Q&A 12.17.20

QUESTION

I’m looking at the big game hunting packet. I was wondering about the equipment requirements for the build 1 and 2 phases(I believe they’re the ones that require full gym access).
With covid complicating gym access for me right now, is it possible to sub the gym exercises with home gym alternatives? Looking at the sample training, is it the back squats and bench press that primarily require gym access, or does it get more involved later on? Would it be possible to sub those for KB/sandbag squats, and weighted pushups or dips? I do have a 16kg KB, 20kg KB, and two 24kg KBs, and adjustable sandbags from 35-100lbs, among other equipment at home.
I do understand the progressions wouldn’t be as simple, but could it be done and still get effective results from the program?

ANSWER

In general, the best way to increase strength is to increase resistance (load). For example, for a new athlete, doing push ups will increase his bench press 1RM …. for a time …. but soon, doing more and more push ups will switch from building his max effort strength to building his strength endurance, and his bench press 1RM will quickly plateau.
So, will doing kettlebell front squats increase your lower body strength? Yes … but not as much as doing heavy barbell backsquats – simply because the barbell is much easier to get heavy.
Specific to the Big Game Hunting Packet, as the programming gets closer to the season, the programming becomes more “sport-specific” to hunting … i.e. a big focus on uphill endurance, chassis integrity, rucking, etc.
So why do the Build plans include heavy barbell work? 1) training specifically for the endurance demands of backcountry hunting year round will lead to overtraining. 2) We’ve found a high relative strength (strength per bodyweight) is a great buffer against injury.
Specific to your question – yes, you could substitiute kettlebell and sandbag exercises for the barbell exercises in the build plans, but you’d need to increase the prescribed reps because of the loading limitations of sandbags and kettlebells. I don’t have a set formula for you to do this, but a place to start would be 1.5x the reps. So if the plan calls for 6 rounds of 5x back squats, do 6 rounds of 8 kettlebell front squats with as heavy a load as possible.
One challenge will be substituting for the 1RM efforts. What I’d recommend is instead of finding your 1RM, is finding your 5 or 6RM. So, if the plan calls for a 1RM Back Squat, do a 6RM Kettlebell Front Squat … and hopefully your kettlebells will be heavy enough for you to find your 6RM.
– Rob
FOLLOW UP QUESTION
Thanks Rob, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. In an ideal world gym access will be back to normal when I start the program to prep for next season, but that’s a crapshoot at this point.

On the point of rep max testing, is it done the one time for the particular part of the packet, and loading is built from that, or does it get tested multiple times throughout the program?
For timing, how would you account for summer scouting/backpacking trips? Let’s assume a three day weekend trip, would miss a Friday workout, Saturday mini event day, and Sunday rest day. Would you recommend doing that weeks training over again the next week? Would a backpacking trip be enough to count as a mini event in itself? Mostly wondering how much extra time I should account for when beginning the program.
I’ll be going for the full packet, payday is next week. Looking forward to it!
FOLLOW UP ANSWER
In general, as the packet gets closer to the season, the programming gets more “sport-specific” …. which for backcountry hunting means more endurance.
Scouting Trips? In general, don’t let the programming interfere with mountain performance via fatigue or soreness so definitely take Friday off, and if needed, the following Monday? How to adjust the programming? Apply common sense – you don’t need to repeat the previous week.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am wondering and hoping you offer online courses? As your training style seems very interesting?

ANSWER

Here are the current courses we offer.
– Rob

QUESTION

Yesterday’s email contained an article from 2019 concerning endurance training in a multi-modal cycle. You referenced a 7-week cycle. Which cycle is this for and can it be purchased?

ANSWER

Willie deploys this type of multi-modal programming.
– Rob

QUESTION

Big fan of MTI.What do you think of the Four Horseman Program that usees alot of your training with Crossfit and Gym jones?

ANSWER

I had nothing to do with this. Years ago someone took my programming and that of Gym Jones and Crossfit and cobbled it all together in a series of random workouts.
I moved past random programming after about 4 weeks of trying Crossfit sessions way back in 2004/5.  I like knowing where I’m going with my fitness programming.
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you guys have an FNG swim program, all of the stuff I could find for Past/Swim Improvement was for folks who don’t suck (volume wise). I’m more on the beginner side, furthest I have swam freestyle was 800m with a 500m/13:30 pace so on the much worse end of things just starting, thanks.

ANSWER

Rest as needed for the weekly long swims.
Understand that swimming is very technique dependent. A quick lesson and/or spending some time on youtube looking at technique tips will make a huge difference in efficiency and speed.
– Rob

QUESTION

I estimate that I have 6 months before the FBI Academy. My distance running and upper body are weaknesses. What’s the plan?

ANSWER

6 Months = 26 Weeks.
Weeks    Plan
1-7          FBI Academy Training Plan
8-14        Whiskey
15-19      Tequila (First 4 Weeks)
20-26      Re-complete the FBI Academy Training Plan – the 7 weeks before reporting.
– Rob

QUESTION

Greetings! I don’t know if you remember me but I’m the guy who touched base with you a little over a year ago getting ready to head out to Yosemite to get on Salathe. I decided to leave Active Duty after that and pursue a life in the mountains and move to Denver.
Since I’ve gotten out here, I’ve been trying to continue my journey of finding the optimal training program to improve running and climbing simultaneously, and was wanting to share some results with you as a fellow training junkie. When I first arrived here (May), my post-accimitization max 5k was 28 minutes, and I was climbing indoors at the 5.12a level, outdoors at 5.10ish. As of right now, my max 5k is ~21 minutes (my recovery pace 5k is ~27 minutes), and I’m projecting and redpointing 11d/5.12a outdoors.
I’d be happy to share my trainingpeaks if you want to snoop it, but my thoughts on dialing in my dual-track training program are below.
I have been pretty strictly adhering to a 16 week total cycle (minus recovery weeks), based around a 4-week load cycle followed by one week of de-load where I run and climb 3x that week but only at a moderate level. Most of my problems until now related to a base that was too big. Working with Steve House previously, I had been conditioned to really prioritize base mileage and endurance. I became the world’s best 11 minute/mile runner and 5.9 climber, which is ok, but I wanted more, and wasn’t sure why I kept sucking on my PT tests and stagnating in my climbing.
In my run training, I started using Jack Daniels’ pacing methodology and increasing the speed of my easy runs. It turns out what I thought was easy pace was actually too easy. In my base period, I would run a threshold 5k once a week which really sucked at first, but week by week I watched my time slowly tick down. As my 5k threshold time adjusted, I modified my easy pace. After an 8 week base cycle (plus recovery weeks), I then hit the track and worked on 200m intervals at my target mile pace (~43s/200m), then 400m intervals, now after 6 weeks of that, 800m intervals, but keeping the rule of 25% speed/75% base miles. My easy pace is now basically what my old threshold pace was. I’m well on track to my goal of smoking the PT test as a crusty old Reserve O4.
In terms of climbing, I was also plagued by too much base. I wasn’t bouldering, I was hangboarding periodically, but I was either climbing volume inside or volume outside. I’ve now prioritized 4×4 bouldering circuits, max bouldering, hangboarding, and projecting outside. I’ve also implemented two days per week, at least, of calisthenic and mobility training, focusing on unilateral pull-up, push-up, and squat training.
This is a really long email to say I’m curious on your thoughts about too much base. It’s probably rare? It seems stupid now, because at the time I thought I was doing strength training as much as I needed. Once I a base overload it as a crux of my training, I’m able to see results that I’ve been chasing for years.

ANSWER

I classify House/Johnston with Crossfit, in that each group seems to say one type of programming is the answer for everything. For House/Johnston it’s Base, and for Crossfit, it’s short multi-modal work capacity.
Early on I found it wasn’t quite that simple.
Another issue with “Aerobic Base” and even climbing base, is there is no set test as to when you have enough. House/Johston have HR test, but it’s squishy, and not based on the distance/duration of the event. And, I’ve never seen one for climbing fitness … in my programming I think we reached 60 minutes on a system board …
We implement our version of Daniel’s for much of our run/ruck training. In general I like pacing targets, esp. for threshold efforts.
Climbing-wise, by far, my favorite tool for improving climbing fitness/technique concurrently is the Bouldering V-Sum. We’ve developed ways to use a campus board for both strength and climbing endurance (feet on) training, which has resulted in pretty incredible V-Sum improvement for elite climbers over a 6-week cycle.
For climbers at your level, there is this teeter-totter of what limits your climbing performance. On one end is finger strength, on the other is technique. The V-Sum trains/pushes both.
In terms of running, not sure if you did any threshold work, but that works like the V-Sum .. pushes you.
From our programming, I’d send you to the 5-Mile Run Improvement Training Plan. You could do the Tues/Thurs strength work as prescribed and add in a 50-minute V-Sum as a two-a-day, or replace it with the V-Sum.
Saturday, do the long run, and add 60-90 minutes of moderate route climbing at a climbing gym (5.9-5.10) Start with 6 Routes for week one and increase by 1 route each week. Rest as needed between routes and pull out/don’t risk a tendon injury as you fatigue.
Ideally, do the V-Sum on a Moon Board vice at a bouldering gym for route difficulty consistency.
This would be an intense cycle, but just 6 weeks long.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have about a ten-week period to train up for Ranger School, with this which two weeks do you recommend that I repeat? Also, my school date falls during the period when the school may incorporate the ACFT into the RPFT, replacing the push-ups, sit ups, and chin ups with 30 hand release push-ups and 5 legs tucks. Any suggestions on incorporating these into the plan?

ANSWER

Repeat weeks 3 and 5.
Replace the push ups with HR push ups in the plan, and add in leg tucks to the Day 1 PFT – and follow the same progression as the other exercises.
– Rob

QUESTION

First off, thank you. I’ve been using your programming and methodology for over a year straight now and, aside from a few overuse injuries I’ve stayed the course every single day for over a year, my goal is to re-enlist and get to SFAS. I’ve worked myself from a broken 275lb, to a decently functioning 220lb. I started Dec 2019 3 months of initial prep getting ready for military on- ramp. I completed the recently released no gym plan early in the quarantine. Then went through Mil on-ramp, then Bodyweight foundation, followed by both 2-mi and 5-mi run improvement plans mixing in the calisthenics improvement plans. August and Sept I did the bodyweight program build followed with an extended version (basically redid week 3-5 after finishing) of the RSA programming working in some of the pull-up improvement stuff and 2-mi improvement plan. I’m currently finishing up that phase of programming with these numbers.
2-mi run: 15:46
5-mi run: 43:22
1/2 marathon: ~2:10:00
3mi ruck @45lb: 33:50
5mi ruck @70lb: 1:15:00
Front Squat: 280
Pull-ups: ~15
Bench: 265
Hang clean: 225 (still working on proper form)
500m css swim: 9:45
I’ve got until mid-May 2021, after that I’m not sure of the timeline but it will involve going back to basic, OSUT, SOPC, etc etc. What programs stacked or alone in what order can I do to improve the weak areas like speed and maintain my strength? Thank you in advance for your advice, keep putting out great work.

ANSWER

Drop into the plans/order in the Greek Hero Packet, beginning with Hector – then follow the plans in order. These are built as day to day programming for Infantry/SOF and concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity, endurance (run/ruck) and tactical agility. These plans will find your weaknesses and build your overall tactical fitness.
If you get a contract for SFAS, the 8 weeks prior to basic or re-entry, complete the Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I injured my back about 10 days ago, likely a QL strain with some maybe mild disc involvement. I was curious about your low back program. Is it something I should start when I’m 100% cleared and better or ok to start when body weight feels good (which is now)? Gyms have also shut down where I am so I am limited in terms of equipment.

ANSWER

The Low Back Plan does require a full gym …. so it’s out for now.
I’d recommend you roll into the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, which includes bodyweight core work, including focused extension/low back stuff.
Be smart and pull back if needed.
– Rob

QUESTION

Would the half marathon training plan be appropriate for a 10 mile trail race I have coming up?

ANSWER

Not perfect but it will work.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a Police Officer. I am a litter over weight but not in dismal shape . I actually enjoy CrossFit style workouts for conditioning but love to push heavy weight . Due to my units operational tempo I can’t always make my CrossFit gyms class offerings . I’m looking for a program I can do to build muscle and on days I can’t make CrossFit . Would u recommend the LE Base programs

ANSWER

Yes. Start with Whiskey.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m interested in becoming a chaplain in the army and for the fire service, and would like to serve as a firefighter again as well as get back into mma. I used to be fit from martial arts and volunteered as a fire fighter 10 years ago, but haven’t been active since. I know that I am unable to do any pushups or pullups, and wouldn’t be able to run a mile straight right now. However, I’m dedicated to starting something, but would like a professionally done plan to get me in shape the right way.
Any help in suggesting a plan to start out with would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

I don’t have anything plans for severely deconditioned athletes. From what I do have I’d recommend the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan – which is assessment-based. Walk/run the prescribed running distance in the plan.
Click the “sample training” tab to find the first week of programming. Try it before purchase, if you survive the week, go with that plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

I find out if I get accepted into smokejumper rookie training sometime in January. I’d like a program that builds strength while I continue to trail run for training but also for fun. I’m hoping you could recommend something that will cover that while building my strength and will prepare me to eventually transition into the MTI smokejumper rookie training program. Thanks in advance for your help.

ANSWER

Blackwater – the first plan in our Wildland Fire Training Packet. Blackwater is no-joke, focused, multi-modal programming including strength, work cap, chassis integrity and 3 types of endurance (run, ruck, step ups).
Good luck on smokejumper acceptance.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking at Limited Equipment Plans listed on your site and I’m considering Humility. I came across the Native American Great Basin Tribe plans and they seem new.

They look similar to Humility. I am curious about what type of athlete these plans are designed for? How do they compare to Humility? Is there something specific I should consider when deciding between them?
I’ve used a few of your plans already (Gym Closure I, Fortitude, Valor). Covid is forcing a return to limited equipment reality and I’m trying to decide what direction I want to take my training in.
Thanks so much and I hope you all are staying safe.

ANSWER

Humility I’d catagorize as a military plan – it’s a key part of our Virtue Packet of plans – like Valor and Fortitude. In general – I’d consider Humility more intense than the Tribe Plans, which are meant for any type of athlete (civilian and tactical) who has limited equipment access.
I just built the Tribe Plans last week. I wanted to build a series of plans which deployed the same set of limited equipment, as well, build the plans at the same time to better manage the flow in terms of programming from plan to plan.
– Rob

 

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