Q&A 2.11.21

QUESTION

My goal is to whip myself into a little better shape in advance of some backcountry ski treks which I expect to take place late February and into March & April.  We’re running very lean on snow here in New England so far this year.
I’ve had a look at the preseason b/c ski training and I think it fits.  I do have a few challenges, which I believe I can address:
1. I work about 12 hrs per day 5 days per week, and off/on during weekends.
    Solution: get after it early, late, or take a break during the day for a workout.  Looks like the typical b/c preseason session would be maybe 45 min.
2. I’m a ski-patroller as well, and I pull a double shift on Thursday afternoon/evening. The double allows me to be on skis for approx 10 hrs per day, and add some skinning in to breakup the occasional boredom and get my uphill game on..  The once weekly shift eats into a “rest-day”, and after being on the hill for 10 hours, and enduring an hour-plus drive home, I’m beat the next day.
    Solution: Count my Thursday shift as rest-day, restart the sequence on Friday.
3. Our current gym is in the garage, as the basement is too crowded and the structure is too low.  We added some TRX straps, built a chinning bar, added rubber flooring, and moved  weights & bench to the garage.  Challenge is that certain times, the garage is like 10 degrees colder than outside, which – in spit of a lack of snow – has been somewhat chilly.
    Solution: bundle up like I’m going b/c skiing, peel off layers as needed
So, while I seem to have a solution for each of the challenges noted, I’m wondering if there’s anything else you may recommend as far as a plan or other potential suggestions.  Thx.

ANSWER

I’d replacing the Saturday Run with your Thursday patrol duty, and taking full rest on Sunday.
This is a limited equipment plan – you’ll only need a pair of 25# dumbbells, 60# Sandbag, bench and backpack with 25# (wrap a dumbbell in the towel and put in the pack).
Plan is simple, but no joke. Leg blasters, touch/jump/touch intervals and step ups will hammer legs/lungs.
Training before work will greatly increase your consistency – even for 12 hour days. Something will always get in the way if you try to train after work.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have really enjoyed Humility and I see that things have been updated recently.  More out of my own curiosity, what led to the update?  Was there a result in a Mini study that lead to the change? I know it’s probably a stretch to ask but I’d love to see the reasoning behind the update, if at all possible without revealing trade secrets or anything..  I’m still going to enjoy it the way I’ve enjoyed it before, cursing the people that designed a stupid thing and wondering about my own sanity for doing it.

Thank you for making such a great program and keeping things up to date and relevant.

ANSWER

Changes to Humility V3

  • Added a sandbag to the equipment list and updated the Chassis Integrity circuits accordingly
  • Changed from the unloaded run assessment to 5 miles, and added a 1-mile loaded running assessment (25#)
  • Changed and updated the Work Capacity Circuits in the Training Plan
  • Changed the pacing of the Friday unloaded runs to “Moderate”
  • Removed Dumbbells from the equipment list
  • Changed the leg strength work from the Quadzilla Complex to a Leg Blaster Progression

– Rob


QUESTION

I’m very interested in the programs you have and they seem like what I’m after. I’m looking for your advice on a specific training plan
I live in Maine so we have distinct seasons and I work as a flight paramedic. I also enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking climbing and mountain biking.
I want to add some bulk as I’m a light weight (6’2 175lbs).
My ideal training (at least I think) would involve some traditional lifts such as squat, bench, and deadlifts. Some sandbag training and I’d like to get in some heavy bag workouts with some jump rope and similar training that a boxer would use. In the summer some outdoor training with swimming,running, and rope climb. I have enjoyed swim run events in the past
By February I will have a home gym with a squat rack adjustable bench pull up bar dumbbells and Olympic bar. Currently I have sandbags plyobox balance board heavy bag and a good space.
In short I want to add bulk, strength, and overall usable fitness.
Thank you for your time and any thoughts. Please let me know if you need any additional information from me.

ANSWER

Now start with Apache – which is a limited equipment, sandbag-based, multi-modal training plan. It’s my most recent limited equipment program design.
Follow it up with the Ultimate Meathead Cycle. You should have your home gym set up by then. Ultimate Meathead is a hybrid plan which trains lower and total body strength, and upper body mass.
After Ultimate Meathead drop into the plans/order in the Wilderness Packet beginning with Jedidiah Smith. Used these as your “base fitness” programming. These plans are built for mountain professionals including rangers, wilderness SAR, game and fish wardens, etc., and concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (run, uphill movement under load) and chassis integrity (functional core). The Wilderness plans will align with your mission-direct fitness demands as a flight paramedic and complement your outdoor life.
MTI has two types programming: (1) Base Fitness, and: (2) Event/Sport-specific fitness.
Again, used the Wilderness Plans as your Base Fitness, day to day programming. But, drop out of these plans and complete the appropriate event/sport-specific training plan directly before your sport season. For example, if you start mountain biking in June, drop out of the Wilderness Plans mid April and complete the Mountain Biking Preseason Training Plan the weeks directly before your season begins. We have similar event/sport-specific training plans for rock climbing, alpine climbing, triathlons, etc.
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently bought your FBI PFT plan and have been working through it.
A few questions for you – why do you have 800s scheduled on both thursdays and fridays? I am a little confused about why you’d duplicate the same workout back to back.
I was also wondering why you don’t program in any “LSD” runs? A lot of other programs I’ve looked at have a long distance run programmed in on saturdays and I was curious why your program doesn’t do the same?
Do you recommend adding any additional lifting to this program / running it alongside a lifting program?
For your reference, I am male, 25, 5’5”, 145 lbs. My 1.5 mile time is 10:15 min, I can do 40 pushups in 1 min, 50 sit-ups in 1 min, and my 300 meter sprint time is 50 seconds. I am scheduled to take my pft in early January.

ANSWER

1) This is a PFT-specific training plan focused solely on improving your scores on the FBI SA PFT. Through testing we’ve found repeating interval sessions is the best way to improve test running distances. These 800m repeats – if you are following the running calculator and making the prescribed pace – should be very difficult. This is why we repeat the sessions.
2) LSD Runs? See above – we’ve found intervals the most effective method for improving running speed for PFT run assessments. For sure, we wouldn’t replace a day of intervals for an LSD run. I can only speak to MTI programming – which we’ve tested, improved and proven over near a decade and a half.
3) Additional work? No – not if you want to max your performance on this assessment. The progressions should be difficult … if they aren’t, you didn’t push yourself on the initial assessment. Make sure you push on the mid-cycle assessment.
– Rob

QUESTION

I want to let you know that I really enjoyed your “16 every day things“ article and will be adding a Sinn watch as an everyday carry soon.  I am also wondering if you have a 14-day quarantine program since I am shortly on the way to Korea for an exercise and along with every arrival, will be housed in an isolated barracks locked down with only 30 minutes outside time a day. If not, I would like to propose it since it is such a blanket policy and will be around for a while. Either way, best regards as always.

ANSWER

Closest is the Gym Closure Training Plan which I built last Spring.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am working through RAT 6 and love it,
I’m combining it with some rucking and running  twice a week but sticking to the strength protocol to a T.
If I wanted to through some arm work in, can you recommend a repeatable go to that would provide some mass in my arms?
Gorilla complex?
Barbell curls with BB skull crushers?
Weighted pull-up and dips??
Thanks for the help

ANSWER

4 Rounds of the Gorilla Complex – increase load each round until it’s hard, but doable.
– R

QUESTION

I’m a Marine Corps officer and have been following your leg injury workout program. So far it’s been great, I’m so glad I can still break a sweat even with a broken foot.
I’m currently using my home gym which has a lot regarding weights but not a lot with cardio equipment (I used to just run prior to the broken foot). So I don’t have a rowing machine or bike. For the 200m of cardio in some of the workouts, I’ve bought a set of battle ropes, cheaper than a bike or rowing machine but still gets my heart rate up. Do you have any recommendations regarding how to integrate the ropes with the cardio in this program? Or have other suggestions?

ANSWER

I don’t have any experience with battle ropes … so my best guess would be do to high rounds of 30 sec work, 30 second rest … so if the plan calls for a 30 minute spin or 1-leg row, do 30 rounds … and see how it goes. I have no idea if this is possible.
I’m assuming you’re standing on a boot? If so, you can do the same with with kettlebell or dumbbell swings or kettlebell snatches. I know you can do 30 min of 30/30 of both because I’ve done it. Start with 12kg/25#.
– Rob

QUESTION

Curveball for you. I am primarily a nordic ski /snowboard athlete, with a fair amount of backcountry snowboard touring thrown into the mix every week.  I ski almost every day 7-10 km with a longer ski or backcountry trip once a week. I realize this isn’t a ton, but don’t want to burn out with doing too much strength. Rest one day, sometimes two.
I have tended to lose muscle over the season and I ruined my lower back years ago because of lack of muscle balance, and I want to make sure not to repeat the past. I used to train Jiu Jitsu when gyms were open and that filled the void and kept the core strong, but now not so much. What plan should I use to maintain muscle, flexibility and chassis strength?

ANSWER

Designed to be completed 2 days/week – each session includes total body strength and chassis integrity.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m in week 2 of the backcountry ski training program. Loving it, but I messed up my back while rock climbing and hiking this Saturday and I think I need to modify the program for a few days till it heals.

I’ve got some fairly intense muscle pain between my right shoulder blade and my spine. I’m assuming I just strained something. I’ve been able to alleviate pain by using a heating pad, hydrating, and keeping it moving. I took NSAIDs the first night due to pain intensity (including radiating pain down my right arm), but have not needed them since.

I’m planning to do Saturday’s four mile run today, as I’ve been able to run with previous upper back pain and it actually seemed to help.

I’m thinking of trying the leg-blaster and step-ups tomorrow, but may not do a 25lb pack, as I think an overloaded backpack is what may have caused the injury this weekend.

I’m mostly worried about doing the sandbag (particularly the good mornings) and scotty bob routines. One reason I’m worried about the good mornings is due to my lack of flexibility (I can’t maintain a neutral spine as far as I should). So I’d like to find an alternative exercise this week that doesn’t depend on a neutral spine.

Any advice for how to handle those routines or find alternatives for the next few days?

Sorry to make a mess of myself so early–I think I know how I got the injury and it’s a learning experience.
Appreciate any input.

ANSWER

In general, I expect athletes to train “injured” but not “hurt.” The difference? Training injured won’t make it worse. Training hurt will.
Given that, skip any exercise that you think will hurt your back. If the SB good mornings do, try doing them unloaded. If it still hurts, stop.
If the scotty bobs do, just do push ups. If it hurts, stop.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a 25 year old who recently left the corporate life and am working to get back in shape. I’m in the federal law enforcement application process and also considering the military, planning to go 18X if I go that route.
My thinking is to train like I’m going 18X because that will have me in better than needed shape for any LE fitness tests / academy if I end up making it through the hiring process.
I saw you have a 52 Week SFAS program—I’m not sure I’ll have that long before. Plus if I do enlist the 18X pipeline involves both basic and AIT prior to SFAS (which is its own question—if I go that route, I’ve heard you should be doing extra training throughout basic and AIT as they alone won’t prepare you for SFAS).
Do you have any plans you would recommend operating on an ~6 month timeline? I have prior fitness experience, but have not been training recently.
Thank you.

ANSWER

Military OnRamp, then Fortitude, then Valor, the the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan directly before basic.
Each can be purchased individually and all are part of the Packet.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been a fan for a long time. I got first introduced with Marine Corps PFT several years back. Currently. I am a Fitness Coordinator for the my agency and I wanted to find out if you had any partnerships with LE agencies regarding fitness programs, and what they may look like?

ANSWER

No formal partnerships with agencies. Individuals use our programming.
Our Wilderness Packet of Plans are designed as day-to-day Base Fitness programming or wilderness professionals including Game Wardens, Rangers, Field Biologists, etc. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (run, uphill movement under load) and chassis integrity (functional core).
We do have unit-based pricing … let me know if you’re interested.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m excited to start a training regimen – the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Training Plan.

I wonder if I should adapt the plan for my specific goals.

Please advise.

My goal is to backpack the Appalachian Trail in sections over three years. This year that includes:

  • End of March – 100 miles over 4 days = 25 miles/day with 25# pack – 10K’ up/down per day
  • June – 440 miles over 19 days = 23 miles/day with 30# pack – 12K’ up/down per day
  • October – 300 miles over 12 days = 25 miles/day with 30# pack – 14K’ up/down per day

My reason for training is the need for increased endurance (and to lose some body fat).

  • Last year my peak performance was 20 miles per day over 6 days with 10K’ elevation gain/loss per day
  • In past have started trips with less mileage, building over the hike. Present goal requires I start ready for 25 miles per day right from the start, without injury.

I am 62 years old and walk steadily, only rarely run. So far, success has come from perfecting a relaxed walk geared for endurance. I am 6’1” tall, 215 pounds.

As I mentioned, I think the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Training Plan is the closest to what I need.

My difference is doing more miles and repeating it for many days back-to-back, without running, just hiking.

Please advise if I should make some adjustments to the training plan.

Thank you very much.

ANSWER

There’s not nearly enough volume in the Rim to Rim plan to go 25 miles/day. The plan is designed to prepare you for one, 20+ mile day, not four in a row.

I don’t have a perfect plan for you. From what I do have I’d recommend the 100-Mile Ultra Training Plan and hike instead of run in the plan. Hike trails with vertical, if possible, at 25# pack.

If not, replace the strength training in the plan with the Monday & Thursday leg blaster progression from the Rim to Rim Plan. You’ll have to skip the step ups.

You only have 7 weeks before the trip starts so I’m hoping your coming into significantly fit or have a high training age.

– Rob


QUESTION

Curveball for you. I am primarily a nordic ski /snowboard athlete, with a fair amount of backcountry snowboard touring thrown into the mix every week.  I ski almost every day 7-10 km with a longer ski or backcountry trip once a week. I realize this isn’t a ton, but don’t want to burn out with doing too much strength. Rest one day, sometimes two.
I have tended to lose muscle over the season and I ruined my lower back years ago because of lack of muscle balance, and I want to make sure not to repeat the past. I used to train Jiu Jitsu when gyms were open and that filled the void and kept the core strong, but now not so much. What plan should I use to maintain muscle, flexibility and chassis strength?

ANSWER

Designed to be completed 2 days/week – each session includes total body strength and chassis integrity.
– Rob

QUESTION

Thanks for broadening my workouts I got 2 more plans from you I’m starting with the body weight workout since I was struggling to do the mountain plan and couldn’t  touch the Afghan pre deployment.

I can’t seem to find a track anywhere by me do you have any other options on things I could do on a trail or on a street light post to post. Just wondering what other options I have so I can really start getting after it.

Thank you so much for your help love what you’ve put out there

ANSWER

I’m not sure what your training goal is, but if it’s the Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training Plan, I’d recommend Mountaineering & Hiking Prep.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am just signing up to your monthly subscription plans, but would like a routine for limited equipment (gyms closed) but for a climber?  I saw about 40 plans, so wanted to check.

I’m looking to stay lean, but strong.  I am a retired wrestler, so I bulk up too much where I am strong but seem to pack on too much muscle, so programming can be tricky for me.

Once the gyms open up, do you have a suggestion for a general training plan to use around my climbing?  I boulder 4 days per week with two of those days doing a VSum on one day and a 4×4 on the other.

ANSWER

Now …. Mountain Base Artimes – bodyweight strength, mountain-focused endurance (run, step ups), chassis integrity and work capacity.
– Rob

 

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