Q&A 3.31.22

QUESTION

Hi Rob –

I’ve just discovered your courses via a post on reddit. I am a male, 36, 170# and while I’m active, I haven’t really been the fitness type. I need to change this and adjust my lifestyle.
Your Hypertrophy Program for Skinny Guys looks really appealing, but with no access to a gym at the moment, I’m a bit apprehensive at buying the squat rack, barbell and full kettlebell system. Is there a supplementary kit I can buy to make sure this is for me?
Many thanks for all your support.

ANSWER

No.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m planning a 3 day hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up. About 17 miles round trip. Not a crazy distance but wondering which training plan would prepare me best for this. I got your Thru Hike email today and noticed the other hiking plans too. Which plan is good and how far ahead of the trip should it be completed?

If it matters, I’ve completed a bunch of your plans. Both country singers packs, Rat 6, 357 Strength, among several others.

Thanks for your work and input!

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I have been working through a few of your programs (Hypertrophy and now onto Big 24) to try and establish a much higher level of pure strength than I’ve had in the past. However, I am pursuing the tactical athlete field, and so will soon have to shift away from the heavy focus on the barbell and back to a balance of calisthenics, weight training, running, swimming, all in tandem. I’ve always struggled, however, to program that balance effectively, because I’ve found that when I try to balance, my strength under the bar stagnates a lot while I increase work capacity, and I’d really like to continue to increase my numbers under the bar while also enhancing body weight strength.

I have felt a lot of improvement with and really felt good about the Big 24 methodology: test 3RM, then -10 for two training sessions, -5 for two training sessions, and then one training session of 3RM and retest. I am wondering if you would advise against implementing that methodology as a long term strategy in tandem with other tactical training demands (work capacity, mostly) for any reason, or if you think that would be an effective approach. For example, I would likely pick just a few of the strength exercises (i.e. heavy squats and hang squat cleans for lower body, and bench and push press for upper body). I would follow the progression (3RM -10, -5, max, retest), and each strength session would be followed by a level of calisthenics programming (push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, lunges, etc.), sort of like the CrossFit model that I’ve seen before – heavy strength followed by work capacity. Basically, is there any reason that the Big 24 programming would be a bad idea for extended periods of time (i.e. more than the 7 weeks that it is currently prescribed for), or is it effective methodology to continue to increase strength and weight under the bar over time?

Thank you for your help, as always. Apologies for the long-windedness, I respect what you do and the rearward you put on, so I appreciate hearing your thoughts.

ANSWER

Couple things to consider:
1) Tactical athletes aren’t strength athletes. There’s no power lifting competition on the battlefield, city streets or firehouse. So …. how strong should you be? Take the MTI Relative Strength Assessment. This will tell you where you stand.
2) You’re right, the more training time you give to other modes, the slower your strength gains will come. But, tactical athletes have a multitude of fitness demands ….relative strength, work capacity, endurance, chassis integrity, core ….. MTI deploys our Fluid Periodization to puzzle all this out and program “Base Fitness.” More HERE.
3) “Everything works but nothing works forever” – this applies to strength programming methodologies as well. In other words, eventually your body will accommodate to the Big 24 progression and you’ll need to change up your strength training. As well, mentally, repeating Big 24 over and over again will eventually become stale. This is why we’ve developed and deploy 8 different progressions and have developed Big 36. More HERE.
4) The Greek Hero plans are an example of MTI’s base fitness programming for military athletes.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m headed to selection in spring next year. I was interested in the SFOD-D training packet. Is there anyone who completed this and got selected using this program?

ANSWER

Several have used our SFOD-D Selection Training Plan for selection and a few have reported back that they were selected.
However, because of non-disclosure, we don’t received emails or calls back to this effect. Generally the feedback is, “I used your plan for selection and now I want to train for this … what do you recommend?”
Others have come into the gym while visiting or training in Jackson, and trained with us and as part of that I’ve asked for feedback.
I wish I had more for you, but that’s the nature most of our SOF selections.
I will say, that never in 15 years of programming, have I received a call, email or visit from someone who followed one of our selection plans, gone to selection and not been selected, blame the plan.
As you know, fitness is just one element of selection, and it’s possible to complete selection and not be selected.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently in the last week of the Big 24 and trying to choose a new plan to start. I am a college student in army rotc and have very busy days and not the most consistent schedule. I’ve found it challenging to keep up with a regular workout plan in my first 2 years of college and usually find my overall fitness level tends to slip during the school year when compared to summer break. I was wondering what plan you would suggest that would work well given that I already have PT 3 days a week with my unit. I want to continue to build muscle but also need to improve my running capabilities.

ANSWER

I’d recommend working through the plans/order in the Big 3 Strength + 5 Mile Run Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently purchased and am currently on week two of the max effort plus body weight strength and was wanting to know if you guys had a recommendation on what program to add with this one to help with my cardio or if there is any suggestions on how to improve with cardio while doing this plan?

ANSWER

Easiest would be to simply do 2-a-days, on Tues and Thurs – by running 4-8 miles at a moderate pace in the evenings, and adding in another moderate pace run on Saturdays.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am starting Fresca.  My gym does not have sandbags and I was wondering
what a good substitution would be for Sandbag Getups and cross cleans?
Would you recommend Turkish Get ups and power cleans?  What is a good weight
equivalency?

ANSWER

No sub for the getups. You’ll need to build a sandbag – my first was an old dufflebag filled with sand and sealed with duct tape. Be resourceful.
Long term, sandbag training is the foundation of MT’s Chassis Integrity Programming.
Turkish Get Ups …. you’ll find your shoulder fails long before your midsection – so your midsection doesn’t get the training it needs.
Cross Cleans? You can do Slashers at 20kg … but these are not as good as cross cleans with a sandbag.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hello rob I’m looking for a plan that would  Help build muscle and strength, so I don’t know where to begin because you guys have so many different plans. So I figured I’d just ask and get your thoughts.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I was hoping to get some direction on a series of programs that you felt would be appropriate for my upcoming spring and summer goals.  I am familiar with MTI programs and have been training for various athletes endeavors for 15 years.  I am hoping to currently focus on more hypertrophy and strength with the plan of shifting to more work capacity/endurance for spring and summer hiking/climbing trips. Current access to equipment is my apt complex gym with DB up to 55#, cable column with pull up bar, lat pull-down/row column, treadmill, elliptical; but I will also have access to my therapy clinic with sled, squat rack, hex bar and larger KBs.  Thank you for taking the time to read and assist.

ANSWER

Adding strength, more specifically relative strength or strength per bodyweight – is appropriate for mountain movement, but it’s difficult to justify hypertrophy. Excess mass – esp. upper body mass, will do nothing but work against uphill movement of all kinds (hike, climb, etc.)
As well, the problem with linear programming … i.e. just doing a strength/hypertrophy plan now, is that while you’re bulking up, your mountain endurance is eroding. Then once you shift to endurance, your strength/mass will erode.
So, I’ve got two answers for you:
What you Want:
As you get closer to your climbing season, drop into the appropriate sport-specific training plan … i.e.Alpine Climbing Pre-Season, or Rock Climbing Pre-Season, or Peak Bagging – all depending on how you spend your time outdoors.
What you need:
Forget about hypertrophy and focus on increasing relative strength.
Drop into the plans/order in the Greek Heroine packet of plans for Mountain Base Fitness beginning with Helen.. These plans concurrently train relative strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (run, ruck, uphill movement under load), rock climbing fitness (time at the rock gym), and chassis integrity. Start with Helen.
As you get closer to your climbing season, drop into the appropriate sport-specific training plan … i.e.Alpine Climbing Pre-Season, or Rock Climbing Pre-Season, or Peak Bagging – all depending on how you spend your time outdoors.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently on the Blackwater training plan in the Wildland Firefighting Training.  I was curious what the optimal rest time in between rounds of the barbell complex would be?  It says rest as needed, but I was wondering if there was an ideal rest period.  Also, if you guys update certain parts of the training plan, will I get the new, updated version, or do I have to buy it again?

ANSWER

2-3 minutes … but as it gets heavier, you’ll need more rest.
You won’t have to pay for updates.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a previous college lacrosse player and have translated my competitive nature and love for working out to the outdoors. I am very into backcountry skiing, mountain biking, and surfing. I want a workout plan that allows me to get a really good strength to weight ratio and to train hard in the gym on the days I don’t get out skiing or biking but also has an emphasis on the cardio training involved in those actives. Let me know your thoughts?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve read through the material you and your team have posted on supplements and nutrition. I had a question for you and your team on what to take during drill tower for LA City Fire. With a shortened academy, academy is 6 days a week, 10 hour days. There is a lot of drills on the yard, and the favorite PT is to have the areal ladder thrown to the 6th floor of the drill tower, and go up the ladder in full turnouts and a high rise pack (total of 90 lb) and come down the stairs over and over. The day is predominantly spent on the yard throwing ladders and running everywhere.
For my academy days, what are your thoughts on gels and hydration supplements? A friend of mine does ultra marathons so I was thinking of following what they do considering I’ll need their stamina and muscle recovery while keeping a settled stomach. The brands I am trying out are Spring and Ucan gels for energy and carbs, and Skratch and Carborocket powdered drinks for branch chain amino acids, l-glutamine, glucose, and fructose.
My thought is fueling myself throughout the day by using the gels and supplements. At lunch just eat something light like veggies and maybe a little meat.
I am also concerned about quick recovery. One thing he recommended and uses is Carborocket rehab which has 8g whey protein, 23g glucose, 2500mg glutamine, and 2000mg BCAA’s.
I know you’re busy, but if you or any of your pool of athletes have any general thoughts that would be much appreciated. I appreciate how meticulous you guys are in your research, test, and putting some great articles out there. Thank you.

ANSWER

The question is whether or not you’ll be able to bring this stuff to the academy with you. Perhaps the academy cadre will allow gels, recovery drinks, etc., but if not, you’re worrying about stuff that you can’t control and is a distraction.
Understand your recovery during the academy will depend primarily on your fitness going in. A recovery shake won’t make you less sore the next day.
Finally, we endorse event nutrition – like gels and hydration tablets to ward off cramps – during long endurance events. However, I’m sure you’ll get breaks at the academy to get a drink. Gels might help, but again, many have made it through without this stuff and you’re incoming fitness is most important.
Specific to Recovery Shakes – we did a mini study on these and found they have negligible effect.
– Rob

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