Q&A 11.12.20

QUESTION

Im new to Mountain Tactical. I havent actually purchased a plan yet but im very interested in the backcountry pre season ski training plan. Im having dificulty obtaining the required equipment. Many stores around me are sold out with shipping dates for restock delayed.
My question is looking for creative solutions to broaden my search to meet the needs of the training plan. Would I be able to use kettlebells just as effectively as dumbbells? Also for the sandbag, can i substitute a slam ball or medicine ball? Any other ideas to meet the weight needs?
Thanks. Your help is appreciated.

ANSWER

Yes, you can use kettlebells in place of dumbbells… but it’s not ideal. The issue is large weight jumps in KB’s (35 lbs to 52 lbs to 73 lbs) compared to dumbbells, which go up in 5 lbs increments. It’s more challenging to develop progressions within our programming with those large jumps.
No true substitute for the sandbag…. I once used a 30 lbs slam ball and a weight vest when I didn’t have a sandbag. It was a disaster.
We have a multitude of no-equipment and limited equipment plans. Check out this article – it’ll get you started in the right direction.
-Charlie

QUESTION

I am a scuba diver and mountain climber and I am looking at joining the military to peruse a career as a diver or eod. I am having trouble picking out a plan that fits me.

ANSWER

I’d recommend our BUDs Training Packet. It’s a full year of training that will fit your timeline.
-Charlie

QUESTION

I have a question about finding the correct plan for me. I have a pretty broad experience in fitness and exercise, however life circumstances have changed and I am learning how to be the best I can be with my current health opponents. Mountains are my home and I want to be able to continue enjoying them for as long as possible. I was in the Army for 10 years, half in 75th and half in 82nd. I have a series of injuries and prolonged issues that I am unfamiliar with or learning about and struggle to find many good training plans. I live with rheumatoid arthritis that affects my wrists, hands, and feet very severely. I have hip impingement, torn labrum, and psoas muscle strain (causing large bone spurs which I am preparing for surgery) in both hips. I have had labrum surgery in both shoulders (fully recovered). Osteoarthritis in knees and ankles. Lower back/nerve damage to left leg from parachute injury. My struggle with many exercises and training plans is how weak/painful/unstable my wrists/hands have become doing traditional bodyweight or weight training and my hip issues are relatively new and I have impingement pain/weight bearing pain. I can do squats if I remain conscious with my movements, but lunges become painful. Yoga and expressive dance and tai chi have been very helpful with pains and the rowing machine I can do relatively pain free most of the time. I have overhauled my diet to reduce inflammation and mucus build up which was the best decision I have ever made in my life due to the arthritis and sugar/dairy clash.
Any advice you have for a prescribed exercise routine would be great. My overall goals for fitness is general maintenance and strength improvement, as well as, increasing my stamina. I recently moved to northern New Mexico in the mountains and have goals for peak bagging and extended trips. I am not looking to attempt to be the ranger school stud I once was, but instead I just want to be healthy and strong and be able to build supporting/stabilizing muscles to help reduce deterioration of my skeletal system. I am currently 32 y/o, 70″ tall, and weigh 178lbs.
If you read this far, I greatly appreciate it. I have been a fan of this organization for many years.

ANSWER

Sorry to hear about your injuries – I feel your pain after a similar amount of time in the USMC Infantry. Whatever provides you relief – keep doing it.
In terms of programming, the Peak Bagger Training Plan is going to be your best bet for extended trips. Best of luck.
-Charlie

QUESTION

I’m looking for help for next year’s hunting season. I’m 50 y/o and 300lbs and really want to be able to chase big game the way I want to.  Meaning I want to be able to chase elk in deep dark canyons and mule deer on high mtn topd and valleys. Which program do you recommend for this? I’m desperately trying to achieve this goal?

ANSWER

The first thing is going to be losing weight. We don’t offer any fad diets – CLICK HERE for our nutrition guidance. It’s simple and just requires a dose of discipline. Get your diet in order, then start these plans in order.
Best of luck.
-Charlie

QUESTION

Following your advice, my wife and I just finished up the body weight base program. Solid results all around and excited for next steps, which brings this question.

We plan to do the back country ski pre-season program before snow flies and we start in the mountains our East. Should we do Dolly or Johnny next to start upping the ante before starting the backcountry ski? We have sand bags and kettlebells and such so gear isn’t an issue. My wife is more of a Dolly fan, and wanted to keep getting trail runs in. I want to have a solid foundation before getting into backcountry ski shape. Your thoughts most welcome.

ANSWER

Both plans are balanced plans and very similar in overall intent. Johnny might be a slightly better pick leading up to the backcountry ski program, but only by a slight measure. However, if you give in to the wife, you’ll be just as good. Happy wife, happy life… no? Hope this helps.
-Charlie

QUESTION

I recently bought your SWAT train up plan and used it to train up for selection. It was great and I felt like it prepared me very well. However, our selection involved quite a few stints of ruck running which destroyed my legs fairly early on. Do you have any plans that are similar to the SWAT train up but focus more on building leg endurance/ruck running ability? And just for clarity, I modified the train up slightly and stuck with higher volume on the strength days. I’m a former competitive powerlifter, so the 3-5 reps weren’t really what I felt I needed, but everything else I did to the letter. Additionally, there was a pool element that involved a lot of treading, sometimes with weight, and I just supplemented the pool/tread days on top of your train up.
Overall, awesome plan and I’m happy with the results. Our selection apparently is just especially brutal in that regard.
I would say generally they were about a mile, give or take about a quarter of a mile each. The packs contained all of our gear for the day, to include food, water, clothes, soft body armor, plate carrier, handgun, etc. I would guess that it was about 40-45 lbs just based on how it felt.

ANSWER

The best bet would start with the Ruck Improvement Plan, using the shorter distance assessment. Next time a SWAT Selection comes around, you can supplement the selection prep program with the additional rucking. Rucking, for better or worse, is an art that is highly specific to the individual. Get to know your gear that will be used in the selection, and prep your legs accordingly.
-Charlie

QUESTION

In June I purchased the FBI SA PFT prep course, and saw improvements in my 1.5 mile time. My test has been pushed back another six weeks, and now I am not sure how to proceed.

Is it possible/advisable to run the course back to back with a two week break in between? Would it be foolish to add a little weight to the push ups to offer a little progression? I am also itching to get back into doing real lifts, and I figured adding four sets of weighted pull ups a few times a week would solve that for me. I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not.

I’d greatly appreciate any insight you could provide. I’ve loved the course, and will certainly get others once this test is behind me.

Thank you!

ANSWER

Start the FBI SA PFT Plan over from Week 1, giving yourself a few days of rest prior to your test. I understand the desire to sling some iron, but stick to the plan as designed.
-Charlie

QUESTION

I am through 3 weeks of the LE on-ramp plan. I did week 3 twice as I didn’t feel I was ready to move on to week 4. I strained a calf muscle so took this week off and plan to start back up with week 4.

I am looking for a general fitness plan that will not require a lot of equipment and time. The LE on-ramp is longer than I would like but I’m currently deployed in Somalia so have the time and access to a “gym” but when I am back home I generally work out at home with dumbbells/body weight exercises and have more limited time due to work and parenting responsibilities. I am 47 years old, a federal agent, and am looking to improve overall fitness. Ideally I’d like to look at a 4 day/week plan in the 30-45 minute range. I don’t know if you have any plans that fit that bill but saw a recent article you did on beta testing shorter time programs. Endurance has generally been one of my stronger areas and more high output anaerobic type cardio and strength have been areas where I’ve struggled. I currently live in Colorado when I’m not overseas and outside of work I ski and hike and have done a couple longer hikes including a couple easier 14ers. I appreciate any suggestions on plans you think would work with my goals/time constraints.

ANSWER

Busy Operator I and Busy Operator II both have sessions designed to last 45-50 minutes.
In terms of a limited equipment plan when you’re home, look at the SF45 Delta.
– Rob

QUESTION

Found the results of your previous mini-study pretty awesome!  I have a difficult time doing over an hour each training session so knowing that I can have some good results with what I am doing is motivating.  My question for the next go round would be how does lower req/frequency affect overall work capacity especially when tested on an hour long workout?  I would imagine it would be negligible for most persons whose bodies are used to doing hour long workouts but i would be interested in the people who for weeks did 45min and then every week did a challenge workout that was the same for a month to see the difference in overall times along with breakdown of movements to help judge any changes or affects in overall work capacity.  Just a thought after reading that piece. Keep up the great work and I appreciate all you do for my health.

ANSWER

As per the results, the work capacity assessment results were similar.
Not sure what weekly “challenge workout” is or would be, but in general, we don’t subscribe to random programming.  Our selection-based programming do include weekend “mini-events” of increasing duration to mimic long days at selection.
– Rob

QUESTION

Interesting info on the hi vs low volume training effect study. I’ve always thought MTI programming was a little on the high side volume wise, just finding that much time every day is a challenge. Going thru the CRO PH2 selection program now as 34  y/o the volume is huge, and I’m not sure 100% necessary. Given your study any thoughts?

ANSWER

Day to day programming is different then selection programming. Our focus on the study was on base or day to day programming.
The “test” of MTI’s selection programming is successfully completing selection, and our programming has been highly successful for athletes who complete it as prescribed. My sense is the daily volume of our selection programming does not reach the level of volume you’ll face at selection, esp. with the sleep deprivation and other stressors you’ll experience there. Our goal with selection-specific programming is to send the athlete in fit, but fresh. This is a delicate balance given the physical demands of selection.
– Rob

QUESTION

A friend with border patrol recommended Mountain Tactical. I’m trying to get back into fitness after a decade behind a desk. Turning 60 soon, 40lbs too heavy. Just which plan should I start with? I’m in Florida, so mountains are out, though the gulf of Mexico is only 6 miles away though.

ANSWER

I’d recommend starting with the Bodyweight Foundation then moving on to the SF45 Training Packet. It’s specifically designed for our older athletes who still get after it. Enjoy!


QUESTION

I know you’re a busy one man band so I’ll get to the point. Given the results of your recent mini-study relating to fewer and shorter training sessions, do you think your existing busy operator training sessions might be just as effective for base programming as your more traditional programming in light of the recent study? Considering giving those a shot to be more efficient with my own personal time.

ANSWER

Our current Daily Operator sessions reflect what we’ve learned through the mini-studies we’ve conducted with a large sample size of lab rats. We’re constantly playing with how to best decrease overall training volume while still progressing across the fitness modalities that we hammer down on. Right now, the goal is for those sessions to be approximately 45 minutes in duration. Stick with the latest Operator Sessions, as they’ll give you the most up to date programming. Thanks for the note!
-Charlie

QUESTION

I’m just finishing up the 357 Strength plan and planning on moving into the MTI Relative Strength Assessment Plan. I was wondering if I should go right into it or take a week off or the normal 2 days?  What would you recommend?

ANSWER

Recommend you take a week of rest before hitting the Relative Strength Assessment Plan. Enjoy!
-Charlie

QUESTION

I am currently doing the ruck and run improvement plan. I am looking to add a separate plan to workout twice a day without adding any extra running or rucking mileage. The primary goal is to improve overall strength and apft score

ANSWER

I’d recommend the MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Program. Thursday’s in this program are endurance days… sub that out with the scheduled program for Ruck & Run program. All other days, make sure to split the training sessions between AM and PM training. Enjoy!
-Charlie

QUESTION

I just signed an 11x Army contract earlier this week and ship out at the beginning of the new year (14 weeks out). My ultimate goal is to be a Green Beret. I have a general understanding of the physical requirements needed to achieve my goal, but I fail to see the best path to get to such a state. I am hoping you could help me align my ends with my means. What is the best path forward for the next 14 weeks before I ship out as well as the months preceding SFAS? I have an extensive background in endurance sports including running and cycling. Since the start of the year, I have begun to incorporate weight training to increase my strength and put on some much-needed size with marginal results. Admittedly, I am a novice when it comes to strength/size-specific training and my history with endurance sports has had very little overlap with my efforts to prepare for selection. Right now I stand at 5’8 135lbs (up ~8lbs since March). I do not struggle with bodyweight calisthenics, running, or any endurance related exercise. Despite being on the compact side of things I can manage to ruck relatively well as long as my pack weight is not over 70lbs. However, I understand that this is unsatisfactory since ruck weights can and will surpass 70lbs. Absolute strength is also a weakness for me. My current 1RM’s are as follows
Squat: 205
Front Squat- 165
Bench- 170
Strict Overhead Press- 110
Deadlift- 280
I would say that for my weight these numbers are not horrible, but when put into perspective of my end goal they are off the mark.
In a nutshell, seeing as though I need to increase both my absolute strength as well as the integrity of my chaise, how do you recommend I proceed forward? Also, what are some realistic benchmarks that I should be striving for in the coming months?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

I’d recommend Fortitude, followed by Valor prior to Basic.
Not sure about your schedule for SFAS, and I understand you don’t know either.
Post Basic, I’d recommend the plans/order in the Greek Hero Series, beginning with Hector – these are designed as day to day programming for military Infantry and SOF, and concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (run/ruck), chassis integrity (functional core), and tactical agility.
8 weeks out from SFAS, drop out of the Greek Hero plans and complete the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan, which is selection-specific to SFAS and been used successfully by multiple candidates.
– Rob

 

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