Q&A 7.23.20

QUESTION

I am training to be a USAF Operator. I have come a long way, but my fitness level is still average. I recently took a PAST test and was able to hit a little above the mins for push ups and situps, but I failed the pull ups by four, and the 1.5 mile run by 30 seconds.
I have looked over the PJ/CCT Training Packet and plan on starting that soon, but my 5 meter target for the time being is improving my PAST numbers. I’m about to roll into Week 3 of the USAF PAST plan.
I feel confident that your plans are getting my strength endurance up, and I will be able to meet or exceed the pull up mins by the time of my next test, but I struggle with run times. That being said, I’ve been adding in  2 – 3.5 mile runs on top of the programing every weekday. But, I worry about over-training. Is running this much not allowing me enough time to recover? I know A&S is a significant challenge and I want to be ready, but I don’t want to negate the progress of the plan.
Any help or advice you have would be welcomed and appreciated.

ANSWER

Stick to the programming as prescribed. It would be okay to go on an easy 3-5 mile run on Saturdays, but don’t add any extra volume to the weekday programming.
Also – not sure your height/weight, but if you’re carrying extra fat, losing it will make everything better. Here are our nutritional guidelines: http://mtntactical.com/inside-strong-swift-durable/frequently-asked-questions/#nutrition
– Rob

QUESTION

this time seeking some guidance on how to make the most of a (likely, but not guaranteed) marvelous event next week: the on base gym re-opening!
To recap, I leave for OSUT on October 6th to start the REP63/18X pipeline. This week, I completed the gym closure training plan, and I’m feeling awesome. My work capacity and general muscular endurance are better than they’ve ever been. On top of that, at 178 lbs I’m lighter than I’ve been in awhile, and almost as cut as I was back in the good ol’ days in my early 20’s. Awesome plan. The original recommendation was to start Humility next week, leading into the Ruck Based Selection plan immediately before OSUT. However, since the gym might be re-opening, I figured I’d ask a few questions about how to potentially make the most of that. They are as follows:
1. Should I do a 7 week gym based, strength training plan instead of Humility? If so, which one would you recommend?
2. If I switch to a strength plan, would you recommend doing one of the run/ruck (or the run+ruck) improvement plans concurrently? I’ve made some very solid gains in those events, and I’d like to keep progressing (or at least maintaining) as I build up to the ruck based selection plan. I’m also concerned in pretty much the same way for my gains in push ups + pull ups.
3.How much “extracurricular activity” can I reasonably do without sabotaging gains? What I specifically mean by that, is that I have access to a forest with a permanent land navigation course on it, and I like to occasionally go out there with a heavy ruck on and practice orienteering, in preparation for the STAR course; I’m wondering how aggressively I can pursue that without impeding recovery from working out. In addition to that, the gym also has a pool, and I’d love to do some very light swimming/water competence training as a way to break up the monotony of the remaining months, but worry that any extra activity outside of programmed training is going to ruin gains made.
Looking forward to your thoughts, hope all is well on your end.

ANSWER

Do Fortitude instead of Humility.
Extra? Pull back if you feel you’re overtraining.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently enrolled in the Diploma in Mountain Medicine program through WMS.  Kudos to Rob for writing part of the curriculum in the text for this program!
As you know, the 2 field sessions involve not only climbing, but training in rescue, so these aren’t simply climbing trips.
Which program is best for preparation for the rock climbing and high angle rescue course (one week of multi-pitch technical climbing and rope rescue, etc) and which program is best for the glacier and alpine climbing course (Mt Rainier for glacier climbing, crevasse rescue, etc).

ANSWER

I’m not familiar with these courses – but from what we do have.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a cadet at SCU ROTC and I have a APFT in about 8 weeks. I am trying to max the APFT, since I am want to be an infantry officer.

I am trying to find a plan that’s best for my needs. I always max both the push-ups and sit ups, but I am currently sitting at a 14:15 for the run. I run constantly, but feel like I just can’t seem to get my run down.

What would be the best running-focused plan for trying to cut my 14:15 run to a 13:00 run within 8 weeks?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’m following daily operator, sessions are wicked! Got a few questions though.
I have football training in the mornings, light cardio plus skills and drills, roughly hour and half work. Should I take anything away from the sessions you’re writing because of this?
I’m regards to the programming itself, would you suggest adding assistance/corrective work to help with the lifts and add slightly more volume for putting on a bit of size? My unit is on stand down right now and would be good to put a bit of size back on or is the strictly down to diet?
As for corrective work, I know I’m not a bodybuilder and don’t want to be but my rear delts and upper back I feel is slightly under developed, any suggestions or just stick with the programming you’re writing?
Sorry for the length, appreciate it all rob. Good work mate.

ANSWER

Doubling up? Watch for overtraining. If you’re not recovering pull back.
Not sure what “feel slightly underdeveloped” means – but it sounds like bodybuilding. Cable rows might help.
– Rob

QUESTION

Thank you for your work. On the military side I know you like your 6 ft athletes to be 200lbs-205lbs. Given LE, specifically patrol officers need for extra upper body mass would you still recommend the 200-205lbs range? Would the weight recommendations be the same for your military and SWAT members?

ANSWER

Weight? Hard to answer as it’s so individualized. Issue is not only your own movement (running, jumping, etc.) but also the ability of someone smaller to egress you to safety is you go down.
Military and SWAT would be the same.
– Rob

QUESTION

I tried out last year for USAF TACP Tech School and unfortunately I developed stress fractures and ended up getting reclassed and as of now I’ve been training but I don’t know whether I’m on the right track or not for preparedness for rucking. I have been deadlifting, Squatting, and doing Sled bear crawl drags with 145lbs on it and just doing flutter kicks, iron mikes and mountain climbers. Just looking for input on how I can improve.

ANSWER

The best way to improve rucking is to ruck. I’d recommend the Ruck Improvement Training Plan.
8 Weeks directly before your TACP Course, complete the USAF TACP Course Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

For the rescue swimmer plan could one just repeat the program after the 7 weeks?

ANSWER

I wouldn’t recommend back to back – it’s very intense and could lead to over training.
Best would be to do the USCG Rescue Swimmer Plan, then complete Barbossa from our Pirate Series for SOF with water-based mission sets, the re-complete the Rescue Swimmer Plan directly before your course.
– Rob

QUESTION

In reference to recovery. Should I take a whole week off in between plans? Even if they have total rest days in the plans final week?  Thanks for your time.

ANSWER

If the plans you’re completing have a week 7 unload/taper week, you can run them back to back.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m wondering if you could give me some advice. I’m an alpine climber and skier and having used your plans in the past to prepare for the ski season I am now looking for a plan to keep my fitness for alpine climbing consistent over the next 12 months as a I look forward to trips to the french alps to hopefully do some 4000m peaks next year. The catch being that with the current situation I am unable to use my gym and even when the open I feel I will be reluctant to for a while at least.
With this in mind I’d just like your advice on what would be the best program for me at the moment.

ANSWER

Couple options:
1) Mountain Base Artimes – bodyweight strength, step ups, running – limited equipment. You’ll need a pull up bar and a 60# sandbag.
2) Peak Bagger Training Plan – intense and focused. Limited equipment. You’ll need a 60# sandbag, pull up bar and pair of 25# dumbbells.
However …. this all somewhat depends on what you’re currently doing in the mountains. If you’re getting out every weekend, don’t let this fitness programming interfere … i.e. do an easy run Thursday and rest Friday so you’re not sore/fatigued from the programming.
– Rob

QUESTION

Took your recommendation, the bodyweight foundations plan was great. I’m getting back into the SOF workouts, and am doing military on ramp. I’ve been diagnosed with 3 bulging disks that are causing a pretty bad case of sciatica in my left leg but with physical therapy and pain management it’s workable.
One issue I’m having though is with the craig special. I can’t hang clean a lot of weight, even trying to catch 95lbs is causing a sharp pain in my leg. I haven’t had any issues though doing cleans and other movements with a 60lbs sand bag (box jumps and jumping lunges with 25lb dumbbells are okay as well).
As I do military on ramp and get back into the SOF workouts, should I keep my craig specials light enough (around 65, maybe 95lbs on a good day) so that I can do them or split them up somehow so I’m still increasing my loading with the front squat and either taking the hang clean out entirely or separating them somehow so one doesn’t hold back the other? I don’t want to exacerbate my injury but need to keep training and love all the other parts about the workouts, just wondering what the best way forward with that one issue is.

ANSWER

Replace craig specials with 2x front squats.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been looking at your Mountain programs, but cant seem to decide and really see the big differences in emphasis/volume/specificity regarding the following programs. Could you elaborate?

Mountain Guide pre season

Backpacker pre season
Big Mountain
What are the differences in recommended prior skill/fitness level for example?

ANSWER

All these plans share an emphasis on mountain endurance – especially uphill hiking under load, eccentric leg strength for the downhills, and some elements of general strength and conditioning.
The differences are primarily in intensity:
The Mountain Guide (Alpine) Pre-season training plan is the most physically intense as it’s designed for professional mountain guides. As well, it is the only training plan that includes specific, focused rock climbing training Alpine guides need for their trad lead climbing – you’ll need access to a bouldering gym or rock gym.
The Big Mountain Training Plan is the longest and is also very intense. It has the most focus on mountain endurance. It’s specifically designed to train athletes for long, multi-week expeditions up high alpine peaks – think the Himilaya or similar where much technical climbing (ice tools, alpine rock) is not required.
The Backpacking Pre-Season Training Plan is the least physically intense of the three – and designed to train regular folks for a 7-day backpacking trip where you’re moving 7-10 miles/day.
– Rob Shaul

QUESTION

I have completed the six weeks pst programming. It looks like the airforce isn’t gonna happen and I am now looking towards navy eod.
My pst scores are as follows
Test in scores for the 6 week program
Swim:10:30
Run: 13:02
Pull-up  10
Sit-up 47
Push-up 55
Test out scores for 6 week pst program
Swim 9:11
Run 11:15
Sit-up 90
Push-up 94
Pull ups 22
I have no time line as of yet for navy eod.
Thanks for the awesome programming and me
Programming and membership option. Excited to hear what you think

ANSWER

I’d recommend pivoting to strength while maintaining your running fitness until your plans firm up. Specifically I’d recommend the Big 3 + 5 Mile Run plan next, then follow it up with Fortitude to introduce rucking.
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you have any recommendations for a good warm up for an RPFT? (pushups, sit-ups, 5 mile run and chin ups)

ANSWER

See our Ranger School Training Plan which includes specific programming for the RPFT.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve been enjoying your Big Cat series of Fire/Rescue programs – it’s great to follow a program that combines Strength, Endurance, and Chassis Integrity.  I’ve noticed that you’ve updated your own Strength training to a different approach based on 1RM max percentages.  Do you plan on using these new protocols in your older programs?

ANSWER

All of the plans in the Big Cat series deploy different strength progression methodology. Three deploy methodologies which include 1RM efforts  and follow-on progressions: Leopard, Lion and Tiger. Jaguar deploys a 3RM effort and follow on progressions. Panther deploys bodyweight programming which is driving by max rep assessments.
Here is a link to MTI’s 8 Different Strength Progressions. I need to update this as I’ve added at least one more (efficient strength).
My own current strength programming is similar to the TLU Methodology. Leopard and Lion also deploy TLU.
I will be updating the Big Cat plans soon – but already several deploy 1RM efforts.
– Rob

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