Q&A 2.28.19

QUESTION

First off, good work with the Ranger Preparation Program. I used it prior to going to Ft. Bragg’s Pre-Ranger with enough success to make it to Ranger School where it allowed me to succeed at RAP week with no worries. The lunges were also much appreciated in Mountain Phase, just the mental aspect of knowing I’ve done thousands of lunges in the months leading up to those mountains made things easier.

Now my question is, do you have a program recommendation or tips for post-Ranger recovery/rebuild? I’m fairly weak now, even doing our regular 6 chin-ups for chow has become difficult. I went into the school weighing a lean 143lbs and came out weighing 135 lbs at 5’ 6”. Also have frost nip on my toes which will take some time to rebound from, burpees definitely challenge the toes, my running form has changed for the worse and lower back bothers me a lot. Ideas or recommendations? Thinking the On-Ramp program followed by..? or supplemented with..?

Thanks from a very proud and appreciative Ranger, I’ve already recommended your program to my friends looking to make the trip down to Benning.

ANSWER

Congrats on Ranger School!
Start building back with strength – specifically the MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

We recently had a structural fire on the 33rd floor of a high rise building.  We had no problem getting to the 33rd storey, but our legs did take a beating getting up there with all of our gear (120+lb of hose, tools, bunker gear, SCBA, etc.).  Can you recommend any exercises or circuits that would work well for building leg endurance when climbing stairs for an extended period of time, beyond just using the stair stepper at work?

ANSWER

Our go-to exercise for building uphill climbing strength/endurance is the Step-Up Exercise.
It’s pure drudgery, but super effective. Use a 15-18″ box, and don’t go over 45# in a pack for load.
Progress the exercise in terms of reps. Start at 300 reps (each step = 1 rep). Work up to 1,000.
Step ups are trained regularly in our day-to-day programming for Urban Firefighters found in the Big Cat series of plans.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently with the Met Police and play for the work rugby team too. te
Amazing work you do at MTI!

ANSWER

I’m not sure how many days/week you’re training for rugby, but will assume 5. Then yes, do the Spirit’s sessions 2-3 days/week based on your recovery. Watch for overtraining.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking at purchasing a plan. Can you give an idea of what the workouts would look like? I’ve done CrossFit and am currently working out on my own with programming from Invictus Weight Lifting. I am in AIT for the Army and have to be driven for my own workouts. I do those workouts three times per week and then do metabolic conditioning and CrossFit type stuff the other days. Including some running (eewww). Just looking for the best way to be fast, strong and agile.

ANSWER

At the product page for each individual plan is a “sample training” tab – which usually shows a weeks’ worth of programming from the specific plan.
Hector, for example, is one of our day-to-day base fitness plans for military infantry and SOF. Click the “sample training” tab to see the sessions.
Copied below is the first session from the plan. Click HERE for unfamiliar exercises:

SESSION 1
Obj: Strength, TAC SEPA

Warm Up:

3 Rounds

  • Barbell Complex @ 45/65#
  • 5x Box Jump @ 20”
  • 5x Push Ups
  • Instep Stretch

Training:

(1) 6 Rounds

  • 3x Power Clean -Increase load each round until 3x is hard, but doable
  • 5x Military Press – Increase load each round until 5x is hard, but doable
  • 5x Shoulder Dislocate

(2) 4 Rounds

  • 25m Sprint
  • Walk Back to Start

(3) 4 Rounds in 25# Weight Vest or IBA

  • 25m Sprint
  • Walk Back to Start

(4) 4 Rounds Each @ 20” Box

  • TAC SEPA Box Jump Lap Complex

(5) Repeat Part (4) wearing 25# Weight Vest or IBA

(6) Foam Roll Quads, Low Back


QUESTION

I’ve been wanting to do two-a-day workouts for awhile, hopefully working on strength and endurance, however, I’m curious as to what your opinions are as far as pairing two of your plans.
I’m a big fan of the Valor plan. I completed it a couple of years ago and loved it. I’ve been using its updates on and off for a while now. It’s great.

ANSWER

Pair a strength plan in the AM, with an endurance plan in the PM.
Try the MTI Relative Strength Training Plan and the Running Improvement Training Plan (starting at week 11 with the 6-mile assessment).
– Rob

QUESTION

Thank you for taking the time to read my email.  I am an Active Duty U.S. Navy Aviation Rescue Swimmer with plans to transfer to Air Force Pararescue. I have a question concerning the plan packet for PJ/STO/CRO. I bought the PAST Plan last year in preparation for competing for a contract for PJ. I saw it was on of the 8 plans on the packet and planned to build from there preparing for Indoc.  Due to Administrative issues with my current active duty contract I am forced to wait two more years before I can cross over.  I found out recently that the recommended plans for PJ Selection has changed to the STO PAST Plan.  Is the change due to the new Assessment and Selection course replacing Pararescue Indoc?  How Different is this plan from the original PAST Prep? Is it recommended to buy the new plan listed on the PJ Selection Packet? Any Information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

1. We felt the longer 1500m swim assessment and the longer 3 mile run in the STO PAST would better prepare candidates for selection.
2. Original Past has a 1.5 mile run and 500m swim assessment.
Finally, we understand there is a new/upcoming CRO/PJ Past, which is similar to the STO PAST – but just a different order of events.
Honestly, it’s beyond me why USAF Special Tactics needs like 9 different fitness assessments!! Eventually, the complexity will implode upon itself.
– Rob

QUESTION

Quick question for you guys. I just purchased Fortitude V2 started training today. Looks like a solid plan and checks all the boxes for the most part. I was thinking of doing deadlifts once a week included just wanted to see if there was a reason you guys didn’t add that or if maybe you guys did at first and there was injuries or something. Also if you think there’s a good day to add them let me know please I was just thinking like a simple 5×5 nothing crazy.

ANSWER

We prefer the Hinge Lift to the dead lift – and we’ve programmed the hinge lift in other training programs.
In Valor specifically, both Hinge Lifts and Walking Lunges are programmed to train posterior chain strength.
Adding DLs? I’d rather you followed the programming as prescribed. But if you’re going to add them, add them on the strength days.
– Rob

QUESTION

As an avid follower who has received more than enough recommendations from SOF community members to purchase your workout plans, I had one question I couldn’t find in the FAQs before moving forward.
Would it be inefficient to undertake two programs at once?
Take the 15 week running improvement plan for example, could this be paired with another program with more of an emphasis on calisthenic and strength based training?
I have a good strength base, an above average calisthenic base, but my aerobic base and running performance is relatively poor. I’m looking to either utilize two programs at once or find a program with importance placed on running while not neglecting calisthenics and strength.

ANSWER

I’d rather you didn’t double up programming.
Best would be to complete a program which does a good job of combining strength and endurance. I’d recommend Fortitude, which trains heavy strength, but also pushed unloaded running and ruck running @ 45#.
If you insist on combining plans, you’ll wan’t to chose a strength-based plan to pair with the Running Improvement Plan. I’d Recommend the MTI Relative Strength Training Plan, and beginning the Running Improvement Training Plan on week 11 with the 6-mile Run Assessment and 2-mile repeats, plus longer runs.
Lift in the AM. Run in the PM.
Watch for overtraining … if you’re not making your lifting progressions and/or run interval times, you’re doing too much.
– Rob

QUESTION

Book suggestions for new Law Enforcement Officer?

ANSWER

These reading suggestions were given by the MTI community.

– Rob


QUESTION

Long time follower of your programs here. I’ve been doing the 50 mile ultra running program and previous to that the ultra pre season program. I’m in week 7 of the 50 mile program. My race is on “week 9”. The week after the program ends. What should I be doing on week 9 so that I’m rested for the race but not losing anything I’ve gained over the last 4 months?

ANSWER

Week 8 of the plan and an unload taper into your race. Repeat week 7, then do Week 8 the 9th week into your race.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have watched your nutrition video and have read everything you have put out on the topic.  I heard or read that you were doing Whole30 on a long term basis.  Today is my day 30 on my 3rd Whole30 and I am feeling better than ever have a pretty good idea I have lost a bunch of weight.
All that said… I was wondering if you have stayed strict Whole30 the entire time or if you are taking your own advice of taking a “cheat like a mother” day or meal? And if you did how has that benefited or worked out for you?
I am contemplating staying Whole30 for long term and working in the one “cheat like a mother” meal or day.
Your thoughts?

ANSWER

Nope – moved back to our dietary/nutrition standards away from Whole 30. No reason why … but my sense is our approach is more viable long term.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a Wildland firefighter who is looking for a gym based program to give my workouts some structure, during these winter months, before I start my more fire specific training. I also ski 2-3 times a week. What would you recommend?

I used your bodyweight foundation between fires last summer and it did a great job of helping me stay fit and ready for the next fire. Thanks

ANSWER

I’d recommend the plans from the new Wilderness Professional Packet. Start with Jedediah Smith. These are designed as day-to-day programming for wilderness professionals – game wardens, rangers, etc.
However, directly before your fire season, pivot to either the Wildand Fire Pre-Season Training Plan or the Hotshot/Smokejumper Pre-Season Training Plan – whichever is applicable to you.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am trying to figure out which program to go with and wanted to reach out given my somewhat complex background.  I am 27 YO male, 6’2, 215lbs.  I train to relieve stress, feel and look good and to ski (2-3 times per year) and mountain bike (whenever I can).  I am also trying to get into half marathons and do some shorter Triathalon distances.  I have been doing Crossfit for about 6 years and I am realizing that it is not the best thing for me.  I push myself too hard – I had rhabdo from doing Murph a couple months ago and was in the hospital for 6 days and injuries are starting to add up, I’m plateauing, and I have some signs of adrenal fatigue.  I bench 270, back squat 375 and deadlift 425 so my strength is there.  I want a program that is challenging, that will allow me to keep my mass and strength but also be able to do the outdoor activities that I enjoy.  I want to feel invigorated from training, not beaten down.  Can you offer some insight?

ANSWER

Our Country Singer packets of plans are designed as base-to-base fitness for general athletes. These are what I’d recommend for you – starting with Country Singer Packet I, beginning with Willie.
These plans concurrently train Strength, Work Capacity, Endurance and Chassis Integrity and lay a great “base” of fitness upon which to build sport-specific programming for events/seasons, etc.
For example, prior to one of your big ski trips, drop out of the Country Singer programming and complete our Dryland Ski Pre-Season Training Plan. After your trip, drop back into the Country Singer plans.
Rhabdo ….. little concerned you suffered this after 6 years of crossfit. Certainly your body is telling you something and you’re listening. Willie has a strong endurance emphasis, including an easy run once/week. You’ll still train strength, but only 2x/week. What I’d recommend starting out is following the programming in order, but taking a full rest day between sessions.
As well, if you get in the gym, or are headed out for a run, and find you simply don’t enjoy being their and/or are having to grit your teeth to stay engaged, stop. It seems you’re a little burned out on intensity as well, and this will help.
Regardless, Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you have a pull up improvement plan?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed with the ACFT training plan, mainly the deadlift programming. There was no variation in the rep scheme/progression (aside from adding a few pounds based on ACFT testing performance). The deadlift was programmed 3x/wk at a training max >80%. That seems like a lot, even for elite level athletes. I understand the objective was to use the implements/equipment of the ACFT (trap bar), but I would recommend switching up the strength training to include bench press, squat, front squat, military press, RDL, etc. I would also consider adjusting the rep scheme for the deadlift that gradually builds in intensity with the program peaking just before the ACFT. I would also consider adding power cleans, power snatches to augment the standing power throw. One thing I noticed in the program is that it assumes that the rest position for the hand release push up is in the down position. The only authorized rest position in the hand release push up is the front leaning rest (no arching or rounded of the back allowed anymore.)

I did enjoy the running program. I am a big fan of 400m, 800m, and 1600m intervals/repeats. The shuttle work and sled dragging was beneficial a well.

A little about me:

I have been working as a physical therapist for 4+ years. I worked for 2 years (2016-2018) as an Army civilian at Fort Bliss where I treated mostly soldiers in the BCTs. I also spent several months working with the Air Force JTACs that were stationed at Fort Bliss. I moved to Fort Bragg in September 2018. I am also a physical therapist in the VAARNG. I am a certified level 2 ACFT grader. I have been a CSCS since 2017.

I hope this provides some beneficial feed back on the ACFT program. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments regarding my feedback.

ANSWER

Thanks for the direct feedback!
Direct back at you … honestly, I’m disappointed with your suggestions esp. coming from a PT and CSCS whom I’m assuming has coached large groups of line unit guys.
Understand this is not a total strength and conditioning program – but focused on the events of the ACFT. We have multiple military-athlete base fitness programs which are designed to train multiple fitness attributes. The ACFT plan is not one of them.
Imagine you’re a single platoon sgt (not a PT with a CSCS) with 30-40 guys, 80% of whom have never seen a barbell and an hour, 2x/week to work with in the weighroom  … would your seriously burn valuable training time teaching exotic oly lifts like the power snatch which may or may not transfer to the med ball toss? Or the back squat with may or may not transfer to the trap bar dead lift?
Let alone the added equipment restrictions demanded with all the non-ACFT event exercises you suggest. My guess is it will be super difficult for must regular unit guys to simply get enough trap bars and enough plates to train that one lift. Chance are that pre ACFT test time the base gyms will be crowded with guys scrambling to at least get some experience with the trap bar deadlift before the actual test.
Perhaps your experience at Bliss was different than mine, where I worked with a Stryker Batt … and had a courageous Batt CO who allowed his guys to train at different times (not all 6-7:30) which allowed us to use the base weightroom for 2 sessions mid-morning. Most Batt COs aren’t this courageous.
Even given these real-world issues for line unit guys, the programming for this plan would not change even for a 12-man ODA which has its own gym. Early in my coaching career I tried to cram all types of general fitness programming into our selection, PFT and other sport-specific plans. This was a mistake, and over the years I’ve cut more and more of the extraneous stuff to focus on the specific events of the event. This has yielded the best results in what mattered – event performance. After the event is the time when athletes can turn to more rounded base fitness programming. But it’s my responsibility as a S&C coach to put the athlete in the best position for success – in this case ACFT score performance. That is all that matters.  Will power cleans transfer to ball toss? Maybe, but at some point, you’ll stop improving ball toss performance and just get better at power cleans. I don’t risk it.
Rest position … saw that, and it’s new since I designed the plan. Will make changes – thanks!
Again, thanks for the direct feedback.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just bought the Rainier program to prepare for a summit attempt in July. I was planning on doing the 16 week Fit to Climb program that RMI Expeditions recommends, but going to do that prior to the 7 week MTI program right before the climb. Am I risking overtraining by following a modified 16 week Fit to Climb program and then the Rainier 7 week program? I just don’t want to peak to early before the climb. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.

ANSWER

Can’t help you much here as I’m not familiar with the RMI program. I would say that 25 weeks of direct prep for Rainier seems like a lot …. not sure if you’ll overtrain but you certainly might get mentally fatigued.
From our stuff I’d suggest the plans/order in the new Wilderness Packet for wilderness professionals – game wardens, forest rangers, etc. before starting the Rainier plan. These plans train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (running, uphill hiking under load) and chassis integrity. They have plenty of variety to keep you engaged mentally, and will also build a solid “base” of fitness from which you can start the Rainier plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m on week 5 of the Base Helen plan and really enjoying it. I was hoping for some advice on what plan to try next. Here’s the context for my training goals. I’ve really enjoyed the combination of strength to work capacity and it’s my first heavy(er) lifting experience.
I’m aiming for general mountain fitness and ski and run (with an ultra in the summer). Im 40, and on month 8 of recovery from full ACL re-construction.
What to do next? Ideally something that builds on Base Helen with a run/ski/climb emphasis. I like the lifting and strength work.
Ideally a 4-5 day a week plan.
Thank you in advance and for the great plans.

ANSWER

Move to Artimes, the next Plan in the Greek Heroine Packet. This plan has a strong endurance emphasis – running, uphill hiking under load, climbing endurance … while also training strength, work cap and Chassis Integrity.
But soon …. you’re going to have to start your base training for your Ultra race. Not sure if you have your own/coach, programming for that, but work back from your event and start building mileage accordingly. We have several Ultra plans (preseason, 50 mile and 100 mile).
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently training for a six-day glacier safety and rescue course on Mt. Rainier (summit push included), and am on week 5 of MB Helen. Following Helen, I plan on a full rest week before completing my Alpine Fitness Assessment/Training Plan. I see your plans are 30% off today, and I’d like to purchase another plan or two; but I’m not sure where to go from here.

I looked at the sample Rainier plan, and it looks rough (meaning, it looks great); but my issue is completing the regular two-a-days due to community work I almost invariably do in the evenings. My ultimate question is: is the Rainier plan the best plan to complete after my AFA program? If so, I’ll make it happen. Or, due to the nature/duration of my time on Rainier, is there a plan or combination of plans that may be just as good or better (e.g. the Denali Plan)?

After the AFA I will have ten weeks to dedicate to training, which allows a post-AFA rest week, and a light week leading into my trip. Thank you in advance for your time and help! And thanks for helping me fall in love with training again.

ANSWER

I’d recommend Frank Church after Helen instead of the AFA plan. Frank Church comes from our new Wilderness Professional packet for forest rangers, game wardens, etc., and concurrently trains strength, work capacity, chassis integrity, and mountain endurance (running, step ups).
Follow Frank Church with the Rainier Training Plan. It’s a 7 week plan – roll into it directly after Helen (no week off), -and it ends with an unload/taper week – so you can follow it with the Rainier Plan.
You won’t be rock climbing on Rainier, so the rock climb programming in the AFA Plan wouldn’t transfer. As well, both the AFA Plan and the Rainier Plan include a bunch of step ups …. too many to run back to back. Step ups are effective, but pure drudgery, and I need to take this into account.
Frank Church does have some step ups – enough to prepare you for the Rainier Plan, but not enough to burn you out.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been prepping for sfas with your chassis integrity and sfas prep plans. Plans are great, I was doing chassis integrity circuits with some strength stuff for a few months and then transitioned to the prep plan eight weeks out. I’m four weeks out from selection and just found out I have a stress fracture. I’ve coordinated with my FRO to push my sfas date to the right one class. That gives me 8 weeks. Half of those will be spent recovering on a profile of 4-6 weeks with restrictions on impact exercise. I know I can supplement some cardio with swimming and biking, but I’m worried about the progress I’ve made rucking. What do you recommend to help me fill that gap during this recovery period, and post recovery period up until I head off to sfas?
Thanks for your time and response

ANSWER

Drop out of the RBSTP and into Fortitude. I’m assuming you can lift – but can’t run/ruck.
Replace the running in Fortitude with biking/spinning. Biking will have the most transfer to run/rucking when you heel. For the running, double the prescribed mileage. For rucking, triple it.
Once cleared, begin the RBTSP again at Week 1 and work through as many weeks in order as possible. The week directly before SFAS, skip to the final, unload week in the RBSTP and complete it.
Chin up.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking at testing for a Law Enforcement position. I have right now, until June 9th before the physical fitness test. This is not an exact date, it will be in June, so this is just a guess. The Academy will start July 28th. For the physical test I want to be able to do 45 pushups, 40 situps, and 1.5 mile run in 12 minutes. So, between now and lets say June 9th is 18 weeks and the to the Academy is 24 weeks.

Lets say I am at very basic level, 10 situps, 5 pushups and can not even run a mile. Which programs, in sequence would best prepare me for this?

ANSWER

Start our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. Run/walk the running distance in the plan as prescribed. Just get the distance in.
Prior to the Academy, complete the LE Academy Training Plan.
Finally, fix your diet. Losing weight will help everything. Here are our recommendations.
– Rob

 

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