Q&A 4.23.20

QUESTION

I am looking to change up my off season training program. I’ve been a hotshot for 10 years now, so I’m very familiar with physical fitness and what it takes to do my job. However, I am looking at changing up my off season training, and would like any recommendations on what programs to implement. My off season is October – January, so I have time for three, 6 week programs. I’m looking at starting with the “off season strength for endurance athletes”, and then maybe finishing with “hotshot crew/smoke jumper pre-season training program”. Wondering what would be a good program for in between those, or what recommendations you may have. Want to make sure I develop a very strong lower body and core with high endurance. Thank you for any input you may have.

ANSWER

First 3 plans in the Wildand Fire Packet  – these are designed as off season, day to day programming for Wildland Firefighters. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (run, ruck, uphill movement under load), grip strength and chassis integrity (functional core).

QUESTION

I just signed up for the athlete subscription. First plan I’m looking to utilize is the obstacle course race plan. I do have one question about recommended substitutions. I do not currently have a pull up bar at home and I can’t perform a single pull up even if I did. My current plan is to substitute rows (60# bag, either bent rows, single arm bent rows or upright rows) for pull ups, and some form of static holds with the bag for the hangs (holding bag by handles for grip work, could hold the top of an upright row for top of a pull up hold, or overhead holds for shoulder stabilization). Do you have any specific recommendations?

ANSWER

I’d recommend alternating between Horizontal Pull Ups and Negative Pull Ups.
– Rob

QUESTION

Now that I have to stay at home I’m trying to find another good plan that works for my limited equipment and goals. What Plan?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

Thank you for the excellent resources on the site. I’m writing to ask if you could recommend specific plans for me to follow. My goal is to obtain an Army National Guard REP-63 contract (National Guard’s version of 18X) and to ultimately be selected for Special Forces.
I am currently a civilian and do not have an exact timeframe; however, due to academic/school obligations, I will aim to ship to basic no sooner than July of next summer (2021). I plan to begin meeting with a recruiter next fall and I understand that I might have the opportunity to attend SFRE at some point, although I’ve read conflicting info on whether civilians can attend SFRE.
Currently, I do not have access to a gym due to COVID-19. I do have a ruck and a 45 lbs ruck plate and I have also ordered a barbell and 280 lbs of plates (no rack). I am willing to order additional equipment in a month or so if it looks like we’ll be in isolation for the long haul. I’ve provided some stats below in case they are at all helpful.
I appreciate any recommendations you can offer and please let me know if there is any other info I can provide. Thank you for your time and expertise.

ANSWER

After the Gym Closure Training Plan, start the plans and follow their order in the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet, beginning with Military OnRamp.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a slot for EOD school (Air Force) and would like to know what plan(s) you recommend?

ANSWER

If your gym is closed down, start now with the Gym Closure Training Plan.
Then drop into the plans/order in the Virtue Packet, skipping Military OnRamp, and starting with Humility.
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you offer programs that can be done at home with minimal gear? I have resistance bands, 10lb dumb bells, and access to trails for running/skiing on packed snow.

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently deployed in Germany and training for CCT and on the CCT/PJ program, you guys have. I don’t have a pool anywhere near me for about 4 more months. Wondering if you could give me any workouts I could do to help me improve/prepare for the pool when I get back. Also wondering how long you think it will take to get ready for the water portion of CCT selections once I begin swimming in July. Thank you for your time!!!

ANSWER

My best swimming alternative modes would be rowing on an erg or “bounding” – where you run with ski poles and use your arms in addition to running. I’m not sure of the transfer from these to swimming, but they are better than nothing.
As well, I’d recommend searching for a free diving phone application – so you can practice and improve holding your breath.
How long to prepare? Can’t answer this as the “crux” of selection won’t be swimming speed, but how comfortable you are during the water confidence drills. These are technique and mental-fitness related, as well as just dependent on how comfortable you are in the water. If you have a swimming background – it should take less time.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have heard great things about your programs. I have a full barbell rack and treadmill at home and am looking for a program I can maintain while on travel with access to a full dumbbell set, treadmill, and I’m open to bringing a kettlebell with me as I travel.
My background is I rock climbed for 3 years, muy Thai and Bjj for two years. I have been traveling for work quite a bit over the past year and have neglected my strength training. I most recently was training for a 10mi race, but it was canceled due to COVID.

ANSWER

Stuck in a Motel Training Plan. It is designed for motel gyms with dumbbell sets and treadmills.
– Rob

QUESTION

My sister was interested in subscribing to Mountain Tactical, but was curious what program to start with. Here is her fitness background/goals
I rowed in high school and have dealt with low back pain because of it. I also have mild shin splints and so I don’t usually run too much for cardio – usually biking/stairs instead. In quarantine I have access to some free weights, TRX bands, a bench, and a pull up bar. My goals are functional fitness/preventing injury, increase stamina/endurance so I can hike/bike a lot over the summer, and increase core strength/hip mobility to help my lower back.

ANSWER

I’d recommend she start our stuff with the Gym Closure Training Plan. She can ruck/hike with the pack instead of running.
– Rob

QUESTION

I selected the SWAT Selection training program as I am a Police officer with the Ontario Provincial Police, also a member on the Emergency Response Team in the North East Region.  I am thinking about trying selection for K9 next year.  I was wondering if you could offer any suggestions on how to accomplish this program given my work schedule.  We work a 5-4, which means I will do 3 dayshifts, 2 nights, then 5 off, then 2 days, 2 nights, 5 off, then 2 days and 3 nights, 4 off, and the loop repeats.  Our shifts are at minimum 12 hours, with more often than not, working overtime after a shift.  Our hours are 6-6, so I tend to wake up early before dayshift at 3:30 and manage to get in a 40 minute workout at home.  Night shifts vary, usually I get a good workout in on my first night shift, but after than it can vary.  My rest days are not a problem, unless I get a call out.  My hobby is the Aerial Silks which I try to maintain consistently.  With all this said, all I am looking for is a way to complete this program given the shift work schedule.  Clearly during my 5 work days I will not be able to complete the program as prescribed.  I am a committed person, however I don’t want to set myself up for failure or become discouraged because I’m not able to keep up with the program.

ANSWER

I always recommend athletes complete their training before their shift – never after. For you, I’d pick 5 days in the week, and keep your training consistent no matter if your working or not …. first thing you do after you wake up. Train the same days each week, no matter what, first thing when you wake up (day or night shift).
There’s no rocket science here or easy way to do this. This is hard, but it will work.
– Rob

QUESTION

Goodmorning MTN tactical, I’m prepping to get ready for SFAS yes ruck runs are very important. But which plan do you recommend to be prepared for selection within a 7 month period. Thank you and god bless.

ANSWER

Plans/order in the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet. Skip Resilience and you should be right around 7 months.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m looking for a training program that involves HIIT, running, strength, and core work. I prefer not to have a swimming component. I am on my services emergency response team.

ANSWER

Ruger – from our Gun Maker Series for SWAT/SRT. Concurrently trains strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (functional core), endurance, and tactical agility.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently at BUD/S in one of the classes that has been put into an 8 week minimum training stand down due to coronavirus. We completed the BUD/S Orientation and the first week of First Phase before the training stand down, but now we’re only doing one short instructor led workout per day (timed 4-mile run, 0-course, Pool PT, etc) and have been given a lot of freedom to do additional training on our own.
All of the base gyms and gyms in San Diego County have been closed, but we still have access to pull-up bars, dip bars, rings, sandbags, rucks, ropes, the logs, and a few dumbbells. I’ve done a lot MTI’s programming in the past including Rat 6, Big 24, and the BUD/S training packet prior to shipping to boot camp and have loved it all. What’s your recommendation for building back some strength and maintaining fitness while staying healthy and prepared for the First Phase to start back up?

ANSWER

I’m so sorry … additional training – I’d say try to focus on strength/chassis integrity given your daily PT will likely be focused on endurance/work capacity.
I’m not sure your dumbbell set or sandbag loads, but if you’ve got access to a good set of dumbbells including heavy ones, I’d recommend dumbbells first.
So I’d recommend in order of preference:
First: … Dumbbell Strength – I’d recommend Moe, the first plan in our 3 Stooges Packet of dumbbell/kettlebell strength training plans.
Second – if your dumbbell selection is light and limited, Sandbag Ethos – sandbag strength and conditioning.
Finally, if you don’t think you’re getting enough running, rucking, etc with your daily PT, I’d recommend Humility – which requires a set of 25# dumbbells, 60# sandbag, and 25# weight vest or IBA.
Keep grinding….
– Rob

QUESTION

I recently purchased the bjj training plan. So far I have enjoyed the work outs. I have done a couple of your plans before and I think you guys do a great job at tailoring them to get a very specific result. If I  had to be picky, I would say the recovery/stretching/end of the workout is a bit underdeveloped or maybe it’s just left up to the athlete. To be honest I was on the soflete programming for a while and they stress the stretching/recovery at the end of the workout. Soflete is also stupid expensive now, so there’s that. Anyway, I enjoy your programming and it definitely puts its money where it’s mouth is when it comes to delivering the specifically desired results of that program.

ANSWER

Thanks for the feedback. We’ve actually done a lot of internal research and external study analysis on flexibility/mobility, and found for most sports/events, there is little to no link between improved mobility/flexibility and improved durability or performance.

BJJ may be different, given it’s unique demands, but my guess is you’re getting some BJJ-specific flexility work during technical training.
Back to MTI …. given what we’ve learned, we’ve greatly narrowed our mobility exercise menu to the most simple, best bang for your buck, exercises. They are spread throughout the session to provide “working rest” for the fitness work.
– Rob

QUESTION

Big fan here and I have a very generalized training question that I’d appreciate if you could shed some light on. I’m in the military in a trade that requires infantry-style fitness (rucking, endurance, etc) but also significant total-body strength (carrying, overhead pressing, humping trade-specific kit, etc).
I’m 6’5″, 200 lbs. I can run decently (5:20 1-mile, 19:20 3-mile) but my strength is not where I want it to be (Bench 225, DL 370). Nor is my body composition – I would like to add some muscle mass so I’m not as lanky.
Would it be feasible to run the MTI plans something like this?
– Block 1: choose 1 endurance/BW strength/base-building plan (like BW Foundation or perhaps Humility) to build/maintain endurance and PFT-style calisthenics exercises
– Block 2: choose 1 strength-based plan (like MTI Relative Strength Assessment or RAT 6)
– Block 3: Hypertrophy for skinny guys
… and just rotate the three indefinitely without losing fitness in any one domain? Obviously I’d like to eventually get to a point where I’m satisfied with my body composition and strength, then run something like the Ranger packet all the way through. But for now I feel like I’m lacking in certain areas and want to bring them up to speed with my running (although I know that hypertrophy is generally NOT a priority for tactical athletes).
Hope my question isn’t too dense. Thanks.

ANSWER

No. When you focus hard on one fitness attribute, your fitness in the other attributes will decline. This can be modified by the length of the cycle (short), but it will still occur.
Better from my perspective would be to complete multi-modal cycles. From our stuff, Hector – the first plan in the Greek Hero series. These plans are designed for military SOF/Infantry and concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (run/ruck), chassis integrity and tactical agility.
Hypertrophy …. at 6’5″ I’d like to see you at 225# …. but my guess is either you’re young (under 25) – or a natural ectomorph (skinny guy).
If you’re young, your body will naturally fill out, and you should simply continue to train strength, not hypertrophy.
If you’re an ectomorph, you’re not going to ever be able to put on much mass for long.
So …. my recommendation is to focus on relative strength (strength per bodyweight), rather than hypertrophy. What you could do is take the MTI Relative Strength Assessment  …. and see how you score. If you score on the low level, before Hector, complete the MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan, then follow it up with Hector.
– Rob

 

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