Q&A 8.26.21

QUESTION

Wanted to get your feedback on one of the strength plans I want to try and see which you feel would be best. I am 43 weigh 205 (fat) 5’9″. I am looking at big 24, rat 6 and meat head. I have recently been prescribed TRT and taking 100mg test cypionate per week. I have a lot of shit going on in life and looking for a good escape and better my inside and out. I want to get in good shape and look like it. Please let me know what you think.

ANSWER

Big 24. It’s full on.
– Rob

QUESTION

Recently re-read your article on ideal athlete bodyweight. I found it interesting when I first read it and then came back to re-read based on a training experience I just had. I’m a 34 yo army infantry officer, weigh 160lbs and am 5’10”. I recently got back from the Air Force’s special warfare assessment and selection and while I was ultimately successful, i got physically destroyed. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a school/ selection put strength (or lack of) on display. In any case, it highlighted many of my own training deficiencies that I am now trying to amend, one being my size. I believe that I do have to get bigger, and according to your chart I should be sitting at around 175 which, based on guys I saw really thrive there, sounds about right.

Just wanted to know how you came to that number aside from the Devine formula- just looking at hundreds of athletes? Either way I think its a cool product that no one else really has or discusses.

One piece of feedback I have regarding the athlete assessment that I noticed at this event as well (for my size I have a decent deadlift/ hinge lift)- I think cleans need to be in there- i frequently had to get heavy shit from the low carry to high carry and it really killed me. Interestingly, Ive read a lot of Dan John’s work, and he frequently discusses that the front squat bench clean/ press should all be about the same and that any variation likely highlights deficiencies. No surprises, my clean is really weak.

Anyway just a question and some thoughts. Thanks again.

ANSWER

Thanks for the note – yes on how I developed the formula – working with thousands of athletes over the years like you.
In terms of programming – when you recover, look at the Super Squat plan. It can add some size esp. if you combine it with drinking whole milk!
– Rob

QUESTION

I need help selecting the best program for my goals. I am 31, a former paratrooper, and I have about 9 years of Oly lifting, CrossFit, and Gym Jones style lifting. I got out of the military in 2018 and focused on Mark Rippetoe’s strongman style training for about 2 years. Then I got married.

I got back in the gym this week for the first time since December. My lifts have dropped, my chassis integrity ( I’m a disabled veteran with a separated shoulder and back issues so that is a major concern) has decreased, and my cardiovascular health and endurance have hit almost rock bottom.

I’m a fly fisher and backpacker, and I live an active lifestyle. The issue is that I am skinny, and it is difficult for me to make mass or size gains. I lose them quickly, too, if I stop working out.

I am attempting to find a strength and endurance plan that will help me put on some level of mass. I need enough muscle growth that my body’s structural integrity is secure, but I’m mostly focused on strength rather than size. I don’t care about having abs, I’d rather be strong and THICC.

If you have a plan selection that you think would be most applicable, I would appreciate the insight. I care about being functionally fit more than anything else. I want a solid plan that will fit most situations, rather than specializing in getting yoked or being ripped.

ANSWER

I’d recommend the Ultimate Meathead Cycle.
On the strength side, this plan trains lower body strength (high weight, low reps) and upper body hypertrophy (mass)(moderate load, high reps).
It’s also a multi-modal plan, with 2 days each week of short work capacity followed by a solid chassis integrity circuit.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m currently 42 weeks out from HRT selection and I’ve been looking at completing some of the Virtue series before starting the official HRT program you have designed. Two part question, first and foremost do you feel like the Virtue series would provide a good base prior to kicking off the HRT program? Lastly, is the virtue series designed to be followed in order or is that able to be mixed up?

ANSWER

Here’s what I recommend:
Weeks.   Plan
1-9         FBI HRT Training Plan
10          Total Rest
11-18     Fortitude
19-25    Humility
26-32    Valor
33-42.    Repeat the FBI HRT Training Plan directly before selection
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking to join to Australian Army (Infantry). I am looking to purchase a workout program to prepare for military training and level up my fitness within 3-5 months.
ADF BFA Standards:
40 push-ups
70 sit-ups
11:18 min – 2.4 km
At the moment, I am doing “light gym sessions” with very limited gym equipment available in my apartment complex, but I have a feeling I need to slow down and possibly go back to bodyweight workouts to target more muscle groups and build more strength before I proceed doing weights and more.
I was looking through the website and all of the fitness programmes look very appealing. I am not a professional athlete and I am a little confused to where I should start and which program would be best for beginners.
As I mentioned, I would like to go back to basics and start with bodyweight exercises before continuing with the weights in gym. Preferably bodyweight for beginners (push-ups, sit-ups etc.), my running is really good, I am very slim. Just need to build strength for the mentioned ADF BFA.
Would you please be able to recommend a good beginners program that will help me build my strength before joining the military?

ANSWER

I’d recommend you start with the Bodyweight Foundation Plan, and follow it up with the Military OnRamp Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Although not in a tactical profession, I have used MTI programming continuously for several years, and at 51 I am as fit as I have ever been. I keep coming back to the programs in the Virtue series, but with the occasional running, strength or mountain program for variation. The last twelve months, due to Covid, I’ve also worked through some of the Sandbags and Great Plain Tribes programs. Come autumn I look forward to doing the new versions of Humility and Valor.

Next summer I am planning to run over Hardangervidda, a mountain plateau in southern Norway. The route is fairly flat, mainly trail and somewhere between 90 and 100 km. I plan to run over 3 days, staying overnight in tourist cabins, however I will run with a backpack of approx. 5 – 8 kg.

Through my base programming I weekly run upwards to 15 k, and this spring I did the 25 K ultra with excellent results. However, I expect 3 x 30 K to be a different game altogether, and I am therefore looking for a couple of successive programs (2-3?) that will prepare me for the trip. And, if at all possible, without losing too much of my hard gained strength, speed and work capacity.

Thanks for the excellent work you are doing, both in terms of programming but also how you share knowledge through the newsletter. I look forward to Beta every Thursday.

ANSWER

I don’t currently have a 100K Ultra Plan …. but have one on the list and it will be completed in the next few weeks. It will likely be a 10-12 week plan, and you’ll want to complete it directly before your event next year. You’ll want to complete all the running in the plan with your 5-8 pound pack.
In terms of programming before starting that plan, I’d recommend a pivot to the SF45 Programming 14 weeks prior … this program has more endurance and will help you prepare.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently quarentening in a Japanese hotel room with no access to something to do step ups on (besides a bed). I have done your quarantine plan previously and I was looking to switch it up with something else.
I did bring some resistance bands and a pull up bar. Do you have any advice on using resistance bands in place of the equipment listed in your plans? I was just gonna start modding them on my own but figured someone before me may have tried and told you about it.
Thanks for the years of great programming,

ANSWER

Nothing to offer other than common sense substitutions for dumbbell exercises.
Think movements: upper body vertical press, upper body horizontal press, upper body vertical pull, upper body horizontal pull, lower body press (squat), lower body pull (dead lift/ninge/good morning) —- and use the bands to load these movements.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have started working as a civilian firefighter at an Air Force base. We are required a minimum of an hour of pt per shift. What plan would you recommend for the following schedule: 48 hrs on, 72 hrs off, 48 hrs on, 72 hrs off, 48 on, 48 off? During the 72 hrs off I run PT with a fire academy I teach at, and workout at my CrossFit gym. My goal is to improve my performance for structural firefighting, but want to make sure I manage my time and objectives. I’m 5’10, 197 lbs, and would prefer to lean down. I’ve been trying to work in your nutritional guidelines into my routine.

ANSWER

Plans/Order in the Big Cat Series – these are designed as day to day fitness for structural firefighters.
Scheduling will be tricky – but you’re already training so I’d apply your current schedule to these plans.
– Rob

QUESTION

Looking for a plan recommendation – my buddy and I used one of your bodyweight programs going into Ranger, coming back for more. Here’s my situation:

Goals:
– qualify for the Boston Marathon by the end of the year (sub 3:00)
– max the ACFT

Background:
– former D1 rower, ~200k a week
– graduated Ranger a few months ago, still a bit out of shape but cardio is there

Current situation:
– 566 on ACFT last week – 94, 80, 94, 96, 100, 100 on the events in order of test
– currently can fit in AM and noon sessions but I may take a platoon in the next few months so time will become limited

Would bodyweight training (push-ups, pull ups, lunges, etc.) be a better approach than weights?
I think we’ll have an ACFT again in October.
The Philadelphia Marathon is November 21. Sub 3:00 is 3 hours.

Appreciate any advice and recommendations.

ANSWER

By my count, you have 17 weeks until your Marathon. Here’s what I’d recommend:
Weeks.      Plan
1-5             Achilles (first 5 weeks) – bodyweight strength and running, plus chassis integrity
6-17           Max Effort Marathon Training Plan – it includes freeweight strength and chassis integrity work in addition to running.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am a long time user and follower of your plans and have purchased a number of them over the years. I am trying to string together a training plan from now until January of next year. Here is the background and hopefully you can help.
I had foot surgery last month and am currently working through your foot injury plan (the one that works around the foot. TBH, my foot injury leading up to that led me to slack off on my training a bit. I am slated to attend the Marine Corps Basic School in late January 2022 and will be cleared for full activity August 28.
I plan on doing the Marine Corps Basic school programming leading up to it but am trying to fill in what to do from finishing the foot injury program until then. Do you have any recommendations? Also, I have a sort of minimalist garage gym with limited equipment.
So basically, August 27 – I will be full duty from my foot, December 6 – Start the TBS program.
Need to fill in between.

ANSWER

Depending on your Equipment –
1) Virtue Packet beginning with Military OnRamp … work through the plans in order until you start the TBS Plan. (Virtue requires a fully outfitted gym)
or ….
2) Tribe Packet beginning with Apache until you start the TBS Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Firstly wanted to say I love the programming!! Pushes me to my limits daily!
I’ve got a quick question.
A bit of background.
So I’m training for a branch of the UK special forces (special forces communicator) selection mimics the SAS selection but I have to attend and pass a briefing course first. currently running the rucking improvement plan as its perfect for the briefing course as you are tested on 8 miler, 5 miler, 2 miler with 20kg best effort.
Once I’ve passed this in November I’ll begin on your SAS plan.
Now the questions.
I love the chassis work you do and was wondering if it would be detrimental to do it daily? Even just additional 10 minute blocks on days I’m not doing it?
Also I’ve build a high work capacity, would additional session be detrimental to add whilst my intervals are the shorter 1 mile intervals? Say some step ups in the evening of the mile intervals or even some z1-2 cycling to just continue to add to that base?
Thanks in advance, and thanks for the amazing programming!
Happy to feed back information from the briefing course and selection if it helps to enhance your plans at all.

ANSWER

Chassis Work? It depends on your fitness and recovery. Understand you don’t get more fit by training, you increase fitness by resting after training. So … just be smart.
Detrimental? Likely Yes …Follow the programming as prescribed and don’t add extra.. See above ….
– Rob

QUESTION

Hello, I’m looking for a program to get me into shape to become an Officer in the Parachute Regiment in The British Army. It’s required to run 2km in less than 8m 15s; Mid Thigh Pull 76kg and Medicine Ball throw 3.1m. This all seems relatively easy except for the run. There is also a sit-up, Press-up and pull-up standard also.  I don’t just wish to pass but to be one of the best in the group. Do you have any suggestions on a program that will be most beneficial to me? I have not applied yet so there is no time limit.

ANSWER

I’d recommend you start our stuff with the Military OnRamp Training Plan. 
After Military OnRamp … I don’t have a perfect plan for your initial PFT.
From what I do have, I’d recommend starting with the FBI SA PFT, and adding pull ups to the Assessment. Follow the same progression for the pull ups as the plan has you do for the push ups.
This plan doesn’t include any lifting, but the 76kg mid thigh pull is not excessive.
For the medball throw …. we haven’t found a good way to train for this better than practice throwing a medicine ball – So you could add that to the SA FBI PFT sessions on Mon, Wed, and Fri at the end of the session. I’d recommend 6-8 throws each day.
– Rob

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