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Rob’s Favorite Training Plans & Why … Part 1: Mountain Base, Paddling and Climbing

MTI Kayak Lab Rats traverse the Snake River with a kayak roll mid-stream as part of the sport-specific work capacity programming in the Kayak/Paddling Pre-Season Training Plan.

By Rob Shaul, Founder

Mountain

(1) Base Fitness – Mountain Base Helen (6 Weeks, 6 /Days/week)

Helen combines multiple training attributes – gym-based strength, gym-based work capacity, assessment-based, and gym-based endurance, climbing fitness and chassis integrity all in the same plan. This much variety, combined with a 6 day/week schedule and overall intense training sessions results in a super challenging, but super-interesting and engaging base fitness training plans for multi-sport and all around mountain athletes.

Helen’s deploys our TLU Strength Progression, which often means directly after the warm up, the athlete must complete a 1 Repetition Maximum (1RM) effort on a single strength exercise. TLU was the first, original strength progression I ever designed and it pulled from multiple theories – with the daily 1RM effort coming from famous powerlifting gym, Westside Barbell in Ohio. Long ago I read the gym founder, Louie Simmons’ book, and I’ll be honest, had trouble following much of it.

However, I do remember his position of daily performing 1RM efforts, as a way to keep his competing powerlifters engaged, and working as hard as they could. One thing you’ll see if you go into any commercial gym where athletes coach themselves is few ever do 1RM efforts. We’ve found that not only do 1RM efforts help us get a snapshot of an athletes strength, but also help new and experienced athletes get comfortable with the exercises and heavy load.

The endurance efforts in Helen are split between a 6-mile run assessment with follow-on hard 2-mile intervals and gym-based endurance. This is a killer combination, which trains single-mode and multi-mode endurance. An example of gym-based endurance would be:

(1) 60 Minute Grind ….

  • 50x Step Ups
  • Run 400m

Finally, for climbing fitness, Helen deploys the Bouldering V-Sum – which I consider the most efficient training tool available to train both climbing strength and technical ability in a consistent, focused, measurable manner.

 

(2) Sport-Specific Fitness – Kayak/Paddling Pre-Season Training Plan

Of all the different types of mountain athletes I’ve worked with, kayakers have been by far the hardest working, most open-minded and overall, most fun to work with. Jackson is not a kayaking mecca – so it’s not every Spring I get to work with kayakers, but when I do – it’s so much fun.

First of all, kayaking paddling from a strength perspective includes simultaneous and opposite single arm push and pull strength and strength endurance, while at the same time requiring midsection anti-rotation strength and strength endurance to brace against the upper body forces.

Unlike any other mountain sport, even rock and ice climbing, the lower body (legs) are largely taken out of the fitness demands for kayakers – and the focus of the strength and strength endurance work is on the upper body and mid-section.

Developing the gym-based exercises to sport-specifically train these types of strength was an exercise in experimentation on my part, and significant suffering on the part of my kayaker lab rats. We tried Reverse Bench Presses, Horizontal Pull-Ups, Rope Climbs, Scotty Bobs, regular Bench Presses, Elevated Front Bridges for time wearing a weight vest and created a bizarre exercise called the Kayak Special which combines a GHD, alternating dumbbell bench presses, and mid-section isometric strength!

We didn’t even try to create some type of sport-specific gym-based work capacity effort. Instead, I made my kayakers load up their kayaks and meet me at the ice-filled, spring-runoff flowing, Snake River two days a week for hard paddling intervals against the current! I’d also make them traverse across the river, and have them complete a kayak roll mid-stream going and coming!

The best is when I’d have them kayak across the river and back, exit their kayak, pick it up, run up a hill and back with it, and repeat … for like 40 minutes! (See video below). Through it all, they kayakers worked hard, never questioned, and always brought effort and competitive spirit.

Like all MTI programming, every year we improved and eventually settled on Alternating Dumbbell Bench Presses, Renegade Rows, and Seated Russian Twists to train gym-based sport-specific strength. At the river I continued to improve our interval work, and settled down from some of the crazy longer efforts.

One of secondary benefits of the Kayak/Paddling Training Plan is that with all the high rep upper body and core work, my Kayakers all got jacked!! At the end of the 6-week cycle, they had bulging pecs, lats, biceps, and 6-packs! Overall a lot of fun and super effective programming … after I figured it out ….

 

(3) Climbing Fitness – Expedition Ice/Mixed Climbing Training Program

I designed this training program at the request and for elite, high-level climbers with dangerous Alaska, Canadian Rockies or Himalaya expeditions planned. From the initial program design I was able to limit distractions and focus on the primary fitness demands of this type of event:

(1) Sport specific grip strength for ice tools

(2) Mountain endurance – running, and uphill hiking under load

(3) Calf strength and strength endurance

(4) Total Body and midsection strength for durability.

At the top of this plan’s 8-Week progression, the athletes complete 2+ hours hanging on their tools, 50x Figure 4’s with minimal rest, 1,000 loaded Step Ups and 5 miles of running in the same session, and 5 total minutes of Calf Raise Intervals with minimal rest. This work is in addition to barbell-based total body strength work and gym-based mid-section work. It’s a very sport/event-specific, focused, training plan which has proven itself on some dangerous, alpine expeditions.

The video below shows ice tool tech board intervals:

 

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

Q&A 2.14.19

QUESTION

I want to thank you for your great program(s). A little background. I was injured on the job at an apartment fire 5 years ago. I had the ceiling come down and knock my helmet & mask off. Beside the neck and back injuries I ended up with inhalation injuries which permanently damaged my heart. I spent 9 months and multiple surgeries before I was cleared back to the line. I was very active and in great shape prior to the injuries. The cardiac injury left my a large portion of my left ventricle on the backside scarred over and it adhered to the pericardium. If that wasn’t enough I also got a small aneurism on the left ventricle. The doctors credit being in shape which allowed me to not only recover but return to the line when most thought I should medically retire. They were very guarded with what they thought I should be doing physically. I slowly began pushing my limits but if I pushed too hard and irritated my heart it would set me back sometimes weeks other times months. Last January I finally replaced my 20 y/o GShock. I heard the Garmin Fenix would give it a run and it had the HR monitoring with R-R measurements I was looking for plus the GPS mapping.

Using the suggested recovery time I have been able to push further and harder than I ever was able to before. This past summer I started your Military Athlete programs and my last cardiac checkup my cardiac output was near pre-injury levels. The doctors are amazed (I think I make them worry too). I wish I had not been pigheaded about paying for training sites years ago and done these when I was in my 30’s, but better late than never. Plus on a maturity factor I am only 21.

I am going to turn 50 in March and I am having two surgeries  I have to have my S-ICD (defibrillator) replaced in April or May so I told them I want to get the disks replaced in my neck we have been holding off on so I can minimize my down time. So the plan is to go into surgery in as good of shape as possible. So my plan after finishing Hector was to take it down a notch. I looked at the Meathead cycle and thought, huh doesn’t look bad. Damn, I was wrong, whole different type of suffering. You are a gifted trainer with a bit of sadist, love it.

The meat of my email,

1) What is your suggested recovery (rest) between programs?

2) If I understood correctly the Greek Hero series would be considered a Base training so I could just march through those general fitness?

3) On the Meathead Cycle Day 7 you have sled drag push, How far?

ANSWER

Thanks for the note and congrats on your recovery!
1) 1 week, if the plan you’re finishing doesn’t include an unload week.
2) Greek Hero plans are base fitness for soldiers and ground-based SOF. At 50, with your injury history, I wouldn’t want you doing these plans. I’d recommend you pivot to our SF45 Programming which is designed for tactical athletes ages 45-55.
3. 80 feet.
– Rob

QUESTION

Am looking into Big24 as a strength program. Have completed a few of your other programs.

I have an Oly weight barbell and plenty of plates but only 2x10k dumbbells and 1x 20k kettlebell.  Also have a sandbag with 30k of weights in 5k increments.

Could I use the barbell/plates to the same effect as a replacement for the DB/KB walking lunge? Could I use the barbell Curtis P style (static) as walking with a barbell would prove difficult in the confines of my home gym outdoor area.

Thanks in advance and for all you do!

ANSWER

You can do an inplace lunge with a barbell – be sure to step forward, not backward, and be smart with loading. If you get “stuck” it’s hard to escape from the barbell in the lunge position … this is why I generally prescribe db/kb’s for this exercise.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a mountain hunter who spends 45days each fall from Aug/Sept archery to supporting others on Oct/Nov rifle hunts.  I know I can do better fitness wise.  In a prior life, I was a endurance mtn bike racer (amateur) so know what high performance looks like and what I can achieve fitness wise.  I also know that my weak spot is upper body strength with my stronger aspects being long endurance and leg strength.  This last fall, I was involved in 4pack outs where by pack ranged from 75-110lbs covering 2-5miles of off/on trail.

Now for 2019, I will be joining my brother on a Dall sheep hunt in Alaska.  This will push the normal hunting bounds by a lot…. Most of my hunting is 1,500 – 3,000ft of vert on any given day with easier days sprinkled in, hunting backpack style.  This hunt is also a backpack hunt but with 3,000ft+ each day in rocky terrain (think boulders, shale slopes, etc).  It is a 14day hunt with 10days of the hard 3K/day scenarios (if weather and a whole host of variables work to our favor).

I do not want to be a burden and want to support Mark as best I can for this near once in a lifetime experience!  Looking to be more specific with the training I’ve been looking for a good plan.  The plans that most resemble and sound like they would be most specific to my goals are Denali.

Major goals;

  • Strong legs uphill and downhill for 3,000ft/day min.
  • Strong ‘backpack’ muscles for not more than 60lbs in and 60-90lbs out with an animal
  • Improved balance for the rocks and exposure in these mountains.
  • Improved arm strength
  • Improved calf strength (always blows out first before quads and glutes)

My family is fortunate to live in Hailey ID (just outside of Sun Valley) so we are always xc skiing, skinning, hiking, mtn biking, so have a great canvas out our backdoor to incorporate into a good plan.

I appreciate you digesting this, and welcome your suggestions for a good plan!  I am not a gym guy but the aspects of strength in the sample look like things I can do at home or outside.  A big plus!

Thanks in advance, and look forward to hearing from you!

ANSWER

You’ll want to complete this plan the 8 weeks directly before your trip.
If you want programming between now and then, look at the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Training Packet.
The plan deploys step ups to train uphill fitness – living in Hailey you can substitute vertical hiking under load. I live in Jackson, Wy and do this with a steep hill. If you use a hill, use water for load then on the top, dump the water to save your knees on the way back down.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently running a recruit class for my police department.  I have been informed if the weather is below 32°F, I am not allowed to put recruits through outdoor PT.  We have 4 rowing machines and that is the “cardio” equipment we have.  Our indoor workout area consists of our shooting range (Standard 25yd length). I am a strong believer in MTN programs and have, personally, been using them for 2 years.  Right now, recruits are finishing up Week 2 of Whiskey.  While I prepare them for the street, I still need them to pass their final Cooper at the 50 percentile.  What do you recommend to keep running endurance up without being able to put in some miles outside?  We have barbells, racks, dumbbells, kettlebells, weighted vests, battle ropes, sandbags etc.  I appreciate the guidance!

ANSWER

150m and 300m shuttles repeats.
8 Rounds
150m shuttle every 1:15
or
4 Rounds
300m Shuttle every 2:30
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been using on/off your training since 2009, so I’m familiar with it all – had a question – what would your recommended plan be for someone getting in shape for a volunteer SAR team with limited equipment and training time? One thought I had was scaling either the ruck improvement or ruck based selection plans to a 3/day a week plan I could do at work during lunch/one weekend day.  There is no selection process. It’s more inquiring about adapting a workout regime towards reaching and maintaining a baseline fitness for searches, thoughts? Thank you!

ANSWER

I recently designed 4 plans for Wilderness Professionals– Game Wardens, Forest Rangers, etc. These are what I recommend as your day to day fitness.
They concurrently train relative strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (run, uphill movement under load), and chassis integrity.
– Rob

QUESTION

I found your site from my Backpacker magazine. I am looking for a training program to get myself and two friends very fit and ready for trekking in Nepal for two months. We are all in our 50’s with varying levels of fitness. I looking at your 7week plan and it looking pretty intense to start. Do you have a plan or plans to bring us to a solid level of fitness prior to starting the 7 wk plan?

We specifically need plans that will fit our specific fitness levels and help us avoid injury during training. We don’t leave until September. Open to suggestions.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you begin our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, then complete the Backpack Pre-season Training Plan directly before your trip.
Please understand we design our programming based on the fitness demands of the event – not the incoming fitness of the athlete. A 2-month Nepal Trek has the same fitness demands regardless of your age. Working through this programming – it’s okay to take more rest days if needed – you’ll recover slower – but complete the programming as prescribed. The only change to the Backpacking plan would be to use the same weight backpack for the step ups and trekking that you’ll carry in Nepal.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you have a Mountain Tactical plan you recommend for mountain rescue personnel?  I’m relatively strong but my weakness would be aerobic function.  Seems like most missions involve rucking in asap, stand around for long periods in the cold/wet and then ruck back out, sometimes with an injured person in a litter.

Thanks for any suggestions!

ANSWER

I just built a packet of 4 plans for Wilderness Professionals. I’d recommend these for you. They include strength, work capacity, chassis integrity, and mountain endurance (running, uphill hiking under load).
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a recent subscriber and have a question regarding programming.

I’m a 48-year old active duty Marine working at MARSOC.  I’m in week 3 of the Hector Program and love it.  My goal is to increase/sustain my tactical fitness throughout the year and prepare for a week-long backcountry backpack mountain elk archery hunt in mid-September.  I plan to start your backcountry hunting program 8 weeks before my hunt, but I’m not sure which programs to progress through between now and the end of July when I’ll start the backcountry hunting program.

That’s 22 weeks of workouts between now and the end of July.  I have access to every kind of workout equipment I’d need.

What programs do you suggest that I work through between now and when I start the Backcountry Hunting program?

ANSWER

In general, I recommend tactical athletes train for their job first, up until starting the sport-specific plan for their off duty event/season, then drop back into their base fitness programming after the event.
In MARSOC, esp. with the possibility of an unforeseen deployment. I’d recommend the Pirate Series Plans as they include swimming. The Greek Hero Plans – including Hector, don’t.
So, if there’s a chance you may deploy, here’s what I’d recommend:
Weeks    Plan
1-7          William Kid
8-14        Long Ben
15-22      Backcountry Big Game Training Plan
That being said, if you are sure you won’t face an unforeseen deployment between now and September, you could pivot to our new Wilderness Professional Plans as your lead into the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Plan. The Wilderness professional plans specifically include step up work – and will help prepare for the thousands of step ups you’ll do during the Big Game plan.
Weeks    Plan
1-7          Wrangell St. Elias
8-14        Frank Church
15-22      Backcountry Big Game Training Plan
You have access to all this programming with your subscription. Email any questions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking for advice on potential plans to follow. I am in the coast guard and we are about to go out for 6 weeks then at the beginning of march ill have a full gym and start preparing for a power lifting meet on June 14 and will have a full gym. Right now my biggest focus is core stability for the next 6 weeks. The equipment I will have out on the boat is very limited running space, dumbbells up to 90 pounds, box or pelican case for step ups/jumps and a rowing machine. Thank you for any assistance/advice you give.

ANSWER

I’d recommend Dumbbell/Kettlebell Moe.
You can substitute step ups or rowing for the running in the plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

So I have been following along with your star series, I was wondering though if there was a way to do that and also do another workout.  I just don’t want to over train but at the same time I want to push.

ANSWER

You can do two-a-days. I’d probably have you start at 3 days/week, then move to 5.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a copy of the ACFT plan you put out last year. Unfortunately, the majority of the Army has stuck to fitness that only prepares for APFT and now everyone is worried how they’ll pass the ACFT. The Army is still toying with options such as alternate events, making it in addition to APFT or making it once a year for each test. Our brigade will be one of those who start testing in October 2019 before official 2020 implementation and start training in April/May time frame this year. The question I had is what your recommendation(s) would be for training that leads into and after the ACFT plan if you had to build a six month package like you have on some of your SOF selection plans? Thanks

ANSWER

You don’t need a6-month train up for the ACFT. The test simply isn’t that hard.
I’d recommend going through the full ACFT plan in April, and then repeating it the 6 weeks directly before the scheduled ACFT.
Between the ACFT plans, I’d recommend the plans/order in the Greek Hero Training Packet.
– Rob

QUESTION

I wanted to ask a quick question- I have recently completed the Body Weight Foundation, I am running about 12-15 miles a week, and I want to run a marathon in Oct.

I have limited access to equipment, I have a TRX, and that is about it

I have been working on getting used to a high altitude training environment here in Nairobi, and nutritional needs, I have noticed that I need more core exercises lately

Now the question is where do I go from here, I thought about mixing the meathead marathon and bodyweight, or is there another limited equipment program that I could do maybe even include the TRX?

ANSWER

Move to Bodyweight Build. It includes TRX training.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a 47 male and I what some recommendations on packets. I do some weight training and run 12 –15 miles a week. I also have been  back country hunting the last couple of years and want to continue doing so. Should I do the sf 45 packet or the hunting packet. If I do the sf 45 packet should I do the hunting plan 8 weeks before the hunt?

ANSWER

Do the Backcountry Big Game Training Packet now, then after your hunting season, drop into the SF45 programming.

– Rob


QUESTION

The Beep Test Training Plan has no training on the Saturday and Sunday. Do you recommend any type of recovery day actives i.e. walking. Will I be overtraining if i go for a jog on the recovery days?

ANSWER

You can go on a light jog or walk.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve got to get started on a weight loss and getting fit for hunting trips program that requires moderate to heavy backpacking and lots of walking on up and down terrain.
However I have to be careful ,I’m overweight by at least 75-100 lbs. and I have arthritis in both left and right knees and lower back . I currently am on anti inflammatory prescription medication to combat the pain and it works really well.
I just joined a gym that has exercise bikes, elliptical machines , treadmills, free weights and cable type weight training equipment . However I live where there is no mountains or hills to climb up and down only bleachers at a rodeo arena . Please help I have no knowledge of where to start or what to do and don’t want to get injured either .

ANSWER

At 75-100 pounds overweight, I’m afraid all of our programming would prove too intense for you until you lose some weight. Even our Fat Loss Training Plan would be too intense.
I’m sorry.
To keep it simple, what I’d recommend for you outside of upper body strength training is fixing your diet (see here) and hiking up and down the rodeo arena bleachers for an hour each day.
– Rob

QUESTION

ANSWER


QUESTION

I just purchased Ultimate Work Capacity I because I am happy with my relative strength numbers (they are at your standards) but would like to improve work capacity/endurance.  Should I be worried about losing strength on the plan?

ANSWER

Yes – Ultimate Work Capacity I focuses on work capacity – it includes no strength training.
You’ll likely lose a little strength – but it should come back fast.
A plan which also trains strength but has a work capacity emphasis is Valor.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just wrapped up a season of wildland firefighting about 2 months ago, have been completing the Bodyweight Foundation since then, and just finished Week 3 of that program.
Last week I accepted an offer at a structural fire department, and am preparing for the academy, which begins in 4 weeks exactly.  I saw someone had asked a similar question about preparing for an academy 4-5 weeks away, and you recommended completing the first 3-4 weeks of the Fire Academy Prep plan and then skipping to Week 7 for the week before the Academy start.
Would that still be your recommendation factoring in my current progress in the Bodyweight Foundation program?

ANSWER

Yes. Some of the bodyweight work will be redundant, but the Fire Academy Training Plan includes intense loaded work capacity work, loaded strength training, chassis integrity work, etc.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m not training for any sort of water based selection, I just want to improve my swimming with a structured plan that gives me a challenge. That being said, I just purchased the swim improvement plan and I’m taking a look at the overview and the first week of training and I had a few questions.
1) How long does it typically take someone to complete the workouts?
2) What stroke should I assess with? I am most familiar with freestyle and breast stroke.
3) I don’t own fins, and am very unfamiliar with them having only used them once. When the plan calls for using fins for assessing with them or as part of the workout what do you recommend I do?
4) Nutrition: Over the holidays I have not been keeping as good on nutrition as I should have. I’m currently doing a power lifting/body building program 6 days a week after work and wanted to do the swimming before work. Do you find you have more effective workouts when you eat prior to morning workouts or after? Also, I followed your nutrition guidelines for the first few months this year while I was at Fort Benning and I’m going back to it. Do you have any tips for it with training two times a day?

ANSWER

1. 60-75 minutes, depending upon your swimming ability.
2. Overhand crawl
3. Does the pool at VMI have fins you can borrow? If not, just replace the finning in the plan with freestyle swimming
4. Prior. Eat more, but stay clean 6 days/week.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have some questions about your programs.
Firstly, are they available to users outside the US (Denmark)? Secondly, I have difficulty choosing a program. I am looking for a general purpose program that trains all aspects of fitness without favoring some at the expense of others. I have 7 years experience with crossfit, but have a couple of old injuries that have shaped my training for the last couple of years. I have access to a full crossfit box and open natural areas for training, and time to train 5-8 days a week.
Which program is best for me? Please don’t hesitate to write back if you need more information from me.

ANSWER

1. Yes – delivery is online or via our mobile phone app.
2. Programming? I’d recommend the plans order in the Country Singer Packet I. I designed these programs last year as base fitness for general athletes (not mountain or tactical). These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (core) and endurance.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a 55 year old Male. I want to get in shape! I’m not exactly sedentary I work out sometimes. I run and I snowboard. Also every year I run/walk pikes peak ascent. I’ve made it my goal this year to get in the best shape of my life. I am over weight and know nutrition will be a big part of my transformation. What plan do you recommend? I was thinking of getting the athletes one where I have access to 200 plans. However I wouldn’t know where to start???? Also I would really like something that lasted 9 months. So I could build from one to the next.  Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.  I am 5’7″ 190…..need to be 150 to 160.
ANSWER
I recommend you start our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, then move to the plans order in the SF45 Packet – which are designed for athletes ages 45-55.
Here are our nutritional guidelines.
– Rob

 

Arete 2.14.19

Military / National Defense

Former Green Beret charged with murder says he killed suspected Taliban bomb-maker in an ambush, Task & Purpose
Problems with military housing conditions under scrutiny on Capitol Hill this week, Military Times
New legal bombshells explode on two Navy SEAL war crimes cases, Marine Times
Ukrainian president vows to push for EU, NATO membership, Stars & Stripes
Green Berets: Rebuilding the Guerrilla Leader Identity, Small Wars Journal
Navy captain who moonlighted as Fat Leonard’s PR man is going to prison, Navy Times
Fired wing commander who reached plea deal to retire as major; defense plans appeal, AF Times
Some schools are barring recruiters from talking to students, Army Secretary says, Task & Purpose
U.S. Army Spends $39.6M on Pocket Drones, Bloomberg

 

First Responder / Homeland Security / Wildland Fire

The Wall Is Not the Only Answer, Rand Corporation Opinion
21 issues frequently identified in firefighter entrapment reports, Wildfire Today
Cost Of Border Deployments Could Approach $1 Billion By End Of Fiscal Year, In Homeland Security
4 FIREFIGHTERS INJURED WHEN CAR SLAMS FL ENGINE, Firefighter Close Calls
Breathing wildfire smoke can be similar to smoking up to two packs of cigarettes a day, Wildfire Today
TSA Discovered Record Number of Guns in 2018, LE Today
NYPD demands Google stop revealing checkpoints on Waze, LE Today
California is trying to change police authorization of deadly force, Police One

 

Mountain

Prana Apologizes for Sharma Cave Climbing Catalogue Photo, Gearjunkie
Euro Outdoor Retailer Show Award Winners, Gearjunkie
What Sustainability Looks Like in 2019 According to 8 Brands, Gear Patrol
Our 15 Favorite Deals From REI’s Winter Clearance Sale, Backpacker
The Best Handmade Skis and Snowboards for Small-Batch Shredding, Gear Patrol
The Best Adventure Films of 2019 (So Far), Outside
How Not To Be *That* Person at the Crag, REI Co-Op Journal
How a Man Killed a Mountain Lion with His Bare Hands, Outside
Proposed Bike Trail Would Cover 4000 Miles Across the Entire U.S., Adventure Blog
Bowhunting Legend Dwight Schuh Dies at 73, Bowhunting.net

 

Fitness / Health / Nutrition

Heat Slows You Down. Even When It’s Not Real., Outside
5 ways to break yourself out of a February Funk, Ladders
The exercise “recovery” industry is largely bogus, Vox.com
Most fitness apps don’t do much to get you healthy, study finds, The New Daily
Disconnecting Calories From Exercise, NY Times
The Workout Plans to Get Stronger, Faster, and Fitter Than Ever, Men’s Journal
Here’s the Research on Sugar and Health, Chris Kresser
Burpees are hard to define, and that’s what makes them good, Popular Science
The Science Behind Maximizing Your Winter Run, Outside
Why the Modified Keto Diet Is a Better, More Sustainable Way to Lose Weight, Men’s Journal
Johnson & Johnson to be first drug maker to list prices in TV commercials, Associated Press
This is a neuron on nicotine, Science Daily
7 Best Body-Weight Moves for Smaller Guys, Muscle & Fitness

 

Interesting

More Republicans say stricter environmental regulations are ‘worth the cost’, Pew Research Center
Finland’s Basic Income Trial Boosts Happiness, but Not Employment, NY Times
The New Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro Is the Death of the Land Cruiser, Gear Patrol
5 Used Adventure Motorcycles For Under $8,000, Gear Patrol
They Fixed Pornography, NY Times
Fish Appear to Recognize Themselves in the Mirror, Science Daily
Mental illness not to blame for gun violence, study finds, Science Daily
Teacher Merit Pay Is A Bad Idea, Forbes
Arianna Huffington on the next big thing in tech: Disconnecting from it, CNBC

Arete 2.7.19

Military / National Security

Air Force drops WAPS testing for SNCOs, Air Force Times
Russia Is Attacking the US System From Within, Defense One
Trump: I forced Mattis to quit because ‘I wasn’t happy with the job he was doing’, Defense News
The Marine Corps’ new CH-53K is a mess. This is why its operational date could face delays., Air Force Times
How will the Army use electronic warfare? The Pentagon’s weapon tester wants to know, Defense News
Trump reaffirms leaving Syria, but wants troops in Iraq to ‘watch Iran’, Military Times
The Teams Who Test US Cyber Defenses Aren’t Being Tough Enough: Pentagon Report, Defense One
US airstrike kills 24 Shabaab fighters at an ‘encampment’, Long War Journal
After Bloody Insurgent Wars, Pentagon Launches Effort to Prevent Civilian Deaths, Small Wars Journal
Why the American Army Should Increase its Warrant Officers, Small Wars Journal
At War: As a Woman Serving Alongside Green Berets, I Had No Problem Keeping Up. It Wasn’t Enough., NY Times
RECOIL Best of SHOT Show 2019, Recoil
 

First Responder / Homeland Security / Wildland Fire

Four steps to a successful drone program for your fire department, Firerescue1 Daily News
A web-based wildfire simulator for operational applications, Internatio
Washington Sheriff’s Pledge Not to Enforce Gun Control Law, Officer.com
Border Patrol Agent Struck, Killed by Vehicle in Texas, Officer.com
IAFC, IAFF, NFPA, NVFC oppose required degrees for medics, Fire Rescue 1
Off-Duty Chicago Police Officer Found Dead in Vehicle, Officer.com
AUSTRALIA: 2 MEN CHARGED FOR SETTING FIRE, ATTACKING FIREFIGHTERS, Firefighter Close Calls
Have We Forgotten How NFL Players Treated the Police?, LE Today
Patrol Vehicles 2019, Police Mag
Idaho police sued after seizing nearly 7,000 pounds of cannabis, Police One
The Day I Had to Chose Between Fighting Evil… or Being a Cop., LE Today
Why Does the Media Hate the Police?, LE Today
South Dakota’s New Law Allows Permitless Carry, Recoil

 

Mountain Sports

The Bracing Sublimity of Coldwater Swimming, Adventure Journal
At OR, Outdoor Industry Announces United Front Against Climate Change, Adventure Journal
The 10 Best Products We Saw at Outdoor Retailer, Gear Patrol
Our Favorite Gear Under $50 at Outdoor Retailer, Outside
Avalanche Claims 4 Lives Near Italian Ski Area Of Courmayeur, Unofficial Networks
The Ultimate Moab Travel Guide, Outside
FREESKIER’s Best of Show Awards from Outdoor Retailer 2019, Freeskier

 

Fitness /  Nutrition / Health

How Energy Bars Became America’s Favorite Snack Food, Outside
4 Signs You’re Amazing in Bed, Muscle & Fitness
Common Myths About Cancer Debunked, Medical Daily
For millennials, cancers fueled by obesity are on rise, study says, Kwwl.com
Our New Favorite Shoe for CrossFit: Under Armour TriBase Reign, Men’s Journal
5 Common Quad-Training Mistakes to Avoid, Muscle & Fitness
Here’s why walking 100 steps per minute is good for you. And 130 steps is even better, Boston Globe
Cost effectiveness of early cancer surveillance, Science Daily
What really works when it comes to sports recovery?, The Verge
Clean Carbs and Lots of Lifting: How James McAvoy Got into Fighting Shape for ‘Glass’, Men’s Journal
Skipping Out on Bacon and Booze Might Cut Cancer Risk, Muscle & Fitness
Many Children Are Overdoing It on the Toothpaste, C.D.C. Study Says, NY Times

 

Interesting

A tweaked DoD cloud strategy looks beyond Amazon, Defense News
Firm founded by ex-Blackwater boss to operate in China’s Xinjiang province, intelNews.org
Is Mexico a Failing State?, Small Wars Journal
State of the Union 2019: How Americans see major national issues, Pew Research Center
Increasing murder rate is erasing gains in life expectancy among Mexican men, Homeland Security Newswire
ScienceTake: The Hummingbird as Warrior: Evolution of a Fierce and Furious Beak, NY Times

Q&A 2.7.19

QUESTION

I am a subscriber and prior military. Im training to go back in the military with an 18X contract.  Currently using the SFAS packet. Having fantastic results. I’m finishing Big 24 and starting Fortitude next week. I won’t be going in until September so it looks like I have time to fit an extra plan in, what would you suggest? Also, why isn’t the Q Course  Training plan a part of the SFAS Packet?

ANSWER

Plan? Hector.
Q Course Plan? Many guys have 6-month to a year wait post selection until they start the Q Course.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have limited equipment (including a bench), mostly basic stuff. Free weights, simple pully for press downs or lat pulls. I really need a solid program to build strength. Trying to cut a little in the process

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a regular follower of MTI and your workout programs. We spoke via email about a year ago about your then proposed new Army PT test.

While I understand that you don’t have a formal medical background, I wanted to get your perspective on IT Band Syndrome (ITBS) since you work with a lot of military and endurance athletes. I have been struggling with it for a couple of months now with little improvement despite workout adjustments. Have you worked with athletes that have had this issue? Specifically, are there any programs that you recommend for addressing it that focus on hip and inner quad strength?

ANSWER

I’m sorry – I can’t help here. We’ve never seen this as a major issue.
From an exercise perspective, my go-to exercise for inner quad strength would be barbell and kettlebell front squats.
Hip Strength? Hinge Lift, Box Squat, Weighted Walking Lunges.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been doing the Busy Operator program and am in question as to how effectively I’m doing it.  When you talk about ‘increasing the load until it is heavy but doable’, is that supposed to be by the last set?  For example, if it’s 6 sets of 4 reps, when should I be at the ‘heavy but doable’ set?  By set 4 or 5 or for my last set?  Should I be working up to this within the first couple sets so that I’m under a heavy load for the last few sets?  And I ask this based on your last article about TLU.

Thanks for all you do, your articles are great and constantly challenging me.

ANSWER

No – you want to work up rapidly. Ideally, you’ll do your “hard but doable” load for the last 3 rounds of a 6 round circuit. For example, this would be my loading for bench press:
(1) 6 Rounds
5x Bench Press – increase load each round until 5x is hard but doable
5x Pull Ups
Lat + Pec Stretch
Bench Loading:
Round    Load
1            135
2            165
3            175
4-6         185
– Rob

QUESTION

I have had to switch from being a trainer to a full-time desk position and my fitness is non-existent right now.  I need a plan that will push me, inspire me with results, not too time consuming since I work 8+ hour days and am a mom of 4.  I was so fit when I was a trainer.  I need to get that back.  Please recommend.  I want the stacked core that I am used to having, strong legs, glutes, upper body.  I want to be heart healthy as well so I will need some cardio.  Thanks in advance!  Have a great day!

ANSWER

I’d recommend you start our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

So I hope the subject got your attention.   I need focus in the gym( I hate the gym).  I have 13 yrs on of patrol time on and 41 years old at 160 lbs.   Body issues are back problems from 2x car accidents from about  5 years ago that have seemed to been TCO.  More recent broken right that I am just getting cleared from.   Most of my fitness over the last two years has been road cycling as its low impact for the body.

I work dayshift patrol (8×5’s) and  part of the search and recovery dive team.  I have checked over your site a bunch and cannot seem to find what’s the best if I choose to buy into it.  Like most I want my money to go the farthest.   We have an ample give at my pd so no issue with equipment.  My end goal is strength vs bulk as I have another 13 yrs or so to go.

Any input or direction is helpful thanks.

ANSWER

Work through the plans/order in the Spirits Packet of plans for LE Patrol/Detective. These plans are designed as day to day training, designed to take 45-50 minutes, and concurrently train total body strength, upper body hypertrophy (mass), work capacity (sprint repeat emphasis), and chassis integrity (functional core training.)
Start with Whiskey.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a question regarding the equipment for  DEA PTT. If I do not have a track regularly available to me, what would be my best approach to this? Can I use a treadmill to substitute a track?

ANSWER

Measure out .25 mile and 1.5 mile on a flat road with your car odometer, or better, use a gps if you have one. Regardless, be resourceful.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been having just a slight issue balancing the bjj program (which I love) with my back-to-back muay thai and bjj sessions M-F in the morning. I currently run the BJJ program M-Sat but like to know if there’s a more optimal scheduling.

If I had to cut back, it would be on the program, as my classes are only available

ANSWER

You don’t want your fitness training to interview with your technical practice (Muay Thai and BJJ sessions).
In other words, you don’t want fatigue or soreness from your fitness training to impact your actual MT and BJJ sessions.
How you schedule them together depends somewhat on your fitness, but if you’re having issues now, you defn. want to pull back on the fitness programming.
Initially, I’d recommend going to 3 days a week for the training plan – M, Th and Saturday. If it’s still to much, drop Mon and Thurs. If it’s okay – add another day.
Regardless, don’t jump ahead in the training plan sessions – follow them in order regardless of the day of the week you actually train.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a 34 year old infantry Marine.  My brother is also a former Marine blinded in Afghanistan.  We are planning on running a 44 mile race (run) for blind veterans in June 2020.  I will start training in May or June of this year, after completing a PFT preparation plan.
Is the ruck based selection plan appropriate?  Is there enough running in the program or is there another set of programs I should look into?  I want a mixture of strength and endurance training.

ANSWER

Best would be to complete the Ultra Run Pre-Season Training Plan, and follow it up with the 50-mile Ultra Run Training Plan.
Next best would be just to complete Ultra Pre-Season Training Plan and suffer at the end of your effort.
44 miles is a long way to run!!
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a current subscriber and was hoping to get advice on the best plan for me. There are so many options and narrowing down the best plan has been a difficult task. Some context… I do a lot of mountain sports, rock climbing, mountaineering, biking(mtn and road), ski touring. In the past I have done an olympic lifting workout in the gym and focused on endurance and my other activities in the days between gym strength workouts.
I am looking for an all-around base strength plan that would be good for building general strength that will work with the various other activities I do but not specializing in any of them necessarily. Alternatively, a mountain base plan that i can easily replace running with another activity would work.
I had specifically been looking at the TLU Strength Plan, Big Mountain, Atalanta, and MB Bravo as plans that seemed to fit what i was looking for, with a slight bias towards workouts I can do in a regular gym(I have access to regular gym and rock gym)
Any help or suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

I’d recommend Mountain Base Helen – this is a balanced training plan designed as day-to-day, between-season training for multi-sport mountain athletes. The plan concurrently trains strength, work capacity, mountain endurance, climbing (rock), and chassis integrity.
One day a week has you in the bouldering gym. If you don’t want the bouldering work, I’d recommend Jedediah Smith from our Wilderness Packet of training plans for forest rangers, game wardens, etc. This is also a multi-modal training plan for mountain activities, but does not include climbing work.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am having trouble finding a plan and direction, as I am overwhelmed and tempted by many of the 200+ plans.
I am interested in both the military and law enforcement, and I am also slightly out of shape.
I am a 23 year old college senior. I am looking for a general fitness program (to start) that will make me fit and also maintain that fitness level until I can discern which career path I will take. Obviously, once I know my career, I will be able to tailor my workout to that.
I have a gym membership that has EVERYTHING I would ever need. Preferably, I would like a plan that will allow me to use that membership for more than the sauna.
I do not care about looks or size at this point. I am looking to become a very versatile athlete, a “jack of all trades.”
Thank you for taking the time to read.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you start our stuff with the Military OnRamp Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

My wife want to get back into fitness.  We found a full scale gym locally that does child care.  What plans would you recommend to get her back to a good base?  I know she would prefer to do body weight and DB exercises in the beginning.  Looking to train 2-3 days a week. With some weeks getting in a 4th day if time allows.

ANSWER

Start with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. Follow the sessions in order according to your schedule – don’t skip ahead.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was thinking about subscribing to your programming for the Law Enforcement programs. I have a decent garage gym set up that includes an Airdyne and a C2 rower. I was wondering if either of those are used in any of your programs or could be subbed in.

ANSWER

No – we don’t regularly prescribe airdynes or rowers – we favor shuttle sprints and multi-modal gym work capacity events as I find them more transferable to the real thing.
Sub? – I’d rather you follow the programming as prescribed. We use a rower/airdyne in some of our injured athlete plans – but only because they can’t walk/run.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m searching through various different military fitness preparation plans/companies, and I have one question that will require some guidance. The issue I’m running into is that I’m not sure what program of MTI’s would be best for someone going through the 18X program for SF, rather than someone who is currently active duty. As I’m sure you know, the 18X pipeline starts at OSUT (which, as I understand it, has been extended), and then takes you to Jump School and SOPC before selection. What program of yours would you recommend for this situation in which I can’t specifically prepare DIRECTLY before SFAS (aside from SOPC)? So far, I’ve just been rucking 3 times a week and running 3 times a week with one or two weight days placed somewhere in there. So, I’m not in “top shape”, but I can run a little above average and ruck relatively well because of this past hunting season. That being said, I definitely don’t need to start with the most intense program; however, I would like to know where I should be before OSUT, and what MTI program will get me there.

ANSWER

I recommend 18x guys complete the entire Ruck Based Selection Training Packet – including the final plan, prior to Basic. We recommend this knowing that you’ll likely lose fitness through Basic, Airborne, etc., but feel much of the fitness will remain, and the mental fitness you’ll build completing the programming will be an asset at SFAS.
– Rob

QUESTION

I found your website after trawling through the AOM website (of which I’m a fan).
I have recently signed up to do some pre-testing for the fire and rescue here in NZ, however I’m unsure as to which PFT training programs you guys offer would be best for me?
I have a base level of fitness mostly around MTBing, gym (x3 week), and hunting in the high country for deer but nothing specific to Fire and Rescue.
Would you recommend something like the program:
See the link below for a rundown of the NZ Fire test:
Any Help would be appreciated 🙂

ANSWER

From our stuff I’d recommend the CPAT Training Plan.
The CPAT doesn’t mirror exactly the NZ assessment, but it’s roughly similar, and the primary fire/rescue fitness assessment in the US.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am doing a 200 mile ruck march over 4 days on March 25 to raise awareness for human trafficking and the no profit I direct. I am in pretty solid shape as I was stationed with the Special Warfare Training detachment at the 5/19th SFG out of Colorado and went to SFAS finishing in the top 50 at least in each ruck last summer. Got injured and that was my second time trying after getting injured the first time too. Knee both times. Rucks were never an issue it was the draws that got me during land nav. So 2 surgeries later I’m out of the military and grinding.

This being said I have been a long time user of your plans, the SFAS, SFRE, the SFOD, Hyoertrophy for skinny guys, 3 week ruck plan and sang bag ethos… needless to say I love them. But having gone through each of them a few times, not sure any one of those really tailors to the chassis integrity, work capacity, and long term ruck requirements this will be.
I’m curious if you feel I should alter any of those in any way or should I try something new or just do a customized plan altogether. I could really use this quick advice and look forward to hearing from you.

ANSWER

Ideally you’d complete the 100-Mile Ultra Plan directly prior – substituting rucking at the load you’ll carry for the event, for the running in the plan. But you only have 9 weeks to prepare, and my guess is you couldn’t get through the 100 mile plan …. so I’d recommend you suffer through the 50-mile Ultra Plan. Again, ruck instead run, but follow the volume in the plan.
If you start next week you can complete the plan directly before your event.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a police officer. I purchased my first MTI plan a couple years ago, before I took my fitness really seriously. A few months back, I signed up for the subscription plan, and I’m all in with your programming. 
 
For my whole life, I’ve been overweight and not really committed to my own fitness. In the last few years, I joined a local crossfit box, and learned a ton in the way of movements, and overall about HIIT. Our small community lends itself to a laid back lifest6, and that box didn’t have a schedule that worked with mine. Ultimately, I put my own mini-box in my basement and now workout at home, which I love.
I’ve seen great progress in strength, work capacity and stamina! I’m losing weight (down to 265 from 295 since November 1, I’m 6’03”), eating better and feeling better! I’ve got clearly defined goals now, and that leads me to some questions….
I started with your LE on ramp program, as I thought it best to start with a clean plate in your programming. Now I’m looking for the next plan. The catch is, I haven’t done the runs as part of the LE on ramp, instead substituting rowing (I put a C2 rower in my home gym) for the runs- distances remain the same. I did this for one reason only… my police department retains a sports physiologist for us, and he recommended I drop some weight before taking on running for injury prevention. I do need to start running soon!
Well, I’ve got two weeks left in the on ramp program and am trying to decide what’s next. My goals are to test for our swat team (sometime in April for selection) and I’m planning my first backpack archery elk hunt this fall. Since I love the area around Jackson,  WY; I’m also considering heading your way at the end of May for the Teton 5k.
The PT component of our seat selection is as follows: 50 push-ups, 60 sit-ups and 35 squat thrusts (no time limit for these), followed by a 1.5 mile run in under 16 minutes. Since swat selection is my first significant goal, what plan makes sense to move into next?
I’m realistic and now that I’ve still got a ton of work to do, but I’m not sure what programming makes sense to move into. I’d be curious on your thoughts.
Finally, thanks for putting together programming that is fun, functional and challenging!

ANSWER

What is the exact date of SWAT selection? Also – I’m assuming it’s more than a gate PT test? Is it a 2 day selection. If so, do you know the events/activity you’ll face?
– Rob
FOLLOW UP
No exact date set yet. Selection is a single day, the events in order are:
50 push-ups, no time limit
50 sit-ups, no time limit
35 squat thrusts, no time limit
185lb dummy drag, 35 feet
1.5 mile run, 16 minutes
NRA handgun, full qual course
And an interview with the team leaders. The events are run in that order.
It’s a small county-wide joint team. Not a huge feat as each event, but since its run consecutively I could see how it develops its challenges. I looking for a program that could help me prepare for that and develop my running.
ANSWER
I’d recommend the DEA PTT Training Plan, which includes push ups, sit ups, and the 1.5 mile run. I’d have you add in some squat thrusts to the assessment – Likely do a max rep in 75 seconds and then follow the same progression in the plan as the push ups and sit ups.
– Rob

QUESTION

Which program do you recommend for? I’m going TACP, in the Air National Guard and currently waiting for ship dates. I coach at a Crossfit gym so I’m exposed to plenty of crossfit “WODs”. I’d like more of a program designed to improve My overall PAST, long distance run and ruck times. Thanks!

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I am a MTN Tactical monthly subscriber and I will be attending SFRE in 13 weeks. I have more than enough time to run the SFRE 7 week (I am leaning towards running the 8-week Ruck Based Selection program instead) and I’m wondering if there any other programs I should run for the five weeks prior?

Also, how come a lot of the selection programs don’t include some kind of direct periodized strength training? Not questioning you, just genuinely curious since programs I’ve run in the past (such as tactical barbell) have always included it.

Thanks for putting together such quality products and I hope to hear from you soon.

ANSWER

1. First 4 Weeks of Gratitude then take a full week off.
2. The focus of our specific selection programs are the specific events at selection. We’ll use the prior plans in the packets to build overall strength – but not spend time in the selection programs training strength but will focus on the fitness demands of the events – Gate PFT, work capacity in team events, endurance (run, ruck, swim). Selections are stamina/endurance events.
The first version of our RBSTP (8 or so years ago) included barbell work, but as I’m learned more and my programming has evolved/improved, the focus has narrowed to selection events.
– Rob

QUESTION

I love your leg blasters as my alpine and skiing legs workout. Easy to see and follow a progression. I started with only 5 mini leg blasters building to 10 full leg blasters. A killer workout.
Do you have an upper body equivalent? Arm blasters? 😉
A set of exercises like push ups, pull ups, overhead presses etc that strengthen climbers’ arms and shoulders but also work antagonistic muscles to prevent climbers’ injury?
I appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks!

ANSWER

That’s awesome! 10x Full Leg Blasters is no joke. Most I’ve worked up to was 8! You’re a badass!!
Arms? Options:
1) Prisoner Circuit – start at 5 rounds and work up to 10 …
3/5x Pull Ups
7/10x Push Ups
10/15x Bench Dips
Work up to 4 Rounds holding 5# plates
Work up to 6 Rounds with a 45# barbell …. you may need to start with a 15# barbell or 10# Dumbbells.
– Rob

MTI’s Recommended Outdoor Gear List – Updated Feb. 2019

 

By Rob Shaul, Founder

I received an email question this week asking to update my current outdoor gear recommendations. The Below list is what I use/bring for my summer backpacking and summer big game scouting trips.

Summer Clothing System

Shorts / Long John Combo

I wear shorts backpacking and/or summer big game scouting. At night/mornings I’ll put on a lightweight pair of long johns. For shorts, I recommend nylon, not polyester. It’s more durable and dries faster. My current favorite short is the Arcteryx Lefroy Short.  I wear a lightweight pair of long johns to sleep and for the evenings/early mornings. I have a couple pair of old Patagonia Capiline Lightweight Long Johns, but am not partial to any brand. Just go lightweight and synthetic.

Underwear? Outdoor Research Echo Boxer Briefs are hard to beat. No matter the duration of the trip, I don’t bring an extra pair of underwear. Gross, I know….

Pants? Rarely do I wear pants backpacking or for my summer scouting. But sometimes I’ll wear Arcteryx Gamma LT pants, which are made from nylon, super durable, and dry fast. When it’s hot I’ll roll up the bottoms to just below my knees, making them into knickers or “capri” pants. Not manly, I know, but it’s amazing how much cooler you feel when your calves/shins can breath!

Top

I prefer a synthetic long sleeve top for summer backpacking. I find long sleeves keeps me cooler. Even better is a lightweight sun hoodie. Especially when big game scouting, I’ll spend a lot of time in the sun, stationary, glassing for game – and I’ll put the hood up over my ball cap – which makes a huge difference in keeping me cool. For a simple long sleeve, synthetic sun protection, nothing works better or is cheaper than a light gray A4 long sleeve performance crew ($8). I can’t seem to find a sun hoodie near as cheap – and currently wear either a Sitka Gear Core Lightweight Hoodie or an Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie. But … any sun hoodie will work, and multiple brands make them – including Under Armor. Fit is important – you don’t want it too tight, so if you know how a brand fits you, buy it’s sun hoodie.

Know I don’t bring another top, and can get smelly ….

A note on Merino – I don’t like merino for hiking/scouting/hunting other than socks (see below). I’ve found it simply does not dry as fast as synthetics. Last year I killed a bull elk near dark in late September, and it was 11pm by the time I made it back to my truck with the first half of boned out meat in my pack. It was below freezing in the creek bottom where my truck was, and when I arrived I was sweaty. I’m small enough to sleep in the back seats of my truck, and it was midnight by the time I’d eaten dinner, and stowed all my gear. I’d worn a merino camo base layer and hoodie, but still wasn’t dry from sweat when I layed down to sleep. I spent the first 30 minutes in shivering myself dry before I could sleep. This has never happened wearing synthetic clothing.

Insulation

I prefer a medium to heavy weight fleece hoodie as my second layer, and a lightweight puffy hoodie as my 3rd layer. I double up my camo Sitka Gear Core Heavyweight Hoodie for both backpacking and summer scouting. This is an expensive piece, and nearly every outdoor clothing manufacturer has something similar and cheaper – shop around. Get a pull over, however, with a deep zip, over a full zip. The Outdoor Research Shiftup Hoodie will work and is on sale now.

I prefer a lightweight down or synthetic puffy hooded jacket as the 3rd layer. In my pack now is the Arcteryx Cerium LT Hooded Jacket. Aim for a hooded jacket that weighs less than 13 ounces. Most gear manufacturers make these.

A relatively new product offered now is “active insulation” which combines the benefits of fleece and an insulated hoodie in one piece. These are synthetic hooded puffy jackets which are air permeable and breath. I haven’t tried one of these yet, but it may be possible to find a lightweight, active insulation layer which could replace both the fleece hoodie and non-active insulated puffy like my down one above. I may test this system this year.

If I’m expecting warm weather, I will leave my down jacket at home and just bring my fleece hoodie.

Rain / Wind Jacket

I never leave the trailhead without my Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket in my pack. Six ounces, fully waterproof and cheap. Can’t beat it for lightweight, wind protection, and rain protection if needed.

Socks

I prefer merino wool, ankle-high socks. I’ll wear one pair, and bring another in my pack in case my feet get wet during the day and I need a dry pair to sleep in. I’ve had great luck with Patagoinia’s Anklet Lighweight Performance Socks. Look for them on sale.

Hat / Gloves

Any ball cap will do. Because of my sun hoodie, fleece hoodie, and puffy hoody, I don’t need to bring a warm hat. For gloves, I wear cheap ($2) acrylic gloves you can pick up at the grocery store in the winter. These are light, warm, and just enough for summer hiking/backpacking.

Shoes

I like trail runners for summer backpacking/scouting. My current favorites are La Sportiva Akasha trail runners. These are almost as cushioned as the Hoke One One Speed Goats (my second favorite), but have much better tread and much better lateral support. I’ve worn these hunting, as well. Order them a 1/2 size big to allow for swelling. This time of year, it’s easy to find these shoes on sale.

Pack(s)

I’ve found the smaller your pack, the less unnecessary stuff you take. For backpacking, I won’t go over a 30L pack, and it’s hard to beat the Black Diamond Speed 30 pack for up to week long backpackping trips. This pack is super simple, and light (sub 3 pounds).

But, because of the binoculars, spotting scope and tripod I need to bring, the Speed 30 is a little small for summer big game scouting trips. For these I really like the Elberestock X2 Pack. It’s heavy and overbuild, but also has perfect pockets to stowe my spotting scope, tripod and hydration bladder. I’ve had my current X2 pack for 5+ years, and it’s beginning to show some wear … darn it!

Sleep System

Ninety-five percent of the time I’ll choose a bivy sack over a tent. Once you start using a bivy sack, you’ll find the hassle of finding a flat spot for, and setting up a tent too much to bear! My bivy sack of choice is the Outdoor Research Helium Bivy. It’s cheap, light (less than 1 pound) and has kept me dry in many a short night time rain shower. As well, the bivy sack adds 10-15 degrees of warmth to your sleep system.

For than 5% of the time when weather threatens and I need a tent, I take a Tarptent Notch. This is a trekking pole tent (I use trekking poles), weighs less than two pounds, and is bomber in wind and bath weather.

I use a quilt, instead of a sleeping bag, specifically the 20-Degree Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt. I’ll wear my Fleece Hoodie, with hood up to sleep, and this quilt, and Helium Bivy keep me plenty warm. It weighs less than a pound.

Sleeping Pad – Thermarest NeoAir Xlite. Super comfy, warm and light. However, I’m having to send my current pad back due to a leak around the blow tube. I’ll get another.

Cook System

Stove

It’s hard to beat the Jetboil Flash Cooking System. Last year I tried the MSR Pocket Rocket, which is a few ounces lighter, but went back to my jetboil because it heats water a little faster and doesn’t need a match or lighter to ignite. However, both are bomber and good choices. I bring along a Snow Peak titanium spork. I’ve had several plastic sporks break in the past, and the $10 for this spork is worth the money.

Food / Hydration / Water Filtration

Breakfast and lunch are generally a ProBar Meal Replacement Bar, and I’ll have a Mountain House freeze dried meal for dinner. Between meals I’ll eat GU Stroopwafels – which offer about the most calories per ounce out there, and aren’t as messy as gels. I’ll pack 4x Stroopwafels per day. I use as Platypus Hydration Bladder for my water, and Katadyn Micropur tablets to purify my water. These are easy, tastless, and a bunch less complicated than any filtration system I’ve found.

I’m big on coffee in the backcountry, and my goto are Starbucks Columbia Via instant coffee packets. For a Cup I bring a long a collapsible silicone Sea to Summit Xcup. It’s amazing what a jolt of caffeine will do for your energy and spirits in the middle of the afternoon on a hot day, 10 miles from the trailhead! During the day I’ll just make cold brew. In the evenings and morning, I’ll heat up some water for my coffee. I pack 4 Via packets per day.

Extras

Headlamp – Black Diamond Spot
Watch – Suunto Ambit Vertical – great for altitude, and laying down GPS waypoints
Emergency Communication – Garmin Inreach (won’t leave home without it)
Navigation – Iphone with GAIA GPS and Onxmaps Applications – simple and effective

 

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

 


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Most Common Mistakes Athletes Make Using MTI’s Programming

By Rob Shaul, Founder

 

1. Not Sticking with One Program To Conclusion

One of the most incredible values of MTI programming is the breadth of our programming library. But often, new athletes, and especially new subscribers, to our stuff get distracted and end up doing a couple weeks of this program, then a couple weeks of another, and in doing so lose all the progression benefits if an individual program.

Most MTI programs deploy some type of progression across one or multiple fitness attributes. The only way to realize the full benefit of the hard work put in to complete a program is to follow the programming as prescribed, to conclusion. Our progression methodology works, – and following the programming will lead to improvement …. but you’ve got to stick with the plan to conclusion.

 

2. Getting Hung Up on Specific Exercises

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve answered email questions asking why MTI programming doesn’t deploy more deadlifts, or snatches, or muscle ups, etc. I always find it interesting athletes are attracted to our programming because of our unique approach, but barely in, want to go back to the stuff they’ve always done!

As a strength and conditioning coach, I learned long ago that the exercise selection was secondary to the programming methodology. As well, there are many different exercises to train for specific strength or other improvements. I have my own “favorite” exercises, but know that others may have theirs and generally avoid exercise arguments as I avoid arguing about religion – there’s no right answer. The problem, however, is when new athletes to our programming add in their old favorite exercises, which can interfere with recovery and sometimes lead to overtraining on top of MTI programming.

As well, my “favorite” exercises to train different attributes evolve and change over the years. The point here is, give MTI exercise selection a chance – through an entire cycle. Know I don’t pick exercises randomly.

 

3. Overthinking the Programming

MTI programming used to be a lot more complicated than it is today.  All design starts out too complicated, and what I call “immature.” My first programming examples packed in too many exercises, attributes, etc. and suffered because of it.

How to improve? Start cutting stuff away. This is how all design improves – you have to bite the bullet, make hard decisions, and cut away the nonessential.

I’ll often receive questions from athletes new to the programming, who read the session and try to make it more complicated than it is. My answer is always …. “don’t overthink it. Just do the training as prescribed.” A few weeks in, and new athletes will get a feel for the “flow” of MTI programming, and everything becomes easier. This takes some commitment but always works out for those who stick with it.

 

4. Not Asking Me For Programming Suggestions

Again, our strength is the breadth of our programming, but over 200+ plans can seem bewildering to athletes new to our stuff. I answer dozens of questions daily from MTI athletes wanting programming suggestions. Tell me where you want to go, and I’ll recommend the plan to get you there. I do this every day. Email rob@mtntactical.com

 

5. Doubling Up on Programs

In general, this is a bad idea, and I rarely recommend it. MTI programming is simply too intense to double up, no matter your level of incoming fitness. We will likely have a single plan which concurrently trains the fitness attributes you want to improve – and programs in a way which includes common-sense progressions and avoids overtraining. Again …. one plan at a time.

 

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

 

 


You Might Also Like The MTI Method – Fitness Solutions Built From The Ground Up


Arete 1.31.19

Military / National Security

The Marine Corps Is Embracing A New Naval Warfare Concept For The Next Big Fight Against China, Task & Purpose
Rebuilding the Forge: Reshaping How the Air Force Trains Fighter Aviators, War on the Rocks
‘Trump is having an impact’: NATO head credits president’s tough talk for $100B boost, Stars & Stripes
Are the Navy’s safety boots unsafe?, Navy Times
Thousands Apply to Join New Army eSports Team, Soldier Systems
US, Taliban agree to preliminary peace framework: report, The Hill
Levantistan and The Confederacy of Afghanistan: How Redrawing the Map Can End America’s Wars, Small Wars Journal
This week in Congress: Lawmakers question troops’ southern border mission, Defense News
Without a clearer ethics policy, the US could lose the military tech battle with China, Defense News
The INF Treaty Is Doomed. We Need a New Arms-Control Framework, Defense One
Official Explains Federal Tax Changes for Military, Spouses, DefenseGov News
The next six months could define America’s missile defense for a generation, Military Times
New in 2019: All the big changes soldiers need to know for the new year, Army Times
Top Democrats introduce bill to prevent US from striking first with nuclear weapons, Stars and Stripes
US says airstrike killed 24 al-Shabab extremists in Somalia, Stars & Stripes
Rand Paul: ‘Ludicrous’ to call a withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria ‘precipitous’, The Hill
How Navy SEALs Are Returning To Their Roots To Take On Russia And China, Task & Purpose
Warren, Smith introduce bill to bar US from using nuclear weapons first, Military Times
US Army Issues Prototype Project Opportunity Notice (PPON) for Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW), Soldier Systems

 

First Responder / Homeland Security / Wildland Fire

Kansas anti-Muslim bomb plotters sentenced to long prison terms, Homeland Security Newswire
Florida Sheriff’s Office in Mourning After Apparent Suicide of Deputy, Officer
Is the Cost Even Worth It Anymore, LE Today
A Look at Leatherman’s Reinvention of the Multi-Tool, Gear Patrol
Border Hiring Surge Has Fallen Far Short, Officer
10 Great Handguns from the SHOT Show, Outdoor Life
FIREFIGHTER CANCER BILL CLEARS VA. SENATE, ON TO HOUSE, Firefighter Close Calls
Bill would allow firefighters and EMTs to carry concealed weapons, Law Enforcement Today
Air Force Research Laboratory is helping design a compact rescue raft for the Coast Guard, Stars & Stripes
FBI: No discernible motive in Las Vegas mass shooting, Homeland Security Newswire
Idaho trooper stops truck driver with 6,701 pounds of marijuana, Police One
Ark. bill would give firefighters with cancer more sick leave, Fire Rescue 1

 

Mountain Sports

Avalanches Just Killed 7 People In The Past Week Alone!, Unofficial Networks
Two Climbers Missing, Another Dead, on Fitz Roy, Adventure Blog
The Best Bargain Backpacking Gear, Backpacker
China to Cut Everest Permits by a Third in 2019, Adventure Journal
15 Women You’ll Want to Meet at Outdoor Retailer, Gearjunkie
37 Incidents of Bear Attacks Survived Using Sidearms, By Caliber. 97% Success Rate, Ammoland.com
Ski Mountaineering World Cup, Robert Antonioli and Alba De Silvestro win Individual race in Andorra, Planet Mountain
Photos: The Best Gear From Outdoor Retailer 2019, Freeskier
80-Year-Old Climber Kris Machnick Reminds Us It’s Never Too Late, Adventure Journal

 

Fitness / Nutrition / Health

Hens that lay human proteins in eggs offer future therapy hope, Science Daily
Germany seeks medical marijuana producers for home grown supply, Reuters
There’s New Data on the Cardio vs. Weights Debate, Outside
Using Pain to Reach Your Potential, Outside
Washington Calls Statewide Emergency Over Measles, WebMD
MIND: Why It Hurts to Lose Sleep, NY Times
What Polar Explorers Can Teach Us About Mental Health, Outside
Study: Breakfast Not Key to Weight Loss After All, WebMD
Fasting ramps up human metabolism, study shows, Science Daily
Nearly half of all adult Americans have cardiovascular disease, Medical Xpress
Apes can be lazy and never get fat. We can’t. How come?, The Irish Times
Benefits of Having a Gym Buddy, Livestrong

 

Interesting

Washington’s Bold Plan to Save Its Orcas, Outside
The art of war: How combat artists are capturing the soul of the Marine Corps, Marine Corps Times
Indian Leaders Are Accused of Covering Up 45-Year High in Unemployment, NY Times
Why Did Soviets Invade Afghanistan?, Real Clear Defense
The French fine against Google is the start of a war, Business Insider
Bill Belichick got his first job in the NFL at age 23—it paid $25 a week, CNBC

 

Q&A 1.31.19

QUESTION

Why does your strength standards focus on relative strength vs absolute strength?  I know measuring relative strength allows for a standard of general strength across the board. However, I feel this can be detrimental.  I don’t care is a 150 Soldier can deadlift 2x body weight, especially if the Soldier is unable to deadlift/drag a 225 lb Soldier with 90 lbs of gear.  On the same note, a female’s strength standard should be the same as a male. Life doesn’t care if the task to be completed is that of a man or a woman.  Thoughts?

ANSWER

I’ve gone back and forth with this in my mind several times over the years, but have always come down on the side of relative strength over max effort strength because of the multi-modal fitness demands of tactical athletes.
There are good arguments in favor of max effort strength: 
– There’s no lighter equipment (rifle, bunker gear, chain saw, artillery shell, etc. for female or small male athletes
– In most the cases, most probable heavy effort would be to drag or carry a fellow soldier or first responder to safety. A 200-pound soldier with all his gear could easily push 250 pounds. A 200 pound firefighter wearing 75# of bunker gear is at 275#
The reason I’ve moved in favor of relative strength is to error on the side of the non-strength fitness demands of tactical athletes – esp. endurance and longer work capacity efforts. Soldiers, esp. have a high endurance fitness demand – which is shared by wildland firefighters, wilderness professionals, and many LE SWAT/SRT teams. The issue with max effort strength programming is the time it takes to get strong for smaller athletes, and also the way endurance programming works against max effort strength gains. Oly weightlifters and competing power lifters don’t do a lot of running or rucking!!
We’ve found our relative strength standards, and even more simple, the MTI Relative Strength Assessment, to be a happy medium. Scoring a 5 or more (tactical) on the Relative Strength Assessment indicates a high level of strength, but also a reasonable bodyweight. Most the time, tactical and mountain athletes are moving themselves around.
From a programming perspective, I’ve found I can get athletes to both high levels of relative strength, and also high levels of work capacity and endurance.
I have worked with many “mutants” – naturally strong athletetes who also had monster lungs – but these were the outlier.
Our Operator Ugly Fitness Test is perhaps a happy medium between the relative/max effort strength arguments, plus it includes significant work capacity and endurance components. I’ve rarely been criticized for the 185# loading deployed in the assessment for the bench and front squat, or the 225# loading for the hinge/dead lift. However, I did work with a 6’5″, 230# athlete who was hitting 30 reps on the 185# front squat … so for the next Operator Ugly we bumped him up to 225# for the bench and front squat, and 275# for the hinge/dead lift.
Since we developed Operator Ugly almost a decade ago now, several LE and Military Units have adopted it or versions for their fitness assessments.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m interested in purchasing this training plan but I am more than 53 weeks from selection. Should I wait until I’m exactly 53 weeks out? If not how can I make the program last longer than 53 weeks?

ANSWER

I’d recommend the plans/order in the Pirate Series of training plans until you start the packet. The Pirate plans are designed as day-to-day training for tactical athletes with water-based mission sets and concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity, tactical agility and endurance (run, ruck, swim). They’ll build solid base fitness for you before you drop into the packet.
– Rob

QUESTION

On the SFRE Plan:

– What’s a good time for the work capacity event in session 4
– Are there rules for carrying the 10 lb sledge hammer? Can it be alternated between hands every few minutes?
– For the mini-event ruck run, should the run be continuous, or 1 min walk, 3 run, etc…

ANSWER

1. 30’ish minutes
2. No rules – carry anyway you want – but in your hands.
3. Ideally, continuous
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a 25 year old female, 5’1″ about 120lbs. I have been very inconsistent with my workouts the last 3 years due to the excuse that my academic schedule is daunting. Though my workouts are inconsistent, I am still a very active person. I am certainly not the high performing athlete I used to be but I would consider myself fit compared to the majority of individuals my age. My short term goals in life right now are to improve my arm strength and grip strength. I am going to be a large animal veterinarian and forearm strength is vital, especially because I am at a height disadvantage. Strength has been my downfall when compared to endurance. I would like to gain more core strength too.
I can’t decide what plan to buy because I will not have a normal schedule until May 2019, meaning one week I could be on the west coast in a hotel or a guest at someone’s house and the next I could be home. One week I may  work 40 hours and the next 80 hours. I never know what equipment I will have access to, if any, or what days I will have an opportunity to work out. That said, I need to get my butt in gear and buy a program to motivate me to no longer make excuses. Some weeks I have access to a full gym and other weeks I’m in a trailer house with door frames that don’t support pull up bars. What plan is offered that will give me a chance to get stronger (and I like endurance!) with less equiptment and less workouts per week? I can’t decide what would be best for me. Hope my explainations helped, otherwise I can answer any questions you may have.

ANSWER

Start with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. No equipment needed = no excuses.
Don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” – this plan is no joke.
Email back on the other side.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am interested in pursuing one of your training programs, but had two questions I hope you may answer:

1.  Which plan?  I think the mountain athlete plan fits, but insight is appreciated.  My background is largely in ski mountaineering for the last ten or so years (as a whole in life it has always been endurance athletics).  I have a decent endurance engine, but have not worked in strength more than passively ever.  As I have left competitive racing, and aged out of my invincible 20’s (now 35), ignoring strength is really showing with increasing injuries, and imbalances.  What I am hoping for is a combination of strength and endurance: absolute performance is less of a goal, I just want to be a more well rounded and stronger person that can still motor along on skis.  I know that improving global strength will help everything (I don’t care if I am muscular pretty, just stronger and more capable), I just don’t know where to start and which plan would be best.

2.  Do you have any suggestions for resources or trainers familiar with what you are doing in the salt lake area?  I am self motivated, but much of this is going to be new to me, and having a trainer/coach/community would be great for guidance and questions.

ANSWER

1. Specifically for ski mountaineering, I’d recommend our Backcountry Ski Pre-season Training Plan. It includes both strength and endurance work. If you’re looking for a more general fitness plan which has an endurance emphasis, but also trains strength, work capacity and chassis integrity (functional core strength), look at Willie.
2. I’m sorry,  no, Nick.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve recently completed the event I was training for (a 100k run), and I want to say that your On-Season training plan for endurance athletes was a huge factor in my success at meeting my goal. My legs felt terrific, during the race itself and afterward. (Feet, not so much, but that’s to be expected.)

I took a week off, then started your 6-week Off-Season Strength-Training Plan for Endurance Athletes. I’m loving it so far. My question is, if my next race is tentatively set for the end of June and I run the 12-week on-season plan again leading up to that race, that leaves me with several weeks between the end of the Off-Season plan and the start of the On-Season plan. Do you have any suggestions for what I should do in those intervening weeks?

I was thinking I’d just start the On-Season plan and repeat it if necessary till I get to race day. But I thought I’d check in with you in case you have a better suggestion.

ANSWER

I’d recommend Willie, from our Country Singer Packet. Multi-modal, base fitness training plan with an endurance emphasis.
– Rob

QUESTION

My unit does a 5 day a week PRT program already, but I would love to augment their program with some after hours exercise. I saw the top 5 exercises for military athletes and I really like the concept. I may need to add some HIIT or run intervals into the mix. Is there a plan that incorporates all of that?

ANSWER

It includes ruck runs and sandbag getups – which should have you close to panic breathing.
– Rob

QUESTION

I work as a CNA with 3×12 hour (Thursday through Saturday)shifts and I don’t have time to workout after work. I focus on getting home, consuming copious amounts of food and shower before I have to hit repeat for my next shift.  I ain’t going to lie and say I’m super motivated on my first day off to workout, I’m mostly exhausted.  So, how would I go about using this plan without compromising the efficacy of it?  I guess what I’m trying to say is can I only do 3 sessions per week and still see results? I feel that I already know the answer I just want reassurance that it’s possible. Haha!

ANSWER

Start earlier before your season and do 3 days/week. You’ll still get lots from the plan. Work to complete all the sessions before you report for the fire season.
– Rob

QUESTION

Coach, I am a Fire/Medic and have been using your programs for a few years with good results, especially the Big Cat series.  I’ve recently been transferred to a engine house with a very large size workout area and was wanting to utilize the space. I’ve been wanting to use a weighted sled, rope pulls, sandbags/sledgehammers and other type of equipment that closely simulate fire grounds operations. I’ve read in the past you no longer program movements that require a lot of space. Is there a program built with those types of tools or could I substitute certain movements in the Big Cat programs with those? If so, could you please offer suggestions. Thank you.

ANSWER

Our current programming includes sandbags and weight pulls. I don’t include sleds as most don’t have that equipment/space, and guys get frustrated when I program it. Also, because of the sled load and sliding surface (which means friction), etc, a sled push in my gym might mean something different in another. So from a programming perspective, it’s difficult.
In my gym here, where we do have space, we actually do lots of sled work with myself and the lab rats – in fact earlier this week I completed 45 minutes of 10x sandbag clean and press @ 40# and a 40-foot sled push. I had foot surgery in December, so I’m walking on this peg leg contraption … but this effort was a great, long grind.
I’ll go ahead and write a post about our sled experiences – but again, we use it primarily for work capacity efforts, other than the Double Eagle Exercise – which has a strength element.
Some of my favorite work capacity efforts. We currently use the Rogue Fitness Dog Sled, and push on turf.
– 4-5 Athletes and one sled, 20 minutes of sled pushes. Light or unloaded sled – one athlete right after the other, – full sprint, 80 feet total on turf.
– 20 Minutes, 8x Hinge Lift @ 185#, Down Back Sled Push (unloaded), rest 30 seconds. …… This is pretty terrible
– 20 Minute AMRAP, Down/Back Sled Push @ 60# sandbag, Down/Back Farmers Carry @ 24kg – The Farmer’s carry never lets you catch your breath after the sled push!!
– 20 Minute AMRAP, 5x Sandbag Getup @ 60#, Down/Back Sled Push with the 60# Sandbag
– 15 Rounds, 80-foot sled push @ 40/60# (down/back), every 60 seconds.
For you there, you can substitute sled work for any of the programmed work capacity efforts.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a long time supporter of Mil Athlete and was in MARSOC for 5 years as a Team Commander, Infantry Officer in the Marines for 4 years prior to, utilizing your programming in preparation for and during to perform exactly how I needed to physically and mentally and I have always loved it, so thank you!

I have two questions….First, I recently got out of MARSOC and I have been on the hunt for something challenging to keep up my fitness and keep pushing myself and that has led me to looking into attacking my first Iron Man competition.  Do you have a program or possibly combining a couple programs that you feel would work best for this?  The Iron Man I am looking in to would start July 27 in Santa Clara, CA, so I feel like I have plenty of time given I’m not too far out of shape.

My second question pertains to my new job.  I am working as the Assistant Men’s Golf Coach at Stanford University as my first normal job after the chaos that was special operations.  Believe it or not, the strength and conditioning program for these guys is not where it should be and I was curious if you guys were at all interested in developing sport specific programming.  These guys are all over the map with class schedules and availability for time in the gym so what you guys provide as far as a platform to provide individuals with the ability to access a programed regiment from any location on their phone is ideal.  I have already pushed to them some of your General Fitness plans as a means to continue training as athletes over the off season, but if it could become more I would be very interested in helping how ever I could to make this more effective.

Stanford Athletics is a pioneer in new methods and philosophies for improving the performance of their student athletes and is often emulated by many of the other top University Athletic programs in the country.  If it was possible to develop something together that better met the needs of these athletes it is something that I could see spreading throughout to other programs.

Let me know your thoughts and I appreciate everything you have done for me over the decade I spent in the Marines!

ANSWER

1. No …. our focus is on mountain and tactical athletes, and although sometimes I move outside this wheelhouse, it’s generally for sports/events for which little other programming resources are available. This isn’t the case for triathlons – and there are just so many qualified coaches and quality training resources out there. As well, an Ironman is no joke, and if your serious, I’d recommend hiring a quality coach and/or following a solid program.
2. Golf …. that’s another toughy as I’m not personally a golfer, and other than the midsection/lower back demands and injury potential I really no little about the fitness demands of the sport. As well, I would only consider it if you personally coached group sessions – which it sounds like you won’t be able to do.
Sorry I haven’t been much help here ….
– Rob

QUESTION

First I just wanted to say thanks to Rob for the assistance he’s given me in selecting a training program. So far the leg injury program is going well! I just had a couple questions about program details.
I know that if I miss a day I’m supposed to pick up on the day I left off. How does that affect the Saturday & Sunday rest days? For example, I missed Thursday’s training because I went skiing, so do I do Thursday’s training today, and today’s training on Saturday, then take Sunday as a rest day? Or do I do Thursday’s training today, and today’s training on Monday, and take Saturday & Sunday as rest days?
My other question is about actual training. If I’m struggling to get through an exercise at the prescribed weight and reps, should I reduce the weight, the reps, or just do it til failure? This happened for me with 10x weighted sit-ups at 25# during a 15 minute grind. I wasn’t sure if I should keep pushing through even though my technique got bad, or lower something to complete the exercise.
Thanks for the help, and the great programs!

ANSWER

It’s okay to make up missed days on the weekend. If not, just start back Monday where you left off.
Reduce weight as needed to make the reps.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am half-way through week 3 of the backcountry course.
So far, so good.  I like the relative variety.  It is tough, which I like.  I will be able to give you some more solid feedback when I hit the hill in February!
Other feedback:  I like how I can do everything from home and/or outside on a nice day.  I am definitely feeling stronger and fitter, even only after a couple of weeks.  I am glad you’ve included solid foam-rolling to help recovery and how you incorporate key stretches between sets – mean.  I went for 4.5 hour hike last weekend, instead of the run.  Not sure if that was okay, but there was no way I could do a run after that!  I struggle with the quadzilla complexes.  They are my nemesis!  Today for example, I could only get through 4 and bit rounds out of 6 before I literally could not do anymore.  Most other times I have managed (slowly) to get 6 rounds out.  I think the 10KG weights in each hand smash me.  Funnily enough, I was able to do the 10 rounds of side box jumps (20/40) after a brief rest though.  Maybe I should be using lighter weights?
Question:  In terms of ensuring I’m good-to-to the next day after a solid day skiing, I assume going through the foam roll complex is a good idea?  Anything else you would recommend?
I’m no expert, but the movements do seem to use the muscle groups I will be using when skiing.  I will tell you after JAPoW however!
Programme is uber easy to follow.  Access is sweet-as.  Videos are mean.
Suggestion:  the foam roll complex is already becoming monotonous.  Would be cool to get some variety in there.  Perhaps foam roll days 1-3-5, and stretch days 2 and 4? Or something like that.  Or maybe an alternative foam roll complex.
Overall:  mean as.  So far, it seems to be awesome.  Of course, the best test will be on the hill!

ANSWER

Thanks for the note back.
Stick with the programming as prescribed – it’s okay to break up the quadzillas as needed – rest if needed, but fight to get all of the reps in.
Foam Rolling and good to go? 95% of your ability to recovery is determined by your sport-specific fitness. Foam Rolling, ice baths, hot tubs, recovery drinks, massages, etc may help with that last 5% … but most of it is your sport-specific fitness. I don’t fully endorse any of the recovery methods – as honestly none have worked for me personally. But I have athletes who swear by one or the other – so find what works for you. Foam rolling is essentially a cheap massage.
Sure on the foam roll complex. I designed the complex as a sure-fire method to cover the essential parts of the body- legs and low back. You can shorten it up by just hitting your quads and low back.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently living in England (my husband is stationed over here with the Air Force). I am planning on hiking up to Camp Muir this summer when I go back home and I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how to train to avoid altitude sickness? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

ANSWER

From the research I’ve seen, the best method is sport-specific pre-trip fitness preparation and an acclimatization period.
I have seen some work on pressurized sleeping tents around your bed as having some positive effect, but little evidence to show that masks that restrict breathing help.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am an online subscriber – great programs, thank you. I’ll be traveling for work the next 3 weeks with little or no access to equipment. Perhaps a pull-up bar some days, not sure at this point. What program (with possible modifications due to lack to equipment) do you recommend during this time?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I just have a quick question in order to help me select a training program. I am currently prepping myself physically to go to SFAS. My class isn’t for quite a few months though. Would doing the 14 month sfod-d program while waiting till I’m closer in order to start the SFAS packet you have be a good way to continue to prep myself while waiting to start SFAS? 
 
I appreciate your help with this. Have a good day.

ANSWER

No – do the plans/order in the Ruck Based Selection Plan Training Packet. It’s specific to SFAS.
– Rob

QUESTION

Couple questions. I’m on week 5 of gratitude and some of in regards to the prescribed weights do you recommend working with what is listed and the working being more cardio based or can I increase the weight? Some recommend lbs are light

Which plan would you recommend for me complete while at IBOLC? I’ve been told by some colleagues that the assigned PT is minimal?

ANSWER

You’re welcome to increase your weight – keep the reps the same. If you can’t get the sets unbroken, drop weight.
Training at IBOLC? Plans/order in the Greek Hero Series, or if you have a subscription, the Operator Sessions. Start with Hector from the Greek Hero plans.
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently purchased your APFT improvement plan. I am prior service Army trying to get back in shape to go back into the Army. I need to pass a PT test in order to reenlist. I’m really out of shape so I didnt know if I should do additional workouts. Will I diminish the results of the plan if I do more workouts with it?

ANSWER

Yes – plus you may overtrain. Do the APFT Plan as prescribed for 3 weeks before adding work.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was wondering what the actual definition of “hard but doable” was. I treated it as a 3 rep max and now I’m concerned that I won’t make the progressions. My partner is feeling the same way. Any advice would be welcome. Thanks.

ANSWER

3RM Max will work …. Big 24 is super, super intense. If you can’t make the progression, feel free to drop weight to make the reps unbroken.
– Rob

QUESTION

Looking for a good program to build strength and gain size. Reality is I have too much fat though. Around 22%, was around 15% 2 years ago before I hurt my knee. My knee is good now though

ANSWER

I’d recommend Ultimate Meathead. This cycle combines strength (lower, total), and upper body hypertrophy.
Also – fix your diet. Here are our recommendations.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a retired Marine infantry guy, and really trying to find the right program.

I am a CSM at Norwich University and want to stay in shape, however, I am not 20 years old anymore either.

Looking for a plan that will give me the ability to gain some muscle as well as cardio. Keep in mind right now the cardio is on a treadmill or elliptical, as it was -12 degrees here this morning.

If you can set me up with a plan that incorporates that type of training I will buy it. I am not looking to max a PFT anymore nor do I have to RUCK, however, I looking for longevity.

Any plans come to mind??

ANSWER

I’d recommend the plans/progression in our SF45 I Packet. These are designed as day-to-day training for tactical athletes age 45-55.
Start with SF45 Alpha.
– Rob