Q&A 4.4.19

QUESTION

Finished the back country ski plan.
I really enjoyed it and it helped tremendously. I also just read the bit on knee pain you guys posted and particularly the bit on garbage reps. My knees suffered during the backcountry plan.  I would like to keep going with another plan but don’t know where to go. My primary activities are surfing, skiing, rock climbing and hiking. With the garbage rep thing in mind could you point me to a good next plan?

ANSWER

You may want to try out SF45 Programming. This programming is designed for tactical athletes ages 45-55 and considers knee stuff – esp. heavy, deep squats. However, the plan does have lots of endurance work – running, etc. I’m not sure what’s effecting your knees from the BC Ski Plan – could be the quadzillas/leg blasters, or the step ups.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m going to pico de orizaba and Iztaccíhuatl in november 2019. my first experience. im a woman 42 years old. which plan do you recommend?

ANSWER

Big Mountain Training Plan. Complete this 10 week training plan the 10 weeks directly before your first trip.
Between now and then, start our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, then work through the plans/order in the Wilderness Packet of plans for mountain professionals (rangers, game wardens, etc). These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (running, uphill hiking under load), and chassis integrity (core).
– Rob

QUESTION

 

Hey MTI I have a bit of a long question for you but any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated.
I completed your Hotshot/Smoke Jumper Pre Season program last year and really enjoyed it.
I’ll be on a new crew this coming season, a hotshot crew in Northern California and there PT program is quite a bit different than my previous crew.
This new crew does not focus on hiking in their PT program. Their work station gives them direct access to running 3-7 mile runs with about 500 feet of elevation gain and that is their focus. The crew is very competitive with these “crew runs” and how well you do will determine a multitude of things within the crew. The need to be a strong hiker for on the job work is still there though.
So my question:
I was looking at your “Running Improvement Program” and thought that looked pretty good for my requirements. I saw in the commonly asked questions that you said you could combine a strength program with the running program.
1. How would you structure that with a 2 a day type program of running and strength training in the same day ? I noticed you said (gym-based strength in the AM, running program in the PM) did you mean specifically in that order or is that arbitrary ?
2. How would you incorporate rucking/weighted hiking ? Maybe do it Tuesday and Thursday with the prescribed strength training ?
3. In the running program would you suggest incorporating hill work into the program, something like hill tempos ? I’m assuming that the program doesn’t incorporate it already but I may be wrong.
4. Due to the nature of the job I’ll be running mostly on trails with some elevation gain, do you suggest just adjusting my mile times for the elevation gain ?
I realize this is a long question but I know y’all deal with this stuff so I figured I’d reach out.

 

ANSWER

1. The Running Improvement Plan does include strength work deploying leg blasters and and dumbbell work (Scotty Bobs, etc) on Tuesday and Thursdays. You could swap this out for a strength plan, and/or do a 2-a-day on the running days (M, Wed, Fri, Sat). From our stuff, I’d recommend the MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan. Best would be to run in the AM, lift in the PM.
2. Yes – Tue/Thurs, but be careful of overtraining. If you can’t make the prescribed running paces, pull back.
3. Not sure how you could do this, other than the long Saturday run – and I’d just recommend a hilly trail run.
4. Not sure how you could do this other than the long run.
Based on your questions and goals, I’d recommend not doing the Running Improvement Training Plan, and instead completing the Alpine Running Training Planwhich includes gym-based strength work, uphill hiking under load, an unloaded run assessment and intervals (speed work), loaded running, and long unloaded runs. It fits your goals better.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a recreational middle distance runner (half marathons) and recreational kayaker.
I am signed up for the MR340 (Missouri River 340), a 340 mile nonstop kayak race from Kansas City to St. Louis. The race will take place July 16-18. Would your kayak pre-season program be applicable for a long distance kayak event like this?
I don’t want to neglect leg strength or running while I train for the 340, because I am registered for the Pike’s Peak Ascent August 24, as well.
I’m not looking to win anything – just to do well and finish everything I start.

ANSWER

Our Kayak/Paddling Training Plan isn’t designed for a race this long. The strength/core/gym based sessions in the plan would transfer, but the volume is sprint/interval based, and wouldn’t. You’d want to replace the volume in the plan with long (2-6 hour) paddling sessions. 340 miles is a long way – don’t discount the mileage.
The plan as written is a 4 day/week plan. I’d recommend the prescribed gym-based sessions on Mon/Wed, and long paddles on Mon/Wed/Fri. You could run on Saturday, take Sunday off.
After your paddle race I’d recommend transitioning fully to the Pikes Peak event.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently overseas on a tour. I am emailing you in concern of inquiring if it is possible to have a custom plan built. After returning from my tour I am planning on going to SFRE then SFAS selection. If so, I am wanting a plan that will carry me until the projected end of my tour.

ANSWER

I’m sorry, but we don’t do any individualized or personal training or program development. But – based upon what you’re describing, we already have programming in place.
One event at a time. Now focus on the SFRE and complete the SFRE Training Plan.
After SFRE, use the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan prior to SFAS.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a Correctional Officer working 12-hour shifts, and like many agencies we’re working a lot of overtime. It leaves me only training on the 1-3 days off we get and/or trading sleep time for training time. The new Correctional Officer plans are great, but I just don’t have 5-6 days a week to train.

How do I make it all work?

ANSWER

Complete the sessions in order as your training time allows. Don’t skip ahead – complete the sessions in order.
Your shift work is not unusual, and neither are 12 hour days for many tactical athletes who are not on shift work. Best is to train before your shift. Yes – this means losing sleep to train – but ensures you complete mission-direct fitness training. This may allow you to keep better on schedule and train 5 days/week.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m training for the Appalachian Trail (MA, VT, NH sections to include the White Mts) using the Backpacking Pre-Season to be followed by Big Mountain v2.   54 year old male, retired military with high-mileage knees.

I can complete most of the daily workouts, but struggle with recovery (knees/tendinitis) and with getting all the step-ups / runs done per plan.  Long rucks with target load, core, and lifts I can complete.

Q1.  Should I press to the next week’s workout even though I couldn’t fully complete portions of the current week’s workout?  Or repeat the week until I hit all the objectives?

Q2.  Recovery isn’t like it was in my 20’s.  I want to prevent injury but still push hard to meet my goals.  What advice do you have for high-mileage athletes regarding overtraining, injury prevention, and recovery?

ANSWER

1. Your departure date will dictate this. If you’re scheduled the programming to be completed directly before your trip, press on.
2. Increasing fitness will improve recovery. It’s okay to take an extra day’s rest, if needed, but know as your fitness improves, you’ll recovery faster. There is no secret or magic bullet for recovery. Train hard. Eat clean. Get plenty of rest.
After Backpacking Preseason, move to SF45 Alpha, instead of Big Mountain. For all the endurance work in SF45 Alpha, ruck with the same pack weight you’ll carry on the trail.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m running a Spartan Sprint in 6 weeks and a Spartan Beast three weeks later (9 weeks from now). I’ll only have 3 weeks in between the two and I was hoping you would be able to provide some guidance which plan I should get to best. I’m planning on running the races below and would appreciate your thoughts on how best to prepare for these as well.

ANSWER

We’ve designed some obstacle course training plans, but this isn’t our primary focus.
Given that, what I’d recommend is for the next 6 weeks you complete our Obstacle Race Training Plan – Medium Distance. Complete the plan as prescribed through week 5, then skip ahead and complete week 7 directly before your first event.
Repeat weeks 5-7 for the 3 weeks before your next event.
Then, move to the Obstacle Race Training Plan – Long Distance for the 4 weeks before your Super.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m using MTI programs to get ready for an elk hunt in the Fall. I’m new to bow hunting and I want to pull back a 70# bow, but am currently unable to, right now my bow is set at 60# and I can shoot that fine. Is there a program or recommendation to build the strength for increasing draw weight? Thanks for your help!

ANSWER

Best would be to use your bow itself.
50 shots/day, and every week, add one turn to the limbs. Soon you’ll be at 70#.
This is what I do when I start shooting again in the spring.
– Rob

QUESTION

In regards to the Virtue series, do these plans build on each other? Or are they independent focusing on specific areas?

ANSWER

The plans can be completed independently. However, if you’re not working on a specific focus, complete them in the order recommended:

QUESTION

I wanted to ask your opinion on a current situation. I bought a new pair of boots and have completed this selection train up to week 6 and hadn’t had a single problem and suddenly had an Achilles issue I believe from my boots. The Doc says it’s a classic case of Achilles tendinitis. I leave in about 3 weeks now for selection and was curious as to how you would approach training until then. The Doctor suggests low impact what are your thoughts?

ANSWER

Follow the Doc’s advice and trust your training to this point (run, ruck) to carry you through selection. Go in healthy.
Row and bike to keep up the run/ruck cardio. You can still do the APFT work – minus running. Be smart with the other training in the plan in terms of impact.
Also – get a second opinion on your Achilles. Seems unlikely that it would take 6 week for your boots to be an issue. But – if so, you’ll need to get different boots. Also – explore methods to rehab your achilles – PT, ice, etc. I’m not familiar with this injury and am not a athletic trainer so can’t help much.
– Rob

QUESTION

Competing in the age-competitive division of the Spartan Race in July 2019. I just finished the MTI eccentric strength program. I would like to continue building some strength and lean muscle gains and then transition to three months or so of Spartan Race preparation. Which program(s) would you recommend?

ANSWER

Not sure your question but it seems you want another strength program suggestion. Do Big 24.
– Rob

QUESTION

Thanks for all the info you have on your website. It is interesting and helpful. I have noticed something about the plan I purchased that I thought I may ask you about, particularly when it comes to variety in exercise selection. Your approach is very different than training I’ve done in the past and I’d be interested in thoughts on why you do it this way.

Context – I am an alpine climber in Washington state, climbing mostly rock but some snow and ice too here in the Cascades. I am happy with my own climbing and endurance training plans, but I thought 2-3 sessions a week of your Chassis Integrity plan may be an effective addition to the mix since I have done little targeted core/chassis work in the past and I know from my rock climbing that it can be a weakness for me. Some extra work capacity probably wouldn’t hurt. I figured I would give it a shot for 8 weeks or so and see what happened. And I get a kick out of learning about strength and conditioning so even if the plan didn’t work for me, I thought it’d be interesting to see some of what your programming is about.
What is very different about the plan than my past training is the variety of exercises. Fortunately my gym has a lot of implements so it’s not an issue finding the tools, but my gym work for climbing has been almost exclusively front squat, deadlift, overhead press, pull-up, push-up, kettlebell swing. I liked having this limited list of exercises because I was able to technically master (or at least get good at) all of them, which I felt has several benefits. 1, I can put my effort into the lift itself without having to put any mental energy into thinking or worrying about technique. 2, I can be much more confident that improvements in performance (more weight, more reps, etc) are due to actual improvements in strength rather than just better technique/efficiency. 3, I feel more confident that I’ll avoid injury in the gym. 4, I want my focus to still be on climbing itself and I felt a bunch of extra exercises made it too easy to spend time in the gym where I could be on the wall or the hill instead, so I thought I’d try to keep gym stuff to the 20% that gives me 80% of the benefit, if the old 80/20 thing isn’t all bullshit.
By contrast, your plans use a ton of exercises and many implements. I see some potential benefits to this – working the body in many different ways, not being able to adapt to repeating the same movements and forcing us to deal with new and different stresses, keeping an athlete interested in the training and not bored by the same thing over and over (not an issue for me but maybe other people), and perhaps others.
But I have been frustrated by feeling like I’m not doing the movements technically correctly. I suspect that this may be part of the point – it may be that part of what makes the sandbag an effective tool for total body strength and conditioning is that sometimes you just have to manhandle it and can’t move it through a nice efficient path like you might with a barbell. But for example, I’m doing some of these sandbag movements and overhead rotation/anti-rotation stuff, and this is supposedly a chassis program, but I feel like my shoulders are giving out first, and I assume it’s due to my unfamiliarity and poor technique with the movement, and if I could be getting better results with something that I was more comfortable with technically.
That technique will come with time, I know. Or maybe I just have weak shoulders, which should improve with time too, so I plan to keep at it for now and see where things are at in a couple months. But I would be interested in your perspective on exercise selection and more specifically on your philosophy that has led you to choose many rather than few, what some of the benefits you think there are, anything else. Since my own perspective has been from the opposite direction, if there’s something I’ve been missing, I’d love to hear it. I read your “evolution of our chassis integrity theory” post and several others around your programming thinking and found them interesting, but they didn’t really touch on this.
I know this is a long email and perhaps too broad of a philosophical question but I’d be fascinated to hear any thoughts you’d be willing to share.

ANSWER

My sense is you’re completing the Chassis Integrity Training Plan, and if so, you understand the ARTE and Low Back circuit general exercise category selection.
Specifically to the sandbag – a 60 pound sandbag is so much heavier than a 60# barbell!! – esp. our sandbags, because of the bulk, imbalance, and gripping issues. The bulk alone moves the weight away from your body, and your center of gravity, thus adding a lever to the weight, and requiring more core action to move it. We’ve found sandbags incredibly effective at training Chassis Integrity and this is the primary reason we deploy sandbag exercises.
Number of Exercises – it’s funny you find issue with the different exercises I plug into the exercise categories for the chassis integrity circuits … only because others have found issue with the repetition of the same exercises in our focused strength progressions. You want less variety and they want more!
In general, we’ve found it takes athletes new to our programming a week or two to fully understand the session flow, and learn the bulk of the unfamiliar exercises. Perhaps this hasn’t been your experience.
Specifically to the Chassis Integrity Plan, I possibly could have limited it to a total of 7 exercises, but specifically to CI stuff, while both the Keg Lift with a sandbag and slasher with a kettlebell train rotational core strength, the exercises are different and work the “chassis” – knees to shoulders, differently. I like the programming as it is for this reason.
Your shoulders? There’s not a lot of “technique” to the Chassis Integrity exercises. Most are straight forward. My guess is your shoulders are weak – and these exercises will help.
– Rob

QUESTION

I need some help! I’m ex military, now law enforcement and corrections. I recently completed a bulk and my body weight exercises have seen a dive, including my run. I do a fair amount of strength training and am looking for a program that I can improve my body weight workouts and a fair amount of strength training. Any suggestions will be awesome! Thank you

ANSWER

From our stuff, I’d recommend 357 Strength for your specific request.
But better would be to complete a mission-direct plan for Correction Officers. I recently designed a 4-plan Notorious Prison packet of plans for Correctional Officers. These plans concurrently train strength, chassis integrity, work capacity, upper body hypertrophy, and grip strength. Start with Rikers.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a big fan of your plans, and I have completed humility and the bodyweight foundation plans, love em. Now I am trying to train for rowing and was wondering if you could help me develop a “rowing improvement plan” that is essentially a modified “running improvement plan.”

I like your plans because of the scalability and I would appreciate some help creating this plan. I will be more than happy to pay for the plan as well! I recommend you guys to everybody I know.

ANSWER

Quick answer is no on a rowing specific plan … as rowing isn’t in our wheelhouse. However, some of the new Air Force PFT’s include a rowing assessment and I’m working on a plan for those assessments.
From what we do have, you could use the 2-Mile Run Improvement Training, row a 3200 assessment, and follow the plan as prescribed.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking for a recommendation for my next program. I found you after a recent broken ankle and have completed the injured leg program and am in week 5 of the post rehab. I am wondering what I should move to next.

My main hobby is downhill skiing, which is almost over for the season. I also bike (mountain and road), hike/fastpack, surf, boulder and just started trail running prior to my injury. I am 46 years old. I will probably switch to the pre-season ski program later this year but would like to have a solid base programming for the spring/summer.

The shoulder season here can be pretty messy weather wise so 5-6 days of indoor training per week is doable. But once the weather clears, I would really like to have 3 or more of the days outside.

I appreciate your input!

ANSWER

Move to our SF45 programming – which is designed as base fitness for mountain/tactical athletes ages 45-55. Start with SF45 Alpha.
– Rob

QUESTION

I want to start off by saying WOW! and THANK YOU! Your program works!
I am unsure which program is best for me moving forward and I’d like to solicit your input. I am fairly certain that I will have another PFT anywhere from 6-8 weeks from now as well as a third 1-3 weeks after that (at least one more no matter what). That being said, I also very much miss lifting weights. I’m used to moving 1.25xBW Bench and 1.6xBW Squat & DL and I haven’t been doing so as I know you’ve said not to double up on programming.
Which program do you recommend I do in order to stay PFT ready, improve my 1.5 mile time (I’m sub-11 and want to be sub 10:30), and not lose the strength and explosiveness I’m used to from weight lifting? I’ve already cut boxing and martial arts out of my programming to reduce potential for injury for now and I just kind of miss feeling ‘strong’. Should I just continue to repeat the same program until all PFTs are complete?
Any recommendations? Any other info you need to factor? I hope/imagine/request that this inquiry does not get posted via any upcoming Q & A sections.

ANSWER

We don’t recommend being PFT ready at all times. Instead, our approach is to focus the bulk of your fitness training on mission-direct fitness (we call this “base fitness”), and then, when you have a PFT coming up, dropping into a focused PFT training plan directly prior. After the PFT, drop back into base fitness.
On the LE side, our base fitness programming concurrently trains strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (core), upper body hypertrophy, sprint-based work capacity, and tactical agility. We have a couple options to access this programming for LE Patrol/Detectives: (1) Work through the plans/order in the Spirits Packet of plans, beginning with Whiskey; (2) With a subscription, complete the Officer Sessions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a question about a training plan for two different events. I am training for a fitness test which is a 2 mile ruck with 2,000ft of elevation gain carrying 20# (8 weeks out), and also a Ragnar race (14 weeks out). Due to the different nature of these events I was wondering if there was a specific training plan that you would recommend to help train for both. The fitness test is most important (getting as fast a time as possible) while the Ragnar is more for fun and I just want to complete the sections at a reasonable pace.

I have been looking through the training plans available and was thinking of using the 2 mile improvement plan but doing all of the running sections with a loaded pack on a steep grade to mimic the fitness test. Do you believe this would work well, or is there another plan that you would recommend.

ANSWER

I don’t have a perfect plan for your combined events – however, the Alpine Running Training Plan comes close.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently doing the Busy Operator 3 plan but I’m having some troubles due to not having space for sprints/shuttles as well as not having access to sand bags. Do you have any alternative exercises for these? Also, I’ve been doing 3 mi runs with a set of leg blasters every half mile during the run as opposed to doing longer runs midweek due to time constraints. Would this routine require altering any of the work capacity or strength workouts or is this sufficient to serving as my endurance workout for the week?

ANSWER

Sprints? You can do box jump intervals – 30 sec work, 30 second rest – for the duration of the sprint event.
Sandbags? No – be creative and build your own. Mine was an old duffle bag filled with sand and filled with duct tape.
Leg Blasters plus 3 mile run? No – better just to run faster and go further in the time you have.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am trying to decide on a plan to start but am having a difficult time choosing. I am finishing a weight based program now and want to transition to something more all encompassing. I am an infantry officer stationed at West Point. I am not necessarily training for anything specific, looking for something that is well rounded and balanced in strength, core, stamina, endurance. I have done the ramp up program before (a couple times) and I am familiar with the workouts.
I am looking to improve core strength and stability, increasing cardio and rucking as well. I also want to maintain/increase strength levels.
Hopefully you can help!

ANSWER

– Rob

Leave a Reply