Q&A 2.20.20

QUESTION

I’ve used many of your plans with great success. I’ve also contacted you at various times over the past few years with questions – I appreciate the answers and everything I’ve learned from MTI.

After finishing my current cycle, I will have 27 full weeks (with a few days to spare) before the next USMC A&S class starts (currently a Rifle Platoon Commander). Pending a slot in this course, how would you recommend structuring the training?

I will need to spend a lot of time in the pool, and I expect that to be an add-on to my regular programming. Need to improve my technique and speed in the water more than doing laps for conditioning as I’m not as proficient a swimmer as I would like to be.

You don’t have to give swim based plans as a recommendation – I expect I’ll probably need to run regular plans with swimming as an add-on – but you can if that’s what you think would work best.

I will be spending approximately 2 months on ship at the beginning of the 27 week training block. The ship gym won’t have barbells and I obviously won’t have access to a pool – a limited equipment plan/bodyweight plan will probably be the main option here.

Latest Test Stats:

~Lifts

  • Deadlift 1RM – 400 lb.
  • Weighted Pullup 1RM/Push Press 1RM/Bench Press 1RM: Testing this week. Shooting for 95 lb/155 lb/235 lb respectively.

~Conditioning

  • MTI Tactical Athlete Work Capacity Assessment: 54 reps.
  • 80-lb sandbag getups in 10 min: 88 reps.
  • 19:10 3-mile run.
  • 3-mile IBA run in boots and cammies: 27:37
  • 4 rounds for total reps – 60 sec 25m sprint/60 sec rest: 41
  • USMC CFT/PFT Scores: 300/293 respectively.
  • Bodyweight = 190 lb.

ANSWER

Here’s what I recommend:
Weeks    Plan
1-8          Sandbag/Weight Vest/Dumbbell Training Plan – Shipboard
8-14        Barbossa
15-18      Black Beard
Notes – 
– If you can’t sneak a sandbag and pair of 25# dumbbells aboard the ship, do the Shipboard Training Plan.
– Barbossa includes a 500m swim assessment and repeats. Repeat the Wednesday (swim) session on Saturday, making this a 6 day week/plan.
– Black Beard – Includes a 1500m Swim Assessment and Intervals. Again, repeat the swim session on Saturdays making this a 6 day/week plan.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a question. Is there anyway that I can use the fat loss plan on side of the 2 mile improvement plan without jeopardizing growth.

ANSWER

Somewhat depends on your fitness – i.e., if you’re fit enough … but we’re talking a high level of fitness. With MTI programming, it’s always best not to combine plans.
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you have youth plans? or a recommendation for a 14 year old?

ANSWER

At our sister site, prepstrength.com.
– Rob

QUESTION

I hope this reaches you well, I’ve been following your programming off and on throughout my military career as well as being a fire fighter and it has always served me well, so for that, I thank you. Presently, the state of Florida has a 6-day Smokediver selection which includes a PT test (Ranger PFT), Round Robin in full PPE on oxygen including pullups, throwing ladders, a stair climb with high rise pack and hoisting a heavy object up 5 stories via rope, etc. Additionally, there are several smoke sessions each day as well as burn events, searches, and mid-week a go/no-go event, the 9/11 stair climb (110 flights) of which has to be completed with a specific amount of oxygen and time. Attrition rate is approximately 80% for the entire course.
I’m 11 months out and currently following your virtue series (mid way through military on-ramp) to create a strong base before moving into the ruck based selection prep program. My question is, to accommodate some of the gear/O2 workouts as well as the stair climb, should I be substituting ruck-runs with stair climbs, and some of the more sport specific training in lieu of other exercises? As my conditioning progresses I’ll be working in more workouts in coat and pants and slowly increase PPE throughout the year. I know everything you have designed is for a specifc purpose and don’t want hinder my progression by not being as strict as possible with the programming, but also want to make sure I can perform the tasks necessary to succeed. The RBSP seems to hit the vast majority of demands for the course, short of the stair climb.
Apologies for the lengthy email. I appreciate your time!

ANSWER

Yes – get as specific as possible. Not sure you need to ruck – so step ups in full turn out gear is an option, as well as long, 60-75 minute “grinds” – multi-modal sessions in gear. The work capacity in the virtue series should prepare you reasonably well for the work cap you’ll face at the event.
Ruck Based Selection Training Plan? The long rucks in the plan won’t transfer well … I’d recommend the DEA FAST Selection Training Plan as the final plan you do directly before selection … in fact, I’d recommend you do this plan after Military OnRamp, and then again, directly before the event.
You’ll need to make a few changes to the plan …. first, replace the 12-mile ruck assessment with 2,000 8-inch step ups in the same kit you’ll wear at your event. Every time the plan calls to ruck, use a 1 mile = 200x step up conversion and do step ups instead. For the intervals/mini-events, you don’t have to wear your gear but wear a pack that weighs the same.
The DEA Fast plan also includes swimming – you can skip it.
Finally, I’d recommend that for one of the work capacity events during the week, and for every weekend mini-event, you wear your gear. For the weekly work cap event, go on oxygen as well.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking to start on one of your programs but don’t quite know which one i should get.  I am a flight nurse and looking for functional workout to help with work (carrying things, twisting and lifting motions) I also ski multiple times a  week in winter and Bike just as much in the summer.  I also snowmobile ski so having the ability to muscle around the machine.  I am looking for work capacity, strength and endurance.  I dont want to bulk up so nutrition is key as well.  Can you advise me on which one to get.  If you have any more questions please ask.  Looking forward to hearing from you

ANSWER

I’d recommend the plans/order in the Greek Heroine packet of plans beginning with Helen. These are designed for multi-sport mountain athletes but include no-joke strength, work capacity, endurance (run, uphill under load), and chassis integrity (core) which will transfer well to your job.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m struggling to make the Touch Jump Touch progressions in the Backcountry Ski plan.
I barely made it through week 4’s 20/30 intervals, and simply died on week 5’s Tuesday session yesterday.
My question – should I 1) rest more between intervals, ie 40 seconds, or 2) break the 20 intervals into subsets, say 7 each and take a longer rest between subsets, or 3) do as many as I can until I’m gasping(about 14 sets)?
I’m making all the other progressions without too much struggle, including the LegBlasters.
Fortunately, I built an extra week into the schedule before my big trip so I can do week 5 twice.
One other comment – I think the plan needs a few ‘mini’ events.  I did a long 2 day trip last weekend(invited at the last minute) and while I was plenty strong, I feel a few 120+ minute Saturday sessions, like you have in the Hunting plan, might be a good adjustment.  Perhaps  combine the Friday and Saturday sessions into one joint effort?
Again, thanks for all your help and great programming.

ANSWER

Follow the T/J/T to box progression as prescribed. Because it is time-based, not rep based, it is self-limiting. As you fatigue, you’ll do fewer reps/set. I will say these are nearly the most metabolically intense events I’ve designed. You’re welcome.
I’ll consider the mini-event idea. Thanks for the suggestion.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a 36 year old, overweight guy that skis and hikes quite a bit (and used to climb, trail run, and mountain bike). I want to get back in shape, but most the plans I look at start pretty intense. Is there a beginner workout plan you recommend to get me going?

ANSWER

Start our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. Run/walk the running in the plan as needed – but do the entire distance.
The strength work in the plan is assessment based. In this way, the plan automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness.
Follow up Bodyweight Foundation with the plans/order in the Greek Heroine Packet, beginning with Helen. These plans are designed as base fitness for multi-sport mountain athletes and concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (run, uphill hiking under load), chassis integrity (core) and climbing fitness (rock).
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking at purchasing one of your plans and wish to select the right one. I am currently a SAR rescue medic so I have experience in hiking, rucking with packs, and wheeling patients out, along with being a paramedic on an ambulance. I am currently in the selection process for DPS Arizona (state patrol). I am wanting to prepare first for the initial test which is 1.5 mile run in 14 min, 30 push ups, 30 sit ups, and a 300mm run in under 60sec. My starting point right now is a 3 mile run in 28min, 300mm run in 1.10, 20 push ups, 20 sit ups, and continuing weight lifting. Then I need to prepare for the actual academy. Then I want to continue with improvement towards a special team. First is going to be Air Rescue with DPS, however, I am hopefully moving towards Borstar with BP.

ANSWER

Start with the FBI SA PFT – which has the same events at the fitness test you’re looking at.
Prior to the Academy, complete the LE Academy Training Plan.
Post Academy, complete the plans/order in the Spirits Series, which is designed as day to day fitness for LE Patrol/Detectives.
As you know, you have to be with the Border Patrol for a couple years before attending BORSTAR selection. Prior to selection, complete the BORSTAR Selection training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

What programs(s) would you recommend that focus on or at its core are heavy on the following four areas I want to improve in:
– VO2 Max
– Leg Strength
– Lean Body Mass
– Grip Strength
Thanks.

ANSWER

I’m assuming by VO2 Max you mean overall endurance.
Lean Body Mass is 95% diet-related … you can’t outwork a shitty diet. So no matter the fitness programming, eat clean and you’ll need up.
Grip strength is the hard one for me. Our Notorious Prison series for correctional officers has focused grip strength programming, but not the full endurance programming you may be looking for.
Our Greek Heroine Series for mountain athletes is endurance heavy, and includes rock climbing programming – which will push grip strength.
All MTI Base Fitness programming has a significant lower body strength emphasis.
Given all that, I’d recommend Helen, from our Greek Heroine Packet.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a Basic Training Platoon Leader currently stationed at Fort Benning. My follow-on assignment will be at a Reconnassainse Squadron. I have about 19 weeks before I report.
I’ve been thinking about completing the running improvement plan so that my endurance can be as prepared as possible for the change in altitude when I get to CO, but I also need to work on my general fitness. There are so many options to choose from on your website, that I’m a little overwhelmed with what would be best.
To give you an idea of where I’m at, here are the scores from my last ACFT (mid-December):
MDL: 300 (90 pts)
SPT: 8m (70 pts)
HRP: 30 (70 pts)
SDC: 1:37 (98 pts)
LTK: 20 (100 pts)

2MR: 15:01 (89 pts)

Also, I haven’t been to Ranger School yet, and there’s a good chance that I will be sent back to Benning to get the Tab after I get to CO.
Please help send me in the right direction

ANSWER

I’d recommend the plans/order in the Greek Hero Series – which concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (run/ruck), chassis integrity and tactical agility. These plans are 7 weeks long and these are what I’d recommend:
Weeks    Plan
1-7          Hector
8-14        Achilles
15-19      Actaeon
– Rob

QUESTION

I am planning on signing up for the athlete subscription in order to prepare for the big horn 50 mile ultra run this June 20th. I was planning on doing the ultra preseason followed by the 50 mile training program. However that still gives me 6 weeks. I didn’t know if you would recommend I do the off season strength training or one of your other GPP or running programs.

A little background on me, I’ve been running since 2015 but am also a strength and conditioning coach and have a pretty good strength base. I sit at 148# at 5’7” and about 20-21% body fat. This past year I did the “Mickelson triple dog dare”. A series of three runs throughout the summer, a full marathon, a 30 mile race, then a half marathon. Then this past weekend I ran the Arizona rock n roll half marathon, I finished in 1:42 averaging a pace of 7:50 min mile. Throughout all of my training I’ve tried to maintain my strength. Training for this last race I wasn’t running as much as I was throughout the summer, usually it was 3-4 times a week: one long run, a tempo run, a recovery run, and usually some speed intervals. I have also been going to CrossFit 3 times a week and do other gym based strength workouts 3 days a week.

Coming off of a long season, I didn’t know if you would recommend I take time off of running before starting preseason or continue to maintain my endurance. While I’ve gotten pretty good at training for 13 miles, 50 miles is a different game and I’m excited to commit fully to a good program! Just want to make sure I do it right.

Thank you for your time.

ANSWER

Reading into your note, it seems you need a break. I’d recommend a full week’s rest – no dedicated training. Walks/recreation are fine, but no gym or focused running.
Then, drop into Willie – which is a multi-modal plan that has a slight endurance emphasis. The Ultra Pre-Season Plan starts with a 21-mile week, including one easy 10-mile run … so you can’t go into it without some programming. Willie is multi-modal, includes two days of running, and three days in the gym, including one gym-based endurance day. You can roll from week 5 of Willie right into the Ultra Pre-Season plan.
One note …. our Ultra plans include strength work, but the focus is rightfully running. Expect your strength to drop some – but that’s okay. It will come back fast after the June race. Focus on your running.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking for a good training program for more big wall climbing application that would need to include crack and aid technique and endurance. Which training program do you recommend?

ANSWER

Our Big Wall Training Plan is focused on overall climbing strength, work capacity and stamina, but not technique work – so I’m not sure it’s what you’re looking for. We’ve found the gym is an inefficient place to train technique and actual rock is an inefficient place to train fitness … so technique is better trained on actual rock.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m going to end up using your programs as my go-to for the next year or two. My question for you guys is regarding the timing in which I should choose certain programs. Right now I’m fostering a knee injury that will take about 3 months to get back to full, and then on the other hand about 18 months to 2 years from now I will be transferring from the Navy to Army for SFAS. What would you guys recommend for now and then. Thanks

ANSWER

Now I’d recommend a strength plan – specifically Big 24 Strength. If you don’t want to do the shuttles in the plan, replace them with 30/30 spin efforts.
Follow Big 24 with Fortitude. Replace the running in fortitude with biking – double the prescribed distance. Decrease the prescribed ruck running by 30%, and just walk with the pack.
This is 14 weeks of programming. After, drop into the plans/order in the Greek Hero Series, beginning with the Military OnRamp Training Plan.
8 Weeks prior to SFAS complete the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Looking for a plan recommendation that accommodates minimal equipment (Sandbag and/or Ruck) and is designed for three days a week for 5-6 weeks – it is ok if running/rucking is mixed in as part of those days too.  I see most are 5-6 days a week.  Do you offer something along those lines?

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Sandbag / Weight Vest / Dumbbell Training Plan. This is a 5 day/week plan as written – but you can do it 3 days/week. Just follow the sessions in order – don’t skip ahead or around.
– Rob

QUESTION

Quick question, I’m doing the Backcountry Hunting Base program right now…( loving and hating it at the same time).  When doing the Tues/Thurs leg blaster/push-up/pull-up circuit is there a particular work:rest ratio a guy should be working with?  I’m on week 4 and have been basically grinding through the rounds and trying to go unbroken on sets with minimal rest between rounds. After the workout tonight I was thinking about it and realized the intent might be more of a work hard then rest scenario…. I haven’t been the best about keeping the stretching portion in there.

Any insights would be appreciated, thanks for the great program!

ANSWER

Each of those circuits include a stretch. The stretch is your “working rest” between rounds. Spend 30-60 seconds on the stretch.
– Rob

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