Q&A 8.6.20

QUESTION

I’ve been a member on and off since 2012. I am currently on recruiting duty but my job in the Marines is Artillery. My main focus on my body is my “COMBAT CHASIS” and loved the shape you put me in when I first started. I feel like through the years the workouts have gotten easier. I thought it was just me getting stronger but I went back and did some of the work capacity from 2013 and it kicked my butt. What was the reason. For the easier workouts? Are we just more effective in our training? Or was it so it could be more mainstream?
My main focus on my job is strength and work capacity with stamina here and there. We don’t do stamina phases anymore? (Haven’t seen one for a few months)
Why are most of our workouts from the series you have in your library and not new custom workouts as it used to be? Lastly, why did we stop with the lab rats video for the workouts?
I apologize for all the questions, I don’t know if I am being nostalgic but I really do miss the harder, custom workouts vice the series workouts. I am currently training by doing the old routines. When I have tried some of the new ones I find myself having to add stuff to it.
Thank you for the product you have… I have been in the Marines for 14 years and the best shape of my life has been thanks to you.

ANSWER

Your questions are a little difficult to follow, but here’s what I think you asked, and how I answered.
The training sessions seem easier now than years ago. Are they and if so, Why?
Overall I’d say yes. Why? Some of that old programming was just plain stupid and the goal isn’t to “workout” but to “train.” For example, one of the old, super hard, but in hindsight, dump, workouts was called “Nina’s First Time.” It was a 100x Curtis P’s for time at like 60% of your bodyweight and took around 45 minutes for the fastest of us. Each Curtis P involves a hang squat clean, in-place lunge each leg, and push press. A few years ago, when my knees started aching I began to question the use of lightly or moderately loaded deep squatting/knee bend movements for work capacity. They don’t make you any stronger, don’t transfer to running or rucking … they just pretty much only make you better at workouts like “Ninas First Time” and might accelerate the natural knee degeneration/arthritis we all get – so I called them “Garbage Reps” and have been working since to eliminate them from our work capacity efforts.
Also – there was not the focus on progression in that past programming there is now – and my application of Fluid Periodization has greatly evolved.
Overall, MTI programming has become much more mission-direct, efficient, and effective.
Why Don’t You Do Stamina Cycles Any More?
Couple reasons – Garbage Reps is one …. and second, we found there was little transfer for gym-based endurance efforts outside the gym. In other words, a 45-90 minute gym-based stamina effort didn’t transfer well to running, hiking uphill, rucking, or anything else. It just makes you better at doing these efforts – so I cut them out of our Base Fitness Programming. Stamina efforts are found in many of our sport/event specific train ups like selection programs. These are called “Mini Events” and are a mix of gym-based stuff and running/rucking/swimming. They are designed to prepare athletes mentally and physically for long, multi-modal days at selections, backcountry hunting trips, etc.
Lab Rat Videos?
We haven’t done these for years and the quick reason is years ago we just had one or two things going on with daily programming. Now we have upwards of 250 individual programs and don’t have a daily focus like when we first started. As well, back then filming daily programming was unique … now it’s trite and doesn’t seem appropriate for our quiet professional ethic.
One of the reasons we keep the old Operator Sessions up is to allow those, like you, who enjoy that type of programming to still do it. We’re talking thousands of daily sessions in our old archives.
Just know, our programming has evolved as we’ve learned, tested, and improved, and from a mission-direct perspective, the current stuff again is better, more efficient, and more sustainable.
Respectfully,
– Rob Shaul

QUESTION
I wanted to contact you regarding a mild difficulty in my ability to complete pull-ups.  It appears that my biggest issue stems from the positioning of my hands.  When I perform strict pull-ups, I seem to have a difficult time in clearing the bar without a slight involvement in my lower body.  I’m essentially kipping when I’m performing strict pull-ups.
This does not appear to be the case when I am performing neutral grip or even chin-up grip vertical pulling movements.
I do have a previous issue of scapular winging and it has improved significantly.
I was basically wondering how eccentric work or even isometrics would benefit regarding pull-ups in and of themselves.
Would you happen to have any advice so that I can do clean and efficient pull-ups?

ANSWER

This is a first. My guess is you’ll get stronger and the issue will go away.
We’ve had good luck with eccentric pull ups in helping those who struggle with one or few to build strength.
But, there are several different programming methodologies which we’ve developed to improve pull up numbers … and which will work best for you I don’t know.
Our Pull Up Improvement Training Packet deploys four different progressions, including eccentric.
– Rob

QUESTION

Hope this finds you well & rested after the holiday weekend.

Been using MTI for a couple months now and I’m thrilled. Started after my buddy who’s a Ranger recommended it when I was asking for ways to stay motivated and push the workout boundaries during quarantine.

On that end, have a question I’m hoping to get your feedback on.

I’ll be starting Johnny week 7 tomorrow and then diving into Waylon the following week.

That said, I’ll be on the road for a few weeks starting end of July.

I won’t have the means to recreate the gym I’m currently working out of, but will likely be bringing at least a KB / SB with. Wondering what plans or combinations of plans you might suggest I mix together while on the road so I can keep moving.

Love what y’all are doing, really awesome stuff

ANSWER
Look at the Single Kettlebell or Dumbbell Training Plan …. or brink a 45# pack and look at Gym Closure Training Plan II.
Either would work.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am training for rim-to-rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon.  It’s ~45 miles and 21k vertical feet in less than 18 hours.  We have 12 weeks starting today.
We expect to hike it more that run it.  I live a 0 feet of altitude with a 40 min 10k and decent leg strength at 5’11, 185.
Woud you recommend Big Mountain v2 or Alpine Running?  Completing all of Alpine Running’s volume without overuse injury may be a challenge.  Big Mountain is logistically more doable and feels more suited to the task because of the emphasis on leg strength.  I’m just concerned that Big Mountain does not offer enough time on the trail.
Is there anything I’m missing or that you’d suggest?

ANSWER

Others have used our Peak Bagger Training Plansuccessfully for the Rim to Rim – the distance was 21-24 miles, not 45. Did you get the mileage wrong or are you taking a different route?
If you’re 45 miles is right – options:
1) Peak Bagger Training Plan, and repeating Weeks 2-6 to stretch it to 12 weeks, as well as doubling the prescribed Saturday Ruck Distance.
So …
Week 1 – PB Wk 1
Week 2 – PB Week 2
Week 3 – PB Week 2
Week 4 – PB Week 3
Week 5 – PB Week 3
Week 6 – PB Week 4
Week 7 – PB Week 4
Week 8 – PB Week 5
Week 9 – PB Week 5
Week 10 – PB Week 6
Week 11 – PB Week 6
Week 12 – PB Week 7 (Unload/Taper)
2) Do weeks 1-5 of Wrangell-St. Elias, followed by the full 7 weeks of the Peak Bagger Training Plan, again doubling the prescribed Saturday ruck mileage.
– Rob

QUESTION
I am starting week 2 of Humility and had a couple questions. I have always had what it seems to be a weaker lower back and I found the Thursday lower back workout to be difficult. I cut out the dumbbell and focused on bodyweight for the workout. I was wondering if there would be anything to recommend/supplement to improve my lower back strength. The workouts I felt were a strain were
 (3) 15 Minute Grind
15/15 Standing Founder
10x Good Mornings holding 15/25# Dumbbells
15/15 Kneeling Founder
10x Swings @ 15/25# Dumbbell
Besides these I got through week 1 as well. Also I read about someone adding weightiest to the pull-ups/hand release pushups? Is that an option to do? Thanks for any info!

ANSWER

Our low back work is intense – by design. You could drop the prescribed time to 10 or 12 minutes, then gradually increase it to the prescribed time in the plan.
Don’t add weight to the pull ups/HR Push ups … do the plan as prescribed. Humility is intense as it is.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m a recent member of MTI. I’m looking to start and complete the 1-year SFOD packet. My question is about the nutrition video you posted. It seems that it is designed to get your body into Ketosis. I understand that there are numerous benefits. Don’t you think the cheat meal would hinder that because it would stop Ketosis? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to stay in Ketosis and get fully fat adapted over a few months? Is there any benefit to the cheat meals other than to stay on the nutrition plan you recommend with quitting?

ANSWER

I’m not an expert on the Keto Diet, but I’m pretty sure our nutrition guidelines violate Keto guidelines because there is no limit on fruit/vegetables, and no specific caloric requirements for fat.

I can tell you there’s no intention on my part to make it Keto. I’d say we’re closest to paleo.
Yes on the cheat day. Without a cheat day we’ve found the guidelines are difficult to follow long term …. and we’re in it for the long term.
– Rob

QUESTION

Doing the HRT prep for August 30 selection. No pools available and no ropes to climb.  Any recommendations to sub for these training elements?  Thanks all.

ANSWER

5x Tarzan Pull Ups for the Rope Climb.
No good sub for swimming. Not sure if you can find an outdoor sub (lake, ocean)? If not – I’d recommend rowing and trying to follow the prescribed session and/or simply rowing a hard 5K, and staying on for an easy other 30 minutes. Should be about an hour’s worth of work.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am participating in SWAT tryouts October 19th-21st of this year and am going to prepare with the SWAT Selection plan.  Prior to starting the SWAT plan, do you recommend I use a certain plan running up to that?  I was looking at the Spirits Packet but don’t know if there is a certain one I should use.  Thank you in advance for your help!

ANSWER

I’d recommend Ruger from our Gun Maker packet for full-time SWAT/SRT.
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

I am currently on a 14-day quarantine and stuck in a room for the next few weeks. I have with me various loop bands from 75lbs and down and was wondering if you guys had any plan or recommendations for workouts for the next few weeks.

ANSWER

I don’t have a band-based program, but you could do the strength sessions from the Gym Closure Training Plan II, using one of your bands to replace the ruck/sandbag – or better, build yourself a 45# ruck/pack. The issue will be the endurance work …. and your choices are limited if you’re stuck in your yard. Another option is the bodyweight strength work in the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan.
Step Ups are an obvious choice – you could start at 30 minutes and work up to 60, wearing a 25-40 pound backpack. Step ups are pure drudgery … but they’re  are great endurance work. Listening to a book on tape/news/podcasts helps the time go buy.
Spinning a bike on a trainer or stationary bike also works.
Finally, jump roping …. Work up to 60 minutes total …. start with 5 min on, 1 min off, and keep increasing the interval – aim for 5 rounds of 10 min on, 2 minutes off. Again, – listening to music/book/news will help pass the time.
– Rob

QUESTION

Just read your article on durability and the limitations of different durability methodologies. I’m currently finishing Big 24 for a second time. It was going great for the first couple of weeks, but as I’m wrapping up, my shoulder has been acting up, limiting my ability to finish the weighted pull ups and push press. I may have jumped into the program too aggressively. Do you have any recommendations for continuing to train while allowing the shoulder to recover? I should be heading to the basic reconnaissance course within a few months and don’t want to delay if possible. Planning on starting your BRC prep program next.

ANSWER

Continue with Big 24 and just avoid the exercises (pull ups/push press) which irritate your shoulder. You’d want to give it a rest no matter what plan you completed.
– Rob

QUESTION

My current goal is to run 100 miles come November. I saw that you have a training plan for such race.  I also noticed that the description said that it was block 1 of a training program. Do you have the rest of the blocks? I greatly enjoy your programing and would love to jump into another plan but I have run past the end of that training plan.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

Our progression would be ….
(1) Ultra Running Pre-Season Training Plan, (Week 1 begins at 30 miles total volume)
(2) 50-Mile Ultra Training Plan (41 miles/week of volume to start)
(3) 100-Mile Ultra Plan – need to be running 50 miles/week of volume to start
Where you would start with this depends on how much weekly volume you’re doing now.  See above.
– Rob

QUESTION

I appreciate what you and the team do everyday to improve people’s fitness. I have been doing your workouts since 2012 and they have been great.

Wanted to ask what recommendations you have for time constrained plans or ways to shorten workouts? The gyms are opening up but limiting people to 1 hour, which includes cleaning up the area and other things. I estimate I have between 30-40 mins to do warm up and workout which is not a lot of time.

Any recommendations and thoughts would be great!  Thank you.

ANSWER

The training sessions in our Busy Operator Plans are designed to last in the 35-45 minute range. As well, several of the recent cycles in the Daily Operator Sessions have programming designed around the 40 minute mark.
– Rob

QUESTION

Whats you’re approach on increasing strength in the barbell front squat? Thanks ahead of time.

ANSWER

I’ve developed 3 strength progressions I typically deploy for focused development of 1RM strength – Density, Big 24 and Rat 6.
I’d recommend you begin with Density …. the MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan deploys density progression for the Power Clean, Bench Press, Front Squat and bodyweight pull ups. This is the plan I’d recommend.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am 24 year old trying to become a firefighter. I passed CPAT 2 month ago with time of 9:30 minutes. I was wondering what training plans would you suggest for me to follow so that i am ready for Fire Academy starting in Feb 2021.
I am not that fit and i am recovering from knee injury, I injured myself by training wrong for my CPAT. My knee feels good and healthy now and i was hoping to get back into training but this time i want to do it right and without injury.  I will be very thankful to you if you can guide me on this. As of right now i can run a 9:30 minute mile and can do 25 pushup at one time.
(I know it is terrible for a firefighter candidate but i am totally focused now on becoming a better candidate)
I looked into your company while i was searching for programs to follow and i would really appreciate if you can get back to me
Thank you.

ANSWER

By my count you have 21 weeks until Feb, 2021. Here’s what I recommend:

Weeks.    Plan
7-12        Jaguar  – the first plan in our Big Cat series for full time Fire Rescue
13-18      Leopard – the 2nd plan in our Big Cat Series
19-21.     Lion – the 3rd plan in our Big Cat Series
22.          Total Rest
23-29      Fire Academy Training Plan – complete the 7 weeks directly before the academy
Good luck!
– Rob

QUESTION

I am looking to train to get myself to a satisfactory standard of fitness when I join the military. My situation is that I will be joining in 3 years time and would like to get to a level of fitness that is equivalent of CSOR/Special Operations given that I will be around 43-45 years old when I join.
With my ‘advanced’ age, it is imperative that I show a level of fitness that is outstanding. As such, I would like to know –
– Is there a specific plan/training route that will get me to that standard without incurring injury?
– My current fitness level is extremely bad. I would imagine I need to start at a relatively ‘low’ level and slowly build my way up. What would you and the team recommend?
Do please let me know the above queries and I would like to thank the team at Mountain Tactical for your co-operation.

ANSWER

Here’s what I’d recommend:

2) Plan’s Order in the Virtue Packet of Plans, starting with the Military OnRamp Training Plan
3) Plans Order in the Greek Hero Packet
Good luck!
– Rob

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