I wanted to get in touch to see if you had any suggestions for training programs. I’m a recreational athlete–I played soccer competitively throughout high school, and recently I’ve begun to dabble in mid-distance trail racing. But I’m also looking to put on some weight. Various circumstances have resulted in me being about 10-15 pounds underweight and while I can still participate in activities, I’ve noticed that I’ve lost a good deal of my strength–not so much endurance, but I’m sure that has suffered too. I’m looking to get stronger and develop better power, as I’m also a big mountain biker, but I’d simultaneously like to put on muscle mass. I guess I’m aiming for something like functional hypertrophy? (Not sure if I’m using this term right…). I most definitely don’t want to just get bigger without making strength gains, which a lot of weight training programs out there seem to encourage.
Couple options to get you started:
1) Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/) – This is a great program with roots in our tactical side. It has a solid strength and gym-based work capacity focus, as well as speed over ground component – running and ruck running. You’ll need access to a fully outfitted gym and lifting knowledge.
2) Bodyweight Foundation (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/). Don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” – this is a solid strength plan and will certainly add some strength.
Mass – you’re goal of improving running and adding mass will work against each other. In general, know that as you get a little older, you’ll add mass. Right now I’d focus on strength, and overall performance. That being said, pay attention to your diet and make sure you’re eating plenty of protein. You can “goose” muscle building by drinking whole milk.
Thanks for all you do, training programs are spot on. I have a question regarding substituting running for another cardio event. I’ve been fighting some Nasty plantar fasciitis and want to continue a training regimen, but I need to lay off my heel some. Is there a program that incorporates rowing swimming or biking in for all the runs and rucks? Or is there a formula you could recommend me so that I could just substitute whenever it calls for runs or sprints?
Whatever you can offer I’d greatly appreciate. Normally I’d just run through it, but this PF has been at me for about 4 months and it’s just getting more painful. Thanks again
You can sub in swimming/rowing/biking as needed for the running. For the sub, think time, not distance …. 5 mile run = 45 minutes (or so) = bike/row/swim for 45 minutes.
Same for the sprints.
I need some advice on what programs I should perform.
I was in the USAF and USAF reserve for several years and was, honorably, discharged following a failure to promote as a Major to Lieutenant Colonel.
I am looking to join the Army Guard to finish my service and retire. To do this I will need to go enlisted.
I am currently suffering from an SI join injury that has left me unconditioned and frankly very out of shape.
I have about six months before I plan to go to MEPS and want to ensure I am as physically fit as possible.
My previous fitness experience includes barbell training, I was also a triathlete when younger, and within the last year I squatted a little over 400 pounds before my last injury. Previously I have completed Air Assault school, SERE and the like so I am familiar with road marching. I’ve also deployed several times wearing full body armor and all of the associated kit for extended periods of time.
I’ve just never been this out of shape and really don’t know how to train effectively from this position.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Start with our Bodyweight Foundation training plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/
I am 60 and have been doing Crossfit for 4 years, P 90 x before that, and have always worked out. I was doing the Crossfit open and tore my quad off of my patella 3 weeks ago. Had surgery 2 weeks ago. In a straight leg brace for 6 weeks. I do cardiac surgery and have been back to work for 1 1/2 weeks, doing 2-3 cases a day. I have been doing pull ups, one legged Assault bike, seated dumbbell lifts, etc.
I have signed up for your leg rehab program. My question to you is this program something for me now, or when I get out of this straight leg brace?
We have a couple plans.
The Training Plan for Athletes Suffering Leg Injury is what you should be doing now. It’s not a rehab plan for your injured leg, but rather trains the rest of your body around your injury. (http://mtntactical.com/shop/training-program-for-athlete-suffering-from-leg/).
The Post-Rehab Leg Injury Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/post-rehab-leg-injury-training-plan-ssd/) is designed to get you back to full training after you’ve gone through full PT on your injured leg.
I’ve been thinking about using the SFAS selection package- although I’m not going to SFAS. I would just be trying to use it as a macrocycle. Would you recommend that over a subscription or what? It’s really hard for me to know what the subscription offers, like would I be starting in the middle of a mesocycle that I might not be ready for? I’ve just been too specific in my mesocycles when I do it, and I know I need help. Strength wise I hit all my numbers easily, but I find that I either rely on lifting too much or rely on running too much in every mesocycle . It’s not sustainable.
Thanks in advance for your advice!
The Virtue series of plans is what you’re looking for. These represent some of my latest thinking on fluid periodization, and all train endurance, strength, work capacity and core concurrently.
You can start with one plan, purchase the Virtue Series packet, or subscribe (all Virtue plans are included with your subscription).
The final plan in the SFAS selection packet is not included in a subscription.
There’s the order I’d recommend:
I am a big proponent of your programing. It got me through assessment and selection for one of the elite units in the military and has kept me in the fight for the past 4 years. Early in my career I developed a right shoulder issue and the slight shoulder pain has been nuisance on and off for the past six years. I had an MRI done on my shoulder and a surgical procedure was not recommended. I was told to do band exercises to strengthen my shoulder which I thinks helps when I do them. One exercise that puts a lot of pressure on my shoulder is the barbell bench press, I have been substituting it with dumbbell bench press ever since I been doing your programing. I just maxed my dumbbell bench press in prep for Rat 6 week 2 at 95lb. (I’m 5.7′ and weigh 158lb) My questions are: What is the appropriate weight to substitute/convert 185lb barbell bench press (during Operator Ugly for example) to dumbbell bench press? Is there a formula? and Should I be working on the strict barbell bench press with lighter weight to build strength in that range of motion?
On a different note had a pleasure of working out with you at Fort Benning, GA back in 2011 and introducing Mintra Mattison to Military Athlete when I was stationed in Germany. Glad she is doing great in Germany and always promoting your programing.
Operator Ugly Sub for dumbbell bench press? I’ve never considered this – but I’m thinking 75# is where I’d start.
Light Barbell Bench Presses? No. If it hurts, don’t do it.
Shoulder Work? Lots of CrossFit guys really like the results from crossover symmetry. It has roots with baseball players – something you may want to consider.
Thanks for the kind words! And congrats on your career!
I am currently following the Dryland training program which is 28 days long
It is challenging me but I think I am completing each session as intended.
My question is this,
I will finish the program two months before the ski season starts here in Australia your suggestions on how I still train following the same program would be appreciated as the training evolves it would not seem right to go back to the start.
Many thanks and best regards
Ps I enjoy your attitude the excercises and would love to one day train with you before a northern hemisphere ski adventure
Complete Bodyweight Foundation for 4 weeks, then re-do the last 4 weeks of the Dryland Ski plan the month before your season starts.
First off, I wanted to say that I am a big fan of SSD and have been for years. I was first introduced to Military Athlete on deployment and I’ve enjoyed doing your workouts ever since. I was hoping you could help me out, since I’ve been struggling with training following an injury.
In October 2014, I injured myself working out in the gym (due to my own foolishness in skipping my warmup). I wasn’t able to run or squat over 95 lbs afterwards, and in July 2015 I had surgery to repair a torn adductor and an inguinal hernia. The surgery went great, and I started a walk to run program in September, which gave me no issues. Also, during my post surgery I ETSed from Active Duty, with the goal of getting back in shape, then enlisting again under the 18X program.
I’ve never been the strongest runner, but I’ve never had a problem before holding a 7:00 min/mile pace, and just prior to my injury I ran a 5:15 minute mile. My goal post surgery was and is to get back to that 7:00 average for 6-8 miles, and to max the APFT 2 mile at 13 minutes.
My struggle has been with ramping up both my mileage and speed. Initially, I started getting some abnormal foot pain, which went away after I went back to square one and adjusted my running form. My longest run recently has been around 3 miles, but my pace still leaves a lot to be desired (8-9 min/mile). I can run 800 and 400m splits in my target times, but as I run longer, or once I get past 3-4 800m reps, I start to struggle.
I think my issues have been twofold: 1, I’m playing things too safe, hoping to avoid reinjury, and 2, I keep bouncing from plan to plan (SSD, to Thor3, to a different SSD plan, to my own plans, and so on).
I was really hoping for your advice on what plan you would recommend, considering both injury recovery and my goal of attending SFAS. Any other advice you might have as well, I would greatly appreciate.
Seems you need to build some volume.
Couple options from our stuff:
1) Bodyweight Foundation – includes volume-based running and increased mileage.
2) Running Improvement Training Plan – not sure this one is right for you as out of the gate you do a 5 mile assessment …. but it includes both speed over ground work (400,800m repeats) and longer, slow runs.
Biggest issue is not sticking with a plan. Stick with one all the way through and go from there.
Hey Rob, I’m 12 sessions in to Humility right now and I usually workout at 5 AM 5 days a week. Im just wondering if it would be beneficial for me to eat something before the workout (I always have breakfast right after) to help fuel it. I know gels are an option, is there any whole food that helps as well?
I train first thing in the AM on an empty stomach and do fine.
Research has shown that a pre-training meal/snack helps and certainly won’t hurt.
You can experiment around. I’d probably recommend 1/2 a baked sweet potato and a tablespoon of almond butter.
I’ve emailed you in the past and you have always provided great advice. I’ve followed a few of your plans and had great results. Last several months I have been bouncing around and programming for myself. This, as you can imagine, has led to injury and over training. As you have pointed out in the past programming for myself, without discipline, has caused me to avoid movements that I “don’t like” (programing around my strengths).
I need to get back on track and stop being foolish. I was thinking about running through humility, fortitude, and valor as you have recommended fortitude to me in the past.
I am a full time firefighter/medic and also serve as a medic on the PD SRT. Looking to simply be the best I can be for all aspects of my job. If there is a different plan or track I should take I am all ears and ready to roll. I thank you for your time, your programming, and all you have done for us.
Your plan is solid – the Virtue Series – starting with Humility.
I am currently interested in purchasing one of your training programs and then possibly another later on, but I have a few questions. I am going to attend a GoRuck heavy, tough, and light, in July and then I should be attending the BORTAC selection course in October. I just completed the Bataan memorial death march, along with several GoRuck toughs and I feel confident on my rucking abilities so far. My question for you is which program (or programs) should I choose? I would like to do the GoRuck selection training plan to train for my HCL but I’m not sure how much different it is from your BORTAC plan. Thank you for your time.
Your priority should be on BORTAC selection. Specifically, you’ll want to complete the BORTAC Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bortac-selection-training-plan/) the 8 weeks directly before selection.
BORTAC Selection includes plenty of rucking, but there are plenty of other fitness demands as well. Make sure you’re looking at the big picture.
Between now and beginning the BORTAC Selection plan, I’d recommend you work through the plans in our Virtue Series – Humility, Fortitude, Valor and Resilience.
I feel these will do and adequate job of preparing you for your GoRuck events this summer, but more important, will lay a solid base of fitness going into the selection plan and selection itself.
Your article about Chassis Integrity makes great sense. Does this leave some of the ground based routines in your plans for purchase requiring an update? For the USMC PFT plan, is it best to stay sport specific and focus solely on crunches per the plan or does integrating the CI circuits with the plan make sense?
With over 100 plans I’ve built over the years, I haven’t been able to go back and update all of the legacy plans with all my latest theories. Rather, I work those theories into the latest plans – for example Resilience deploys Chassis Integrity.
USMC PFT – stick with the crunches. This isn’t a general fitness plan – this is a sport specific plan for the USMC PFT – where you’ll be assessed on crunches.
Rob, Ive used the APFT plan and improved on all events of the test but I still need improvement on the 2-mile run and running in general. Also I will be attending an SFRE plan on using your SFRE plan directly before that. Any suggestions on running improvement and preparation for the SFRE plan? Thank you
Running Improvement Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/run-improvement-plan/
My wife and her friend are signed up to do a Goruck Tough with me In Sept. Both have not been participating PT wise for many years. They are looking at this as a way to get back in shape and mentally strengthen themselves. I am currently doing the USAF PFT that I’m due in 6 weeks. Is it ok for them to do that with me then afterwards focus on your Bodyweight plans or should we look at a different combination of programs up till Septembers Event. Also I have your subscription current so any of your programs are available to me.
You’ll want to do the GoRuck Challenge Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/goruck-challenge-training-plan/) the 5 weeks directly before your event. Between now and then, I’d recommend plans in the Virtue Series – beginning with Humility, then Fortitude, then Valor – into the GoRuck Challenge Plan. Take a week’s full rest between training plans.
I’m on week 3 of your Big Mountain plan to train for Denali. I like the plan, but I’m also doing some climbs of peaks in the Cascades this spring while I train for Denali (including this weekend), and I noticed the plan doesn’t incorporate actual mountain climbing, at least for the first part (I’ve only gotten as far as week 5 in looking ahead).
Do you have any suggestions for how to incorporate actual mountaineering into the plan? Like, if I spend two days on a weekend climbing Mt Baker, can I sub that for a couple of workouts? I saw that you direct people not to skip any workouts, but I also don’t think that I could do 5 days of the big mountain plan + a weekend climb + another 5 straight days of training the following week.
Most people who do this plan aren’t able to work in actual mountaineering pushes during their train up. That you can is awesome.
You can absolutely substitute a weekend climbing for training. I’d recommend doing the Monday and Tuesday sessions, resting Wed-Friday, and then doing your weekend climb.
Consider your climb as a great sub for the previous week’s climbing, and move on to the next week of sessions. If you need Monday and Tuesday to recover from the weekend, that’s okay too.
First and foremost I want to say that I have been following SSD and Mountain Athlete through social media platforms as well as through various athletes and am very impressed with your programs.
I live on the east coast (Foothills of NC mountains) and do a lot of backpacking. I primarily have done/currently do 1-2 night trips ranging from 15-35 miles with 25-50lbs of weight. I love being outdoors. That is my normal.
I have also recently gained an interest in more “mountain” activities. I had the pleasure of reaching the summit of Mt. Rainier in 2014 and am planning to climb the Grant Teton with Exum this August. With that in mind, I also have future goals of Cotopaxi, Aconcagua, Denali, etc.
I am looking to find a new training program that will not only teach me new skills, but also develop the proper techniques and strength needed for various mountain excursions.
I am not opposed to joining a traditional gym, a climbing gym, or doing workouts at home. I am open to anything and everything.
Can you recommend any training plans for me as well as provide as much advice as possible?
Thanks in advance for your help and guidance.
The six weeks directly before your trip here to climb the Grand Teton you’ll want to complete the Peak Bagger Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/peak-bagger-training-plan/). I built this plan specifically for peaks like the Grand.
You have lots of options from our stuff between now and this start. The recommendations below will require a climbing gym with a general fitness climbing area.
1) Alpinist Fitness Assessment Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/alpinist-fitness-assessment-training-plan/). If you’r a fit guy, this would be the place to start. See the link here for the full assessment – it’s 3.5 hours long (or so) and includes 40 minutes of step ups and a 15K run (http://mtntactical.com/mountain-athlete-articles/34375/). This plan will require a climbing gym for the V-Sum.
2) Mountain Base Alpha (http://mtntactical.com/shop/mountain-base-alpha/) – Covers base fitness for mountain athletes with an emphasis on endurance (running, uphill hiking). Also includes climbing work, strength, etc.
3) Subscription to the Website – you’ll get access to these two training plans, Peak Bagger, and many others, our daily mountain base sessions.
I was just recommended to take a look at your site for Recon prep, but I am uncertain of what kind of plan I should get. I am about to deploy to the desert and will not have a pool nearby for about 7 months. Should I still make a move into the recon based package and supplement the swimming or should I try and capitalize on other facets of training and try and work on the swimming when I get back? Do you have anything used to supplement swimming for guys that are unable to access water?
A little background info for me:
5’10” 215lbs @ 15% body fat
Past 6 months has been focused on hypertrophy lifting
I am a fairly strong swimmer (500m in 9min after not swimming for a year)
I will have about 3 months between getting back from deployment and moving into the Recon prep course
3 mile w/ pt gear in 20:30 (I will likely only be able to train in boots and utilities for the whole deployment)
I am definitely open for anything, I just want to be able to maximize my time training without a pool. Thanks for the help.
You’ll want to complete the 9-Week Basic Recon Course Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/marine-corps-basic-recon-course-training-plan/) directly before your course. You’ll have time to do this course after deployment and before the course – move to it then and don’t worry about the pool now.
Downrange I’d recommend you work through our Virtue Series of plans … Humility, Fortitude, Valor, Resilience.
You can purchase the plans individually, purchase the packet of all four plans, or subscribe to the website (all come with a subscription).
Be safe downrange.