Q&A 3.14.19

QUESTION

I have two questions.
1.  I am approaching the end of my latest program (TLU Strength) and am looking for the next one. I’ve narrowed it down to two…MTI Strength Assessment Plan and Hector. Obviously a bit different in what they target. I’m leaning toward hector due to the TAC SEPA as I feel that my agility has suffered a bit with doing quite a bit of strength training. My fear though is I might lose a bit that I’ve worked hard to get hence my curiosity with MTI. It has Work Cap and then endurance as well.  All that being said, and I know it’s a bit all over the place, but even the three base gyms and a 24 hour fitness here have limited equipment for y’all’s programming  so I’ve really had to dig to find a plan that can be covered by them. Hector seems like it will be and MTI definitely will be.  Which would you recommend?  I did Achilles on deployment and loved it but have also done a couple of your strength plans as well and loved those too. If I’m just a crazy person all over the place I understand…I feel that way too.

2.  This is a short one. KB swings…do y’all teach the hip hinge (hard style) or the one other where there is more knee bend and the bell actually goes higher than your head (CrossFit way I guess),just curious.

Thanks for all that y’all do. Your programming has changed my life in terms of overall fitness and not just PFT/CFT shape.

ANSWER

1. Neither – do Apollo. Hector’s strength work also deploys TLU methodology and it will be good to do something different. The Strength Assessment plan is another strength-focused plan and you need to do a multi-modal plan.

2. Not a kettlebell nerd, so I’m super-righteous about your KB swing form. I will say I’ve had an athlete go full overhead with the kettlebell and lose it behind …. which is why we chose to go just above the eyes … but it’s up to you.

– Rob

QUESTION

I have been a member for the past several months or so and have really enjoyed several of your general fitness plans (especially the ones that are highly varied as I tend to get bored doing the same workout every day). Do you have a recommendation for plans that are best suited in pregnancy?
Thank you!

ANSWER

Quick answer is not specifically, as I don’t want to get between you and your doctor.  I’ve been asked several times to develop a Pregnancy Training but have avoided it simply because it seems no woman, or pregnancy it seems, is the same.
I’ve have directly worked with pregnant women in the past and heart rate and overhead hanging positions (pull ups) have been doctor-imposed restrictions.
Intensity is an issue – and super intense work cap efforts and heavy lifting are something I would avoiding. The risk of a complication or worse simply isn’t worth it.
I’ve seen new moms fret over weight gain and body changes, but 2nd and 3rd time moms embrace the experience, body changes, and roll with it.
Morning sickness can be a huge challenge for some.
In general, the further you’re along, the less you’ll want to do and be able to do. Listen to your body and baby.
Given all that, from our stuff at least initially I’d recommend the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan out of the gate, but fast walking, instead of running for the distance work, and being super cautious and or simply avoiding the intense work cap events. As well, cut the bw strength progression rounds down to just 4.
Experienced and/or long term athletes completing our stuff have reported that the Chassis Integrity work we do has benefited them through pregnancy, birthing, and esp. recovery. The BW Foundation Plan includes core work.
Sorry, wish I could offer more.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was just curious as to what the difference was between the LE Spirits
Packet and the LE Cop Movie Packet. They both seem to train the same fitness
attributes and I’m not sure if there is an advantage in choosing one over
the other. Thank you for your time!

ANSWER

You’re correct, both packets are designed for LE Patrol/Detective and train the same fitness attributes.
The Spirits Packet was the first set of plans. Then athletes who worked through the packet, didn’t want to subscribe and do our daily LE Officer Sessions, asked me to build another packet of plans so they didn’t have to keep repeating the Spirits Plans …. hence the Cop Movie packet.
Start with the Spirits Packet to keep it simple.
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently bought your SWAT HK plan. I haven’t started the plan yet, although I am excited to do so. Before I begin, though, I was hoping to get a little advice.

I work full time Corrections, and while I am pretty fit at the moment, I suspect this plan will smoke me some. I’m okay with that and look forward to the challenge of reaching that higher level of fitness.

Between my job and having both a toddler and a teenager at home, my life is pretty busy and defies having any sort of established routine. I don’t want to use either my job requirements or my home life as an excuse for not focusing on fitness, but I have to acknowledge them as challenges to be overcome.

My overall question is this: would I be better served by having pushing myself with that higher intensity plan like the one I bought, knowing that there may be times when I miss a day or have to change when my rest days are, or should I focus on shorter workouts that will be easier to get done consistently? And also, is it worthwile to sacrifice sleep for exercise? I work graveyard at the moment, so sleep is worth it’s weight in gold, but, again, I don’t want to make excuses for not putting a focus on fitness.

ANSWER

First – just a couple weeks ago I built a packet of plans specifically for Correctional Officers – the Notorious Prison Packet. For you, I’d recommend not doing the HK plan, and instead of doing Rikers – the first plan in the prison packet.
Time, family, sleep, etc. Here’s the deal, not being fit for your job can get you killed, and/or lead to injury or worse for your fellow correctional officers. We believe Tactical Athletes, like you have a professional responsibility to have mission-direct fitness for your job. This responsibility is yours, and yours alone – it’s not the responsibility of your boss, employer, department, etc.
Mission-direct fitness is much more difficult for LE athletes than military athletes. Military athletes have required high-jeopardy fitness assessments, scheduled on-duty time to train, base gyms and equipment, etc. Most LE athletes have none of this stuff and individuals are often on an island – you have to sacrifice sleep or family time to train, buy your own equipment or pay for your own gym membership, etc.
Whatever. The fact is, as you know much better than me, your work can turn deadly in an instant.
So back to your question about sleep, family stuff, consistency, etc. Lose sleep to train if necessary. Sacrifice family time because the best thing you can do for your family is come home safe from work everyday. Be professional about your fitness, hold yourself accountable and be consistent with your training. Know that for Tactical Athletes, Fitness = Armor.
Want to know where you stand right now? We created a Correctional Officer Fitness Assessment. Take it and see how you score.
Finally – copied here is Mintra. If you take my advice and want to swap from HK to Rikers, let her know and she’ll make it happen.
– Rob

QUESTION

Any recommendations for substituting  sandbag movements? Like the toss&chase for example? I looked into buying a sandbag and they’re like 150 bucks which is outrageous.. and I’m worried a normal bags stitching wouldn’t hold up with 80lbs of sand. I don’t wanna skip those crucial portions of the workout though, any ideas?

ANSWER

Sorry – no sub for sandbag exercises. I made my first out of an old duffle bag and duck tape and it lasted for months!
We also sell them – ours are $65 including shipping. https://gear.mtntactical.com/collections/gear/products/sandbag
Be resourceful.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have followed your programing off and on for the past 5 years and have always had great results. After a ten-year hiatus, I recently started training Brazilian Jujitsu (“BJJ”) and Muay Thai (“MT”) again; this has prevented me from doing the typical 5-6 day a week MTNTactical program.

Currently, I have consistently been doing the following:

Monday:         BJJ/MT
Tuesday:        BJJ
Wednesday:   BJJ/MT
Thursday:      TLU
Friday:            TLU
Saturday:       Heavy Sparring/TLU
Sunday:          Rest

I would like to work in daily running 5 days a week, but every time I have tried to integrate the running improvement program to the above schedule I end up developing an injury and have to pull back. I am not sure what I am doing wrong.

Please let me know which of your programs I should consider. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thank you for all the great training materials.

ANSWER

Your ability to train multiple times/day improves with increasing fitness. At the same time, you don’t want your outside fitness to negatively impact the technical work you’re doing/learning at your BJJ/MT sessions. In other words, if you’re fatigued from outside fitness training when you go to your BJJ/MT sessions, you’ll get less out of the sessions. Your body is telling you now that running every day is too much.

So – I’d let your BJJ/MT work be the bulk of your endurance/work capacity/cardio training.

Here’s the schedule I’d recommend:

Monday:         BJJ/MT
Tuesday:        BJJ, Easy evening run – 3-5 miles, easy (slow) pace
Wednesday:   BJJ/MT
Thursday:      TLU – Strength Session Only – no work cap events
Friday:           Total Rest
Saturday:       Heavy Sparring/Easy evening run – 3-5 miles, easy (slow) pace
Sunday:          Total Rest

Taking Total Rest Friday will set you up best to get the most out of/learn the most during your Saturday sparring. One day/week strength will help you maintain strength, without fatiguing you for your BJJ/MT technical training/work.

– Rob


QUESTION

Just subscribed to the site and wow there is a lot of content!  It’s kind of overwhelming.  I’m a firefighter and I have what I consider to be above average fitness.  My strength is low and is a priority for me but I don’t want to lose any conditioning.  Where do you think I should start?  Thanks for any tips or advice.

ANSWER

Follow it up with the plans/order in the Big Cat Series of plans. These are designed as day-to-day training for full-time firefighters.
– Rob

QUESTION

I work harder on your programs than I have on any other I’ve been on.  Why don’t I get as sore?

ANSWER

Maybe you’re a mutant! Perhaps you’re not pushing your loading on the strength efforts. Perhaps you haven’t run into a strength exercise in our programming that’s new to you.
Everyone is different. However, if there is one exercise that consistently makes everyone sore it’s heavy walking lunges – butt’s hurt for 3-4 days – even for fit, experienced athletes.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking to be fast and strong in the mountains alpine style, which leads me to your big mountain workouts but I am also looking to increase my sport and trad climbing to the next level. I am worried about working out my legs too much because of the added weight it puts on when im rock climbing. Let me know your thoughts.

ANSWER

Weight gain from legs? Not much I can do for you here if you’re a natural endomorph. The AFA plan above does include distance running, which will help with the weight gain from the step ups.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a few Questions about your plans.

I’m in the german army and I have a Slot for the „Einzelkämpferlehrgang“ (aka Ranger / Commando Course)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_commando_course

My Course is going to start at the End of September, thus I have ~7 Months of Preparation time.

The starting Events are an Standard obstacle Course and a 3000m ruck run in uniform, boots and with a 10k ruck. The rest of the Course is 4 weeks of ruck running everywhere and a lot of marching with loads in excess of 30kgs.

I have only very limited Equipment (no barbells, only sandbag, ruck, pull up bar).

Which plan should I use or rather which combination of plans? As I see it I’m currently not in good shape and I would break myself going into one of your selection plans now.

I was thinking About using the running improvement or bodyweight foundation plan first.

ANSWER

Here’s what I recommend:
Weeks   Plan

1-6       Bodyweight Foundation

7          Total Rest

8-14     Humility
15-22   Gratitude
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been out of climbing and consistent gym training for almost 4 years. I want to get a solid level of fitness back before I start training for any specific climbing. What would you suggest for a plan to start with at a basic gym?

ANSWER

I generally recommend folks new to our programming begin with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan – which includes strength, work capacity, core and endurance training.
If you want to start with weight training, I’d recommend Johnny, from our Country Singer I Packet of plans for general fitness. Johnny also trains strength (free weight based), work capacity, endurance (running) and Chassis Integrity (core).
– Rob

QUESTION

Im going to be doing field work for the next several months and wated to know if you have any plans for no equipment body weight programs.  I may be able to bring one kettlebell.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I am about to finish week 2 of the  Backcountry Big Game Hunting Packet. I  realized that at this schedule I will finish the packet 8 weeks before heading to the mountains in CO to hunt. Should I do some other program in between so I can finish the last part right before the hunt? Any recommendations? I am 47 years old and I do a lot of traveling for work. Thanks in advance

ANSWER

Do Fortitude (7 weeks) after Humility, then take a full week’s total rest before beginning the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve transitioned out (hey! Thanks for the help with getting a tab/29 months overseas/11+ years without my physical fitness ever being a liability!), and with that comes some high demand in the day AFTER my workout (I start at 6, start classes at 10).

How the heck do I stop being so fatigued all day? I moved to country singer packets, I’m avoiding booze, I get 7-8 hours. I do a session, and I am dying for a solid span between lunch and dinner.

Thank you for your time and your awesome work, as always.

ANSWER

Not sure I can help you here – could be emotional stress, relationship stress, just plain stress, you could be sick, depressed, etc.
Now – take a full week’s rest from training, and go to the doctor for a physical, including a blood draw with a full “health fair” work upon the blood.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking for an intense training plan and am not quite sure what you recommend as there are so many options on your website.

My goals are to increase muscle endurance and cardiovascular endurance.  I do not care about size and strength as I don’t require ridiculous numbers as a mil guy.  I recently saw a workout from some SEAL buddies that included stretching with the workout and liked it.  Thus, I was wondering do you guys have something that:

  • takes about 2 hours per day
  • is 5 days per week
  • has stretching mixed in between lifts
  • will keep me fast and proficient at running distances around 5 – 6 miles
  • utilizes lots of sand bags, kettlebells, D-balls, and dumbbells
  • includes a weekly ruck with 45-65#s
  • will maintain 75 pushups in 2 min, 80 sit ups in 2 min, and 21 pull ups in 1 min
  • will keep me durable for any operation anywhere

If you have any recommendations on a program to purchase please let me know. Thank you for your time.

ANSWER

Valor – balanced, “base” fitness training plan for military infantry, SOF, with a slight work capacity emphasis. Concurrently trains strength, chassis integrity (core), work capacity, tactical agility and endurance (run, ruck).
Includes a 3-mile run assessment and 3-mile ruck run assessment @ 45# plus 10# sledge or dumbbell, with follow-on progressions. Designed to push your Speed over Ground. You could add a long run on Saturdays, if you like, but watch your recovery.
Work capacity and Chassis Integrity (core) include lots of sandbag work, sprints, and some kettlebell work.
Does not include specific progressions for push ups, pull ups, sit ups, etc, and gym sessions are designed to last around 60 minutes – so not exactly what you’re looking for – but it’s what I’d recommend.
Valor is no joke, – so I’m assuming your fit.
Enjoy!
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently started the SFRE training course. I am using this as training for some GORUCK events as well as setting the groundwork for potential military service. I have been doing Crossfit for sometime so the strength is not an issue, but the running/ruck running has been a struggle. I do not have a running background and I definitely underestimating my ability to jump into it. I ran the 2 mile assessment in 15:21 and I was unable to complete the 5 mile before stopping with painful shin splits. I am able to get through the 800m intervals with a bit of pain, but I think the 2 mile intervals will be a struggle and I am a little worried about causing some damage. Do you have any suggestions on either scaling or building up that running strength while minimizing the potential for injury?

Thanks for any advice you could provide.

ANSWER

Pivot to and complete the Military OnRamp Training Plan, which has a more gentle progression for running and rucking, then re-visit the SFRE Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a former marine and new to your workouts. Previously my training was limited due to lower back problems. I am currently on week 5 of your lower back rehab training plan and I have never felt better.  Usually for the 30 min ruck with 25lbs pack I can cover 3 miles without any lower back problems however, running unweighted my back seizes up just .5 miles into my run and forces me to stop. Do you have any suggestions on how I may fix this problem? Also what training plan do you recommend after I finish the rehab program. I am not training for anything specific at this moment and unfortunately the gym I attend limits me to a traditional weight lifting gym with a small area for circuit workouts with limited equipment. My goal is to build strength but also increase my strength endurance. Thank you for your time.

ANSWER

Running? My best guess is you need to work on running form, and perhaps get some new shoes. Shoes? – I recommend Hoka One Ones … they are super cushy – and will help with impact. Form? Check out POSE Running or CHI Running – google and search Youtube …. this can make a huge difference on impact.
Next Plan – I like Tammy for you next, but you may run into issues with your gym space/equipment for the work capacity efforts and may need to be resourceful – and/or ask me for subs.
– Rob

QUESTION

Just wrapping up my first plan – Helen – and loved it. Huge progress and stoked about it. Thank you! About to head on six weeks of travel with limited gym access – any base or other programs you’d recommend given that limitation? Many thanks!

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

Couple of questions on your programming.
Question One: For these kinds of work outs (I see this kind of programming in several of your programs0 – are they meant to be done as fast as possible or is it more about increasing load? What kind of rest period do you envision?

1) 8 Rounds

  • 2x Craig Special – increase load each round until 2x is hard, but doable

then immediately ….

  • 2x Explosive Squat Jump – Unloaded
  • Foam Roll Low Back
Question Two: For the running portion in Mountain Base Helen, are these road runs or trail runs? If there’s a preference one versus the other let me know. TY! Love your stuff. – BD

ANSWER

This a strength circuit – not a work capacity circuit or event. MTI is definitely not like Crossfit where everything is a race.
In this case, we want you to get as heavy as you can on the Craig Specials, as rapidly as possible – in terms of rounds. For example, this would be my loading ….
Round   Load
1           95
2          135
3          155
4-8       170
The “Foam Roll Low Back” is designed as “working rest” between heavy Craig Special sets.
While this isn’t a crossfit event, it’s also not a powerlifting-esque circuit, where you’ll take 5 minutes between heavy sets.
Work steadily, not frantically through this effort – aim to finish all of Part (1) in around 15 minutes.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am sure you have heard of the methods of Dr. Phil Maffetone and the MAF Method. I am wondering what your take is on that methodology compared to your own when building a base? To me, it would seem that efficiency is the ability to do more work at a lower heart rate/perceived effort. Therefore, training to run at faster paces at a lower heart rate would appear to be the best way to develop a base before layering more advanced sport/job specific training. I notice that many of your programs rely on intervals. To the best of my knowledge, this may place athletes at risk for myocardial hypertrophy and may lead to less ideal training outcomes. However, I also recognize that your knowledge, experience, and research is far superior to my own. I worked for Ed and Dave in Colorado Springs during college and was highly successful in utilizing your methods. I have also seen the merit in the MAF method as well. I am curious if you would be willing to explain your thinking behind aerobic and anaerobic development compared to that of the MAF Method. Thank you so much!

ANSWER

I am familiar with Maffetone’s approach but understand there is a significant difference between the endurance-only athletes he works with, and the tactical/mountain athletes I work with.
Endurance athletes, esp. competing athletes like distance runners, don’t need high relative strength, strong midsections, sprinting-based work capacity, tactical agility or often, multi-mode endurance (run/ruck for military, run/uphill hike under load for mountain).
What this means practically is Maffetone can take his athletes during their base building period and run long and slow every day – because he doesn’t need to train anything else. As well, the volume – in terms of distance and time for his programming is substantial. As well, the closer to the event, his and other typical endurance programming introduces more tempo and speed work on top of the base to Peak at the event.
Some of our sport-specific programming deploys this approach – and is even heart rate based – like our MTB plan, and ultra plans, but for our Base fitness and selection/course/deployment based tactical plans, we simply cannot dedicate that much time to endurance programming. So what this means practically given the limited time we have for endurance work in addition to training all these other attributes, is we need to find the most efficient way both in terms of time and simplicity, to build endurance performance. While many of our base programming endurance work does include “easy paced” longer runs, you are right that assessment-based intervals are common. This is because, for our athletes, I’ve found this the most efficient way to build endurance performance.
– Rob

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