Other/Mixed Programming

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)
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TheBorg

Level 4 Valued Member
Looking for some programming advice... I will try to include all the (rather intelligently) required information in the welcome forum. I am 35 years old with ten years of active duty (Army) and 17 years total of active+guard/reserve, with multiple combat deployments as either infantry or a combat medic. I currently work as a civilian instructor in a SOF environment. I am currently trying to fix my PT programming because A, I like being in shape, and B, in the next 3 years I will probably go back to an operational role either in SOF or as an LEO.

Data:
Male, 35 y/o
205LB, 6'1
Injuries: some mild over-use injuries that I'm pretty good at recognizing before I cause them to flair up.

Training background: I've tried all kinds of stuff. I drank the crossfit cool-aid briefly, then my 2-mile run time elongated, and I stopped that. I did a combination of olympic lifting, high instensity circuits, running, and rucking, for about the next five years. When I got off active duty I could clean and jerk 205 at a body weight of about 195-200, and could run a 2-mile in about 13:30, and a five mile in around 40, and do around 22-26 (not strict) pull-ups. I then went to college and got out of shape.
After that I slowly got back in ok shape. I recently ran the UBRR with the guys at work, and came in with 70 pushups in 1 minute, 30-something dips, 50 something situps in 1 min, 12 each of strict pullups and kip-ups, a 16 sec. 100m shuttle run, 15 reps of bench press at 160LB, and a somewhat glacial 43 minute 5 mile. In the spring I ran a half marathon in "civilian heavy" category (35LB ruck sack) over VERY mountainous terrain and averaged a 13:30 mile.
Goals: Ideally I'd like to run 2 miles in under 13:00 and 5 in under 35, and carry a 55 LB ruck at a 12 minute mile for somewhere around 18 miles. I'd like a dead-lift around 400, and a bench around 300, and do 200+ 24kg KB snatches in 10 minutes.
The Problem: I am struggling to find a balance where I can work on both strength and endurance without making backward progress in one or the other. I was at about a 13:30 two mile time, then I started with the Tactical Barbell program (similar to P2P) of squats and bench 5X5 twice a week. My run times slowed a LOT and I went up to 210 pounds. I then switched to dead-lifting and benching, or doing the Naked Warrior program, and started with a high intensity 3X per week running program. After several months of that program I ran the aforementioned 43-minute 5-mile. I thought I could run and still have time to lift on that regimen, but that running program didn't produce, so out it went. I then tried a lower intensity running program coupled with an easy strength lifting program doing two workouts per day. That didn't work because I can't consistently work out twice per day.
The current plan: What I'm about to try is Pavel's suggestion from Easy Strength to work in two week blocks over a 12-16 week cycle, then vary the routine, and restart the cycle as needed. SO:
Block 1 (first two weeks): Matt Fitzgerald's 80/20 running program and Pavel's Program Minimus.
Block 2: Heavy 5X5 format strength training (Tactical Barbell) 3X per wk, high intensity circuit training 2X/wk.
Continue for 3-4 months, then tweak running or switch to a rucking program as needed in block 1, and change barbell excercises or switch to Rite of Passage KB program in block 2. The idea would be to switch from an endurance focus to a strength focus, but to maintain some strength/strength endurance in block one with the program minimus, and train some anaerobic endurance in block 2 with high intensity circuits, so one block compliments the other.

So what is the input? Good idea/bad idea? Suggestions to make it better? Better alternatives? Thanks in advance.
 

Tarzan

Level 6 Valued Member
Welcome to the forum

You certainly seem to set high standards for yourself, they are some impressive figures you've posted about your achievements.

It is possible to have a high level of raw strength and have a good level of strength endurance at the same time but it is a fine balancing act. As you said, if you focus on strength your times on the run will suffer & if you focus too much on endurance it's hard to keep pushing big weights in the gym.

I went through the same thing when I went from road cycling to track cycling. I was squatting 270kg and dead lifting 290 at a bodyweight of 88 kg's and producing good times on the track. They were not training weights though, they were PB's. When I started focusing on longer events my lifts dropped below 250 kg. I think it's just par for the course, more endurance = less raw strength.

The way we did it in those days (back in the 90's) was to limit the track time and focus on strength. The bike training was intervals twice a week and race on the weekends. We didn't have all the information we do these days, so the intervals were all out efforts and the recovery was gauged on waking heartrate the day after training.

Before a big event the intervals were dropped altogether as we tapered for the event and replaced with trackwork. The gym work was also tapered at the same time.
 
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Al Ciampa

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Training background: I've tried all kinds of stuff. I drank the crossfit cool-aid briefly, then my 2-mile run time elongated, and I stopped that. I did a combination of olympic lifting, high instensity circuits, running, and rucking, for about the next five years. When I got off active duty I could clean and jerk 205 at a body weight of about 195-200, and could run a 2-mile in about 13:30, and a five mile in around 40, and do around 22-26 (not strict) pull-ups. I then went to college and got out of shape.
After that I slowly got back in ok shape. I recently ran the UBRR with the guys at work, and came in with 70 pushups in 1 minute, 30-something dips, 50 something situps in 1 min, 12 each of strict pullups and kip-ups, a 16 sec. 100m shuttle run, 15 reps of bench press at 160LB, and a somewhat glacial 43 minute 5 mile. In the spring I ran a half marathon in "civilian heavy" category (35LB ruck sack) over VERY mountainous terrain and averaged a 13:30 mile.

What is the timeline on all of this, transposed on your age? You've got it all hodgepodged together. What did you do for training as a child? High school? You enlisted at 17-18yo, I assume?

Goals: Ideally I'd like to run 2 miles in under 13:00 and 5 in under 35, and carry a 55 LB ruck at a 12 minute mile for somewhere around 18 miles. I'd like a dead-lift around 400, and a bench around 300, and do 200+ 24kg KB snatches in 10 minutes.

Which are non-negotiable (job-related)? The others will have to take a back seat, if push comes to shove. Have you ever come close to any of these goals in the past?

Is the rucking goal a typo? Is this an event somewhere along your future pipeline?

The Problem: I am struggling to find a balance where I can work on both strength and endurance without making backward progress in one or the other. I was at about a 13:30 two mile time, then I started with the Tactical Barbell program (similar to P2P) of squats and bench 5X5 twice a week. My run times slowed a LOT and I went up to 210 pounds. I then switched to dead-lifting and benching, or doing the Naked Warrior program, and started with a high intensity 3X per week running program. After several months of that program I ran the aforementioned 43-minute 5-mile. I thought I could run and still have time to lift on that regimen, but that running program didn't produce, so out it went. I then tried a lower intensity running program coupled with an easy strength lifting program doing two workouts per day. That didn't work because I can't consistently work out twice per day.

Welcome to the fight! Where are your weak points: Aerobic function? General strength?

How much time to you have to train? Can you do 2-a-days at least 2-3x/week?

The current plan: What I'm about to try is Pavel's suggestion from Easy Strength to work in two week blocks over a 12-16 week cycle, then vary the routine, and restart the cycle as needed. SO:
Block 1 (first two weeks): Matt Fitzgerald's 80/20 running program and Pavel's Program Minimus.
Block 2: Heavy 5X5 format strength training (Tactical Barbell) 3X per wk, high intensity circuit training 2X/wk.
Continue for 3-4 months, then tweak running or switch to a rucking program as needed in block 1, and change barbell excercises or switch to Rite of Passage KB program in block 2. The idea would be to switch from an endurance focus to a strength focus, but to maintain some strength/strength endurance in block one with the program minimus, and train some anaerobic endurance in block 2 with high intensity circuits, so one block compliments the other.

I'm not familiar with Fitzgerald's program, so I can't comment. Did you choose these programs because they have served you well in the past?

It sounds like you are already a high-functioning member. If your number one goal is to be SOF prepared, you don't need all of this pure strength work... you need to be relatively strong, and light.

I apologize for providing more questions than answers... and you can expect a few more questions to those answers.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
So what is the input? Good idea/bad idea? Suggestions to make it better? Better alternatives? Thanks in advance.
You need to plan out more than just what you're going to for the next few weeks - you need a big picture plan.

You seem to be picking training programs and then noticing what happens to you, e.g., your run times got slower, your bodyweight went up, etc. Change the order - decide what you want to happen to you, pick specific goals to happen at specific dates on your calendar, and then train in ways that will advance you towards those goals.

Look at the next year or even two, and decide on what you want to achieve and when. Pick specific points in time and train up to your competitions. Maybe, e.g., a powerlifting meet next Spring and a 2-mile run a year from now - the specifics are up to you.

If you still feel you must train for strength and endurance together, go with a program that we know does that. S&S does that, ROTK does that. But I would rather see you achieve a specific goal then put that goal away - you won't lose all the progress you made, but you will change your training focus to whatever's next.

-S-
 

TheBorg

Level 4 Valued Member
Guys, thanks for the replies!

What is the timeline on all of this, transposed on your age? You've got it all hodgepodged together. What did you do for training as a child? High school? You enlisted at 17-18yo, I assume?

Backpacking, dirbikes, and TKD/combat hapkido were my things in highschool. Then military college with lacrosse, boxing, swimming, bits of football and rugby, more martial arts, and all the military stuff. Then a year and a half of activation and deployment to Iraq. Then working construction (roofing and paint scraping) then train-up for a selection process...basically land-nav/long rucks, then jump school. That takes me up to 26 years old. After that there was just short of 3 years of tactical and technical training. PT involved periods PT on my own (crossfit, self teaching to do the olympic lifts, etc) military PT (more rucking and calisthenics) and a few months of just carrying heavy (100LB minimum) rucks in the woods. After that it was a bit over 3 years on the Afghanistan deployment cycle. During that time I mostly cycled various high intensity circuit programs with distance work, and lifted weights throughout, and did martial arts when time and opportunity presented themselves. That took me to age 32, when I got out, and spent a year + in college tying up some loose ends, and getting out of shape. Then started doing instructor work on the civilian side and doing PT again, taking me up to the present time.

Which are non-negotiable (job-related)? The others will have to take a back seat, if push comes to shove. Have you ever come close to any of these goals in the past?

I've I've come close to most of these in the past. I've never benched more than 225, so that's the furthest away--although when I did that, I had actually been on a body-weight strength thing, and I just got on the bench and lifted it one day. I dead-lifted close to 400 in Afghanistan screwing around in the gym with my team leader during a cycle aimed at my C&J, but couldn't do that now. I averaged about a 12:30 mile with a 55LB ruck for 10 miles on semi flat terrain about 9 months ago. I used to routinely be able to do a 40 minute 5 mile, just depended on whether I'd been doing something (like schools and deployments) that were destroying my run times. PR for two mile is a 12:59, (more than 10 years ago) probably about 13:30-14:00 recently. What's non-negotiable: I'd say a decent two mile with strong situp, pushup, and pullup numbers are mandatory. There's a possibility that a strong ruck time could become mandatory in the next 3 years along with a strong UBRR score. There's another possibility of a fast 1.5 mile and 300 meter becoming mandatory. Basically, for the next 1-3 years, I just need to create a better base. Once I know what the next specific requirement will actually be, I'll start training specifically for them.
If your number one goal is to be SOF prepared, you don't need all of this pure strength work... you need to be relatively strong, and light.
Yeah, that's a whole other discussion. My experience has been that you have to be able to carry heavy stuff to where you are going, then carry/drag/slam people, and generally run around and climb stuff with heavy stuff strapped to you. Running fast with shorts and running shoes and doing calisthenics are ways to measure fitness, so you have to be able to do it, but the real requirements are to walk long distances with 100LB plus weight, sprint, climb, and fight with body armor and weapons, and maybe force march with a lighter load (50LB?) for some distance. These requirements change depending on what you really do also. For instance an assaulter kind of guy may not really worry about long range movement, but might need to climb buildings in armor, whereas an LRSD guy is pretty much a pack mule for a living. At the moment I don't really know what category I'll fit in.
You need to plan out more than just what you're going to for the next few weeks - you need a big picture plan.
I agree. The long range plan WAS:
Macro: 3 rotating 14 week cycles. Cycle 1, running/ruck emphasis, cycle two, anaerobic endurance and explosive strength emphasis, cycle 3, strength emphasis.
Meso: Two six week cycles with an easy 7th week.
Micro: Each week will train the area of emphasis 3X, and train the other various attributes 2X. So for instance the strength phase could have heavy strength work mon, wed, fri, a long run on tue. and a hard circuit on thur.

I have been trying to do the endurance phase of this for the last couple months, without success. I started with a 3x per week high intensity low mileage type running plan, with barbell work 2X per week. This running plan did not deliver results, and after talking to a guy at work who does 400LB deads on the regular along with running 6 minute miles seemingly indefinitely, I decided to go to a lower intensity, higher volume plan (the fitzgerald plan) and do twice-a-days with Easy Strength. I felt like that was working better, but I was having trouble executing it consistently. It seems like the way to train endurance effectively involves volume, which means you either do twice-a-day workouts with an easy strength template every day, you do 2-3 per week twice a days with a slightly more traditional workout (tac barbell) (which would equal the same volume of training, just distributed differently) or you do a block training type scheme, as per Pavel in Easy Strength. The example of block training he uses is Power to the People and the Rite of Passage on rotating two week blocks. It seems that volume based running and an abbreviated KB program like S&S juxtaposed with a somewhat heavy 3X/wk barbell program and 2X/wk circuit training involving sledge hammers, track intervals, ropes, and all the other standard fun might be just the ticket. I was thinking along these lines:
Macro: Year consists of 12 week cycles, with strength exercises changed every 12 weeks, and running/rucking template changed, probably, every 24 weeks. Two easy weeks between 12 week cycles.
Meso: Each 12 week cycle consists of 3X 4-week cycles, which themselves consist of 2X two-week blocks.
Micro: Alternating two week blocks as described in first post.

Thanks again for the input.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I give my highest recommendation to the book, "Running Formula" by professor Jack Daniels. Training endurance is tricky business and, IMHO, most people don't achieve the results they want because they over- or under-train in specific zones/paces/energy_systems.

As but one example - when, about 15 years ago and I was still running, I was training to break my previous 5k best of 20:30. Daniel's had me doing a "tempo" run once a week for 20 minutes, about 3 miles in my case, at around a 6:55/mile pace. It's important to realize that I wasn't supposed to do these runs faster or slower than that pace, and I kept to within 5 seconds/mile of the goal pace as a rule.

Daniels understands the pace of training in each zone one should do, based on previous race performances, and he gives detailed charts. Pick up a copy of the book, read it, and follow the instructions. I took 20 seconds off my lifetime PR, hitting 20:10 for 5k after doing what he suggested in the boo, and I was 45 years old at the time.

-S-
 

Al Ciampa

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Borg,

Your training plan causes my minimalist head to spin ;] Do not compare yourself to others. It very much sounds like you need some devoted aerobic function training, and as you pointed out, this requires volume and so, time. You have obviously peaked out the aerobic system adaptation through anaerobic/higher intensity work, so, like others in your shoes, it is time go slow in order to speed up.

You will get all the strength you need out of single and double presses, swings, and rucking (and other loaded walks)... throwing in a block or two of long cycle would not hurt. If you want to bench, cool. Do it, but it will not carry over to most of the activities you deemed "essential", and will cost you energy and time that you could otherwise put towards the more basic movements. If swings can get you close to, or even exceed your DL goals (and we have seen many cases of this) then why waste time DLing? The strength to do so is still "there".

You know how to maximize the test by now, so I will leave that alone. Your 2mi will get faster when (if) you can devote some time to aerobic work. Have you completed any aerobic function testing? Lab or field?
 

TheBorg

Level 4 Valued Member
Yes, in fact monday afternoon I did an assessment where I ran as far as I could in 30 minutes then averaged my HR over the last ten minutes (taking a reading every 2 min. from minute 20 to minute 30) to find my lactate threshold. The number I came out with was 176.
 

Al Ciampa

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Yes, in fact monday afternoon I did an assessment where I ran as far as I could in 30 minutes then averaged my HR over the last ten minutes (taking a reading every 2 min. from minute 20 to minute 30) to find my lactate threshold. The number I came out with was 176.

You did not challenge your aerobic function, from the sound of it... you challenged both of your energy systems. The goal is to see what you can do while mostly aerobic, not what you can do over a certain distance for time. Also, I am curious: how do you find your AT by running with a HR monitor only?
 

Tuebor

Level 5 Valued Member
Very Late into the conversation. Bare with me.

Goals: Ideally I'd like to run 2 miles in under 13:00 and 5 in under 35, and carry a 55 LB ruck at a 12 minute mile for somewhere around 18 miles. I'd like a dead-lift around 400, and a bench around 300, and do 200+ 24kg KB snatches in 10 minutes.

Coming from a similar background I maintain an UBRR score of 1250-1300 at any given time and after a short Sport specific cycle of 3-6weeks hit 1450-1500's.

My Year Round training Plan

6week TB
3xweek
Front Squat
Push Press
Bentover Row / Weighted chin-ups (I alt every new training day)

Set a timer and start a new set every 2:30min
Accomplish your warmup sets for the push press and chinup while doing you front squats.
Pair the push press and bentover row/ chin-ups together to be accomplished in the 2:30min time frame.

I use a training Max of 90% whatever my comfortable max is when I begin.
Week 1 70% 5x5
Week 2 80% 5x5
Week 3 90% 5x3
Week 4 75% 5x5
Week 5 85% 5x3-4
Week 6 95% 5x1-2

As a Finisher I always do 10min of KB Snatch 5reps EMOM switching hands every new round. (I go off feel for weight)
Then Neck 20-25 reps Front Side Back and a Heavy ab movement. ie Full contact twists or Hanging leg raises 10-20 reps total.

on the non weight lifting days I go for easy jogs in a HR zone of 180-age_____ -10 _____. for 45-60min and do yoga or static stretches after running
When I begin that type of running I was at 11min miles which seemed ridiculous to me. After 6months I was down to 9min miles in said HR zone. Recently I ran 5 miles in 41:15min without my HR going above 145 BPM.

After the 6 weeks of weights and aerobics I do a modified S&S for 3 weeks
Alt between the two sessions 3xweek

Set an interval timer for 20min
For the first 10min do 10 swings EMOM alt hands each min
For the second 10 min do 1 Getup EMOM
Finish with 10 Chest to bar dead hang pullups.
or
30min
first 20min 5 KB Snatches EMOM alt hands ea min
Last 10 min do 1 Getup EMOM
Finish with 10 Chest to bar Dead hang pullups.

on the days I do not lift I jog in the HR zone 45-60min I like to add Sprints when I'm feeling fast maybe once every 2 weeks or so just to let my legs go. 100-400m a go.
yoga and static stretches.

after 3 weeks of the modified S&S I go back to TB adding 5-10lb to my training max. The cycle seldom stops.

I train on a 6 day schedule I never take a day off.

If I had a UBRR coming up I would do the Military Athlete UBRR Prep. (you can purchase it from their site.) I modified the sprint intervals to 100m no matter what and their jogs are always done in a low HR of 120-150BPM for long runs or tempo HR 150-170 for the Short runs (2mile or less.)

I believe this program will help you accomplish the meat of your goals.

I deviate from this program every once in a while when I have some specific goal i wish to chase but due to the general nature of the above I am never far away from my goals. I change Clusters of lifts or elongate the 3 week of S&S to 6 weeks. But this is the meat of my training year.

I'm 31yrs old
5'9
210 lbs
never been a runner per say.

I don't train rucking very often as I have always been good at it. It would be very easy to add a ruck into one of the running days I would keep it around 60-90min in training. Unless you have a specific event your prepping for.

best of luck to you.
 
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