All posts by SSD

Q&A 6.4.20

QUESTION

Been doing your programming for awhile now, mostly the Greek Hero series and have been loving it.  My wife has been thinking recently of trying to get a commission in the Navy and your stuff was the first thing in my mind for her to use to get in shape for a PRT and OCS if she is accepted.  That being said, I didn’t see anything for that specific goal and was wondering what you would recommend?

ANSWER

From what I have now, I’d recommend she start with the Army OCS Training Plan – the Army APFT is close to the Navy PRT and this plan will likely over-prepare her for Navy OCS.
I’ve actually never been asked about Navy OCS and will look into designing an event-specific plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I work in the US Merchant Marine and am frequently stuck on ships for months at a time. Often, they do not have fitness facilities. I can bring resistance bands and a jump rope however. What plan works best when you have limited equipment and nowhere to run? Just looking for general fitness, but hypertrophy would be a nice bonus.

ANSWER

Options:
1) Shipboard Training Plan – does require minimal equipment
2) Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan – you’ll have to be creative for the running in this plan …. treadmill, jump rope, step ups, etc … but others have managed. Be resourceful.
– Rob

QUESTION

What is the best work out to get ready for Beast Barracks at West Point.

ANSWER

Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

Firstly, thank-you very much for the opportunity to benefit from your years of mountain-focused training research.  I’m a monthly subscriber tohttps://mtntactical.com/ and I’m really enjoying the training plans.

When I read your article on backcountry.com about eccentric training I established a strong correlation with some of my own experiences with leg lactate tolerance.In the past

I’ve trained for alpine climbing using a combination of trail running and a stair climber with a weighted backpack, which for me is very effective for mountain endurance.  However, for 4,000 ft+ descents on skis I continue to experience the leg lactate tolerance issue

I’ve evaluated both your Dryland and Monster Factory ski training plans and I have a few questions:

  1. What is the best combination of exercises to train for leg lactate tolerance?  This is my most problematic area as I am currently unable to ski 4,000+ ft continuously without stopping for rest.  In rare cases my quads have completely seized on me to the point where I’m unable to descend and need to rest for minutes before continuing to ski down.
  2. Are leg lactate tolerance issues related to other weaknesses such as core, lower back or other areas of the body?

Any training direction you can share specific to this issue will be deeply appreciated! Thanks again for the opportunity to be a part of the MTI community.  My wife and I look forward to dropping in on your gym someday when we’re in Jackson.

ANSWER

We found the leg blaster progression and touch/jump/touch to a box intervals in the Dryland Ski Training Plan are the best to develop leg lactate tolerance sport-specifically for skiing.
The Touch/Jump/Touch to Box not only pushes leg lactate tolerance, but is some of the most intense work capacity programming I’ve developed. Think panic breathing for 18-20 minutes at the top of the progression … in addition to legs that feel like they are going to explode.
– Rob

QUESTION

I emailed you a little while back about tying in some long distance running stuff to the no-gym plan I was doing.  I have been selected at work to be a group of people to start using our gym utilizing social distancing measures so I want to move to one of the more specific ultra plans.
I have run distances up to 15 miles at a time with little issue so I thought about starting with the 50 mile ultra plan and working my way up.  I am wanting to use a 40 miler in February as a benchmark before I attempt my goal of a 100 miler.
Here’s the caveat: I want to do it completely in my Luna’s.  I am up to about 7-8 miles in them with no issues but taking it pretty conservative to get used to them the right way.  That being the case, I feel like I should begin with something a little less volume like the 25K plan perhaps and work up from there.  I have the luxury of not being on a tight schedule with the soonest race I want to run being in February.
Curious what would be your suggestion? 25K plan or something else?

ANSWER

Can’t help you here as I’m not familiar with running in Lunas and don’t know a safe progression. I’d recommend you reach out to people who’ve done what you’re trying for guidance.
– Rob

QUESTION

I can’t find a strictly body weight only program.  I live in a condo complex and do not have access to a pull-up bar, are to set up cones or a running track.

I also am working with some GI doctors because I’ve been diagnosed with acid reflux and hiatal hernia.  It’s been advised that I do not lift heavy weights or do inversion exercises.

Any good tips to help get my fitness back on track?

ANSWER

Gym Closure Training Plan – includes pull ups … I’d recommend getting a door jam pull up bar for $40 from amazon, or finding a tree branch … or skipping them and doing the rest of the training if you can’t resource it out.
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently bought access to your programs for training and I think they’re great. I’m an infantry veteran and I’m in the process of either going to RASP or Selection in the next few months. I’m able to do a 12 mile ruck in under three hours, but only if I run. I’m a shorter guy so I don’t have the most effective steps with my stubby ass legs. As I train for this, is it better for me to do a slower time with a walk, or a faster time with a run? I’m in the mindset that I want to get better at rucking, not hide it anymore with running. Thank you.

ANSWER

All that matters is how fast you move. We run if needed. You’ll see in our rucking progressions that have an assessment you’re interval times will push your speed. Few will be able to make the times without running if they want to continue to get faster.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am interested in the run improvement program, but have a few questions. I am about to graduate from the Naval Academy, and have never been a strong runner, but improved quite a bit to end up PRing at 24:00 for my 3 mile on the PFT last spring. I was diagnosed with a herniated disc in February of this year (with symptoms starting as early as October 2019) and have since absolutely struggled with running. I’ve been running 3x a week (two tempo runs and one long run) for the past two months with little to no improvement in my run times. I am curious if you think the run improvement plan will still be effective despite my injury, or if I should look in a different direction to make improvements. Thank you!

Sorry to add on, but after browsing a bit I’ve seen your low back fitness training program, which I intend on doing. Could you let me know how to best integrate this program with the running program? Thank you!

ANSWER

Complete the Low Back Fitness Training Plan as prescribed, and alone. Then move to the Running Improvement Training Plan.
The Low Back plan includes light rucking and step ups for endurance.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a new subscriber of the training programming.  I just completed the 7-week course outlined at climbing.com for the Cirque Traverse:
I’m planning to do the Cirque Traverse in mid-September, but I wanted to get a feel for the program now to begin developing applicable conditioning (legs/lungs).
I planned to start this 7-week program again beginning August 3rd to be in alignment with my September traverse objective.
I’m looking for programming to keep me fit between now and August 3rd while I have limited access to gym equipment thanks to COVID-19.  I hoped to have a method of looking for programming that would fit my available home equipment, but wasn’t able to make much progress.
Equipment owned:
* Dumbbells
* TRX
* Hang board
* Plyo box
* Jump rope
Any suggestions on programming material?

ANSWER

Mountain Base Artemis.
You’ll need to replace the Bouldering 4x4s in the plan with Hang Board work. Simple would be 15 rounds … 60 second Hang Board (move as needed between the holds/grips), 60 seconds rest. If you can’t make 60 seconds on the board, start at 30 seconds, then go to 45, then finish at 60.
Use your two heaviest dumbbells for the Hinge Lifts in the plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a 30 Y/O (structural) Firefighter/Paramedic and trying to figure out which program(s) would best suit me. I’m 6’0 195lbs and in generally very good shape. I’m currently running about 10 miles a week and train Crossfit style MetCons 3-4 days a week with extremely high intensity (I make up each workout;  they all last apprx. 1-1.5 hours in duration with no rest at near maximal HR). I enjoy fast, long, endurance-style workouts versus strength-focused.

I’m new to the site, and quite frankly am overwhelmed with the choices. I’ve considered starting the FF plan and also doing the 5 mile run plan as well in the mornings, however, I’m not sure if one of the more endurance/work capacity military plans might be more suited to my interests. I have 2 hours a day to train.  Any recommendations?

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Gun Maker Packet of plans for full time SWAT/SRT – good transfer to Fire/Rescue plus some added events.  Start with Ruger.
Go a couple weeks before adding any additional programming to see how you recover. If recovery is good, email back and I’ll assist.
– Rob

QUESTION

I sprained my ankle on my run this morning.  I just finished week 2 of the Gym Closure Package. How should I adjust the program while allowing my ankle to heal?

ANSWER

Two initial options.
– Tape up your ankle and fight through.
– Do the strength work as prescribed and switch the running/rucking in the plan to biking and double the prescribed distance.
Be resourceful.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hope this finds you all safe and well. I’m getting ready to start the SF-45 Charlie program and was wondering what would be a good substitute for box squats. I herniated a disc a few years ago and while I’m 100% I have taken back squats of any sort out of rotation. Risk vs rearward isn’t there for me anymore. Please advise when you have a moment.

ANSWER

Replace with Front Squats or Walking Lunges.
– Rob

QUESTION

Dan again, I e-mailed you a few weeks ago looking for some advice on how to best use the time I had left before starting the REP63/18X pipeline. Well, due to COVID, I’m basically here to ask the same question again! My original ship date was April 03, and due to the pandemic has been shifted back to October 06. The silver lining is that I have more time to prepare. The challenge I’m seeking advice for, is how to make the most of the five months between now and October, without the benefit of a gym.
In spite of the gyms being shut down, I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of resources at my disposal, including: a ruck that I can pack to be anywhere from 45-85#, a 10 lb dumbell to substitute a sledge hammer, boots and OCP’s, a 60# sand bag, 25# lb weight vest that can go up to 50, two 25# dumbells, and a moderately hilly nature trail near my home that has remained open.
I also just completed weeks 11-15 of the run improvement plan, and tested out with a PR of 45:14 on the six mile assessment, on the aforementioned hilly trail (stellar plan by the way, and as always, thanks for the gains). I have a solid background in rucking, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt I can meet all of the SFAS rucking standards, though as of late I’ve been focusing on running exclusively. I also did many of the strength sessions from the weight vest/dumbell/sand bag training plan concurrently with the run plan, so all in all I have a solid base of fitness to start from. My weaknesses, however, are push ups, sit ups, and pull ups. I work hard at them, but rarely see more than a 1-5 rep improvement in push ups and sit ups in a month, and struggle to gain more than 1 pull up with several weeks of effort.
Given that situation, what plans would you recommend I start working through with my time remaining, and in what order? Do you have any thoughts on how to best use the abundance of extra time I also have in the day, to physically and mentally prepare for October? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I hope you and your family are safe and doing well in spite of the circumstances, and as always, thanks for putting out such stellar products.

ANSWER

By my count you have 22 weeks until October 6. Here’s what I recommend.
Weeks   Plan
1-7         Gym Closure Training Plan – use your 60# sandbag instead of the 45# ruck for the sandbag work in the plan
8-14.      Humility
15-22.   Ruck Based Selection Training Plan – directly before reporting
Extra Time? Read Stoicism. Start with Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot, add in Man’s Search for Meaning, then move to Marcus Arelius, and the Art of Living.
– Rob

QUESTION

I started your USAF PFT improvement plan and I just complemented the first day of week 3, and my numbers are not where I expected them to be. My push ups have declined, but my sit ups and run have improved. Is this normal? Should I be doing something different?

ANSWER

How much improvement you’ll see depends on (1) how fit you were coming in, and (2) How consistent and dutiful you were in following the programming (not just going through the motion)
However – no, this is not normal for push ups. Super fit guys coming in may see a slight improvement, but still an improvement.
If you’ve been consistent and dutiful with the programming, I’d recommend sticking with and seeing if you improve on the final assessment.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m the wellness chairmen for Bangor Fire Dept in Bangor Maine. I have been tasked with revising the annual pft as well as proposing a training program. We cave approx 90 firefighters and three stations.

My background is a CrossFit affiliate owner since 2010 and firefighter emt since 2016. I was made familiar of your programs with operator ugly.

How would you recommend onboarding this program?

ANSWER

You’ve asked a question pregnant with multiple variables and nuances, and understand the approach I’ve thought through in the link below is how I’d do it … with the understanding that MTI’s approach to First Responder fitness is uncompromising. Couple places to start:
– Rob

 

The Quiet Professional Collection of Essays

 

MTI has always been about more than just fitness. While fitness is the focus and bulk of our work, it’s been our essays and thoughts about the concept of Quiet Professionalism and bigger life issues which have garnered the most feedback from our athlete and community. We’ve been asked several times to put together in one place the full collection. We’ve finally put those together below.

Your thoughts and feedback is appreciated.

Respectfully,

– Rob Shaul, MTI

 

 

Quiet Professionalism

What Does it Mean to Be a Quiet Professional?

Quiet Professional: Do Your Job With Dignity

Quiet Professional: “Hard Work With Dignity”

Quiet Professional: Service

Quiet Professional: Mission First

Quiet Professional: Hard Work

Quiet Professional: Don’t Get Too Far From Your Purpose

Quiet Professional: The Difference Between Experience and Wisdom

Quiet Professional: Tools for Making Hard Decisions

Quiet Professional: Humility & Humor

Quiet Professional: Resilience

Quiet Professional: Gratitude

Quiet Professional: Embrace the Suck

Quiet Professional: On Professional Reading

Quiet Professionalism and COVID-19

 

Other Topics

The Happiness Equation

Stockdale, Stoicism and The Art of Living

The Best Things Come from Commitment

The Gratitude Enhancing Power of “Appreciate You”

You May Love the Mountain, But the Mountain Does Not Love You

My Biggest Programming Mistakes

On Mental Fitness

The Liberating Power of “Fixing It”

How “Good for Them” Changed My Life

The Relentless Pull of Douchebag Gravity

How Discontent Poisons Happiness

The Surefire Sabotage of Self Importance

My Failure Resume

You Can’t Escape the Work

“Little Boy” as a Career Choice

Stuff I’ve Learned, Part 1

Stuff I’ve Learned, Part 2

Stuff I Wish I’d Learned …

The Blessing and the Curse of Accommodation

Coaching Lessons Learned the Hard Way

 

 

 


You Might Also Like Essay Submissions: “The Professional Decision I Most Regret”


 

Q&A 5.28.20

QUESTION

I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I’m 50 years of age and have been physically active my entire life. I run approx 40 miles a week. I also train for one marathon a year. What I’m looking for is a program or programs (variety) that would allow me to maintain my mobility/flexibility while gaining some strength. What I am having trouble with is the time and (sometimes energy) to stay consistent in the gym. I’ve already gotten one program from you but was exploring my options for my specific needs. Any guidance is appreciated.

ANSWER

Your note is a little unclear.
If you’re looking for a 30 min/day stretching/flexibility program – I don’t have one
If you’re looking for a 30-min/day strength program to supplement your running, I’ve got a couple options – though none is perfect. I’m generally hesitant to have athletes stack our programming on top of other stuff.
1) 5-Mile Run Improvement Training Plan – This plan includes two bodyweight strength sessions/week that take 30-45 minutes and are total body and no joke – lower, upper and core. Best would be for you to do the entire program, including the prescribed running. Overall it’s a 6 day/week training plan.
2) Complete the Warm Up and Part (1) of the Monday, Tuesday and Thursday sessions in the Gym Closure Training Plan. Again – focused and intense bodyweight training.
I’m assuming you don’t have a garage gym, or gym access. If you do I’d recommend the In-Season Strength Training Plan for Endurance Athletes – and again, the Warm Up and Parts (1).
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been looking for a structured regiment to train for the PFT and have found your program very valuable after one week. I would like to get your assessment after completing Week1 of the FBI PFT training guide. Additionally, is this program for people that can already pass the PFT? I have not been able to pass so far, and my goal is to take the PFT and pass by scoring more than the minimum 12 points.
To give a bit of a background, I only ran on the treadmill since last summer with weight lifting, circuit training, yoga, and HIIT body weight workouts thrown in there. I cleaned up my diet and as a result, I have lost about 12 pounds and kept it off. I am 5’7″, 155 and have some body fat I still need to shed. Up until this past week, I did not run for about 6 weeks due to staying indoors b/c of the corona virus.
I was not gasping for air when I took PFT #1 last Monday, but I felt lightheaded after the pushups, probably due to dehydration and could not do the 1.5 mile run. My scores were:
Sit-ups: 40
300M: Got to 200M before my legs gave out probably due to lack of strength and winds that were about 20-25 mph (live in Chicago)
Pushups: 25
1.5 mi run: Dd not attempt due to to being lightheaded. I estimated 13:45 – 14:00 to determine the pace for the running workouts during the week.
I was able to complete all of the other workouts during Week 1. I did feel pain in my lower leg/high ankles after the 800M runs on Thurs & Friday, but I think that was caused by not running for awhile prior to starting Week 1 of the plan. My 800M times were also about 10 seconds slower than the time I was achieving for (4:15 vs 4:05).
Anyway, my PFT may not be until Aug/Sep of this year. Should I still complete this program or do another one first? I do not have access to a gym at this time.
Also, I was doing the 100 pushup (https://hundredpushups.com/) and the 200 sit-up challenges before I started the PFT training. Is there a way to incorporate these into your plan?

ANSWER

Stick with the plan as prescribed and re-start on Monday with the full PFT.
Don’t do any additional training.
The plan automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness and in this way is a great plan to start programming for.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am 51 yrs old. Working shift work. I have a 2 yr old daughter (I know. But still it’s awesome!). I have done 531, Tactical Barbell, some bodyweight work. My lifts are average but not awesome. My conditioning is ok. 5k=25-30mins depending on fitness atm. I usually have access to gym but not currently due to virus. I have some kettlebells and pull up bar. I have a rower. I have an Olympic bar and 220lbs of plates but no bench or rack. I have a few dings and aches from mistakes over the years, but nothing restricting. Can you recommend a program to start on currently and work my way up? And if different, can you recommend one for when I have access to a gym again?

ANSWER

Full on, intense, simple, and focused. Deploys a barbell but doesn’t require a rack or bench. Plan includes running.
– Rob

QUESTION

While reading various sites online I came across the title “Mountain Tactical Institute Certified Coach”.
Is this an in-house thing assigned to staff members or a course taught online?

ANSWER

We no longer offer a certification but just this week have began teaching live, online programming courses. We announce these courses via our weekly newsletter, Beta. I’d recommend you subscribe if you haven’t already.
– Rob

QUESTION

Coach, hope you and your family are doing well. I was hoping to pick your brain on a couple of thoughts I had. If I’m unable to complete the days program due to time restraints or poor recovery from the previous day, and had to stop about half way through, do I repeat the days programming on the next available day or just go move on? Also, as I have gotten older, the more importance I’ve found for good recovery days which include good sleep and healthy foods. Any advice on any other possible choices for a active recovery days would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

ANSWER

– Repeat the day’s programming
– Recovery improves with increasing fitness. There’s no research that massagages, yoga, ice baths, sauna’s etc. improve recovery.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a question about mixing the dryland ski training plan (I bought the plan a few seasons back) with endurance training that’s currently a cycling focus. I train for triathlon throughout the year but this year is going to be different because of COVID. I have no idea if any of the races will actually happen and my pool and gym are closed indefinitely. I don’t want to loose too much fitness so I’m focusing on cycling right now for the simple reason that it’s a lot easier to maintain high volume training that includes some intensity on the bike versus doing the same on the run (easier for me at least, mixing high volume run training with intensity has been a recipe for injury).
Without a gym I’ve been trying to make due with what I have access to at home, which isn’t much more than a few dumbbells, chin up bar, some bands, Swiss ball, bench, etc. I’ve recently been thinking the dryland ski training program could be a good strength complement to my road cycling. One issue I’ve struggled with before when doing a cycling focus is that riding is all in one plane and doesn’t really involve much eccentric strength. The dryland ski training program, on the other hand, involves lots of more dynamic and full body movements plus lots of eccentric strength work. I figure mixing them both could allow me to maintain good aerobic fitness with 12-16 hrs/week of cycling while also building/maintaining eccentric strength and resilience needed for road and trail running, once the trails around me open back up again.
My main fears are burn out and/or injury. Therefore I wouldn’t plan on sticking with the 7-week schedule of the dryland ski plan. Instead I would do the Mon–Tues–Thurs–Fri sessions in order but only 3 of the dryland workouts per week (I’d skip the Wednesday session since I’ll be biking and occasionally running anyway). All told that would take me 9-10 weeks to complete the 7-week training plan.
Do you have any thoughts or see any red flags with this approach? Any tips or suggestions would be really appreciated.

ANSWER

Plan is solid. Just do the strength training in the dryland plan and alternate days as you describe with cycling.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have two weeks left in Humility. What plan would you recommend next?  As above, I have 15 and 25 lb dumbbells a 40 and 60 lb. sandbag and plyo box. I can order some other equipment from amazon if needed. Again my main goals are general fitness and preparing for hopefully downhill lift assisted skiing this winter.

ANSWER

You can use a 25# back pack for the weight vest.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been following your USAF CCT/PJ/CRO training packet for the past 8 months and have enjoyed the challenge. It is apparent how much thought has been put into the program. I am on Humility now and it is perfect with the safe-at-home rules in place.
During this program, I have been able to keep up with the running and swimming because of my endurance background. While I have been able to generally follow the men’s recommended weights for exercises, I feel that my major weakness is my lack of strength (push ups, pull ups, rucking). I am frustrated by my lack of improvement with my strength. I have another year of college to train before I can join the Air Force. Would you recommend finding a strength program to build more of a base before I continue more PJ selection specific programs? I recognize how difficult it is to maintain endurance while increasing strength and was wondering if you had suggestions.

ANSWER

Couple things to consider –
(1) High jeopardy events for women – pull-ups, push ups and rucking – especially in “Gate” PFTs when minimums are required to continue.
(2) Water Confidence – by far failure in the pool is the biggest source of attrition for CCT/PJ/CRO candidates.
There are no max back squat, dead lift, bench press tests. From an upper body perspective – your focus should be on how close you are to meeting the push up/pull up requirements.
Rucking …. our own research has shown that size/strength, along with running ability, have good correlations to rucking performance. Size and strength often go together – bigger athletes are usually stronger than smaller athletes. If the ruck load is 75 pounds, and you’re a 150 pound male you’re moving 50% of your bodyweight. If you’re a 225# male, you’re moving just 30% of your bodyweight. If you’re a 115 pound female … you’re moving 65% of your bodyweight.
The issue for women is size – many are tiny – 110-130#, and this puts them as a disadvantage for rucking. The issue is how can you make up some of this disadvantage – and my answer is two fold … (1) Rucking. The best way to improve rucking is to ruck. (2) Strength Training …. to a lesser extent.
The next plan you’ll do in the packet – Big 24 – is one of our most intense/successful strength plans. Stick with it.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am an active duty Soldier, and have used many of your programs. Currently I am using the 357 Strength plan. My goal this year is to compete in the CrossFit Open, (to change it up). What training plan would you reccomend after I complete the 357?

ANSWER

I don’t have any crossfit-specific programming, and haven’t followed what’s going on in crossfit for about 8 years …. so MTI isn’t the best, sport-specific, choice for you. One major issue is the crossfit exercise menu and ours … we don’t do high rep thrusters, double unders, little, if any rowing, snatching, sumo high pulls, wall balls, etc.
357 Strength is kinda crossfitty …. but not so much on the work capacity side.
I’m not too sure how far out you are, but what you could do from our programming, is another of our strength plans – just to increase max effort strength for some of the loaded events. I’d recommend Big 24 – which is probably my most intense strength progression/plan.
But … better would be to find some open-specific, crossfit programming – if you really want to seriously train for that event. I wish I could offer more.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m getting ready for a couple hunts this fall. A caribou hunt, a moose(bow) hunt, and a mountain goat, all self supported backcountry type hunts. I’m less experienced than my hunting partners and really want to be as fit as possible.  I’ve been following your hunt prep courses specifically for 5 weeks. A couple questions:
I have 18 weeks left until the hunt. My plan is:
   5 weeks of Backcountry build 1
   5 weeks of Backcountry build 2
   8 weeks of Backcountry big game
I have a week between the first two(caribou then moose) hunts, and two weeks between the second and third(moose and mountain goat) hunt. Do you have some recommendations for recovery/readiness for the weeks in between? Obviously depends on how the hunt goes.
I tested today strength wise
Test Weight
Front squat 245 245
Pullups 11 164
Bench 240 240
Power Clean 215 215
864 Total
213 Weight
4.06 Score

I’m 6’3″ 213. My question is, will the strength training in the program be sufficient or should I add some heavy sets during the weeks? My cardio is not as much of a concern, i ran a 19:00 5k recently. I’m lean, gaining weight isn’t easy for me.

I have a squat rack/bench press in my garage so access isn’t an issue.
Thank you for your time. I really appreciate your programming.

ANSWER

Break Week (1)? – If the hunt is tough – total rest, or 2-3 days of easy distance running (60 min or less) or more intense step ups or hiking with a pack – no more than 60 minutes. Aim to get 2 days total rest before you head out again. If the hunt is easy, re-do week 4 of the Backcountry Big Game Hunt Pre-Season Plan and get in 2 full days rest before you head out again.
Break Weeks (2)? – If the moose hunt was hard, rest for a full week, then re-do week 8 of the Backcountry Big Game Hunt Pre-Season Training Plan before heading out for sheep. If the moose hunt was easy, Re-do week 4, then 8 of the same plan before chasing sheep.
Extra strength? No .. . trust the programming. The hunt-specific strength training in these plans will serve you better than general strength work, and know that the focus of mountain hunting is mountain endurance – not strength. Mountain endurance is the focus of this train up.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

Im already one third session of APFT improvement plan. I have a question about the warm up. Am i suppose to do them slow? As fast as i can? Any rest after each round?
I also have a question about the air assault plan. Am i suppose to start exactly 6 weeks before the course? Or should i start as soon as im done with the APFT? I have a slot Aug 3rd.
If its six weeks before the course, which plan do you recommend to do after the apft and before i start the air assault plan?

ANSWER

Warm up – moderate pace. Each round includes a stretch – the stretch is your working rest.
Air Assault – 6 weeks before school. In between? Plans/order in the Greek Hero Series, beginning with Hector.
– Rob

QUESTION

I actually really love the structure of the programming. But I still have some of the old ‘gym bro’ wishes of some upper body physique style work. Would I just add in some simple upper body stuff that isn’t too demanding and see how I respond?

ANSWER

You could add in some of your own hypertrophy, or do the Spirits Packet Plans for LE Patrol/Detective or the Notorious Prison Plans for Corrections LE – both include upper body hypertrophy programming.
– Rob

QUESTION

I would like your advice on which program to use or the progression of programs to us. I should be working with the National Guard in the near future and I would like to advance through that more than likely trying out for special forces. I want to know what programs you recommend to use in pursuit of special forces. The only real program I have ever used was Stew Smith Navy Seal workout,(lots of push ups, pull ups, sit ups) but I took a break from that for the past year because my wife and I went and Thru-Hiked the Appalachian Trail. My legs are endurance strong right now from lugging a 35 lb pack 2200 miles up and down the mountains, but my upper body is a bit weak now. Other than that I work as an Arborist where I climb trees with chainsaws and lift alot of logs for that job. Let me know what you recommend and I’ll do it.

I have to enlist and go to basic and all that yet. I’m just trying to get into the best shape I can so that I could potentially try out and get selected. So that should be a while yet. I don’t have an exact time frame currently because I am waiting on paperwork to enlist.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you work through the plans/order in the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet – beginning with the Military OnRamp Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking to do run 100 total miles in the next month; however, I still want to maintain strength. Just finished your TLU plan and loved it. I looked at the Big 3 + Running but idk if it has enough running to meet the 100 mile mark. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a wildland firefighter and am currently nearing the end of the bodyweight foundation plan. We have been in our busy season for a while and I like how this plan fits into our schedule and equipment availability. Because of this, I’m planning on working my way through the limited equipment packet and starting the sandbag/weight-vest/dumbell training plan next. However, I like where I’m at with my running volume and might run a marathon in the fall; what are your thoughts on adding an easy run on Saturdays?
Also, I have another question about when duty precludes PT. Thus far I have picked up where I left off and sometimes I maintain fitness with  ‘skeleton PT’ sessions (i.e. 30-min session of bodyweight exercises) when we get busy stretches. However, my question is for getting back into training after an extended assignment: how would you suggest getting back into a program when a 14- or 30-day assignment interrupts a progression?

ANSWER

Okay on the long, easy, Saturday run.
Getting Back?    Repeat a week in the progression.
– Rob

Q&A 5.21.20

QUESTION

I’m trying to make the Sandbag or Gym Closure programs work with the equipment I have on hand, but keep running into the dead-end of Keg Lifts.  While I like them for the sheer sweatiness and grunt work involved, I don’t have the means of creating 48′ shelves.
Any suggested replacements?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

Hi could you share guidance on whether to choose training plan I (original) or II? Thanks for building these. Looking forward to starting one soon!

ANSWER

Do them in order and start with with Gym Closure Training Plan I.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been out for a while which has lead to some deconditioning. I’ve been giving a lot of consideration to going back in for an Special Forces. I wasn’t great at rucking when I was in the marines how can I start up again without injuring myself and surpass my old level of fitness related to rucking?

ANSWER

There’s no shortcut – start training.
Start with the Gym Closure Training Plan – which actually includes rucking. Follow it up with the Ruck Improvement Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Currently working through SF45-Foxtrot (completed A-E since retiring from the Army), but I recently accepted a new job and looking for another suitable plan that potentially won’t take as much time in the morning. Main factor is the time consideration with SF45 workouts, any suggestions?
Also, anything on the horizon from the masters athlete mini study from February this year?

ANSWER

Study … still thinking that through.
– Rob

QUESTION

Good morning Rob! I hope this reaches you well. I have been on your athlete subscription for a while now. You suggested I do the Pirate Packages and also PAST training until I get closer to leaving for my CCT selection pipeline. Everything has been amazing. My improvements have been incredible. Unfortunately about a week ago I tweaked something in my calf and I’m currently unable to run on it. Lifting and doing certain explosive movements doesn’t bother it much but propelling myself forward to run is very painful. I wanted to know if you had some suggestions for what I could substitute in place of the 800m run intervals for the PAST training and for any other running that may pop up until this calf is healed completely. I do not want to go to selection with a preexisting injury. Thank you in advance for all your help and such great programming.

ANSWER

Bike or spin. Double the prescribed run distance in programming.
– Rob

QUESTION

After a few failed starts, described later, I started your Peak Bagger routine this week and will have to make weakling modifications.

Background: former Navy SO candidate that didn’t make the cut (8 years ago) and stayed in pretty good shape for the rest of my service.  Now in school, I’ve found climbing/mountaineering as my passion, but my fitness has slowly gone downhill as a workouts are mostly casual, metric-less routines.  Do what feels good is the only thing to do when you have no purpose.

I bought the Peak Bagger a couple months ago because a new climbing partner kicked my ass (rare even these days) on an 8 mile mountain hike and recommended you guys.  I waited for some knee issues to die down and tried starting last week.  25# step ups were way too much and I was hurt-sore for a few days.  I reset this week and am following this general modification:

Step ups – ½ number of reps for each set, no weight

Runs – go a little longer to keep up baseline, 70-75% HR

Leg Blasters etc – ½ number of sets (or take long breaks?), these destroyed me when I was in good shape

Take the others easy as they come

The idea is to get to week 7, taper off, and pick back up in the Peak Bagger plan wherever the modified plan intersects with the real plan.  When I get to week 7 of that phase, I’ll taper off again and reset the program, following everything prescribed as, including the 25# step-ups.

I offer all this for two reasons.  First, do you think potentially doing the same plan for ~20 weeks is a good idea?  Obviously, it makes business sense for your to say no, but I foresee you dropping some convincing athletic wisdom.  Secondly, I wanted you to have a window into the “fatboy” mentality.  “Fatboy” is a state of mind, not a shape of body to me.  I’ve always been small and skinny, but I’ve become weak and frankly a bit lazy since the days of preparing for BUDs or SO attachment billets.  Cardio comes easy and I’ve trained it decently, but all of the exercises that involve ATP/Lactic Acid are going to need some gentle build up as I have no gym (thanks corona) and have been on the fatboy routine.

The website wasn’t super effective at warning me the fitness level for which these programs are written.  Not that my hubris would probably have listened.

ANSWER

Same plan for 20 weeks is a bad idea. You’ll likely overtrain and definitely will get bored. I’d recommend starting with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, then moving to the Backpacking Pre-Season Training Plan, then Peak Bagger.
Understand MTI programming isn’t designed for the individual athlete. The intensity, focus, and duration of the programming is based on the demands of the event it’s training the athlete for. Peak Bagger is built to prepare athletes for a 1-day, non-technical climb and descent of a Colorado 14er or the Grand Teton (16 miles, 7K vertical climb, and 7K vertical descent). These are no-joke, high impact events.
One of the reasons we put up the first week of programming in the plan descriptions is for athletes to test the programming and their fitness starting out. The “killer” element for most from Peak Bagger are the leg blasters. Few have done as many leg blasters as I have, but I haven’t done them in a while and if I was to jump into Peak Bagger even I’d be pretty damn sore the first couple weeks.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a 24 year old firefighter from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. About 2 months ago I signed an 18X contract with the Army, and since then I’ve been training and preparing to the best of my ability for the special forces assessment and selection process. My training up until this point has been lead by Power Athlete’s “HAMR” program. I was in the mood for a change and I came across mountain tactical programming based on the recommendation of my friend. Last night I purchased the “Ruck Based Selection Program V5.” After speaking with my friend a little bit more, he advised me to reach out to you for the most appropriate program. To give you a reference point, I performed the AFPT this morning and my scores were as follows: 85 push-ups, 55 sit-ups, 20 pull-ups, and 12 minutes and 51 seconds on the 2 mile run. My ship date is approximately 90 days from today (July 21st). I appreciate your time and consideration based on the aforementioned information and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

ANSWER

By my count, you have 12 weeks until selection. Here’s what I’d recommend:
Weeks.  Plan
1-4.        Fortitude
5-12       Ruck Based Selection Training Plan (8 weeks directly before selection)
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m looking to buy a membership and I wanted some advice on what makes the most sense. I’m an active duty Marine and I’ll be attending SFAS within the next year. I looked at the SFAS training plan and I’d probably only need the Ruck based training (last phase) but would also like to have access to daily workouts. Do you recommend a membership or just a purchase of the ruck improvement plan?

ANSWER

Not sure I understand your question, but I’d recommend the Plans/Order in the Ruck-Based Selection Training Packet as you lead into SFAS. If you’re fit, skip the Military OnRamp Training Plan and start with Humility. Time it so you complete the final plan in the packet, the Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan the 8 weeks directly before SFAS.
If you don’t want to do the plans/order in the packet – and you’re fit, I’d recommend completing the 8-Week Ruck Based Selection Training Plan now, then dropping into either the plans/order in the Greek Hero Packet or the Daily Operator Sessions until your 8-weeks from SFAS, then repeat the 8-Week Ruck Based Selection Training Plan directly before selection.

What is the difference between purchasing an individual training plan, packet of plans or an Athlete’s Subscription?

  • Plan – Like purchasing the DVD of the first Star Wars movie. You own it forever, including any updates we make to the plan.
  • Packet – Like purchasing the DVD’s of all the Star Wars movies. You own them forever, including any updates we make to the plans.
  • Athlete’s Subscription – Like subscribing to Netflix. You get access to all 200+ plans in our library, but lose access if you unsubscribe.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m curious about the pacing for the Saturday mini events. Is the intent to meet you goal times like you would on a standard weekday, or are Saturdays more of a grind day? Like during the week when you do run or ruck intervals, the plan instructs you to use the calculator to determine your goal pace, but on Saturdays it doesnt mention that. Thanks for any assistance!

ANSWER

For the rucks/runs in the Saturday mini-events, use a “moderate” pace. Moderate = comfortable but not easy.
– Rob

QUESTION

What are some pull up/chin up substitutes if I don’t have a pull up bar?

ANSWER

1) Be resourceful – find a tree branch, purchase a door frame pull up bar, purchase a set of cheap rings.
2) Find something to do horizontal pull ups on.
– Rob

QUESTION

I hope this email finds you well.  I have a programming question for you when you have a chance.

Provided the pandemic pendulum swings back to something more normal in the next 6 months, I’m registered for my first triathlon in the fall….an Xterra trail triathlon.  My base programming thus far this year has consisted of Pirate, Meathead Marathoner and I’m currently working on the off season Mountain Bike program.

Our beaches and pools are closed for the time being so swimming isn’t really in the rotation at the moment, but I wanted to get your thoughts on integrating trail running, MTB and swimming based sessions into a combined program without overtraining.  I know there’s plenty of triathlon training advice out there, but your system has always worked well for me and I figured I’d reach out and go with what I know before I picked up a triathlon book.

ANSWER

Sorry – can’t help you right now as I haven’t built a tri plan yet. I’ve been asked several times but have always deferred to all the other programs out there. However, I’m now open to is as I keep getting asked. It’s in the queue – just haven’t gotten to it.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m looking for a good limited equipment training plan to follow the Gym Closure Training Plan.

I am an Active Duty Army Officer currently attending a masters degree program, so I have a lot of leeway to conduct physical training however I like. However, with COVID-19, the post gyms have closed. I am currently in week 5 of your new Gym Closure Training plan and it has been a lot of fun. I have been improving on all assessed areas and love the inclusion of rucking.

I feel like I need more running than this plan is prescribing, I’m not a naturally good runner but I can get to a pretty good level with consistant training. My goal as an officer is to own the 6 mile distance at around 8min/mile or better (currently hovering between 8:45-9:30 depending on the day and terrain).

Your OCS Trainng plan looked pretty interesting, as it involves the APFT, running, rucking, pullups and all, however I was wondering if you had anything like it that included prep for the upcoming ACFT with limited equipment?

I currently own few fitness sandbags currently filled to provide 10, 40, 60, or 80lb of weight, and a ruck. I have access to the outdoors and pullup/dip bars.

Thanks again, for the quality program at an awesome price ($9 bucks was steal for the Gym Closure Plan!).

ANSWER

Here’s our  Limited Equipment ACFT Training Plan – it’s what I’d recommend.
– Rob

QUESTION

Are there any alternatives to the dumbbell crawl? I don’t have decent dumbbells to move across the ground.

ANSWER

10x EOs
– Rob

QUESTION

Ive been thinking about subscribing. I have a question about the workouts. If i want to max my APFT which program would get be there faster and better?

1) 2mr improvement & PU improvement
2) APFT Improvement plan

Seems like in option #1 there is a lot for running and PUs than the APFT improvement plan, which makes me think that option 1 would be better? I just want to make sure which one will be more beneficial, i plan on starting on Monday.

ANSWER

APFT Training Plan. It is focused just on this event.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been doing starting strength for a while now and I want to add in some good athletic conditioning with the sandbag I just bought from you. What program would you recommend. I just turned 40. My squat is 445 for 3 sets of 5, press is 205 for 5, and deadlift is 500 for 5. I weigh around 220.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Monday and Wednesday sessions from Sandbag Ethos – if you want to do sandbag only work capacity to work in with your current strength programming.
Better would be to do Hank – which is a multi-modal plan that concurrently trains strength, work capacity, endurance and chassis integrity – and do the strength programming in this plan.
– Rob

Q&A 5.14.20

QUESTION

I purchased your 1.5 mile improvement plan. I am trying to improve it and get a better time under 12:00 and my fastest time is 12:15.
Question:
Building an aerobic base makes you a better efficient and faster runner?
Background:
 
I spent some time building an aerobic base. Running at a low heart rate between 120-150 BPM, not for mileage but for minutes (ie, 30 – 60 min). I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Tactical Barbell: Conditioning base building training program.
Anyways, for 5 weeks I spent building an aerobic base. Followed by 3 additional weeks of speed work (heading into the 4th week now). I recently did a 1.5 mile and my time got worse. My time was 12:53. I couldn’t understand what went wrong. I thought building an aerobic base would allow me to run faster by using fat as fuel, my heart being more efficient. I noticed that my pace was getting faster at the same effort during aerobic base building. I understand that the aerobic and anaerobic base are two different systems but I thought at least the aerobic base would provide some sort of efficiency in the background during my 1.5 mile run.
I noticed the 1.5 mile run improvement plan focuses more on 800m repeats and one aerobic maintenance run. This type of stuff is different but similar from what I have learned through the tactical barbell system. Your 1.5 mile run improvement plan is very similar if not exactly the same as my ‘Phase 2′ protocol (2 HIIT days, 1 LSS run).  The program and others tells me to work more on aerobic, low heart rate running to be more efficient for anaerobic work. Then other people that used the Tactical barbell program say to work on speed work to get faster at running.
Now i’m stuck in a dilemma. I purchased your program in hopes of getting a better time, even though the phase 2 training is the similar, your program is more specific. I hope it works. I don’t even know if I have a good aerobic base to begin with because its so subtle to notice the biological benefits. The only thing I noticed was my pace getting faster over a period of time at the same effort and the running 1.5 miles make my time worse.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and getting back to me.

ANSWER

I’m not sure I understand your specific question.
In general, a greater mode-specific aerobic base is more important for a longer assessment distance, and this is reflected in our programming. So my marathon programming has more aerobic base work than my 1.5 mile run plan.
Also, in general, different coaches have different biases when it comes to training, and there are more than one way to skin a cat. The endurance programming we deploy comes from my experience, primarily working with multi-modal athletes – whose job or sport have multiple fitness demands. A soldier has strength, work capacity, chassis integrity and other fitness demands not shared by a focused endurance athlete. So my endurance programming bias is based on efficiency …. if I only have so much time to train his endurance for a 1.5-3 mile run, what will be the most efficient? In my work, I’ve found assessment-based intervals work best.
As well, different athletes will react differently to the same programming. I’ve found our programming approach works well for 80-85% of the athletes who complete it …. but some don’t accomodate the same and don’t get the same results. This can be a difference in biology, but also a difference in training age. For example, a world class 1600m competing athlete likely would not get as much gain from my 1.5 mile programming as a soldier. The volume and intensity likely isn’t enough to improve the programming for the world class runner.
Finally – accommodation. “Everything works but nothing works forever” …. so when faced with a physical challenge the body reacts and fitness improves. But after a while, the reaction (accommodation) to the same challenge plateaus. So, if you complete the 1.5 Mile plan, then immediately repeat it, you’re gains the second time through will be less. This can also occur over long periods of time.
What I’d recommend for you is to not jump around with programming. Complete MTI’s 1.5 mile training plan and let the final 1.5 mile assessment be the judge of it’s effectiveness for you and don’t overthink it. Next, try another plan with more aerobic base work and see how your respond.
– Rob

QUESTION

My plans are ruined. We just moved into my house and was planning on ordering all my home gym equipment knowing I could get home gym equipment fairly quickly after we moved.
That all changed with all gyms closing down! And my squat rack, bar and plates are a good 6-8 weeks away!
In the meantime I want to keep my training effective for Hunting.
I am finishing Week 5 of Backcountry hunting Base and because I don’t have the bar and bench etc and don’t know what I should do instead of Backcountry Hunting Build 1.
Should I just repeat the last weeks of Base? Or should I move on to something else, while I wait for my barbells, etc. gym equipment?
I have almost everything for the Backcountry training plans except equipment for the bar bell work. I don’t have a bench, bar, plates or squat rack yet. And they will take 6 weeks to get here at least.
I have the sangbags, step up box and all the other stuff.
I have pairs of 30# and 50# kettlebells. And, 70# one as well.
Should I just skip the barbell work completely or sub in alternatives using kettle bells instead of a bar?
 
Thanks a lot. I know you guys are having quite the time right now. I wish you well.

ANSWER

You’ll want to continue on to Backcountry Hunting Build 1 – the progression in the endurance (run, ruck, step ups) is most important for your hunt.

Sub KB alternatives for the barbell work. It doesn’t have to be perfect … the mountain endurance/chassis integrity work is the focus of our bc hunt programming.
Email questions if issues come up with exercise subs.
– Rob

QUESTION

Just wondering if there are any military fitness plans that incorporate 2 sessions per day? Currently with the lockdown it’s much easier to find time for workouts. Either way going to give the humility plan a go.

ANSWER

None of our Base Fitness plans have two-a-days, but many of our selection plans do. Look at the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you have any resources, articles, or plans on TAC SEPA sessions? Anything like your Chassis Integrity plan?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

Hey rob, quick question. I (hopefully) check into MARSOC A&S August 6th, and plan on starting the A&S plan June 1st so its 9 weeks out etc. What plan in your opinion would be the best “builder” for the running and rucking volume until then?

I’ve ran your Afghan pre deployment plan and before that the military onramp plan with swimming on my own, and with pool closures I cant currently swim. I was considering running the USMC PFT plan combined with the heavy ruck intervals once a week from the A&S plan, and tack the swim improvement plan on top whenever pools are open, so no more than 5 2-a-days a week so I dont overtrain.
I havent completed any other plans, but have access to everything for the A&S plan (sandbag, dumbells, USMC O course) and want to build up to this properly. What do you think?

ANSWER

I’d recommend the SFOD-D Build Plan … which is will address both the running/rucking build up you’re after. Use 50# for the ruck load (vice 60#) in the plan. This is a 7-week plan …. make it 8 weeks by repeating week 6, and take a full week of rest before starting the A&S Plan.
If you do get to swim, complete the swimming sessions in the A&S Plan.
Fingers crossed for your August 6 selection start…
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a question about progressing through the programs. I am currently 4/6 weeks in the body weight program and will be beginning the Humility Program afterwards. As I goal set and plan do you recommend a de-load or rest week in between programming? In that vein, my goal is to complete the complete set of Virtue, should I plan on a de-load or rest between the phases?

ANSWER

If you’re completing the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, take a week off before Humility.
Week 7 in Humility and the other Virtue Plans is an unload/taper week, so you can run these plans back to back.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m finishing up the Monster Factory Plan and I would like to get started on another plan.  I have access to a barbell set with bumper plates, dumbells, sandbags, a Skierg, and outdoor access.  Once the quarentine restrictions are lifted I’ll be mapping the geology in the mountains of southwest Idaho. Mapping days typically consist of 8-20km traverses in mountainous terrain with pack loads up to 30kg at the end of the day. I was looking at the Wilderness Professional Training Plans and wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. I’m thinking of either the Frank Church or Bob Marshall plan, but I wanted to get your opinion on how to proceed knowing the physical demands and that I’m finishing up with the Monster Factory Plan.

ANSWER

Yes on the Wilderness Professional Plans … but I’d recommend Wrangell-St. Elias for it’s slight mountain endurance emphasis.
– Rob

QUESTION

Thanks for all you do with crafting programs and research. Been following MTI for a while and excited to knock out a plan.
I’ve spent the last 3 years as a Rescue Swimmer in the Navy. Was just picked up for Marine Corps. OCS where my end goal is to screen for MARSOC. I ran in college so I have a decent background with that. For the last couple years I have been primarily lifting, running and swimming and have a good base in those. For about the last 6 months I have been focusing on increasing my strength which was lacking from running a lot. Primarily focused on front squat, overhead press and weighted pull-ups. Maxes are up to 295 for front squat, 165 for overhead press and 125 for weight pullup. Running wise I can max out the PFT with an under 18 min 3 mile (30 pull-ups and 150 crunches) and have worked in a decent amount of hills and tempo runs. I have a tough time keeping weight on and have gotten up to 180lbs (5’10”) which is where I would like to stay going into training.
I have the next couple months off of work before I go to OCS and would like to take this time to really grind. What plan would you recommend? The USMC OCS plan seems under the work capacity that I have been doing. Since college 5 years ago I have been working in multiple work sessions per day a couple days most weeks and would like to maintain that if possible. Ive done 3 sessions a day multiple times a week before, until I realized I was being a fucking idiot and wasn’t able to recover well. I know I err on the side of being an idiot in that regard.
I don’t care as much about training specifically for the PFT but rather being able to go in strong, able to crush endurance events, prevent injury and have a decent PFT.
I’m far far from an expert on anything other than running and its been a work in progress to learn how to incorporate strength, swimming, running and general endurance. I don’t want to come across as egotistical but a recommendation of a plan based on where I’m at and want to go would be invaluable. I’ve half assed things before, its cost me and I’ve learned.
My gym on base is still open for limited hours and should stay that way in the foreseeable future. Pools are closed but I have a set of fins and a river I could make use of.

ANSWER

MARSOC A&S Selection Training Plan – intense, 2-a-days, etc. Will over-prepare you for OCS, but should satisfy your need to train.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am interested in purchasing the humility program but have a few questions. I have been working out hard for over a year now (crossfit stuff on my own)..I started crossfitting back in 2012 when I was a firefighter..I quit in 2014 after having a baby, then had 2 more kids, dabbled in it here and there….then started working out hardcore again last May….I may or may not consider testing for fire depts again….I started doing the horseman training program in december..got thru january…feb had a bad month started up again in march. I am pretty strong for a chic but I am about 20 pounds overweight still (working on it)..my body weight exercises suck.  I am looking to get faster, and I have a hard time challenging myself at home ( no competition)…I want to do humility…but I cant do pullups yet…even when i was a firefighter i could barely muster a couple strict. Can i use bands in this program to help? I thought about doing the fat loss one but its seems kind of boring, I really like horsemen tp, but I need to work on calisthenics.  Could I possibly add in a strength day to it? How would that affect it?

ANSWER

You’re underestimating the intensity of Humility.
My sense is right now this plan is too intense for you, and I’d recommend starting with  Bodyweight Foundation. The strength work in Bodyweight Foundation is assessment-based. In this way the plan automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness and continues to push you as your fitness improves.
Improving bodyweight strength, and adding endurance will help prepare you for Humility – which you could do next.
As well – fix your diet and you’ll shed fat. Here are our recommendations. 
We prefer negative pull ups over bands for pull ups.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have started the process to become a wilderness SAR volunteer. Can you recommend one of your fitness plans for wilderness SAR? The climate is Mid-Atlantic woodlands / Appalachian mountains.  I have a fitness center membership (not using it right now with stay at home order) but also run and ruck.

ANSWER

Plans/Order in the Wilderness Professional Packet – these plans are specifically designed for Wilderness Professionals (rangers, wardens, biologists), including wilderness SAR.
Start with Jedediah Smith – the first plan in the packet. It deploys bodyweight strength so you should be good if your gym is shut down.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m an old time client of mtn tactical and have enjoyed several of your plans already. At present I’m doing my best with Humility v2 (as I’m stuck at home, limited equipment and no climbing…)
I am looking for a training plan to give my 16.5 year old daughter. She has very basic /low fitness to start with and have never trained seriously.  She has high motivation now and want to tackle 5 sessions a week…. but no more than that.
Wondered if one of your plans might be a good fit? Any other resources you can point me in?

ANSWER

Have her start with Bodyweight Foundation.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just purchased the push up and pull up improvement training plan and I am wondering if the 2 min. max rep assessment is based on not taking breaks (i.e. not dropping off the pull up bar, not dropping out of push up form to rest) or is truly based on sheer quantity of complete reps (i.e. ok to do 12 pull ups, drop off bar, jump back up and do 3 more).

ANSWER

Push Ups …. you can stop and rest if needed.
Pull Ups – you can rest, but feet can’t touch and hands can’t come off the bar.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve bought several of your programs for my family members and they love them!  I bought one for my friends son “my adopted Brazilian son” to help him prepare for the airforce, he was rather weak and I was worried about him in the fitness area, well … he graduates basic today and has informed me that he is competing with one other trainee to receive the highest physical fitness score!!
Anyway, I’m looking to buy a program for myself, I’m 57, retired army, and getting out of shape. Im not interested in a comprehensive program, looking for a weight training program “body building” to cut fat, build muscle, and get my physic back.  For cardio, I’d like to stick to my home equipment of stationary bike, elliptical, and stepper.

Any recommendations?

ANSWER

Look at SF45 Bravo – heavy strength, and you can ride your bike for endurance.
Email questions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I prepared for my off-piste skiing vacation with your Backcountry program for the last two years and felt really well prepared. I would very much appreciate your advice on the choice and sequence of programs before starting the Backcountry program again this October.

I’m a 51 year old male, relatively fit, do calisthenics 3-4 days a week (using books of Kavadlo brothers) and run 1-2 times a week.

I exercise entirely at home with limited equipment (or in hotels when travelling). Have pullup bar, rings, 25 pound dumbbells, sandbag, boxes, backpack. No barbell.

Seems to me that Bodyweight Foundation, the Sandbag programs, Humility and your new Closed Gym programs are all viable options.

ANSWER

You could also add the Sandbag / Weight Vest / Dumbbell Training Plan to the list.
– Rob

QUESTION

My 14 year old son is a football player. We are finishing week 3 of the 357 strength program. Once we finish this program do you have a recommendation for a program that would be good for high school athletes since schools are closed?  We have a home gym, trying to get him faster and stronger for the upcoming season. Thank you for your time.

ANSWER

I have sport-specific, prep-aged programming at our sister website, prepstrength.com.
– Rob

Q&A 5.7.20

QUESTION

So at the beginning of the year I built a home gym in my basement. Im currently on your eccentric strength program, due to my low ceilings i can’t do box jumps or step ups. What would you recommend to do to supplement these?

ANSWER

Any reason you can do step ups outside?
Box Jumps? If they are part of a work cap effort, you can haul equipment outside. If part of a strength circuit … Do a Broad Jump.
Be resourceful.
– Rob

QUESTION

Right now really the only place I will have to work out for the next month will be in my house/room depending on where I am located. I will have no equipment available to me. Please let me know if there is a plan you would recommend. Thank you for you time.

ANSWER

Gym Closure Training Plan. Use any ledge, tree branch, deck, the underside of stairs, etc. for pull ups. Be resourceful.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking for suggestions for a few plans based on the equipment that I have. I have the following equipment:

Pull-up bar
Dip stand
Rings
Sandbag (50 lbs)
Adjustable dumbbells (10-75lbs)
70 lbs KB
53 lbs KB
2 – 35 lbs KBs
Weight belt (for dips and pull-ups)
Concept2 Rower
Jump Rope
IBA vest (20 lbs)
Adjustable bench

I am 33 years old and in law enforcement. I am in above average shape for my age and would like to train 5-6 days a week. I am looking for suggestions for a few of your plans where I can workout at home with the above equipment since I can rely on a gym at this time. Even some suggestions on plans where I could substitute exercises or equipment required for the plan (barbells, different weighted sandbags, etc) would be helpful.

Thank you for your help and for everything you guys do!

ANSWER

3 Suggestions – all plans are 6-7 weeks long, 5 days/week –
1) Sandbag / Weight Vest / Dumbbell Training Plan – limited equipment, multi-modal training plan with a work capacity/endurance emphasis
2) Moe – Dumbbell/Kettlebell Training Plan – Multi Model Training Plan (Strength, work capacity, endurance, chassis integrity) with a slight strength emphasis
3) Kettlebell Strength – Working Strength Progression – Strength focused plan – and you can use dumbbells as well as kettlebells.
– Rob

QUESTION

My Appalachian Trail hike of the White Mountains is not happening this year and the trails nearby (Shenandoah National Park) are closed.  I’m working from home full time now, 55 years old, and am looking for a plan or two specifically to address:
–  Increasing lung capacity (the nurses in my family say we’re all going to get COVID-19 so I want a fighting chance against it).
–  Whole body fitness focused on agility to keep from losing muscle tone
–  Core strength (sitting at a computer and on calls all day is killing my back)
–  Stretching (to support general flexibility)
–  Agility / flexibility specific to tactical shooting.
–  Able to do at/from home with home type equipment (running/ rucking, pull-ups, dumbbells, kettlebell , hanging leg lifts, etc.)
Guess you could call it the “COVID Killer Plan”.
I’ve been doing the SF45 series and had planned on the Peak Bagger next, but things have changed.
What do you recommend?

ANSWER

Options:
– Rob

QUESTION

I just started the Ranger School Prep program, with all the pools closed for COVID, do you have a recommendation for what I can substitute on the swimming days?

ANSWER

60-90 minute run, easy pace. Easy = you can speak in full sentences while moving.
– Rob

QUESTION

In the Hinge Lift video with the below email “Training Common Mistakes”, (https://mtntactical.com/knowledge/common-mistakes/) he is using a mixed grip.  In the exercise video on the MTI website (https://mtntactical.com/exercises/mnt1493-hinge-lift/) he is using an overhand grip.  Question:  does it matter?

ANSWER

Nope. Mixed grip only matters if the bar is so heavy and you can’t hold on to it. In that case, the mixed grip is better.
– Rob

QUESTION

Thanks for all that you do. Quick Q: I’m stuck at home, but starting your Gym Closure Workout. I don’t have a high platform for my sandbag keg lift. Can you suggest a modified lift technique, or alternative exercise? Maybe kneeling and lifting the sandbag to a lower platform?
Thanks again for helping us through these tough times.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

Rob,  I have been researching your website and watching a lot of the YouTube videos. I really like what I see. I had a couple questions based on my specific information. I am a retired FBI HRT operator. I am 55 and had a hip replacement 6 months ago. Recovery is going really well, But my surgeon does not want me to run due to the wear and tear. When we aren’t shut down, I still travel a lot and I worry about the program working out at hotel type gyms. Also right now, and even when we aren’t shut down, I tend to work out at home(pullup bar,jungle gym(poor mans trx), 53# and 38# kettlebells,  50 # dumbbell,  medicine balls, rowing machine, weight vest, sandbags on order). I read about your sf 45 series, and other programs, and wondered (especially with the no running and travel) if you thought it still made sense for me.

Any thoughts are appreciated and please respond only at your convenience.

ANSWER

I’d recommend starting with the Gym Closure Training Plan, and walking with a 45# pack for the endurance days. The strength work is all bodyweight …. and is a good place to start building back.
– Rob

QUESTION

Thank you for your essays on quiet professionals, your book recommendations, and your douchebag gravity article.
I have adopted some of the teachings into my own life, morals, code of ethics, and used them as a guideline to improve myself and my life immensely.
I have a question relating to quiet professionalism and getting the job done.
I am in the Navy (Australian) on a smaller boat where there is just myself and my supervisor in our department. Because I have just been doing the work as it comes up, I have experienced an increase workload over the last 6 months that has resulted in my mental and emotional well being taking a hit.
The workload has not been spread evenly in the department.
How would you suggest I approach this situation with the attitude of “if you see that a job need doing, do it and don’t say ‘thats not my job” when that frame of mind has resulted in me taking on work that is above my pay grade and outside my scope of training. I have succeeded with it because of help from other departments/SME’s but if this keeps up I will be burnt out within a few months.
Any thoughts or suggestions on steps to take would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

I don’t know your individual situation, but it sounds similar to what I experienced during my own military time. Hard-working grinders are “rewarded” with more work because they’ll get stuff done.
Concerning “burn out” … just keep grinding and turn the dread to a challenge. You’ll be surprised and learn a lot about yourself by your actual work capacity. The workload won’t be overwhelming when you are able to release some of the resentment.
Concerning resentment …. see below from the Quiet Professionalism essay, on being a happy grinder. It seems you may be at the first step to being a “happy grinder ” – Expectation. Aim to move to the last step … craft.

2) Hard Work with a full heart.

Quiet professionals are “happy grinders.”

There’s an understanding that huge leaps forward are few and fleeting, and most advancement is evolutionary. Keep grinding, keep improving, keep learning, have patience, and improvement is steady. Daily small steps forward lead to big gains over time. Stop looking for shortcuts and get to work on becoming a true craftsman.

There is a three-step path for “grinders.”

First is expectation.

You are supposed to work hard. Organizational culture, family, or peers, expect it.

You do the work, but it’s not an internalized ethic. You resent it some, and the expectation that pushes you relentlessly forward, is also a weighty burden on your shoulders. You look around at others who don’t work as hard, still get rewarded/acknowledged, and feel injustice. But you bite your tongue and keep grinding.

Next comes pride.

Resentment is gone and you’ve come to be identified as a “hard worker.” This makes you proud and you grind with tenacity … push, push, push … to meet your own expectations and fulfill your hard-working reputation. Production is great, but there’s an edge to it. You work hard out of pride. It’s about you, not the work.

Finally … craft. 

Every occupation has potential for craftsmanship, and once you make this transition in yours, the work blossoms in richness and fulfillment and unending learning.

Tiny details, small tasks – no longer annoyances, but gifts. With each comes the opportunity for small improvement and a smile-inducing success for the craft of it alone. You pursue perfection knowing you’ll never reach it, and happy about that.

Reaching perfection would stop the journey, and the journey is everything. You don’t want the learning to end.

You used to resent those who didn’t work as hard. Now you ache for them – because of what they are missing.

They work with gritted teeth. You work with a full heart.

 


QUESTION

Love the programming and have been using it for three years now. I am looking to join the DEA (preferably one of the tactical teams) and the process starts this September. What selections of plans do you recommend? For background, I just finished your TLU program. Thanks for the advice!

ANSWER

After …. drop into the plans/order in the Gun Maker Packet for full time SWAT/SRT, starting with Ruger.
Then, the 9 weeks directly before selection, repeat the DEA FAST Selection Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Due to this unfortunate crisis, I still want to train for selection. What would you recommend for training for SFAS, while under quarantine? Thank you and god bless.

ANSWER

The Ruck Based Selection Training Plan is a limited equipment training plan. Might as well do that now … and you can repeat it again the 8 weeks directly before selection.
I’m assuming you can still run/ruck outside.
– Rob

QUESTION

So we just got a notification from our command that starting tomorrow, whether or not we live on post or off-post, in uniform or out of uniform, if we are within 6 feet of another individual, we will be required to wear a mask. So basically, once I leave my home, I need to be wearing a mask anywhere public to include even if I go for a run or ruck outside. I don’t regularly run with any sort of mask on nor do I like to while running; rucking isn’t so much of a big deal. I have a row machine and an assault bike. What do you recommend for replacements/equivalents on rowing machine and/or assault bike to keep same cardio level for running?  Do you do it by calories, time, equal distance? Thank you for your insight.

ANSWER

I’m not sure I agree with you that you can’t find a place outside somewhere open enough to remain 6 feet from other people. Get up earlier, or train at night? Drive to a lonely country road?
But if not, use time to transfer to the other exercises …. but know there is not a direct transfer. In other words, rowing won’t transfer to running or rucking. In short order, you’ll only get better at rowing.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am 20 years old and getting ready for coast guard boot camp. I can not run 1/2 a mile. Do 50 sit ups or even 30 pushups.
If I go to boot in the shape im in its gonna be Absolutely terrible.
I need you’re help.  What should i do to get ready?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

Just finished BWF, feeling pretty good. My knee is still not ready to run on. Probably have another month maybe two until the knee will be ready. I have been doing some good mileage on the bike and rower. Legs are getting stronger and numbers are fairly decent I think considering my overall condition, knee etc.
Squat: 52
HR Push: 44
Bar heel pull: 27
Lunge: 62
Pull Up: 39
EOs: 52
Dips: 45
Back Ext: 80
I don’t think I do those EOs properly 100% but I count getting my ass off the ground and shoulders moving. So that number May be a little off.
I have
-Bench/Squat Rack – Full set of rubber weights
– 35 and 45lb kettle bell
– 10-90lb powerblocks, dumbbells
– Pull up bar
– Sand bag up to 85lbs
– weight vest up to 30lbs
– battle rope
– Bike
– concept 2 Rower
– Jump Rope
– 24” Box
– Bosu ball
Please let me know where you think we should proceed to. Thank you for
Your time and guidance.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the MTI Relative Strength Training Plan. More strength.
For the 40-foot shuttles, do 10 rounds of 30 sec row, 30 sec rest.
For the running, row 1,500m for every 1 mile of running.
– Rob

QUESTION

I appreciate all you do. You wrote a great piece on quiet professionalism and COVID 19. As a Healthcare provider (anesthesiologist), I have spent a large amount of my time at the hospital. My shifts has been three 24 hour calls a week. During the downtime to stay refreshed I have been exercising using TRX in our call room. However, I have no program to work with. Would you mind posting a regimen for those with TRX? Thanks.

ANSWER

Bodyweight Build is build around TRX/Rings.
– Rob

Arete 5.7.20

Military / National Security / Foreign Affairs

Trump taps private equity executive for top special operations job, Defense News
Lessons From the Malaysian-American-Chinese-Australian-Vietnamese Naval Standoff, Foreign Policy
Amid Pandemic, China Is Working to Lead the World Trump Abandoned, Defense One
Many field hospitals went largely unused, will be shut down, Military Times
Strategic Fail: Partnering with Turkey to Counter Iran Would Misread the Region, Hudson Institute
Boeing rolls out Australia’s first ‘Loyal Wingman’ combat drone, Defense News
Russia denies accusations it planned to assassinate two Czech politicians, Intelnews.org
Black Swans, Dragon Kings and Gray Rhinos: The World War of 1914-1918 and the Pandemic of 2020-?, Hoover Institute
China’s Virtual Bamboo Curtain, FRPI
The Army Wants a Wearable COVID-19 Detector, Defense One
The role of special operations forces in a ‘Great Power Conflict’, Defense News
To Confront China After Coronavirus, We Must See the Bigger Picture, Hudson Institute
China’s Virtual Bamboo Curtain, Real Clear Defense
The Problem with Great-Power Competition, Modern War Institute
US Navy surface ships enter the Barents Sea for the first time since mid-1980s, Marine Corps Times
Artificial Intelligence Outperforms Human Intel Analysts In a Key Area, Defense One
America must build bomber capacity to compete in the Pacific, Defense News
Analysis: The Islamic State’s ideological campaign against al-Qaeda, Long War Journal
A Microdose of Lithium in the Water Could Reduce Military Suicides, War on the Rocks
Reviewing Vietnam’s ‘Struggle’ Options in the South China Sea, RAND Corp
‘Maximum pressure’ on China is no solution to a pandemic, Defense News
Two Armies, Soldier Systems
North and South Korean troops exchange fire along border, Military Times
Emailing Your Military Career into the Dumpster: A How-Not-To Guide, Modern War Institute
Ten highly unpleasant questions that China wants to ask the USA, Pravda Report
How Drones Could Mission Kill a U.S. Destroyer, Proceedings
8 Chinese Arguments Against Western ‘Hubris’ and Why They Fail, The Diplomat

First Responder / Wildland Fire / Homeland Security

Mexican drug cartels distribute COVID-19 ‘care packages’ to build community capital, Intelnews.org
“No use for them”- Canada PM Trudeau bans 1,500 types of firearms in an instant, War is Boring
ILL. FIREFIGHTER/MEDIC, 57, BEATS C-19, DIES FROM STROKE, Firefighter Close Calls
NH first responders to receive up to $300 weekly during pandemic, Fire Rescue 1
This Is Not a Test: APT41 Initiates Global Intrusion Campaign Using Multiple Exploits, Fire Eye Threat Research
Video: Atlanta fire captain suspended for solo rescue gives his side of the story, Fire Rescue 1
Chicago firefighter shot multiple times while mowing law.  Returns fire with concealed gun., LE Today
Texas Officer Killed, Another Injured in Helicopter Crash, Police One
San Francisco Chief Bans Use of “Thin Blue Line” Facial Masks, Police Magazine
NYPD union wants officers out of ‘social distancing enforcement’, Police One
Forest Service reverses course on prescribed fires, Wildfire Today
FBI Releases Report on 2019 Active Shooter Incidents, Police Mag
FBI Releases 2019 Statistics on Police Officers Killed in the Line of Duty, Police Mag

 

Mountain

Packing Light with 95 lbs: 40 Days Without Resupply in Far-Eastern Russia, Backpacking Light
Now’s the Time to Rewrite Your Bucket List, Outside
Sea stacks in Donegal, Ireland, climbed by Will Gadd and Iain Miller, Planet Mountain
CEO Eric Artz Shares Thoughts on the Path Forward, REI Co-op
For national parks, it’s more complicated than just open or closed, SNEWS
Honorary Haenyeo, Patagonia
Do You Actively Regret the Adventures Not Taken?, Adventure Journal
Longtime guide Dan Escalante Killed in Crested Butte, Colo. Avalanche, Backcountry Mag
This Week’s Best Deals on Outdoor Gear, Gear Patrol
The 10 Best Outdoor Mothers’ Day Gifts of 2020, Backpacker
Adventures in Motherhood, Patagonia
Climbing Areas Around the World Slowly Begin to Reopen, Climbing
Will Colorado allow skiing by Memorial Day?, Freeskier
With Skiing Out, Inline Skating is Surging, Powder
Five Ten Creates Adventure Cycling Shoes, Gear Institute
Jakob Schubert repeats Weiße Rose, Alexander Huber Schleierwasserfall masterpiece, Planet Mountain
Climbing’s Send-at-All-Costs Culture Almost Ruined Me, Outside
Tarptent Double Rainbow Li Tent Review, Backpacking Light

 

Fitness / Nutrition / Health

The Unintended Consequences of a Proposed Cure for COVID-19, RAND Corp
Reduced obesity for weighted-vest wearers, Science Daily
The Benefits of Running Alone, Men’s Journal
How to Start a Home Gym, Backpacker
What It Takes to Train for Leadville, Outside
Smooth Gravel: Niner Magic Carpet Ride Full-Suspension ‘Grinder’ Review, Gearjunkie
What the Happiest Countries in the World Have in Common, Outside
Food Intolerances: Should I Get Tested?, Breaking Muscle
The Best Portable Air Conditioner, Wirecutter
How to Choose an Indoor Bike Trainer, Outside
A cancer patient reconsiders her end-of-life wishes, as Covid-19 brings mortality into sharper focus, STAT
Need To Relive Some Shoulder Pain? Pick Up This Pillow Today, Men’s Journal
Going to Cut Your Own Hair? Use These Barber-Approved Grooming Tools, Gear Patrol
You Can’t Actually Be Addicted to Sugar, Outside
Near-Death Experience: Watch Flash Flood Trap Team in Slot Canyon, Gearjunkie
Protecting the Box Canyon and Yellowstone River: ‘Our Local Epic’, Gearjunkie
6 Tips to Recover From Active Pursuits and Perform at Your Peak, Men’s Journal

 

Interesting

Coronavirus: S Korea baseball league reopens in empty stadiums, Al Jazzera
Imagine the post-pandemic misery of business travel, The Economist
Video shows Cosmonaut cutting through International Space Station with a combat knife, War is Boring
8 Concept Vehicles from the 2010s We Wish Became Real Cars, Gear Patrol