Q&A 8.13.20

QUESTION

I have lighter and heavier kb’s but not the prescribed weights.  Covid has made it difficult to find anything.  Go heavier and get less reps or go lighter and get more?  Last week I just split the rounds and did heavy first.

Thanks.

ANSWER

Go heavier and cut reps as needed.

– Rob


QUESTION

Thank you for the excellent programming!  I’m an active duty Marine and volunteer FF/EMT.  I’m working through Jaguar before I start preparing for the next CFT, and would like to add some training on air to my workouts.  My goals are to improve my comfort with SCBA breathing techniques and to increase my work capacity specific to structural firefighting tasks while wearing an SCBA.  First – do you have any recommendations on integrating air consumption training with your urban fire programming?  Second – is this a good idea?  Will training air management during exercise increase the athlete’s CO2 tolerance and retention, and if so, would that hurt general athletic performance?

Thank you for the study on SCBA emergency breathing techniques – that was highly relevant and I haven’t seen any similar research out there.  Appreciate all that you do –

ANSWER

Air Consumption Training … adding? It seems there are two ways to decrease your air consumption … (1) Increased fitness, (2) Pacing. Of the two, pacing is the most important … and is why older, unfit firefighters need less bottle changes than younger, more fit firefighters. As well, older, experienced firefighters will have had more stress inoculation for firefigthting … so when you’re in it, two things can increase your heart rate/breathing: (a) physical stress, (b) fear. The physical stress will be the same for everyone, but it’s likely more experienced firefighters, who’ve been there before, will not be as scared – and thus won’t have as much adrenaline pushing their heart rates.

So for you in terms of air consumption training would be to work on your pacing. Look for “AMRAP” efforts in the programming, for example, “10 minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds as Possible), 3x Power Clean + Push Press, 75m Shuttle” ….. The idea would be to wear your SCBA and see how many rounds you could get before running out of air …. and then repeat the effort and see if you can increase the rounds under the same time limit. This is a great mini-study subject for us …

My sense here is learning the pacing is as much “skill” as fitness … this is almost skill training.

Overall athletic performance? In the real thing, if you’re a super fit athlete who blows through your bottle in 5 minutes because you’re scared or can’t pace yourself, you’re not much use to your crew, right?

– Rob


QUESTION

Hey, so I recently purchased the phase II 8 week program. I have had gnarly stress fractures in the past. So prior to this program I hadn’t been running much and I’m a little worried about the volume of running. Im keeping up fine on cals/swims/fins. But as far as the ruck/ run portions is it advisable to scale it down for my needs to prevent reinjury? What would you recommend?

ANSWER

This depends on how far out you are for selection. You’re going to be running/rucking at selection, and if you’re doing this plan directly before selection you should have thought about your stress fractures a few months ago.

If you’ve got time – sure you can drop the volume. I’d start by dropping it a third and see how you do.

– Rob


QUESTION

My question is cardio based.

Annoyingly long-winded background:

I’m mostly a strength guy (following the Greyskull LP pretty closely for a couple years now) but I’ve always kept my cardio up as I hate the feeling of breathing hard at the top of a flight of stairs. I was always a 5k 3-times a week person. But I’ve been experimenting with sprints for a couple years now.

My previous routine was a weekly 5k by itself (~29 min) and twice a week 200m hill sprints after lifting (usually about 4-5 repeats before I was jelly). But one day I ran short on time and swapped the sprints for a 1-mile all-out.

I did it in about 05:20, and felt 100x better than after sprints (hamstrings feel half-pulled every second week with sprints). And my knees didn’t hurt like after the 5k. So I replaced my 3 weekly runs with a 1-mile after lifting, 3 times a week.

I like the benefits of the 5k and the sprints (they obviously worked to prepare me for the 1-miler). But feel better after the 1-mile, and I’m not sure I feel any worse after walking up stairs.

Question:

What are your thoughts on the benefits of a 1-mile fast run for short distance sprint repeatability and for medium distance endurance, vs the specificity of actually running sprints + a 5k? Can it replace them?

(Purely for injury reduction I’m swapping over to the 1-mile-all-out-after-lifting)

(Male, 35, 86kg, guess 12% bodyfat, far too many injuries from being unable to be kind to myself, goals are combat related, with the ability to carry my wife and kids out if injured while hiking, and not be out of breath after stairs)

ANSWER

Don’t have a specific answer as we’ve not tested this. However, in general …..

– If you keep doing 1 mile only, pretty soon you’ll accommodate and quit improving fitness

– I believe you have to train long, to go long – there’s no shortcut.

– Rob


QUESTION

In preparation for climbing Mt Logan in Canada in May 2021 (cancelled this year), I’m starting to lay out my training for the next year. The mountain is similar to Denali in length (3 wks) and difficulty, except we’ll be on skis for the first half of the expedition. I’m planning to complete the Denali program in the 9 weeks leading up to the trip and want to fit in the Backcountry Ski prep course in Nov/December in preparation to spend weekends in January/February working on my skiing (mostly backcountry, some lift assisted to improve downhill technique). I have some mountaineering/backpacking plans for the rest of the summer season in the Pacific Northwest but need to adapt based on conditions/weather in places so not training for anything in particular. My current base fitness is sufficient for any of those trips so trying to just do some in-season maintenance right now.

I’m looking for some assistance in how to fill in the rest of the time – both throughout the rest of this summer season and into the fall and spring. The Greek Heroine packages are climbing gym dependent and I’m assuming I won’t have access to that for awhile- is there a modification on those for limited equipment, or are the gym closure plans the way to go?

I have a sandbag, 15# DBs, 12″ box, 18″ box, and a pull up bar. Can add more KBs/DBs as needed.

I’ve been doing weekend trips since trails opened up again in Mid May – alternating between hikes (approx 10-12mi, 4000′ gain) and 2-3 day glacier climbs on the Cascade volcanoes – mostly depending on weather and conditions. I’ve been doing summer cascade climbs for the last 6 years and not trying to push my abilities this summer so sticking to the standard routes. Probably taking the season off from trad climbing. My endurance feels good, but my legs have been feeling really fatigued after the overnight trips with a 40# pack so I want to make loaded training a priority going into this next season.

Basically trying to maintain what I can this summer and then be really well prepared for Logan.

Thanks Rob

ANSWER

I’d recommend you take Monday’s off to recover from the weekend stuff, and take Friday’s off to rest for the weekend stuff.

I’d recommend the Monday, Tuesday and Thursday sessions from the Gym Closure II Training Plan on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of your training week.

You’ll need to build a 45+ backpack.

Watch over training and recovery. Your mid-week training should not impact your weekend movement (the real thing) because of soreness and/or fatigue. Take more rest, cut down the sessions, etc. so you are fresh for your mountain days.

Do this through the summer, then check back in as you move into the Fall.

– Rob


QUESTION

I am 20 years old, an elite obstacle course racer (OCR) from Denmark. I am looking at one of your programs for building mass as a start, but don’t know which to choose – The idea is to move up to one of your SF selection/preparation programs, when i believe my physique is optimal – just need to get a bit bigger 🙂

I’ll be starting danish military basic duty in august 2020, and if its “fun” i’ll try out for our maritime SF branch – therefore i should start training specifically already. But im two years from of my earliest idea of trying out for that – so lots of time to train yet.

For the past three-four years i’ve been doing sport-specific training – so naturally i’m still a bit to the skinny side since OCR is mostly running/calistechnics.

So for overall physique improvement – what should i choose?

And is it possible to keep my running plan along side it? – as long as it doesnt affect building/gains? (i only run between 65-80km a week atm)

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Big 3 + 5-Mile Run Training Plan to build basic strength while keeping improving/maintaining your running fitness.

– Rob


QUESTION

I completed my Session 1 assessments for the bodyweight foundation program. My lower body and aerobic fitness is good (45 squats and lunges, a 10-min 1.5 mile run), but as expected, my core and upper body strength are low (3 pull ups, 5 dips, 3 pull up heel taps).

Should I modify these low-rep exercises? 40% and 60% of 3 reps are both small amounts. Perhaps I need to reassess my fitness using modified exercises (horizontal pull ups, chair dips, etc).

ANSWER

Stick with the programming – let’s see the improvement with the Week 3, re-assessment.

– Rob

QUESTION

I am reaching out regarding your 6 week GoRuck training program.  I used it for about 4 weeks, but the volume of rucking kind of beat up my old knees after week 4 and I needed to take a week off.  I wanted to see if you could customize a plan that has maybe 2 days a week of rucking and then a lot of vested or ruck wearing lower resistance cardio mixed with CrossFitesque strength training.  I have until the DC Heavy on 9/11 to train and have access to basically any CrossFit equipment, including assault bikes, Rowers, and a ski erg, 1000s of pounds of weight in KB, DB, Barbell, sandbags and D balls.  I am happy to pay for this custom program obviously.  Thanks!

ANSWER

Best to stick with the plan as it’s event-specific.

If not, I’d recommend Valor.

– Rob


QUESTION

I am starting the IBOLC preparation guide. I am in the second day and I couldn’t finish the mini leg blaster after the 5miler. The quarantine in Puerto Rico was pretty strict and I’m trying to get back into shape for my ibolc in september 10. Should I continue with the next day o try to repeat it from the start next week?

I’m also crosstraining with boxing, that probably influences too.

ANSWER

Stick with the programming but modify/take extra rest as needed.

– Rob


QUESTION

I’m a former Enlisted Marine who’s been out for close to 8 years now. I haven’t done much PT in my years at college and I’m prepping to go back in to the Army Reserve as a Chaplain. I know with current guidance the APFT is still valid until FY22 due to the ‘Rona.

My question is this: Should I do the APFT plan in order to prep to take an APFT upon commission as a Chaplain (since I was prior service) or should I do the ACFT plan since that’s the goal the Army is moving to? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

ANSWER

First thing first … APFT Training Plan.

– Rob

QUESTION

I imagine you’ve had this question before but I wasn’t able to find an answer in the FAQs/Q&As. I’ve noticed that in some of your military plans (Virtue/Greek Hero series) there isn’t much direct work done on push-ups or pull-ups, and while some plans (eg Achilles) program lots of direct pushing/pulling work, others don’t have any of these moves for the entire 7 weeks.

Do you find that athletes maintain their push-up/pull-up numbers for the duration of these blocks? If not, would you recommend tacking on your Grease the Groove plan or some other MTI calisthenic improvement plan to the Virtue or Greek Hero plans? Thanks in advance.

ANSWER

Quick is there’s no reason to continuously maintain push up and pull up numbers. Rarely is a fitness test or selection where these events be tested a surprise – which means athletes have time directly prior to the event to train specifically. So, for example the current Army Test -the APFT – where push ups and sit ups are tested … instead of training these constantly, we recommend the 6-7 weeks directly before the test the athletes drop out of our Base fitness programming (Virtue, Greek Series plans, Operator Sessions, etc.) and complete the APFT Training Plan directly before their schedule APFT. Then after the test, drop back into the Base fitness programming, which is more mission-direct for their real-world jobs.

– Rob


QUESTION

I tend to be a bit of a planner so my only question for you is what a good progression from the body weight foundation course might be.

For a bit of background: besides carrying my toddler everywhere and serving as a human jungle gym, my main exercise is running (both marathon and half-marathon distance). The body weight foundation course looked like a good way to finally add in strength and overall core work. If I want to do more strength work without sacrificing too much on my long distance training, what plan do you think best follows my current one?

ANSWER

Next?

Big 3 + 5 Mile Run Training Plan.

If you don’t have gym access, do the Gym Closure II Training Plan.

– Rob


QUESTION

I am in the Army and looking for a new program to start. I currently do CrossFit, but have lately been feeling burnt out. I wanted to get back to a strength program but still keep some aspects of CrossFit in the program. I also want to run 2-3 times a week and get my run time under 14:15 for the 2 mile. What program do you recommend?

Thanks!!

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Big 3 + 2 Mile Run Training Plan.

– Rob


QUESTION

Just recently purchased the monthly subscription and was hoping to get some advice on where to start. A little background on me, I’m in the Army, sports background to most recently include CrossFit. No specific goal in mind, just looking to get stronger, better endurance, be able to max ACFT and crush rucks. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Looking forward to hearing from you and that you for your time.

ANSWER

I’m assuming your fit and would recommend starting with Hector – the first plan in our Greek Hero Series for full time infantry/SOF. Strength, endurance (ruck/run), work capacity, chassis integrity (core) and tactical agility.

– Rob


QUESTION

I have been using the SWAT selection plan and have been enjoying. If I have more time until selection, can I use the plan several times until then?

ANSWER

Better not to — our selection programs are intense, and could lead to overtraining.

Complete it now, then drop into the plans/order in the Gun Maker Packet for full time SWAT/SRT, then repeat the SWAT Selection Plan directly before your selection.

– Rob

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