By Rob Shaul
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In the mountain world, “beta” is the insider knowledge on a climb, ski route or some other mountain objective. Our military athletes call it “gouge” but its the same concept in both worlds; the crucial information not found in guide books, and only learned from prior athletes who’ve completed the objective. At Mountain Tactical, we want to be a continuing source of mission direct “beta” for our athletes. You’ll see we’ve changed the format and name of this weekly newsletter to “Beta” which reflects our push in this direction. Not only are we looking to share content, research, and projects we’re working on, but also provide a platform for mountain and tactical athletes to share their thoughts on different issues. Next week we’ll begin soliciting white papers, essays and studies for publication here. We’re working on the submission guidelines now.
Crux Mountain Awards
Several times in past years we’ve supported local mountain athletes with monetary awards for trip and competition support. Through the Crux Awards (see full description below) we’re offering competitive trip support awards to mountain athletes everywhere. We’re looking to support athletes across a wide range of mountain sport disciplines – from backcountry hunting to freeski mountaineering striving to pursue a mountain objective at the limit of their individual fitness and technical abilities. In addition to monetary support, we’ll build a mission-specific training plan for fitness preparation. In return we’ll require the athletes complete the training plan and report back its effectiveness along the way, as well as work with us on a further research project during their trip. This research could involve technical methodology, physiological preparedness and performance, physiology, gear or nutrition. The ultimate goal is to support motivated mountain athletes while through research, learning something along the way which will enhance future mountain pursuits.
Shooting School Identification and Evaluation
Last week we spoke to a full time SWAT team member through the Mountain Tactical podcast who described a shooting school his team attended which had totally caused the team to rethink their tactics across a wide range of scenarios. The SWAT team member had found this school happenstance through attendance at a conference. In doing some basic investigation this is not unusual. Often shooting school selection for both military and law enforcement is based on tradition or individual relationships. Given the explosion of tactical shooting schools in recent years, we’re thinking the creation of a clearing house of sorts for shooting schools could be a valuable resource for tactical leaders making these training decisions for their teams. We’re not sure the form but it could include the schools teaching capabilities, instructor profile, facilities, and reviews/reputation. Down below in this issue of “Beta” is a survey we’ve put together to begin work on this project. We’d appreciate tactical athletes and shooting instructors/school owners to complete it.
Locally we’re completing an Airsoft “mini study” on the marksmanship side, very similar to the dry fire mini study we completed earlier this month. As well, see the reports in this Beta by Adam Scott on his Operator Ugly test comparisons with different SF populations at Bragg last week, and some of with work were’ doing with muscle activation imagery.
Adam Scott, our Director of Research, spent last week and weekend near Fort Bragg working with three groups of athletes there and teaching a Unit Fitness Leader and Advanced Programming Course. During the Advanced Programming Course we provide in-depth instruction on our TLU Strength Session programming methodology. Several students were also curious about the other strength programming approaches we’ve deployed over the years. Thinking back, the list is quite extensive:
TLU – Trains Total, Lower and Upper Body Strength every strength sessions and deploys complex training and modulating intensity based on body part. We’re offering a webinar explaining TLU Strength Programming on February 10, 2016. Register Here
Big 24 – Total body strength exercise focus and deploys a simple, but brutal progression. Closest I’ve ever come to throwing up in the gym.
Rat 6 – Simple, percentage-based progression which deploys classic total, upper and lower body strength exercises. Great place for anyone to start building strength
357 – Combines some principles of TLU with the “hormonal release” mechanism elicited by hard, short, complementary work capacity efforts
Super Squats – We mix in the long, 5-minute, 20 rep back squat programming developed by Dr. Randall Strossen with additional total and upper body strength programming. “Maximus” is the program.
Ultimate Meathead – Combines total and lower body max effort strength with upper body hypertrophy.
Mountain Tactical Triphasic – Our take on Coach Cal Deitz’ Triphasic methodology. The three phases are eccentric, isometric and concentric training. We deploy this in the Resilience programming.
Hypertrophy – Not pure strength training, I know, but still the Hypertrophy Program for Skinny Guys has been building muscle on our athletes local and remote for years now. Simple, hard, hypertrophy volume programming for upper and lower body.
Assessment/Density – We’ve done this two ways: (1) completed a max reps effort at a certain loading then created density programming using a percentage of the completed reps (Operator Ugly Train up); (2) Completed a 1RM assessment then used a percentage of that assessment for follow on max effort density training.
Single Limb Strength Training – our take which deploys assessments and follow on progression. We’ve built an entire plan around this.
Bodyweight – Given the austere locations for many of our athletes, we’ve been developing bodyweight strength training for years. Most other bodyweight strength training approaches quickly move on from basic movements to exotic, gymnastic-style exercises out of the athletic realm for meatheads like me and most the guys I work with. Our bodyweight programming doesn’t use gimmicky exercises, but rather innovative programming to continue strength progression. Just last fall I incorporated our latest bodyweight strength theory into the Bodyweight Foundation and Bodyweight Build training plans. This Winter/Spring I hope to complete the serious with the Bodyweight Advanced training plan.
Austere Location – Several of our training plans deploy austere location (no gym) strength training methodologies using limited equipment. Over the years, the most effective of these in a stand alone program has been the Sandbag/Weightvest/Dumbbell Training Plan.