NOTE ON QUIET PROFESSIONAL: DONT GET TOO FAR FROM YOUR PURPOSE
read your article titled “Don’t get too far from your purpose” and found it interesting. In my line of work we have these discussions often. Your article reminded me of a recent discussion with a colleague who introduced the Japanese concept of Ikigai. The attached graphic illustrates it quite well. Maybe you will find it useful.”
I’m trying to find a good fitness plan that will help me stay alive and stay in a fight. I’ve done some power lifting, I’ve tried SealFit, over all I’m pretty fit in comparison to the average LEO.
What workout plan do you recommend? I hate running more than 2 miles, but I’m fine to walk for a few miles with a weight vest.
I look forward to your response.
I’d recommend Whisky from our “Spirits Packet” of plans for full-time LE Patrol/Detectives. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (core), upper body Hypertrophy (mass) and tactical agility.
At the end of this past year, I completed the SWAT/SRT H&K program to increase my overall physical fitness. The program worked as promised and I saw great improvement from the first week to the last. To gauge my progress during the program, I completed an FBI PFT Assessment which resulted in overall scores well below where I had anticipated. At the end of the program, my improvement was obvious by my ability to crush my previous FBI PFT scores but I recognized my ability to improve upon those scores.
In preparation for applying to the FBI this year and seeking additional improvement, I then started the FBI SA PFT program. Comparing my most recent assessment to the starting assessment for this program, some of my scores have actually decreased. A friend of mine who is also doing the program has also experienced a decrease in his scores. We are not having any difficulty getting through the daily program and have actually added the addition of pull-ups and the occasional swim to help increase our overall performance; however, we both feel as though our performance has only decreased.
Below has been my progression so far. The November date is my first assessment during the H&K program. The December date was the initial assessment starting the FBI SA PFT program. The January date is the most recent assessment.
- Sit-ups – 44
- 300 Meter – 50.8
- Push-ups – 43
- 1.5 Mile – 11:37
- Pull-ups – 10
- Sit-ups – 51
- 300 Meter – 46.6
- Push-ups – 62
- 1.5 Mile – 11:00
- Pull-ups – 17
- Sit-ups – 47
- 300 Meter – 47.5
- Push-ups – 62
- 1.5 Mile – 10:30
- Pull-ups – 14
While I realize these numbers are close, for FBI PFT scoring those changes led to a loss of 4 total points. I expected to be observing additional progress, even if only very slight during each assessment. Is there anything we should change, modify, just do differently to continue to see improvement. My friend and I are both applying to the FBI Tactical Recruitment Program with future aspirations of applying to HRT and thus want to max out the PFT assessment as much as possible.
From a strength and conditioning perspective, there are three things to consider here.
First – The H&K plan
is not a sport-specific plan for the FBI SA PFT – so it’s ability to increase scores for the plan somewhat limited. H&K and the other Gun Maker
plans are designed as Mission-Direct, day-to-day programming or “base fitness” for full-time SWAT/SRT operators.
Second, your FBI SA PFT
improvement from November to December was dramatic. This shows the power of sport-specific programming. Your taper off of improvement and even decrease in some events for the January assessment shows the downside of doing one type of programming again and again …. accommodation and overtraining. In our world, “everything works, but nothing works forever.” We’ve seen this many times in our gym and with remote athletes – your body “accommodates” to the stimulus from the training program, and stops improving, or worse, gets overtrained and decreases.
For example, if you weren’t a runner but one day decided to run 5 miles every day for a year, after a few weeks, you’d quit improving. Often I’ll get emails from guys asking if they should repeat a PFT plan or selection plan again and again to see continued improvement and the answer is no. There will likely be dramatic improvement at first – as you saw, but then the improvement will taper off and decline with overtraining.
Third – even with the best programming, fitness improvement eventually plateaus based on genetics. Train as hard as I might, I’ll never be an Olympic sprinter….
What does this mean for you moving forward?
First, go back to the Gun Maker plans now. Your “base fitness” has declined with all your emphasis on the FBI SA PFT events, plus you must be bored out of your mind. I’d recommend Beretta
Next – you didn’t send your height/weight. My guess is you’re not fat, but could possibly lose some mass. The distance work in Beretta may cut some muscle from you. Even dropping 3-5 pounds of muscle will increase all your FBI SA PFT scores.
Finally, plan to repeat 3-5 weeks of the FBI SA PFT plan directly before your application PFT.
Hope you are well. Could you please recommend a program for in and out of season soccer for my 12 y/o son?? He plays mostly defensive midfielder position.
I just read your article about the SAFT and this is definitely a test I want to try with my guys soon. However I have a question about the scoring, I saw you list the scores 1-10 and that a score within a specific range means Poor, Good, Excellent. I wanted to know how you calculate the score for each event separately so I can get the total you have for those categories. So if a guy does 15 pull-ups how many points does he get in that event? Thank you for your time.
Scroll down below the Poor, Good, Excellent chart, Matt, and you’ll the specific points awarded for each event. 15 pull ups would score 7 points on the 1-10 point scale for each event.
Event Reps Points
Pull Ups 12 6
HR Push Ups 42 7
Heel Taps 7 3
WC Assess 49 4
Ruck Run 33:15 7
Total Points 27 or “Good”
Have you posted anything regarding the use of sleds? If so can you direct me to those articles? Big thanks!
We have sleds but they are not a huge component of our programming and I’ve never build sled-only cycles.
I’ve read your recent articles pertaining to new standardized tests in the military. I’ve been training tactical athletes for 5+ years now and have been required to use either the THOR3 test or the new battlefield airmen assessment. I agree with many points you made. The cost alone for the equipment and personnel will be staggering. As I looked through what you had to offer as a substitute I found myself asking a couple of questions:
1) Do we even need any type of pressing test? Push-ups have already been shown to have minimal correlation with the successful completion of most tactical tasks.
2) and this is my primary question…Do you train running under load often and, if so, have you seen any negative impacts in terms of increased joint pain in the knees or shin splints? I’m not trying to be critical at all, I’m honestly very curious. I’ve found several studies that show an immediate increase in anterior pelvic tilt and sharp increases in pressure in the knees when weight is placed on the body. For that reason, any time I’ve used weighted vests to peak individuals for deployment I used them in conjunction w/ a heavy sled push or jacobs ladder to slow them down and reduce impact. I honestly would rather be doing short sprints under load to better train RSA in a more realistic fashion but I just didn’t have any evidence that it was safe enough from a training standpoint.
Thank you very much for any help, advice or even research you could throw my way!!
1) Press… I feel it’s an important measure, but the Marines don’t… Marines can do Push ups or chin ups for their PFT.
2) I’ve never seen a study that says loaded movement is good for you and common sense tells me it obviously increases impact on joints and the low back and in the long run will likely pre-maturely age these joints for tactical and other athletes who move under load (mountain). I’m not sure we need a study to tell us this.
So why have athletes train under load?
– It’s what they do in the real thing and the last thing you want to have happen as a strength and conditioning coach is to send an athlete to the “real thing” and expose them to loaded movement without knowing what it felt like before and not being conditioned for it.
– Will sled pushes and jacobs ladder and other work transfer to loaded movement without the joint impact? Perhaps, but at some point early on, I’d wager, the athlete quits adding to loaded movement fitness and just keeps getting better at sled pushes and jacobs ladders. We do know sled pushes and other exercises don’t train the “combat chassis” in a mission-direct way like loaded movement does.
– Running with a 45-75# ruck probably isn’t good for you, but neither is getting shot because you’re too slow and can’t get to cover fast enough and you’re not fast enough because your strength and conditioning coach didn’t have you run and sprint under load in your train up.
I can’t and won’t risk this with my athletes.
Signed up for a goruck tough that is on June 1. Was planning on getting your goruck specific plan for five weeks before. In the meantime what would you recommend to get me ready.
Hi guys, love the website.
I’m 40 yrs old, Infantry Officer, will command an infantry battalion next year. Any special training considerations for over 40 athletes?
Congrats on command!
Our concerns start at 45, but our SF45 programming
is no joke and is what I’d recommend for you at 40+ – close enough.
I’ve been perusing the different strength plans you off looking for a strength focused overall maintenance plan. At this point in time, I don’t have any specific event I’m training for and simply want to develop (or purchase) a plan that I can use over the next 6-7 months. I’m planning on doing some trekking in Nepal in October/November and will likely use the Peak Bagger plan I’ve already purchased which worked great for my last trip. I’m currently working my way through the Ultimate Work Capacity plan and when I’m done with it, I want to get back to the barbell and do some strength training. My desire is to do strength training 2-3 days, and incorporate at least one day each of work capacity, chassis integrity, and a 5-mile run (which I do with a group of guys every Friday). 357, TLU, MTI Relative Strength, Super Squat…all look like great overall programs. Having a hard time figuring out which one fits best and whether they can be adapted for a longer time progression. Any advice?
Based on your schedule and duration, I’d recommend TLU Strength
. Another option would be Fortitude
– but do the ruck run unloaded.
Hey mtn tactical coach, first off love your guy website. Articles and the Question and answer forums. So I am a Recon Marine in North Carolina at 2nd Recon and I am looking for a program that will improve everything cardio, strength, agility and to be better than my teammates ha but also for durability. What programs would you suggest? Thank you for taking the time to read this and keep putting up awesome content!!
I’d recommend the plans and progression in the Pirate Series
. These plans are designed for SOF and other tactical athletes whose mission set includes water stuff. These sessions will get you in the pool 1x/week, in addition to concurrently training strength, work capacity, running, rucking, and core. Start with Barbossa
If swimming isn’t important, complete the plans/order in the Greek Hero
Series – starting with Hector
. These plans are designed for SOF without a water-based mission-set.
Hello and thank you for all the great information and knowledge you share!
I am very impressed with your way of thinking and program design (and field tested research to back it up!). My plan right now is to purchase a fitness plan for myself and a program design course to further my education. Once I’ve completed/ingested those, sign up for the monthly subscription. The reason for not subscribing right away, is not to “test you guys out” but to keep me focused, I feel that I would bounce around too much with all the information you offer. However, I am not sure as to which to choose and would like your recommendations.
So, a snapshot of me, who/how I train, and a few questions:
I am 36, very active, been a “runner” since high school (coached Cross Country/Track for 10+ yrs after), but also play rugby and surf. My run programming has been the typical 4 phase (base, threshold,speed ,taper type), high mileage, strength training consisting of only body weight/light weight exercises (never any real gym work), filled with ebbs and flows of semi decent success (podium finishes but never on top, sub 20-5K, sub 40-10K, 1:30-1/2 marathon), aches, pains, and injuries. In the middle of my debut marathon training last January, I realized my goal of sub 3 hours was not going to happen. So I shut it down and the plan for last year was to fix my imbalances and start fresh. Got into a my own interpretation of Strongman training (bought 2-50lb bags of sand and a 90lb bag of concrete), and really enjoyed that type of conditioning, but never followed any type of program. Signed up for a Strongman comp only 30 days out, and had a blast but was totally humbled being probably the world’s weakest strongman competitor.The rest of the year was mainly focused on learning, and trying new things to implement into my clients programs. Most of them are novice, intermediate runners and general population “get in shape is my goal” type. I have trained a few Military/Law Enforcement but none too serious and am in talks with some firehouses about doing some conditioning/assessment type work for them.
On to the questions- What would be your suggestion for my personal fitness plan? I would like to keep endurance as my focus (without running 60-80 miles/week) but know strength is my weakness. I really like your “Grinds” and thought supplementing that with rucking (I’m new to that)/running would be nice. But am totally open to a different opinion.
As for courses, I was looking primarily into TLU or 357, with the possibility of Density Strength. What would you think would be a good starting point?
If you made it this far, sorry for the novel and thank you so much for all that you do!
From our stuff I’d recommend you complete begin with Humility
. This is the first plan in the Virtue Packet
for tactical athletes and should help lay some strength for the barbell work coming next, and also give you a taste of multi-modal training.
I’m wondering if you have an appropriate plan for me that can work within my physical and equipment limitations?
I have a history of back pain. I’ve been through physical therapy and have been deadlifting for a couple of months now and that’s going fine but I’m not yet ready for faster lifts like kettlebell swings. I also have a history of shoulder problems. I can do most things but certain exercises bother it more than others. This is probably related to a surgery from long ago which left the left half of my diaphragm paralyzed and also missing some ab muscle.
My goals are to develop pretty much everything – Strength, work capacity, endurance but my dream is to enjoy long hikes on rugged trails again and do some short distance (5K or so) running. I’m like the world’s worst runner and until recently haven’t been able to pursue it because of issues related to the back pain and stuff.
I’m home based and have barbell, kettlebell, and dumbbells but no bench or squat rack. The basement ceiling is too short for overhead presses but I can bring a dumbbell upstairs for that.
Sorry for rambling, looking forward to your reply.
I’m currently in the military I’ve been training for over 8 years I’m looking to gain massive amounts of strength with a good amount of hypertrophy as well as increase my endurance what’s the best plan for a military athlete looking for these goals
These concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (running/rucking), chassis integrity (core) and tactical agility. They don’t train hypertrophy, however, as we don’t feel hypertrophy is an important fitness demand for military athletes – and actually diminishes endurance because of the unneeded mass.
I’m appreciating your Rainier Prep Plan. My trip is coming up the first week in Feb. My question is- what should I do afterwards?
The only event I have on the calendar right now is a GORUCK Tough July 22. That’s 23 weeks after my trip. What plans should I do in the meantime? I’d like to improve my pull-ups and running speed (when it’s warmer) as well maintain my gains from the Rainier plan.
You’ll want to do our Mountain Base programming found in the Greek Heroine
series of plans. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (trail running, uphill hiking under load), chassis integrity and climbing fitness. Start with Helen
I have been an MTN Athlete for about a year now, and can only thank you all for your work. But I have a question. I am interested in hitting some (for lack of better words) “Crossfit” type workouts. I have been enjoying some Olympic lifting based workouts, but would like to add some cardio in the mix. I’ll throw down on some rowing, box jumps, and power clean type mixups about once a week. But was wondering if you guys have a HIIT type strength training program? I look forward to the suffering. Hahaha.
I am a 13 year Air Force vet and I’m looking for some advice. I do quite a bit of running, rarely more than 5 miles, but don’t do strength, mostly because I find traditional weightlifting very boring.
I am looking at your virtue packet and was wondering if it would be a good choice for me. I have access to the base gym, so that’s not a problem.
A little background before you give your advice. I want to be fit and strong. I tend to be extreme when I do things fitness related. A few years ago, I would do insanity, followed by P90X, then run 5 miles. I know your program isn’t like these and that’s what I like. I’ve done numerous GoRuck events with much success.
My best and worst event was a GoRuck HCL, where I was med dropped from the heavy 12 hrs in due to heat exhaustion and moving toward heat stroke. It was bad. I ended up eating and staying up, going back to finish the challenge and the light. That’s a little about how much heart I actually have.
I’m looking to be my best, be more fit than I’ve ever been, get my ass kicked, and have a blast doing it.
Also, if during a program I have questions or need advice, are coaches available to help?
I’d recommend you begin our stuff with Valor
Valor will get you in the gym training strength and multi-modal work capacity, and also push your endurance with assessment-based unloaded running and ruck running. The plan also includes our chassis integrity (core) training methodology.
I am trying to decide the type of programming that will best fit my goals.
I am an active duty logistics officer currently attending graduate school at Ohio State… so my access is to more of a standard style gym with plenty of weights, racks, platforms… but not much in the realm of kettlebells, bags, and other non-standard type of equipment.
My goal is to get myself into the best level of fitness I can manage from now until I return to an active duty unit in June. I want to continue to increase strength while improving overall military conditioning.
I have had knee issues in the past. These issues seem to have diminished since drastically reducing my running in school and transitioning to a ketogenic diet, however, I still have issues with squats (my depth limit is just above parallel).
I appreciate the variety you offer when it comes to programming but I’m a bit perplexed where to place my dollars.
I’d recommend the plans and progressions in the Virtue Packet of training plans starting with the Military OnRamp
training plan. You may need to build a sandbag depending upon your gym – be resourceful.
Email back on the other side of OnRamp.
Hello, I’ve experienced great success utilizing MTI programming and education in the past.
I’m seeking MTI insight to choose my next program.
Current situation: 5 months post op from surgical repair for traumatic quadricep tendon tear (MFF landing).
I’m continuing supervised / progressive physical therapy 3 days per week.
I’m up to a slow jog for 1.5 mi / tread mill, functional moves without “cutting” or aggressive shifts.
Appreciate that any input does not supersede medical advice.
Thank you for your time
Take a look at our Post-Rehab Leg Injury Training Plan
. It may too aggressive for you right now as it’s designed to be transition programming between full release from PT and intense training, but it would be the first plan I’d recommend from our stuff.
I was looking at the big 24 strength program and was wondering if there is a conditioning program I could pair with it just to maintain engine/endurance?
Don’t underestimate the intensity of Big 24
. Completing the final progression is the closest I’ve ever come to throwing up in the gym!!
The plan includes shuttle sprints on Wednesdays. You could an in a 5-8 mile run on Saturday.
I’m very interested in your programs but do not know where to start and what is best for me. Can you help?
If so, below is a bit about me to help you understand more about me and what might be best:
- I am a 43 yo male with a variety of athletic experience (i.e. ball sports growing up, transitioned to endurance oriented activities like tri’s such as Escape from Alcatraz, 1/2 Ironmans, marathons, adventure races). More recently I pick a big goal and train for it (i.e. 2 years ago I climbed Mt. Rainier, last year I rode from Telluride to Moab)… I’m not a fan of exercise for the sake of exercise… I like to train for a goal
- From April to September I will be racing mtb’s 1x a week in a fun but challenging series for 45 min to 1 hours per race
- There is a chance I can schedule a climb (Grand Teton or a local Seattle mtn)
- Will likely find 1 challenging mtb or gravel ride 75 – 90 miles
- Next winter my goal is the Steep and Deep Camp at JH – If I can make that happen, I want my fitness to be an asset, not something that holds me back!
- Have a demanding schedule – Sales with travel, 2 and a 5 year old and a working wife
- My WO time is typically between 5 – 5:45am in my garage with kettle bells, body weight, TRX and a Wahoo Kickr bike trainer (new to it and a huge fan of the Power meter)
- Generally healthy but have lingering lower and mid back issues resulting from a cyclocross accident where I fractured my c1, t3 – t5, ribs, etc. I have medical clearance and have been very active since but do feel like I am deficient in muscle development since the crash and experience lower back muscle strains occasionally after dead lifting and other Olympic movements (probably need some focus there and noticed your back program)
- Garage workouts with basic kettle bells, bum bells are what I’m working with
- 1 to 2x per week I cycle to the office between 15 and 25 miles each way
- Family and work demands, plus age are making things more and more challenging!
Bottom line is that l am looking for a long-term plan that provides a platform that allows me to tweak and specialize for a few weeks depending on a particular adventures vs doing an adventure, taking off, getting out of shape and starting over again. Recently my training has been very random and I need direction and consistency.
I see a few of your programs that could work but I’m wondering if there is a particular series/ progression that you’d recommend given what I’ve explained above.
If you made it this far into the email, THANK YOU.
The closer to the season or sport, the more sport-specific your programming should be.
The further you are away from the season the more “general” your programming should be. General isn’t just anything for mountain athletes. All mountain sports and event have the same basic fitness demands – solid relative strength (strength per bodyweight), good work capacity for shorter (30 min) intense efforts, chassis integrity (functional core strength), climbing fitness, and mountain endurance (trail running, uphill hiking under load).
In our programming, this general fitness is called “Mountain Base.”
You …. 8 weeks from April 1 and your mountain bike season, complete the Mountain Bike Pre-Season Training Plan
. As an endurance athlete, you know you have to train long to go long – which means you’re going to lose some sleep to get in the mileage necessary to prepare for your season. You may need to join a gym for the strength work in the plan.
During your mountain bike season, given that your racing on the weekend, maintain your non-bike fitness by completing 2-3x sessions/week from Mountain Base Artimes
. You’ll likely need to build a sandbag. When traveling, you can complete sessions from the Stuck in a Motel Training Plan