Q&A 10.10.19

QUESTION

I’ve been training with the goal of becoming a PJ for several years now, and for as many steps forward, I take just as many back. It has been a frustrating process for sure, but I am far too stubborn to give up. Finding the balance between over training and under training has been very difficult.
My biggest weakness by far is distance running (22:30 3-miler), and I lose running fitness very quickly if I’m not focusing on it. I also quickly lose strength (always takes months to rebuild) and start incurring injuries if I’m not doing at least a maintenance amount of lifting.
I’m pretty good at cals and usually hit around 17 pull-ups and 75-80 push-ups. I can maintain a 9:00-9:20 500m freestyle swim on a minimal amount of training, and acclimating to finning is currently my main swimming priority. My ruck is at 5 miles with 40lbs at 14-14:30-mile walking pace (figuring out some hot spots has kept me from pushing up the distance).
My goal is to try out for a Guard unit, which includes a mini-selection starting with the AFSOC PT test of 3-mile run, pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups, 1500m fin. Then rucking and whatever else they want to throw at you that day. I don’t have a go date yet, as I want to make sure that I can make the best first impression I can and put up a good score on the AFSOC test (20:00-20:30 run, 18 pull-ups, 85+ sit-ups, 85+ push-ups, 27:00-28:00 fin).
I was hoping that you could suggest some plans that might be more fitting for me than the standard PJ prep packet.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you begin with the AFSOC PT Test Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I used to do a lot of kettlebell complex work but have put in place strength work (bells, sandbags & body weight), cycling and running.
I am looking for something to really shake this up but be a bit more multi modal than just KB’s as I am getting back into playing sport so want the body ready.
I unfortunately don’t have barbells but have a pretty much a full set of KB’s, sandbags and resistance bands from tiny to 150 – 200lb.
With a little bit of thinking would see this a non-starter for “Ultimate Work Capacity”?
You plans look so good it is a crazy time trying to pick one that looks right…I suspect I am going to have to play with a few over the next year or so 🙂

ANSWER

You can do the kettlebell equivalents of the barbell exercises … but loading will be a little tricky as two 45# kettlebells are simply heavier for the athlete than a single 90# barbell. Use your experience for loading.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am interested in trying a few of your programs, looking at increasing mainly strength, size, and continuously improving/maintaining work capacity, endurance, and core strength. I am a career firefighter for a department that does structure, wildland, and rescue. I know you have fire programs but I was looking at some of the strength programs like hypertrophy for skinny guys (me), Gladiator, and big 24. I work a 48/96 schedule. I can and do work out on shift, however sometimes it is not practical and some of the programming would not be possible at work. Any suggestions for modifying the 5 days on 2 days of rest you typically program?

ANSWER

The Big Cat Series of plans for full time Fire/Rescue are what I recommend – these train strength, work capacity, core, endurance and tactical agility. Definitely not Hypertrophy for Skinny Guys … but you could do Gladiator.
Schedule? Aim to train 5 days/week, and take 2 total rest. Just follow the sessions in order … don’t skip ahead. Ideally you’ll be able to train on your duty days – depending upon that day and your station’s ops. If not … just continue to the next session when you do get to train.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a college athlete in preseason and I have a arm injury that only restricts me from doing push ups and heavy bench;  I am already running 3 miles 3 times a week and sprint conditioning weekdays, what workout plan would suggest for strength?

ANSWER

Big 3 + Run Training Plan. Skip the bench pressing in the plan, but complete the pull ups, back squat and hinge/dead lifts. The running in the plan will add some structure to your endurance training.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a new subscriber and I’m trying to find and or mix and match plans that will work the best so that I can achieve my goals. I am attending Sapper School in 19 weeks.  I intend to do the Sapper Train Up program the 8 weeks prior to going.  What I need help with is the 11 week period before starting the Sapper Train Up.  I know I need to focus and build endurance in both my run and ruck, but I don’t want to forget about strength either.  I am intrigued by the Military On-Ramp program with regards to the strength component and that it has running and rucking within it, but I’m concerned it doesn’t give me the distance/endurance training that is necessary as it only goes up to 4-5 miles for both the run and the ruck.
What programs or combinations of programs would you suggest?  If you need more info I will happily provide it.

ANSWER

Here’s what I’d recommend:
Weeks    Plan
1-4          Military OnRamp – First 4 Weeks
5-11        Fortitude
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a little over 6 months to prepare to go back to SFAS (I’ll be attending May of 2020). Unfortunately I got cut this past time for my run time. On the long run (consensus was that it felt about 8 miles) my pace dropped off towards the end. Ive always struggled with running. My 2mi is about 13:58 and my 5 miles are usually pretty close to 40 +/-. I was close to middle of the pack for the rucks but as always there’s room for improvement.

Ideally I’d like to get my 5mile time down closer to 35 or under and be around 42 for a 6mile.

What glide path do you recommend I take to get myself ready for success in May? I’m an active Army Officer so this next time is my last chance. I’ll definitely be working my butt off for it.

ANSWER

Okay – here’s what I recommend:
Weeks  Plan
1-8         Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan
9            Total Rest
10-17     Fortitude – Do Week 6 Twice
18          Total Rest
19-26     Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan
Doing the RBSTP out of the gate will test your mettle – and repeating it directly before selection, seeing how better you perform both mentally and physically – will lead you into SFAS confident.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m an Armor LT. The follow-on courses I’ve been in have really messed up my fitness and I’m coming off about a month field time. I need to get back in shape before I report to my new unit (a Basic Training unit) in October. I want to do On Ramp for the overall fitness aspect, but I don’t want to be unprepared for the ACFT at my new unit. How would you tackle this? Should I go all out on the ACFT Plan or do the On Ramp and substitute some things from the ACFT (i.e. deadlift, leg tucks, and the power throw)?

ANSWER

Go Military OnRamp unless you know you have an ACFT when you report to your new unit. You’ll want to do the ACFT Plan directly before the ACFT.
– Rob

QUESTION

As always, thanks for the great workouts and awesome research articles.

I’d like to take selection in the spring of 2021. From some of the dudes who have gone and been successful using your prep program, they suggest starting selection prep with an allotted two weeks or so between finishing the program and starting selection for recovery. That means I should start the HUMILITY portion around the end of February 2020. I’m about to finish Military On-Ramp and was hoping y’all had some programming recommendations for between when I finish On-Ramp and start the HUMILITY cycle of selection prep.

Thanks for the help and I look forward to hearing from y’all.

ANSWER

There are 24 weeks until March 1, 2020. Here’s what I recommend:
Weeks    Plan
1-7          Hector
8-14        Apollo
15-21      Achilles
22-23      Ulysses (first 2 weeks)
24           Total Rest
– Rob

QUESTION

I live in Salt Lake City and have been looking at a couple of your sample work out plans for your different ski related programs. For some of the workouts it seems that the step ups make up a large portion of some of the workouts. Could trail running up say 1200-1500 ft in elevation replace step ups? or is the step up and step down motion essential to what the work is trying to achieve? And is there any negative effects or potential setbacks for running these same trails during the run conditioning days? It seems like your workouts would do a great job for prepping for all of the ski related activities I’ll be doing this winter!

ANSWER

Step ups are designed to train uphill movement under load … and are a replacement for simply hiking uphill with a backpack. Many people training don’t have a steep hill nearby to hike up – which is why we use step ups. Everyone can find a box or step to do these, no matter where they live. We have found they transfer well to the real thing.
Hiking uphill under load is not the same as unloaded trail running.
You could replace step ups with hiking uphill carrying a backpack. If the plan calls for 1,000x step ups at 25#, assume a 17″ step. 1000 x 17″ = 17,000 inches / 12 = 1,416 feet. So hike uphill 1,400 feet or so with a 25# pack.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a senior at the Naval Academy. I am currently a member of the Judo team and I am looking for a program with my team for our morning workouts – we are currently waiting on approval for either a 3 day lift or 4 day lift schedule.
My question is, what programs would you recommend for us to gain strength and power? Conditioning is not too high on the table of priorities – we do a ton of bodyweight exercises/conditioning drills at practice. Our main focus are lifts that will allow us to get stronger/more powerful and stay physically dominant compared to our opponents.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Monday/Wednesday/Friday sessions from the MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan. 
Front Squat, Bench Press, Power Clean and Pull Ups – in super-efficient programming. Skip the Tues/Thurs sessions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I was on your website trying to figure out which plan would be best…

My backcountry Hunt got canceled this year so my training lost its focus

I haven’t worked out consistently for about 4 months and managed to add 10 unwanted pounds to the already 10 from winter

I would like to just get my foundation back, prepare for hunting (pheasant & whitetail) and get rid of these unwanted pounds.

Is the fat loss program what I need to get going again or do you recommend something else?

ANSWER

Start back with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, then move into the plans/order in the Wilderness Packet, starting with Jedediah Smith.  These plans are designed as year round, day-to-day programming for forest rangers, game wardens, field biologists, etc and concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (running, uphill hiking under load), and chassis integrity (core).
I’m working to build a 5-6 plan packet for bc hunters, but likely won’t have it completed until later this fall (Nov).
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently working through your Busy Operator I sessions, and I love the program.
I am struggling, however, to meet the specified reps on the Strength days when I get up to 85%-90% of my max. (The reps/rest scheme is 5 rounds of 4 reps every 1:30). I usually can get the first three sets no problem. But then sets 4 and 5 I struggle and/or fail to get 4 reps, especially on Bench Press.
Do you have any suggestions about what I should do in this case? Should I lower the weight? Increase the time intervals? Or should I just do as many reps as I can manage in the specified 1:30?
Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Keep up the great work!

ANSWER

Some with a high training age (years training) have trouble at the higher percentages. First option would be to extend the interval to 2 minutes – see if that helps. Next, keep the load, but drop to 3 reps – I had to do this recently for the bench press.
– Rob

QUESTION

1. A weakness of mine is SB Get-Ups. To develop strength in this regard, do you recommend following programming using a reduced weight at the same reps/time interval, using the recommended weight at reduced reps/increased time interval, or just toughing it out?
2. For LE Agencies/departments that have longer application process (i.e. FBI) and require multiple PFT’s over a year long period, do you recommend cycling in and out of the PFT training programs or staying in the PFT programs? Assuming the athlete is on the tactical side and still has a job demand.

ANSWER

1. Tough it out … you’ll improve. Keep the load the same.
2. Not sure I understand this question, but in general, it’s inefficient to train for the PFT all the time. Better is to train specifically for the PFT in the 6 weeks directly before the assessment, then drop back into the LE base fitness programming.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have been reading your Q&A section for some time now and have come up with a plan based on your input to others in my demographic.
I’m 41 220 and severely deconditioned.  What Strength I had in the past feels to be have gone away.  I am following your Nutrition advice to a T and will maintain that through my journey.  So I was looking at doing these programs in this order.  My goals are 1. Fat loss 2. General Health and conditioning 3. quality of life as I enter my later years.
1. Bodyweight Foundation
2. Military On ramp
3. Greek Hero packet
4. Rinse and repeat as needed to attain my goals.
How does this look to you Coach?  Also I am in the Military but my job is an Aircraft Mechanic.
So no tip of the Spear here.

ANSWER

You’re plan is solid.
– Rob

QUESTION

Im in Week 5 of the TACP program and I can see the results starting to come out. Below are my latest mid program PAST results:

1.5 Mile run – 8:40/5:40 pace

Strict form

Pull ups in 1 min: 13

Sit ups in 2 min: 80

Push ups in 1 min: 42

4 mile ruck @ 50 lbs with 10 lbs dumbbell – 51:24/12:49 pace

Im currently training for the TAAP 4 day selection camp for the 116th ASOS TACP unit prior to the start of pipeline. Im scheduled for the Nov TAAP camp. 

My only feedback I need help with is for example, based on my latest PAST results, I need help with my push ups and pull ups. How could I implement extra work focused on push ups and pull ups? Should I simply do push ups and pulls ups throughout the day including my scheduled workouts? 

Thank you for the program, I out-rucked a current TACP on a 4 round 2 mile ruck evolution and boosted my confidence on the program.

ANSWER

I’d be hesitant to add any extra work to the plan – it’s already intense. You could repeat Monday’s  push up/pull up progression on Fridays – just that portion.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m an active duty Marine looking to LAT move to EOD sometime around next
May-June time frame. I’m 5’7 and currently about 150lbs and pretty regular at the gym. I was hoping to gain some insight on which workout plan would be best for me to get ready. My goal is to be as physically well-rounded and conditioned as possible for any challenge that comes my way and be at the top of the game. My friend turned me onto your website and recommended emailing you to find out more.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the plans and order in the Ruck-Based Selection Training Placket.
I’m assuming your relatively fit going in, so skip the Military OnRamp Training Plan, and start the plans with Humility.
These plans are focused on infantry fitness – relative strength (strength per bodyweight), chassis integrity (functional mid-section strength), military endurance (running, rucking) and work capacity (short, hard, for team events, etc.).
Email back as your schedule firms up. You’ll want to schedule it so you complete the last plan in the packet – the Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan, the 8 weeks directly before your EOD course.
– Rob

QUESTION

My girlfriend is getting ready to start at federal penitentiary so has to pass corrections officer physical fitness test. Was looking at plans. I see day to day fitness plans but nothing for physical fitness test and training academy. Love stuff by the way.

ANSWER

Without knowing more about the fitness test specifics, I’d recommend the LE Academy Training Plan.
Can you pls share the specifics of the test?
– Rob

QUESTION

Looking through the sample training for the Jedediah Smith plan, i noticed on strength days that 30% of max rep lunges has been included in element (1) and (2) and i suspect this might be a typo.
I currently work as a land surveyor and intend to join the army reserves (uk). I gather the entry point to MTI programming is through the bodyweight foundation plan. What plan should I move into after that ?
If it helps, im 6’3″ 225lb, relatively active through my work, have lifted weights for 1.5 years. Running and pullups are my weakest areas.
Might I also add that your work regarding task specific exercise and programming has been a huge influence for me and many a weighted step up has been had in its honour.

ANSWER

Plan? I’d recommend the Military OnRamp Training Plan instead of Bodyweight Foundation to start.
After? The Plans/order in the Greek Hero Packet of plans. These are designed as “base” fitness for military athletes (infantry) and concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (core), endurance (run, ruck) and tactical agility.
Thanks for the not one Jedediah Smith – I’ll take a look!
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a membership with you guys and I’m wondering where to get started. I’m currently active duty army, and meet APFT standards. I have over my years lost a lot of drive to stay fit and am trying to get back into it. I guess you could say I’m trying to go from beginner back to being physically fit and eventually I would like to be q course fit. What training program would you recommend starting with first so I can start my journey. I have already been crushing pt on my own for the past few weeks and have dropped back down under 200 pounds which is awesome, so I’m really eager to get this going. Thank you so much for your time!

ANSWER

Start with Hector, which is the first plan in our Greek Hero Series of plans designed as day-to-day programming military infantry and land-based SOF. These plans concurrently trains strength, work capacity, endurance (run, ruck), chassis integrity (functional core) and tactical agility. Hector and the Greek Hero plans represent the pinnacle of MTI program design.
Email questions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just finished The Rut – a 50k mountain race in Montana.  About 3 months prior to race I got out of the gym and my typical strength training routine (crossfit style) and focused on leg blasters and slowing down my running to build my aerobic capacity to help me at altitude (I am from the east coast).  Now that I am back in the gym I feel like I have lost a lot of strength and my running feels super slow.  I would love to take the next few months to build both of these back up.  Any suggestions on one of your plans to follow?

ANSWER

Congrats on the Rut!
Out of the gate I’d recommend the Big 3 + Running Plan – should be exactly what you’re looking for.
– Rob

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