Q&A 3.8.18

KUDOS ON THE BIG 24 STRENGTH TRAINING PLAN

I’ve seen awesome improvement under big 24. Below are the improvements I have seen, I can’t speak more highly about this program.
Hang squat clean
Original: 160# New: 225#
Back squat
Original: 250# New: 295#
Bench press:
Original: 215# New: 285#
I will recommend this to all of my friends, thanks for the great workouts.

QUESTION

I am 22 year old female recently returned from a deployment and have been looking into some new programming. Mtn Tactical was highly suggested by some of my NSOC friends. I was looking into some programming that would help me build strength in my main compound lifts, as I hope to start competing in powerlifting meets. I noticed none of your programs included deadlifting, and I was curious why that was? Also, which program would you suggest? Thanks!

ANSWER

We prefer the Hinge Lift to the dead lift.
I’d recommend Big 24 Strength.
– Rob

QUESTION

I first and foremost want to thank you for your contributions to my fitness and success in the mountains, as an 18D SF Medic in  7th Special Forces Group, and while I was deployed. As I already stated I am both a mountain and tactical athlete. I have been heavily influenced by the writings of Mark Twight and Steve House on the concepts of training and mountaineering. After I got out of the Army I travelled the globe taking mountaineering courses and pursued wilderness medicine. Currently I still work in the roles of an SME on Med for Military and Civilian, Commercial Fish in AK and travel about pursuing mountain sports of several disciplines such as rock climbing, skiing, mountaineering, kayaking, mountain biking as well as bushcraft/survival and obstacle races for entertainment.

I started functional fitness type workouts somewhere in the 2001 timeframe when I discovered kettlebells, that moved to CrossFit but I left that as it became the “sport of fitness” instead of training people to do things outside, through gym work. I avoid programming gym work to be good at gym work. I had similar complications with some of the programming I did with SOFLETE, it was very good and I got stronger however it was also gym centric.

Mark Twight wrote an article called “No free lunch” it describes my issue perfectly. You cannot CrossFit to mountain fitness such as a 20 hours plus strait push in the Alpine. Same with Combat, you need to train outside in the appropriate medium as well as become strong in the gym. Duration under specific load as well is an issue I have had with other programs. The barbell, kettlebell, dumbbell, sandbag get ups, step ups, loaded running, rucking, long slow distance with complimentary auxiliary work ect. that MTI provides is an excellent balance of the complex needs required by mountain and tactical athletes. I’m a huge fan of your work and keep it up.

I’m currently debating ordering the Greek Hero Series as I have already done Hector. Before that I did the Big 24, then Hector, then Operator Ugly train up, now I am as well considering RAT 6 followed by doing the Greek Hero series.

I ruptured cervical discs back in April so I have been heavy on trying to get my strength back which is why I’m focused on that. I think maybe one more strength cycle and then return to the Greek Hero series might be what I am looking for.

ANSWER

Thanks for the note.

Couple options … if you’re back is still suspect, look at Resilience. It has focused strength and chassis integrity emphasis.
If your back is well along, go with the remaining Greek Hero plans – which are more balanced – and included a solid endurance element – so you don’t get too far from that.
– Rob

QUESTION

I thinking about purchasing the LE Officer Sessions. I’m currently doing CrossFit which is ok but it’s not really helping me with the fitness standards I need for work.
Is this the best program for achieving & maintaining:
– pull-up in full kit
– beep test 8.05+
– dummy drag
as well as operational fitness?

ANSWER

From what you’ve told me, I’d recommend Tequila from our Spirits plans for LE Patrol and Detective.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am training for SFAS and was interested in your Ruck-Based Selection program. I will not be leaving for about 20 weeks though, and noticed this course is only 8 weeks long. To give you my fitness background I am prior service Army but the majority of my training over the past year has been powerlifting with sporadic running and rucking thrown in. What training plan(s) would you recommend for me? I am willing to put in whatever work is needed and can work around any time constraints, I just want to be as physically prepared as possible going into this. I appreciate any help and feedback that you can give me.

ANSWER

Here’s what I’d recommend:
Weeks   Plan
1-4         Military On-Ramp Training Plan (first 4 weeks)
5-11       Resilience
12          Total Rest
13-20     Ruck Based Selection Training Plan – complete directly before selection.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

I am an Air Force cadet and I will be starting the TACP schoolhouse
roughly 8 months from now. I am already posting good PAST numbers 16
pull ups, 80 push ups, 80 situps, and a 9:30 run.  I am also fairly
confident in the rucking side of things (I have always been strong in
this).  I am concerned, however, with the mobility/injury prevention
side of things.  I am also new to the idea of the new Battlefield
Airman Fitness test that is getting rolled out. The events require a
lot more strength/speed than I am used to. I am wondering if you have
a program recommendation for how to tackle the next 8 months of
physical training.  I know you have a TACP schoolhouse program, but is
that the best thing for me, since I am already feeling strong in the
traditional TACP events? I also see that it is only 8 weeks long and I
have about 8 months to cover.

Thanks in advance for your help.

ANSWER

8 Months = 34 weeks. Here’s what I recommend:
Weeks   Plan
10          Total Rest
11-17     Valor
18          Total Rest
19-25     Fortitude
26          Total Rest
27-34     USAF TAPC Course Training Plan – complete directly before the TACP course.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m wondering if you could help me find the right plan. I’m looking for a plan that would prepare me for Marine Basic Reconnaissance Course.

ANSWER

USMC Basic Recon Course Training Plan … complete the 9 weeks directly prior to your course.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently showing interest in completing the famed Spartan Agoge up in Pittsford, VT this summer. The Agoge is based off the Ancient Spartan tradition of taking young boys and training them through the most vigorous program to shape them into the world’s greatest fighting force. Aside from physical combat skills, they also learned about survival skills among other things.
Here, Spartan Race takes that concept and turns it into a practical-based, hands-on learning system where individuals come together as a team and learn about purpose, commitment, resiliency, and knowledge. They also have to complete both team and individual challenges that will test them, both physically and mentally. In short, it’s a military-esque training and competition challenge in the vein of GORUCK and other endurance events.
I’ve already done a couple GORUCK events since 2015, a few Spartan Hurricane Heats and Ultra-Beasts, and a few other endurance events besides. I want to do the Agoge and I was curious if Mountain Tactical Institute had any training programs that could help me prepare for this event. I would greatly appreciate any advice or help you can offer. Thank you again and I look forward to hearing from you.

ANSWER

It’s unclear from the Spartan Race website what is involved in this event – but I understand it’s duration is a week long, and I’m guessing there’s a lot of rucking involved.
Without knowing more, I’d recommend our SFRE Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Coach,

I’m on Week 6 of Fortitude V2 and I’m absolutely loving it. I really underestimated the grinders at first but I’ve come to develop a strong love-hate relationship with my MTI sandbag. I’ve seen improvements in every lift (except one) and I’m looking forward to the next program.

While on my ruck runs, a couple of people have come to me before, after, and during (hands down the most annoying time) my runs to warn me about how dangerous ruck running is and how it will mess up my knees, back, ankles, teeth, hearing etc. I was wondering if you had any research that I could point them to that would show them that it’s not that bad and because honestly it’s starting to weigh on me as well because I honestly do not know if I am actually doing long term damage.

My second question is my bench. I’ve been stuck at 205 for my 3 rep max since the start of Fortitude (and even before that) and every Tuesday when I hit bench is a struggle. For my next cycle I’d like to hit a program that will hopefully help me break through this plateau, any recommendations?

Thank you!

ANSWER

Ruck Running? I have heard the concerned about running as well but haven’t found any research one way or the other. Anecdotally we haven’t seen any issues. We do know that at selections, military courses, and in dangerous downrange situations it’s not unusual to ruck run. Our goal is to prepare athletes for what they’ll experience. You can walk or fast walk if you have concerns.
Bench? Our cycles deploy different strength progressions and could be that another progression will work better for you. Keep grinding.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a Iowa whitetail bow hunter who hunts 100% public lands.  I normally use hang and hunt tactics when I go into the woods.  This involves many miles of hiking carrying anywhere from 30-60 lbs of gear in my pack while trying to be stealthy.  I am also trying to plan a Colorado OTC elk hunt in September.  As you can guess I have little to no elevation to work with here in Iowa, so I am hoping to find a plan that will really push me and hopefully be over prepared for Iowa whitetails, and ready to tackle the Rockies.  I am looking at the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Packet, just curious if you agree that this will be a good fit or not.

ANSWER

Yes – I built the Backcountry Big Game Training Packet specifically to prepare guys for rocky mountain / AK and New Zealand hunts. It deploys exercise to train uphill and down hill movement under load – so you can do it in Iowa.
Good luck on your hunt!
– Rob

QUESTION

I do have a question about the CRO training packet, specifically the swim training. It has been a long time since I last went swimming, so I am wondering if this portion of the training is geared toward those who are already semi-proficient swimmers or those who are not (like me)? I’m looking forward to tackling this monstrosity of a training packet soon! Thanks.

ANSWER

The fitness demands of the selection, school or event determine our programming – not the fitness, or incoming proficiency of the incoming athlete. In this case, water confidence is a huge part of the selection you are gunning for, and as a result, four of the eight training plans in the packet have a swimming component.
Do you need more swimming work before starting the USAF PAST plan? Probably not, but I’m not you. Only you can answer that question. You see the programming.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just wrapped up a physical therapy stint to rehab both my shoulder and my calf/achilles. I’ve been cleared for about 6 weeks and have slowly gotten back into the swing of things. Ex Marine Infantry, so I’m familiar with your programming.
I’ve been doing BJJ 2x a week and have built up to 55 minutes of nonstop moderately paced cardio (bike, elliptical and stair climber). I’ve done some leg blasters for my lower body and some dumbbell work for my upper body. I have neither run nor rucked for 9 months. Needless to say, my cardio, endurance and strength have all diminished greatly while in the recovery process.
My future fitness goals are to do a GoRuck Tough this summer. When I complete college in 2 years I plan on going back into the military and going to SFAS. With these goals in mind and my current point in training, is there a certain program you recommend to help me get back into it?

ANSWER

I’d recommend starting our stuff with the Military OnRamp Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just completed Week 3 for the USMC PFT program and I am already seeing great results. I am a Marine veteran and currently applying for Marine OCS which will probably start in September. I was looking at the OCS preparation program but since I have so much time to prepare, is there another intermediate program that you would suggest? It has been a while since I have done a 12+ mile ruck and I noticed that the first week for the OCS program has a 12 mile ruck assessment.
I would appreciate any suggestions on other intermediate programs I could do in order to gradually build strength and resilience while minimizing the chances of injury.

ANSWER

I’d recommend working through the plans and progression in the Virtue Packet of training plans until you begin the Marine Corps OCS Training Plan directly before OCS.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am planning on enlisting by May. Iv lost 60lbs and I still need to lose 20lbs. I am still unable to pass the apft test. What is the best program for me to lose the 20lbs and be able to pass the apft my May 1?

ANSWER

Work through 4 weeks of the Military On-Ramp Training Plan until 6 weeks directly before your APFT, then complete the APFT Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am starting the academy in may and was wondering what plans will work?

ANSWER

I’d recommend the LE OnRamp Training Plan until 6 weeks directly before the academy, then switch to and complete the LE Academy Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Reaching out to get ideas for training. In late November I started the post rehab leg program and returned to alpine skiing per doc’s permission. Unfortunately, my ankle did not respond well and I was sent in for an MRI showing 2 partially torn ligaments and a bone contusion in the mid healing process and scar tissue build up in the joint causing an impingement. I’ve been “resting” per doctor orders since the 3rd week of December. I have also been away from home teaching wilderness medicine (forced rest) and haven’t done much to be physically active other than go for long walks on flat mellow terrain.
I have tested my ankle a little bit (short 100m run twice) in the last week. It is still not ready for that type of impact.
I will be on the road teaching wilderness medicine through the end of March and won’t have much access (if any) to equipment other than stretch cords and therabands. I am looking for a program that will build strength and maintain some cardiovascular fitness while still allowing my ankle to heal in preparation for summer work. I am trying to keep the summer mellow given my ankle injury. As of now it looks like I will be instructing a month long sea kayak course in Southeast Alaska starting mid-June followed by a month long backpacking course in Alaska and guiding short backpacking trips in the Sierra. No technical mountaineering this summer.
Hope this email finds you doing well. Thank you for your continued support. I really appreciate how quick and helpful you have been in response to my emails.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan – it’s limited equipment, includes some running (walk if you can’t run) and will build strength. It’s a relatively low impact training plan by our standards – but still be smart and careful with your ankle.
– Rob

QUESTION

So I just purchased the off-season strength for endurance program. I picked it because I kind of thought it would be what I wanted…but…

Maybe you can help me. I love running and road biking….but I also love Olympic lifting. These two things obviously fight against each other. What program would you recommend for me that better suits this? I do long distance 10-15 mile runs, 100 mile bike rides, sprints, and do all the Olympic lifts…what I want is confusing I know, I’m just frustrated and trying to make my own bs program.

ANSWER

Couple Options:

1) Look at SF45 Bravo. SF45 Bravo has you in the gym doing heavy strength 2x week, – and mostly endurance otherwise.
Two things go into strength programming – the progression methodology, and the exercises deployed under the methodology.
You can use the density progression in SF45 Bravo, and deploy your favorite exercises.
2) Learn to program and take our Big 24 Online Programming Course. Use this progression for your favorite oly lifts 2-3x/week, and program your endurance around it.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m interested in your on ramp program. However following that series or six weeks. What program do you recommend for maintenance?

ANSWER

The plans and order in the Big Cat series of plans for Fire/Rescue Athletes. These are designed as day-to-day training for full time firefighters.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hello Rob. Just have a general question. Ive been training for CCT and recently went through selection (I’m already active duty-crosstraining) and they didn’t pick me up. Im currently in the process of going TACP. I was wondering if your “USAF TACP TRAINING PLAN” is good enough for me or do you recommend just more than the plan. Meaning is there more that i need to buy or will this plan be best for me? We have not received a class date but word of mouth is it is not till December. But I take PAST every 3 months and one right before I leave and when I get there. Do you suggest any other plans until then?Im looking to increase my run and calisthenics. Thank you for your time, Rob and have a great day.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the USAF PAST Training Plan now, and then drop into the plans and progression in the Greek Hero Series until 8 weeks before the TACP Course. At that time, complete the USAF TACP Course Training Plan directly before the course.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am an engineer who studies infrastructure in natural disaster conditions. Although i spend most of my time in front of the computer, I have the need to travel to disaster locations to study damages in the field.  I am primarily interested in developing a fitness plan to make my life a lot more manageable during a post-natural disaster infrastructure damage assessment. I might have to carry equipment that could potentially weight more than 40 lbs. Is there a training plan you would recommend?  Thank you.

ANSWER

I’d recommend starting with the Military On-Ramp Training Plan, and following it up with Fortitude.

– Rob

QUESTION

Nice to see your website identifies people like me who are fence sitting and generates this email.
I do have some questions for you in considering signing up for the big game packet.
I am planning on a mountain hunt this fall (mid-Sept) in Alberta where I live. It will be my first mountain hunt and I’m more accustomed to chasing moose around the swamps in the boreal forest. My two hunting partners are currently in law enforcement academy and will no doubt be leaving my ass behind if I don’t do something!
Some personal history: In 2013 (30 years old at the time), after banging on the door for 5 years I landed my dream job managing wildlife for the Alberta Government. In the same year we started having kids . This meant moving to a small rural community in Northern Alberta. Three years prior to this I had turned my health around and went from practically a slob at 265 lbs to an athletic 178, spending 5-7 days a week in the gym. The career change, kids (3 now) and moving to a rural community with essentially no gym has thrown me through a loop. I’ve picked up some of my old bad food habits along with some weight (230 lbs at xmas, 215 now after cleaning up some eating habits the lat month – thanks to your very simple nutrition program).
I am confident it won’t take much to salvage my past self.
So why am I on the fence? The quick answers are time and gym access. Well, with 3 kids under 4 years old and wife that works opposite shifts from me, time is limited. I can carve out morning workouts but it’d have to be outside as if I woke the kids, I’d be mud. It won’t be until April until this is viable option either since there’s 3 feet of snow outside, it’s -20 to -30 C in the morning, and the sun doesn’t come up until after I go to work at 8 am (ah, life up North!). Our community multiplex has a very simple gym (some treadmills, some lighter dumbells and barbells but no proper variable bar for squats, deadlifts, etc., a bench and a smith machine). They are building a new one with more equipment but it won’t be open until closer to Christmas.
On the plus side, I live in a river valley with 400′ elevation change from the river to the river breaks. The TransCanada trail traverses the valley at the top of the river breaks and I have access to much public land for hiking with some elevation differences or even just hiking/running the gravel roads up the valley. I’ve also got a child carrying backpack and no shortage of child to throw in it. My work is in the same valley with a network of trails over 15 k min length. I can take a one hour lunch and bang some running/hiking off at this time.
So I guess my biggest question to you is how much value do you think I would get if I purchased the big game packet and skipped the resilience phase? I’d plan on running this packet again in 2019, and the new gym will be open by then.
Thanks for taking the time to both reach out and provide some feedback.

ANSWER

It’s not clear if you’re skipping Resilience in the packet because of equipment issues or because you don’t have enough time.
If it’s because of equipment, take a look at SF45 Delta as a substitute.
If it’s because of time – you’ll be fine.
Regardless, good luck on your hunt!
– Rob

 

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