All posts by SSD

Arete 12.5.19

Military / Foreign Affairs / National Security

Several rockets land near Iraqi base housing US troops, Air Force Times
F-16 pilot ejects at Kunsan with minor injuries; flights suspended, Air Force Times
US Navy awards largest-ever shipbuilding contract to Electric Boat for new attack submarines, Defense News
The Marines Want To Swarm Beaches With CRABS, Foxtrot Alpha
US Postal Service issues ‘Healing PTSD’ stamp to raise funds for veterans, Marine Corps Times
Several rockets land near Iraqi base housing US troops, Marine Corps Times
Lawmakers seek answers on rising military and veterans suicide rates, Military Times
The American Polar Pivot: Great-Power Competition at the Ends of the Earth, Modern War Institute
With Few Afghan Air Controllers, the U.S. is Stuck in a Forever War of Air Support in Afghanistan, Small Wars Journal
3 injured at Pearl Harbor naval base after active shooter incident, Task & Purpose
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps, Task & Purpose

 

First Responder / Homeland Security / Wildland Fire

Demanding South Korea pay more for US presence drives wedge between allies, House leaders say , Defense News
The President’s Inbox: Should the United States Pursue the Israeli-Palestinian Two-State Solution? Council on Foreign Relations
Trump aims for role of NATO statesman but mars unity message, Military Times
China suspends U.S. military visits to Hong Kong after new law, Morning Defense
FEMA – After a fire your flood risk goes up, Wildfire Today
Less carcinogens, healthier firefighters. Here’s how Fairfax Fire is trying to reduce deadly exposure, Firefighter Close Calls
Company donates $10K to Okla. emergency responders, FireRescue1 Daily News
6 steps to prevent an oxygen tank explosion/regulator fire, FireRescue1 Daily News
Power company evaluating multiple failures on transmission towers as causes of large wildfires, Wildfire Today
Houston Police Chief Blames Holster Design on Officer’s Accidental Shooting, Officer
The Next Generation of High Performance Body Armor, Officer
LAPD Needs More Money to Protect Officers from Communicable Diseases, POLICE Magazine

Mountain

Video: The women of Jackson Hole’s ski patrol are in a league of their own, Freeskier
Alpinist Lydia Bradey On Her Stunning, Controversial Summit of Everest, Adventure Journal
Tag Lines for Rappels – Reepschnur Hitch, American Alpine Institute
The 10 Best Gifts for Adventurers of 2019, Backpaper
How to Prepare Your Dog for Alpine Skiing, Osprey Packs
A Backpacker’s Guide to Foraging, Backpaper
The Wildest Hunt: A Film About the Tongass National Forest, Outdoor Life
Video: How to Perform an Avalanche Beacon Check, Outdoor Research
Your Local Crag Is More Dangerous than You Think, Outside Magazine
Sport climbing Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Toulouse qualified women results, Planetmountain.com
Winter Climbs 2020: Another Team Announces K2 Expedition, The Adventure Blog
An Alaskan Adventure: A Guide to Kenai Fjords NP, The Outbound Collective Journal

 

Nutrition / Fitness / Wellness

Bulletproof Your Knees and Shoulders, Breaking Muscle
Nutrition and Mental Health: What’s the Connection? Chris Kresser
Eating in sync with biological clock could replace problematic diabetes treatment, Diet and Weight Loss News
The ways astronauts prep for spaceflight could benefit cancer patients, say researchers, ScienceDaily
Tracking of Time-Dependent Changes in Muscle Hardness After a Full Marathon, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
What Happens to Your Body During a Polar Plunge, Men’s Journal
Can the Keto Diet Help You Fight the Flu? Men’s Journal
Podcast: Are Eccentrics Best for Tendinopathies? Mile Reinold
Milk Consumption Is Linked to Type 1 Diabetes, NutritionFacts.org
Podcast: Gluten and Thyroiditis, Booze on Keto, Calcium, The Paleo Diet, Robb Wolf
Best sources of Vitamin A, The World’s Healthies Foods

 

Interesting

Iceland puts well-being ahead of GDP in budget, BBC News
Dirk Nowitzki receives top German honor, Deutsche Welle
French lawmakers push to ban Black Friday sales citing ‘overconsumption’, France24
Best Books Of 2019: Politics, Hoover Institution
Deploying Social Media to Empower Iranian Women: An Interview with Masih Alinejad, Hudson Institute
Erdogan Has No Idea What He’s Doing in Syria, Council on Foreign Relations
Johnson & Johnson Vision Announces Availability Of ACUVUE® OASYS With Light Intelligent Technology In South Africa, Men’s Health

Q&A 12.5.19

QUESTION

Quick question for you. Currently working through the body weight foundation course because I’ve lost my training routine and I’m a little worse for the wear. Meanwhile I’m interviewing for positions as a wildland firefighter. There’s a 3 mile ruck-march test as part of the hiring process. My question is for a civilian trying to transition into a wildland fire career with a ruck test of unknown date, what program should I drop into after bodyweight foundation. I was thinking it’s between Ruck Improvement, Johnny, or the wildland fire packet.

ANSWER

Wildland Fire Packet – these plans include rucking, and the ruck test you’ll face is not difficult.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am about to begin the SFOD-D programme and am curious about the nutrition programme you suggest.

Would you recommend that this be followed rigidly or could there be a waiver to this diet if say after the first two weeks, I feel constantly drained no matter how much I eat from the list you have provided in your nutrition video?

I’m what I’d call your average 70kg guy so I’m just picking your brain as to whether it can be changed at all.

ANSWER

Stick with the plan. Start eating more apples (lots) and sweet potatoes.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m in week 6 of you achilles v2 plan.  I recently came off my Platoon leader time and moved onto staff.  My BN XO has started “asking” me to run with him and the S3 two to three times a week.  Typically we do 800 meter to 1200 meter intervals or a 3 – 5 mile run.  Both the XO and s3 are quick and I’m feeling exhausted during the daily operator session at night.

What tips do you have to aid in recovery so I get the most out of my daily session?  I already get plenty of sleep.
After achilles I plan on doing resilience and then ruck based selection so I want to be able to handle two a days.

ANSWER

Recovery improves with increasing fitness … there’s no shortcut. You could skip the Operator Sessions at night. Better would be to keep grinding and see your fitness improve.
– Rob

QUESTION

So I am currently on week one of my APFT, and my question is do I do this in conjunction with normal gym routine? I am active duty so we do watered down pt in the morning, but I am just doing this until I transition to your SAPPER training which I attend in May.

Is there any dietary information to help offset the workload that goes with this? Also I m.j qay have overlooked it but what is an average gain in numbers after completion of the Apft program?

ANSWER

Do the program in isolation for the most gains. If you do add training, pull back on the extra if you’re not making the progressions in the plan.
Nutrition? Here are our guidelines.
Gains? Depends on your incoming fitness – the more fit you are coming in, the less you’ll gain from the plan, the less fit, the more you’ll gain. We see 5-20% improvement depending again on the athlete’s incoming fitness.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was just selected for CA and am looking for a good plan(s) to use in the 8 months I have before Q course. My goals are to build back some strength, maintain metabolic conditioning, and improve 5 mile run time.
I already have the 357 strength training program, big 24, and Rat 6 training program back from the MA days. I’m contemplating re doing then and augmenting with my own run plan. Figured I would ask a professional first.

ANSWER

Plans/order in the Greek Hero Packet, starting with Hector. These plans concurrently train strength, endurance (run/ruck), tactical agility, chassis integrity and work capacity.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a 33 year old male looking to join the National Guard as an Officer Candidate. I have a decent level of fitness from running and CrossFit but I know I need to do goal specific training and lean out. My goal for now to is to be prepared as possible for Basic Training an then OCS. What program(s) would you recommend? APFT followed by OCS, or just go straight into the OCS program?

ANSWER

The Army OCS Training Plan includes focused work the the APFT – do it.
– Rob

QUESTION

Coach, I’ve noticed you are constantly tweaking and improving upon your plans. I’ve been using several different plans along with the Big Cat series(which are great) and was wondering if you had any changes/improvements in the pipeline for the Fire Rescue plans. Thanks as always for your time.

ANSWER

Those are fairly recent plans and haven’t made the update Q yet … if you’ve run through them and want to continue, look at the Correctional Officer “Notorious Prison” and/or the Wildland Fire Packet plans … both would transfer well to urban fire/rescue.
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you have a plan to help me prep for a 10k?

I recently graduated from Ranger school. I used your plan to prepare and it helped a lot!  Thanks!

ANSWER

Weeks 11-15 of the MTI Running Improvement Training Plan are designed around a 6-mile running assessment and progressions. If you’ve been running already – this would work. If you’re not currently running, start with week 6 of the plan and build up to 6 miles.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have the most important APFT of my career on January 12, 2020.  I will be taking it to attend a board for Army flight school (required 80% in each event).  My last APFT was October 12 where I scored 93% on push up, 88% on sit ups, and 70% on the 2 mile run.  I see that you have a 6 week APFT training plan but I am curious if I should start it now and redo a portion of it to make it more of a 9 week training plan.  I want to be able to score 80% on a bad day as it will likely be cold/windy here in Oklahoma on January 12th.

Do you recommend or allow me to continue lifting in conjunction with the APFT plan?  I would like to maintain strength in at least bench, squat, dead lift, and press.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration, I have never used your programming but I look forward to jumping into and getting better.

ANSWER

You could stretch our APFT Training Plan to 9 weeks, just repeat weeks 4-6 in the plan.
Extra training? It depends on how fit you are. If you are not making the progressions in the plan, stop any extra training.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am prior service Navy and I recently received my 18x contract and still have two months before I ship for BCT. Would it be worthwhile to do the program now even though actual selection won’t be for a long time? Maybe do it now and then again a couple weeks prior to actually going to selection? Just curious about your thoughts. Thank you in advance.

ANSWER

I’ve recommended others with 18x contracts to complete the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan prior to BCT. You won’t have the opportunity to complete the plan once in the Army – so at least you’ll have a high level of SFAS-specific fitness prior to BCT.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am an Active Duty Soldier and am interested in purchasing the ACFT fitness plan to prepare for the test.  I would also like to improve my overall strength and would like to know if there any plans that I could run in conjunction with the ACFT plan to improve both at the same time.

ANSWER

It depends on your fitness. If you’re fit, you can add some additional heavy strength work – though I’d limit it to total body lifts and upper body, as the plan includes focused work for the trap bar dead lift.
However, if you find you are not making the progressions in the plan, pull back from the extra work.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have done a fair share of rucking ever since doing some Goruck events over the past few years. I enjoy it but I have always heard that rucking running is really hard on your body. Now that I have been using your plans for a while I see that some of the military ones prescribe ruck running. With your approach to keeping athletes healthy for the long term, how does that align with the high impact that ruck running puts on your joints? Or am I misunderstanding what is meant by rucking running?

ANSWER

We ruck run and recommend athletes do as well. Haven’t seen or experienced any evidence that ruck running is more impactful on the joints than walking with a ruck, but more important, in a combat/tactical situation, and likely any military course/selection, athletes will need to ruck run. We would be negligent if our programming did not prepare them for this mission-direct likelihood.
In terms of durability, MTI’s equation is simple: Mission-Direct Fitness = Durability.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am taking the initial PJ assessment – PAST – next quarter to earn a slot in the PJ pipeline and therefore, haveN’t undergone any assessments.
Would you recommend I follow this program in preparation for the initial entry PAST *and* Indoc, or should I prepare separately for the PAST and begin the Indoc specific program (USAF CCT/PJ SELECTION) after being chosen to begin the PJ Pipeline?

ANSWER

Focus on the PAST only now, then do the appropriate selection plan once you know you’ve got a slot at the selection.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking for help choosing a plan. I am currently finishing up the strength assessment training plan. I decided on this plan as a start into using MTI programs to improve my fitness. I am a 27 year old female who has been inconsistently lifting for a few years and consistently lifting for about 18 months. My main goals are strength and hypertrophy. I do have defecits in endurance and work capacity. This current program has already improved many of those aspects in 4 short weeks. Please advise on a couple programs that may be of benefit. I’m happy to provide any other information you need to assist in this process.

ANSWER

Options:
1)  Big 3 + Run Training Plan. Focus on the back squat, hinge/dead lift and bench press, plus distance running.
2) Loretta – multi-modal plan which has a slight strength emphasis. Also trained are endurance, work capacity and chassis integrity (core).

QUESTION

I’m on week 6 of the Ruck Based Selection program (v5). I just found out that the selection I’m attending got pushed back an entire month. I’ve been making noticeable progress in the program, and I’m feeling good about where I’m at fitness wise. My question is this: Now that I have an extra four weeks to prepare, where should I go with the program? I want to keep pushing until selection and show up in the best shape possible. Thanks!

ANSWER

You can’t extend the RBSTP by 4 weeks – it’s simply too intense and you’ll overtrain.
I’d recommend you drop out for the RBSTP for 3 weeks and complete the first 3 weeks of Fortitude, then the 4 weeks directly before selection, jump back in and complete weeks 5-8 of the RBSTP directly before selection.
– Rob

 

Q&A 11.28.19

QUESTION

I work for the Maine State Police. We have formed a riot control team and are looking for guidance on developing a fitness evaluation that would be probative to this specific specialty. Most of our teams use the Cooper Standard which we believe does not measure what we do on this team.

We are looking for something that will gauge readiness. This job entails changing from idle to explosive need for speed, long durations of using strength as well as holding up heavy items. I suppose the best way to explain this would be strength and speed vs duration.  Any guidance you could give would be extremely valuable.

ANSWER

My quick thought would be a 60-75 Minute, 4-event Assessment:
1) Bodyweight Bench Press for Reps (Upper Body Relative Strength Assessment)
2) 3 Minute Prone to Sprint (40 feet), unloaded, for Reps (Speed, Explosion + Short Duration Work Capacity)
3) Gi Grip Assessment (Grip Strength)
4) 30 Minute AMRAP in 25# Weight Vest or Individual Body Armor (Stamina/Duration/Strength Endurance) – Scored to .5 Rounds
    3x Renegade Man Makers @ 25#
    Run 100m with Dumbbells (down 50m, back 50m)
Scoring 
Bench Press Reps x2
Prone to Sprint Reps
Gi Grip Assessment Reps x2
AMRAP Rounds x2
So, an athlete who got …
12x Bench Press
25x Prone to Sprint
11x Gi Grip Pulls
7.5 Rounds of the AMRAP     ……… would score …
Bench Press x2 = 24
Prone to Spring = 25
Gi Grip = 22
AMRAP = 15
Total Score = 86.
Here would be an initial overall score table: 
Poor – 59 or Less
Good – 60-79
Excellent – 80+
This scoring table could change based on an initial assessment with everyone in your team, then you could use a basic curve to set up scoring. The way I would do it would be to do an inital assessment, then a 4-week training plan based on the initial assessment results, with a re-assessment on Week 4.
Use the Week 4 re-assessment scores to set up your curve and final score chart.
Require a minimum “Good” score to remain on the team, and do the assessment 2x per year.
I you want to go with this or something similar, I can help with the full assessment and the sport-specific training plan – and with scoring.
Email questions.
Respectfully,
– Rob Shaul

QUESTION

I’m a college Air Force ROTC cadet who plans on applying for STO in January 2021. Being approximately 13 months out from when I would take the PAST for my Phase I application and 15 months out from Phase II, I’m looking for a day to day plan to keep me in shape and ready for your CRO/STO training plan when that time comes. Do you have any recommendations on a long-term training plan until it comes time to “ramp it up” in preparation for Phase II?

ANSWER

The Plans in our two Pirate Packets (Packet I and Packet II) are designed as day to day fitness for military SOF and LE with water-based mission sets, and concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity, endurance (run, ruck, swim) and tactical agility. Work through the plans in the packets, in order, starting with Barbossa.
These will build a high level of base fitness and prepare you for the CRO/STO Phase II Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am interested in the long-term use of your programs. As I am sure you receive many inquiries about where to start, allow me to add to that growing list. First, I’d like to give you some background on where I am and where I would like to go. I will attempt to make this as concise as possible; however, I simply want to give you an accurate picture. If you would like to skip right to my stats, feel free to scroll down to the bullet points.
I left the US Army in 2011 after six years of service. Along with our regular PT, I worked out (more for looks, then) consistently but stopped when my wife passed away shortly after ETSing. Fast forward to around August of 2018, I was overweight at approximately 285-290 pounds, standing at 6ft 3in. I could barely do 5-10 consecutive push-ups. Although I carried my weight very well, I could certainly tell that I was way out of shape and unhealthy. I finally had enough, along with deciding to rejoin the army (this time on the MS National Guard side). I lost about 15 pounds in the last four months of 2018. I got really serious in January and set my goal of dropping the remaining weight so I could rejoin by April. I dropped down to 239lbs and accomplished my goal. I am now in the best shape I have been in my whole life, but I am at a sort of plateau. Additionally, I have new goals that I would like to achieve. The following are my current stats as of the beginning of this year.
  • Turned 32 in September (and still 6ft 3in)
  • Average weight is 231-233 lbs in the mornings immediately upon waking
  • Can do 45 consecutive pushups before entering the modified resting position
  • Fastest two-mile is 14:45 (averaging 15:15 to 15:45 depending on the day’s diet and work activity)
  • Fastest three-mile is 23:45 (averaging 24:00 to 24;20)
  • Best 50lb ruck on national forest trail is 8 miles in about 2.5 hours with halfway rest
  • Increased general strength and stamina as evidenced by weight progressions in workouts
I have three basic goals as of now.
  • Build a strong foundation for and continual maintenance/improvement of long-term functional fitness
  • Prepare for Army OCS, which I start March 2020 (doing National Guard Traditional, which lasts over a span of 13 months worth of drills with two 2-week increments)
  • Set the stage for possible Army SF selection in approx. two years (depending on certain factors then)
At this point, I cannot do a subscription, but it may be a future option. Unless you recommend something different, I’d like to purchase a couple of (or few) strategic plans to focus on and even alternate between.  Please let me know if you need any other information. I look forward to your response and am excited to get started on a new way to train.

ANSWER

I’d recommend working through the plans/order in the Greek Hero series of plans. These are designed as day to day programming for military infantry and SOF, and concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (core), tactical agility and endurance (run, ruck).
Start with Hector – the first plan in the packet.
– Rob

QUESTION

Planning to do the GORUCK star course (26 mile) in April of next year.  I’m pretty de-trained.  Suggestions for between now and then?  Just signed up for the Athlete Subscription again.

ANSWER

There are 24 weeks until April.
Weeks   Plan
1-7         Fortitude
8-14       Actaeon
15-16     Humility – first 2 weeks
17-24     Bataan Death March Training Plan – use the same load you’ll carry at your event and orinteer the long ruck each week.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’d like to run a 50 mile race at Bear Mountain in NY in May 2020.  I was wondering if the 30 mile long distance obstacle plan was appropriate or if you have another suggestion.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I am a trail runner and rock climber who no longer has access to a climbing gym.  I would like to stay in climbing shape in addition to running 30+ miles a week.  What would you guys suggest?

ANSWER

We’ve found rock climbing so sport-specific to grip/forearm strength, you have to continue training these attributes.
I’d recommend in to purchasing/building a Moon Board for your personal use – we have 2 at MTI and they are amazing tools. At a minimum, perhaps building a small 4×8 System Board just to do intervals on.
Short of that, a hang board and hang board sessions – We have a couple on our exercise page, but Metolius and the other hang board manufacturers have a greater selection.
Pulling strength (pull ups) are not as important to climbing as you might think, but building your pull up strength to 30+ won’t hurt.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking for a training plan that can supplement strength/work capacity into my current marathon plan. I am a Wildland fire fighter who just started my offseason. I am planning on running the Phoenix marathon Feb 7th. I have a running plan but I am looking for some strength programming that would compliment 4 days of running/week. I would like to be able to gain strength through the winter as well. Finally I will hopefully be entering smokejumper rooking training this spring and will pick that plan up post marathon but any work capacity stuff I can do now will also help. I have done hotshot preseason and ultimate work capacity. Thanks your your time hope to hear from you soon.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Big 3 + Running Training Plan – and complete only the strength sessions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently in week 3 of the backpacking pre-season program.
The volume of this program is achievable for my current fitness level (+40 year Male, slightly overweight – back to training consistently for past 18 months)
However, I find I’m having to extend my rest intervals beyond the prescribed time in the program ie. I’m having to rest :60 seconds (Sometimes more) instead of :30 seconds between rounds of leg blasters/mini leg blasters.
I’ve seen slight improvement in three weeks in my ability to complete a set without stopping but if I get back at it with only :30 seconds rest, I end up having to break the set up.
Should I continue to modify this segment by adjusting my rest interval until my fitness improves? Or by doing that, am I defeating the intent of the exercises?

Thanks in advance for any advice you are able to provide.

ANSWER

Continue as you are and keep working to shorten the rest interval.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m doing the backcountry skiing preseason training plan and had a question. If I add some extra running to the training plan would that be detracting from the plan? I feel like I lack more in the endurance part of training than in the strength side. I’m relatively new to endurance sports. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

ANSWER

It depends upon your fitness. If you’re not making the progressions in the plan, or not recovering, drop the extra running.
– Rob

QUESTION

Im a local from Jackson but have moved and now own and operate a training facility in Coeur d Alene Idaho, we primarily run group training on a some what “cross-fit” type training model. Ive never wanted to own a cross-fit gym and have always had a appreciation for your type of programming. I like the “work capacity” aspect of training and tend to program similar to your models.
My question is this, First Responders/Military/Mountain folk tend to make up much of our population. I tend to tell people if youre looking for cross-fit we are not for you. I would love to implement some of your programming, especially with our first responders. They tend to come in all at once during a 9am class. Most of these guys operate at a high level of fitness already, what program would you recommend I start these guys out on?

ANSWER

I’d recommend starting with Whiskey, from our LE Programming.
– Rob

QUESTION

Long time subscriber here, absolutely love your coaching and programs. I used the ruck based selection prep back when I went through SFAS years ago and absolutely felt it was a great part of my success, I was competing,  not surviving, and the prep it put on my feet and chassis was worth it’s weight in gold. Looking forward, I am using the SFOD programming and I was wondering if there should be any augmentation to the nutrition guidelines, ie fueling before and during rucks with carbohydrates like vitargo/perpetuem/cytomax etc and also how many meals a day you would recommend to adequately fuel for such a program. My bmr is roughly around 3200 and on high volume days I’m burning more around 4700–5300 cals, sometimes as high as 6300(measured with whoop/garmin fenix 5). Thank you again for your time and effort!

ANSWER

Supplemental event nutrition – i.e. perpeteum or gels – during the long rucks in the plan is fine and will help performance. The only concern is the availability of this type of supplementation at selection – if you’re using the plan to prepare for SFOD-D.
My understanding is candidates are allowed to bring along event nutrition like this and aren’t limited to a diet of MREs … but I could be wrong. What you want to do is “train like you play” and if you train using event supplements, but are restricted to water during the real thing it could greatly affect your confidence/performance.
If supplements are allowed – use them now and find out what is easy and works for you. If not, perhaps train with them until the last 2-3 weeks of the plan, then cut them out to prepare your mind/body for what you’ll face at selection.
– Rob

QUESTION

So recently back at the end of July, I found out that I was mis diagnosed for a medical condition that was keeping me out of the military. Serving is a life long dream of mine that I wasn’t able to fulfill, naturally this changed my perspective and drive. I have about 1.5 years of eligibility left to enlist I’m 33. Unfortunately I was massively over weight 318 lbs. to be exact. I immediately began shedding weight as part of a phased plan, I’m now 260. Part of my plan was once I hit 265 I would begin working out (didn’t want to take too much on at once) here is where I need guidance. I used to be extremely athletic, very agile, always had a capable build while being “skinny fat”. I can feel that starting to come back. Anyways, I need to know where to start, I started the subscription yesterday and have looked over quite a few of the plans but I figured I’d ask the experts before I just jump on it. Where should I start? I want to enlist in 11 months into a combat MOS. All help and pointers are greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

Start with the first 3 weeks of the APFT Training Plan, then roll into the Military OnRamp Training Plan.
Email back after you’re done with Military OnRamp.
– Rob

QUESTION

Looking to subscribe again after recovering from a serious PH injury.
What happened to the star program (has Polaris as one of the packets I recall)?

ANSWER

The Star plans were part of the Daily Operator Sessions and are still up on the site – through a subscription. Go back in the Daily Operator Sessions and you’ll find all these plans.
– Rob

QUESTION

My work and background is Wildland firefighting. I’ve been using Mountain Tactical Wildland plans the last few years to stay conditioned through the winter as well as prepare for fire season in the spring and have found them very effective so first off… thank you!
   Going into this offseason, my fitness goals are to gain muscle mass as well as build strength without compromising on endurance and work capacity. My plan is to dive back into the Wildland programs as it gets closer to the spring/summer, but as of now I’m not sure where to begin; to gain muscle mass (hypertrophy) or develop solid hard muscle (strength building). I was wondering if there was a way to accomplish both or if you could point me to certain plans over others. Overall I am attempting to map out the plans I will take up through the winter/spring and want to know the best course of action. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks again!

ANSWER

This Fall I built packet of Wildland Fire Specific “Base Fitness” Training Plans. The 5 base fitness plans in the Wildland Fire Training Packet concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (run, uphill movement under load, rucking), and chassis integrity (core). They are named after tragic fires in wildland fire history which took lives, including Mann Gulch and Yarnell Hill. Each plan is 7 weeks long, 5 days/week.
Start with Blackwater and follow the other plans in order.
– Rob

QUESTION

I need some advice. I have currently purchased military on-ramp and AFSOC pt training plan. My goal is to take the AF PAST in late April. Is your recommendation that I finish the on-ramp program (which I am on week 3) then move straight into the AFSOC pt training or finish the on-ramp then move to a base program and in late February move to the AFSOC pt training program? My goal is to absolutely smoke the past test. I am trying to pursue cct in May. Thanks in advance!!

ANSWER

Finish the Military OnRamp Training Plan, then move right to the AFSOC Pt Plan.
After, move to a base plan – Barbossa – until you’re 6 weeks out from your fitness test, then repeat the AFSOC PT Plan directly before your assessment.
– Rob

 

Arete 11.28.19

Military / Foreign Affairs / National Security

How to talk about Europe’s security — and how not to, American Enterprise Institute
Helicopter collision kills 13 French troops in Mali, BBC
Satellite images reveal location of China’s first locally built aircraft carrier, Defense News
Russia’s Military Is Writing an Armed-Robot Playbook, Defense One
Merkel vows to hit 2% NATO spending target ‘by early 2030s’, DW.com
The US Navy Needs Offensive Undersea Drones, Defense One
UK would be ‘outgunned’ in Russia conflict – think-tank, BBC
Angela Merkel faces party revolt over Huawei in German 5G rollout, DW.com
Walking the Modern Battlefield: Urban Warfare Lessons from the 2008 Mumbai Attacks, Modern War Institute
First female Marine earns recon military occupational specialty, Marine Corps Times
801,000 dead, $6.4 trillion spent, and no end in sight: the true costs of the Global War on Terror, Task & Purpose
Navy Secretary Clashed With Trump Long Before Gallagher, Foreign Policy
How The Army’s Use Of TikTok Could Be A National Security Threat, Foxtrot Alpha
Russia shows hypersonic weapon to US inspectors, Associated Press
A Marine veteran is suing Kentucky over his right to rock an ‘INFDL’ license plate, Task & Purpose
Nato to consider expert panel after Macron brain-dead claim, The Guardian
Islamic State claims rare attack in Algeria, Long War Journal
Foreign Troops Fighting Jihadists in the Sahel Face Criticism as Terror Grows, Council of Foreign Relations
How Much Do The Chinese Fail To Comply With WTO?, Hoover Institute
Chinese defector reveals identities of Chinese undercover spies in Asia and Australia, Intelnews.org
Wounded Warrior Regiment CO fired for ’his job performance and personal leadership choices’, Marine Corps Times
Russia, Lithuania and Norway exchange prisoners in rare three-way spy-swap, Intelnews.org
Islamic State releases photos from Malian assault, claims another, Long War Journal
The U.S. Army Expects to Field Cyborg Soldiers by 2050, Real Clear Defense
‘Frogman against frogman’: Case against Navy SEAL sparks debate, Marine Corps Times
With few Afghan air controllers, the US is stuck in a forever war of air support in Afghanistan, Military Times
What Happens When Tactics Take Primacy over Strategy?, Modern War Institute

 

First Responder / Homeland Security / Wildland Fire

Do Lockdown Drills Do Any Good?, Homeland Security Newswire
PHILADELPHIA FIRE DEPARTMENT EXPECTS TO IMPROVE RESPONSE TIME BY REOPENING 4 ENGINE COMPANIES, Firefighter Close Calls
4 FDNY FIREFIGHTERS INJURED AT FIRE THAT KILLED 3 SQUATTERS, Firefighter Close Calls
In Oregon, it’s now illegal for police to look for other crimes during traffic stops, LE Today
Oklahoma Officer Indicted for Murder in Killing of Active Shooter, Police Magazine
Millions in state, federal funds ready to help Md. police test rape kits, Police One
5 questions to ask before purchasing a tactical robot, Police One
BLM all-female fire camp in Oregon, Wildfire Today
Minn. volunteer FF rescues 2 from house fire on way to work, Fire Rescue 1
4 tips for surviving a bad company officer, Firerescue 1
Detroit sgt suspended for ignoring officer down call previously fired for cowardliness, LE Today
OSHA finds “serious violations” concerning fatality during prescribed fire in South Carolina, Wildfire Today

 

Mountain

Sleeping Pad R-Values: Not That Useful, Backpacking Light
We Tested 26 Pairs of Climbing Shoes—These Are the Best, Outside
Burton Snowboards Founder Jake Burton Carpenter Passes Away From Cancer, Adventure Journal
Dynafit Launches Lifetime Guarantee on all Bindings, Gear Institute
When life is a series of calculated risks, Osprey Packs
Kirstie Ennis Is the Toughest Mountaineer on Earth, Outside
Dragon Horns Tioman Island, Malaysia Mystery Wall revealed, Planet Mountain
Trail Mix: The Best Gifts for Less Than $50, REI Co-Op
4 Exercises to Ease Knee Pain, Science Daily
Salomon TV’s New Episode “Solstice” Is A Stunner, Unofficial Networks
The New Spirit of Exploration: Hilaree Nelson, Outside
Would You Prefer Your Gear to Last Forever? Or Do You Like Buying New Stuff?, Adventure Journal
Pandora’s Box: The Brief, Brilliant Life of Kei Taniguchi, Alpinist
Backcountry.com battles small businesses over trademark, apologizes. Backcountry Magazine remains unaffected., Backcountry Magazine
Garmin Inreach Mini for 21% off, REI

 

Nutrition / Fitness / Wellness

Marine Corps launches first phase of new fitness app, ForceFit, Marine Corps Times
The Army is facing a major performance divide in its new combat fitness test, Task & Purpose
Physical fitness test for wildland firefighters used in Alberta, Canada, Wildfire Today
More Than a Workout: Learning Curves and Having High Standards, Breaking Muscle
Avocados may help manage obesity, prevent diabetes, Science Daily
What We Get Wrong About Childhood Obesity, Mark’s Daily Apple
Apple Watch Series 5: Sports & Fitness In-Depth Review, DC Rainmaker
The Definitive Guide to Inflammation, Mark’s Daily Apple
The Best Sprint Workouts to Get Faster, Build Muscle, and Drop Fat, Men’s Journal
Top 5 Reasons Your Deadlift Sucks, Muscle & Fitness
This Is the Genetic Reason Why Night Owls Thrive on Less Sleep, Men’s Journal
Core Focus: 2 Circuits for a Strong, Ripped Core, Muscle & Fitness
It’s Not Just Poor White People Driving a Decline in Life Expectancy, NY Times
The Zen of Weight Lifting, NY Times
4 Exercises to Ease Knee Pain, Outside Magazine

 

Interesting

How AI is like that other general purpose technology, electricity, American Enterprise Institute
Audi to cut 9,500 jobs to fund electric car push, BBC
Who is Hispanic?, Pew Research
U.S. Birth Rate Falls to Lowest in Decades, WebMD
Welcome To The College Football Playoff Committee’s Nightmare Scenario, FiveThirtyEight
The Environmental Impact Of Caribbean Tourism Undermines Its Economic Benefit, Forbes

Evolutionary Steps in MTI Programming – Part 1

By Rob Shaul

 

(1) Progressive Overload Applied to Work Capacity Programming

When I first began programming – even before owning a facility, I was familiar with the concept of progressive overload applied to strength training. I’d experienced this first-hand way back in high school during early-morning Winter football strength training.

At that time, about all that was available to coaches was the Bigger Faster Stronger programming system, and this is what we used. Everything began with a 1RM assessment, and subsequent sessions were pyramid based. Week 1 was three sessions of  5×5 @ 80% 1RM. Week 2 was 3×3 @ 90% 1RM, and Week 3 was a 5-4-3-2-1 set/rep scheme aiming to get as heavy as possible for the last set of the single rep.

Week 4 we re-assessed 1RM and re-set the progression. Simple and super effective.

However, when I started coaching CrossFit was coming on with its work capacity focus, but random programming. At that time (2004-2005) random was the rule in the CrossFit world.

I was voraciously reading everything I could get my hands on and came across Athletic Development: The Art & Science of Functional Sport Conditioning by Vern Gambetta.

Prior to finding Gambetta, I’d spent time reading Mark Verstegen’s Core Performance and work his colleague Mike Boyle, but found books by these coaches lacking in specific programming methodology. Verstegen’s work, especially, was super focused on movement, not fitness. By then his Athletes Performance facilities were training NFL rookies for the combine, and he later re-branded as Exos, and today has many contracts with SOF units in the military.

But despite Verstegen’s success, I found his programming overly complicated and geeky. I even attended a week-long Athletes Performance mentorship in LA and came away disappointed by the lack of any programming instruction. To this day, I’m not convinced Verstegen/Exos has a fully developed programming methodology.

In contrast, Gambetta’s approach to work capacity progression was direct and simple to understand and apply:

  • (1) Move away from the random work capacity events deployed by CrossFit;
  • (2) Identify 1-3 work capacity events you want to include in a cycle;
  • (3) Repeat them throughout the cycle adding difficulty as you work forward.

Here’s a quick example using burpees … we’d do each progression twice before moving to the next:

  • Progression 1: 10 Rounds, 10x Burpees every 60 seconds
  • Progression 2: 10 Rounds, 12x Burpees every 60 seconds
  • Progression 3: 10 Rounds, 14x Burpees every 60 seconds
  • Progression 4: 10 Rounds, 16x Burpees every 60 seconds
  • Progression 5: 10 Rounds, 18x Burpees every 60 seconds

Today, not all work capacity efforts in MTI programming is progressed like this, especially in the Base Fitness programming. But a significant amount is, and a majority of the work capacity in event-specific programming (selection plans, pre-season sport-specific plans, etc.) is.

 

(2) Development of “Mission-Direct” Research

When I started full-time coaching in late 2007, there was little existing published programming for mountain athletes, and none quality programming published for tactical athletes.

So initially I applied programming from team and endurance sports to these disciplines, with mixed success. Soon I started experimenting on my athletes … who were unwitting ‘lab rats’ at that time.

My focus early on was simply in identifying fitness programming that transferred to the field. Of course, I read the academic strength and conditioning journals and gleaned what I could from them, and we tried a few times to apply this stringent academic research methodology to our own work.

But we found it lacking in several ways. Often our subject population was high enough for statistically significant academic conclusions, even though direct observation and coaching instinct could easily see what programming worked, and what didn’t.

As well, we could identify programming differences soon in programming cycles (3-4), but academically would need to continue for 3-4 more weeks. I found this frustrating as I wanted to move quickly on to the next study.

We struggled for a few months to apply the academic standard, then finally I realized it wasn’t a good fit for our mission, and I developed MTI’s Mission-Direct Research Methodology. See below for the primary differences between traditional academic research and MTI’s approach:

At MTI, our research isn’t focused on finding the “perfect” programming approach. Rather, we’re simply trying to continually identify programming that works better in Mission-Direct application than what we’ve been doing. What this means practically is MTI programming is more agile and continually evolving.

It’s hard to describe how many times I’ve quickly replaced programming I’ve sworn by for years with programming our mini-studies have proven works better.

We’ve always conducted mini-studies with our local athletes, but this population is limited. Most recently, we’ve been experimenting with “remote lab rats” – and several of you reading this have or are participating in one of our mini-studies.

This is an exciting development for me, as it has the potential for MTI to be running multiple mini-studies concurrently, and thus exponentially quicken our programming evolution and improvement.

 

(3) Assessment-Based Programming Across Multiple Modes

Assessment-based programming is super powerful as it automatically “scales” the programming to the incoming fitness of the individual athlete.

If done across multiple modes (strength, work capacity, endurance) in the same cycle, and if the progressions are well thought out, assessment-based programming allows athletes of vastly different incoming fitness levels to train side-by-side, and be individually challenged, but not overwhelmed.

Most of MTI programming for both Base Fitness and Event-Specific fitness includes one or more elements of assessment-based progression. For example, a 1RM Back Squat effort and follow-on percentage-based progression based on the athlete’s initial 1RM load.

Or, a 3-mile run assessment followed by threshold intervals based on the individual athlete’s initial 3-mile run time.

Assessment-based progression is very effective at developing specific fitness attributes. In MTI’s world of developing mission-direct programming for mountain and tactical athletes, we need to be careful in choosing applicable assessments.

It’s easy to get “cute” or “creative” and develop an assessment that may or may not transfer to outside performance. For example, using a 1500m rowing erg assessment and subsequent progressions for a tactical athlete. Does rowing increase overall fitness and work capacity? Yes, but …. tactical athletes never row anywhere. The danger is that at some point early on in the programming, rowing erg work will stop transferring to the running, sprinting and rucking tactical athletes do in the field, and just make them better at rowing – a fitness dead end for them.

Another downside of assessment-based programming for full-time tactical athletes and mountain professionals is its redundancy. I must always be conscious of the “Burden of Constant Fitness” these athletes are under and ensure their programming transfers to the field, but also doesn’t become “stale.” For this reason, I deploy as a whole, less assessment-based programming in Base Fitness cycles than in event/sport-specific cycles.

 

To be continued …

Questions, Comments, Feedback? Email rob@mtntactical.com

 

Arete 11.21.19

Military / Foreign Affairs / National Security

Air Force steeply cuts retention bonuses as growth improves — but you still have a shot to cash in, Air Force Times
The Moscow School of Hard Knocks: Key Pillars of Russian Strategy, War on the Rocks
Army to use new “Chris H.” robots to disarm, and dispose of bombs; War is Boring
Trump says Navy won’t remove SEAL status from officer at center of war crimes case, The Hill
US Navy’s Newest F-35B-Carrying Amphibious Assault Ship Is Heading to Japan, The Diplomat
Pentagon denies report that US mulling withdrawal of 4,000 troops from South Korea, The Hill
US Electronic Warfare: You’re Doing It Wrong, Breaking Defense
Watch The Future USS John F. Kennedy Float For the First Time, Foxtrot Alpha

First Responder / Homeland Security / Wildland Fire

Cleveland’s High Cost of Fixing Its Police Department, Officer
Maryland State Police Awarded $1.1M to Combat Opioid Distribution, Officer
Heroic Animals Honored at Washington, DC, Ceremony, POLICE Magazine
#OCR2019: On the Ground with the Future of Law Enforcement Technology, POLICE Magazine
British Columbia initiates wildland firefighter health research, Wildfire Today
National Firefighter Registry releases time line toward implementation, Wildfire Today
What we can learn about US intelligence from the Baghdadi raid, Brookings Topics
Coast Guard seizes nearly $400 million in cocaine at Florida port, The Hill
Secure Data Transmission with Ultrasound, Homeland Security Newswire

Mountain

Jake Burton Carpenter Founder Of Burton Snowboards Has Died, Unofficial Networks
Antarctica 2019: Flight Delays, Brutal Starts, and Isolation on the Ice, The Adventure Blog
Feet Of Snow In The 7 Day Powder Forecast For The West, Unofficial Networks
Bentonville, Arkansas Is Disneyland for Mountain Bikers, Outside Magazine
The Ultimate Guide to Skiing Utah, Outside Magazine
Melting Glaciers and the Double-Edged Sword of Last-Chance Tourism, Adventure Journal
Steve Swenson Is 65—And Still Bagging Summits, Outside Magazine

Fitness / Wellness / Nutrition

The Toxicity of Diet Culture, Breaking Muscle
3 Simple Stretches To Prevent Running Cramps, Men’s Health
Podcast: Tips for Regaining Full Knee Extension After Surgery, Mike Reinold
How Phytoestrogens Can have Anti-Estrogenic Effects, NutritionFacts.org
How Outdoor Athletes Can Benefit from CBD, Outside Magazine
When Can I Squat After Shoulder Surgery? The Barbell Physio

Interesting

Air Force advises airmen against using products containing CBD oil, Air Force Times
Humans Can Survive Underwater, Hoover Institution
How the Brain Can Rewire Itself After Half of It Is Removed, NYT

Q&A 11.21.19

QUESTION

First, I just want to say thank you for all the hard work you put into your content. It is really impressive.

I have a couple quick questions. What type of rucksack/backpack do you recommend for the ruck-based plans? I’m getting back in after being out a year and a half, so I no longer have the issued rucksack. My laptop backpack won’t survive the 40-65 pound weight. Looking at backpacks and rucksacks, I see that it could be quite the investment. Any recommendations would be appreciated. 

Secondly, could you point out the best way to progress for me? As I said, I’ve been out of the Army Guard for about a year and a half. I’m 38 years old and out of shape, but my ultimate goal is special forces. It may not be a feasible goal given my current starting point and age. However, I’m going to go for it. The best current option at the moment is a a reserve recruiter said there might be a Psyop slot for me.  Or special forces, but still badass. My thought, from my skimming of your material, is to take four weeks and do the 2-mile run improvement plan in the morning and the body weight plan in the evening to improve my overall baseline and get back in shape. What then? Unfortunately, I don’t know if/when the Psyop position will happen, so I can’t backwards plan from a date. 

Let me know your thoughts and suggestions. 

ANSWER

We’ve had good luck with framed, used, medium-sized ALICE pacs for training. You can get these on amazon and army-surplus stores. We load the weight – usually iron plates – high in the “radio pocket” in the pack. If not, a good, solid, internal-frame pack will do. Look for a used one for training … you’ll beat it up.

Plan? – Work through the plans and order in the Virtue Packet – beginning with Military OnRamp.

– Rob


QUESTION

I’m writing from Australia.

After hearing good things about you guys, I’m considering trying one of your training programs.  I’m not sure which one, and I was hoping to get your advice.

– I’m 43 years old.

– I work a desk job, and am not military or LEO,

– I’ve got a decent home gym with squat rack, barbells etc and have lifted for the last two years.

– I’m still a bit shy of your strength standards, and would ideally like to hit them.

– In terms of focus, I’m guessing I fall into the ‘general’ fitness category, and I like the idea of being well-rounded (I like to run). But, if I had any initial focus, it would probably be getting my strength numbers up.

– I can train 5-6 days a week.

Given that background, (including my age) is there any particular program or packet that you’d recommend I jump in with?


ANSWER

I’d recommend the plans in the Country Singer Packet I, starting with Johnny. These are designed for civilian athletes and concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity and endurance (running and some rucking). 

– Rob


QUESTION

I was just recently cleared by my surgeon to resume training without restrictions following a total left shoulder replacement in May.  I just recently finished the 6 week, Arm Injury Training Program.  I really enjoy the structure and goals in your plan based workouts.  I’m struggling to figure out what the next steps are in getting that shoulder back up to condition and a program where I don’t over train the rest of the body.  Obviously, I’m working with 3-5 lb weights on my recovering shoulder, etc…  i am working with my PT but they focus on the injured extremity.  Again, I’m cleared without any restrictions.  I’m still required to complete a run, pull-ups, sit ups and dummy drags as part of my fitness requirements.  Thank you. 


ANSWER

Couple options: 

1) Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan – great plan, but not sure if your shoulder can handle your bodyweight now? 

2) Single Limb Strength Training Plan – this will allow you to use lighter loading with your recovering limb, and go heavy on your good limb.

– Rob


QUESTION

I’m looking to put on muscle and have been doing some research on this.  One thing that keeps coming up is progressive overload. Does this program employ that principle or are the sets and reps consistent throughout?


ANSWER

Progressive overload is part of all strength and conditioning programming – strength, work capacity, endurance. 

Understand the Hypertrophy Plan for Skinny Guys is not a strength program – it’s designed not to build max effort strength, but rather muscle mass. 

In general, going heavy with few reps builds max effort strength. Going moderately heavy, with reps per set in the 8-15 range, builds mass. 

This plan builds the reps per set as you progress through the programming, and uses “hard but doable” loading to progress the load.

Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming. I’d recommend you complete it before purchase.

– Rob


QUESTION

I’m 29 years old and I’m currently a police officer. I served four years in the Marine infantry from 2009-2013 and I’m looking at joining the Army with hopes of becoming a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment. I have been lifting a lot of weights and not too much running or calisthenics or rucking and no swimming. I’ve seen some of your improvement plans such as pull ups, push ups, running and rucking and I’ve seen a ruck based selection training packet that you guys offer. Are there any programs that you’d recommend for RASP?


ANSWER

We have a RASP I & II Plan – which what I’d recommend you complete the 6 weeks directly before RASP. 

Between now and starting the RASP Plan, I’d recommend the plans/order in the Virtue Packet. Start with Humility

– Rob


QUESTION

I know about your workout plans and have subscribed to the Pushup and Pullup improvement plan, but wondered if you had any advice about tapering. 

I am 4 weeks out from an Air Force Special Tactics Officer selection week I have been prepping for quite a while for. 


ANSWER

I’d recommend you complete the first 8 weeks of the USAF STO/CRO Phase II Selection Training Plan, the skip to week 8 – which is a taper – for the week directly before selection.

– Rob


QUESTION

I’m looking into getting into Law enforcement. I don’t have access to a gym. Is there any workout plans from MTI for strictly body weight?

ANSWER

Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan.

Don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” – this is and intense training plan that deploys an initial assessment. The follow-on progressions are based on the initial assessment results and this way the plan automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness level. 

Good luck!

– Rob


QUESTION

I had been using your programming a lot prior to BUD/s.  I am in 3rd phase right now and prior to leaving for land nav I was hiking and fell off a 30 ft cliff.  Luckily I came out with only a concussion, small fracture on my elbow, and a bruised heal.  I won’t be able to continue with my current class but I’d like to get healthy enough to pick up with the following class (sometime mid December).  I most likely won’t be able to start lower body stuff for another couple days and then the elbow will take around 6 weeks (hopefully less) to start to train with.  Do you have any programming I could use for about a month to maintain fitness for BUDs and put myself in a position to class up with the next class?


ANSWER

Sorry about your injury.

Training Plan for Athletes Suffering Arm Injury – this plan will train the rest of your body around your elbow. 

– Rob


QUESTION

I’m a current subscriber and I’ve been progressing through Johnny. One issue I’ve had is the endurance days not lining up with my cycling and running schedule. Currently I have just been occasionally (1-2 times a week) substituting running or cycling for the work capacity portion. Is this the best way to maintain my cycling group schedule and do this program?


ANSWER

Better would be to do 2-a-days and still get the work capacity work in. Long cycling and work capacity are not the same thing. Work cap efforts are shorter, but much more intense. 

– Rob


QUESTION

I am looking to start a subscription to ready myself for USMC Methods of Entry class. While the course is not as physically demanding as some of the other military schools I would like to be prepared (I will be only one of two Air Force in the class). Is there a specific plan that you would recommend for tactically moving, breaching, and navigating obstacles while wearing kit and carrying breaching tools? 


ANSWER

I’d recommend San Quentin, a plan I recently built for correctional officers. Why – it includes strength and multi-modal work capacity, plus tactical agility, but also focused grip strength work and upper body hypertrophy. I feel it will transfer well to the breacher school.

– Rob


QUESTION

I’m currently starting the dryland ski training plan v5. I’m about a week in.

I don’t have access to a sandbag at my gym, I’ve been substituting dumbbells / kettlebells depending on the exercise.

Is this ok? Or is there a better substitute that a normal gym (golds gym style) would have?


ANSWER

We’ve not found a good replacement for a sandbag. Others build their own and bring it to the gym with them. 

– Rob


QUESTION

I was just reading about your changes to the Backcountry ski program. I understand and agree with most of your changes, however I’m curious about the elimination of warm ups? There is so much evidence regarding injury reduction, efficiency of movement, and improved performance- why cut it out? Even for the recreational athlete, warm ups have a huge benefit. Curious about your thoughts on this!

Thanks for doing what you do


ANSWER

If you’re familiar with our sessions, you know our programmed warm ups don’t follow the “dynamic warmup” protocols of sports performance coaches – many from that world don’t approve of MTI Programming.

In this case, I was concerned about performance/warm up for the first 1-3 intervals of the touch/jump/touch to box efforts. As programmed, these come after the chassis integrity/upper body circuit – which this week on Wednesday was:

6 Rounds

5x Sandbag Getup @ 40/60#

10x Hinge Lift @ 85/115#

3/5x Scotty Bobs @ 15/25#

This is a vigorous, 10-13 minute effort – where we’re breathing hard, and sweating by the end. 

In all our programmed warm ups, I include a deep squatting or lunging movement – and in this case, the sandbag getup does this. The Hinge Lift gets the hips/butt, and the scotty bobs get the upper body. Indeed, this could be a programmed warm up for one of our sessions, though I’d drop the rounds to 3-4 and add an instep stretch. 

I’m 51, and by far take the longest to “warm up” of all the lab rats completing this cycle, and I’m ready to go for the Touch/Jump/Touches. 

In the real world, for both our Tactical Athletes and Mountain Athletes, few have a chance to do any type of “warm up” before maximum performance. Many of my pro freeskiers and snowboarders report hopping out of a helicopter, high on a peak with just enough room to stand, strapping on their boards, and hitting it. Likewise, many LE athletes and military athletes move right from sitting/cold situations to full on tactical performance without any notice. Sometimes I wonder if warm ups for every session create a training “scar” which will lead to injury in the real thing. 

But back to training, the specific warm up depends on the specific training session. For example, if my athletes are doing heavy back squats first thing in the training session, they’ll be doing some back squats in the warm up. I’ve seen many sports performance dynamic warm ups performed before strength work – which don’t prepare the athletes for the following sessions. Long ago I experimented with these protocols and found they were overly complicated, too general, too long, and most importantly, didn’t prepare athletes for the following training session.  

Finally, this is a cycle we’re lab ratting at my Wyoming facility, – and testing – if I find there’s an issue, I won’t make changes to the requisite program on the site. 

– Rob


QUESTION

I was reading through the most recent MTI email blast and an older article (“Run/Ruck training thumb rules you can use” -April 3, 2016 by Jordan Smothermon). Since I’m a quantitative Fisheries Scientist by profession (i.e. – I play with numbers alot), I got to playing with the numbers presented there an found what I think is a numerical inconsistency. Rule #4 states that a 10% uphill grade will halve your speed. Rule #5 states that every additional 1% of uphill grade will add 15s per mile. These two cannot both be true.

For example, assume your rucking time is 15min / mile (4mph). Rule #4 implies that with a 10% grade your time per mile would double to 30min/mile (2mph; i.e.- since your speed gets cut by 1/2 your time per distance doubles).  However, Rule #5 implies that with a 10% uphill grade your time per mile should only be 17.5min/mile (~3.4mph; i.e – 15s * 10% = 150s = 2.5min + 15min/mile= 17.5min/mile). Obviously, both these cannot be true and the huge discrepancy between speeds makes the difference important. You’d plan a hike/ruck/mission very differently at 30min per mile v. 17.5min per mile.

It looks like the numbers came from two different sources which probably were never aware of each other let alone cross-checked for logical/mathematical consistency. Also one or both maybe be anecdotal v. Empirical. It might make an interesting mini-study to try and reconcile the two and the results would certainly be “mission-directed.”

Thanks for putting out material that provides a workout for the mind as well as the body!


ANSWER

Thanks for the note and math! 

We’ve actually put many of these rules to a test with our own mini studies – which you might find interesting:

Moving Uphill, a 10% Grade Cuts Your Speed by 1/3, not 1/2

Mini Study: Loading Increased Caloric Burn for Uphill Movement 50+ Percent

MINI STUDY: INVESTIGATING THE EFFECTS OF LOADED UPHILL SKINNING SPEED; LIGHT AND FAST VS HEAVY BUT SAFE

Mini Study Finds 1 Lb On Your Feet = 4 Lbs On Your Back for Slow Hiking Pace

– Rob


QUESTION

I’m looking for a good bench plan. I’m currently at FLETC and part of our PT test is a bench press. I tried the super squat strength program but didn’t see too many gains. Would you recommend anything else?
Thank you very much for all the help and I appreciate what you do.


ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I was reading your article “On Mental Fitness”, and I noticed that you said that you have mental fitness rules for your athletes, as well as a style of “sticks and carrots” to develop your athletes’ mental fitness. Can you educate me on what your rules are as well as how you go about developing mental fitness? Very interested in that aspect.

ANSWER

When applicable, we have 2 primary “rules” for multi-mode work capacity events:
1) No rest in transition between exercises
2) If you have to rest, limit your rest to 5 breaths
We’ve seen huge performance gains with these over the years for athletes not used to the intensity of gym-based work cap efforts.
What we’re not sure of empirically is the transfer of gym-based mental fitness to mission-direct mental fitness. Anecdotally, athletes who’ve completed MTI Programming have reported being mentally stronger in the field, but I’ve got no “numbers” to verify this. I believe mental fitness is  primarily “mode-specific.”
– Rob

The Blessing and the Curse of Accommodation

By Rob Shaul

 

Let’s say you were out of shape and asked me for a fitness plan. And let’s say my answer was to run for 60 minutes, every other day.

At first, you managed just 4 miles in the 60 minutes. Then, six months and 20-pounds less later, you were running for the entire 60 minutes and managing 6+ miles. Then, at 12 months, you were running even faster, and managing 9+ miles in the same 60 minute time period.

At some point, you’d reach your genetic potential, and progress would stop. You’d plateau in terms of how fast and far you could run in the 60 minutes.

In strength and conditioning terms, this is called “accommodation.” The programming challenges the body physically, and the body responds by “accommodating” to that challenge. But, if the challenge is not changed, or increased,  progress plateaus. “Everything works,” strength coaches say, “but nothing works forever.”

Accommodation also extends beyond our fitness lives to all areas of our lives – work, where we live, our relationships. We’ve all experienced this.

You get a new job – your dream job, are challenged and love it at first. Then, 1-2 two years later you find yourself searching for other job opportunities.

You move to a new city, and are excited and love it …. at first. Then, 1-2 years later you find yourself searching real estate listings in other locations.

You begin into a new romantic relationship, and are head over heels over this person … at first. Then, 1-2 years later, you find yourself doubting its future and begin searching for other people to date.

In these examples the job, location, other person didn’t change. You did. You “accommodated” and now things which just a short time ago made you happy, are stale.

The “blessing” of accommodation in life is it can push us to continued growth in our careers, hobbies, relationships, etc.

The “curse” is we seemingly can never be content for long, and unlike the gym, changing jobs, locations and relationships are not easy and can lead to disruptive pain for yourself and others.

I’ve pondered accommodation much lately, and have recently life coached others dealing with accommodation in work, location or love.

The one thing I do know is ignoring accommodation leads to bitterness and discontent. The job doesn’t grow un-stale on its own. The location doesn’t change on its own. The relationship doesn’t improve on its own. Ignoring accommodation will cause you to eventually blame others for your state. Resentment and bitterness will follow.

In the fitness world, a small change can address accommodation and continue to challenge the athlete. In the example above, instead of totally changing the programming, I could simply have you run with a 15-pound weight vest –  and again you’d be challenged.

Often, when people facing accommodation at work, location or relationships ask me for advice, they can only see the drastic change – quit the job, re-locate, end the relationship.  They are blinded to smaller, less drastic changes, which can increase the challenge, address accommodation and re-kindle happiness.

At work, asking for more responsibility, or a different position at the same company can address accommodation without the disruption of quitting.

In location, learning more about the city/town, or taking up a new outdoor sport which can be done where you live can also address accommodation without the disruption of moving. In Wyoming, I see this mostly with winter sports. People who hate the cold take up alpine or nordic skiing, or ice fishing, and it changes the way they think about the long Wyoming winters and what they think about living in Jackson dramatically.

Relationships are tougher, of course, and I’m hardly a relationship expert. And all I can offer is as people change, the relationship must change as well. Working for and being open to a change in the relationship can address accommodation without the pain and disruption of a breakup.

Some argue that we can address accommodation with a change in attitude, or by being more grateful.

Your job grew stale? Suck it up and be grateful that you have one.

Your city lost its luster? Suck it up, be grateful, and know it could be much worse.

Your relationship in the doldrums? Suck it up, and be grateful you’ve got someone.

Gratitude can certainly sharpen one’s attention to what’s important, but I’ve found gratitude doesn’t cure accommodation. Gratitude can patch over accommodation for a spell, but eventually, dissatisfaction resurfaces, and if not addressed by some change, will lead to dark discontent.

So what does all this say about happiness, and contentment? Is it true we can never be happy for long, no matter how good we have it?

My own experience is both yes and no. I’ve found accommodation more powerful than a typical definition of happiness. Accommodation will grow in strength, and no matter the situation, eventually push happiness aside.

But this assumes a typical definition of happiness which is some finite-state – a perfect job, city, or partner.

In my own life, I’ve finally matured to the point where I know accommodation is coming and am not surprised when it arrives. I’m careful not to become so myopic that I don’t see the small changes short of total disruption that can address it. And I’ve come to welcome, and even “enjoy” the challenge of addressing accommodation – which really means looking for change, and being open to it.

In a surprising way, embracing accommodation has made me happier – as I’ve learned to enjoy the challenge of change. Like all good things in life, you have to work to attain happiness and work to maintain it. The final job, location or partner isn’t what makes you happy.

It’s the work and the journey along the way that brings fulfillment.

 

 

 

 


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Arete 11.14.19

Military / Foreign Affairs / National Security

This obscure, costly air base is the new front in the battle against violent extremism,  Air Force Times
VA, DoD must do more to educate troops and veterans about social media scammers, lawmakers say, Defense News
Betraying The Kurds Makes Things Harder for US Operators Everywhere, Defense One
US Is Moving Too Slowly to Harness Drones and AI, Former SOCOM Commander Says, Defense One
The Laser Weapon Is Really, Really Finally Here, Foxtrot Alpha
US Army leaders test out latest militarised HoloLens AR architecture, Jane’s 360
Esper says US forces combating ISIS in Libya ‘continue to mow the lawn’, Military Times
USS Detroit Underway, Forward Deployed, U.S. Navy News

 

First Responder / Homeland Security / Wildland Fire

AS CA BURNS – SCIENTISTS STUDY AFFECTS OF SMOKE ON FIREFIGHTERS HEATLH, Firefighter Close Call
California’s wildfire, blackout crisis: Who’s to blame? FireRescue1
Where Did All the Prosecutors Go? POLICE Magazine
Officer: Death isn’t the worst-case scenario for a cop. Here’s what is., Law Enforcement Today
Ariz. department unveils fire truck designed to reduce cancer risk, FireRescue1
More than 300 violent offenders were just taken off the streets. The media was silent., Law Enforcement Today
White House Finds Loophole in Search for Homeland Security Secretary, Homeland Security
Secret Iranian Network Behind ‘Aggressive’ U.S. Cyberattacks Exposed In New Report, Homeland Security
How Voters Can Assess New Climate Plans, The RAND Blog

 

Mountain

The Best Local Hikes: Hikers Pick Their Favorite Trails Around the U.S., Backpacker
Threshold: Why Some of Us Freeze off the Deck—and How to Push Through This Common Fear, Climbing Magazine
So, Norway is Having the Best November Ever, POWDER Magazine
Chinese Polar Explorer to Attempt Longest Solo, Unsupported Crossing of Antarctica, The Adventure Blog
This Hilarious Animated Short About A Ski Rescue Gone Wrong Is Oscar Worthy, Unofficial Networks
The Best Pacific Northwest Road Trips, Outside Magazine
Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad – 11/14/19, American Alpine Institute
The 5 Best Winter Sleeping Bags, Backpacker

Fitness / Wellness / Nutrition

Double Your Leg Strength One Leg at a Time, Breaking Muscle
12 Natural Cold Remedies Examined: What Works and What Doesn’t, Mark’s Daily Apple
Are Wellness Shots a Health Boon or a Load of BS? Men’s Journal
5 Laws of Sleep for Athletes, Outside Magazine
Fix Your Lower Back Pain: From Posture to Strength, Breaking Muscle
Even Endurance Athletes Need to Sprint, Outside Magazine
Podcast: Hard Gainer, Glycine at Night, Training While Sore | THRR003, The Paleo Diet
What nutrients are most likely to be deficient in a vegetarian diet? The World’s Healthiest Foods

 

Interesting

Military to the Mountain: Introducing veterans to the healing effects of skiing, Freeskier
National Parks May Save $6 Trillion in Mental Health Costs Worldwide, Adventure Journal
Yellowstone to Add WiFi in Move That May Spread to More Nat Parks—Yea or Nay? Adventure Journal
Apple’s Reach Reshapes Medical Research, NYT
This Scientist Believes Aging Is Optional, Outside Magazine
A Milk Giant Goes Broke as Americans Reject Old Staples, NYT