Q&A 1.24.19

QUESTION

First of all, I would like to thank you for your commitment to fitness and training, and the knowledge MTI has provided throughout the years.  It has been an invaluable resource throughout my own training and I have spoken with many military athletes who have benefited from one of MTI’s programs.
Secondly, I would like to thank you for referring me to your basic strength program.  After graduating Ranger School in mid-November, it was clear that my strength needed improvement.  I lost nearly thirty pounds at Ranger School, but since using the program, I have gained all my weight back (albeit, the holidays didn’t help my case).  The program offered the perfect mix of strength and conditioning that allowed me to ease back into training without injuring myself or overworking muscles that were not used to those types of movements.  Over the course of three weeks, I experienced a 50lb increase in my front squat, a 20lb increase in my bench press, and a 15lb increase in my power clean.  I didn’t train consistently during the weeks of Christmas and the New Year, but I am back in the gym and will finish the program this week.  I look forward to testing the four movements and seeing improvements again.
In the next few months, I will be attending Airborne School and the Reconnaissance Surveillance Leaders Course.  Although both courses offer rigors of their own, I still want to maintain a strength and conditioning platform that I can use on the weekends or during free time.  What course of action do you recommend?
Again, thank you for your commitment and the commitment of the MTI team.  It pleases me to know that their are individuals out there who are striving for excellence in their fields and helping others succeed.
RLTW!

ANSWER

I’d recommend the strength sessions from the TLU Strength Plan when you’re able to get into the gym.
– Rob

QUESTION

Kudos: Your programming produces results. It helped me max APFTs, be competitive in Sandhurst and military try-outs, schools, and competitions, graduate Ranger School, and be one of the fittest and fastest soldiers in my company. Big 24 gave me a 25% increase in total body strength. The the high degree of efficiency, effectiveness, and reliability of your programming is unquestionable.

Question: I am about 20 weeks out from my desired SFAS date. I am doing the 52 week train-up and am about to start Valor. I just developed Achilles tendonitis and now just walking to work has become painful. Should I swim during the speed-over-ground endurance training sessions? Delay Valor and do a low mileage strength phase? I am open to all suggestions. I am an ectomorph that adapts easily to running and rucking but gaining and maintaining strength is difficult and a weakness. What should I do in the weeks leading up to selection now?

ANSWER

You want to be healthy and fit to complete the final plan the 8 weeks directly before SFAS. I’m not a doctor, and I can’t diagnose you or treat your issue remotely. Obviously now you need to restrict running/rucking – until your heel heals up. Continue with the programming, but sub spinning/biking for the running and rucking work in the plan. Spinning/biking will transfer better than swimming.
– Rob

QUESTION

Question regarding leg blasters…
I break sets as necessary for mini leg blasters (few breaths and reattack), but come round 4-5 of 10, I reach muscle failure on jumping lunges and jump squats (cannot complete 1 or a very long break between reps). Is there a “go to your knees” (as with push-ups) type progression once you reach failure/cannot renengage after a quick few breaths? Complete the remainder as regular squats and lunges? Not to the point I can complete 10 sets, but if I stick it out I’ll eventually get there.

ANSWER

Not really – but you should shorten the range of motion if needed on the jumping lunges – go shallow.
– Rob

QUESTION

Not sure what category of plan fits my needs the best. So I thought it would be best to see if I could get some direction from the source, I’m very impressed with the selection but a bit overwhelmed at what will fit my needs the best.

I run in outlaw (no governing body) biathlon races/matches 5k/10k+ in the hills of KY and other spacious states. These events include the foot race part and usually ~5 shooting stages spread out along the course and usually several obstacles walls, low crawls. The only training I’ve put in for the last 2 years of running these has been weight vests workouts and trail running.
Looking for a program that will take me to the next level with my endurance and trail running with weight ~30lbs. I’ve never done a organized program before and one of the SF guys out of Ft. Campbell that went to the last race I was at recommend I check you guys out.

ANSWER

I don’t have a specific plan from your event, but several of our tactical plans should transfer well. I’d recommend you start with Humility.
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently purchased the athlete package to access all plans. I did so as I am planning to climb in Ecuador in June. I climbed Rainier this past May and used your Rainier plan to train for my climb (which was great and helped me immensely). My question is, which of the mountain plans would you recommend for climbing in Ecuador? The climb will take place over 12 days with acclimatization hikes during that time. We will climb 2 mountains, Cotopaxi and Cayambe with the summit attempts being around 4,00 ft elevation gained in a day. Steepness for both climbs will be between 30-45 degrees.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Big Mountain Training Plan the 10 weeks directly before you depart for Ecuador.
Between now and then I’d recommend Mountain Base Helen.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just signed up for your subscription.  I have a friend who is a PT who uses your program personally and recommended it (he does require anyone wishing a plan to sign up individually).
I am going to be doing a boot camp in 8 weeks for search and rescue, law enforcement.  It will include something similar to the FBI PFT with reduced requirements, as well as an obstacle course.  It will include a backpack component; both a timed, weighted carry and a 3 day exercise.
I’ve done search and rescue in CA for 18 years, backpacking into the Sierras for 3 day assignments (5 years ago, weight wise), and some interval HIIT training for running untill last April.  I have done Pilates on the reformer machines for a year, moving to a 6 day week, until Dec.
I need to lose about 15lbs of fat (last year lost close to 40 on the fast metabilism diet – I’m eating better than ever in my life, gained back 8 over the holidays and due to an injury).
I need to gain some of my endurance back so I was looking at the endurance off season plan, for backpacking and the boot camp.  As well, I need to get more running speed, upper back  and upper arm strength.  I would like my calves to look nice, too lol…
I was looking to do both the endurance off season plan and the 5 mile running improvement.
The big issue?  I run on an Elliptigo (www.elliptigo.com).  Essentially, it’s a elliptical machine on wheels, great for running without impact on joints, back, chest (I am a 36 C+).
Last April I was almost hit by a car while riding and fell.  I have ligament damage to my wrists (1 surgery in June, PRP injections to both wrists and my ring finger recently) and my pinky and ring finger on my right hand were dislocated 70 degrees, avulsion fracture and ligament damage on both.
So hands and wrists are out, for any program.  I will do the 10 required push ups on the test in 8 or 9 weeks, and deal with the pain.  I can do that without training for it.
But perhaps I can talk to someone about how to adapt both programs and/or exercises to do without my hands, wrists.
I have gotten the okay from my hand doctor for everything but work with my wrists.  I need to gain strength in my upper and fore arms, but can’t include my wrists – how’s that for challenging!
Another issue is that a year ago, I had a fall (tripping over my search dog) and have had issues with upper back spasms (so I liked what your off season endurance plan overview said).  My trainer was going to adapt the program to a Pilates reformer machine with a jump board as it will be better suited to a recovery plan and many of the exercises I saw I already do in Pilates.  He thought using it as a less strenuous program could then be combined with a program like a more intensive running or cardio plan.
The back spasm issues means I need to carefully gain more strength in my upper back.
So those are the challenges.

ANSWER

You’ve got a lot going on here health wise and not much time to prepare for your assessment and selection.
From our stuff what I’d recommend is the first 2 weeks of the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan to jumpstart your fitness.
6 weeks directly before your assessment, I’d recommend the Peak Bagger Training Plan. I’m assuming the 3-day SAR exercise will be mountain based – and this will help prepare you.
I can’t modify upper body exercises to not use the upper body – so you’ll simply need to avoid all the upper body programming in the plans as per your restrictions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am loving the workout’s just 5 weeks into hector and I gained 50 pounds on my 1 rm on bench 235 and yesterday I did 265 for my front squats then brought my mile time down also so thank you! But I am wondering I started with hector should I move onto Perseus or how does the Greek hero workout go ?
I work for the BLM as an Engine Capt and I can really see a difference in my performances because of you guys thanks again and keep up the great work!

ANSWER

Apollo next, followed by Achilles.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a Kentucky State Trooper, I have always done traditional weightlifting with some cardio. Our agency’s Special Response Team (SRT) will be holding annual tryouts for the team in June. The selection usually consist of basic movement exercises: pushups, pull-ups, sit-ups, 2 mile run @14 min. There is typically a 6-10 mile ruck or team sandbag carry etc. This is a 3 day event intended to test strength and endurance, along with other aspects of the job. SRT selection is a para military style process.

I just purchased your subscription and have approximately 5 months to prepare, I am generally fit now. What do you recommend for base fitness and sport specific training plans?

Thanks for the help.

ANSWER

I went and worked with the Kentucky SRT several years ago – great guys!
By my count you have 23 weeks until June 15. I’d recommend you work through the plans/order in the Gun Maker Packet of plans for full time SWAT/SRT, then complete the SWAT Selection Training Plan the 7 weeks directly before selection. Specifically –
Weeks   Plan
1-7         Ruger
7            Total Rest
8-14       Glock
15          Total Rest
Modify the SWAT Selection Plan from a prescribed 1.5 mile run assessment to a 2 mile assessment. Then increase the prescribed rounds of 800m intervals by 1x each time it comes up.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m mulling over training plans and was hoping for some help. Last year I ran you wildland firefighter preseason. I’ve also used your core strength body weight plan.  I want to focus on improving my strength and balancing out some deficiencies (shoulders, and quads).

I am a former Marine and since I’ve been out I find it difficult to train as frequently and as long as I used to. My 1rms have dropped dramatically, particularly on lower body lifts. Currently I’m benching about 205, front squat 185, deadlift 285.
I’m not a big guy so I was considering your hypertrophy for skinny guys.
I have a full power rack with barbell etc, sand bags, and some crappy adjustable dumbbells. Otherwise the gym is about 1 hour away. Something I can do with my limited equipment would be great.
Appreciate any advice you could give me.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you focus on strength and do a hard, focused strength cycle, specifically Big 24.
This plan includes limited work capacity – but it’s one of our most effective and most intense strength progressions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been involved in CrossFit for the past four years, however, I saw your programming and wanted to give it a shot. I have a SWAT tryout coming up February 13-15 and thought your sport specific programming can fine tune me these last few weeks. The pt test for the tryout is max reps front squat at 135 no time limit, max reps bench press at 185 no time limit, max dead lifts at 225 in 60 seconds, max pull ups no time limit, max sand bag get ups in 10 minutes and 1.5 mile run. Based on the programs I have seen on the sight I think the LE Athlete fitness assessment programs might be the best for what my goal is. However, I just had a few questions for you.

1. It’s a three week program, but my test is 6 weeks out. Can I just repeat the program twice right after I finish to bring me up to my tryout. Or will repeating it twice with the high reps affect me negatively?

2. I was going to replace the box jump training days with deadlift, just doing the same exercises, reps and sets as the front squats and bench press you have programmed.

3. The LE program is 4 days a week. Do you have any other programs you can think of I can do on my other 3 days that will train the 10 minutes sand bag getup event and 1.5 mile run?

4. Finally, the LE program is based on body weight for front squat and bench. Should I stick with that or base everything off of the weights required at the tryout.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated. I look forward to starting your programming.

ANSWER

What you describe sounds like a modification of MTI’s Operator Ugly Fitness Test. For your programming, I’d recommend the Operator Ugly Training Up – but modify the loading for the front squat down from 185# to 135#.
You’ll also need to drop the 3 mile ruck and replace it with a 1.5 mile run assessment. For follow on programming, use your 1.5 mile run time, MTI’s Running Calculator and complete 3 Rounds of 800m with a 4 minute rest between efforts.
Answers to your questions:
1. The Operator Ugly Train Up is a 3 week plan – run it twice, back to back but make sure you get 3-4 days total rest before your selection.
2. The work capacity efforts in the Operator Ugly Train Ups – 25m shuttle repeats and sandbag getup intervals – will be enough.
3. The Operator Ugly Train Up is a 5 day/week plan.
4. N/A
– Rob

QUESTION

I was showing my friend the work out I do & was introducing him to MTI.

He recently got a gym membership & is trying to improve his jump & be more explosive for volleyball. He was impressed w MTI but thought the philosophy was too much bulk based & didn’t think he could achieve his goal with your focus. I told him I would email you because I wouldn’t be surprised if you had good place for him to start.

Do you have thoughts and a plan you would recommend for him.

ANSWER

The bulk of MTI’s strength programming is focused on building relative strength, not adding mass. There are some exceptions – the Hypertrophy Plan for Skinny Guys is one, and our programming for LE Patrol/Detective does include upper body hypertrophy programming.
I’d recommend your friend start with improving his relative strength – or strength per bodyweight – specifically the MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m looking at the Greek Hero packet in rotation to use (forever) as my day to day programming.

I’m current deconditioned although elk hunting 10-12 miles per day at 6,500-8,000ft at slow pace wasn’t challenging. I’m hiking Manchu Picu in June, 20miles over four days with elevation from 6,500 – 14,000 ft.

My questions: 1) Starting with the military on ramp portion today, will the Greek Hero properly prepare me for Manchu Picu hike?

2) what is the typical “body composition” of a Greek Hero athlete? Assuming I diet appropriately and maintain low body fat, does this program promote a muscular build or more of a leaner triathlete build?

3) can I repeat this packet (theoretically) forever, or do you recommend different packets/plans after completing this packet?

ANSWER

1. Best would be to do the packet until 6 weeks from your trip, then complete the Backcountry Pre-Season Training Plan.
2. This programming is focused on performance, not appearance. What muscle you gain, fat you lose on the plan is dependent primarily on your natural bodytype, and your diet. 90% of fat loss is diet related. However, there certainly is more strength training and much less endurance work than a triathlon training plan – so athletes completing this programming mostly will carry more muscle.
3. Yes – there’s a lot of variety and plenty of plans, but eventually it will grow stale and you’ll want to do something different.
– Rob

QUESTION

I ended up getting a earlier date then I hoped. What would I do for CCT or PJ if I am going in July?

ANSWER

By my count you have 24 weeks until July. Here’s what I recommend:
 
Weeks   Plan
7           Total Rest
8-14       Big 24 + Swim Improvement Training Plan* (2-a-day)
15-24  USAF CCT/PJ/CRO Training Plan – Complete the 9 weeks directly before selection.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a 37 year old desk jockey/weekend warrior (skiing Alpine/Backcountry, mtb, and runner). I live at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon Utah, have two kids under 4, and travel a lot for work. I would like to improve my conditioning and strength and compete, rather than just complete, several mtb bike races and Alpine running races this summer, while maintaining my overall fitness year round. I have limited gym equipment and prefer not to spend too much time inside, buy do have a trainer for my bike and open to ordering necessary equipment within reason. What programs would you recommend? What equipment is needed? I have always been in decent shape, but as the years continue to slip by would like to try to max my fitness before it is too late.

ANSWER

MTI deploys two general types of programming: (1) Base Fitness, and; (2) Sport-Specific Fitness.
I can’t design a training program which keeps you at peak fitness for each of your activities at all times. Rather, our approach is to use base fitness programming as your day-to-day programming and then in the weeks directly prior to your next season or event, drop out of the base fitness programming and complete a sport specific program directly before your season. After the season, drop back into the base fitness programming.
For example, your annual calendar could look like this:
Jan-Feb              Base Fitness
March-April        MTB Pre-Season Training Plan
May – June         Alpine Running Training Plan
July-Sept            Base Fitness
Oct-Dec –            Backcountry Ski Pre-Season Training Plan
In terms of Base Fitness – for you, because you don’t climb, I’d recommend our Wilderness Professional Training Packet. I just designed this packet for game wardens, forest rangers, biologists, etc. who need a solid base of mountain fitness, without climbing. The programming concurrently trains relative strength (strength per bodyweight), chassis integrity (core), work capacity, and mountain endurance (running, uphill hiking under load).
Start with Jedediah Smith – which deploys bodyweight-only strength training.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been looking around your website for a while now. I’m a seasonal wildland firefighter and I’d appreciate your help with picking a plan / multiple plans that would work for me. My main issue is that I have limited equipment – currently have a pull up bar, rock rings, resistance bands, loaded pack, foam roller. Getting a couple small plates or ankle weights isn’t an issue at all but I am limited with how my locations likely will not have a gym or it is too far. One of my recent interviews was for a place in Montana and the town’s grocery store is over an hour away from our bunkhouse. I pack up all my things and move in my car (a Corolla) so I also don’t have space to buy dumbbells when my car gets packed as it is. I’m thinking I’d have to mix and match exercises from different plans.

Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

ANSWER

You’re limited by your equipment – esp. if you’re not willing to pick up a pair of dumbbells and build a sandbag. From what I do have I’d recommend the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan.
Better would be Humility – but you’d need to invest in some equipment.
Again, ideally the 6 weeks directly before you report for the next season you’ll complete the Wildland Firefighter Pre-Season Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Im currently in first week of ultimate meathead training plan and enjoying it. I lnow it requires 4 days on 3 days rest. I am doing it M- Th and wondering what physical activity i could do on days off without hindering my recovery time. Im also asking your advice as to a good training plan to go into after the ultimate meathead and how much time i should take off between plans. Im interested in increasing my strength/mass while staying fully functional. Im a 44 year old retired Marine and im currrntly working as a HITT gym trainer aboard Marine Base Camp Lejeune while studying for my bachelor’s degree in healthcare management. Your response/advice would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

You could add in a 3-5 mile moderate paced run on Friday or Saturday.
After Ultimate Meathead, I’d recommend you drop into the plans/order in the Country Singer Packet 1.
These are multi-modal base fitness training plans for civilian athletes and concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance, and chassis integrity.
– Rob

QUESTION

Can you recommend a replacement exercise (or replacement exercises) for EOs?  I just can’t get the hang of them and I feel like I’m wasting time and effort in my workouts.  Thanks!

ANSWER

– Rob

 


QUESTION

im seriously considering joining the Army after I graduate from college. I have to cut a serious amount of weight, around 40-50 pounds, and I have 1.5 years to get it done. Which workout would you recommend?

ANSWER

Start our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, and fix your diet. Hereare our recommendations.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m 56. Powerlifter with marginal numbers.  Gained too much weight training and would like to lean out, but retain some strength.  I haven’t run in forever, but have hiked a bit. I want to plan for a GoRuck challenge in the future as well as some Lake Tahoe hikes that would cover some distance.
I was a Marine and a police officer, so I’m well versed in military/LE training. Recovery seems to be a bit of an issue of late.
With that said, can I have your recommendations?

ANSWER

Start our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. This will get you away from the barbell for a cycle, help you lean out, and put some work capacity and endurance into your base. Follow it up with the plans/order in the SF45 Packet. These are designed as day to day programming for tactical athletes ages 45-55.
– Rob

QUESTION

I wanted to reach out to you about what the best approach is for my training.  I have had my eye on buying the APFT plan for a while now, and am finally at a point in my training that it makes sense.  I have typically scored 270+ on the Army APFT, but lately my run time has been really lacking, and the last score was only about a 230.  I feel like its time to focus on the APFT more and this program seems to make sense.  I have been using the 5/3/1 program for about a year now and have seen significant strength gains, but have really lacked cardio for the last 6 months.  My next APFT is in May, so I’m wondering if you have some advice on how to approach the lead up?  I would like to keep my strength in the big 3 lifts while also improving my APFT.
I was also on the fence on whether to buy a program or do the subscription.  If I do subscribe, so I get access to the full plans immediately?

ANSWER

You’ll want to complete the APFT Training Plan the 6 weeks directly before your assessment. You could do it now, then do another plan, then re-complete it directly before the assessment if you want.
But I’d rather you complete a couple plans from our Virtue Series, Fortitude, then Valor, then drop into the APFT Plan before your assessment.

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

 

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