Q&A 12.3.20

QUESTION

I’m a patrol cop and also on SWAT. I sit around 265-270 most days, but would like to get that down to around 230/235. I have a lot of experience in strength training, however my preferred method of training now is long, slow distance runs in heart rate zone 2, (sometimes on the trail as well) j just enjoy them and do them 4 time a week most weeks. What suggestions would you make for a program? I looked at some of the running ones, however six days a week can be a lot depending of court/work and kids schedules, also I prefer some variety in training on days that I’m not running. In currently comfortable running for 90-120 minutes continuously as well. Thank you

ANSWER

If you want to train for your job, I’d recommend the plans/order in the Gun Maker series – which are designed as day to day programming for full time SWAT/SRT and concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (core), tactical agility and endurance (run, ruck).
If you want a plan with and lifting, I’d recommend the Big 3 + 5-Mile Run Training Plan. The running in this plan is not the slow, easy you describe, however, much of it is interval based and all of it is designed to push your 5-mile assessment time.
Weight … it’s unclear if you’re packing around extra fat or extra muscle mass. If it’s fat, clean up your diet and you should shed weight. Here are our recommendations: https://mtntactical.com/inside-strong-swift-durable/frequently-asked-questions/#nutrition
– Rob

QUESTION

Did you ever get around to testing weighted v. Bodyweight leg blasters? I’ve been doing leg blasters with a 25# vest and, anecdotally, they are effective. However, I feel like the more weight you add the more you a training something different. My reps are much less explosive and slower when weighted. I try to be disciplined about only increasing weight when I’m consistently getting near my old, Bodyweight times for a full leg blaster rep. Also, how would a weighted leg blaster jive with you movement away from garbage reps (something I’m very much in favor of)?
Just curious. Thanks for continuing to put good methods out there.

ANSWER

No. We did test leg blasters vs. the Quadzilla Complex (which is partially loaded) and found leg blasters to be just as effective ….. so moved away from the Quadzilla Complex in our Dryland Ski and other programming.
In terms of garbage reps, my focus there is to avoid deploying moderate to lightly loaded lower body, deep squat exercises in work capacity circuits …. like light thrusters, wall balls, back squats, etc.
Leg Blasters and the Quadzilla Complex certainly make you breath hard, but in my programming, are considered a strength, not a work capacity, exercise.
That being said, if we can get the same improvement from unloaded leg blasters as we can from loaded leg blasters and/or loaded Quadzillas, I’ll go with leg blasters because of the lighter load on the knees, especially.
So – I don’t encourage loaded leg blasters.
– Rob

QUESTION

We are currently playing around with incorporating the 10 min sandbag getup into a three event test that Cadets at USMA would do every year and that would be threaded into some of our physical courses. This would be separate and distinct from the ACFT/APFT and would focus on athletic attributes we think are important but not currently tested either at the Academy or in the Army.
Current discussion specifically for SBGU is scoring standards and weights (separate weights for men/ women or unisex?)- folks are leaning toward unisex so looking at taking the 60/80 standard and modifying- not sure I agree but will present as an option. Wanted to see if you could send any data or scoring standards you’ve accrued over the years so we have a place to start from.

ANSWER

Based on our experience …. for men at 80# and women at 60# regardless of body weight in 10 minutes:
Score           Level
0-55             Poor
56-69           Good
70+              Excellent
Best score I’ve heard of so far is 96 reps @ 80# in 10 minutes from a current Army Batt CO. Ed is a monster with a big butt and legs (he can run 8-min miles with 45#) … 80 reps in 10 minutes is moving – not sure his bodyweight but over 200# I’d guess.
My best ever score is 74 reps in 10 minutes at 160# bodyweight at 50 years old.
Rules: 
  • Athlete must lay all the way down with the bag touching the ground, and stand all the way up (hip/knees full extension) and bring the feet together for each rep. Bringing feet together is important.
  • Doesn’t matter how often athlete switches shoulders, and there’s no requirement to have equal reps on each shoulder.
  • No form requirement. I’m not athletic enough personally to roll into a deep squat and stand up – I do a lunge up – but I’ve had athletes who can do this. The squat up is faster.
  • Athlete can stop and rest whenever …. continuous motion is not required
  • Familiarity with this exercise is key. As you know, when you first try 10 minutes at 80# it’s crushing mentally. But the 2nd and 3rd time, when the athlete knows what to expect, scores will increase simply because of familiarity with what it feels like and better technique/form. I’ve seen Tier 1 SOF guys do this event for the first time and only score in the 50s …. it’s pretty mean to throw this at someone in an assessment without them first having tried it…
Load?
  • I don’t load women at 80# – it’s just too heavy/dangerous, for women esp. those under 150#. I’d keep women at 60#.
  • But … some men will reach speed limitations at 60# and a 10 minute effort … i.e. it might be too light. What I mean is the movement takes time, and for your strongest/most fit men at 60#, they might not score much less than if they did the movement unloaded because you just can’t go any faster. I’d recommend loading men at 80#.
Loading/Scoring?
I’d recommend loading men at 80# and women at 60#, and then standardizing scoring based on bodyweight. Simple formula ….
Sandbag Weight x Total Reps in 10 minutes / Bodyweight.
80# Bag x 60 Reps / 160# Male = 4800/160 = 30 Score
80# Bag x 60 Reps / 200# Male = 4800/200 = 24 Score
60x Bag x 60 Reps / 115# Female = 3600/115 = 31 Score
Using the above formula:
Score           Level
0-27             Poor
28-35           Good
36+              Excellent
Reach out if you need any more assistance.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a US navy rescue swimmer and I’ve been trying to look for a good workout program to help increase my strength speed and endurance. I seem to just be all around looking for a well rounded fitness program that incorporates running, swimming, and functional strength exercises. If you have any suggestions please let me know that would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the plans/order in the Pirate Packet of plans which are designed as day to day training for military and LE SOF with water-based mission sets. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (run, ruck, swim), chassis integrity (functional core), and tactical agility.
Start with Barbossa.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just recently graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and I am about to spend the next few months in language classes where I will be able to focus on fitness. I know that I will be taking an ACFT in approximately 20 weeks and I want to be prepared for that, so I was looking specifically at your ACFT prep programs. I have always been more of an endurance athlete but I would like to focus on bulking up and gaining some strength before going to an SF Team. I was wondering if you had any advice on how I could best use my time over the next few months, knowing that I have the ACFT and I will probably do your 7 week program as the lead up to that. What would you recommend I try for the next 12-13 weeks before that? I have access to a full weightroom (though with some COVID restrictions) and also some kettlebells and a sandbag at home. Thank you for your time.

ANSWER

I’d recommend Hector followed by Apollo.
These are the first two plans in the Greek Hero Packet, which is designed as day-to-day training for military Infantry and SOF. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (run/ruck), chassis integrity and tactical agility.
These are each 7-week plans so you’ll need to quit Apollo early and pivot to the ACFT Training Plan the 7 weeks directly before that assessment.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have noticed that your Busy Operator says its been updated to a 2019 version..what has changed with it since 2014 when I last used it?

ANSWER

We’re constantly evolving our programming and updating plans when appropriate to our latest theory/exercises. In this case we updated the original Busy Operator Plan, and added a Busy Operator II and Busy Operator III plans.
– Rob

QUESTION

First off, really appreciate your content and training plans – I have used a few at this point and love the workouts and have seen excellent results.
My wife and I are nearly finished with the Backcountry Ski Training Program (Wednesday week 6!) and I fear we started out a bit too soon. We live up in Bozeman and the snow is starting to fly, but the backcountry season is not really in full effect yet.
We don’t want to ‘lose’ the progress we have made during the training program. Not between now and when we start backcountry riding – and – during the seasons as well. We have a few, relatively burly, guided trips throughout the season and we want to stay in as good of shape as possible.
Further background, I think your program has whipped us into the best shape of our lives –> we are usually just ‘from the couch’ riders and haven’t trained like this since organized sports in high school. We are both really digging the intensity of the training and are getting hungry to continue our fitness progress.
What program/training would you recommend for our situation?
I already have the ski season maintenance program, but I fear that is not enough intensity for us to keep gaining endurance and stamina for backcountry pursuits, since it appears to be intended more for resort riders.
Again – thanks for the amazing content you all put together – and thanks in advance for reading my email and hopefully recommending something to help us out.

ANSWER

Most simple would be to finish the plan as prescribed, the repeat weeks 4-7 beginning the week of Nov. 2. so week 7 falls on Thanksgiving week.
Option 2 would be to complete Jedediah Smith from our Wilderness Professional packet until your season starts.
– Rob

QUESTION

I bought the Greek Hero series packet a while back and really like it, but have run into an issue balancing MTI with my solo martial arts training. I think it’s really important for a martial artist to train in their art everyday, especially during COVID and not being able to train with a partner. But due to time constraints before work and not having the ability to do two-a-days style training it’s been tough to balance martial arts and MTI. I would like to keep doing both, and have thought about doing a shortened version of MTI (such as a 45min cap and just doing whatever amount of MTI training as I can do in that time) and then doing martial arts focused training afterward. But I’m hesitant to bastardize your programs in such a way. Consequently, I’m a bit stuck on a way to adapt. Have you run into similar questions from other civilians before and have a recommendation for such an issue?

ANSWER

No perfect answer for you.
Options:
1) Purchase and complete the plans in the Busy Operator packet. These sessions are designed to last 40-50 minutes.
2) Cut rounds from the Virtue Packet plans – not circuits – try to complete all the parts – but cut the rounds in the parts.
3) Virtue Monday, Martial Arts Tuesday, Virtue Wednesday, Martial Arts Thursday, Virtue Friday, Martial Arts Saturday and Sunday
– Rob

QUESTION

Signed up for the athlete subscription plan.
Looking for a some assistance to maximize my training time. I’m anticipating attending RASP in mid-late February ’21, putting me at about 14-16 weeks out. I’ve seen some of the Q&A recommendations, but am experiencing a bit of workout plan overload and would appreciate some pointers.
I intend to start the RASP plan no later than 6 weeks out from RASP/no earlier than 8 weeks out (I say 8 weeks out in case I have to quarantine for 2 weeks immediately before attending).  That said, I’m looking for some guidance on which plan to use for the next 8-10 weeks. My chief concern is reducing my 5 mile time, especially if I end up losing time to quarantining.
A couple other questions: would you recommend coupling any plans for a AM/PM session or should these plans all be conducted as stand alone workouts? (i.e. run in the morning; one of the suggested plans in the evening?)  Additionally, my location is limited on pool access due to COVID/going into winter; recommendations for supplementing swim workouts?
I’m open to recommendations and happy to provide any additional info. Appreciate the assistance.
Thanks!

ANSWER

Now … I’d recommend Valor. Valor includes a 3-mile run assessment and follow-on progressions. The RASP Plan includes a 5-mile Run and progressions …. so Valor will be a good lead in.
As prescribed, this is a 7-week plan. Repeat week 6 to stretch it to 8 weeks.
Two-a-days? No … the programming is intense.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have used many plans through Mountain Tactical in the past and have had great results. I know I want to use Mountain Tactical again for my next workout plan. I was wondering if you could recommend me my next training program.
I am a competitive runner looking to add in some strength training to my running. My goal race I am getting ready for is a half marathon in January of 2021 if everything goes well with Covid-19. My goal is to break 70 mins. I am running around 75-80 miles a week. I do not have access to a standard gym however I have my own garage gym that is designed for everything you would need for crossfit style workouts.

ANSWER

Options …. both training strength 2x/week:
1) In-Season Strength Training Plan for Endurance Athletes – Each Training Session is stand-alone, and deploys freeweight to train lower/total body strength, upper body strength (press & pull), and chassis integrity (core).
2) Strength Programming from the Half-Marathon Training Plan – shorter, focused sessions built around MTI’s Leg Blaster progression. Also include upper body and chassis integrity strength work.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have an odd question.  I have been working out in a myriad of different stuff for more than 35+ years (…cotton T’s to moisture wicking polyester).  For someone getting back into MTI programming, and with your extensive knowledge of athletes and their apparel, what recommendations would you make for buying workout clothes?  What seems to provide the greatest flexibility and longevity based on your time in the gym??  Yep…told you it was weird.

ANSWER

Best answer is whatever fits best. It will take years to wear stuff out. What I’ve found is if stuff doesn’t fit, you won’t keep it around.
I have 3-4 pairs of The North Face hiking shorts – all the same style and color – that are all 6-7 years old. These are my go-two training shorts – simply because they fit well. These are some synthetic material, but it doesn’t matter as long as they fit. Every once in a while I’ll try another style/brand, but always come back to these … and am not sure what I’ll do if I ever wear them out.
Shirts? Again – doesn’t matter as long as they fit you. I train in both synthetic and cotton shirts – and the ones I rotate through are old, but all fit well. Fit is everything – and the shirts I go to are from The North Face (old t-shirts), patagonia cool daily, Hanes Beefy T – cotton, and Carhartt Force T – cotton blend – the medium size in these t-shirts fit me well.
Unfortunately, everyone is different, and what fits me likely won’t fit you. But … fit is everything.
– Rob

QUESTION

Looking at getting into one of the mtn tactical plans but there are so many choices, I don’t know where to begin.  Would you be able to recommend a plan?
Me:
50 yr old semi-fit former athlete who now mostly mtn bikes, skis, hikes (mtn bike – 3 times a week, hike – 1 time a week, body weight workouts 2 times a week)
I know how to push myself and do know my way around a weight room
Height 5’11”
Weight 215lbs (stocky build)
Goals
-get ready for ski season (advanced skier with some backcountry skiing aspirations)
-lean out (drop weight under 210lbs)
-maintain strength
-improve flexibility and mobility, especially in lower body and lower back
-improve work capacity and general fitness
Of your plans, what would you recommend?  Given my work schedule, I can easily do gym workouts 3-4x a week but more than that is difficult but can get out for rides and hikes.  Running not a great option as I had left hip repaired 3 years ago.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have!

ANSWER

MTI programming is built around two general types of plans, “Base Fitness” which is day to day training based on your job/sports, and Event/Sport-specific fitness which is what you do just prior to a specific event or sport season.
You now I’d recommend the Backcountry Ski Pre-Season Training Plan to get ready for the season which will be starting soon. This program is laser-focused on preparing you for the season, and trains for the loaded uphill and downhill.
After the season starts, depending upon how much skiing you’re doing, either complete the In-Season Ski Maintenance Training Plan, or drop into the SF45 Alpha – which is base fitness programming designed for mountain and tactical athletes ages 45-55. This programming concurrently trains strength, endurance and chassis integrity. It also trains work capacity but avoids the high impact work cap events.
Bodyweight –  Here are our nutritional guidelines. At 5′ 11″, and 50 years old, I’d like to see you drop 20-30 pounds. Your knees/hips/low back will thank you.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just started the 3 week push-up/pull-up improvement plan.  I’m a 43 old male, 6’1”, 201 lbs. I’m in decent shape from an endurance and chassis perspective (I just completed a 5 day backcountry hunt, over 30 miles rucking plenty of gear at elevation).

Still, I have struggled with pull ups my whole athletic life (so I’m open to the probability it is mental) so that is why I’m focused on this course. My (perhaps modest) goal is to do 5 full pull ups after 3 weeks.

I cannot do a single full pull up to start this course. Even on the eccentric version I struggle with the slow “letdown” and practicality fall – while I definitely feel strain in my back muscles to show they are working I am wondering if I just keep at the course as designed, or should I add some supplemental lat pulls or “cheater pull up bands” or something else  to build some basic strength before starting this?  Or is there a more basic course I should try first?

ANSWER

Complete the programming but do Horizontal Pull Ups for the first 3 weeks … and see if that builds to the eccentrics.
In the past we’ve tried band assistance but have found that eccentric pull ups work better.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a soon to be 45 year old civilian who is considering purchasing the SF45 packets for general fitness. But I still enjoy lifting and wouldn’t be able to meet your relative strength standards. So, is there a particular strength plan you’d recommend that serves as a good complement to SF45 (and the older population) , and if so, how would you program it alongside the SF45 (eg order and frequency)? Ideally, I’d like to be able to meet the MTI tactical strength standards.
Alternatively, does the SF45 packets provide enough strength focus to keep on improving, and I should just stick to those exclusively?

ANSWER

Roll right into the SF45 Plans – the strength programming in them will build for you. You can’t do the SF45 Plans and additional work.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just purchased your backcountry training program.  As always getting stoked and ready for the season!
Question tho.  I’m a splitboarder and not a skier. Obviously all the up hill endurance and most exercises are going to transfer(and/or can’t hurt). But do you have any snowboard specific exercise to rotate in? Or should I just leave it as is?

ANSWER

Leave it just how it is. We’ve recommended this program to many splitboarder’s in the past with great results. Enjoy the season!
-Charlie

 

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