Q&A 1.23.20

QUESTION

I have a few questions I think you could help me with. First I’d like to start by saying I like the many different programs available for different career paths. I do see a few programs with Ruck running included, my question is, isn’t ruck running terrible for your knees? I’ve read a few articles saying the extra weight pounding on your joints on top of your own body weight can be bad for joint health. I just want to protect my joints to keep me in the military game for as long as possible. Any tips, tricks or advice would be helpful.

ANSWER

Rucking likely isn’t the best for your knees, hips, back, etc. But it’s part of the mission-direct fitness demands of military athletes, and it’s my job as a strength and conditioning coach to prepare the tactical athletes who use MTI programming for the fitness demands of their job. The worse thing I can do is send an athlete into a deployment, school, course, selection, etc. where rucking is a major element (ranger school, OCS, BRC, MARSOC, Civil Affairs, USAF TACP, CCT/STO, SFOD-D, SFAS, etc.) and have them arrive never have rucked.
– Rob

QUESTION

First thanks for the help and training plans you put out, always good stuff!
My brother is about to join the coast guard and will be doing basic and then going on to OCS. Looking for a training plan for him to get ready. I looked and didn’t find anything for that, do you have a plan for that?
Thanks for the help

ANSWER

Not specifically for the Coast Guard. What I’d recommend from what I do have is the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. This is a great, multi-modal training plan which includes assessed and progressed bodyweight strength, running endurance, work capacity (shuttle sprint focused) and mid-section work.
– Rob

QUESTION

My usual setup for ice climbing is not available for the next couple of days; i have a pretty basic 24 hour fitness.

Any advice on a plan to follow for a few days?

ANSWER

Helen, plus ….
(1) Work in 5x Figure 4s for each wound of the warm up. You’ll need to bring in a towel, old shirt, or something to put on the pull up bar to protect it from the teeth your tools.
(2) 8 rounds each day (finished at the end of training session) of max dead hang from tools, Rest 45 seconds. Just bodyweight … don’t add any extra weight.
So much of ice climbing is grip strength dependent, both these will help you continue to develop your sport-specific grip strength.
– Rob

QUESTION

Just completed Hector as my first plan post SFAS and feel very good. I start the Q course in October so I have some time between now and then. Strength is probably my weakest aspect right now. What plan would you recommend next? Thanks for your help!

ANSWER

Apollo – the next plan in the Greek Hero Series. It has a slight strength emphasis.
– Rob

QUESTION

Good morning! I plan to start “Jaguar” next week due to vacation. I do have a few questions after reviewing the program plan.

1. The TAC SEPA box jump lap complex requires 4 boxes. We only have two. I plan to go through 2 boxes then jog back and go back through to count as one (complete the forward and do same for right and left jump ).  Would that be ok? Or do you recommend another option?

2.  Sandbag get ups requires to start with 40# then move to 60#. I have been doing SB get ups with 60#. Should I go back to 40#? I know the intent is to move continuously. We do have 1, 40# bag that we made for this last drill class.

3.  The plan is for four days a week. Is Wednesday, Saturday and Sundays considered rest days? I assume based on schedule that can be flexible pending schedule as long as we pick up where we left off?

4.  I am training for a half marathon scheduled for April of next year. I plan to do my short and long runs on my days off. What are your thoughts on that? I have done two a day workouts before (crossfit and short runs when in training for races/crossfit competitions)?  On long run days (usually sat or sun am), I never do another workout.

5.  I looked at your nutrition video and read the book you recommended. I have been more diligent on eating whole foods and less processed or sugar over the years (like you said upsets the stomach, etc) and wanted your take on intermittent fasting, yes or no? From watching your video that you follow a more paleo (maybe slight keto type diet with minimal carbs).  I have been following a more paleo diet over the years.  I feel that I am on the right path. I am striving to fuel my body for what I need to perform as a firefighter, workouts and for life.

As a peer fitness trainer,  I try to speak of this importance to my brothers and sisters and early on when we have a drill class.  Stress the importance to them of being physically fit for this job and how to eat right. It’s on going, but the culture is slowing changing for the better!

Thanks for the help.  I am looking forward to these programs to see where it will take my overall physical fitness and preparation for the job.

ANSWER

1. That will work.
2. Use 60#
3. You can be flexible.
4. That will work … just watch for overtraining and make sure you take at least 1 full day/rest per week.
5. No experience or opinion on intermittent fasting, other than to say long term, I’m not sure it is sustainable just because of scheduling. So you could try it for 6 weeks or so, and then drop back into eating clean. Two things I like about our approach: (1) Simplicity; (2) It’s sustainable.
– Rob

QUESTION

How can I make my feet strong?  I don’t have problems with blisters usually but my feet hurt after long or heavy rucks.

ANSWER

Don’t have much for you here other than to say foot soreness isn’t unusual after long rucks, hikes, etc. In general, I’ve found my feet eventually condition and soreness decreases.
 You may want to check your shoes – and consider green Superfeet orthotics, if you don’t use orthotics already, and different boots with possibly more cushioning.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently working my way through the Greek Hero Series, just finished Achilles. I diverted from the series for 4 weeks in order to train for a 19 mile ruck march using weeks 1-4 of the Bataan March training plan. I had great results from doing so.
This experience taught me that I have much better results when I train for an event following a specific plan. At the end of Jan I am  going to attempt to earn the German Armed Forces Badge.
Would you recommend I continue in the Greek Hero series into Achilles and supplement it with workouts pertaining to the GAFB or follow Achilles up until 4 weeks before the GAFB event? I looked at some of the programming for the GAFB and it seems less than that in the Greek Hero sessions.
Also not to convolute the scenario but I have the DEA PT test and Ranger School in next 3-8 months.
Thanks for your continued assistance

ANSWER

The MTI approach is to complete Base Fitness programming (Greek Hero Series) until you get close to your deployment, event, PFT, course, selection, etc., then drop out of the Base Fitness programming and train sport-specifically for the event.
So – the appropriate weeks out from your events, drop out of the Greek Hero plans, and complete the appropriate event specific plan, GAFB, DEA PTT Test, Ranger School Training Plan, etc.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have two questions for you:

  1. On your plan you often have items where I am supposed to do an exercise (e.g. step-ups) with a pack. Sat a gym, I feel more comfortable using a weight vest rather than an actual pack. Is that ok?
  2. My date for doing Rainier is May 17, so I have about 5 months to prep. The plan I bought is a 7-week plan.
  • How do I best adapt the plan to a longer training period?
  • Since I have more time, can I avoid doing two-a-day (which is difficult on my schedule)?
  • For example, could I spread out the suggested 2-a-day exercises over multiple days (so what is one week on your schedule would be equivalent to a 9-day cycle for me)?

Thanks a lot!

ANSWER

1. Wear a pack – it’s what you’ll wear on your climb and little details like that matter.
2. Do the Rainier Plan Now. The follow the plans/order in the Greek Heroine Packet, beginning with Helen, until your 7 weeks out, then repeat the Rainier Plan again directly before your climb.
2-a-days? – follow the programming as prescribed. You’ll face long days on your climb, much longer than the 2 a days in this plan. But this volume of training will help prepare you for the volume, duration of the long days on your climb. There are no short cuts.
– Rob

QUESTION

The short version of my story is that I’m 51, with a background in swimming (through college) and ultra running (multiple 100 milers and multi-day runs), so I’m no stranger to training. I’ve been more or less out of training for the past few years, though, and am looking to get back into solid shape.

I’m looking to find a program that balances strength and general fitness (I’m a volunteer firefighter) with the ability to ramp up to do the occasional ultramatrathon (probably 100k max), as I enjoy that challenge from time to time. That, plus I need to acknowledge that as I get into my 50s recovery is getting more critical and I can’t train like I’m 25 any more.

I may be asking for the impossible, trying to balance strength and endurance, but I thought I’d ask.

ANSWER

Our SF45 Programming is designed for mountain and tactical athletes ages 45-55, are multi-modal (strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (core), endurance) – but have an overall endurance emphasis. They make smart allowances to protect older knees and other age-related changes for guys like us (I’m 51 too).
This is “base fitness” programming, designed as your day to day fitness, and will do a good job of building/maintaining strength and a solid base level of endurance. In the weeks/months before your next ultra, you’ll want to drop out of the SF45 programming and do a focused Ultra training plan – one of ours, someone else’s, or your own.
Start with SF45 Alpha – the first plan in the packet. I’m assuming you know your way around a weight room as the plan includes barbell strength training.
Email questions.
– Rob

QUESTION

Active duty but desk job
2020 have three races
-Batton death march 15 March, ruck heavy division
-rock and roll marathon in April
-rockason ultra 31 miler May
Mainly a weight lifter but have been running the past two months
The meathead marathon looked like the right program to chose for my next year goals.
I signed up for the athlete package today
Any advice ?

ANSWER

Meathead Marathon now with one change. Replace the Thursday run with a ruck of the same distance, at the same load you’ll carry at the Bataan Event.
The Bataan Plan is next on my list to update – and I should get it done this week or early next. I’d recommend doing the Meathead Marathon plan with the change above for 3 weeks, then pivoting to the updated Bataan Plan into that event. By my count you have 11 weeks until the Bataan race so the timing works out. During the Bataan plan, I’d recommend swapping out one of the rucking days for running given your short timeline to the marathon.
After Bataan, do the Ultra Pre-Season Training Plan. This will prepare you for both the Marathon and ultra.
Questions?
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m looking for a good overall fitness assessment test.  Prior as an athlete I utilized the USSA ski team medals test.  But I am wondering if something like the operator ugly would work.

Thanks for all the great programs!

ANSWER

Here are all of MTI’s fitness assessments. If you’re still a mountain athlete – I’d look at the Alpinists Fitness Assessment.
– Rob

QUESTION

What do you all recommend for a yearly base fitness program for someone who wants to train, but also spends their time backcountry skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and trail running? Thanks.

ANSWER

The plans/order in the Greek Heroine Packet are designed as base fitness for multi-sport mountain athletes and concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (core), climbing fitness (there are subs if you’re not a climber) and mountain endurance (run, uphill movement under load.) Start with Helen.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just started the Captain Morgan cycle today and I was curious about the 20x bench press @ 50% …….are the pauses for 2-3 breaths meant to occur in the upward extended position or with the bar resting on the chest?

ANSWER

Take breaths with the bar in up, extended position, elbows locked out. Sorry about the shoulder/pec suffering!
– Rob

QUESTION

I suffered a labrum tear / impingement in my right hip a couple of years ago. My ability to use my lower body has been drastically hindered due to this injury, ie: I cannot squat, lunge, row, deadlift / pull from ground, etc. I can use the rest of my body and for whatever reason I can perform movts like slam balls, db snatches, kb swings, running, biking, pressing, etc etc. Anyway, I have surgery coming up in 3 months and I am interested in following your injury programming before-hand to try to maximize my strength / fitness before going under the knife. Prior to my injury, I trained CrossFit for many years, so I am familiar and have some experience with body mechanics and the fitness world. I am curious if you feel your “injured leg” programming would be a compatible fit for me, or if you would recommend something else, since it is my hip and not my leg? Additionally, I can only train 3-4 days per wk at the gym at best, and I see your program is intended for 5 days per wk, so I am curious if it would be possible that I modifying your programming to accommodate this and if so, what would be the best way to go about this?

ANSWER

My sense is you want to make your injured hip as strong as you can before surgery.
That you can bike is interesting, and also that you can do KB swings. Pedaling is a shallow squatting movement, and kb swings are a shallow hinging movement. This tells me somewhat that you can hinge and squat – but your range of motion is limited. But perhaps you could still load these movements, and just go shallow.
Looking at the Leg Injury Training Plan – this might work for you. It’s intent is to train the rest of your body around your injury – but in your case, I’d want you to train both legs. The plan includes 1-leg box squats and 1-leg hinge lifts …. I’d want to see you do these but use a higher box for your injured side, and a shallower hinge for your injured side … but still load it.
You could also modify the work capacity/endurance efforts to match your ability. So instead of seated swings, you could just do swings, and instead of a single leg burpee, you could just do burpees. For the endurance efforts you could run, do shallow step ups, or bike/spin.
I like the idea of you doing single limb work for your lower body, as it will allow you to fully train your good side – deep 1-leg box squats, heavier load etc. – There will be a strength imbalance, but that’s okay and it will correct itself after you get back to normal after your injury.
What I’d recommend is you go to the link above, click the “Sample Training” tab, where you’ll see the entire first week of programming from the plan. Do it before purchase …. and see how it goes. Again, shorten the range of motion for the lower body strength work for your injured side as needed, but still try to train it. If it goes okay – then you can continue with the plan.
In terms of scheduling, you can modify the plan to fit your schedule by just training the Sessions in order on the days you can train. The session are progressive, so don’t skip around or ahead. Just follow them in order.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hypertrophy programs call for “total” rest.  I like to do a little light yoga (and practice one surfing “take off”) every morning and some meditation in order to start my day right.
It is not anything intense.
I was going to do it anyways because it is part of my mental and spiritual habits but I’m just curious what the experts think.
Will it impact hypertrophy? I’m 40, fit and have done many of your programs over the years but I’m lean and want to incorporate a muscle building program into my rotation.

ANSWER

I doubt light Yoga will impact the training much.
– Rob

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