PJ A&S Training Plan: Sanity Check

  • Creator
  • #35469


    Hi all,

    I’m training to enter the AFSPECWAR pipeline, specifically w/ hopes of becoming a PJ, and I want to check the viability of my training plan. Namely: Is my timeline realistic? Are there any obvious gaps in my plan? And can an adequate aerobic base be built alongside adequate strength (concurrently) in 1yr starting w/ AeT 125bpm and ADS? Thanks for any input.

    Goal: Enter A&S early 2021

    5’10” 151lb. High school wrestler; weightlifted through HS, college, and for 2yrs after graduation; some running experience (half-marathon, etc.) that led to injury. Unfortunately I stopped lifting during 2018-2019, mostly replaced by MMA training, yoga, climbing, and carpentry.

    – Sidelined from running w/ arch overuse, expecting to return in Feb 2021 @ 1x/wk.
    – AeT: 125bpm (60min treadmill walk at 3.1mph and 10%inc); AnT unknown due to running injury (guess is ~170bpm)
    – Back Squat 175 5×5; Front squat 120 5×5; Deadlift 235 5×5; Bench 155 5×5; OH Press 90 5×5
    – Max Pull-Ups: 20; 2min Push-Ups: 72; 2min Sit-Ups: 67; 2min Dips: untested (guess: 40-50)
    – 500m freestyle swim: 9:15
    – Have been training w/ hopes of pipeline since Aug 2019, incl 5x/wk running… but all ‘aerobic’ conditioning was done in Zones 3 & 4. Same old story.

    Jan 2020: Finish strength program and begin aerobic training.
    Feb-May 2020: Roughly follow Mountaineering Base Period protocol in TftNA…
    – All aerobic work done @ roughly 125bpm or slightly below, w/ monthly AeT retest
    – 1-2x/wk lifting, emphasis on PAST calisthenics and squat/pull w/ ascending sets
    – 1-2x/wk ME, constituted by fin treading w/ weight, rucking, and prowler push/pull
    – 1-3x/wk walk or run IF uninjured and IF possible to do it @ <125bpm
    – 3-4x/wk aerobic swim
    – 2-3x/wk aerobic aqua run, cycle, hike
    June-July 2020: 8wk build strength, maintain aerob.
    August-Nov 2020: Another Base Period
    Dec-?: Specific training for pipeline

    • This topic was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by  mdqs.
    • This topic was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by  mdqs.

Posted In: Tactical

  • Keymaster
    Scott Semple on #35496

    It’s hard to say whether or not a training plan will work. You’ll no doubt have to make changes along the way.

    First, what are the requirements that you’re training for? Are there physical tests that you know of in advance?

    Second, it’s impossible to say how quickly you’ll correct your ADS. The factors are:

    * Personal response. Some are fast-responders, some slow. It’s impossible to predict.
    * Total volume of sub-AeT training. The more, the better.
    * The discipline to avoid high-intensity training while ADS is being corrected. That could be tough if you need to train for military tests. From what I understand, they’re usually high-intensity.

    With the sub-AeT training, you can fine-tune it in two ways:

    1. Do a lot of it fasted; and
    2. Train by pace rather than HR. Heart rate is a rough proxy for the necessary intensity. We use it because of the variable terrain in mountain sports. However, if you know from a treadmill test what your AeT speed is at a certain grade then, by all means, use that speed and ignore heart rate in those sessions. (You’ll need to go by heart rate in variable terrain for other workouts.)

    Third, I’ll ask our tactical coach to weigh in on this too.

    mdqs on #35511

    Scott — I really appreciate the input.

    The requirements are mixed: some known, some unknown. Drew will probably have a lot of insight into the expectations/tests, having worked specifically with PJs, but I doubt he’ll be able to share specifics. That’s half the fun, anyway. The trouble, as I see it, is that the requirements are so mixed-modal: one ought to be a fairly fast but highly efficient runner, rucker, and swimmer (several strokes) with outsize bodyweight strength/endurance and generally high overall strength. Some expected tests incl. 1500m fin swim for time, 4mi ruck in <1hr; old standards included e.g., 6mi run at ~7:15/mi pace, plus minimum 20 pull-ups/2 min. The other challenge is that the selection & pipeline processes are long & grueling, like any other SOF selection, and so a candidate just has to be able to endure a lot of unknown tests on little sleep/food.

    The other advice is fantastic. Thanks again.

    jsmith85 on #36276

    You should be concerned about two things: 1) injuries and 2) swimming/drownproofing. I’ll get the second one out of the way first because it’s pretty straightforward- the PJ pipeline features an absurd amount of swimming and water confidence events. Your training needs to accommodate this. If it is anything like the pipeline I went through, swimming will be your chief physical obstacle. While there is also a great deal of running/rucking, it’s much more likely that you’ll wash out due to lack of capacity in the water than on land. Re: injuries- most guys wash out of SOF training because they quit or get hurt. From the looks of things you are already dealing with a foot injury. This is not good. You need to prioritize getting your body healthy and keeping it that way if you are going to have any shot at all. You can’t afford to spend the next year training around/ignoring an injury, even a minor one. It will be hard to heal while going through an aggressive training program at the same time, especially one that features a lot of time on your feet. I would recommend that you spend the next few months getting very serious about swimming. Check out Stew Smith’s videos on the combat side stroke. If you’re anywhere near Maryland, go to one of his weekend workouts in Annapolis. Totally free, and the guy’s coaching is priceless. If you go about this the right way, you’ll give your foot time to get healthy while also working on your swimming. Then, maybe around the summer, you can start to integrate more running and rucking.
    Short answer- based on the numbers you’ve provided (and good on you for assessing yourself candidly), you could hypothetically get yourself ready in a year. You’ve got a lot of work to do to get yourself into the proper condition, but it’s doable. But doing so will require you to make this your #1 priority- that means nutrition, recovery, and commitment to individual workouts has to be 100%. You just don’t have time to screw around. If you have some more time, say 18-24 months, that’s a different story.

    mdqs on #36277

    Fantastic response. Thanks so much. I’m having a hell of a time diagnosing what’s going on with my foot — doesn’t quite fit with plantar fasciitis — but in any case, you’re right: probably not possible to devote too much time to swimming.

    I had no idea Stew Smith hosted those Severna Park workouts. Incredible. Thanks for the tip. Just when you think you’ve turned over all the stones…

    Scott Semple on #36310

    @1johnschretlen: It sounds like it would be worth connecting with our PT, Pete Dickinson. You can start a chat with him in our Injury forum. He does remote assessments that might help.

    mdqs on #36315

    Scott, I’ll go ahead and do that. Thanks for the tip.

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.