All posts by SSD

Q&A 1.16.20

QUESTION

Read about your programs in a SOFREP article. Wanted to give you a little background, so perhaps you can help me with your system for my training goals.

Demographics: 60 yo, 5’5″, 145 lbs, decent shape

Military: USAF Pararescue Indoctrination training circa ’78, Army Airborne, Army SF Combat Diver School, washed out (blacked out) first week test

Current training: MMA (M-TH): BJJ 2x/wk, kickboxing 2x/wk

Goals: long-term health and fitness focus on endurance, strength and flexibility

Medical: right rotator cuff repaired, left rotator cuff pain, right knee multiple surgeries (running knee pain afterwards)

Previous training: Karate, P90, P90X, SEAL pre-workout category 2, CrossFit

Job: intellectual property law (patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, computer and internet law), can barter

ANSWER

Based on your current MMA/BJJ stuff, my guess is you’re getting in plenty of work capacity. The “holes” in your fitness seem to be max effort strength and endurance.
From our stuff, I’d recommend SF45 Bravo. The SF45 Programming is designed for older tactical/mountain athletes and has a strength, endurance, and chassis integrity (core) focus.
As written, SF45 Bravo is a 6 day/week program. With your current MMA/BJJ schedule, this would have you doing two-a-days – which I’m not sure you want to do.
So what I’d recommend is you alternate between your MMA/BJJ days, and SF45 Bravo programming. For example, Mon – SF45 Bravo, Tue – MMA/BJJ, Wed – MMA/BJJ, Thur – SF45 Bravo, Fri – MMA/BJJ, Sat – SF45 Bravo, Sun – total rest.
Follow the SF45 Bravo sessions in order …. don’t skip ahead or around. The programming is progressive – and sessions build upon one another.
If things are going well, you can try two-a-days a couple days a week – just watch for over training, and/or fatigue during your MMA/BJJ sessions.
– Rob

QUESTION

How could I sub rucking (not ruck running) into the bodyweight foundations program?  Why? I have a knee and foot that can ruck but don’t like running…

ANSWER

Ruck the prescribed distance with a 25# pack.
– Rob

QUESTION

Just purchased the fat loss plan.  I was hoping that you could give some advice.
I am in season for some of my main personal activities – splitboarding, snowboarding and then some ice climbing or mountaineering, conditions pending.  Fell a bit off the wagon the last few months and definitely need to lose fat but do not want to compromise any of my activities.  Felt this was a better plan as it will still keep me strong and I won’t be killing my body with training to ruin my weekend performance.
Questions:
1 – I have a garage gym.  How can I sub the shuttle, prone to sprint, etc. running with a treadmill or alternative given lack of space?
2 – If I do my mountain activities on the weekend, and I do not want to be sore from them, how should I space out my training during the week?  Or should I exaggerate a week, meaning stretch it out into a week and a half to allow two rest days?
Female, 41
Of course, if you think that there is a better plan for me…feel free to suggest but I am not much of a runner other than for intervals.

ANSWER

1) Go outside for the sprints, or do 30/30 Box Jump intervals @ 20″ for the prescribed time. Okay to run on a treadmill, but I’d recommend running outside if it’s 10-degrees or warmer.
2) Follow the plan sessions in order (don’t skip ahead or around), and take Monday off to recover from the mountain days, and fridays off to rest before them.
3) The Fat Loss Plan is work capacity focused …. to complement your mountain activities I’d recommend a more balanced plan, specifically I’d recommend Frank Church from our Wilderness Professional Packet. This is a balanced training plan which concurrently trains strength, work capacity, chassis integrity and mountain endurance (uphill movement under load, running). Again, take Monday’s and Friday’s off, and only follow the programming Tue-Thu. Follow the sessions in order – as they are progressive.
This plan includes barbell strength, etc. and I’m assuming you know your way around a weightroom.
– Rob

QUESTION

I would like to introduce myself and explain my situation.  I am looking for advice and I am hoping you can help me out.
On Saturday November 28, 2020, I will be climbing one of the worlds tallest structure, the CN Tower (1776 steps, 144 flights).  Before I do that I need help, a lot of help.
Background:
I am a 33 year old male, 6’0, 220 pounds.
I work in law enforcement.  I work a 12 hour shift, on a 5 on 5 off rotation.
Growing up I was athletic, playing football, hockey and baseball.  When i graduated from the police academy five years ago, I could complete the goals listed below.
I am embarrassed to say that today, I am unable to run for 5 minutes before stopping.  I can only do 5 or so push ups.  The other day I was climbing  stairs and I was exhausted after climbing 4 flights.
Goals:
Successfully climb the CN Tower.  The record for the fastest climb is 7 minutes.  The average time is 40 minutes.  I am just looking to finish it.
My current weight is 220lbs.  I would like to get  between 170-180 lbs.
Complete 50 consecutive push ups.
Complete 20 consecutive pull ups.
Hold a 2 minute plank.
Run 1.5 miles (2.4 Kilometres) in 10 minutes.
Run 3 miles (5 Kilometres) in 25 minutes
Run 6 miles (10 kilometres) in 1 hour.
Fitness Equipment:
Here is the fitness equipment I have access to.
I have a small home gym in my basement which includes a treadmill and a free weight dumbbell set from 3 to 60lbs.  I have one flat bench and an exercise ball.
I reside in a small town in Northern Ontario.  That means the winters are long and harsh.  Unfortunately I am only able to run outside or conduct any outdoor physical activity between the middle of April to the end of November.
Our town has one public gym.  It includes all your usual gym equipment including one StairMaster.
The tallest building in town is a Holiday Inn hotel with four flights of stairs.  With that being said, I won’t be able to train using real stairs.
The town has one big hill I could use to train.  It’s approximately a 500 metre incline from top to bottom.
I also have access to a 400 metre track and a bicycle.
I am not much of a swimmer but our town has one pool which is 25 metres in length.  That could be incorporated in the program as well should you see fit.
I would prefer scheduling exercise days on my days off from work as at this point in time I feel it’s almost impossible to complete a serious workout after working 12-14 hour shifts.
Objective:
With this information I am hoping you can design a one time individual training plan to help me reach my goal.  The training program would be designed for 10 months.
I am hoping to start training anytime in the end of January 2020.  This would be give me 10 months of training before the CN Tower climb.
If you have any questions or require more information please let you me know.
Thank you in advanced for your help.

ANSWER

I’m sorry, I don’t do any individualized programming. Please don’t be offended – I simply don’t have time given my other programming demands.
From what we do have, here is what I recommend.
1. Fix your diet. I’d like to see you at 185-200#. Here are our nutrition recommendations. These aren’t complicated. They just take discipline. 90% of fat is diet-related. Clean up your diet and you’ll shed fat. Getting lighter will help everything – running, movement, uphill movement, pull ups, push ups, etc.
2. Programming – we believe tactical athletes should focus their fitness training on the mission-direct fitness demands of your job. Start our stuff with the LE OnRamp Training Plan. The first 4 weeks of the plan deploy bodyweight strength training. Beginning week 5, the program switches to free weight (barbell/dumbbell) strength training. The plan also includes work capacity, chassis integrity (core), short endurance (running) and work capacity. It’s a full-on, multi-modal training plan.
3. After completing LE OnRamp, move to the plans/order in the Spirits Packet of plans designed as day to day programming for full-time LE patrol/detectives. These plans concurrently train strength, upper body hypertrophy (mass), work capacity (sprint-based), chassis integrity, short endurance and tactical agility. The sessions are designed to last 40-50 minutes long. Start with Whiskey – the first plan in the packet.
Between LE OnRamp and the plans in the Spirits Packet, you’re looking at 42 weeks – or 9.5 months of programming.
Both LE OnRamp and the Spirits Packet of plans are 7 week long cycles, 5 days/week. We recommend you aim to stick with a 5 on, 2 off schedule. This means you’ll need to train during you duty days. It’s best to train before your shift, not after.
4. 7 weeks out from your CN Tower Climb, drop out of the Spirits Packet plans and complete the Backcountry Ski Preseason Training Plan. This plan has an intense step up progression (uphill endurance), as well as lower body strength, leg lactate tolerance, and general endurance work which will transfer well to your CN Tower Climb. The plan calls for loaded step ups, but as I understand it, you’ll complete the event unloaded …. so complete the step ups in the plan unloaded.
Good luck and email questions.
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you guys have a plan for law enforcement K9 officers? And Marine officers?

ANSWER

We recommend K9 officers follow our LE Patrol/Detective programming found in the Spirits Packet Plans. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, short endurance, upper body hypertrophy, chassis integrity (core) and tactical agility. Start with Whiskey.
We do have a K9 Handler Fitness Assessment – which includes work with your dog.
Marine Officer? Our Greek Hero packet of plans is designed for military infantry and SOF. These plans concurrently train strength, military endurance (run, ruck), work capacity, chassis integrity and tactical agility.
However, if you are a full time K9 officer and a reserve Marine officer, we recommend you train for your full time job – with the Spirits Packets plans.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a current owner of your TACP program. I am interested in finding a program that I can use leading up to the timeline prescribed with your TACP program. What would you recommend?
I am going through the National Guard route, so I’m in a bit of a holding pattern until a slot opens up. I am expected to be able to meet the basic PT qualifications until things with my application become formalized.
Given this limbo, any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

I’d recommend doing the TACP Plan now. After, drop into the plans/order in the Greek Hero Packet, beginning with Hector. Then, when you get a school date, re-do the TACP plan directly before.
– Rob

QUESTION

I apologize if this is already answered in the FAQ, but I did not see this specific of a question. I am looking for a program that would build strength and aerobic capacity. Which program would be appropriate?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

Looking for a program for the new 22 osut infantry

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I see you have a lot of different training plans and the occupation I’m training for is a LE ranger through NPS hopefully doing alpine rescue. Do you suggest to go with the law enforcement training route or the mountain training route?

ANSWER

Usually I’d recommend the plans/order in the Wilderness Packet for wilderness professionals – rangers, wardens, field biologists, mountain SAR, etc., but I’m assuming Alpine Rescue = climbing/rope system work, so I’d recommend the plans/order in the Greek Heroine Packet – as these include climbing training. Start with Helen.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve read and seen a bunch of conflicting stuff out there. Since I’m giving your program a try, I will go with your word. Is it okay, healthy, and safe to lift when your sore?

ANSWER

We do all the time. It goes away shortly into the session, then comes back after! Soreness decreases as fitness improves.
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently started Mtn Tactical’s Fortitude program and had a quick question for you. I tried doing sandbag get ups at the recommended weight of 65lbs however I was unable to get off the ground. In fact I could barely separate my shoulders from the ground. I currently weigh 165lbs and will eventually move onto the CSOR program come next March.
Would an appropriate compromise be to work with less weight for sand bag get ups and use the prescribed weight for other sandbag related exercises? I have successfully done get ups with a 50lbs bag.

ANSWER

Try harder. Should be no problem for you. Make sure your technique is dialed … roll into your armpit, push up on your elbow, lunge up: https://mtntactical.com/exercises/mnt403-sandbag-getup/
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently finished up a selection course and am looking to transfer my workouts from a more endurance and body weight focused realm to hard on strength and general operational capability. Naturally your Greek Hero/ Operator series drew my attention. My main focus is to really ramp up my strength both lower body and upper, with an emphasis on squats (maybe DL), shoulders (my weakest area) and BW Bench Reps  I would ideally like to do this without sacrificing all of my work capacity. Is there a specific program or flow of programs you might recommend for this?

ANSWER

I’d recommend Apollo. Multi-modal plan with strength emphasis, but also includes unloaded running, work cap, and chassis integrity.
– Rob

QUESTION

47 yr old overweight vet, corrective surgical right ankle / fibula
history, compression fracture in lower back, made it out of my wheel
chair, up on my feet and looking to rebuild.
I have access to a gym & track. I didn’t see a specific plan that
quite fits my description. Could you please recommend a mtn.
restoration plan?

ANSWER

Big 3 + Running Training Plan. Be smart/caution with the strength loading, and run/walk the prescribed running distance as needed …. but complete the distance.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m trying to push for a 300 in the APFT, so I’ve been trying out your APFT plan.  I’m having some issues with the pushup progression.  I can score between 66-69 pushups on the APFT.  The issue I’m having is that I can’t make it through all 6 sets of 75s of 30% of my pushups without reaching muscle failure early in set 5.  Is it better to 1) take a longer rest in-between sets, 2) drop the amount of reps per set, or 3) drop to my knees and do pushups this way for the remaining reps?  Any other advice?

ANSWER

This isn’t unusual. Drop to your knees to finish. It’s embarrassing, I know, because I have to do it too!

– Rob


QUESTION

What is the shortest plan you have? How long? What kind of plan is it?

ANSWER

MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan is close, 5 weeks, strength focus.
– Rob

 

Q&A 1.9.20

QUESTION

I’ve just started Mountain Tactical programming after reading your blogs and articles for the last few years.  Unfortunately about 2 weeks ago I ended up with a pretty good groin pull/lower ab strain while playing flag football.  I’m a 41 year old New York City Firefighter whose in good shape and works out regularly.  I’v been using Atomic Athlete”s programming for about 3 years.  In that time I’ve done a lot of core and hip work and have been very happy with the results overall.  However when I started playing football again this year after a decade layoff, I noticed a big hole i those areas.  I now I’m not 21 anymore but I felt like weakness in that area severely limited my mobility (change of direction), and endurance much more than simple aging.  I’m sure this is what led to my ultimate injury.  My question is whats the best program to address this.  I plan on starting the Firefighting cycles ASAP.  Is there any other program that may help more.

ANSWER

In terms of your injury – I can’t help much there as to the cause.
Our Fire/Rescue programming found in the Big Cat Series of plans does include lots of chassis integrity work, shuttle sprint repeats (with associated changes of direction) and tactical agility work – which includes changes of direction and level changes.
I can’t say however, if our stuff would have prevented your injury. It’s aimed at your job, not flag football. I would say that as we get older, and move away from team sports, the quick changes in direction, etc. fall away as most of us focus on strength and single-mode endurance. This is the major reason we developed and implemented our tactical agility programming – to keep athletes familiar with that type of explosive, quick, change of direction movement …. so the first time they have to do it isn’t in the real thing.
In terms of age decline, I can only speak for myself. I really started to feel knee stiffness at 44, and it continues to this day (I’m 51). This is the usual age-related arthritis. Recently, I’ve noticed some in my shoulders, but not nearly as acute or common. What this means practically, is I’m slower to warm up, and honestly don’t push loading in all squatting/lunging movements any more as the pain limits me.
Other areas of my performance – work cap, overall strength, endurance were solid and high until I hit 50, where everything fell back some. I can still hang with the young kids in the gym and on the mountain, but I don’t have the “turbo” I used to have.
I did get prescribed testosterone in my 40s and have used that for several years. It definitely helps with strength and recovery, but I’m not sure how it helps in terms of endurance. I would say that it also adds muscle mass, at least to me. I’d gladly trade a drop in 10 pounds of muscle for the benefit it would make to my endurance and impact to my joints, so I’m considering cycling off for a while to see how my body reacts. In general, I advise older guys to cut muscle mass some simply to reduce bodyweight – with the understanding that you’re eating clean and aren’t overly fat.
One thing the Fire/Rescue programming doesn’t focus on is general endurance – as it’s not part of the mission-direct fitness demands. You could include a nice, 3-6 mile run, 1x week to help address this, in addition to your flag football.
Good luck with MTI programming. Email questions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been following and really like the LE on ramp training plan, but I’m looking for programming that will incorporate some dumbbells for some increased strength.  Any suggestions?  Thank you,

ANSWER

Week 5 of the LE OnRamp Plan deploys barbell-focused free-weight training. You could jump ahead to it if you have barbell/plate and rack access.
If not, Tequila is one of our LE Patrol/Detective base fitness training plans that uses dumbbells and/or kettlebells for its strength programming.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently finishing up a training block where I am doing 3 days a week of endurance base building (long slow distance runs and rucks) and 2 days a week of heavy strength training (Tactical Barbell base building).  Once I finish this I plan to roll into an MTI training block, possibly with a work capacity and endurance focus.  My eventual goal would be to complete SFRE on a circa six month time horizon.  Two questions – which program should I start with?  Based on your other Q+As, I was thinking Humility.  Second, I know from past experience that my chassis/core strength is weaker than it should be.  How can I integrate chassis integrity circuits into current/future programming?
Thank you very much for your time and expertise.

ANSWER

Answer 1: Yes on Humility.
Answer 2: Nearly all MTI Base Fitness includes chassis integrity work, including Humility – so you wouldn’t need to add any extra.
If you choose not to do MTI programming, you could integrate 2 sessions/week from the Chassis Integrity Training Plan into whatever programming you’re doing. These circuits take around 20 minutes and could be either a warm-up or finisher to whatever programming you’re doing.
– Rob

QUESTION

Seeing if you could help recommend a training plan for me.  I have put on about 20lbs from finishing my MBA the last 8 months and really want to hit it hard on getting back into shape.  I typically do bodybuilding workouts and machine cardio but really looking to get back to being leaner and more conditioned similar to my time in the Army.  I know cleaning up my eating is step one.  I can train 4-5 times a week but would prefer a gym focused workout as Michigan winters aren’t great for my garage workouts/running outdoors.  I guess I just feel overwhelmed looking at all the training programs so thought I would try to seek you guidance.  Let me know if you need anymore information but its much appreciated.

ANSWER

If you’ve been training, but just put on weight, jump in with Johnny. This is a multi-modal plan which concurrently trains strength, work capacity, endurance (running) and chassis integrity (core). You can either suck it up and run outside for the plan, run inside on a treadmill, or spin on a stationary bike. For spinning, just convert the estimated time you’d run to time and spin for that long. If you choose to run outside and get cold, run faster (ha, ha).
If you’ve been a total couch potato, start with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. This is still intense programming, but deploys initial assessments and scales strength work to your incoming fitness. It also includes running – and your options are the same as above.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hey coach, I have been a sloth since my daughter was born almost 3 years ago. I MTN bike a few days a week when I can but that is really all I have been doing. I have a squat rack a kettle bell and a jump rope. I. Looking at getting a rower. What kind of plans can you shoot my way for this limited home gym.
Previously I was a regular CrossFit guy 3-5 days a week. I have done your big 24 v1 and a few older plans you have had over the years.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you jumpstart your fitness with Jedediah Smith. This is the first plan in our Wilderness Series for Wilderness Professionals – game wardens, rangers, field biologists, etc., and concurrently trains strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (run, uphill movement under load) and chassis integrity (core).
Its strength work is all bodyweight based – so no need for equipment save a pull up bar, and it’s chassis integrity work is focused on the low back – our most vulnerable area.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently working on the Ultimate Meathead Cycle and really enjoying it.
But I have a lot of time for recovery and taking care of my body right now, and would like to increase my volume, ideally to train 6 days out of the week. Is there another program I could stack with UMC?
Thank you for any guidance!

ANSWER

Quick answer is not really – if you’re interested in pushing your strength/upper body hypertrophy gains from the Ultimate Meathead Cycle. You wouldn’t want to do any more strength/lifting. The three days in the plan are heavy, and lots of volume – plenty.
What UMC is not giving you is anyway endurance work …. so what I’d recommend is stick with the Friday’s off, but add in a moderate-paced, 3-5 mile run on Saturdays. This will retard your strength/mass gains somewhat from UMC, but help maintain some endurance and give your head another day of training.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am wanting to start with your Bodyweight Foundation, but I need work out in the garage while my baby is sleeping inside. Which means, running from the house on weekdays doesn’t really work. Can I sub step ups or something like that?
Thank you for all you do.

ANSWER

Step ups will work if you don’t have a treadmill. Assume 1/4 mile = 50 step ups, so 1 mile = 200 step ups for substitution purposes. Use a 16-18″ box/step if possible.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was turned on to your training plans by a buddy.  I like what I see, but have a question regarding the schedule.  I am an avid mountain biker riding at least 30-40 miles a week and race dirt bikes for fun.  If I started your LE Plan I would have no desire to stop my usual training with mountain bikes and dirt bikes, so how would you recommend I fit those activities into your LE plan?

ANSWER

We believe tactical athletes should prioritize their work-related fitness training over recreational training. Simple reason is the danger of the job. I’m not going to lecture you – as a professional athlete you are responsible for your mission-direct fitness – but wanted to put that out front.
Two ways to integrate your riding:
1) Do two-a-days. Train LE programming early, and ride later.
2) Alternate between LE programming days, and riding. I.e. Monday – LE Programming, Tues – riding, Wed – LE Programming, Thur – riding, etc.
If you go with (2), follow the LE programming sessions in order – don’t skip around or ahead. The sessions are progressive – they build upon one another – and need to be completed in order.
If you go with MTI, start with Whiskey, which is the first plan in our “Spirits Packet” of plans for full-time LE Patrol/Detective. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (core), short endurance and tactical agility. I’m assuming you know your way around a weight room.
Respectfully,
– Rob

QUESTION

I am about to start the bodyweight foundation plan. I have a trail near my house that is much more convenient for me to train on instead of drive 20 minutes to the closest track. My times will be slower because the elevation changes quite a bit, do people often substitute some exercises in these plans?

ANSWER

Not sure I understand your question. In terms of running – you can use trails, and for the intervals, just go at your “threshold pace” – as fast as you can.
– Rob

QUESTION

I read the Research Article from June 25, 2019 on Barbell Complex leading to overall strength gains.
I was curious how long the strength gains would continue more long term.
I’ve been doing the Gladiator workout so I feel familiar with the protocol used in the mini study.
If I record my 1RM for Back Squat, Bench Press, Hinge Lift, Pull Up, and Barbell Complex over the next 4 to 6 months would it benefit you and MTI?
Out of curiosity what is the heaviest Barbell Complex Max Load that you’ve seen or recorded?

ANSWER

It depends on (1) programming and (2) Training age – or how long you’ve been weight training.
Programming – If you move from a strength-focused plan like Gladiator, to an endurance plan, or more balanced plan, your strength would either maintain or could slightly decrease. MTI programming, in general, is not designed for powerlifters or Oly lifters – it’s designed for professional mountain and tactical athletes, who have a variety of fitness demands.
Training age … the older your training age, the less the strength gains would endure. However, if you’re new to strength training, the gains could last longer.
Highest barbell complex? I observed one of my veteran lab rats make 175#, but I’m sure others could go higher. What I’ve never seen is someone get their bodyweight … now that would be awesome. I did have a vet female athlete who weighed 120-ish get 105# – which is pretty amazing. The vet I saw get 175# weighed around 200#. Both the vets mentioned here suffered in making the load – as you know, heavy barbell complexes can take you to dark places ….
My best ever is 135# … at a bodyweight of 155-160#. Push presses are the “crux” as you know … but I’d be scared to go any heavier.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a serving Royal Marines Commando in the UK. I’m taking on UKSF selection next year in the summer.

I’ve been a customer for a few months now, using your daily operator programmes ect. I noticed you have quite a few selection process training programmes, but nothing specific to UKSF selection for SAS and SBS.

I was just wandering if you were able to recommend a programme to take on to prepare for selection? Or would you be able to put something together?

If your not fully aware of what the selection process is, the main 2 parts of selection are firstly Hills, which is 3 weeks in the Brecon mountains. Every day yomping (marching) with 50lbs – 70lbs, over 15-20km at a speed of km per hour.  First two weeks are just general yomping over the mountains and then the final week is test week, which culminates with a 20 hour yomp over 60km of mountains  with 70lbs.

2nd main part is 6 weeks in the jungle. Which at high intensity, conducting jungle operations, recon, live firing. As well as carrying similar weights as hills, but through the jungle and in a tactical environment.

There are obviously lots of other aspects to the selection process, however these are the main physical tests that we are told to prepare for. We will also expect to be thrashed with high intensity runs and body weight workouts.

Hope this all makes sense?

Close to 500 people attend the selection every year, so if it was possible to put something together for your page, I’d imagine you would get a lot of interest.

Any help would be greatly appreciate, as I’ve really enjoyed your programming so far!

ANSWER

UK Athletes have used our SFOD-D Selection Training Plan for SAS … as you probably know, SFOD-D selection is modeled after SAS selection – rucking intensive.
Not sure what SBS is? But regardless, I’d focus on programming for the first part of the selection – the rucking intensive stuff, and then expect that fitness to carry me through the jungle part. Honestly, programming for SAS is very intense and high volume – not much time for much other work.
Did this answer your question?
– Rob

QUESTION

Looking for some advice on restarting training after injury.
Exactly a year ago I completed the off season training program for endurance, then SF45 Delta and at the beginning of this year the ultra pre season program. Felt physically good then early into the 50 mile ultra plan I twisted an ankle quite badly and had to stop running and dropped my MTI programs. 3 months later I started back running gently now and then but 6 weeks ago tore a calf muscle in my other leg on a trail run – now only just walking without a limp. Classic case of too much too soon especially for a 60 year old.
I’ve lost a lot of conditioning this year and want to get back into my garage gym so welcome some advice on gentle but challenging progression using your programs. My ultra days may be over but I want to be able to enjoy shorter trail runs and big hikes again.
By the way, the recent Accommodation essay was very insightful, thank you.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Big 3 + Run Training Plan.
You might as well do some strength training since you can’t do much endurance, and the strength work in this plan is classic, assessment-based and progressed. Plus, the strength work will add some overall durability.
The running in the plan is short – so it’s walkable. The only thing I might recommend if your calf can handle it, is perhaps adding a 25# backpack. Walk/ruck the prescribed running distance in the plan. This will also get you outside.
Heal up!
– Rob

QUESTION

Got my retraining approved for tacp, still waiting for a school start date. I’m thinking it’ll be May/June next year. Here’s what I am thinking about to get ready.

TLU strength beginning first week of January.
Greek heroes AM + push up packet PM.
TACP schoolhouse plan just before going to the schoolhouse.

What do you think? Also should I take a full on week’s rest between each plan?

ANSWER

I’d recommend you jump right in with the USAF TACP School Training Plan, then take a week off and roll into the Greek Hero plans until your 8 weeks out from the course, then repeat the TACP Plan.
Doing the TACP Course now will likely smoke you and totally suck …. but it will also help harden your mind and body. Then repeating it before your course, and seeing how much better you perform, will send you into the schoolhouse fit and confident.
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently had jaw surgery and during my recovery I can’t withstand any impact that would shake my jaw so no running or jumping. I plan to start the meathead marathon plan in late February for a marathon in April but in the mean time I have a few more weeks of recovery. Is there a plan you recommend for me to maintain a base fitness while I recover?

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Big 3 + Run Training Plan.
Seems like you should be able to lift, and you can replace the running in the plan with walking, or better, rucking with a 45+ pack. Modify/avoid exercises as needed to protect your jaw.
– Rob

QUESTION

My wife is a runner who has run marathons and multiple half marathons. She was training for her next marathon when we found out she was pregnant last year. During the delivery she developed diastasis recti and a small umbilical hernia. Do you have any plans to help her or recommendations on how to rehab this? We love the mountain tactical low back program but she is concerned that a lot of the exercises increase her intra-abdominal pressure. Any recommendations are appreciated.

ANSWER

I’m not a doctor and can’t help here. All of our core training does involve bracing or work of some type and will increase abdominal pressure.
What you could have her do is ruck (walk or fast walk) with a 15-25# pack …. this will add some gentle core work, and also get her moving and outside.
I’d recommend the 2-Mile Run Improvement Training Plan – but substitute rucking (walk or fast walk – no ruck running) for the prescribed running in the plan. I’d have her start the first week with a 15# pack, then bump it up to 25# for the remaining weeks.
This plan also includes bodyweight strength work and bodyweight core work. She could try the bodyweight strength work (leg blaster progression, push ups, pull ups), but if this aggravated her hernias – just skip it. As she works through the plan, injury recovers and she gains strength, she can add that stuff in gently on the non-rucking days as injury allows. Have her be smart and cautious.
Good thing about this is it includes assessments/progressions so she will be pushed and can see improvement.
– Rob

 

Q&A 1.2.19

KUDOS ON THE USMC COMBAT FITNESS TEST (CFT)

“I want to thank you for what you do. I’m 45 and an active duty Marine. I took my CFT today and scored a 291.
I’ve used a couple of your plans and I really appreciate your approach. I told the young guys that I may not be as fast or reliable as I was 20 years ago, but I feel a lot better every day. I also enjoy your blog posts and outlook.
Anyway, I don’t want to take up much of your time, but want to say again, thanks.”

QUESTION

I have been researching for a while now & have come to the conclusion that you guys know your stuff.

I am reaching out as a 22 year from Ca, in hopes of some guidance. I am giving myself 2 full years to train mentally & physically for the chance to join the United States Army Special Forces. In pursuit of being top of class in the Q course & achieving my Green Beret.

I am asking you how to go about the next two years in regards to the packets I should use & in what order?  I am in pretty decent shape but have a long road ahead of me. Any help would be much appreciated.

ANSWER

Now – complete the plans/order in the Greek Hero Packet, beginning with the Military OnRamp Plan. This is 49 weeks of training, if followed concurrently. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (run/ruck), chassis integrity (core) and tactical agility. They are designed as “base”, day-to-day fitness for military SOF.
Follow it up with the Plans/Order in the Ruck-Based Selection Training Packet. Several have used this packet successfully for SFAS. Start with Humility. This will add another 45 weeks of programming.
You’ll want to time it so you complete the final plan in this packet, the Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan directly before bootcamp.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been looking at your website, plans, programs, and content.  I’m wondering where to start.
Me: I’m 56 and in good condition.  I’ve done alot of strength training over the past 30 years but not much cardio until about 8-9 years ago when I started doing backpack elk hunts in October in several states.  I have no problem getting around the mountains and packing out elk – but its getting harder every year.  I currently train 5 days/week with a mix of strength and cardio.  I tend to concentrate on pure strength, while maintaining cardio, this time of year.  I move to endurance with more cardio about June or so.
I noticed in the past couple years high elevation and steep terrain is what I need to work on.  Training in high elevation isn’t going to happen in Tennessee so don’t have much of an answer for that piece of the puzzle.  I’ve noticed after 2-3 days of hard hunting in steep terrain, and carrying a pack, wears me out and I usually take every 3rd day or so off to recover.  I’d like not to do that if possible.
For strength I stick with the multi-joint basics – squat, push, pull, hinge, core. I keep weight high, reps low and switch to lower weights/higher reps in summer.  I trail run 4-5 miles 2x per week and do a long hike (15-20 miles) with 20 lb pack in the Smoky’s or another trail run depending on time/daylight.  I usually add in rucking with 40-50 lbs in summer to replace one of the trail runs.
With 10 months until elk season, what do you recommend with respect to your training programs? Where would I start?

ANSWER

10 months = 43 weeks
Here’s what I recommend
Weeks    Plans
1-33      Plans/Order in the Wilderness Professional Packet. These are designed for game wardens, rangers, biologists and concurrently train
               strength, work capacity, chassis integrity, and mountain endurance (running, uphill movement under load
34         Total Rest
35-43     Backcountry Hunting Pre-Season Training Plan – complete the 8 weeks directly before your season
Understand this is intense programming. I’m 51, and can still do it – but my joints feel it and I recover slower. Don’t be afraid to skip sessions/take more rest as needed. Train smart.
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently purchased a membership to the fitness plans provided by your company. I am currently in the pipeline for CSOR’s Operator Selection and had a look at the program corresponding to this selection. I have to admit that based on other programs and resources that I have found, the program that you have made best address my needs. That being said I still have quite some time before Selection, happening in April 2020, and would like your help with finding programs to follow in the meantime.
Below are some of my current restrictions:
  1. 4 Dec 2019 – Jan 18 2020: No restrictions, will have access to a ruck and gym
  2. 19 Jan – 8 Feb: Will be out of the country, will only have access to a gym but no ruck
  3. 13 Feb – 23 Feb: Will be out of the country, possibly no access to a gym but access to a ruck
I’m looking for a program that will build me up to tackle the CSOR Selection program that your company has designed.

ANSWER

Time Period           Plan
4 Dec – Jan 18       Fortitude
19 Jan – 8 Feb       Humility (first 3 weeks)
13 Feb – 23 Feb    Valor – Replace rucking in the plan with runs in your body armor
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m interested in pursuing career in TACP or SF. I’m 36, former Marine/SWAT guy, that’s gotten fat and out of shape and need help starting over. I still exercise sporadically but need a good plan that won’t injure/kill me to start preparing for either of these selections. My most recent PT test results were

1.5mi Run: 12:20
Pushups (1M): 56
Sit-ups (1M): 50

Where should I start?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

Hey just got you guys subscription and I started the skinny hy program I’m currently deployed and I plan on going to A&S when I get back state side , what do you recommend to be hit MTI Tactical athletes standards and maintain good endurance I weight about 150-155
Sent from my iPhone

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I am Federal LE and a USMC reservist. I am being transferred from a city HQ office to “Indian Country” which will involve a lot of time driving to reservations.

What do you recommend for maintaining mobility/durability while spending so much time hunched in a vehicle? Any programs or specific movements?  I expect to have access to a YMCA with a pool.

I have followed operator and LE programs in the past, currently I am recovering strength and following your low back program while recovering from a chronic low back injury/pain.

ANSWER

Train hard daily. Continue with the LE Patrol Programming – I’d recommend the Spirit’s Packet of Plans – just updated these a month or so ago. Start with Whiskey.
– Rob

QUESTION

Thank you for creating your programs. Incredible results from this programming, and super intense, in just 7 weeks.

I wanted to pass along my results. I’ve been lifting since I was about 15 (37 now), but I’ve been out of the weight room for about two solid years focused on jiu-jitsu. I’d say I have a fairly high lifting age but I’d also say I was untrained going into this.

The timing protocol I followed was 1:30 between every set, and lifted as you prescribed. My only change was I did not do weighted pullups, just strict dead hang pull ups. On some of the later days, I didn’t even do the stretching between sets, just walked around the gym to recover. The gym here also has a grip strength dynamometer, my grip strength was fairly consistent at around 140lbs on each hand. I know that’s high but I attribute it to 7 years of hard jiu-jitsu.

75” tall

Body weight: 235 -> 229; 2.5% (ate literally everything in view). Body fat went from 18% to 15%, lost a little over 1” off the waist.

Squat: 260 -> 330; 26.9%

Lunges: 50 -> 95; 90%

Hang Squat Clean: 160 -> 230; 43.8%

Bench: 205 -> 250; 21.9%

Pull ups: 5 -> 16; 220%

Push Press: 155 -> 210; 35.4%

From here, you had recommended Johnny but my cardio is such I need to improve on that first. My thought is to complete the ultimate meathead to get 3 more weeks of hypertrophy, in conjunction with the 2-mile improvement plan and then transition to Johnny once I’ve improved my cardio. Or would Big 3 + running be better? Thoughts?

ANSWER

Glad the plan worked for you!
Stick with Johnny. It includes plenty of strength work.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve followed your programming and company for years. I just finished up IBOLC and blew my chance at Ranger due to a torn ligament. During my rehab I’m trying to get myself back into my fighting shape now that I’m getting pushed out to the big army. I have the utmost respect for your programs and plans and I know you’re not a fan of people pairing and mixing your plans together but if there was a combination of plans to get back a generally high level of cardio and weight lifting what would be the ones? And I follow your nutrition guidelines but do you think that a no/low card diet is sustainable for an IN platoon leader in the big army while in garrison ? As always, thank you for your incredible work and guidance.

ANSWER

1) Plans/order in the Greek Hero Packet, beginning with Hector.
2) Yes. Our recommendations are not “no carb” – just not shitty carbs. Plenty of carbs in fruit/veggies. Stop overthinking it.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m an LE professional with skinny, chicken legs. I also want to improve my run time.
Will the leg training in the 2-mile run improvement plan (leg blasters, etc) be sufficient to gain some leg size?
Alternatively, how should one train a lagging muscle group (like my skinny legs) to catch up with better developed muscle groups?

ANSWER

Hypertrophy training is pretty direct …. sets of 8-15, at a “hard but doable” load.
Leg Blasters for hypertrophy? Not programmed for that, and anecdotally, some of our lab rats have seen leg growth, and others not.
Best would be to 8 sets of 8 reps – increase load each round until hard but doable, of Front Squats, and Walking Lunges with Dumbbells. Say Tuesdays – Front Squats, Thursdays – Walking Lunges. Replace the leg blasters in the plan with this.
– Rob

QUESTION

I live Alaska. I am 58 years old. I have worked construction all my life and an avid sheep Hunter. Over the last 10 years I have slowly gone downhill physically, due to sitting behind a desk, earlier low back injury, and years of abusing my body in construction work. I have Stenosis, bone spurs on lower back, arthritis in hips. Chiropractors said that they could adjust me but before I walked out of the office I would lose the adjustment. They said my only option was surgery.
Not wanting to go the surgery route I began seeing a Nutritionist/Chiropractor. At my lowest point I was in constant pain and functioning at 10%. By cutting out all nightshade vegetables, grains and sugar, and not lifting things that I shouldn’t and taking supplements I became relatively pain free but still functioning at 10%. Last year some friends convinced me to take them sheep hunting so I began very simple core exercises and 1 hour speed walking. Closer to the hunt I added a loaded pack to the walk and climbed Crow Pass in the Chugach for a tune up for the hunt. Uphill was no problem but downhill the left knee definitely did not like.
The hunt got cut short as one of my partners injured his leg but overall I was pleased with my performance.
I am planning on going again next year in August.
I started your Low back injury recovery plan. I have taken It very slowly, I am 2 months in but on week 4. I have only felt a twinge of pain twice and I stopped and took a day off.
My goal is to do your Backcountry hunting plan which will take 28 weeks. I have 35 weeks. Should I do low back injury recovery a second time or do you have a suggestion as to how to proceed.

ANSWER

Low backs are a mystery. In our experience, our programming has helped bring athletes back from an episode, but not prevent a future episode. What did happen was the athlete knew they could come back, and they came back quicker.
You? It seems you’ll have 5 weeks between the end of the Low Back Fitness Plan and when you’ll begin the Backcountry Big Game Training Packet. I’d recommend Jedediah Smith, which is the first plan in our Wilderness Series for wilderness professionals – rangers, wardens, etc. It’s 5 weeks long.
All the strength work in Jedediah Smith is bodyweight-based, it continues with the Founder exercises – which have worked super well for us in terms of building low back durability, and will ramp up your endurance with running and step ups.
In all the programming, be smart/conservative on the loading, esp. the chassis integrity sandbag work.
Good luck.
– Rob

QUESTION

Cool news here, I decided to commit to bow hunting this year and have picked up a new compound bow and have started shooting.
I am currently in Week 3 of the first plan of the Backcountry Big Game Hunting packet (Body Weight Foundation) and was wondering if there was anything I could do to help build up myself to draw, stabilize and hold the bow for hunting scenarios? And, if so, how I would program it into this plan and the ones to come.
Or do I even need to? Maybe shooting by itself will take care of it?
Thanks a lot!!

ANSWER

Best would be to train sport specifically and shoot. Try for 25-50 arrows per day. The big issue with shooting is the small rotator cuff muscles in your shoulders. I’ll start shooting in the winter and actually turn my bow down 5 or 10#. When I can shoot 3-4 days in a row I’ll bump up the poundage.
Key is to stop shooting when you begin to fatigue. Rotator cuff injuries are killer.
From our Programming, you should add in 2x Shoulder Blasters, 2x/week. Start unloaded and work up to 10# plates. These are killer….
– Rob

QUESTION

Not to puke up my personal history, but I am seeking guidance before I register and purchase a plan.
Background: 46 years old in SOF, arthritis in knees and back, ruptured ACL and torn meniscus in R-knee W-bone spurs. Bone spurs in lower back. Umbilical Hernia X2 with abdominal repair (5 in incision from naval to sternum). I have ballooned up to 275 pounds. I have completed physical therapy and all that jazz. I work at a desk but there is a 1.5 day Law Enforcement Sniper competition I want to participate in in May. I need to ease into a program but I don’t want to blow anything out again. And I need to drop chunk, build stamina, stabilize the knee and build core. Please shoot back with any suggestions on plans or courses of action.

ANSWER

90+% of fat is diet-related. Fix your diet and you’ll shed fat. Here are our nutrition recommendations. Follow these except cut out the cheat day. Understand there are no caloric restrictions …. you should never be hungry … just don’t eat/drink “crap”.
Plan? Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. This plan deploys an initial assessment and follow-on progressions are based on your assessment results. This way the plan automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness.
Good luck.
– Rob

QUESTION

Is it equivalent to sub a weighted vest for rucksack if weight is the same?

ANSWER

No, especially if during the real thing you’ll be wearing a pack.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m trying to find a training plan… I am currently in the Navy as a Corpsman and am going to have a few schools coming up, starting in January with Cold Weather Medicine at Mountain Warfare School. They are using this course as a screening process to see how I do to [hopefully] start the process to become an instructor at the school. I have been doing some relatively intense training, loaded stamina based training (1-2 hour gym sessions, So. Many. Step-ups.), some running (probably my weakest area) some shorter distance loaded running. I would like to train as if I’m going to get selected and would have the following courses: FMTB in July (not concerned about passing, but still want it to be an easy crush) and then Mountain Leaders Course (MLC). MLC is a 3 month, mountain/ tactical intensive school. I’ll be working at elevation during these schools, but am currently at sea level. Plan to do some elevation training before January just to get the lungs accustomed, not that I’ll actually be acclimated.
A little of my history: used to be a big runner, got a stress fracture in my femoral neck 2 years ago and running hasn’t been the same since, but it’s all healed and I am perfectly able to hit it hard, as I try to do. Used to live in Colorado and have done plenty 14ers, now living in WA still do some mountaineering.
Could you name a plan or two, maybe a couple that build on each other for this type of extended training?  Need to be able to carry roughly 50# for mileage, up to 10 miles of trail running unloaded, and just the basic loaded mountain ruck humping. Oh and in the snow.
Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing back.

ANSWER

I’m a little confused by your timeline, but in general, I’d recommend plans from the Wilderness Professional Series as your “Base Fitness” – starting with Jedediah Smith between now and your January Course. These plans are designed for rangers, full time mountain SAR, wardens, etc. and concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (running, uphill movement under load) and chassis integrity (core).
After the January course roll back into the Wilderness Professional Plans until  you’re 6 weeks out from the Mountain Warfare course, then complete the Mountain Warfare School Training Plan the 6 weeks directly before starting the course.
After, roll back into the Wilderness Professional Plans. If/when you burn through these, pivot to the Wildland Fire Packet of plans – which are similar in focus, but designed as base fitness for wildland firefighters. They also will transfer well to your goals.
– Rob

QUESTION

I wondering if your CFA training plan includes any strength training or is it just composed of the main exercises that are in the test?

ANSWER

The CFA plan is focused on the exercises in the test.
I’d recommend the Military OnRamp Training Plan for an intro to all around military fitness.
– Rob

 

Arete 12.26.19

Military / National Security / Foreign Affairs

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2020, Foreign Policy mall Wars Journal
Pentagon proposes big cuts to US Navy destroyer construction, retiring 13 cruisers, Defense News
The Space Force is officially the sixth military branch. Here’s what that means. Military Times
New in 2020: ‘No-fail’ PT testing, Air Force Times
Marines actively searching for two missing rifles on Camp Lejeune while NCIS investigates, Marine Corps Times
Pentagon advises troops to not use consumer DNA kits, citing security risks, Air Force Times
U.S. offers $15 million for information on IRGC and commander behind Karbala attack, Long War Journal
Results of scientific inquiry into malaria drugs used by US troops expected in March, Military Times

 

First Responder / Wildland Fire

Spotlight: 911 Seats Incorporated offers custom options designed with firefighters in mind, FireRescue 1 Daily News
Criminal background checks will now be done on emergency responders who act as witnesses, Law Enforcement Today
New Suicide Prevention Number Could Lead to Surge in Calls, Officer
PPE preliminary exposure reduction for firefighters, FireRescue 1 Daily News
Country Star George Strait Raises Money for Texas First Responders, POLICE Magazine
Naughty and Nice: Policing During the Winter Holidays, POLICE Magazine
Policing Matters Podcast: The top trends in a tumultuous year, PoliceOne Daily News
WTREX provides prescribed fire training for women, Wildfire Today
Senate holds hearing about powerline-caused wildfires, Wildfire Today

 

Mountain

Snowshoe Thompson Had to be the Most Badass Backcountry Skiing Mailman Ever, Adventure Journal
Jackson Hole’s Kings and Queens of Corbet’s propelled sit-skier Trevor Kennison into the spotlight, FREESKIER
How a Weekend Warrior Mom Scaled Every California 14er in Record Time, Adventure Journal
New Mexico’s White Sands Is Officially a National Park, Outside Magazine
Mountain Gear is closing after 37 years in business, SNEWS
Winter Climbs 2020: German Team Arrives in Everest Base Camp as Season Commences, The Adventure Blog
The Ultimate Backcountry Skiing Experience in the Canadian Rockies, The Outbound Collective Journal
Fatbiking the Midwest: Where to Go and Best Trails Once You Get There with Backcountry North, Osprey Packs Experience
Caught in a Storm, a Skier Dreams of Japan, POWDER Magazine

 

Nutrition / Fitness / Health

6 Marathons that Are Actually an Excuse to Travel, Outside Magazine
Is Drinking Fruit Juice Healthy? (Is Fruit Juice Really as Bad as Soda?), Nerd Fitness
Are You Overtraining? (Here’s How to Tell), Born Fitness
Save Money by Traveling to These 9 Places in Winter, Outside Magazine
The Benefits of Working on Your Explosive Power, Breaking Muscle
Coach, Trainer, or Entertainer – The Fitness Industry Conundrum, Breaking Muscle
Intermittent fasting: Live ‘fast,’ live longer? Diet and Weight Loss News
RHR: Are Lyme Disease and Celiac Disease Connected? with Dr. Ramzi Asfour, Chris Kresser
All That Blue Light Exposure Might Not Be Keeping You Awake After All, Men’s Journal

Interesting

Pentagon warns military against threat of at-home DNA kits, Law Enforcement Today
Russia Returned Captured Ukrainian Ships With The Toilets Torn Out, Foxtrot Alpha
Germans think Trump is more dangerous than Kim Jong Un and Putin, Deutsche Welle
Adding Ski Runs to Google Street View | 11k, Unofficial Networks
Why Activated Charcoal Has More Health Risk Than Reward, Born Fitness

Q&A 12.26.19

QUESTION

Starting to ramp up for a June 2020 RAAM 4-person relay.  Looking for program that works well with 3 training rides a week (generally 15 min off + 15 min at threshold-repeats type of riding) but helps me maintain muscle mass and some manliness.

ANSWER

Big 3 + Run Training Plan. Replace the running in the plan with your training rides.
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently purchased a 6 month subscription to MTI. I had a quick question about the HRT prep plan. Before I do that I wanted to give a brief background…I went to HRT selection back in 2016. I failed out due to missing qual times on several of the pass/fail events during the first week. The failures were all due to missing run/ruck time hacks.  I was training throughout the year, but I was also nursing a PF injury I developed after doing an Ironman while also training for selection – I know now, it was a bit much.
I’m now 40 years old and Selection is at the end of March. I’m currently (loosely) prepping for it, basically taking a temp as to how my body is feeling. I have been reviewing your plan and my question is this, do you have a plan that is similar to the HRT prep plan but with a reduced number of 2/day workouts? My current position doesn’t allow me to get in 2/day workouts; however, I do have weekends and I could probably squeak in several 2/day workouts a week. My biggest thing right now is also recovery. I have noticed the moment I start focusing on a training plan, I begin to skimp on the warmup/recovery until its too late.
Anyway, this may be outside of what is provided with the 6 month membership, but I wanted to reach out to you and inquiry. I appreciate your help and any guidance/suggestions is greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

Quick answer is I don’t have another plan which will prepare you for HRT. That plan is designed specifically for the selection, and it’s what you need to complete the 9 weeks directly before selection. Do your best to get in all the training sessions.
By my count you have 17 weeks until the last week of March. The FBI HRT Selection Training Plan is 9 weeks long – between now and beginning the HRT Plan I’d recommend Fortitude, then a full week’s rest before beginning the HRT plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking for some advice or guidance on choosing a plan to stick with. I am currently in the USMC and will be attempting to become a Game Warden in the state of Washington when I EAS in June. So far my physical training has been whatever the Sergeant has planned for the morning and then lifting some weights in the afternoon on my own time. I am looking for a more specialized approach for my goals. When looking over the multiple programs, the 3 that stood out the most to me were the Greek Heroine Packet, the Greek Hero Packet and the Wilderness Packet. I understand that all three of these programs have their benefits, especially for mountain-based fitness. I also want to make sure that I am able to build strength and possibly some muscle as well so I am interested in the 357 and Big 24 programs. Would one of these packets/programs have a plan that is better for me than the others, or would they all provide essentially what I am looking for? Any help is greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

Wilderness Professional Packet – which is designed for game wardens, forest rangers, etc. Start with Jedediah Smith.
Good luck on your journey to game warden!
– Rob

QUESTION

I am 22 and am currently enrolling in the Canadian armed forces as a combat engineer. I wanted to complete one of your programs to get me more than ready for my basic training and my physical fitness tests. I am interested in increasing my distance in running but also becoming more explosive, durable and athletic so I can be the best soldier I can be. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER

Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

I am finishing up the Big 24 plan next week. The strength gains have been impressive, I’ll have final numbers and send them along as you guys seem to be very attune to the metrics from the plans. And you weren’t kidding, the Big 24 was more intense than I would’ve expected and the hang squat cleans were a kick in the nuts.
That said, looking for your recommendation for a follow on to the Big 24.
My long term goals, improve running times, my running has definitely atrophied from the last 7 weeks. The running distances I want to aim for is no more than roughly 5k. I’d like to maintain my strength gains from the Big 24, and improve overall core strength. I don’t need ‘operator’ level fitness. I’m well versed in Olympic style lifts and I have access to a full gym, so I’m open to all suggestions.

ANSWER

Move to one of our multi-modal plans. Specifically, I’d recommend Johnny from our country singer packet of plans. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (primarily running) and chassis integrity (core).
– Rob

QUESTION

I just completed the 7-week dryland training program. What would you recommend I do for training if I’m not skiing till March? And in the meantime, I am kitesurfing or mountain biking 4-5 days per week?

ANSWER

That plan is designed to be completed directly before you ski …. so you’ll lose some of the sport-specific fitness gained between now and March.
By my count, you have 14 weeks until March.
What I’d recommend is one of our multi-modal general fitness plans for the next 7 weeks, specifically, Johnny, which concurrently trains strength, work capacity, endurance and chassis integrity (core).
Then, the 7 weeks directly before your ski trip, re-complete the Dryland Ski Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I made it past Ranger Schools RAP week, but recycled Darby due to failing patrols.

The next 2 weeks, I am essentially in a barracks/prison (no access to weights, not allowed to run anywhere, etc.). All I have is some pullup bars. What plan do you suggest these 2 weeks?
After those 2 weeks, I go home on Christmas Leave for 3 weeks and will have full access to gym equipment, what plan for those 3 weeks?
After that Darby starts again.

ANSWER

Now? Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. Do step ups instead of running, if you can’t run. 50x Step Ups = 400m in running.
Leave? First 3 weeks of Fortitude.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been trying the legacy program MTN athlete for crossfiters.  Is there a more recent version of this? I dig the strength/power component, but always have to keep my endurance going.

My goal is to maintain my current strength but add endurance without losing weight/muscle mass.

(I’m 220, and more of strength/power guy less overall endurance, 475+ back squat, 290ish bench 405dl,  about an 8-815 mile. )

ANSWER

No. I’d recommend the plans/order in the Country Singer Packets, beginning with Johnny. These plans are designed for civilian athletes and concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance and chassis integrity (core).
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been browsing your site for a program to suit my goals.  There are so many, and need a little guidance on which program would be best for me.  I am looking to build up my long distance running game to be able to complete a 100miler in the next year.  I would also like to maintain and build strength as well in the four main lifts(bench, squat, deadlift, press).  Are there any programs y’all offer that might be aligned with those goals?  Appreciate any feedback.  Thanks.

ANSWER

Big 3 + Run Training Plan. This plan does hit squat, dl, bench and pull ups, – not the press. You’d need to replace the pull ups in the plan with the press and follow the same progression as the bench press.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been programming with you guys for a few years now ever since I was introduced to one of the KB programs while deployed. I’ve done several of the programs and honestly love all of them. What I’m of course now struggling with is how to develop larger cycles of years or longer. Do you have any articles or guidance about how to logically stack training programs for much longer cycles? I just finished the eccentric training, I’m now doing TLU, was thinking about doing something with more endurance next, but I really feel like I’m just being random. Any advice?

ANSWER

You’re stacking training programs with super-focused linear goals … i.e. strength for 7 weeks, strength for 7 weeks, then maybe a running plan. What this means practically is during the 7 weeks you’re doing a running plan, you’re not training strength
I’d recommend moving away from choosing plans like this and move to one of our Base Fitness packets of plans. With these I’ve done the macrocycle programming for you – the plans follow in a logical order. As well, each plan is multi-modal – trains strength, endurance, chassis integrity, work capacity and other attributes based on the job profile.
Out of the military? I’d recommend the Country Singer Packet 1 to start. Follow the plans in order …. beginning with Johnny. This is 28 weeks of programming, which you can roll right into Country Singer Packet 2 for another 4 plans and another 28 weeks of programming – so a full year. Each plan is 7 weeks long, with week 7 being an unload/taper week.
Still in the military, young and on the tip of the spear? Do the Greek Hero Series. Again, follow the plans in order, beginning with Hector. These plans are designed as Base Fitness for military Infantry/SOF and concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (run, ruck), chassis integrity and tactical agility.
Still in the military, more senior, (35+ years old) and in leadership? Do the Busy Operator Packet. Six Plans, with the training sessions designed around the 35-50 minute time frame. Super efficient training.
Not only will these base fitness packets take care of macro programming for you, but they offer a lot of variety in terms of strength progressions, work capacity events, endurance programming …. they are purposely designed to combat training “staleness”.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am inquiring if you still have daily operator sessions focusing on Strength, Endurance, and Work capacity? I want to rejoin the team but i want to make sure you still offer Operator sessions.

ANSWER

Yes, we do – the Operator Sessions no concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (run/ruck), chassis integrity and tactical agility, and are only available with a subscription.
Another option is to purchase the Greek Hero Training Packet, or and individual plan (Hector) – this is a one time purchase and no subscription is needed. The Greek Hero plans deploy the same programming methodology as the Operator Sessions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently doing Humility. I recently did session 16 and 17 and increased all my numbers from my initial assessment, except for the burpee ladder (down from 60 to 50) and 2 mile assessment (went up to 15:20 from 15:13.)

Would you recommend adding more running or even adding a running plan to use in conjunction with Humility in order to get my run times down where I want them? If so, how would you incorporate more running into my current plan.

ANSWER

Humility is too intense to add any extra training to. It is surprising your run time didn’t drop and I’m wondering if you perhaps had an off day.
Regardless, continue with the programming as prescribed.
– Rob

QUESTION

I live I Sweden. I’m currently undergoing boot camp in the Air Force and will now after Christmas start my training as force security personnel. My question to you is what plan you recommend to someone who wants to qualify for SF? What would be optimal sense I’m already in a military school but I need to ramp it up to get my fitness top notch before selection?
I have applied for the Swedish costal rangers (similar to MARSOC).

ANSWER

Now I’d recommend the plans/order in the Pirate Packet of plans which are designed for military SOF with water-based mission sets, and include swimming. Start with Barbossa.
9 weeks out from selection, I’d recommend you complete the MARSOC A&S Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently deployed aboard the Lincoln and my workout “routine” has gotten a little stale. I started the Running Improvement Plan with an eye toward our fall PRT cycle, but after a series of extensions that has been OBE and as a result my motivation has waned. I also have a history of shoulder injuries and have noticed a lot of atrophy and stiffening with the lack of focus on strength/upper body.

Snatches and overhead squats were something that really helped me strengthen and mobilize my shoulders after surgery years ago, and I’d like to re-incorporate them into my workouts. Do any of your plans use either of these exercises, or are there any places in an existing plan they could be substituted for a more “traditional” exercise (such as cleans or back squats, respectively)?

ANSWER

We moved away from prescribing snatches/overhead squats in our programming several years ago – just too many men had shoulder mobility issues with these exercises and I could get the same training effect with another exercise.
I consider both a “Total Body” exercise, and as such, in MTI programming, you could substitute them in for any of the total body exercises in my programming … power cleans, hang squat cleans, power clean + push press, heavy thrusters, ect.
– Rob

QUESTION

Looking for a good program to start to get back in shape. Work, baby and time traveling has wrecked my routine. Looking for a good program to follow that doesn’t require a lot of equipment/or mostly body weight, cardio and workouts aren’t 2 hours.
Basically looking for something that will help get back at it, lose that extra weight and get back in good shape.

ANSWER

– Rob

 

Q&A 12.19.19

KUDOS WILDERNESS PROFESSIONAL TRAINING PACKET / WRANGELL ST ELIAS

“I am a long time subscriber, over 9 years using your programs, mostly for mountain related activities
I recently finished Wrangell St Elias and wanted to share that’s it’s close to being perfect, kinda like Humility.  I found it very effective as a fall prep for backcountry skiing in between a long summer of mostly mountain running.   This package of programs was really needed for those of us that don’t climb(much) but need mountain specific programming.

What I liked most about this program is the dumbell focus.  I just turned 56 and the balancing requirements using dumbbells vs a barbell were surprising – something I didn’t appreciate until I read about deteriorating balance as one ages.  So as a suggestion for us SF45 people is to keep some concentration like this in those programs as you have in the WSE.

Second, the sprints were brutal and perfect after an endurance focused summer.  Your message of simplicity was top of mind as I almost heaved during the first few weeks.  So more of that, even for us old guys.

Lastly I’m now into the backcountry V4 program and it’s better than v3.  I struggled last winter using v3 both in the gym and on skis, and midway through had considered pulling my old copy of v2.  V4 combined with Wrangell St Elias has made for a good couple of first days on the snow already.  Thanks for your valuable work”


QUESTION

I was thinking about using your programs as I prepare for a highland games competition in April.  I just came off a high frequency squat program and realized that I am bleeding force through the trunk. Would you recommend using the Chasis Integrity program with my regular programming or switching to some of the MTI programs between now and the competition?

ANSWER

Because we don’t have a highlands games specific train up, best would be to use your current programming to train specifically for the events of the games, and supplement the training with the daily circuits from the Chassis Integrity Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just wrapped up the Crossfit Open and am looking for a program to focus on getting brutally strong the next two months. I am competing and training for competitions and have loved your programs but am struggle which strength one to follow? I lost a lot of strength the past month and a half and need something that will pack on muscle and that strength.

ANSWER

Enjoy!
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve developed a stress fracture in my lower right leg by rucking in horrible shoes…I was working through the Valor program when the situation occurred.

What would you recommend I do while the fracture heals?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

The Mammoth is a 3 day endurance event where we leave starting line on Friday morning and return on Sunday afternoon, we will cover approx 40 miles in this time, my ruck weight will be 51lbs to start , weight will decrease as I shoot my ammo and eat my food thru out the event. We must maintain a min of 16 min mile for the entire event. There will be obstacles, hills, ect.

ANSWER

SFRE Training Plan – it’s 7 weeks long, ruck intensive, and should prepare you well for this event.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m looking to compete in Bataan this year and plan on doing well. (Was 4th ya Best Ranger last year).

I’m looking at your chart and I’m faster than row 1. Current assessment is 6 miler at 53 min and 12 miles around 1:55. Is there a percentage I should use for my pace?

Also being about 16 min out would it be dumb to just do the 8 week program back to back?

Appreciate the help!

ANSWER

Ignore the chart and just complete the ruck at a moderate pace, moderate = comfortable but not easy.
This plan is designed to prepare guys to complete the distance, not necs. compete – which I understand is the goal of the event – a memorial, not a competition.
Back to back? No. I’d recommend Hector now (7 weeks), week total rest, then complete the Bataan plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I Just subscribed.

Im overweight and getting help with diet and i want to do a obstacle race in around 18 august 2018
I started at 324 lbs and im now at at 304.
Doing the fatloss program, do you have any tips on how to lay up the timeline?
My first goal is to lose weight but in around 8 months perform okey.
8. Months and 20 days to be exact

ANSWER

After the Fat-Loss Training Plan I’d recommend the plans/order in the Country Singer Packet of plans beginning with Johnny.
Six weeks before you event, drop out of the Country Singer plans and complete the Obstacle Race Training Plan – Short Distance.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a 27 year old male from Sweden, training for the selection for the Swedish army in 9 weeks. The selection is basically an exercise bike test with the resistance increasing steadily until you basically can’t continue any more.
And then it’s a strength test: a kind of explosive deadlift ending with a upright row (all in the same movement) against an isomteric machine.
I work out at a commercial gym at the moment, with only the basic equipment plus some.
So this 8-9 weeks I’m only focusing on this selection test.
I wonder what plan you would recommend for me?

ANSWER

I’m sorry – but I don’t have a plan specifically for this test.
What I’d recommend is 4 sessions per week – starting with power cleans, or clean to high pulls. I’d recommend 3 rounds of our Barbell Complex warm up, followed by 8 Rounds of 3x Power Cleans – or Cleans to High Pull, increasing weight each round until 3x is hard but doable.
For the Bike I’d recommend 10 rounds of 1-minute sprint, 1-minute rest or slow spin – going all out each work interval.
– Rob

QUESTION

I would love to use a plan of yours as I am coming off of a 6 month body building cycle and looking to formulate myself back into more endurance and performance based. I have access to my colleges gym with bumpers, kettlebells, and weights, but no sandbag. ON sand bag or rucking days, till I can get a good ruck, what are some things I can do instead? Im looking to purchase the Q course.

ANSWER

Sorry, there are no good substitute exercises for the sandbag work. Others make their own and bring it to the gym with them. Be resourceful.
– Rob

QUESTION

What’s a good plan to get back into shape? I’ve been in active for 10 months due to injury. I’m cleared to work out. I have the fbi plan, but plan on using that 6 months prior to my police physical testing. I need something to get me back into shape, before I use the fbi program. 
ANSWER
– Rob

QUESTION

So I know you get a ton of emails like this, so I’ll try to keep it short, but a small backstory might be, well, annoying but necessary.

I’m a full time backpacking guide in the Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain National Park.  All this really means is that I carry a 55-70 lb pack, walk slow, and take care of peeps for 3-7 days at a time.

I ice climb and backcountry snowboard as much as possible, but to be honest that’s only been 1-3 times per week when conditions allow.  I’ve ridden about 15 Colorado 14ers, but not a single one in the last 5 years.

Despite my job and where I live, I’ve literally forgotten how to be fit. I’m currently probably 15 lbs overweight and it’s disgusting.

While I think it’s weird to pay someone else to get fit, that’s where I’m at and with the multitude of awesome programs you offer, I’m a bit lost.

Soooooo, my question is this (knowing me, it’ll take a sentence or two 🙂 ): I want to get back to snowboarding 14ers and have tentative plans to snowboard Baker and Ranier next spring, but I also just crave to be generally fit again all the time. I really want to be fit enough to spend long, demanding days in the mountains (or in the canyon), whether it be snowboard mountaineering related, or climbing and scrambling long alpine routes.

Other than snowmobile guiding, I have plenty of time in the winter to devote to training (that changes when I start backpacking guiding where I’m in the field for 20 days out of the month), so which training plan(s) would you recommend? I’m gross and want to be fit again, but I also want to focus on backcountry riding, mountaineering, climbing, and general fitness.

Sorry this is so long-winded, hopefully you’ve read it to the end and get an idea of just how freaking desperate I am 🙂

ANSWER

Do the Backcountry Ski Pre-Season Training Plan now. This plan includes programming for loaded uphill endurance, eccentric strength training for riding, core and upper body strength general strength, and running for general endurance. While it’s specificially designed to prepare you for backcountry riding, it will transfer well to your job and other mountain sports.
As well, the program is intense, and requires limited equipment. You will need a 40-pound sandbag. Old duffle bag + wood pellets for a wood stove + duct tape and you should be set. Be resourceful and take you sandbag to the gym where you train.
After, best would be to follow it up with the plans/order in the Greek Heroine Packet of plans. These are designed as “base fitness” for multi-sport mountain athletes and will align with where you live and your interests. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (uphill hiking under load, running), climbing fitness (rock) and chassis integrity (core).
– Rob

QUESTION

First off I should say I just finished my 8th fire season with the Mt Taylor Hotshots. I was fortunate enough to be selected with the Redmond SMKJ in 2016. Unfortunately I did not make it through my rookie training due to a knee injury that was most likely due to over training or lack of knowledge in such. So anyway, I’m putting in again for SMKJ. Just wasn’t too sure what plan to start with since I intended on doing the MTI SMKJ plan upon selection. So I’m the mean time I thought I’d try the work capacity plan. I’m 2 days out from finishing my 1 st week and I enjoy what I’m doing. But, I was thinking after I purchased the plan, is it the best plan for me during the off season? Will this help with running? Will it be too much to then turn around and begin the SMKJ plan? Etc… although there can’t be anything wrong with moving often. Would stacking this plan with a running improvement plan be ok? Or is what I’m doing going to be fine.?

ANSWER

Follow up the plan your working on with the plans/order in the Wildland Fire Training Packet – beginning with Blackwater. I built these plans last summer and they are designed as off-season programming for wildland firefighters and concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (run, uphill movement under load, rucking), and chassis integrity (core).
Follow these plans in order until you begin the Smokejumper Selection Training Plan 8 weeks directly before reporting.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have just started the Ultimate Meathead Cycle after completing your GORUCK Challenge workout. So far this has been quite the program. In order to facilitate the superset requirements of the programming, I have had to shift my workouts to the AM. To my surprise, this was really easy and has given me a real sense of satisfaction throughout the rest of my day. I am brand new to a lot of the movements that you have included in this programming, but I have been able to put up pretty decent numbers by the final sets (I have found a tendency to start too light but I can fix that through trial and error). Finally, the upper body hypertrophy training had an almost instantaneous effect on my body. I have never had much of a chest to complement my squat dominate legs so this is a real reward for me. I am very happy with this program so far and I am looking forward to completing it. Gladiator is next before going back to the GORUCK Challenge training for a February event down in San Antonio.

ANSWER

Thanks for the note and update. Gladiator next is killer! – Enjoy!
– Rob

QUESTION

I just began my athlete’s subscription and I am looking to improve running and strength overall to prepare for a military selection course in the future. My running is not where I need it to be to begin a selection course training plan so i would like to do the running improvement plan first. If doing so, could I train twice a day by adding strength? do you recommend another plan I could pair?

ANSWER

Rather than doing two programs at once I’d recommend the Big 3 + Run Training Plan, which combines heavy strength for the dead/hinge lift, bench press, back squat and pull ups, with focused, programmed running.
– Rob

QUESTION

I work for a Sports Performance Department in Rochester, MN. First, I just wanted to say thank you for all your great content you put out. I check in regularly on your site and love the informational articles that are posted. So thank you!

I have been in charge of training our local fire fighters for 2-3 years now. I train them in house at our facility when they are off shift  as well as at the stations when they are on shift. The fire stations and myself have been trying to continually promote a wellness initiative throughout the whole organization and I wanted to pick your brain on  performance assessments. Every year we need to approach the city with goals and data of this initiative. We have already had great data on decrease in injuries on duty but I believe that getting some data on the fire fighters as individuals would be a great addition to deliver. I was looking at your relative strength assessment and was interested in maybe implementing it with our fire fighters. I have not however implemented many Olympic style lifts as of yet. I  was wondering what the changes you would make to the scoring sheet if you were to not include the power clean. I did the numbers on myself and without power clean it drops my score 1.25 thus not making the scoring sheet accurate. I am just wondering if you have any ideas of changes I could make to make this fit for my situation.

ANSWER

Easiest would be to adjust the scoring system. Alternately you could replace the power clean with a dead/hinge lift, but again you’d have to adjust the scoring as most will be able to significantly deadlift more than they could power clean.
But best would be to use a more comprehensive fire/rescue assessment. I’d recommend the MTI Urban Fire/Rescue Fitness Assessment.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have an SFAS date of April 22nd. I am free to train from now until then with the exception of NTC. I’ll be at NTC from 1-20 March. What order or programs would you recommend I complete?

ANSWER

You have 14 weeks between now and March 1 – here’s what I recommend:
Weeks   Plan
1-6        Fortitude (first 6 weeks)
7-14      Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan (entire plan)
Repeat the last 4 weeks of the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan the 4 weeks you have between the end of NTC and the start week of SFAS.
– Rob

Lab Rats Needed for Trap Bar Dead Lift / Dead Lift Mini-Study Beginning December 30, 2019

UPDATE – WE’VE RECEIVED ALL THE LAB RATS WE NEED FOR THIS STUDY 

By Rob Shaul

MTI is calling for remote lab rats for an upcoming, narrow and focused, 3.5 weeks, 3-day/week Mini-Study comparing the effectiveness of two MTI strength progressions to increase 3RM strength.

This will be a focused study, just on the Trap Bar Deadlift or Straight Bar Deadlift, and can be completed simultaneously with your current training.

Specifically, we’re interested to see if we can identify which progression works best to increase 3RM Strength.

This study is driven by the new Army Combat Fitness Assessment. One of the ACFT events is a 3RM (3 repetition maximum) Trap Bar Deadlift.

 

Details

Lab Rats will be broken into 2 groups: Group A, and Group B. Each group will complete a different Deadlift progression, 3 times per week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Required Equipment: Weight Room with a trap bar or barbell and plates for deadlifting.  Although the ACFT dictates a Trap Bar to be used, for the purposes of this study, a straight bar is also allowed. However, if you have access to a trap bar, we request you use it for the study.

Cycle Duration and Schedule: This MTI Mini-Study will take 3.5 weeks. It will begin Monday, December 30, 2019 with a Trap Bar Deadlift or Deadlift 3RM assessment. Lab rats will complete the deadlift training on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. During the 3-weeks Lab Rat progression will be based on his/her 3RM Deadlift load – so the training should automatically “scale” to the individual athlete’s incoming fitness.

On the Monday of Week 4, January 20, 2020, lab rats will re-assess their 3RM and the results between the two progressions will be compared.

To Participate

  • You’ll need to commit to training deadlift 3 days/week for 3.5 weeks, and follow the program as prescribed.
  • You’ll need to commit to only do this training for your deadlift. No other deadlift-specific training is allowed during the study period as it will skew the results.
  • You’ll need the required equipment (see above)
  • You’ll need to be an experienced, fit athlete. This isn’t a cycle for unfit athletes, or athletes new to free weight-based strength training in general or deadlifting particular.
  • The cycle will begin Monday, December 30, 2019, and end, Monday, January 20, 2019.

This is a focused mini-study which only involves deadlifting. You’ll be able to do other training as well, just no additional deadlift work.

Want to be an MTI Lab Rat?

Please email rob@mtntactical.com, and put “Deadlift Lab Rat” in the subject line.

Please include:

  • your age
  • Deadlift training experience
  • If you have access to a trap bar for the study
  • Finally, please verify you can commit to the 3.5 weeks, 3 day/week training cycle.

You’ll be assigned to a Group, and provided with further instructions. Training will start on December 30, 2019.

 

APPLY NOW