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

 

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