Q&A 1.21.12

QUESTION

BLUF: I want to know which of the plans is best suited for my needs and if it can be tailored to incorporate equipment I have available.

Background and context: I have been a Combat Diver with the Canadian Armed Forces since 1998. My 25-year contract is coming to an end and I’m preparing my transition for my 2nd career. I want to be a Ski Guide with the ACMG!

I need to get my required pre-requisites before I’m able to apply, so I will be going on a 1 Month Back Country Ski course out west from mid- Feb to mid-Mar https://yamnuska.com/ski-mountaineering/one-month-ski-intensive-program/ 

I have been skiing since I was 5 years old and seriously got into Back Country skiing approx. 15 years ago.  

In my garage gym I have the fol eqpt: rower, squat stand with bumper plates, pull-up bar, road bike on a trainer for the winter, KB 16, 35, 53, 60, 100#, skipping rope, ballistic plates 20# and 45# weight vest. At work I have access to all the other stuff, but with Covid, nobody knows how long they’ll stay open for. 

My current stats are as follows: 5’6”, 165#, Squat 315#, Bench 200#, Snatch 145#, C+J 185#. 5km – 20:00, pullups 22, pushups 55, situps in 60 sec – 58. I’m in all around pretty good shape for my age and the type of career I’ve had. I’ve had my fair share of dive, airborne and ied accidents/incidents, so there are certain movements (ex: heavy deadlift, heavy bench) that I avoid or have to be careful.  

Discussion: I looked at the different training programs MTI offers and I could absolutely do any one of them and see results. I wanted to know if there was a way to incorporate my existing equipment into the training. The AMGA training course looks very close to what I would need and so does the BC ski pre-season one. The randonee race has a heavy price on time. I can do 2 x 60min sessions/day, but I can’t swing 4.5hrs training sessions with work and kids at the moment. 

As soon as I will be able to, I will start skinning, in the meantime I’m waiting for the cross-country trails to open. I can only skin once/week as the closest hill to me is 1.5hrs away. I live in Ottawa and it’s pretty flat.  

Conclusion: I have been doing my own programming as well as that of my dive team, and have been training on my own since covid hit in march.

I don’t mind paying the extra fee required for a personalized program.

I appreciate the help and steering me in the right direction. 

ANSWER

I read your email a couple times and it seems what you are asking for is if I will design you an individualized plan that will prepare you for the specific fitness demands of backcountry skiing, but still allow you to train the way you always have with the equipment you currently have.
You’ve been in the fitness world a long time and I think you already know my answer to this if you’ve followed our work over the past 14 years.
MTI programming is based on the fitness demands of the event or sport, not the individual needs or wants of the athlete. You don’t need an individualized plan – and I don’t’ currently design those anyway.
As well, to go long, you have to train long. There’s no shortcut that I’ve found. Backcountry skiing is 98% skinning uphill, 2% skiing down. You know this already with your own backcountry skiing experience.
The fitness demands and standards for a professional mountain guide are much different than those of a tactical athletes. The main differences are not as much need for strength and much more need for mountain endurance – which is pretty much uphill movement under load.
More specifically, the fitness demands for backcountry skiing are straightforward, – uphill endurance under load for skinning, eccentric leg strength endurance, and leg lactate tolerance for the downhill. Chassis Integrity (functional core) and upper body strength where you can work it in.
By my count, you have 11 weeks until your course starts.

Right now I’d recommend you dive into the Backcountry Ski Preseason Training Plan. This is a 7-week, limited equipment, sport-specific training plan designed to prepare athletes for the season in a situation like you – where they can’t skin.

I’d recommend working through this plan as prescribed – except as soon as possible, replace the Saturday run with a backcountry ski day trip.

When you get snow closer to your current location, and you can easily skin uphill, replace the Wednesday and Friday programming with fitness focused skinning laps. I.e. – find a steep hill, skin up, ski down, repeat. Since you know how to program, and depending on the time you have to train, you can either do hard, time-based intervals uphill (i.e. 6 rounds of 10 minute threshold skin, 3 min easy skin), or volume work based on vertical feet … i.e. progress from 1,000-feet to 4,000 feet (or whatever) in a day. I’d recommend leaving Friday as a relatively easy day, so you can get out and continue to do a daytrip on Saturday.

Use your Saturday mountain trips to train technique …. Avy safety, snow safety, dial in your gear, dial in and shorten your transitions (skin to ski, ski to skin), and especially, your skinning technique. Focus on shorter, more rapid strides, pole placement, and the turn on the switchback. I’ve done a little backcountry skiing with pro-ski-mo competitors and guides and they work a lot less hard than me to skin the same slope … they are so efficient!

Finally, focus your snow safety work on heuristics. These are what get people killed.

You’ll run out of this plan in 7 weeks. Hopefully, by then you have easy access to skinning. If possible, expand your BC trips to 2-3 days/week, spend one day a week doing hard uphill skinning intervals, another doing leg blasters and touch/jump touch intervals and chassis integrity to maintain, and finally a final day to train heavy strength (back squats, bench press, pull ups). Take one day/week full rest.

Bodyweight …. Try to cut down to 150#. I’m 5’7″ and got down to 150# for hunting season …. it’s amazing what 15# less fat/muscle will do for your uphill movement speed.

– Rob

QUESTION

I’m an Italian policeman, I wanted to congratulate you on your work.

I would like to prepare for the selections in the NOCS, the special forces of the Italian State Police the equivalent of HRT FBI.

The tests consist of:

5000 meter run under 20 minutes

100 meter run under 14seconds

100 meters of swimming.

High jump: 140 cm long jump, 4.5 meter climbing rope and pole with the use of arms only (easy for me)

I would like to obtain extraordinary results, could you kindly tell me which program is best suited to my needs, having a lot of time and being already quite fit.

In fact, now I can do more than 70 push-ups, 28 pull-ups and I can run 2 km in 7 minutes and 30 seconds.

The test is the entry test. I don’t know when the selection take place. Unfortunately the announcement only speaks of minimum requirements not making mention about progressive score. The only information about the access is the test and I don’t know how training will be in selection and if it will involve rucking or team events. I only know that the training is very hard and involves parachuting and HALO. I have already a paratrooper patent.

I hope that this answer could you let for thinking the best program or the best way to success.

I think we have six months or more to prepare, and I want to be in best condition possible.

ANSWER

6 months = 26 weeks. Here’s what I’d recommend:
Weeks.    Plan
10           Total Rest
11-17      Valor
18-26.     FBI HRT Selection Training Plan – Repeat it directly before selection
Notes: 
  • Change the FBI HRT plan assessment run from 2 miles to 3 miles, and for the Monday Intervals, do 3 Rounds of a 1-Mile Interval using your most recent 3-mile run time and the MTI Running Calculator.
  • My sense is the PFT test standards for selection are not difficult. The HRT plan doesn’t train specifically to these …. so you should take the test on your own now and see how you stack up. The 100m sprint should be fairly easy, but I’m not sure about the high jump and the broad jump. Test these and see if you can find out how they are administered. If you don’t pass the standard easily, you’ll want to practice the jumps on you own.
  • This programming recommendation again assumes that the “gate” PFT is the minimum standard, and the actual selection will last 7-14 days and be multi-modal and intense. Many candidates have had success with our HRT plan … it’s no joke.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

I just bought the SF45 packet # 1 yesterday.  As a reminder, I had hip placement surgery 14 months ago and the doctor recommends that I not run (for long term life of the replacement not because I can’t).  I think I will do the shuttle Sprints (cheat a little) but I am wondering how the Run assessment might translate to rucking or something else(my wife just bought an eliptical)? Example SF A week one Wednesday and Friday.

ANSWER

You can ruck – just convert time. Or bike, and convert time. Assume a 3 mile run will take 10/min miles, and bike for 30 minutes.
You could also do the elliptical – and do an assessment, then do the intervals at “threshold pace” – fast as possible.
You could also do step ups.
Chose one mode for this cycle and stick with it.
Understand that with all MTI programming, our goal is outside performance. Not sure about your recreation, but biking doesn’t transfer well to mountain movement – so go with step ups or rucking if you recreate in the mountains.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been a customer for some time and really enjoy your programs.  I wanted to reach out to ask if you have any recommendations for a tween girl. Her goal is to be strong — like an aname character.  We’re working through the potential of body image issues with her, yet I do want to encourage a foundation of fitness, and channel it in the right direction.

Appreciate your time and I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy during this challenging time.

ANSWER

I’ve developed programming for prep-aged athletes at prepstrength.com
From there, I’d recommend your daughter start with Girls Soccer Base.
– Rob

QUESTION

I completed the dryland ski training and have made noticable gains. Do you recommend something for maintenance while I wait for our ski area to open? I like how I didn’t need equipment other than the dumbbells.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you pivot to the Gym Closure I Training Plan. 
When you get a better bead on when your resort will open, try to repeat the last 2-3 weeks of the dryland ski plan directly before.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was looking for a plan to cut my run time from 9 min/mile to 6 min/mile. Currently training for the Navy Warrior Challenge and just needing improvement on the 1.5 run, 4 mile run and pull up. Any suggestions?

ANSWER

I don’t have the perfect plan for you, but close is the USMC PFT Training Plan, which trails for the 3-mile run and pull ups. The 3-mile will split the difference between the distances you describe. It includes focused 1-mile interval repeats.
– Rob

QUESTION

“Prepping” for SFAS (Civilian, 18X pipeline) and wondering where I should start. Looking to ship out around April/May of 2021 and I’m not sure where on the packet I should begin. Current stats/ scores (Official Navy PST)
19 year old male
6’2”
190lb

500m swim-  9:13
10min rest
88 Pushups (2 min)
2 min rest
82 Sit-ups (2 min)
2 min rest
24 pull-ups (max, no time limit)
10 min rest
1.5 mile run- 9:59
On other PSTs, my run time was much quicker with my swim in the 9:45ish range, obviously an endurance issue as after hauling ass on the swim my run time increased by roughly 30 seconds.

Gym Maxes
Bench Press #275
Squat #365
Deadlift #455
OHP #185 (a very sloppy 185)
Fastest Mile 5:15

ANSWER

You’ve got 17 weeks until April 1. Here’s what I recommend:
Weeks.   Plan
1-8         Fortitude – Repeat Week 6 to stretch this 7-week plan to 8 weeks
9             Total Rest
10-17      Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan – this is our specific train up for SFAS.
If your date is pushed to May, do the 7 weeks of Fortitude, then 3-4 weeks of Valor, until you’re 8 weeks out, then start the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan directly before selection.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve cycled through my training this year and I’m currently attempting “Fortitude” for the first time. Over the last year I’ve been having issue with my IT band on my left leg.
I believe I have an imbalance from my anterior chain to my posterior chain. Other than seeing a trainer, any suggestions on modifying the training to address my issue. Thanks!

ANSWER

Sorry. Can’t help here other than (1) Train injured, but not “hurt.” The difference – training while injured doesn’t make it worse. Training “hurt” does.
(2) I’ve never been a believer in the imbalance stuff. That this is occurring to just one side tells me it’s an injury to that side, or you’re favoring the other side or something like that.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hi Coach Shaul, I hope you are doing well. It’s been a long time!

I’ve been training an ok amount over the last 3 years (fair amount of CrossFit until year when I started working out in my office gym) and the shoulder impingement is still nagging but never out of control. I’m about now about 153# (up from 135 as you said would happen) but still very very skinny in my upper body especially, still about 5’9”, and now 28 years old. If I had to guess my body fat percentage is 15% but its hard to tell given my low muscle mass. I’m still very flexible, but not durable and have somewhat rounded shoulders. I’ve gotten some good coaching on lifting form, but could probably tune some of that up and have never really done any focused stability work.
I’m switching paths a little bit and while the mountain sports are still something I love, I am planning to join the military. My goal, which given my current fitness level is a little insane, is that I want to try to get into army special forces.
I have never trained specifically for it, but on the old army pft my score was about 43 pushups (I really suck at pushups), 60 sit-ups, and 2 miles in 15:30 minutes, so barely passable for normal enlistment and not even close for anything beyond that. (Last week my deadlift 1rm was about 240# and backsquat 5rm about 195#, benchpress 10rm about 110#)
Obviously it’ll take a ton of dedication, consistency and a fair amount of time to make this happen (not sure what you think, but I’m guessing at least 2 years).
Here are the things I was wondering:
1) I was looking back at the hypertrophy plan and for example it says  “8x Front Squat (Increase load each round until 8 is hard, but doable)” What do you mean by this? What level of difficulty in terms of weight should I be starting at? Is it more important to do all 8 rounds (I’d have to start pretty light to make that happen, meaning the first few rounds could be pretty easy) or do should I have something resembling more difficulty starting off…maybe starting with a lower number of rounds than is recommended?
2) What program do you think I should start with? Given that I’m still really thin, and the strength/durability demands of the military I’m wondering if you think it might make sense to kickstart this with some hypertrophy work? Or should I try a military base plan or start with the ACFT plan to get more in the range needed for that test? (Im assuming any kind of ranger/special forces rucking plan would be quite a bit later on). And for context my current job is not physically demanding. I also want to do what I can do bulletproof my knees especially but also the whole chasis.
3) On a 2 year (or possibly longer) fitness journey like this what do you think are going to be the keys to making sustained progress?
I have access to a decent gym and unlike generally in the past I dont have to travel much and should be in the same job/city for the next 17 months at least.
 Part of that lack of real sustainment in the past has to do with:
a) not pushing myself hard enough when working out alone (which is why CrossFit was good for me. I’ve gotten better at this aspect and have partners at my office gym that I can work out with.
b) Getting demotivated by being stuck in my head (by not being sure about whether or not I’m actually making progress/doing the right things).
Any advice on what it will actually take to make this happen would be amazing.
4) Nutrition: Up to this point I have been focusing on eating enough calories and protein, which is generally the big challenge for me since I tend to eat like a bird.  I’ve recently cut out the sugar, milk, fruit juice, honey, bagels, cereal, corn, soda, alcohol and I’m confident that I can maintain those cuts as well as my calorie and protein intake.  I’m Indian and so most of our food is very dependent on yogurt, daal/lentils, brown rice, and and occasionally naan bread. I’m basically wondering if the cuts I’ve made go far enough given that I definitely need to build muscle mass. 
I’d definitely really appreciate your advice on any/all of these questions. I know it’s quite a lot, so thank you so so much for your consideration! I hope you and your family are safe during this time!

ANSWER

1) Follow the programming as prescribed. Match the load to the prescribed rep count. For hypertrophy, the reps per set will be 8-15 … which is a lot – but is how you train muscle mass growth.
2) Work through the plans/order in the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet, beginning with the Military OnRamp Training Plan.
3) First, good programming. Second, consistently training. Just. Keep. Grinding.
4) Here are our nutrition guidelines. There’s no caloric restriction – eat as much as you want, just eat “clean” 6 days a week.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just ordered your Athlete Subscription Package and I’m trying to find the right plan for me. I am currently a body builder who has just gone into my off season. I am taking a step back from body building training to make a career change and also a mental change from body building.
I am in the process of going into law enforcement and want to make sure I’m physically ready for the POPAT and the academy and eventually change to a specialty. What plan do you think I should start with?

ANSWER

I’d recommend you go ahead and start with the LE Academy Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

First, thanks for the great training plan. I mean to follow to the letter to prep for Sapper School. I do have a question about the rucking calculator, though. I took the assessment today, and got the slowest time I’ve done in my military career–including as a cadet! 3:22:56. The rucking calculator spits out splits that seem reasonable for 3-mile repeats–under the 3-hour mark. But for 4-mile repeats it gives splits that would be too slow if extrapolated.
I’m usually a decent ruck marcher. Last score I got was 2:36:00. Would you recommend shooting for slightly quicker splits, or following the calculator precisely?

ANSWER

The ruck calculator 4-mile pace would cut 23 minutes from your finish time. These are designed to push a threshold pace. If they feel slow, go as fast as possible.
Week 4 in the plan is an unload week – so no Saturday session.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently working through one of your plans but it requests a sandbag for some exercises. I don’t have the space to keep a sandbag in my apartment and my building gym does not have one (I am avoiding the gym anyway due to COVID restrictions.)
Are there good substitutions for the sandbag exercises or a good substitute object to use instead of the sandbags?

ANSWER

No. Sorry – the sandbag is key to the chassis integrity work. Many make their own out of an old duffle bag or backpack. Be resourceful.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was wondering if you guys could include workouts that workout your calves, biceps, traps, and neck – directly. I would only use your workouts if you had programs that included these too. SFOD-D/Bodybuilding workouts would be something I’m looking for.

ANSWER

Sorry, no. Excess body mass for appearance purposes works against important military athlete fitness demands of work capacity, and especially, endurance. It’s just excess weight to run or ruck with.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a civilian working to get an 18x (SF candidate) contract with the Army. Do you recommend doing the Ruck Based Selection Plan V5 or the Q Course Training Plan?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a military athlete a little long in the tooth. I have trained my whole life.  I have been training with CrossFit since I discovered it in Iraq in 2009.
I was reading the study you conducted on improving strength in well trained athletes and have a few questions: how often did your test subjects conduct the complex as in how many days a week; how many times did they complete a complex in a workout session as in using a complex as a round; and were they conducting any additional training during the study.
These questions are purely for my personal knowledge as I am going to attempt to improve my strength using the study as a guide.

ANSWER

Our Barbell Complex Mini-Study write up has the details you need.
– Rob

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.