2016 Lessons Learned & Projects Looking Ahead to 2017

By Rob Shaul

2016 Lessons Learned

Traditional academic research is not “mission-direct.” We tried, but found that the traditional academic research process is too narrow and too slow to accomplish our research goals. In response, we pivoted and developed our own “Mission-Direct” research approach and methodology. Read More Here: http://mtntactical.com/fitness/defining-mission-direct-research/

LE tactical information and incident reports lack centralized collection and analysis. Our work analyzing active shooter incidents and response brought this surprising fact to light. We have no easy answer on how to address it, but do see this as a major hole in tactical improvement which could directly impact saving officers’ lives.

Gear research approach and methodology. Last Summer and Fall when our office was full of cheap labor interns we conducted a flurry of gear/clothing studies all aimed at providing mountain and tactical athletes with mission-direct gear information they could apply immediately. We made many mistakes, and have work to do, but now have a solid foundation for this type of work. http://mtntactical.com/category/research/page/4/

The MTI Scrum has Merit. Last June we brought in 15 members of the MTI community, put them up in wall tents, made them run early in the morning, take cold showers, and challenged them with intellectually intense projects and hard questions all day. Our goal was to re-envision the typical soul-crushing industry conference by creating an intense, intimate, challenging, and hopefully, enriching experience for the attendees. We were honestly unsure about the response, and while I wouldn’t call it an overwhelming success, it was a significant step forward. Scrum Lessons Learned

Chassis Integrity. TAC SEPA. Fluid Periodization V2. 2016 marked a significant evolution and improvement in our overall fitness programming approach for mountain and tactical athletes. With the development of our Chassis Integrity theory, we significantly improved functional midsection strength and strength endurance training for mountain and tactical athletes.

TAC SEPA introduced a completely new training attribute to our tactical programming – Speed, Explosive Power and Agility. While still in its relative infancy, our TAC SEPA methodology holds great potential to systematically train athlete movement for tactical events.

Fluid Periodization V2. We began tweaking our Fluid Periodization approach in 2015, and completed the current version in 2016. The practical challenge to strength and conditioning programming for mountain and tactical athletes is how to train numerous fitness demands concurrently – strength, work capacity, endurance, TAC SEPA, Chassis Integrity, etc. Fluid Periodization V2 is a step toward a more subtle, but holistic approach over V1. It’s still not perfect, but this new approach and it’s longer 6-week cycles has largely eliminated the herky/jerky movement of V1, and I feel developed and overall fitter, more mission-capable, athlete.

Less Strength. More Endurance. We lowered the strength standards for both tactical and mountain athletes in 2016 and put a great emphasis on endurance. On a macro level, we felt our programming underemphasized mission-direct endurance, and in practice, have found we can improve strength must faster than we can improve endurance. We developed an MTI Relative Strength Assessment, as well as Military and Wildland Endurance Assessments  We are still working to find the right mix, and most recently have been drilling our tactical lab rats  with kettlebells/dumbells to create a mode gym-based aerobic endurance training. We’ll be publishing this cycle soon.

MTI’s followers appreciate tough questions. We’ve asked and researched several in 2016: 

  • Are we creating over-entitled veterans?
  • What is your biggest leadership mistake?
  • How has being a cop changed you?
  • How come increased levels of avalanche education isn’t resulting in few avi deaths?
  • How do firefighters feel about work dominated by EMS calls?
  • Should generals take political stands?
  • Is civilian tactical training outpacing the same for law enforcement?
  • Does social media reporting cause fake mountain trip reports?
  • Who was your worst leader?
Planned & Hoped for 2017 Projects:

Implementing a Functional Fitness Program at an Entire Line Unit Army Brigade.
We’re in late stage talks with a US Stryker Brigade to help implement a brigade-wide, equipment-based functional fitness program. We’re interviewing this unit as much as they are interviewing us … but the potential could be there to successfully implement a unit-programmed and unit-coached functional fitness training program for line unit soldiers. Very exciting!

Continued deployment of the Mission-Direct Research Methodology to Mountain & Tactical Policy and other areas. We’re in a deep learning/testing phase now to develop our unique voice and identify issues/areas where our attention can have mission-direct impact.

Fitness Research …

  • Measuring VO2 max improvements with the MTI VO2 Max Shuttle Assessment
  • Pre/Post Workout Supplementation’s Impacts on Fitness Improvement across all training attributes
  • Finger Oscillation Test as a possible tool to measure overtraining
  • Development of a vertical feet climbed programming methodology to train uphill hiking under load
  • Development of a comprehensive Wildland Fire Fitness Assessment
  • Assessment of Moon Board training on finger strength
  • Ruck Deep Dive #3
  • Fitness Culture Assessment for Wildland Firefighters
  • Multi-Modal Fitness Programming for Athletes 45-75 years Old
  • Power-Based Progression Methodology for Work Capacity Training

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