Q&A 7.15.21

QUESTION

I recently graduated Army BCT and I am currently an Officer Candidate at Ft Benning. I aspire to branch Infantry and then attend IBOLC, Airborne, Ranger, and any other high speed schools the Army can send their butter bars. Long term aspirations include attending RASP and SFAS / SFQC.
Some fitness background: I ran D1 Cross Country and Track at The Citadel, and since graduating 2 years ago I’ve been working out at a CrossFit box (courtesy of my wife who is a coach and personal trainer). My current fitness level is a 568 ACFT score, which includes maxing 4 of the events, a near max deadlift (320 lbs), and a sub-optimal standing power throw. I began basic training at a very lean 175 lbs standing 5’9” tall, but I am now 165 lbs with less muscle mass / strength.
I’m highly interested in many of the programs you have to offer, and I will most likely take the subscription route. However, I’m struggling to decide where to begin. I’ll be at OCS the next 12 weeks, IBOLC for 19 weeks after that, and then Airborne / Ranger School for another 12+ weeks. I need a program that will prep me for Ranger but also keep me growing and at my peak capacity while grinding through OCS and IBOLC. I’m considering working through the programs in the SFOD-D Packet, just putting it on hold while I’m at Ranger (and certain portions of OCS / IBOLC) and then continuing on with the packet after that. Long term, I want to continue to prep my body for challenges later to come at SFAS or RASP.
What is your advice? Is there a specific program or packet that you believe suits my needs best? I’m ready to begin a program ASAP, I just need the proper guidance.
Thank you, MTI! I look forward to your response.

ANSWER

MTI has three types of programming: (1) Base Fitness, (2) Event-Specific, and; (3) Fitness-Specific.
Our Base Fitness programming for military athletes concurrently trains strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (functional core), endurance (run, ruck) and for some plans, tactical agility. Most of our base fitness plans are 6-7 weeks long.
Our Event-Specific programming is focused on the fitness demands of the event – so when you look on the website you’ll see specific plans for IBOLC, Ranger School, SFAS, Airborne School, etc. The duration for these plans depends on the event, but most are 6-8 weeks long.
Our Fitness-Specific programming is focused on improving 1-3 areas of fitness – for example, Strength, Endurance, Work Capacity, and/or a combination of the above – for example our Big 3 Strength + 5 Mile Run Training Plan builds 1RM strength for the bench press, deadlift, back squat, and max rep pull ups, while also training to improve your 5 mile run time (endurance).
In general, I like military athletes to use our Base Fitness programming as your day-to-day programming, and then, directly before an event, drop out of Base Fitness and complete the appropriate “event-specific” program. It’s okay once in a while to swap out base fitness for one of the fitness-specific plans, but all the time.
MTI programming is not designed to be completed in addition to regular PT .. and I’m not sure what you’re doing now at OCS, but my guess is you’ve got daily PT. If you do have daily PT, my guess is it’s mostly bodyweight work and running.
If so, now until 6 weeks out from IBOLC, if you have any extra time to train, you should focus on strength. Specifically, I’d recommend you complete the strength sessions from the MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan as a two-a-day with your PT. The strength work in this plan is super efficient – and you should be able to complete it in a 50-60 minute evening gym session. 6 weeks out from IBOLC, complete the full IBOLC Training Plan – this will mean two-a-days with your daily PT. Watch for overtraining.
If you’re not completing any daily PT, I’d recommend between now and 6 weeks before you start the IBOLC plan, you complete Fortitude.
Email back after IBOLC with your anticipated timeline to Ranger and I’ll give you another recommendation.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am 6’ 1”. 165 pounds. I would love to be 200. Which plans should I be looking at?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’ll be brief.
Female.
Age: 30
Height: 5′ 2”
Weight: 111.6 oz as of this morning.
I am almost 4 months post-op from an artificial disc replacement (ADR) at L5/S1, have been doing physical therapy twice a week for 10-ish weeks and am cleared by my surgeon to begin training however I want. I don’t want to be babied but I also want to slow roll back into snatches/squats, etc, because my mobility is only now on the upswing after 8+ years of spinal injury, 2+ of which were totally debilitating. I’m also in the hiring pipeline for an agency listed in your LE academy/selection sections, so I need to get working harder if I want to be competitive. Push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, 1.5 mile run.
Goals are to: build my cardio endurance to something respectable because it’s hot garbage right now; build a strong core and chassis; kick the shit out of the PT test I’ll have to take in the next 4-5-ish months; be an asset to my team, not a liability. Currently considering a subscription – I would do the 1.5 Mile Improvement Plan and the Core Strength Bodyweight plan, I think.
Please advise. Thanks, Coach.

ANSWER

I’d recommend beginning with Bodyweight Foundation – which includes running and core.
Follow it up with the Big 3 + 2 Mile Training Plan until 6 weeks out from your PT Test, then complete the US Secret Service PFE Training Plan – which should match your events – directly before your test.
– Rob

QUESTION

Short Question:
I want to do the KSK-Plan from you (since I think its the most similar to my unit), but since I am not that fit, what Plan should I do bevor the KSK plan respectively whats a plan one level under the ksk?
Long Question (if you have time):
So I want to join the special forces in my country (mountain dominated).
I have to do something like that for example:
  • 8 km rucking with 20kg in hilly grounds/ mountains in max. 60 minutes
  • 30 m rope climbing in a diagonally tensioned rope (hanging upside down)
  • 300 m swimming with clothes on (without shoes) within max. 11 minutes
  • Obstacle course in under 5 minutes

Or a Test of following exercises in a row, within 60 sek rest inbetween the exercises:

  1. Pull ups: Min: 6 Best: 19 Time for it: 60 sek
  2. Air Squat: Min: 48 Best: 90 Time for it: 120 sek
  3. Push ups: Min: 31 Best: 60 Time for it: 120 sek
  4. Sit ups: Min: 25 Best: 60 Time for it: 120 sek
  5. half burpees: Min: 19 Best: 36 Time for it: 60 sek
  6. running 2,4 km: Min: < 12 min Best: 9 min

My thougth was that I get a plan like for the KSK or Green Beret.

But since I not that fit to start directly with the KSK training, I want to ask you, what plan you would recommend to get fit for the KSK plan (or which plan you would recommend)?

ANSWER

If you’re reasonably fit now, start with Fortitude, then Valor, then the KSK Plan.

If you’re current fitness is suspect, start with the Military OnRamp Training Plan, then Fortitude, Valor, KSK.

– Rob

QUESTION

Thanks as always- I’m wrapping up crow and have been really enjoying the variety of the tribe programming.
In the next couple months I’m moving into an assignment that should get me back into a full gym. I would really like some strength emphasis as I transition; thoughts on big 24 followed by restarting the virtue series? Or is there another sequence you’d recommend to move from the limited equipment year back to full-time military programming?

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Big 3 Strength + 5 Mile Run Training Plan – just to maintain your running endurance.
– Rob

QUESTION

Love your programming. I have been following your work for about 6 years. Currently working on the Ranger School Plan in preparation for Ranger and Civil Affairs Assessment & Selection. This is my first email contact. I have two questions…
Question 1:
One issue I’ve had with rucking for several years is developing severe neck and shoulder pain during long movements. The epicenter of pain is the base of my neck and expands out to my shoulders.
The most recent event I’ve completed in training is the 12-mile ruck assessment in the Ranger School Plan…so I was wearing my helmet and carrying a sledgehammer as well.
I ALWAYS use my hip belt. I’ve adjusted shoulder and sternum straps every which way to shift weight off my shoulders. I’ve policed my posture as well as I could during the ruck. But nothing seems to prevent the neck/shoulder pain and I am unsure of its cause given that I always use the hip belt to take most of the weight off. I’ve experimented with sledgehammer carrying methods and whether or not or how much the helmet affects the strain.
I use the standard issue MOLLE rucksack, currently with hip belt and shoulder straps in the standard configuration. I am male, 135 pounds, 5’5″ tall, with a 36″ chest and proportional shoulder width.
Do you have any recommendations for adjusting my kit set-up to alleviate the neck pain? Is my neck pain simply part of the experience or am I doing something wrong? What supplementary exercises/stretches do you recommend to beef up my neck and shoulders and aid in recovery for the Ranger School Plan?
Question 2:
Your exercise library is extensive. Have you considered categorizing the long list of exercises on your website by type / muscle group / intent?
I’d be interested in a stretching / pre-hab exercise list to build my own routine which may not be included in the plan I am working on.
For example: I love the “Shoulder Teacups” but have only seen them on an old legacy plan. I have not seen an equivalent mobility exercise on newer plans. Or the 4-square drill, which appears on ruck-specific plans, but I have not seen on the Ranger Plan.
A categorized exercise list would be extremely helpful to finding useful exercises that a trainee may not be aware of because it wasn’t on the plan he or she was following.
Thank you for the help and your continued work on Mission-Direct Fitness!

ANSWER

Neck Pain? You’re asking a medical question and I can’t help you there. It’s not normal, and I’ve never worked with anyone who felt something similar. I’m sorry I can’t offer more.
Exercise Categories? Yes, but most don’t use them the way you suggest. Most athletes new to MTI programming want to quickly find an exercise from a plan they are working on and we’ve found the alphabetical listing is the easiest, most intuitive, and fastest for them.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m in my early 30s, and in the hiring process for a few federal agencies that all have a PT test of some sort–most have a pre-employment test and several tests during academy (and in some instances, quarterly or semi-annually once on the job).  I’m working on becoming an agent, so I need a program that will help prep me for PT at the academy and kill the tests.  I went to an academy once, and was so fatigued and unprepared that I had to drop out.  Not doing that again!
What program(s) do you recommend for me?  I’m working with a running coach at the moment, so I don’t need anything to help me with cardio specifically.  I need to get better at push-ups and sit-ups, and just want to become stronger so I can keep up with the guys and impress my training coordinators.  Being able to improve my bench press and finally getting a pull-up would be great, as I know these will come up in group workouts.
I’m willing to sign up for the subscription and try a few out, but I need to kind of hone in my training a bit so I can begin work on the most appropriate plan ASAP and not waste any more time spinning my tires, not getting stronger.  I will eventually age out of this process, and I realize CrossFit wasn’t cutting it for me.
Any advice is greatly appreciated!

ANSWER

To focus on the PT Tests, now I’d recommend the Cooper Physical Fitness Test Training Plan. You can add pull ups to the plan, and just follow the same progression as the push ups and sit ups. It already includes the bench press.
Next, I’d recommend the LE Academy Training Plan .
– Rob

QUESTION

I am getting ready to start the Echo workouts. My gym does not have a sandbag. What would be a good alternate to the sandbag get ups? Not sure my knee will endure the running. What would be a good cardio alternative to running?

Thanks for your help,

ANSWER

No good sub for the sandbag. Best would be to build your own and take it to the gym. Others have done this. If not, do Turkish Getups with 25 or 35 pounds.
Spin/bike instead of run. Sub time instead of distance and assume you run a 10 min mile. So if the plan calls for a 3 mile run, bike/spin for 30 minutes.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a former LEO, separated in November 2020 due to a move away from where I was employed. I’m going to be looking at entering a police academy in the state I live in the next year.

I’m out of shape and overweight.
Where do I start so I can get to where I need to be to begin preparation? I’m impressed with the plans so far, just a little overwhelming on where to start!

ANSWER

Start with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan – which includes strength, work capacity, core and running endurance.
Also – fix your diet. 95% of fat loss is diet-related. Here are our nutritional guidelines.
Email any questions that come up.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have about 14 weeks until my bow hunt. I was hoping you could help me with a specific plan to better myself for the hunt. I plan on buying the whole program

ANSWER

Here’s what I recommend:
Weeks.   Plan
1-6          Backcountry Hunting Base (First 6 weeks)
7-14        Backcountry Pre-Season Hunting Plan (8 weeks directly before your hunt)
– Rob

QUESTION

I am an active duty law enforcement officer in WA state and have used your programs off and on for a few years now. I recently transitioned back into your daily LEO plan (whiskey) and I am loving it! One of my goals in addition to getting fit is upper body hypertrophy. I am on the thinner side and want to gain some mass, ~20 lbs or so, to help with work. I am definitely a hard gainer. I am currently 5’11” 163 and have a goal of 185-190. What is your teams recommendation for programs and diet plans to match my goals?

ANSWER

Plan? Hypertophy Plan for Skinny Guys – do this cycle, then roll back into Whiskey.
Diet? Here are our Nutritional Guidelines. Protein first.
– Rob

QUESTION

I signed up for access to begin a new challenge.
 
Looking to do the rocking improvement plan.  A couple of questions:
 
Are the warm up or other prescribed exercises meant to be conducted with ruck on?
I am a firefighter/Battalion Chief. 51. Former college football player and NSW prior to entering the fire service. I am 6’5″ and about 275 right now. I continue to battle my weight and it is common to drop 30 lbs on a year. Hard to sustain and noticed a big slow down in metabolism over the last 5 years.
I would like to incorporate a lift program with the rucking program. I chose rucking because walks and hikes agree with the knees as running does not. I am accustomed to weight vest movements and walks.
I lift quite a bit and take part in crew workouts but the consistency isn’t there.
Looking for some guidance and a good lift program to blend with the rocking program. It is very easy for me to put on mass…much harder to put on functional strength.
Thank You very Much!

ANSWER

  • No ruck for the warm up
  • The Rucking Improvement plan includes bodyweight strength work – and the lower body work, esp. is intense – you can add in extra freeweight work but if you’re also interested in losing weight, I’d recommend completing this plan as prescribed and not adding in extra lifting. If you’re stubborn and do want to lift also, I’d recommend the strength sessions from the TLU Strength Training Plan, 2-3 days/week.
  • Bodyweight? 95% is diet related. Fix your diet and the weight will stay off. Here are our nutritional guidelines: https://mtntactical.com/knowledge/nutritional-guidelines/
– Rob

QUESTION

I read the article on the “Keto-ish/ P:E” diet.

Is it recommended to follow that diet through the military plans? Especially ones that involve rucking/ long distance running.
I noticed it is recommended to not eat: oats, rice, grains, bread, pasta etc
What other sources of carbs could I eat to maintain during those programs?

ANSWER

Here are our nutritional guidelines: https://mtntactical.com/knowledge/nutritional-guidelines/
All vegetables have carbs. Many of us are doing the same programming and don’t need to eat bread. You’ll be fine.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently looking into improving my ruck around 70# for a max of 18 miles and my 5 to 6 miles run time any suggestions ?

ANSWER

Ruck Based Selection Training Plan to train for the full selection, including rucking, running etc.
To just train run and rucking, I’d recommend the Run & Ruck Improvement Training Plan – and use 70# for the ruck load in the plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hey coach.  I was intrigued by your mini study wherein you found that leg blasters were just as effective at building strength as front squats.  I know it’s been some time since you did the study.  I wanted to know how many reps and how many times a week would you need to do the leg blasters to see that kind of result?  Thank you for all that you do.

ANSWER

5-8 Full Leg Blasters, 2-3x week.
– Rob

 

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