I like the overall gains I’ve seen both from Mountain and Strong swift durable. I’ve noticed solid gains in ground I can cover or (particularly with a load, i.e. hunting pack, entry vest, etc.) along with stamina and core strength which comes out in cross-country MX races. I’ve managed top 5 finishes in nearly all of the races I’ve entered in the past two years, thanks in large part to the stamina and strength gains I’ve made (I was finishing 15-20th in the year before). While I may not be able to bench press or squat as much as some, being “pretty damn good at most everything” is worth a lot to me, especially at work. Along with that, I had great results with the lower back strengthening plan following a back injury last spring. I got fairly sick of standing/kneeling founders and such, and as much as I hated them, I’m a fan because they worked. Thanks again and tell everyone down there to keep up the good work. –S
In preparation for climbing/skiing a technical line on Aconcagua I thought I would try something new for preparation and used your Big Mountain Training Program. While I did supplement the program with long runs (9-14 miles) 4-5 days a week and big weekend outings here in Breckenridge there is no doubt that the program had me in the best climbing shape of my life. All of my mountaineering/skiing/climbing partners have all commented on how much stronger I am. At no point during the entire 2-weeks on the mountain did I feel strength was ever a limiting factor.
I completely plan on continuing to utilize the workouts going forward and will use the full program again when it’s time to get ready for the next big climb.
BACKCOUNTRY BIG GAME HUNTING PLAN
“I just wanted to reach out to you about your Backcountry Big Game Hunting Program. I’m just coming off of a three week backpack trip in the Mackenzie Mountains in the Northwest Territories and I used your program to prepare for it. There’s no question in my mind that it more than paid off. I’d say that almost without exception, I was the only one not physically damaged in some way when we came out of the mountains. I think that endurance performance goes without saying, but the thing I noticed above all else was my durability. I mean we took some serious punishment and places where my body had previously failed me held up without the slightest problem. Seriously, well done on this and everything you guys do.
I love your philosophy, your simplicity and the sincerity towards your athletes.” – T
“First I wanted to just say thanks for your great training plans. I’ve been using your programs for years and seen great results from both your mountain athlete programs when I was a ski patroller and in my current military career. Keep up the good work.” – O
RAINIER TRAINING PLAN
“Thank you for your amazing Rainier Training Plan. I used it leading up to an attempt on Rainier’s Liberty Ridge. While we didn’t summit because of bad weather, I felt extremely strong and fit during the climb. The training plan did a great job of focusing on every aspect of fitness that one would need on the mountain. My 35 pound back weight didn’t even phase me. I was especially surprised and enjoyed the sandbag getups, the first few weeks they were murder, but by the end of the program I was just cranking through them.
I did find the amount of time required to be excessive, and had to add in an extra rest day each week to catch up on my “adult” responsibilities, but I’m sure other people will be able to manage.” Thanks again!
“I was an outdoor ed teacher for a long time and considered myself a backcountry athlete… even did the infantry thing when I was young. I say “considered” myself a backcountry athlete because I had a rude awakening about 5 years ago my buddy got me into hunting and back into fishing. After a few years of hunting from my truck, I decided to head back out into the backcountry. What I didn’t realize was just how out of shape I’d let myself get. 2 years ago I tried to do a hard day trip over a traverse and my legs gave out… I was in total shock. This past fall I found MTI and your programming has, in all honesty, turned my life around. I finished an alpine lake hike in early July that no way I could have done last year. I’ve been out numerous times this summer, hiking, scouting and just enjoying being in the backcountry. I’m happier, stronger and having a much more fulfilling break from school.”
This fall I spent 2.5 months in the mountains and backcountry hunting Dall Sheep, caribou, mountain goats, moose and Stone Sheep. As a hunter and camera operator, my pack would routinely weigh 60 lbs, with a day pack of 40 lbs or more. We would do 20 km days, up to 60 km with light packs (overnight sprints) and up to 4500’ (1400 m) of elevation in a single day (60 lb pack). A third of a caribou and camera gear is north of 100 lb. Hunting days could run from 5:00 am to 1 am on occasion, but we were always up before the sun.
I started the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Packet with Humility. I completed over 90% of the workouts, though sadly was unable to do all of the “mini-events” found in the Backcountry Big Game Training Plan. I began the program in good shape and had been completing weekly rucks with 60-80 lbs (two hours) since January of this year.
As the mountain hunting season comes to a close, I have some observations about the results of my training:
– I never had sore shoulders or chassis from carrying the weight.
– I never had sore legs, even after the hardest days.
– I felt 100% capable of doing what was needed.
– My upper body was sufficiently strong to meet all challenges
– My weight didn’t drop during training (I could work on my diet a bit).
My 30-minute step-up results went from 815 (July 15) to 824 (September 26). I would associate much of the modest increase to determination and technique, so it does not indicate a substantial fitness improvement. My weight would have been about five lb heavier in September.
In summary, if anyone wants to be capable in the mountains, this program will get them there.
The only aspect of my fitness I will change for next season is related to my anaerobic threshold and my ability to push into a higher gear and go harder. As long as it was a slow grind, I was capable. When the time came to push up steeper country, the wheels would more or less fall off and I would be left working at a higher than I thought I should need to (heart rate of 170, for example). The elevated heart rates compromised my ability to think and film, and in steep goat terrain, this can be a liability.
I wanted to thank you for an excellent Mountain athlete programming and your recommendations of a training plan.
I just got back form Denali. In only 7 days I solo summited Denali via West Buttress and safely solo skied off the summit. I moved from base camp to 14K camp in 3 days in single carries wearing 73 lbs backpack and no sleds (my body weight is 115lbs). I got weathered off for 2 days at 14K camp and then did a summit push from 14K camp. The next day I skied down back to BC in 3.5 hours. I felt strong and more than adequately prepared. I can’t thank you enough.
I ended up doing some fusion between your backcountry skiing program and your Denali program. Both are fantastic and really work great. My heaviest pack for carry uphills was 55lbs.
Rob – Just wanted to give out a huge kudos to you and your 100 Mile Training Plan. I just completed the Bryce Canyon 100 in 33:45 with the use of your training plan. This is the fourth 100 I’ve completed and I’ve used various other plans and expensive coaches, your plan crushes them all in my opinion.
PEAK BAGGER TRAINING PLAN
“I just finished a Grand Canyon Hike (down to the river in one day and back up in two days) with a 25 lb pack. I am 66 years old and completed the “Peak Bagger” program prior to the trip. This is the 10th consecutive year for the trip and the Peak Bagger training was a huge success! Usually, the trip down kills my calves & knees. I normally had trouble walking the next day. No such trouble this time. The trip up was actually easy compared to the thousands of step-ups!! As feedback to you for my age group, I was able to do all of the reps and rounds for each session in the peak bagger. I was generally not able to achieve the intensity and in most cases the weight recommended. I think I can get up to it, but over a longer period of time. Do you have any suggestions for maintenance sessions in the gym through the summer? I will likely hike 4-5 days per week, and mountain or road bike 1-2 days per week. Thanks for your great programs and I look forward to any suggestions on maintenance!!! You helped me feel young and strong again.”