QUIET PROFESSIONAL FEEDBACK
Like you (although I’m 50) I think a lot more about these issues then I did when I was starting out.
The ideas you espouse are central to Stoicism. Embrace the suck, resilience & patience are central Stoic believes.
Not sure if you read it already, but the book The Obstacle is The Way is a great review of these ideas.
Thanks for writing this & reminding us of what’s important. We all need to get our butts kicked back in line. Reading this today helped remind me what’s really important.
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
I read from “The Art of Living” nearly daily – I find Epictetus more direct than Aurelius – and highly recommend this small, but powerful book.
In my gym at home I have a set of dumbells and kettlebells in addition to a TRX, pullup bar, plyo box and some medicine balls. Do you have a ski training program that I can use with the equipment that I currently have? Let me know.
With a little creativity and resourcefulness you’d be able to complete our Dryland Ski Training Plan.
The meat of the program – eccentric leg strength and leg lactate tolerance – can all be completed with dumbbells.
The plan does call for some barbell exercises – just do dumbbell/kettlebell equivalents. Email if you get stuck.
I have used Mountain Tactical’s Kettlebell Strength program, big fan. However, I am looking for advice on which plan to progress. I am in the Marine Corps, so I do have access to full gyms. I will be hiking Kilimanjaro in January and am looking to PCS to the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, CA. Any advice would be appreciated.
You’ve got about 12 weeks prior to January.
6 Weeks directly before Kili, complete the Peak Bagger Training Plan.
Between now and then, I’d recommend a shift away from pure strength to an emphasis on endurance – rucking, with Operator Ulysses.
Ulysses is one of our military “Greek Hero” plans, and reflects my most recent evolution of Fluid Periodization. In addition to solid endurance, it will introduce you to TAC SEPA (Tactical Speed, Explosive Power and Agility) as well as Chassis Integrity – our new approach to core training.
Both Peak Bagger and Ulysses can be purchased at the links above. As well, both come with an Athlete’s Subscription to the website.
I want to start a new program. Which do you recommend for leg strength/endurance.
Killer!! – and has a significant strength component.
I am preparing for my first Spartan sprint and an purchasing your Spartan sprit program but I am also interested in the information about diet that was mentioned in the weightless for athletes program. Is there a stand alone add on that provides the dietary info that I can add to the program I am buying, without having to purchase the full weight loss program?
No stand alone diet plan – but HERE are my general dietary recommendations.
These plus the spartan sprint plan will work for you. No need to purchase anything else.
I’m a 15 year firefighter in Florida.
I am in training for a rigorous class called Smoke Diver, that tests the firefighter physically and mentally. It is a 6 day class that breaks you down with PT in full gear and then places you in live fire situations in a burn building so you can adapt and persevere. It teaches advanced survival and RIT techniques. The class had an extremely high attrition rate mostly do to physical and dehydration issues. I have been working on my aerobic base and I’m up to 45 minutes of long runs. The class has an entrance test before you can even start. The test is a 1.5 mile run under 11:15. 70 situps in 2 min. 70 pushups in 2 min. 10 pullups in bunker gear and scba on air. And then an obstacle course on air. If you look up smoke diver in either Georgia or Florida you can see. Finishing gives you the pride of wearing the insignia smoke diver. Its rare and its my goal. This is not a smoke jumper class as this is all structural. Which one of your programs could I benefit from. I need to increase my aerobic and anaerobic bases. I come from a powerlifting and strength background. So its more muscle endurance and aerobic.
I don’t have the perfect plan for you … but add designing a Smoke Diver plan to my list.
From what I have now I’d recommend the Army OCS Training Plan with some changes.
1) Change the APFT Run distance from 2 miles to 1.5 miles. For the subsequent running intervals, don’t use the charts that come with the plan, but rather your 1.5 mile run assessment time and our Running Interval Calculator.
2) Complete the Pull Up assessment and intervals in your bunker gear and on air with an SCBA. For the follow-on progressions, you can wear a weight vest/backpack at the same load, but complete the assessments in the plan in your bunker gear.
3) Instead of the 3 Mile Ruck Assessment in the plan, complete our Devil Dog Assessment. – Complete this in bunker gear and on air.
4) Instead of the rucking intervals in the plan, complete Devil Dog Circuits. 2x Devil Dog Circuits for every 1 mile ruck interval.
This isn’t as complicated as it sounds. If you purchase the plan and have questions – email me.
Terribly sorry to email you directly, but I searched the new website and couldn’t find an email address to which routine training questions could be sent – likely operator error but I stumbled on your address under the consulting heading so figured I’d give it a whirl.
I’m about to start the acteon cycle (Perseus was great by the way) and was perusing the first two weeks – I was wondering if you could offer any suggested alternatives to the tacsepa box jump complex and the over under drills. My gym is in my garage and I only have 1 plyobox (not really even a box….more of a plyo-trapezoid).
Anyway, I’d welcome any suggestions you might have.
You can sub any of the TAC SEPA agility drills.
Go to the exercises link …. they are all listed as TAC SEPA first … the drill. Definitely include the TAC SEPA Tactical Pro Agility Drill.
What is the difference between the operator sessions and the mountain base sessions? I am getting ready for skiing (80% bc 20% resort). What do you recommend?
Operator Sessions = Day to Day Training for Special Forces personnel and/or those who aspire to that level of fitness.
Mountain Base = Between event or season train up, day to day training for Mountain Athletes.
For you now … Backcountry Ski Training Plan.
You can purchase the plan at the link above. As well, it’s one of the 120+ plans which come with your Athlete’s Subscription.
What if one does not have a climbing gym nearby for the VSUM? Should I construct a climbing wall? Open to recommendations.
It depends on how important your climbing fitness is to you.
We’ve found climbing fitness (grip/finder strength) to be one of the most erodable components of mountain base fitness – which is why we began consciously programming climbing fitness into your Mountain Base sessions.
We do have people following these sessions who don’t climb – for them there is an alternative that comes with your subscription. In your account, if you scroll down to the Mountain Plans, you’ll see a plan called “Mountain Base Climbing Alternative” – and these are sessions/events you can complete in place of the climbing fitness stuff in the Mountain Base plans.
If climbing is important to you, and you don’t have access to a climbing gym, yes – build your own bouldering/system wall.
If I remember right, you guys used to have a plan on your site for USMC Recon Challenge prep….and I don’t see it anymore. Am I crazy?
BTW, super stoked on the Actaeon programming….been really good so far…
HERE is the link to the Recon Challenge Training Plan.
Thanks for the note on Actaeon. We lab rats just completed that cycle – and I linked how crisp the sessions were.
We’re on to the next one now.
Just wanted to let you know I followed your USAF TACP plan and supplemented some weight training prior to the ALO assessment.
Not only did I feel confident in my training during the extended training sessions, but I was selected put of a large pool of candidates.
I am no looking towards the pipeline for TACP, but I want to step it up a notch. I feel like I could get my run, pullups, and pushup numbers up. Do you have any recommendations?
Thanks again for all you do!!!!
I’d recommend Humility.
You can purchase at the link above. As well, Humility is one of the plans which comes with an Athlete’s Subscription.
Thanks for all your help on my tough mudder training plan – about 3 weeks out from the event and I’ve gotten some media coverage on my charity run (attached).
Quick question, I’m expecting to go in to Officer bootcamp for the Australian Army soon.
I want to do really well on my PFT scores for push-ups specifically (situps and running are not my weak areas), however they don’t actually test us until about the second month.
Obviously we will be completing the Army’s fitness program and our schedule is pretty rigid, but there is time to be doing your own push-up work.
What would you suggest programming wise that I can do in the spare time gaps daily to keep improving my push-ups leading up to the test? Physical training only happens 2-3 times a week, so I would like to be doing something semi-intelligent to keep increasing my performance.
We don’t have a pushup-only plan.
From what we do have, I’d recommend our Army OCS Training Plan.
This plans includes focuses APFT Work – push ups, sit ups, and running.
Got a quick question for you. A friend and I have used your big mountain training program to get ready for Denali and Aconcagua. This upcoming January I am planning on a 15 day trip to Patagonia. While in Patagonia the plan is to do a hike in to our objective (Mountain Guillamet), which will involve 8 days of glacier travel with 50 # packs. This is to be followed by 4-5 days of rock climbing in the Guillamet vicinity. I have about 13 weeks to get ready for this trip.
Unfortunately there are 2 confounding obstacles to my training:
1) One month ago I had surgery for a ruptured lumbar disc. This limits my training to only Wt. based exercise until Nov 1st. After Nov. 1st my surgeon has decreed that I may incorporate weights into my training, but can not perform any Olympic Style Lifts (i.e. Clean and Snatch, etc.)
2) I also have an extremely busy professional life, and this only allows me limited time during the week to train. I am trying to get to 1.5 -2 hrs per day to train, with longer workouts saved to the weekends.
Could you please make a recommendation on which plan I should purchase.
I’d recommend you begin working back with our Low Back Fitness Training Plan.
Following the Low Back Plan, I’d recommend the Peak Bagger Training Plan.
You can purchase the plans at the links above. As well, both are included with an Athlete’s Subscription to the Website.
Greetings, my name is terry Chester. until 2001 I was a very fit man, in 2001 I had a bowel obstruction that was misdiagnosed by the er doctors. This resulted in 3 emergency operations leaving me with on 20 percent of my guts. Now I am the President of the local no guts club.
Living with Short Bowel Syndrome is not fun, chronic dehydration, diarrhea, malnutrition etc etc.
3 years ago i went on a new drug for SBS patients. This was a tremendous thing for me. The drug took me from infusing a liter of iv fluids daily 7 days a week to none now. I have not been hospitalize in 2 years.
I am now getting interested in getting my physical fitness health back. Im 58 years old and for 15 years lived very sedentary.
My goal is to do an Elk hunt in several years.
In looking over your products, I like what I see. in my situation I feel I need a basic starting point program, I need to rebuild my core. I have 3-4 very small incisional hernias, so I need to be careful.
What would you recommend for me to begin on.
I’m not sure any of our stuff is appropriate for you. I’m afraid it would all be to intense out of the gate.
From what I do have, I’d recommend the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan.
This plan deploys assessments and then uses your assessment results for your follow on progressions. This way it automatically scales to the incoming fitness of the individual.
That being said, like all of our plans, this one is no joke. If you do it, be smart and safe out of the gate. Perhaps train every other day for a couple weeks.
How are you man? Very interested in your Operator “Greek” packages but which would you recommend starting with? I was thinking Operator Achilles but not 100% sure it’s the best starter package versus Hector perhaps. Thanks in advance for your help with this!
These plans aren’t progressive, in the sense they build upon each other – each can be completed on it’s own.
Each plan deploys my most recent iteration of Fluid Periodization, and train the following attributes I feel are important for military athletes:
- Relative Strength (strength per bodyweight)
- Work Capacity (short, intense events. Often a sprinting focus)
- Chassis Integrity (how we deploy midsection training)
- TAC SEPA (Tactical Speed, Explosive Power and Agility)
- Endurance (running, and rucking)
The order we completed them was …
- Hector – Balanced Cycle – no cyclic emphasis
- Apollo – Sublte Work Capacity and endurance emphasis – esp. sprinting and loaded runs
- Achilles – Subtle Strength Empasis (see below)
- Ulysses – Pivot to sublte endurance emphasis with ruck runs, loaded running.
- Perseus – Balanced Cycle
- Actaeon – Subtle strength/work capacity emphasis (currently in the Operator Sessions).
Achilles is awesome – and on the strength side, we deployed a “super squats” progression for both back squat and bench press. The “Super Squats” progression is famous with back squats and we’ve done it with this exercise multiple times over the years and found it to be one of the most efficient ways to get athletes strong.
For Super Squats, you start out with a 1RM of the exercise, then go to around 65% of your 1RM and complete 20x Reps in a row, with 3 big breaths between each rep. The entire effort takes 3-4 minutes … and that’s it for the lift. But it can be pretty terrible. At about 15 reps of the back squat you start to feel the “crush” and it gets pretty uncomfortable. But this uncomfort is nothing compared to the bench press. For the bench press, you take your breaths with the bar in the up position, elbows locked out. At about rep 13 your shoulders and pecs are screaming!
I really push the progression in this cycle. Mid-cycle we re-asses 1RM’s and for the second half I push the progressions. If I remember right, at the top of the progression we’re doing super squats for back squat and bench at 85% of 1RM.
The third strength exercise featured in Achilles is the power clean – and we use our Big 24 progression for it. My Big 24 progression is also proven and awesome.
Work capacity stuff in this cycle is intense and bodyweight focused …. think box jumps to burpees. The “sleeper” in the cycle is the Chassis Integrity work. This long grinds train not only your midsection is a functional, transferable manner, but also are a solid work capacity hit in their own right. TAC SEPA work in the plan will keep you athletic and light on your feed and long Friday runs maintain endurance.
Sorry for the book! You can tell I’m really excited by this new programming.
HERE’s the link to Achilles.
This plan, and the rest of the Greek Hero Plans, also come with a subscription to the website.
Hello, Rob. I’m trying to get ready for Ranger school and was wondering which plan I should shoot for. I see that the Ranger school prep plan says to do it the 7 weeks prior, but I won’t be going until January at least. Is there a plan I should try in the meantime?
Start with Fortitude.
Fortitude is a hybrid training plan which combines heavy, solid, gym-based strength training for durability with military endurance (running and ruck running).
After Fortitude, take a week’s full rest, then drop into the Ranger School Training Plan the 7 weeks directly before you report.
I purchased the Hyperthrophy for Skinny Guys program a few days ago and just attempted the first session. I couldn’t finish it. I have a few questions about how the program is supposed to be done.
I don’t fully understand how much weight I’m supposed to be attempting with every lift. I was loading at about 60-70% of my 1RM and every set was tough but I still had to drop weight to get all the reps in.
How many working sets is this? It’s 8×8 but is that 8 working sets or get to your working weight and whatever sets are left until 8 are completed?
Circuit style. As in a superset followed by a stretch or one movement breathe, next movement then stretch?
I like the program on paper but just getting to the back squats took me about 2 hours. What am I doing wrong?
Any consideration in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Literally thousands of guys have worked through this program with great success. I’ll help you out!
In general, Work briskly, not frantically through these circuits. Each session should take 60-75 minutes.
Below is Session 4 from the plan and my notes in ALL CAPS beneath each circuit.. Email Questions. – Rob
- 4 Rounds
- Barbell Complex @ 55#
- Instep Stretch
THIS WARM UP SHOULD TAKE 8-10 MINUTES. USE THE INSTEP STRETCH AS THE “WORKING REST” BETWEEN ROUNDS. HOLD THE STRETCH FOR 20-30 SECONDS EACH SIDE.
(1) 8 Rounds
- 8x Dead Lift (Increase load each round until 8x is hard, but doable)
- 8x Standing alternating dumbbell curls each arm (Try to increase load. These don’t need to be super strict – you can swing)
- 3x Shoulder Jackknives
THIS IS A CLASSIC BODYBUILDING “SUPER SET” WHICH COMBINES A LOWER BODY AND UPPER BODY EXERCISE – SO YOU CAN MOVE FROM ONE TO THE OTHER. DO YOUR DEAD LIFTS, THEN MOVE BRISKLY TO THE CURLS, THEN USE THE SHOULDER JACKKNIVES AS YOUR “WORKING REST” BETWEEN ROUNDS.
“INCREASE LOAD EACH ROUND UNTIL 8X IS HARD BUT DOABLE”
IDEALLY YOU’LL BE AT THE “HARD BUT DOABLE” LOAD BY ROUND 4-5. HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW I’D LIKELY WORK UP:
(2) 6 Rounds
- 10x Walking Lunge Steps each Leg holding 2x 16kg kettlebells or 2x 35# dumbbells
- 10x Dips (loaded if possible)
- Lat + Pec Stretch
FOR THIS CIRCUIT I DICTATE THE LUNGE LOADING FOR YOU – 35# DUMBBELLS. 10X STEPS EACH LEG, 20X TOTAL, THEN MOVE BRISKLY TO THE DIPS, THEN 30-40 SECONDS ON THE LAT + PEC STRETCH AS YOUR “WORKING REST” BETWEEN ROUNDS.
(3) 4 Rounds
- 12x Back Squats (Increase load each round until 12x is hard, but doable.)
- 12x Curl to Press @ 25# dumbbells (Go heavier if possible but keep these strict.)
- Hip Flexor Stretch
NOTICE HOW AS THE REPS PER SET INCREASE, THE TOTAL ROUNDS FOR THE CIRCUIT DECREASE. YOU’RE DOING SETS OF 12X THIS CIRCUIT, BUT ONLY 4 ROUNDS THROUGH. HERE IS HOW I’D LIKELY WORK UP ON THE BACK SQUAT:
I ALSO DICTATE YOUR LOADING ON THE CURL TO PRESS – 25# DUMBBELLS. GO HEAVIER IF YOU CAN … BUT THESE ARE HARD!
I just signed up for a monthly subscription at the beginning of this week and so far love what I have gotten myself into! I am currently in the process of signing a contract for the Marine Corps and more than likely would be shipping out within the next 5-6 months. Was wondering if you had any suggestions as to what programs I should follow from now until then? Right now my fitness has been mostly strength endurance using sandbags, weight vest, and lots of pushups, pullups, and running. I don’t know it I should simply continue on with that kind of training or do some barbell strength training. I had done the first two days of the Sandbag/Weightvest/Dumbbell program, which was awesome, but then I lost access to it when the new layout started today.
Look forward to hearing back from you! Thanks!
You should absolutely begin to include some strength training in your programming.
From our stuff I’d recommend you complete Achilles. This plan is included in your subscription and includes some awesome barbell-focused strength training.
I’ve been following your body weight foundations at home, and just recently signed up at a local gym so I can start lifting weights. I’ve never touched a barbell or done any lifting, so I signed up for personal training to help with guidance. I only have 2 sessions a week, for 30 mins at a time (this is the most they offer). My sessions are apparently going to consist of very short HIIT workouts 3 days a week (2 with my trainer and 1 on my own).
It seems like such a small frame of time would be better utilized showing me movements that I can then use to follow whatever program I choose, rather than blindly following whatever 30 min workouts they have me do, which leads me to my question: should I throw caution to the wind and put my trust in the hands of my trainer, or should I tell him I only want that time spent showing me movements that I then use to do my own workouts? If so, which of your weight program on your website should I start with (I’m a skinny guy with poor upper body strength)? I’m sorry if this seems like such an obtuse question but I’m not very educated with fitness and I want to make sure my time and money is being invested in the right program.
Right now I’m running 3 – 4 days a week and doing calisthenics 3 days a week. I’m following a pretty healthy diet, no junk food, prepping meals, etc. I just started meeting with a run coach and I’m hoping to build as much strength as I can at the gym on the days I’m not running. I mainly signed up for training so someone with knowledge can help me do things right as I progress into harder and more advanced workouts. I don’t want to blow out my back or mess my body up; I just can’t grasp how working out 1.5 hours a week over the next 3 – 6 months is going to get me anywhere. That seems like such an incredibly low volume of exercise.
Thanks so much in advance for your feedback.
I’m sorry – I can’t offer any advice on your trainer. In general, completing a focused strength plan using free weights not only will increase your overall fitness, but also enrich your training life.
From our stuff, I’d recommend Rat 6 Strength.
This plan is available at the link above. As well, it’s one of the 120+ plans which come with an Athletes Subscription to the website.
Hi Rob, I have been doing your plans for a while now and I want to say they are awesome! The 2 Busy operator plans are my favorites by far due to my tight schedule. Going through the cycle between strength, work capacity and endurance work really well for my but I must admit, I struggle a lot with the sessions where you have to complete so many barbell complexes in 2mins and some other of the same style.
What would you suggest for me in order to improve in those type of training? Should I …
1- Decrease the weight in order to complete the required rep in the allotted time?
2- keep the weight the same and just plow through it regardless of the time hoping to finally get do it on time?
I would really appreciate you help on this because I know this is the area I need to work on but it seems like I am always running out of juice too quickly and I do not know how to improve on that.
On another note, if time was not an issue, what plan would you suggest I do that has the same recipe than the Busy Operator serie ?
Thanks in advance
Keep the weight the same, but decrease the reps to make the intervals.
Stick with it… it’ll come.
Plan? 357 Strength.
You can purchase at the link above. As well, this is one of the plans which comes with an Athlete’s Subscription to the website.
I live in the Midwest, but enjoy backcountry elk hunting and summers are most times spent hiking in the mountains. I’m 46 years old and have been doing crossfit for the past 3 or 4 years and can rx most workouts, unless they involve heavier barbell work. I also do a couple 15 – 25K trail runs each year and competed at the Train To Hunt nationals this fall. I feel like I need to do some work on my strength and prepare for a heavier pack. Currently, I weigh 150# and my 1 rep max back squat is 295#, power clean is around 180# and bench is only 175# . Should I start with one of your strength programs and then graduate to your backcountry hunting program. Also, do I continue to work out at the local crossfit box or do I focus on your programming? I like going to the crossfit gym.
My goals are to increase strength with the overall goal being in good physical condition for a backcountry archery elk hunt.
I’m just shopping right now and didn’t know which one of your programs you would recommend. This e-mail sounds like an online dating profile J .
Thanks for your time
In general, the closer you get to your season or event, the more “sport specific” your training should be.
Practically this means 8 weeks before your hunting season, you’d want to complete the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Plan.
This plan is full on, and I wouldn’t recommend doubling up with your crossfit stuff.
Likewise, you wouldn’t want to double up one of our strength plans with your crossift stuff, either.
You’re training now….
What I’d recommend is you drop out of crossfit for a while and complete our Big 24 Strength Plan.
After, if you want, complete the Backcountry Big Game plan – just for the heck of it, and to get first hand experience with sport-specific programming (step ups, sand bag getups, etc.).
Then, go back to your crossfit, and 8 weeks out from your hunt, re-complete the Backcountry Big Game Plan.
I was wondering if you had any input about electronic muscle stimulators such as the power dot or compex. I’ve been wondering if they work at all for recovery or are just a gimmick. Also I like the price of the power dot but have no knowledge of any of it. I didn’t know if you have any experience with any of these or what your thoughts on them were. Thanks
No experience or opinion. I’m sorry.