Q&A 10.8.20

QUESTION

I recently I have joined a volunteer mountain rescue team out here in Arizona. I was curious which daily program you feel would be best suited to the environment I would be performing my duties. I was leaning towards the Wildland firefighter training plans, but figured if I wasn’t certain it wouldn’t hurt to ask. I will admit I’ve been a bit on the strength bias side for a number of years. I regularly hike over distances of 6-12 miles with 1,500 to 3,000 feet of elevation gain so I am pretty familiar with that type of endurance, but I am not very good at running. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. If you need any additional information please let me know.

ANSWER

I’d recommend our Mountain Guide (Alpine) Preseason Training Program. It will prepare your legs, lungs, and chassis for the rigors of the uphill movement under a moderate load (medical/rescue equipment) and stability on the downhill. Hope this helps.
-Charlie

QUESTION

I have three weeks before a record RFT (same as AFPT but for 5 miles and chin ups). I was looking at your plans, and was wondering if you would recommend the regular APFT Improvement Plan and add in chin ups or the newer Grease the Groove Plan for push ups, sit ups, and chin ups paired with the 5-mile Run Improvement Plan or the Run/Ruck Improvement Plan (as there are always rucks in my future and running is my best event).

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Upper Body Round Robin Training Plan. Has everything you’ll need for the RFT plus some rucking. Good luck!
-Charlie

QUESTION

I am interested in a few of your programs. However, most of your programs are only 7-8 weeks. What do you recommend after the program is completed?  Should the program be repeated and adjusted, if necessary? Start another program?  Scale back for a few weeks since most programs are intense?

ANSWER

Repeat? Not indefinitely … you’ll eventually plateau and the programming will become stale.
After completing – it depends on what you are training for. We have two types of programming – “Base Fitness” – which is designed as day-to-day programming, and sport/event-specific programming, which is designed to be completed directly before the event.
For example, if you’re a Green Beret, your day-to-day programming is found in the Greek Hero packet of plans, and we’d recommend you work through these plans in order, between event train ups. If you have a deployment to Afghanistan, we’d recommend that you drop out of the Greek Hero plans 6 weeks directly before your deployment, and complete the Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training Plan.
What are you training for?
– Rob

QUESTION

First of all I just want to say thank you. I was first introduced to your program (back when it was called “military athlete”) in 2011 in Afghanistan as a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment. I will never forget coming back from a mission and pushing through your grueling workouts..leaving puddles of sweat on our shitty, makeshift gym floor.
Nowadays I am a private military contractor working overseas and my job continues to demand high physical fitness.  After years of my own training regiment, I recently returned to MTI and am currently at the end of week 4 of the “Operator Achilles” program. So far I love the training; I feel strong and fast.
I also hit/kick the heavy bag at the gym 3-4 days a week and add in 1 long run/ruck (10-15 miles) just because I enjoy longer endurance work. I am a 27 year old male and weigh ~ 185 lbs at 6 feet tall.
I would like to know if you recommend any particular program by MTI once I finish the Operator Achilles?…I know this is a vague question because you have plenty of programs available.  But I would like to continue having a solid balance of agility, endurance, strength, and work capacity in my toolbox; all making me harder to kill.
If you want, I can send you my current assessment information I have recorded during the Achilles program if need be, and am willing to answer any other questions you may have.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the next plan in the Greek Hero packet, Ulysses.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hope all is well.  Have you ever worked with anyone coming back from an Achilles surgery repair?  I’m just about 8 months post surgery, and feeling pretty good.  I’m told by some PT’s that work with SOF community to give it a full year before I’m at 100% recovery.  But I’m starting to increase the length and intensity of my workouts.  My calf on the repaired leg is probably 40-50% compared to my good leg, and I’ve got a bit of sensitivity and tightness occasionally on my good leg in the Achilles area.  I presume the pain in the good leg is somewhat related to the fact that that leg took the brunt of use for the better part of this year and is readjusting to normal.
Anyway, I was wondering if you had any suggestions on some MTI training plans that might be best suited for me to start to crank up the training, and adding some weight back in.

ANSWER

No direct experience with this. From our stuff – if you’ve finished PT and been cleared to train by your doctor, I’d recommend the Post-Rehab Leg Injury Training Plan. This is a progressive training plan built to help bring athletes back from foot, ankle and knee surgery. If you start it, be smart, cautious and listen to your injured leg. Pull back, stop sessions early, and/or take extra rest days as needed.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was taking a look at the ruck based selection program and it suggests completing it the 8 weeks prior to leaving for selection. I have about 18 weeks prior to selection, what other program can I do prior to the ruck based selection program that would help me out with fitness at sfas?

ANSWER

Fortitude for 7 weeks, then 1 week total rest, then the RBSTP directly before SFAS.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

I was hoping you could help me with a recommendation for a workout program. I used one of your work capacity programs a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I injured myself around that time frame and have been struggling through rehab (chronic back pain, both upper and lower, and tendinitis impacting both knees and ankles). I’m finally in a spot where I’m managing everything and working to get back in shape, ideally to where I can tackle tour work capacity programs again.

I was wondering if you could recommend a good program for baseline and recovery. I have a home gym with squat rack and bench, as well as kettlebells and standard functional fitness equipment.

ANSWER

Options ….
If you’re fit, and ready to go: Hector – first plan in our Greek Hero packet designed for military SOF. Concurrently trains strength, work capacity, endurance (run/ruck), chassis integrity (functional core), and tactical agility.
If you’re fitness needs work: Military OnRamp Training Plan, then Hector.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just finished week two of the ACFT Limited Program and I am enjoying it.

I am unsure of the science, but I have two questions.

1) Can I repeat a particular day’s routine for a second session? Is it better to do the next day’s session and progress in order?
2) Can I augment the program? For instance, instead of 2 x 1 mile intervals can I do 4 x 1 mile intervals?

A little background on me.  I am a currently serving 22 year-service Soldier. My last ACFT was a 538 and I am able to score 90 in each event, however I have to work harder with the sprint-drag-carry and run.   My run time is averaged at 14:55 and sprint-drag-carry is 1:46.

Until two weeks ago my routine was CrossFit/HIIT based using typical items around the unit like sledge hammer, sandbags, water cans, etc.  It worked well, but I like the focus on the ACFT of the Mountain Institute Program.

ANSWER

1. Progress in order. The plan builds in intensity is designed to be completed in order.
2. The running intervals are designed specifically for the 2-mile run. You can increase your speed (which the program asks of you as it progresses), but don’t add extra running volume. If you want to get extra work in (running, rucking, strength, etc.) we recommend doing our plan in the AM, and doing your supplemental work in the PM. That being said, you want to improve your ACFT, so focus on that.
-Charlie

QUESTION

I have used a few of your programs and they have been phenomenal, but my lower back continues to give me issues. The dr said to stay away from axial loading so I sold my squat rack and weights. The backcountry plan was tough but great, and I moved on to the body weight foundation plan but got hurt about halfway through, then tried the lower back plan and the hinge lift did me in. Tough to stay motivated when getting injured all the time, but I would like to put on some muscle…right now I am just doing 5 days a week or stationary bike, weighted rucks, and one circuit training workout, and I have plateaued for a while.

ANSWER

Sorry to hear about your injury. My apologies, but I don’t see a question here. Are you looking for a strength plan while avoiding heavy loading? If so, check out our Sandbag Training Packet. That being said, listen to your Doctor/PT first.
-Charlie

QUESTION

I’m applying for both the DEA and FBI, which have the same PFT now, except for rest periods and FBI’s optional pull-ups.
I noticed the two plans are similar, but are still different.  FBI’s seems to have more long runs and the run intervals are 400 vs. 800m.
Since the PFTs are basically the same for both FBI and DEA, do you recommend one program over the other?

ANSWER

The FBI SA PFT Plan is your best bet to get the pull-up work in. Better to have it and not need it, than not have it at all. I’d expect you to need to do some pull-ups somewhere down the road for the DEA as well. Good luck!
-Charlie

QUESTION

I am 58 years old and am retired Air Force (flew the F-4 Phantom).  I have trained most of my life and am an ectomorph that at middle age shifted over to more of an endomorph body.  In 2016, I started the Sagi Beast workout and realized the most muscle gains ever.  I essentially skipped any aerobic training so I gained a bunch of fat.  Then, my work situation changed in 2018 and my training program stopped.   I got up to 230 lbs. and recently lost 35 of it naturally with IF and a very clean keto diet. I am heading towards 185 and am 6′-1″.  I have not been training during this weight loss phase but am now ready to get after it!

I did some Adventure Racing sprints around 2000 and loved the whole experience and concept.  I am interested in Spartan and saw that the big Eco Adventure race is back.
My local gym is open again but with mask only, which I am not too sure is feasible.  I have a full squat/bench press rack with lat pulldown at home and plenty of plates.  I had a full set of dumbbells but sold them years  ago, like an idiot.  I still have 1″ dumbbells with loose plates, which is kind of a pain, but having to assemble/ disassemble them with every set is a good reminder to not be an idiot!  I have an 1″ EZ curl bar and am interested in a trap bar for better deadlifts.  I am also an avid road cyclist with my wife.
A big part of loosing the weight is to be able to run again and have a shot at doing something like a Spartan race and the occasional 5k or 10k.  I also understand the importance of strength training as we age.
I am interested in the Athlete’s subscription and am looking for a recommendation on a good return-to-fitness plan that is balanced.  I like your approach and everything I have read on your website.  Please advise.
My brother-in-law and one of my bosses both live in Jackson. Have never been there but would like to visit and possibly visit your facility.  Thanks for your help.

ANSWER

The Bodyweight Foundation Training is your best bet to get back into the swing of things. Once you’ve decided on a race, check out our Obstacle Race Training Plan. Good luck!
-Charlie

QUESTION

I am finishing up week 1 of the FBI SA PFT plan, and I’m really enjoying it! I was hoping I could ask a couple questions for clarification though.
After Session 1 with the mock PT test, I am doing okay with all the events, but failing the run by a large margin; I need a maximum of 12:24 on the 1.5 mile, and my Session 1 time was 18:18. On top of just being a garbage runner and needing to improve my run time overall to pass to begin with, I know that my run time was extra bad because I’m exhausted by the time I get to the run at the end of the test.
Regarding the actual workout runs, I’m using the MTI running calculator to get my pace times; however, when I do the workout runs, I’m not exhausted by the time I start the run like I am with the mock PT tests, and I’m finding that the pace for the 800m repeats and to some extent the moderate long runs are much slower than what I can “comfortably” run at. For example, according to the MTI running calculator, my 800m repeat pace is almost 11 min/mile when I can run it in under an 8 min/mile pace; and my moderate long run pace is about 15 min/mile when I can run it in about 13 min/mile without much discomfort at all.
My question is, am I calculating the paces right? Or am I supposed to be using my desired 1.5 mile passing time instead of my session 1 time? Or should I just keep pushing myself at the faster pace as long as its faster than the recommended pace? I just want to make sure I’m appropriately pushing myself in the runs to see maximum improvement, but I also don’t want to be pushing myself harder in the workout runs if I’m not supposed to be doing that at this point in the program.

ANSWER

Stick with the calculator times for your 800m interval runs. You will reassess in Week 3 of the program, and use the new times to adjust your running pace. You’ll notice that the Tuesday’s 400m intervals are threshold efforts – go outside your comfort zone there. Good luck!
-Charlie

QUESTION

I’m looking between the backpacking preseason, peak bagger or the backcountry hunting plans and packet. I have the nearby goal of many multi-day hikes with an attempt of the presidential traverse in the winter. I also want to be in great mountain shape to easily maintain that type of fitness once achieved yet again since I do go on many relatively easy backpacking trips throughout the year. Between those plans, which do you think is best? I’m leaning towards the longer packet just for how much more I’ll be prepared.

ANSWER

Peak Bagger – This is for very steep, but non-technical pursuits while under load. This plan hammers the legs muscular endurance with eccentric strength work to focus on stability on the descent.

Backpacker Preseason – This is for a long duration (1-2 weeks) long-distance efforts (7-12 mi/day) with a 50 lbs pack. We emphasize the same traits as Peak Bagger, but it’s much more tuned towards getting you in the appropriate shape for a backpacking trip.
The backcountry hunting plans have a much heavier pack load for hauling out an animal.  I don’t believe that would be appropriate for what you’ve described
For a long term training solution, the Greek Heroine Packet has 28-weeks of Mountain Athlete focused training. I think that’s your best bet.
– Charlie

QUESTION

I was wondering if y’all had any programs that could assist me with preparing for the Texas Department of Public Safety entrance exam and their academy, as well.

The entrance exam consists of a mile and a half run and a 500 meter row both for time. I have included pictures of the run and row charts for reference. I am a 30 old male and currently work out six times a week.

The entrance exam would be sometime between January 2021 and May 2021 and the academy would begin January 2022.

Hopefully y’all would be able to assist me with this journey and I look forward to hearing from y’all.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the FBI SA PFT Plan to prep for the entrance PT test. You can swap the 300m sprint used in that plan for the 500m Row assessment.  Tuesday’s in the plan are designed to focus on the 300m run… you can row instead.
After that, complete our Law Enforcement Academy Training Plan prior to starting the TX DPS Academy.
-Charlie

QUESTION

I work as a ski patroller at Targhee and just purchased a subscription. I’m expecting to start patrolling around November 29th and plan to complete one of your ski intensive programs the 7 weeks leading up to that.

My question is what program do you think is best for patrollers from the perspective of the 7 weeks prior to starting, the maintenance during the season and what base program should I work on now until I start the 7 week program?

ANSWER

I’d recommend Jedediah Smith from our Wilderness Professional Packet of plans. This plan deploys bodyweigth strength (covid-friendly with gym closures), chassis integrity (core), mountain endurance (run, step ups), and work capacity. It’s 7 weeks long.
Follow it up by the Dryland Ski Training Plan. This thing is killer.
Good luck this year.
– Rob

Leave a Reply