Q&A 5.28.20

QUESTION

I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I’m 50 years of age and have been physically active my entire life. I run approx 40 miles a week. I also train for one marathon a year. What I’m looking for is a program or programs (variety) that would allow me to maintain my mobility/flexibility while gaining some strength. What I am having trouble with is the time and (sometimes energy) to stay consistent in the gym. I’ve already gotten one program from you but was exploring my options for my specific needs. Any guidance is appreciated.

ANSWER

Your note is a little unclear.
If you’re looking for a 30 min/day stretching/flexibility program – I don’t have one
If you’re looking for a 30-min/day strength program to supplement your running, I’ve got a couple options – though none is perfect. I’m generally hesitant to have athletes stack our programming on top of other stuff.
1) 5-Mile Run Improvement Training Plan – This plan includes two bodyweight strength sessions/week that take 30-45 minutes and are total body and no joke – lower, upper and core. Best would be for you to do the entire program, including the prescribed running. Overall it’s a 6 day/week training plan.
2) Complete the Warm Up and Part (1) of the Monday, Tuesday and Thursday sessions in the Gym Closure Training Plan. Again – focused and intense bodyweight training.
I’m assuming you don’t have a garage gym, or gym access. If you do I’d recommend the In-Season Strength Training Plan for Endurance Athletes – and again, the Warm Up and Parts (1).
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been looking for a structured regiment to train for the PFT and have found your program very valuable after one week. I would like to get your assessment after completing Week1 of the FBI PFT training guide. Additionally, is this program for people that can already pass the PFT? I have not been able to pass so far, and my goal is to take the PFT and pass by scoring more than the minimum 12 points.
To give a bit of a background, I only ran on the treadmill since last summer with weight lifting, circuit training, yoga, and HIIT body weight workouts thrown in there. I cleaned up my diet and as a result, I have lost about 12 pounds and kept it off. I am 5’7″, 155 and have some body fat I still need to shed. Up until this past week, I did not run for about 6 weeks due to staying indoors b/c of the corona virus.
I was not gasping for air when I took PFT #1 last Monday, but I felt lightheaded after the pushups, probably due to dehydration and could not do the 1.5 mile run. My scores were:
Sit-ups: 40
300M: Got to 200M before my legs gave out probably due to lack of strength and winds that were about 20-25 mph (live in Chicago)
Pushups: 25
1.5 mi run: Dd not attempt due to to being lightheaded. I estimated 13:45 – 14:00 to determine the pace for the running workouts during the week.
I was able to complete all of the other workouts during Week 1. I did feel pain in my lower leg/high ankles after the 800M runs on Thurs & Friday, but I think that was caused by not running for awhile prior to starting Week 1 of the plan. My 800M times were also about 10 seconds slower than the time I was achieving for (4:15 vs 4:05).
Anyway, my PFT may not be until Aug/Sep of this year. Should I still complete this program or do another one first? I do not have access to a gym at this time.
Also, I was doing the 100 pushup (https://hundredpushups.com/) and the 200 sit-up challenges before I started the PFT training. Is there a way to incorporate these into your plan?

ANSWER

Stick with the plan as prescribed and re-start on Monday with the full PFT.
Don’t do any additional training.
The plan automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness and in this way is a great plan to start programming for.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am 51 yrs old. Working shift work. I have a 2 yr old daughter (I know. But still it’s awesome!). I have done 531, Tactical Barbell, some bodyweight work. My lifts are average but not awesome. My conditioning is ok. 5k=25-30mins depending on fitness atm. I usually have access to gym but not currently due to virus. I have some kettlebells and pull up bar. I have a rower. I have an Olympic bar and 220lbs of plates but no bench or rack. I have a few dings and aches from mistakes over the years, but nothing restricting. Can you recommend a program to start on currently and work my way up? And if different, can you recommend one for when I have access to a gym again?

ANSWER

Full on, intense, simple, and focused. Deploys a barbell but doesn’t require a rack or bench. Plan includes running.
– Rob

QUESTION

While reading various sites online I came across the title “Mountain Tactical Institute Certified Coach”.
Is this an in-house thing assigned to staff members or a course taught online?

ANSWER

We no longer offer a certification but just this week have began teaching live, online programming courses. We announce these courses via our weekly newsletter, Beta. I’d recommend you subscribe if you haven’t already.
– Rob

QUESTION

Coach, hope you and your family are doing well. I was hoping to pick your brain on a couple of thoughts I had. If I’m unable to complete the days program due to time restraints or poor recovery from the previous day, and had to stop about half way through, do I repeat the days programming on the next available day or just go move on? Also, as I have gotten older, the more importance I’ve found for good recovery days which include good sleep and healthy foods. Any advice on any other possible choices for a active recovery days would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

ANSWER

– Repeat the day’s programming
– Recovery improves with increasing fitness. There’s no research that massagages, yoga, ice baths, sauna’s etc. improve recovery.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a question about mixing the dryland ski training plan (I bought the plan a few seasons back) with endurance training that’s currently a cycling focus. I train for triathlon throughout the year but this year is going to be different because of COVID. I have no idea if any of the races will actually happen and my pool and gym are closed indefinitely. I don’t want to loose too much fitness so I’m focusing on cycling right now for the simple reason that it’s a lot easier to maintain high volume training that includes some intensity on the bike versus doing the same on the run (easier for me at least, mixing high volume run training with intensity has been a recipe for injury).
Without a gym I’ve been trying to make due with what I have access to at home, which isn’t much more than a few dumbbells, chin up bar, some bands, Swiss ball, bench, etc. I’ve recently been thinking the dryland ski training program could be a good strength complement to my road cycling. One issue I’ve struggled with before when doing a cycling focus is that riding is all in one plane and doesn’t really involve much eccentric strength. The dryland ski training program, on the other hand, involves lots of more dynamic and full body movements plus lots of eccentric strength work. I figure mixing them both could allow me to maintain good aerobic fitness with 12-16 hrs/week of cycling while also building/maintaining eccentric strength and resilience needed for road and trail running, once the trails around me open back up again.
My main fears are burn out and/or injury. Therefore I wouldn’t plan on sticking with the 7-week schedule of the dryland ski plan. Instead I would do the Mon–Tues–Thurs–Fri sessions in order but only 3 of the dryland workouts per week (I’d skip the Wednesday session since I’ll be biking and occasionally running anyway). All told that would take me 9-10 weeks to complete the 7-week training plan.
Do you have any thoughts or see any red flags with this approach? Any tips or suggestions would be really appreciated.

ANSWER

Plan is solid. Just do the strength training in the dryland plan and alternate days as you describe with cycling.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have two weeks left in Humility. What plan would you recommend next?  As above, I have 15 and 25 lb dumbbells a 40 and 60 lb. sandbag and plyo box. I can order some other equipment from amazon if needed. Again my main goals are general fitness and preparing for hopefully downhill lift assisted skiing this winter.

ANSWER

You can use a 25# back pack for the weight vest.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been following your USAF CCT/PJ/CRO training packet for the past 8 months and have enjoyed the challenge. It is apparent how much thought has been put into the program. I am on Humility now and it is perfect with the safe-at-home rules in place.
During this program, I have been able to keep up with the running and swimming because of my endurance background. While I have been able to generally follow the men’s recommended weights for exercises, I feel that my major weakness is my lack of strength (push ups, pull ups, rucking). I am frustrated by my lack of improvement with my strength. I have another year of college to train before I can join the Air Force. Would you recommend finding a strength program to build more of a base before I continue more PJ selection specific programs? I recognize how difficult it is to maintain endurance while increasing strength and was wondering if you had suggestions.

ANSWER

Couple things to consider –
(1) High jeopardy events for women – pull-ups, push ups and rucking – especially in “Gate” PFTs when minimums are required to continue.
(2) Water Confidence – by far failure in the pool is the biggest source of attrition for CCT/PJ/CRO candidates.
There are no max back squat, dead lift, bench press tests. From an upper body perspective – your focus should be on how close you are to meeting the push up/pull up requirements.
Rucking …. our own research has shown that size/strength, along with running ability, have good correlations to rucking performance. Size and strength often go together – bigger athletes are usually stronger than smaller athletes. If the ruck load is 75 pounds, and you’re a 150 pound male you’re moving 50% of your bodyweight. If you’re a 225# male, you’re moving just 30% of your bodyweight. If you’re a 115 pound female … you’re moving 65% of your bodyweight.
The issue for women is size – many are tiny – 110-130#, and this puts them as a disadvantage for rucking. The issue is how can you make up some of this disadvantage – and my answer is two fold … (1) Rucking. The best way to improve rucking is to ruck. (2) Strength Training …. to a lesser extent.
The next plan you’ll do in the packet – Big 24 – is one of our most intense/successful strength plans. Stick with it.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am an active duty Soldier, and have used many of your programs. Currently I am using the 357 Strength plan. My goal this year is to compete in the CrossFit Open, (to change it up). What training plan would you reccomend after I complete the 357?

ANSWER

I don’t have any crossfit-specific programming, and haven’t followed what’s going on in crossfit for about 8 years …. so MTI isn’t the best, sport-specific, choice for you. One major issue is the crossfit exercise menu and ours … we don’t do high rep thrusters, double unders, little, if any rowing, snatching, sumo high pulls, wall balls, etc.
357 Strength is kinda crossfitty …. but not so much on the work capacity side.
I’m not too sure how far out you are, but what you could do from our programming, is another of our strength plans – just to increase max effort strength for some of the loaded events. I’d recommend Big 24 – which is probably my most intense strength progression/plan.
But … better would be to find some open-specific, crossfit programming – if you really want to seriously train for that event. I wish I could offer more.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m getting ready for a couple hunts this fall. A caribou hunt, a moose(bow) hunt, and a mountain goat, all self supported backcountry type hunts. I’m less experienced than my hunting partners and really want to be as fit as possible.  I’ve been following your hunt prep courses specifically for 5 weeks. A couple questions:
I have 18 weeks left until the hunt. My plan is:
   5 weeks of Backcountry build 1
   5 weeks of Backcountry build 2
   8 weeks of Backcountry big game
I have a week between the first two(caribou then moose) hunts, and two weeks between the second and third(moose and mountain goat) hunt. Do you have some recommendations for recovery/readiness for the weeks in between? Obviously depends on how the hunt goes.
I tested today strength wise
Test Weight
Front squat 245 245
Pullups 11 164
Bench 240 240
Power Clean 215 215
864 Total
213 Weight
4.06 Score

I’m 6’3″ 213. My question is, will the strength training in the program be sufficient or should I add some heavy sets during the weeks? My cardio is not as much of a concern, i ran a 19:00 5k recently. I’m lean, gaining weight isn’t easy for me.

I have a squat rack/bench press in my garage so access isn’t an issue.
Thank you for your time. I really appreciate your programming.

ANSWER

Break Week (1)? – If the hunt is tough – total rest, or 2-3 days of easy distance running (60 min or less) or more intense step ups or hiking with a pack – no more than 60 minutes. Aim to get 2 days total rest before you head out again. If the hunt is easy, re-do week 4 of the Backcountry Big Game Hunt Pre-Season Plan and get in 2 full days rest before you head out again.
Break Weeks (2)? – If the moose hunt was hard, rest for a full week, then re-do week 8 of the Backcountry Big Game Hunt Pre-Season Training Plan before heading out for sheep. If the moose hunt was easy, Re-do week 4, then 8 of the same plan before chasing sheep.
Extra strength? No .. . trust the programming. The hunt-specific strength training in these plans will serve you better than general strength work, and know that the focus of mountain hunting is mountain endurance – not strength. Mountain endurance is the focus of this train up.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

Im already one third session of APFT improvement plan. I have a question about the warm up. Am i suppose to do them slow? As fast as i can? Any rest after each round?
I also have a question about the air assault plan. Am i suppose to start exactly 6 weeks before the course? Or should i start as soon as im done with the APFT? I have a slot Aug 3rd.
If its six weeks before the course, which plan do you recommend to do after the apft and before i start the air assault plan?

ANSWER

Warm up – moderate pace. Each round includes a stretch – the stretch is your working rest.
Air Assault – 6 weeks before school. In between? Plans/order in the Greek Hero Series, beginning with Hector.
– Rob

QUESTION

I actually really love the structure of the programming. But I still have some of the old ‘gym bro’ wishes of some upper body physique style work. Would I just add in some simple upper body stuff that isn’t too demanding and see how I respond?

ANSWER

You could add in some of your own hypertrophy, or do the Spirits Packet Plans for LE Patrol/Detective or the Notorious Prison Plans for Corrections LE – both include upper body hypertrophy programming.
– Rob

QUESTION

I would like your advice on which program to use or the progression of programs to us. I should be working with the National Guard in the near future and I would like to advance through that more than likely trying out for special forces. I want to know what programs you recommend to use in pursuit of special forces. The only real program I have ever used was Stew Smith Navy Seal workout,(lots of push ups, pull ups, sit ups) but I took a break from that for the past year because my wife and I went and Thru-Hiked the Appalachian Trail. My legs are endurance strong right now from lugging a 35 lb pack 2200 miles up and down the mountains, but my upper body is a bit weak now. Other than that I work as an Arborist where I climb trees with chainsaws and lift alot of logs for that job. Let me know what you recommend and I’ll do it.

I have to enlist and go to basic and all that yet. I’m just trying to get into the best shape I can so that I could potentially try out and get selected. So that should be a while yet. I don’t have an exact time frame currently because I am waiting on paperwork to enlist.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you work through the plans/order in the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet – beginning with the Military OnRamp Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking to do run 100 total miles in the next month; however, I still want to maintain strength. Just finished your TLU plan and loved it. I looked at the Big 3 + Running but idk if it has enough running to meet the 100 mile mark. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a wildland firefighter and am currently nearing the end of the bodyweight foundation plan. We have been in our busy season for a while and I like how this plan fits into our schedule and equipment availability. Because of this, I’m planning on working my way through the limited equipment packet and starting the sandbag/weight-vest/dumbell training plan next. However, I like where I’m at with my running volume and might run a marathon in the fall; what are your thoughts on adding an easy run on Saturdays?
Also, I have another question about when duty precludes PT. Thus far I have picked up where I left off and sometimes I maintain fitness with  ‘skeleton PT’ sessions (i.e. 30-min session of bodyweight exercises) when we get busy stretches. However, my question is for getting back into training after an extended assignment: how would you suggest getting back into a program when a 14- or 30-day assignment interrupts a progression?

ANSWER

Okay on the long, easy, Saturday run.
Getting Back?    Repeat a week in the progression.
– Rob

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