Q&A 4.25.19

QUESTION

I wanted to start by thanking you for your programming. I have seen great gains using the military on-ramp as well as the fortitude V2 plans. I am currently using your meathead marathon plan to work up to my first marathon which will be April 6th. After completion, my goals will be to increase my overall strength while improving times on my shorter distance runs (1 mile, 5k, 10k). I am looking at using the Big 24 as well as a running plan. I know you recommend not doubling up on plans but I am young and recover pretty quick. Thank you for any advice that you send my way.

ANSWER

Thanks for the note. If you are not making the progressions in either plan, add in rest days or drop one of the plans. Definitely drop the strength work from whichever running plan you chose – and the Running Improvement Plan will meet your distance goals fairly closely.
– Rob

QUESTION

Firstly, would like to express my continued appreciation for all you do! I have been using MTI for 18 months now and I have found the overall approach to be by far the best I have used.  Three key factors here – I haven’t injured myself once (I train alone), I have seen great results and have not been bored at all.  Thumbs up!

I am just finishing up the Super Squat Strength plan. While I haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked (have been training 3-4 days a week rather than 5), I have seen good improvements in my numbers.  Holding the bar for those 3 breaths for 20 reps is brutal at those percentages!

I have a couple of questions I hope you can help with. I am a 41 yr old general purpose athlete (not mil or LE etc although have been in military) and want to maintain a high standard of overall fitness. I really enjoy mountain biking and rucking as well as time with the bar. I struggle to keep weight on – especially when doing a lot of work capacity type training.  I enjoy work cap training though but have found, unsurprisingly, that I keep my weight near where I want it to be when I focus on strength training (my diet is pretty good). My goal is to keep an overall focus on strength throughout all of my training but find the right balance and diversity between strength training and work capacity and endurance type training (which I find good for my soul).

I have bought the Country Singers Packet 1 and the Strength Packet and want to maximise my value for money with these plans in line with the above goal. I have a couple of questions after reading your article on MTI’s Eight different Strength Progressions – most of the plans covered are in the Strength packet. The table in the article highlights pros and cons for each approach – some related to plans being easily implemented into a non-strength cycle or Generally only used during a strength focused cycle. https://mtntactical.com/knowledge/mtis-six-different-strength-progressions/

  1. I recognise that I am not a coach so pardon my ignorance but how long should a strength cycle be? Is there a standard approach or is it dependant on the individual and their goals?
  2. To add a strength emphasis to my overall training (while still providing variety), I am thinking that I could intermix the plans from both the Country Singer Packet 1 and the Strength Packet. To avoid too much focus on one strength training methodology, I have avoided coupling plans which use the same one (TLU and Johnny for example). I have already completed Bodyweight Foundation and Johnny from the Singers packet. My idea would be:
      • Johnny
      • Super Squat
      • Hank
      • Rat 6
      • MTI Relative Strength
      • Willie
      • TLU
      • 357
      • Big 24
      • Waylon
      • Eccentric
      • BW Foundation

Completing these plans in this way would keep me occupied for a while!!!  I’d be grateful for your views.

ANSWER

  1. 6-8 weeks is my approach – but other coaches may feel different. Understand that coaches who train powerlifters and Oly lifters train strength constantly. However, when it comes to fitness programming, “everything works, but nothing works forever,” – eventually the body accommodates to the stimulus and progress stops.
  2. I haven’t coached or done something similar, so I’m not sure the effect … but it’s worth a try. Our strength plans do include work capacity efforts, but little to no endurance. So your endurance will suffer (MTB, rucking).

– Rob


QUESTION

I have recently purchased the Whiskey LE program and I am shockingly pleased with the way things are progressing. I am a retired 15 year infanteer and I have recently started a career in LE. I am looking to begin training to push towards the Tactical team but I have some time before that. I am finding the Whiskey program maybe not quite as challenging as I had hoped and I am just wondering what is the next progression. I’m looking for a program to always improve or at least maintain my fitness level as a front line officer. I am roughly 35 years old 6’ and about 200lbs, run the 1.5 mile between 9:50 and 10:10 and can do 50 push-ups on the coppers test.

I am also quite pleased at the fact that you have taken the time to answer many personal questions. Thanks for the great programming and keep it up.

ANSWER

After Whiskey move to the plans/programs in the Gun Maker Packet for full-time SWAT/SRT. Start with Glock.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hope this finds you well! A bit ago you had suggested that I do the bodyweight foundation program. I completed that plan and have been hard at work on triathlon training which wraps up at the end of April. I am reaching out for a plan or series of plans that will support my goals for this year and build a foundation for next year. My athletic goals for this year are primarily focused around supporting SCUBA, moderate distance rucking, trail running, and preparing for wilderness first responder courses. Next years goals are similar with the addition of climbing. I can normally train 1-2 hours a day, 5 – 6 days a week.
I know the information above is very high level so let me know if you need any additional detail.
As a side note, the failure resume that you recently published really hit home for me and has prompted me to do some much needed life evaluation. I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time and courage to publish that for the MTI community.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the plans/order in the new Wilderness Packet for wilderness professionals. Start with Jedediah Smith.
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you guys still recommend the 25lb V-Force weight vest?  Seems to be the most cost effective; also for the vest utilization for your programming, do you recommend wider or narrow shoulder straps?

ANSWER

Here are the vests we use. They are several years old (5+) and I don’t think at that time we had a shoulder strap width option.
– Rob

QUESTION

My Chiro recommended your programs and I’d love to have some help figuring out what works for me….

I’ve gone through your site a fair bit but am a bit overwhelmed. Apparently I’m a fast twitch gal which is funny because I’ve geared my goals for yours to be LSD. Ironman, half and full marathons, etc.
I’ve struggled forever with glut/hip/hammie issues always on my left side, hence DrRobyn.

My goal is health, fitness, definition.
Could someone help me a bit?
Many thanks!
I’m 44, Mom of 2, Photographer, competitive and Type A personality, ha!
Thank you in advance

ANSWER

My recommendation for you depends somewhat on your current fitness, and age.
If you’re currently fit, and have been doing some strength training I’d recommend our SF45 Packet of Plans. These are designed for high impact tactical and mountain athletes ages 45-55, and concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance, and chassis integrity, but have a more significant endurance element, and make some allowances for joint impact. At 44, your close enough to this age group. I’m 45, and this is the programming I usually do myself unless I’m testing out some other programming.
Start with SF45 Alpha.
If you are aerobically fit but haven’t been doing any weight or strength training, start our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, then follow it up with the plans in the SF45 Packet.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently trying to convince my command to allow me to use this program as a remedial PT plan for 2 soldier’s APFT failures. And they are willing to approve the plan if I can include another 1hr PT session. I tried to explain that this program is designed to work with only the training sessions that are included within the program and additional training sessions may adversely impact the results of the program. Even still they insisted on another session for each day of training for at least an hour so basically two-a-days. I really want to do this program because I’ve had a lot of success with it with previous soldiers so, is there any other light training I could do to add to this program that wouldn’t negatively impact their progress? I’d be willing to purchase other programs that include light workouts if that’s necessary.

ANSWER

That’s a tough one, as the only way athletes will be able to not be negatively impacted by 2 a days is if they are really fit – which isn’t your case.
Option for you would be light rucking …. 25-45 pounds, and just walk for an hour. It would help with weight loss which will help with everything.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking for a workout to get me in shape for tree felling and arborist climbing. If there is anything you can recommend for that please let me know. I’ll be lifting logs and climbing trees as high as 150 feet at times with my equipment on me adding an extra 50 to 75 pounds to my person.

ANSWER

I don’t have a plan specifically for your profession. From what I do have, I’d recommend the plans/order from the new Notorious Prison packet for correctional officers.
Why? These plans train strength, work capacity and chassis integrity, but also have a significant grip strength component, as well as an upper body hypertrophy component.
The strength, work capacity and chassis integrity work will be great general fitness for you, and the upper body hypertrophy and grip strength work should directly transfer to your work.
Start with Rikers.
– Rob

QUESTION

What’s the best way to integrate the body weight core plan with 2 mile run improvement plan?

ANSWER

The Core Strength Bodyweight Only sessions are only 20-30 minutes long, so you can do them directly after completing the sessions in the  Run Improvement plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently working through the SFOD-D selection packet and I am planning on going to selection in the fall (September timeframe). I am currently working through the Fortitude V2 portion of the program. I have to take a PT test as part of my application and I was wondering how to incorporate more running into the program without over training. Additionally, I am one of those guys that needs to run in order to be good at it. Unfortunately, I am not one of those genetically gifted runners. I am sure this plan has had fantastic success but I am concerned that I won’t get enough running in. Do you have any advice in regards to my situation? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

Fortitude V2 currently has you running 2 days a week, plus a ruck run one day/week. You could and another run on the weekends.
– Rob

QUESTION

I know you get plenty of questions, this isn’t time critical, I just wanted your input as to how I am approaching completing your BRC preparation plan.

I am just wrapped up week 1 of your BRC plan, and got started on week 2. I’ve used your RASP, Ranger School, and Valor plans in their entirety, and gone through parts of several other MTI plans for different events/schools I was training for. With just one week of the BRC plan under my belt I can say with conviction that it is the most intense plan I have ever followed.

The problem is that I don’t know if following the plan as prescribed is sustainable. I understand this is for train-up immediately before BRC, but I have the time now so I am committed to going through it to get a heads up for what the 2020 train-up will be like. With the sheer volume of leg work I’m finding I am having to drop significant amounts of weight from normal lifts and take longer than prescribed rests in order to ensure I am using proper form.

I understand I am a grown adult and can make the decision to cut back on weight, training time, or add rest days. However I want to see if what is happening should be normal, because this hasn’t happened for me with any other MTI plan.

I  wanted to get your feedback on my approach. If I am having to drop significant weight on my lifts (i.e. ~70# drop in weight on squat cleans, 3×8) should I start cutting back on volume in order to maintain the higher lifts? Or should I keep to the amounts as written and just keep lifting lighter/take longer rests. Have other people had similar issues?

I really appreciate you, Rob. You’ve kept me motivated throughout my career and I love what you do man, keep it up.

ANSWER

You’re the first to report this issue – but know this plan is intense.
Drop weight as needed and don’t overthink it.
– Rob

QUESTION

If I have a facility where I can walk 200-300 steps for the step up work outs is that acceptable or does it need to be a static bench?

ANSWER

Vertical gain is important. A step up bench is 15-18″. The average step on stairs is 8″. So Steps are a subsitute, but if the session calls for 300x Step ups, you need to climb 600x Stairsteps.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am 12 weeks out from a GoRuck 26.2 mile Star Course. This is rucking a marathon distance with 20 lbs under 11 hours. Do you have a plan that would help me train? I am currently in week 2 of your Helena Dumbbell Program. I am a runner but have been doing more of your strength programs recently.

ANSWER

Bataan Death March Training Plan – use your 20# ruck load for the load in the plan.
Understand this is just the fitness side. Not sure if your event includes orienteering – but this plan doesn’t.
– Rob

QUESTION

Love the training plans so far. I plan to do the 8 week big game hunting program when the time comes, but I wanted to know what plans I should be doing in the meantime. Any direction would be helpful.

ANSWER

Plans/order in the Backcountry Big Game Training Packet. Work backward from your hunt date.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently going through the training program for the PJ/CCT selection and I am about to start week 7. I wanted to ask for an opinion. I have been training sick for the past week hoping that it would eventually subside, but it has not. I have a cough that seems to be getting worse and I am not sure whether I should tough it out or relax. I appreciate any advice you can provide. Thank you.

ANSWER

If you’re preparing for selection, tough it out.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a Athlete Subscription and have used your Fat Loss Plan followed by Big Mountain V2 plan to great success for summiting Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus this year and am very grateful I found your training plans.
I’m planning to attempt Mount Aconcagua (6962m) in January 2019 and this will be a big step up from what I’ve previously done. This gives me 16 weeks of training. Therefore I would greatly appreciate your advice on a suitable training plan:
1. Given I have 16 weeks, what combination of your training plans would you recommend? The Denali Training Plan appears to be harder than the Big Mountain V2 plan. My thoughts were to integrate both plans into a 16 week training plan but I’m not sure how best to do this.
2. If you recommend the Denali Training Plan, is there any alternative session to the Tire Drag session which would be equally beneficial as (a) I will not be using a sled on Aconcagua and (b) it is difficult for me to transport a large tire to the nearest dirt road?
3. The other training plan I was considering is the Uphill Athlete 16 Week Big Mountain Training Plan. If you have any knowledge regarding this training plan or any of other Uphill Athlete’s plans, how does it compare to your Big Mountain or Denali Training plans?
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

ANSWER

Others have used the Big Mountain Training Plan successfully for Aconcagua – but since you’ve already completed that plan, the 9-week Denali Training Plan would a great alternative. Replace the tire drags with a repeat of Wednesday’s step ups.
For the 7 weeks prior, I recommend you step drop the duration and increase the intensity with Valor. This plan comes from our military side, and has a work capacity emphasis, but also trains strength, work capacity and endurance via hard, fast, speed-over-ground intervals for running and ruck running. I would recommend one change to Valor – use 25# for your ruck runs, not 45#.
This is 16 weeks total of programming.
Uphill Athlete? I’ve read the book but am not super familiar with their programming. I would say in general their programming is much more endurance, heart-rate based, than ours, which is more sport-specific, and multi-modal.
– Rob
FOLLOW UP
I made it to the summit of Aconcagua on X February 2019!
I wanted to thank you and your team for researching, designing and making available all these excellent training programs. I’ve used them for a few years now with great success – it really is an amazing resource. I’ve noticed you have a new Everest Training Program available – perhaps I’ll use that program one day. Most of all I wanted to thank you for answering my emails whenever I had questions about your programs and how I can tailor them to best suit my needs. It’s all very much appreciated.

QUESTION

I have been using several MTI programs for the last year to help prep for SWAT tryouts.

How long before the selection day should I begin tapering off?
Also, what should I be doing aside from very light cardio and stretching during the taper?

ANSWER

I’m assuming you’re completing the SWAT Selection Training Plan the 7 weeks directly before your selection. Week 7 in the plan is an unload/taper week.
– Rob

QUESTION

Had a question about loading for hypertrophy for Skinny guys. I decided to plug in 4 weeks of that before my big trip abroad. Context: I’ve just come off a pretty great stream of programs from you, Waylon & Hank, with pretty impressive results! So I started into hypertrophy using calculations for my weights based off of my 1RM. For the first day of hypertrophy, it was really rough, but I generally was able to hit the reps without much of a break except for maybe sometimes in between the last 2-3 reps of the last sets.
However today I did the chest and back one, and it was bloody rough! I tested a 1RM of Chest Press in Hank at 220, so I tried to do 175 for the hypertrophy 8×8. I only got 2 done, then dropped 10, then dropped 10 for another 2, and then dropped all the way to 135.
Across the board, this entire chest/back day was really rough, I even had to pause on the chin ups to allow my muscles to recover a bit to do the last few sets, which feels a bit crazy considering I just came off doing 8×3 with 60 pounds in Hank for a pull-up. The only thing I can really think of is that my muscles, after a strength and power cycle, weren’t really ready for the higher rep ranges and/or my muscles & liver are just lacking in glycogen storage. I usually train on a fast and eat relatively low carbohydrate meals, opting more for protein and fat + veggies.
Anyways my question to you, in this long-winded share, is if I should try to do my best to hit the % of my 1RM and just drop as need be, or should I just start at something a bit lower and try to avoid dropping weight?

ANSWER

The volume in the Hypertrophy Plan is much greater than the volume in the max effort focused strength programming in Waylon and Hank. The high volume, moderate weight is what makes muscles grow – hence hypertrophy.
Don’t worry about it.
– Rob

QUESTION

I appreciate the reach-out on programming. I’ve been cycling through a few of your programs with great results over the last few months and I’m trying to decide what to do next.  My goals are not sport-specific. I care about general fitness and durability with an emphasis on strength and building muscle.  I typically ski once a week in the winter and mountain bike once a week in the summer combined with water skiing and paddle board on the weekends.
I did Hypertrophy early winter – awesome strength and muscle gain that I combined with weekend Nordic skate skiing. However, my tendons were ready for a break by the end.
Followed with Waylon to redevelop work capacity and work some barbell lifts I hadn’t done for a long while. Great progress on all three lifts and a marked improvement on cardio.
I’m currently on week 2 of the kettlebell working strength program just to mix it up with new movement patterns.
Looking towards summer, I was thinking of cycling through another strength/hypertrophy program followed by another general fitness “Waylon”-type program to continue my strength gains while balancing with work capacity.  I love strength programs the most, but I also know my 40yr old body needs to mix it up every 6-8 weeks.
Any recommendations?

ANSWER

Tracie – Follow the country singer packet 1, then 2 plans in order …. they rotate between plans balanced programming, to a plan with a strength/work cap emphasis, back to balance, then to an endurance emphasis, etc.

This will give you the mix/variety you want, and add some higher level progressing and planning to your fitness.
Start with Johnny.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m looking to start one of the mountain base workout series. Reading the overviews, I like the strategy of the Alpha/Bravo/Charlie plans where you work out for 4 days and “spend the weekend playing outside.” I also like the overall strategy that they’re baseline fitness and then you do a targeted sequence before an event. I’ve got a couple questions:

– When I go into the ABC programs, each week shows 6 days of workouts. Are you just meant to do 4 then rest then pick up where you left off, meaning the division into weeks is arbitrary?
– Can the same philosophy be used to break the Greek Heroine series into 4 on, 3 off? It seems they have more of a weekly periodic cadence to the workouts.
Any guidance would be appreciated, I’m planning on starting the program in about two weeks.

ANSWER

The intent is you train 6 days in a row, however, if you’re playing on the weekends, take Friday off, then pick up again on Monday … but don’t skip ahead in the sessions. So week one, you train Sessions 1-4 on Mon-Thurs, rest Friday, play Sat & Sun in the mountains, and start back again with Session 5 the following Monday.
Same idea for Greek Heroine.
– Rob

 

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