection Training Plan doesn’t have the mileage to prepare for a 100-mile effort.
Now?
I’d recommend the plans/order in the Greek Heroine Packet. These plans are designed as day to day programming for multi-sport mountain athletes, and have a significant endurance component … but also train relative strength, work capacity, chassis integrity and mountain endurance (trail running, uphill movement under load).
Start with Helen and follow the plans in order.
Next year, 17 weeks out from your FKT attempt, drop out of the Green Heroine plans and into the 100-mile Ultra plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m starting the plan today and I had a question for you about the Meathead Cycle. I still want to train running to keep my run time down for Army, is it ok if I do a LSD run on Tuesday’s and 200/400/800 intervals on Thursdays? Thanks

ANSWER

Okay, but extra running will work against the mass-building goal of the programming.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m just wrapping up Johnny. In 12 weeks I’m doing the Surly Pika 6 hour adventure race in Pinedale. Events will include running, mountain biking, and kayaking. What plan do you suggest?

ANSWER

Closest I have right now would be following the basic programming in the Olympic Triathlon Training Plan.  – and if local terrain allows, substituting trail running and MTB for the moderate/easy paced efforts in the plan.
Paddling – you could do the swimming assessments/intervals for overall fitness – and if you have the equipment/resources, kayak for time for the prescribed distance swimming efforts.
– Rob

QUESTION

I want to let you know that I have enjoyed your plans. I have seen results just in the past 2 weeks I have followed Ruger. I do have some bad news though and I need your advice in two areas.

Back in January, I tore my rotator cuff and labrum in my right shoulder. I tried physical therapy but it did not help with the chronic pain. I’m going in tomorrow for surgery.
I will be down for awhile but I have some questions:
1) I start physical therapy 10 days from tomorrow. Do you have any recommendations for plans after I can run again? Not sure when that will be allowed by my doc. He said I can go for walks right away.  I guess it would be exclusive to running and lower body workout but with going to FBI HRT selection next April in mind.
2) When I get back to full abilities (in 6 months, according to the doc), what plan should I start with? I would have about 6 months before selection. I know that 2 months will be the HRT selection prep so I would have roughly 4 months to work up to that plan.
Thanks for all your help and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and advice.

ANSWER

Recovery Programming:
1) Training Plan for Athletes Suffering Arm Injury – trains around your injured arm. You can supplement this with additional running.
2) Full Ability:
Humility then Valor then Fortitude into the HRT Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am an athlete subscriber with course attendance on the 11 week long UK’s All Arms Commando course booked for September this year (currently 23 weeks out). The course contains all of the expected elements with a strong emphasis on Obs course, rope climbing (with load) and loaded running in boots (21lb plus weapon at sub 10 min mile pace) in addition to performance under significantly heavier loads in the field. However the entry test day (conducted the week before) is based on a PFA format of push ups / pull ups / sit ups, rope climbing and a 1.5 mile best effort run in boots (unloaded) plus Obs course run through. Ultimately, if you don’t score highly in these tests, you won’t be allocated a place on the main course.

From answers to others questions in the past, the Ruck based selection plan is a decent fit for the main course, but the Potential Royal Marines course obviously the best fit for the selection day.

In trying to prepare as best as possible, should my focus be on the longer term demands of the course for the majority of the time I have to prepare and then complete the PRMC programme in the final weeks running up to the selection day or the other way round, i.e work on the key PFA elements first and then try and maintain this pace whilst progressing through the Ruck based progression?

As a bit more information, I am likely to be one of the older candidates attempting the course, and thus injury resistance, robustness and recovery between hard efforts will be key to any chance of success.

ANSWER

You need to focus on fitness for the longer course – not the entry PFT. However, you can’t ignore the entry PFT.
The Ruck Based Selection Training Program currently includes focused training for the APFT – push ups, sit ups, 2-mile run. What you can do is add in pull ups and follow the same progression as the push ups and sit ups.
Also – change the 2-mile run to a 1.5 mile run, and perform 3-4x 800m repeats using the MTI running calculator.
Rope Climb? This is mostly technique … so prior to the course make sure your technique is solid and you have not weaknesses here. If so … add them into your programing and focus on technique.
O-Course …. again, the issue is generally isn’t fitness, but obstacle technique. If possible (it may not be) run the course prior .. make sure you understand the obstacles and the best technique to tackle each one.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just finished the Big 3+3 program.  Went up 150 lbs between the three and shaved 6 minutes off my run. I’m only 30lbs shy of the 1200 club. Many thanks.  I’m doing my yearly 75 Hard cycle starting on the 19th.  Right now my plan is to run through the Top 5 program until May 9, the Murph until Memorial day and then work my way through the Virtue Series until July.  What would the best way for me to maintain my strength gains from Big 3 during this, or at least not lose everything?  I appreciate your time and any advice you want to pass on.

ANSWER

Expect to lose some strength, but it will come back fast when you return to this focus. The Virtue series includes solid strength training.
– Rob

Q&A 5.26.22

QUESTION

I am looking for recommendations for after the completion of my hike. I know I will need to exercise and adjust my diet accordingly. Do you recommend a complete rest recovery period, an active recovery period, or maybe something else? After recovery how much of a workout should I jump into? I’ll just be doing base fitness for a while after. Thanks for any insight and advice.

ANSWER

Start back with strength and running – I’d recommend the Big 3 Strength + 2-Mile Run Training Plan.


QUESTION

Hi Rob-  I am looking at your SF55 training programs.  I am a recently retired senior USAF Officer, with extra time looking to rebuild and maintain strength.

My issue is one of consistency.  The job I am currently (airline) holding requires travel to Asia and COVID lockups in hotel rooms.  This precludes my staying on your program, occasionally for a week, rarely two.  During those times I get my workouts in by bringing a yoga mat and making use of a few square feet that are available.  I expect this to continue for the foreseeable future.
Do you have any experience with success using your senior programs but on an inconsistent basis?  Any recommendations?

ANSWER

None of the SF55 programming is assessment-based, so you can move in and out of it as your scheduling permits.
The extended, multi-mode “grind” structure of the bulk of the programming will also work in motel rooms – but you’ll need to be creative with exercises – bodyweight burpees, squats, push ups, sit ups, bridges, etc., and balcony jump roping or step ups, if possible.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently in the USCG as a rescue swimmer candidate. I am in a program where I am trained in the pool three times a week, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, but I’m left on my own to train on land.
I won’t go to rescue swimmer school for another year at least, and I intend to do the rescue swimmer specific program you guys have just prior to shipping to RS school.
Land workouts are equally as important in school, so I need a good base program. I tried doing the pirate training, but that program has me swimming on Wednesday, and that is not a day I’m able to swim, so I’ve been taking Wednesday as a rest day, and just doing the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday swims in addition to the Barbosa land workouts. However, running twice a day sessions is caused me a lot of exhaustion and I’m beginning to feel a bit of overtraining from all the volume.
Do you have any advice on how I can make the pirate packet work with three 2 hour intense swim sessions a week, or if there is another land based program I can be doing instead that will better suit me?

ANSWER

Fortitude … however just modify the schedule. Do all the sessions in order, but don’t pay attention to the days and don’t train Fortitude on the day’s your swimming and get 1 full days rest/week. So here would be your first 2-week schedule:
Mon: Swim
Tue: Swim
Wed: Fortitude SESSION 1
Thu: Swim
Fri: Fortitude SESSION 2
Sat: Fortitude SESSION 3
Sun Rest
Mon: Swim
Tue: Swim
Wed: Fortitude SESSION 4
Thu: Swim
Fri: Fortitude SESSION 5
Sat: Fortitude SESSION 6
Sun Rest
Etc …
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m interested in the Ranger School Training Packet program, however, as of today I’m ~24 weeks from inserting into Pre-Ranger Course (then directly into Ranger School upon completion).

Would you suggest that I just complete the 3. ‘Fortitude’ through 6. ‘ Ranger School‘ Training Plan programming based on the time limitations?

Thanks for any insight you can provide.

ANSWER

Weeks.   Plan
1-7         Military OnRamp
7-15       Fortitude (repeat week 6 to stretch this plan to 8 weeks)
16          Total Rest
17-24      Ranger School Training Plan
If you’re fit and don’t think you need the Military OnRamp plan, replace it with Valor.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking to attend HRT selection in about 9-11 months and plan to purchase the MTI HRT selection plan. In the FAQs, one of the questions states that if you have more than 9 weeks until selection to email a coach. So, that’s what I’m doing. Thanks.

ANSWER

Now – complete the full FBI HRT Selection Training Plan.
Follow it up with the plans/order in the Gun Maker Packet. These plans are designed as day to day programming for full time SWAT/HRT and concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (run, ruck), chassis integrity and tactical agility.
Then, repeat the full HRT plan the 9 weeks directly before selection.
Email back anytime along the way with any questions.
– Rob

QUESTION

Sorry to bother you. I am an officer in AZ. I unfortunately let myself go over the last couple years and got up to 305 as of a couple months ago. But I was recommended your program and I completed the “on ramp” program and have lost 23lbs so far in 8 weeks.
My question is what now? Which plan should I go with and do I continue to cycle through the spurits plans or repeat the same programs to maintain fitness?
What do you recommend?

ANSWER

If you made through the OnRamp plan, yes, move onto the Spirits Plans beginning with Whiskey.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m wondering what weighted vests you guys find work best with sandbag training. My 30 lb vest is very awkward doing the sand bag get ups. So what would be better. A vforce type vest Iv seen you guys wear, or something like the goruck plate carrier?

ANSWER

We use and like the short vests from weightvest.com, including the Box and V-Force vests. They’ve been bomber for us.

– Rob

QUESTION

I was looking through your website in search of a program to help me prepare for my upcoming contract as an army engineer diver (MOS 12D).  I was wondering if there is something on there that I might have missed?  It is supposed to be the same schooling as the Navy Seabee divers as well.

ANSWER

Closest we’d have is the Combat Diver Course Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I really enjoyed reading your article on 1 lb on your feet versus 4 lbs on your back. I have a hypothetical question for you. When I was in my 20’s – 30’s I worked as a wildland firefighter. Now that I am approaching 60, I would like to do this again on a local volunteer Type II team. The issue is the pack test. In my youth, I could muscle through carrying the 45 lb pack in the time required, but it was difficult because I am only 5′ 1″ and 102 pounds. So I was maxing out my body back in the day. I probably could pass the pack test now (I work on a cross cut saw team in the wilderness areas to clear trails and am quite fit), but I am concerned about carrying this much weight on the fire line and working at the same time.
Do you have any training suggestions for a flyweight? 45 pounds is 44% of my body weight, over the 40% in Ruck rule 3. What happens to work capacity after the 40% limit is passed? Any ideas would be appreciated. I understand any suggestions are completely hypothetical as this situation is possibly impossible to overcome. Darn gravity.

ANSWER

Ultimately, the standard of 45# is the standard, and we don’t have a way of getting around it. Speed on the ground is dictated by 1. stride length and 2. foot speed. At 5’1, your stride length isn’t going to get any better. Being able to churn those legs like a high-speed kitchen aid mixer is where you should ultimately focus. The faster you can get your feet moving, the better off you’ll be in making the 45-minute time limit. A big aerobic base is key for shorties such as yourself… at least you can rest easy knowing you’re working significantly harder than everyone else!
To start with, give the Wildland Firefighter Pre-Season Plan a go. Keep in mind, these plans are written for the 20 and 30 year olds that make up the majority of the hand crews… adjust as needed for your age and don’t hesitate to reach out with questions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was curious if there was a training plan besides the ACFT training plan that will still prepare me physically to perform well on the ACFT. I enjoy the daily operator session plans and other strength plans. I was doing the cream soda plan concurrently with the run improvement plan. I will take an ACFT in around a month but feel the ACFT prep plan will detract from other strength aspect I like to train (ie: work capacity, squats, cleans) and it gets quite repetitive quickly. Any suggestions are welcome.

ANSWER

I depends upon how important your ACFT score is to you.
The operator sessions and our other military base fitness programming (Greek Hero plans, Virtue Plans) all are designed as high level, day-to-day, mission-direct fitness for military athletes. My sense is most who do these will be able to score well on the ACFT without training specifically for it.
However, to score your best, you need to train specifically for the test. The ACFT has some unique events – like the front bridge and ball throw, – movements which I don’t generally program in the base fitness programming.
So, best is to take 3 weeks minimum before your assessment, drop out of the Operator Sessions, and complete the ACFT Training Plan. Then after the assessment, return to the Operator Sessions.
– Rob

QUESTION

Thinking about subscribing again. My intent is to build myself up to a high baseline fitness standard across the board as a mil athlete, and address shortcomings in almost every aspect. And I’m not in a rush.
Current status, has been better in the past: 
25min 5k run
35 pushups
10 pullups
185lbs bench press 1RM (I’m 174lbs)
250 lbs squat 1RM
250 deadlift 1RM
Do you recommend that I do successive short cycles for every shortcoming (running, strenght, bodyweight, etc.) and then move on to baseline programming? Or straight to baseline for a slow build up across the board?

ANSWER

Straight to Base Fitness.
I’d recommend the Virtue Packet plans.
Skip Military OnRamp and start with Humility.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m 39, way out of shape and I need to get into shape not only for my health but I am applying to be a game warden here in Florida. The first of it is going through the normal police academy, the second part is the Game Warden. I have a background in some lifting and was a athlete when I younger. I haven’t worked out in many years. I’m looking for a program to get me started from the ground up. I can’t do pull ups, only a few push ups, only a few full sit ups. I’m that kinda out of shape. Where would I start?

ANSWER

Email back when you’ve finished this plan.
– Rob

 

Q&A 5.12.22

QUESTION

I have started applying for wildland firefighting jobs. The expected start date is the end of next month. I am 21 years old; 5’ 11” weighing 216.5lbs currently. My goal is to lose a good amount of weight before the season begins. I currently have the SFOD-Delta program and was planning on just doing the bodyweight and cardio and probably toss in some rucking. I come from mainly weight training background. I have done limited cardio and bodyweight as of more recently but it is definitely not my strong suit. Would you recommend I do what I was thinking or what plan would you recommend? Thanks so much for your help; I really enjoy using Mountain Tactical.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I just purchased your Bortac selection plan. I have four months until selection. What do you advise?

I currently weigh 200lbs and am 6ft.

When I did the bortac pft I had the following times/reps:

1:10 sprint
20 sit-ups
15 push-ups
4 pull-ups
14 min run
2hr ruck

ANSWER

Do the first 4 weeks of the Bortac Selection Plan,
Then drop into Fortitude for 4 Weeks,
Then do the full 8 weeks of the Bortac Plan the 8 weeks directly before selection.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

Apologies for if I just missed it on the website. But I was wondering if you could help me out with a plan for someone that is a little older and not quite in ‘basic’ shape heading to basic. I’m in the gym a good bit but more of a power lifter style lifter. I am hoping to finish up processing in the next week or two and was hoping you could guide me towards a program that’s going to help me get prepared for basic.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

Working through an elbow flare up associated with chronic tendinitis that’s not allowing me to perform negative pull-ups/pull-ups at this time. Are horizontal pull-ups (pretty deconditioned, so knees bent variation) a suitable temporary substitute? Any other exercises you would recommend?

ANSWER

Yes … you can also do bent over barbell rows …. but neither will give your elbows a rest.
We’ve had some success with the Ultimate Elbow Stretch for elbow issues.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have used your plans for many years and absolutely love them. However, beginning about 4 years ago, I injured my low back (L4/L5 area) after being fatigued and losing form during a fairly heavy squat. Essentially it was a herniated/degenerative disc, which I tend to re-injure now about once per year. I’m still very fit and workout often. I hike, ski, mountain bike, run, swim and I hunt as much as possible, in addition to your programs. I eat clean (keto) and do time restricted eating (16/8), as well as supplements.
My question is, which plan(s) would you suggest for preserving my back but still maintaining enough fitness for my job, eastern big game hunts and western archery hunts?
My background is retired Marine, currently a State Trooper. I was on our Tactical team for many years as an entry guy then Sniper, so I mostly completed your SWAT programs and LE programs, while completing the Peak Bagger and Big Game packet prior to a western archery elk hunt I do most years. I am 49 years old, 5’11”, 170lbs, and mostly about 180lbs until I really messed my back up last year and stopped heavy lifting for the most part unless I’m feeling really good with regard to my back condition.
To maintain my back as well as I can, I currently do physical therapy whenever it’s irritated, along with stretching, core strengthening, an inversion table and heat/tens unit therapy at home.
Thanks and keep up the awesome work!

ANSWER

The Chassis Integrity programming in all our plans is world class and should do a good job of functional core fitness.
But low backs are a mystery, and there’s no guarantee that you won’t suffer a setback. What we’ve found is those with issues like yours are able to come back quicker.
The one additional thing I’d recommend is adding in the Low Back Complex 2-3x/week on top of the other programming you’re doing. Do 3-4 rounds, 20 second hold each position.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently doing the Military On-Ramp portion of the BUD/S Training Packet, and I just completed a three mile timed run. I was able to complete it in 22:36 but my question boils down to my running splits.

My mile splits, in order, were 7:14, 7:34, and 7:48. What can I do to make these more consistent?

Also if it helps, I’m a heavier guy (6’2, 210 lb) with a background in powerlifting/hypertrophy style training.

ANSWER

I’m not an expert on shin splints so I’d recommend you do some more research.
What has worked for others is fixing running form (read POSE Running or Chi Running) and changing up shoes. I’d recommend Hoka One One Speedgoat 4’s
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m looking to get smart about my training, and hoping you can suggest the best plan for me.
I’m a 48 year old male, 5’10″@180, an intermediate level athlete who has been doing sporadic BJJ for 10 years.  After 20 years behind a computer screen, I switched up my career path.  I went back to college, became a Paramedic in Toronto, and have just completed my basic training course in the Canadian Army Reserves, and am now beginning the MedTech (68w) training pipeline.
In preparation for the above, I’ve been running, rucking and lifting, but am a beginner in all.  I find that for my age/level I need to be carefully with volume/intensity as a hard workout can impact my work performance the next day.
While I’m still learning the standards needed, my goals are to be able to dismount and ruck heavy with the infantry, participate in section attacks/etc, and carry litters – typical 68w needs I assume.
I work evenings and weekends, and have most mornings & afternoons free to train.  I’m slowly building a professional tactical athlete training lifestyle – strength/conditioning, nutrition, and mobility.  So as a new professional, I’m looking for professional assistance so I can do this right.
Any and all advice would be appreciated.

ANSWER

Understand that being 48 doesn’t change stuff for you. You chose to become a tactical athlete at that age, and there is not “give” in the training pipeline just because you’re older. So this is the plan, right now, I’d suggest to anyone.
– Rob

QUESTION

I had a question regarding what program you would recommend. I am a active duty Marine currently on week 5 of military on ramp, I will be attending SFRE next year in the spring  so I have a lot of time to prepare and be more general in my training before I do the sport specific SFRE prep. My question is do you recommend the Virtue Series packet or the Greek Hero packet as my day to day training. While I prepare for SFRE.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently serving as an active duty SF soldier. I suffered a herniated L5-S1 disc during my last rotation. I am working with a chiropractor as well as our PTs now, but have the goal of attending SFOD-D Selection next Feb/Mar (2023). I have pretty much atrophied in every category. Currently in week 1 of your Low Back Training program. What’re you recommendations for the way forward and any advice you’d have.

For context, I’ve been able to conduct 5-6 hour movements in alpine terrain with about 50-60lbs on my back in the last week or so, but I’m quite frankly terrified to try and deadlift and lock my back up again.

Appreciate the programs as I’ve used the successfully in the infantry, SFAS, and the SFQC. True believer.

ANSWER

After low back, drop into the plan/order in the SFOD-D Selection Training Packet.
Be cautious, but steady. Have faith.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have some questions regarding the RSTP and my available time commitments before Ranger school starts.
I start Armor BOLC on July 10 and it takes about 3 months. I then have Scout leaders course and Airborne school which is each about a month long. In total, with some breaks between programs, I think would only have around 6 months before the start of Ranger school.
If I were to start this packet in late April, what would be your recommendation on which plans to “drop” so as to condense the timeline?
I would say I struggle most on running as my ACFT score is a 599 (13:36 2 mile time). I can keep around a 7:20 pace for 3-4 miles and 8 minute miles for long runs. I have no problems rucking as I can ruck a sub hour 6 mile and a 2:20 12 mile.

ANSWER

Cut Military OnRamp and start from Gratitude.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

I want to pass in SEAL selection,I get 5.7 in MTI relative strenght assesment but I’m not very good at swim&run I use around 35-37minute to 5km run,Would you recommend me what training plan should I use?

ANSWER

I’d recommend starting with the US Navy PST Training Plan. 
Follow it up with the BUD/s V2 Selection Training Plan directly before selection.
– Rob

QUESTION

I love the program. While I have access to a climbing gym with a full gym, I don’t have the time to get there during the week to train. So I use the the single dumbbell plan and climb once a week.

I’m one session away from week seven on my plan and feel great. Still trying to decide what’s next and thinking about one of the mountain base plans, but like I mentioned I need a way to bring the single dumbbell program and the climbing together. So I’m a bit stumped and I don’t don’t want to lose the momentum I have right now. Any recommendations?

The flow of the workout took a bit to get used to, but now it’s easy and I like it. The videos are very helpful and easy to follow too.

Like I said above-I love the program and I’ve recommended it to several folks that I know.

ANSWER

Options:
1) Artimes – limited equipment strength (bodyweight) with 1 time/week in the climbing gym.
2) Apache – limited equipment training plan and do a Bouldering V-Sum one time week.
– Rob