All posts by SSD

Arete 6.25.20

Military / National Security / Foreign Policy

US, Taiwan on high alert due to China’s missile stockpile, War Is Boring
First CMV—22B for Operational Use Arrives at Naval Air Station North Island, U.S. Navy News Top Stories
US sends remains of 147 South Korean service members home 70 years after start of Korean War, Stars and Stripes
The United States needs an Iran strategy, not a ‘campaign’, Small Wars Journal
CMSgt JoAnne Bass to become first woman to serve as chief master sergeant of the Air Force, Air Force Times
General Electric Wants To Keep America’s B-52s In The Air Until 2097 (At Least), Foxtrot Alpha
Pandemic doesn’t slow cyber training for the Army, Defense News
Report: ‘Baffling’ errors at veterans home where 76 died amid COVID-19 outbreak, Military Times

 

Homeland Security / First Responder / Wildland Fire

Understanding China’s 2025 Ambitions, The Cipher Brief
Senate wants better threat sharing between Pentagon and industry, Defense News
A Rare Glimpse Inside the Life of a Spy, The Cipher Brief
Florida faces COVID-19 surge after reopening, Al Jazeera
Senate Democrats Torpedo GOP’s Police Reform Bill, POLICE Magazine
BALTIMORE FIRE UNIONS TRY TO RALLY NEIGHBORS AGAINST FIRE COMPANY CUTS, WARN OF INCREASED RESPONSE TIMES, Firefighter Close Calls
Chicago setting up mobile COVID-19 testing sites for first responders, FireRescue1 Daily News
How Smartphone Technology is Changing Crisis Negotiation, POLICE Magazine
Study finds high levels of PFAS in turnout gear, FireRescue1 Daily News
A retired officer’s view of the challenges facing police today, PoliceOne Daily News

Mountain

The 6 Best Daypacks of 2020, Backpacker
Ten Sleep Route Names Changed to Honor Racial Justice Movements, Climbing Magazine
Alaska Airlifts ‘Into the Wild’ Bus Out of the Wild, Outside Magazine
A Timeless Wilderness Love Letter Addressed to Congress, In Our Hour of Need, Adventure Journal
5 Dreamy Campsites Just Outside Major Cities, Outside Magazine
The American Alpine Club Appoints Mitsu Iwasaki Chief Executive Officer, Climbing Magazine
Nepal Looks Ahead to 2020 Fall Himalayan Climbing Season, The Adventure Blog
Man Celebrates 95th Birthday By Becoming The Oldest Heliskier EVER, Unofficial Networks

 

Fitness / Health / Nutrition

High-Frequency Fat Loss – What I Learned in Lockdown, Breaking Muscle
A Big Data Approach to Predicting Your Marathon Pace, Outside Magazine
How to Avoid Injuries Now That Gyms Are Re-Opening, Men’s Journal
Boosting Antiviral Immune Function with Green Tea, NutritionFacts.org
The Definitive Guide to Cholesterol, Mark’s Daily Apple
The Misunderstood Science of Exercising on Sunny Days, Outside Magazine
Racing a World-Champion Rower in My Garage, NYT
A (Reluctant) Case for the Virtual Race, Outside Magazine

Q&A 6.25.20

QUESTION

Hey Rob, I’m an active EMT and Firefighter. I’ve been using your plans for years now. In the Army I used your Greek Hero series among other plans. I did a run through your Big Cat series. After awhile of injuries I used your Bodyweight Foundation plan to get back in shape. During that plan I fell in love with the long distance running. With the gyms closed I’ve decided to take the long distance running to a new level and complete my first marathon. From my fitness level now from completing the Bodyweight Foundation plan what plan would you recommend next? I’ve been looking at your Meathead Marathon and Max Effort Marathon plans. But I’m open to any recommendations you have on if I should go directly into one of those or if I should do some other plans first. My second question is if I go with the Max Effort plan would it be possible to add bodyweight strength training into the plan in order to maintain some strength and muscle mass.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Max Effort Marathon Training Plan. This plan includes strength training – don’t add anything else.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been using your programs singularly for 4 years now but on and off for 8. What are your thoughts on waist belts, wrist raps, etc. I was a college athlete and the S&C coaches we had were not a fan because they believed that not having them worked stability muscle groups which were needed for college wrestlers.
Second question is in regards to your humility training series. For the burpee test if I complete 10 burpees in :30 does that mean I rest for the next :30 or do I keep right on rolling?
Thanks Rob, your programs are helping my company improve physical readiness.

ANSWER

We don’t use wrist wraps and waist belts- but I have no real strong feelings about them. We’ve been able to get our athletes to our strength standards without these.
Humility’s burpee work is based on an assessment, and then 90 second intervals based on your assessment results – so I don’t understand your question. Please send the exact language in the session you’re confused about and I’ll answer.
– Rob

QUESTION

Just learned that we will be conducting the normal apft and a separate five mile run at the beginning of CCC. In addition to increasing strength, I would also like to max the push ups as well. Would you recommend adding one of your push-up improvement plans in addition to the big 3 plus run plan such as grease the groove or maybe into the daily operator program Perseus leading up to ccc? Sorry for all the recent questions lately, just want to make sure I will be able to crush both of those events. Thanks for your help. Apologies if you received this twice, don’t think the other one went through.

ANSWER

Yes. Big 3 + Run will improve your bench press, but not your push ups – these are different events and types of strength.
– Rob

QUESTION

I hope you are very well! I was wondering why you add a 3 breath static stretch after each set. What is the benefit?

ANSWER

Working rest.
– Rob

QUESTION

I work as a coach in the Belgian military. I think your concept can be very interesting for us & I’d like to learn more about it to see if we maybe can work together in the future.
Are there options to test this or get an insight on the website for a short period?

I also have a question. What about athletes who are deployed & don’t have access to the internet. Is there a way how they can download or print the programs so they can train offline?

ANSWER

No option to test the programming for a short time is you’re suggesting we give you free access. I’m sorry. Most of our individual training programs include a week of sample training for you to test. If you want more on our overall philosophy from a macro and meso level, I’d recommend you purchase our Base Fitness Program Design for Military Athletes Video Course. 
Athletes can print the sessions a week at a time via a browser.
– Rob

QUESTION

What do you recommend to workout in the field, with limited access to running or equipment. I was looking at the bodyweight foundation but I dont have access to a track and I will be more like support rather than training in the field for a month.

ANSWER

You can estimate distance, or convert running to time for the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan – you don’t need to have. a track. Be resourceful.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hey Rob. Hope all is well. So I’m coming off of doing the virtue packet. Was considering doing the 5 mile run improvement. I’m former sof so no actual selections or anything coming up but enjoy pushing myself. If I do the 5 mile run improvement is there any other program for strength or whatever that i can add to it? I’m use to going alot harder than the other than run workouts in the plan. Or even any other suggestions? Looked at ruck selection but no need for me to do those long mileage rucks really any longer. Thanks and keep getting after it!

ANSWER

If you want to combine assessment-based running and strength, I’d recommend the Big 3 + Run Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you all do individualized training? I’m going to climb Mt Vinson in December.

ANSWER

I’m sorry. I don’t do individualized programming.
From our current programming, I’d recommend you build using the plans/order in our Wilderness Professional Packet – which is designed for Rangers, Mountain SAR, Wardens, etc. and has a solid focus of mountain endurance (run, uphill movement under load), and then complete the Big Mountain Training Plan the 10-weeks directly before your climb. The Big Mountain Plan is specifically designed for non-technical, big mountain climbs like Vinson.
Based on my count, you have 28 days before December 1, here’s what I recommend (I’m assuming your fit.)
Weeks.         Plan
1-7               Jedediah Smith
8-14             Wrangell – St. Elias
15-18           Frank Church (first 3 weeks)
19-28           Big Mountain Training Plan
– Rob

QUESTION

Good morning, I hope this email finds you well. I have been doing the 2 Mile improvement trying, currently just starting week 3. I have a couple of questions in regards to the training. To begin with, the exercises are definitely challenging. I am starting to see improvements with the strength workout, don’t get me wrong I am still struggling with them though. The runs are really kicking my butt though. I am struggling  very hard to make the times on the runs. Also, I am unable to run without stopping. My legs just feel very sore and they burn, quads have gotten better but now mostly feet and calves. My first 2 mile for time was 22:20 and completed my second mile for time which went up to 25:00. The 4 mile runs on Saturday really gets me as well . I’m pretty much walking all of the 4th mile. Is this normal, or am I doing something wrong? I really don’t know if I am progressing or not. Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

ANSWER

No it’s not normal … but it all depends upon where you start out. The less fit coming in, the more challenging the plan is going to be and the more you’ll be sore/tired initially. What matters in the big scheme of things is the final assessment – and how it compares to the first.
Soreness/fatigue will decline as fitness improves. Keep grinding.
– Rob

QUESTION

I ship out to OSUT July 21. My training has been slacking since covid shut down all the gyms and I need some help putting together a solid plan (not my strength at all) can you recommend a plan for someone who has limited equipment? I have at my disposal :
40# weighted vest.
Ruck pack w 35-40#
2 45# dumbbells
Resistance band set
Resistance loop? Set
5# ankle weights
2.5# wrist weights
A sandbag 30-40#
30# ruck plate

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I have experience on gymnastic rings I’ve completed htk elite operator, warfighter teir 2. I just want to be a beast and look good too. I love to challenge my self and strive to be the best version of me. I’m not training for anything specific but don’t mind specialized plans. I hope this is not to vague and you throw a challenge at me.

ANSWER

Plans/order in the Virtue Packet, beginning with Humility.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a female and am a little under a year out from going to a selection for United States Army Special Operations Command. I am in pretty good shape now, as I coach boxing on base. However, It’s been awhile since rucking and distance running. While I have pretty good endurance now, I don’t want to take any chances.

Do you have a plan you recommend?

ANSWER

Plans and order in the Ruck Based Selection Packet – beginning with the Military OnRamp Training Plan. Time it so you complete the last plan in the packet, the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan, the 8 weeks directly before SFAS.
– Rob

 

Arete 6.18.20

Military / National Security / Foreign Policy

This is how the Air Force prevented a coronavirus outbreak at basic military training, Air Force Times
Five reasons an arsenal plane isn’t the best choice for rebalancing America’s long-range strike forces, Defense News
Analysis: Taliban is caught in a lie by denying Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan, Long War Journal
Competition between US and Russian air forces keeps pace despite global pandemic, Air Force Times
Why Even Small States Still Need Conventional Military Forces, Modern War Institute
US to consult with NATO allies on future plans for American troops in Europe, says alliance leader, Defense News
Operation Warp Speed Accelerates COVID-19 Vaccine Development, Defense.gov
Top Legal Officers Address Racial Disparity in Military Justice, Defense.gov

 

Homeland Security / First Responder / Wildland Fire

US, China diplomats discuss Hong Kong, Uighurs and coronavirus, Al Jazeera
A Strategic Cyber No-FirstUse Policy? Addressing The US Cyber Strategy Problem, Hoover Institution
Cybersecurity researchers uncover first-ever use of LinkedIn to spread malware, intelNews.org
Portland to shift $4.8M from police budget to FD-supported response team, FireRescue1 Daily News
All-in-One Armor, POLICE Magazine

Mountain

In Huge Public Lands Win, Senate Approves The Great American Outdoors Act, Adventure Journal
Outdoor Rec Just Got Its Own Stimulus Bill, Outside Magazine
New route on Mt Trud in Kazakhstan by Kirill Belotserkovskiy and Grisha Chsukin, Planet Mountain
Parks Visitors Are Choosing Limited Access Over Freedom to Roam During Pandemic, Adventure Journal
New route on Mt Trud in Kazakhstan by Kirill Belotserkovskiy and Grisha Chsukin
Climbing, Coronavirus and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad – 6/4/20, American Alpine Institute
Unbelayvable: The Strolling Belay, Climbing Magazine
Quick Clips: 3 Quick Fixes for Common Climber Problems (Summer 2020 Edition), Climbing Magazine
Here’s how ski towns, brands and athletes have responded to America’s social unrest, FREESKIER

 

Fitness / Health / Nutrition

The Symbiosis of Gyms and Online Training Post-Pandemic, Breaking Muscle
How to Intermittent Fast and Which Type of Fasting Is Right For You, Mark’s Daily Apple
One Way to Treat Asthma and Autoimmune Diseases with Diet, NutritionFacts.org
CrossFit Is Not Going Anywhere, Breaking Muscle
A Half Teaspoon of Dried Rosemary May Improve Cognitive Function, NutritionFacts.org
You May Have Antibodies After Coronavirus Infection. But Not for Long. NYT Health
The Best Drills for Improving Squat Depth, The Barbell Physio

Q&A 6.18.20

QUESTION

I was doing your body weight foundation sample plan this week. I am going to buy it and finish the plan but I am training to go back to SFAS in October/November and was wondering what other plans I could do until then when I have limited equipment, kettlebells and barbell. I have your sfas training plan but think I need to build back up to it to avoid injury.

ANSWER

Add a sandbag and a ruck and you should be set to move right to Humility, Fortitude and Valor before the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan.
Skip Bodyweight Foundation and move to Humility.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just started the kettlebell strength workout. Where I work out 5 days a week. I usually spend my weekend, rock climbing mountain biking other outdoor activities. My question is should I take any days off over the weekend.

ANSWER

No – not unless you’re not recovering.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been looking at your programs for awhile and have a few questions. I am currently in federal law enforcement looking to start a second career in the military, my goal is to prepare myself for SFPC/ SFAS. A little about myself I am far exceeding all PT standards for my age (29) and I am very active and in shape. I just am not sure what program would suit me best Initally to start my training for SF. I do not have much experience with rucking so I know that will be a priority and I want to increase my weekly running mileage efficiently and minimize potential injuries. If you could lend any suggestions for a particular plan or a combination of plans I could use I would be grateful!

ANSWER

Complete the plans/order in the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet which is specifically designed for SFAS.
– Rob

QUESTION

My son is 25 years old.  He is a former wrestler and played football and is looking at joining either the Army or Air Force in the near future and needs to loose about 40 to 50 lbs before he can sign up and get himself physically ready for either branch.  What program would you suggest for him to purchase and with limited equipment?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I have an opportunity to (potentially – fingers crossed and boss willing) attend the Norwegian Army’s three-week SERE course in 90 days’ time. The entrance exam requires an 8km 25kg ruck run in 64 minutes, a 200 meter swim (not timed), and a 10 minute water tread, both in uniform. Due to COVID-19, no gyms or pools are available, at least for the next few weeks. Current COVID PT is mostly biking 40-80km weekly, and some body weight, but I do have quite a lot of experience with carrying weight over ground in years past. Thanks.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Air Assault Training Plan – it’s limited equipment, rucking and bodyweight focused and include ruck and run assessments. You’ll need to build a 60# sandbag – be resourceful – my first was an old dufflebag full of sand!
– Rob

QUESTION

Looking for a simple workout to gain body mass. Am currently active duty so maybe something that incorporates general strength conditioning as well too.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

What’s the best/right kettlebell plan.  I only have signaled kettlebells.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I want to start exercising, but I can barely make 20 push-ups and run 10 minutes. Could I start with the following plans?

  • 3-Week Push Up & Pull Up Improvement Training Plan
  • 2-Mile Run Improvement Training Plan

ANSWER

Best not do two plans at once – better would be to complete the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. Complete the prescribed running in the plan as a run/walk as needed – but do the prescribed distance.
– Rob

QUESTION

First off I just want to say that I love your programming but I have some questions about it. I’m going to be attending MARSOC A&S on August 6th, so I was planning on starting the A&S prep plan 9 weeks out, but due to an injury and subsequently the COVID 19 situation I was unable to lift heavy for around 3 months and naturally I’ve lost a lot of strength, now I’ve only got a couple of weeks to work on building it back up until I start the prep plan, and while I’m not concerned about my actual numbers for lifts but I am worried about the lack of strength being a detriment to my ability to help my team and possibly allowing for more injuries to occur. Would you recommend doing a minimal strength routine once or twice a week just to try to maintain some strength going into selection? Thank you in advance.

ANSWER

No …. the MARSOC A&S Program is too intense. As well, you’re right and strength would add some durability, what will make you the most durable is being sport-specifically fit for selection – which is what the MARSOC plan does.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a police officer (patrol) who has been doing power lifting for 5 years. I went for a jog Saturday and could only go for 3/4 of a mile before having the stop. I definitely need help. Which program would you suggest to get me to where I can run a mile again? Thank you.

ANSWER

Walk/Run the initial assessment as needed – but do the entire distance for this and all the intervals.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a request for some guidance reference training plans, to give you some background on myself
I’m a 46 year old Army Sgt Maj from Ireland I’ve been very active all my life and keep in good fitness. I’ve previously used the busy operator plan. I am looking for a plan which will keep me moving forward and developing my strength and speed. I have access to KB 16,20,24,30 a 40 kg sand bag,pull up bar, weighted vest which can be adjusted to 20 kg also I have access to a hilly running area mid week while at the weekends a flat area.
I want to improve my overall strength speed for 2,5, 8 mile ruck and run times. Sometimes when I’m adjusting my training I think I want to be Superman because I want to be strong on the pull up bar fast running and strong with a ruck. As a Army Sgt Maj I try to inspire the next generation of leaders so when they see me train hard and do well in military competitions it inspires them to do better. What plan would you recommend to me in order to keep improving.

Thanking you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you start with the Sandbag / Weight Vest / Dumbbell Training Plan.
Email back after completion.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction for which workout plan(s) to complete based on my goals/current level of fitness.  I’m a 31 yr old former Marine that has been out of the service for 4-years, but I’m now planning to join the Army and attend SFAS sometime in the next 10-12 months. I’ve maintained a decent level of fitness over the past few years through running, hiking, bodyweight/TRX workouts (3-5 times a week), but I haven’t been doing much functional strength training or military-focused training until recently when I renewed my membership with MTI and started doing the Gym Closure Plans.  I’m planning on doing the SFAS/Ruck based selection plan 1-2 times before I attend the course, but I’m curious if there is a specific workout plan (or plans) that you’d recommend I complete over the next 6-7 months to build a solid foundation before completing the SFAS plan (or if I should just do the SFAS plan as many times as possible).
I’ll probably be 32 yrs old when I attend selection, which I know is considered “old” for someone going through SFAS.  Therefore, I want to build a very strong chassis and make sure my body is prepared to handle the rigors of selection without “old man” injuries.
Thank you for all the help and the outstanding training plans!

ANSWER

Not sure your exact SFAS date, but I’d recommend completing the Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan, then completing the 7-week Fortitude plan, followed by the first 5 weeks of Valor, then repeating the Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan directly before selection. By my count, this is right about 7 months of programming.
– Rob

 

Q&A 6.11.20

QUESTION

I’m currently finishing week four again of the running improvement program. I have a history of back (mid to lower back) issues and constantly have to stop for a few months. I was going to start augmenting the running improvement with the core strength plan and was looking at the low back fitness. Can I and do you recommend augmenting the low back fitness with the running improvement instead? I don’t want to have to stop the program again because I messed up my back again.

ANSWER

You could do the Running Improvement Plan concurrently with the Low Back Fitness Plan – Just watch for overtraining. You can do this either as 2-a-days or alternate sessions from each plan daily.
– Rob

QUESTION

Purchased Recon Prep Course, I’m super excited to get started. I get my shipping date for Basic on Monday. I’m wondering about the timing, because as far as I know I do not have 9 weeks to train from the time I graduate Basic to the time I get to BRPC. I’m pretty sure I get 10 days leave once I graduate, then right to SOI or ITC, then BRPC. Will the program still be effective if I use it 9 weeks before my ship date for Basic? What’s your recommendation? Thanks

ANSWER

You don’t have a choice. Do the plan before Basic. The major cause of attrition is water confidence, and at least you’ll have some background in treading, underwater repeats, etc. before the course no matter what follows Basic.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am about to start your Ranger recovery program, but with gym closures, I wanted your input on adjusting the program to an “at home” version, or if there was another program you’d recommend entirely.  At home, I have some limited equipment, to include a 60# sandbag, pull up bar, 45# plate, resistance bands, TRX straps, and my rucksack.

ANSWER

Do the Gym Closure Training Plan, and sub your sandbag for the chassis integrity work in the plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a good athlete and very strong.   I also happen to be very big (not fat, muscular).  I would like to shed size, as most of my hobbies would benefit from actually weighing less.  I like backcountry skiing, wakeboarding, jiu jitsu, and backcountry hunting. What would you recommend for me?

ANSWER

Start with Jedediah Smith from our Wilderness Professional packet – bodyweight strength and lots of running and uphill endurance.
Follow it up with the Backcountry Hunting Preseason Training Plan the 8 weeks directly before your hunt.
– Rob

QUESTION

Currently following SOFLETE programming but have used MTI in the past. Just graduated and commissioned as an Aviation Officer, my report date for BOLC and later flight school isn’t until November. I want to use this “free time” to dial in my training and fitness. I have access to a garage gym with rings, sandbag, barbell and bumpers. Not necessarily worried about the physical demands of BOLC or flight school so I was curious if you had a long term plan that has progression, in mind to dial in my all around fitness, especially with the ACFT replacing APFT around that timeframe.

ANSWER

The plans/order in our Greek Hero packet are designed as day to day programming for military infantry and SOF. Start with Hector.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a college student, Florida Army Guardsman, and ROTC cadet at the University of North Florida. Over the Summer I would like to get ready for next year’s Ranger Challenge competitions. I am restricted due to CV19 to my meager garage gym consisting of a ruck, sandbag, dumbbells up to 35lbs, a 25lb weight vest, 8 lbs medicine ball, 8 lbs sledgehammer, and a 35 lbs kettlebell.

Any plan recommendations?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I am new to your web site.  “Looks” like a lot of great trainning here.

I am a 60 year old former Marine.  I have always enjoyed trainning, conditioning my body/mind.  I do like a challenge.  I am not a big guy, but for my last birthday, I did 60 pull-ups, (legit), ran 6 miles, and did this in less than 60 minutes.  I offer this to say that I still like to keep myself in shape.

What training program would you suggest for me to start out with?

ANSWER

I’d recommend SF45 Alpha to start.
We don’t have any specific programming for athletes ages 55+ … the SF45 programming is the closest we have, as it covers 45-55.
Click the “Sample Training” Tab to see the first week of programming. Try it before purchase to see how you recover.
No gym? Look at the Gym Closure Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently purchased an athletes subscription and have been doing the military on ramp program for the last 3 weeks to work towards becoming a better military athlete and start preparing for  Army ROTC in the fall. Now I am looking to really cut my body fat percentage down, currently I weigh about 181lbs with around 20% body fat. I watched your video you have on nutrition and I already eat fairly close to your recommendations but I have identified the areas in my diet I can improve on(less carbs, sugar mainly). I was wondering if you had any suggestions on how I can further increase my fat loss while doing the military on ramp program and tweaking my diet to your recommendations, my ultimate goal would to be around 16% body fat without losing too much lean mass in the process.

ANSWER

Cut the cheat day.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been following the daily operator programming and am about to finish up ulysses. This programming, along with the sfas plan prior to selection have been very helpful and I have made significant gains. I start CCC in Sept. and then go directly into the Q course in Jan. I plan on completing your q course prep programming during CCC. Strength still seems to be my weakest aspect and I have looked at other programming such as big 24, rat 6, etc. I don’t want to neglect my endurance/work capacity by pursuing a stand alone strength program as I do a lot of hiking on the weekends (Appalachian trail/ local trails). Last, my knees and low back seem to be pretty banged up as well. With this in mind, would you recommend finishing the last two programs in the Greek hero series or another program? I have posted some stats below to help describe my current fitness level.

2 mile run: 1136
6 mile ruck: 105 with 45# ruck
3 rep bench: 195#
3 rep squat: 215#
3 rep hinge: 245#
3 rep pull-up: 25#

Currently sitting at 186 pounds and am 6’1”. I appreciate your help in my preparation for my next career move.

ANSWER

Drop into the Big 3 + Run Plan, now, then back to the Greek Hero Plans, then the Q Course Training Plan directly before the course.
Big 3 + Run will help you push strength for a cycle, while maintaining your running.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just finished a week ago the Bodyweight Foundation program and I just started with the Moe/Larry/Curly packet. My main goal is to build strength but at the same time I’m looking to take off a few pounds I have. I was considering adding –3x a week– a 45-60 min cardio session, is this too much? Should I consider less time or no time at all? From what I´ve seen Moe is mostly about weightlifting.

I appreciate your comments, love your workouts!

ANSWER

That’s okay – just watch for overtraining. As well, 95% of fat is diet-related. Here are our diet recommendations: http://mtntactical.com/inside-strong-swift-durable/frequently-asked-questions/#nutrition
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently on week five of fortitude and following the valor programming. I am 32 years old and in the Navy looking to complete a Army OCS package that requires me to complete the Army PFT. My ultimate goal is to make it to SFAS or to regiment. So, I would like to stay on the Valor series but to also incorporate PFT specific work such as pushups, sit-ups and 2 mile speed work. What is the best way to incorporate this into my training? Can I add in the APFT plan as a supplemental, or the 2 mile run improvement plan? My test could be anywhere from a week to weeks away. I can complete the PFT easily just want to max out my scores on the 17-21 year old scale. My weakest disciplines are the sit-ups and run.

ANSWER

Drop out of Valor and complete the APFT Training Plan, then after your PFT, roll back into Valor.
This is the best approach.
– Rob

QUESTION

My gym has limited and Kettlebells and was wondering utilizing dumbbells are a good alternative for kettlebell clean and press?

ANSWER

You can swap freely between KBs and DBs. Doesn’t matter.
– Rob

Q&A 6.4.20

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

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

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

Replace with Front Squats or Walking Lunges.
– Rob

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

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

How would you recommend onboarding this program?

ANSWER

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

 

The Quiet Professional Collection of Essays

 

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

Your thoughts and feedback is appreciated.

Respectfully,

– Rob Shaul, MTI

 

 

Quiet Professionalism

What Does it Mean to Be a Quiet Professional?

Quiet Professional: Do Your Job With Dignity

Quiet Professional: “Hard Work With Dignity”

Quiet Professional: Service

Quiet Professional: Mission First

Quiet Professional: Hard Work

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

Quiet Professional: The Difference Between Experience and Wisdom

Quiet Professional: Tools for Making Hard Decisions

Quiet Professional: Humility & Humor

Quiet Professional: Resilience

Quiet Professional: Gratitude

Quiet Professional: Embrace the Suck

Quiet Professional: On Professional Reading

Quiet Professionalism and COVID-19

 

Other Topics

The Happiness Equation

Stockdale, Stoicism and The Art of Living

The Best Things Come from Commitment

The Gratitude Enhancing Power of “Appreciate You”

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

My Biggest Programming Mistakes

On Mental Fitness

The Liberating Power of “Fixing It”

How “Good for Them” Changed My Life

The Relentless Pull of Douchebag Gravity

How Discontent Poisons Happiness

The Surefire Sabotage of Self Importance

My Failure Resume

You Can’t Escape the Work

“Little Boy” as a Career Choice

Stuff I’ve Learned, Part 1

Stuff I’ve Learned, Part 2

Stuff I Wish I’d Learned …

The Blessing and the Curse of Accommodation

Coaching Lessons Learned the Hard Way

 

 

 


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


 

Q&A 5.28.20

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

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

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

Q&A 5.21.20

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

Study … still thinking that through.
– Rob

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take the others easy as they come

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

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

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

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

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

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

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

10x EOs
– Rob

QUESTION

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

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

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

ANSWER

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

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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