All posts by SSD

Packet Focus: LE Athlete “Cop Movie” Training Packet

The 5 training plans contained within this packet details 32 weeks of MTI’s latest day-to-day training for Law Enforcement Athletes.

Each plan deploys our most recent iteration of “Fluid Periodization” and training the following fitness attributes essential to LE mission performance:

High Relative Strength – Strength per bodyweight, especially total and lower body relative strength. In most tactical situations, LE athletes need to move themselves quickly and powerfully. By building high relative strength, we aim to get them strong as possible, without adding unneeded mass, while still keeping them fast, quick and powerful. As well, strength is the key to durability. Stronger athletes are harder to injure in the first place, don’t get injured as bad if something does happen, and recover faster if they do get injured.

  • Upper Body Hypertrophy – LE athletes, especially patrol, can benefit from upper body mass. A stout upper body can help intimidate would-be bad guys from assault or attack.
  • Work Capacity – Horsepower and aerobic power to go super hard for relatively short periods – especially pertinent in any tactical situation. Law enforcement Work Capacity programming should have a strong emphasis on sprinting ability and recovery – as this is the mostly mode of effort when things are dangerous.
  • Chassis Integrity – Functional, transferable core/mid-section strength and strength endurance for mission performance and overall durability.
  • TAC SEPA – Tactical Speed, Explosive Power and Agility.
  • Stamina – Different from endurance, “stamina” is the ability to stay mentally and physically fit and ready for long events, or multiple short events over a long duty day.

“Fluid Periodization” is our methodology of training these five fitness attributes concurrently with either balanced cycles, or cycles with subtle emphasis on one or two of the attributes.

The five plans, in the order we recommend you complete them are listed below. 


What if I miss a day?
Begin where you left off when you return to training. This programmed is progressed – each session builds upon the prior session – so don’t skip a session or skip around. Follow the training sessions in order, regardless.

Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE. The Run Calculator is listed as an exercise.

What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.

Can I see sample training?
Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming.

Good Luck!

Q&A 10.19.17


Just wondering about how involved “coaches” are when it comes to training. Is this a shoot you an email with goals or what is the extent and type of work you do?


MTI’s programming on our tactical side is based on the fitness demands of mission sets, or individual fitness assessments, military/LE selections, or schools.
On the mountain side, our programming is based on the fitness demands of the sport (ski, sled, paddle, climb), season, or event (Denali, Rainier, Fitz Roy, etc).
We rarely design around the individual fitness goals of the athlete and don’t do individualized programming.
We do answer dozens of questions weekly from athletes like you and others working on through programming.
Do you have a specific question?
– Rob


I love MTI plans and have been using the FBI PFT training program to prep for a similar assessment. I’m about to start at FLETC and follow that up with some follow-on training and I was wondering you had any recommended plans for training while you’re in a “training environment”?


My guess is you’ll be doing regular PT during FLETC, and your performance there takes priority. I further guess that your PT will be bodyweight/running based. If I’m right, you could perhaps double up with a solid strength plan 2-3x/week in the evenings. From our stuff, I’d recommend Rat 6 Strength.
– Rob


Hello, I came across your website from an article in lessons learned and am wondering if you have any satellite coaches or a program where I can learn your methods and then teach to groups. I am a wildland firefighter on the Lassen national forest in California. Quite frankly I am fed up with the lack of dedication and direction to physical training exhibited on my district. I understand the need and requirement for a strong functional workforce in this line of work and am personally dedicated to my own fitness for duty. However the lackluster approach and monotonous running/ hiking routines done by most crews here leaves a sour taste in my mouth. The belief that wildland firefighters are professional tactical athletes is not understood by all. I have taken it upon myself to change this on my district. hopefully you guys have a program where I can help my district to be better physically and safer overall I look forward to hearing back from you and hopefully working with you in the future


We held a tactical Advanced Programming Course early this summer, but don’t have another scheduled. We are developing a comprehensive Wildland Firefighter Fitness Assessment – hopefully by the end of October if not sooner – and have already developed the Wildland Firefighter 3/3/3 Endurance Assessment.
As well, we currently offer 3 sport-specific training plans for Wildland Firefighters: Wildland Fire-Fighter Pre-Season Training Plan, Hotshot/Smokejumper Pre-Season Training Plan, and a Smoke Jumper Selection Training Plan.
In terms of Tactical Fitness, I feel Wildland Firefighters are perhaps the ultimate example of “Mountain-Tactical” athletes, and your mission-direct fitness demands mirror those of military infantry/SOF. See our 5-Types of Tactical Athletes and their Fitness Demands article.
I have been somewhat surprised by the sit up, push up, run entrenched approach to Wildland Firefighter fitness deployed by most units given the realities of your loading and mission sets. Our own work with actual Wildland Firefighters has been hit and miss. We’ve had two individuals train with us in our Wyoming facility successfully for Smokejumper Selection and usually have 2-3 guys train with our tactical lab rats in the winter.
I’ve also had 2-3 similar individuals like you who wanted to bring our programming to their units, but in the end, were unable to make it happen because of buy-in. Also, we received some puzzling blowback from Wildland guys when we announced our 3/3/3 endurance assessment not over the assessment details, but complaints about running in their Whites firefighting boots.
Moving forward, pls look for our Wildland Firefighter Fitness Assessment and training plan this fall, and perhaps deploy that plan as an option in your district, or the above mentioned Wildland Firefighter Pre-Season Training Plan.
– Rob


I am boxing coach- But i beleive athletic coach are very good to give us advise when it comes to training programmer.


We don’t have a boxing-specific program. From what we do have, I’d recommend you start with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan.
– Rob


I am an infantry leader in the German army and have a question concerning MTIs programs with long workouts.
I’d like to do one of MTIs selection prep programs, for example for Delta or Marsoc, but I have no idea how to fit them into a day.
Being in the infantry, basically every day is a field day. Though I get off around 1700, I can’t fit two-a-days or workouts that go much longer than 1 hour into my workdays.
Any tips on how I can make those harded programs work?


I don’t have a time compress machine or any trick to share with you. Those programs are built around the fitness demands of the selections, not the limitations of the individual athlete. Several of the days in each plan are scheduled 2-a-days.
All I can say is several others in similar positions have found the time to complete the programs.
– Rob


Hello, I was wondering what the best plan would be to get ready for sapper school?


We built a specific Sapper’s Leaders Course Training Plan earlier this year.
– Rob


I’ve signed a Rep 63 contract so I will be heading to SFAS soon after OSUT.  I’m projected to ship to out Jan 2018 for basic, which doesn’t give me much time to train.  I’m trying to push it to April, but may not be able to.  What do you suggest given the two possibilities:

  1.   Ship out Jan 2018  (~18 weeks out)
    • Resilience then Ruck-based Selection Training Plan?
  2.   Ship out Apr 2018  (~30 weeks out)
    • Ruck-based Selection Training Packet starting at Fortitude?


Both plans are solid. You definitely want to finish the RBSTP prior to Basic.
Good luck!
– Rob


Stumbled across your website and I’m so glad I did.  I’m 56 years old and my joints are pretty banged up (shoulders, knees, hips, back) as I have been weight training for 44 years.

Looked at the SF45Alpha and that seems to be the right direction.  I certainly would have to modify as I don’t have access to sandbags at the moment and there is no way I could run 6miles.

I’m wondering if you have several programs I could purchase and I could kind of morph them together for my particular circumstance.

I really need to do shore up my conditioning as I let it slip away due to joint pain and also keep up what strength I have left.

My heart says yes, but my body keeps fighting me!!


The SF45 Packet contains all 4 of our SF45 Training plans.
– Rob


I’m a second lieutenant in Canadian Army preparing for my infantry officer course next summer.  I have 32 weeks to prepare.
About the course: it’s ruck intensive (10 miles with 55# ruck, plates, and platoon weapons weighing up to 40# is fairly standard) with field exercises lasting up to two weeks. We conduct patrolling on a 72 hour on 6 hour off tempo. The terrain includes very thick forest and lots of uneven, swampy ground with tank ruts. In the past I’ve found the ligaments in my knees feel quite hard done by when constantly stepping over fallen trees etc. Most guys fail due to injury, so I want to be durable.
About me: background in football, powerlifting and Crossfit. Decent engine but I feel a drained and overly reliant on caffeine and stimulants. I was removed from the aforementioned course this summer due to an infection in my knee. I would say my weakest areas are mobility and single modal endurance like running and rucking. I have a detailed spreadsheet with all my workouts in the last couple years which I can attach if needed.
I am going to be in the field for the next couple months, so I figured your Humility program would be a good place to start as it gives me a bit of a break and I don’t need much equipment.
Can you give me your opinion on which training packages I should follow up with and which order I should complete them in. I love tough training and my goal is to be stupidly overprepared physically for this summer.


I’d recommend the plans and progression in the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet. You’ll want to modify/cut the plans so you complete the final plan in the packet – the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan, directly before your infantry officer course. My recommendation would be to skip Resilience.
Good luck at your course!
– Rob


i’m an Italian Mountain Rescue Istructor.

In January I have to support the Alpine Guide selection exam, and the mountain rescue Level Passing .

exam program : – rock climbing (trad and sport)- ice climbing- ski mountanering ( race at time ad descent piste and freeride).

should I buy the different training plans separately or can I combine it together?


I don’t have one plan that combines rock climbing, ice climbing and backcountry ski fitness all together.
I recommend you complete the Backcountry Ski Training Plan now, prior to you getting on the snow in November and December. Then, November 1, let your actual skiing maintain your ski fitness and transition your non-ski fitness to your climbing work. It’s not clear from your note, but my guess is you should complete the Ice/Mixed Pre-Season Training Plan prior to your exam.
– Rob


I am a wildland firefighter on an AD crew (administratively determined) which means that I am on call depending on the needs of the forest and the fires going on at the time. I also work for a search and rescue team here in my area and I am also on call with them 24/7. I am a multisport athlete where my sports vary from surfing, rock climbing, long distance trail running/ultras, hiking, skiing/snowboarding and triathlons.  At any one time I want to be in good physical condition to respond to a fire or a rescue in the mountains but at the same time perform well in my sports. I have been doing the ultra-pre season packet since I want to keep my endurance and cardio performance high and since it also involves leg blasters for leg strength. I was wondering if I should be looking at this in a different way, if there was a plan that you have already created that covers all of these bases and what you would recommend.


Our approach: The closer you get to a specific “season” (fire season, ski season, climbing season, ultra season) or event (specific climb, rando race, spring desert climbing trip, etc.), the more sport-specific you fitness programming should be.
The further away from your season or event, the more general your fitness programming can be.
To get your best performance in any season or event, you should train sport specifically for that event directly before it.
On our mountain side, we call the “general” fitness Mountain Base. This programming isn’t random – but is designed to lay a solid “base” of mountain fitness on top of which to build sport-specific fitness using a sport-specific plan. Mountain Base programming concurrently trains relative strength (strength per bodyweight), work capacity, mountain endurance (running, uphill hiking under load), chassis integrity (our approach to core strength) and climbing fitness (rock specific). Our “Mountain Base” programming would be as close as I can come to preparing you for all your activities at any one time. See the plans in Greek Heroine packet for our Mountain Base focus.
Even though you say you want to be prepared for each activity you list at any one time, unless you live someplace which has both winter and summer at the same time, you have seasons or events you can train around.
The best way to use our programming is to plan for these seasons and complete the sport-specific programming the weeks directly before. Of the activities you listed, most important are wildland fire season and SAR.
Prior to the wildland fire season, complete the Wildland Fire Pre-Season Training Plan.
Prior to summer SAR, complete the Mountain Guide Pre-SeasonTraining Plan.
Are these during the same season? Chose the plan for the activity which is most likely.
In an ideal world, you’d complete sport-specific programming like above before your seasons, and complete programming from the Mountain Base plans between sport-specific plans.
– Rob


Got any specific plan for Motocross and/or Hard Enduro Training Plan?  Im a weekend warrior looking to train hard at work for a while in this specific discipline.


We have built one of these in the past but don’t have it up on the site right now. Also – if I remember right, it was aimed at motocross pro-riders who could ride during the weekday.
From what we do have I’d recommend the Mountain Sledding Training Plan. I’ve done a little of both, and feel there would be significant transfer from the grip strength, upper body strength and strength endurance, lower strength endurance and power, and chassis integrity work (mid-section) in the Mountain Sled plan to your sport. We’ve worked with world champion sledders and have had great success with out programming.
– Rob


I’m new to your site and looking at joining the Australian defence force, I was just wondering what programs you would recommend me trying.


I’d recommend you start our stuff with the Military On-Ramp Training Plan.
– Rob


I’m a 50 year-old avid skier getting ready for a busy ski year. I’ve been running and doing “ski exercises” I’ve found on-line…then I found your site. I’m interested in an exercise plan, program or subscription but I’m not sure which one is best. I have a few limitations, mainly in selection of gyms. I live in Europe and the gym I have access to is limited in space and equipment. I have a small room I use for working out in my apartment. I’ve looked at other gyms in my area and most are tailored for more typical training. I have to fight for space to do what I’m working on now and can accomplish some of your exercises that I’ve looked at. However, there are no boxes, sandbags, and limited space so no running.

I also broke my ankle last year skiing and am still working on flexibility and strength.

Are there alternatives I can use when I don’t have equipment or space? I read through your products and couldn’t determine if you subscription service would provide this type of assistance or not.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


Our 30-Minutes Per Day Dryland Ski Training Plan requires just a pair of dumbbells.
Our other option, the Dryland Ski Training Plan is more comprehensive, but requires a fully equipped gym.
– Rob


I’ve been using your plans for several years for backcountry skiing training and have seen great results. I live at sea level (New York) and work at a desk 50-60 hours/week. I make it out to the mountains (mostly Jackson area) 2-3 weeks/winter. Before training with your plans, completing a slow, 3,000 ft skin at altitude was a struggle. After working through your plans, the last couple of years I’ve been able to manage 5-6,000 ft days, far more efficiently and comfortably. Thank you.
The AMGA Ski Guide Training Course is the plan I’ve used most heavily. It’s been very effective but I’m looking to go bit beyond it in terms of training to be able to comfortably handle days of up to ~7,000 ft (one of my goals is to ski the Grand) and also increase my speed. 2 main constraints I have: 1) I probably do not much much incremental time I can dedicate to training and 2) I can’t run- knee issues (but have no trouble with the uphill treadmill work/step ups). Do you have an existing plan that would make sense for this? If not, would my paying you for a custom plan (or extension of an existing plan) be something you’d consider? Any suggestions appreciated.


Look at the Backcountry Ski Training Plan and email questions.
– Rob


I just started working as a college recruiter, and I’m on the road for work. I start my travel next week, but I’m not in a hotel every week. I know that the program itself is six weeks long, but I’m only in a hotel five weeks. I’m also not on the road six weeks straight, so should I do the program when I’m back in town? Just thought I’d ask to see what y’all thought I should do.


Best for you might be to complete one of our Dumbbell/Kettlebell Training plans – which you can do at either location as long as you stay in a motel with a set of dumbbells.
We have 3 db/kb plans in our Three Stooges Packet – I’d recommend you begin with Moe.
– Rob


Big fan of Military Athlete, followed your programs on and off over the past 8 years.  I’ve recently been doing the Fortitude series, version one, followed by a short break, and then onto series 2. Currently on week 4 and I’ve noticed what might be hip bursitis.  It’s been nagging me now for about 4 months, slightly bothersome especially during squats.  I usually just work through it, but do you have any recommendations or programs i could do which might help alleviate or prevent this from getting worse?

I’m an 18 series officer with about 13 years in, currently working overseas.  Just wanted to provide some context for any recommendations you may have.  Thanks again, keep up the great work!


I’m not a doctor and can’t offer medical advice or help diagnose your hip(s) with any authority.
Somethings I have picked up over the years …. ff it is both hips, it’s generally either an overuse or a fitness issue.
If it’s one hip, it’s likely an injury. I’d be more concerned if it was one hip.
Programming? If it’s deep squatting that’s causing the issue, switch to SF45 Bravo from our series for high impact athletes ages 45-55 – deep squats are mostly avoided in this program but you still get to train strength. Take a look and email back questions.
– Rob


Hello,  I’m looking to purchase a training and meal plan (not sure if you offer that). I’m a police detective and in desperate need of some guidance I’m 42 years old and 6′, 370 lbs. I am a former wrestler and kickboxer and enjoy those types of workouts but my work hours do not allow me to make those classes. I’m looking to lose 150 lbs and complete an adventure race

Not sure what other info you may need about me to get started. Let me know if you can offer any help. Thank you in advance.


I don’t have any good plan for someone in your condition. At 150# overweight, I’m afraid all our stuff would be too intense.
You could try the LE OnRamp Training Plan …. and train every other day, rather than day’s in a row as prescribed. Be smart.
Diet/Nutrition? Do you seriously need a focused plan to tell you not to eat crap? Sorry for the directness, but at 42 years old certainly you know drinking sugar and eating high carbs and more sugar isn’t helping you lose weight.
We feel eating well doesn’t take rocket science, but rather discipline. HERE are our nutritional recommendations. Note  …. there is no caloric restriction on this diet. You should never be hungry – you just can’t eat crap on other than your cheat day.
I’m 49, and even fit guys our age with high stress jobs die all the time. Time to get it under control and get healthy.
Sorry for the tough love.
– Rob


Thanks for offering the free push/pull 3 week plan. I just started the plan today and have a couple questions.
I’m unable to do full push ups for the 2 minutes so finished the two minutes wth knee push ups. Do I include the number that I did on my knees in that two minutes when calculating the %max used for the subsequent workouts or just calculate based on number of full push ups? Same for pull ups: do I include the number of eccentrics from the two minutes in calculating my % of max for the rest of the training?
Thanks again for offering this plan. I’m looking forward to seeing improvement and to hopefully doing your backcountry ski pre-season plan this fall.


1. Yes – count the knee push ups.
2. Yes – count the eccentrics.
– Rob


I very much enjoy your newsletter and have been able to keep up with one of you programs that prepare for trail races.  But I’m 67 years old now and don’t see much advice for the older athlete.  Seems like we can get hurt a bit easier and recovery in general takes longer.  I’m worried that trying to keep up with your recommendations for a younger crowd is eventually going to set me back.  But I love a plan, and you are putting some good ones out there. How do I decide how to dial back a plan so it won’t be too much?


In general, we don’t program for the athlete. We program for the event … and the demands of the event are the equalizers. Our program objectives reflect this. There is no “special” summit of Rainier for 67 year olds …. there is just one summit – the same for everyone.
The difference perhaps then isn’t the fitness program objectives, but the pacing to get you there. Finish our Rainier plan in 12 weeks, for example, vice 8 – to allow for slower recovery and adaptation.
– Rob


Arete 10.19.17


Militants Who Attacked US SOF in Niger New to the Area, OODA Loop

Crimea Isn’t the End of Russia’s Black Sea Ambitions, Bloomberg

Al Qaeda Rising from the Ashes in Syria, The Cipher Brief

Toxic Leadership Aboard USS Shiloh, Navy Times

Green Beret’s Assist, Advise & Train Mission to Expand, The Hill

Armed Ground Robots Could Join Ukraine Fight, Defense One



The Army’s Next Generation Body Armor, Task & Purpose

.50 Cal Round Effective Underwater to 60 Meters, Defense Tech

The 7 Most Mythical Skis of All Time, Unofficial Networks

2018 Best Snowboards, Outside

Avalanche Airbag Comparison Review, Outdoor Gear Lab

Army Developing Fire Control Device for Rifles, Defense News

Ultra Run Winner’s Full Kit, Gearjunie



Patagonia, Backcountry Hunters Denounce ‘Antiquities Act’ Threat, Gearjunkie

Is Actual Skiing Dying?, Unofficial Networks

The Surprising Science of Backpacking, Outside

Freeski Women – “More Than You Think,” Trailer, Freeskier

Rock Climbing – Healing Nagging Finger Injuries, Training Beta

Climbing & Outdoor News, American Alpine Institute

Skiers’ Guide to Japan, Freeskier

Drone Footage of Iceland’s Landscapes, Outside

The Best Ski and Snowboard Films Out Now, Red Bull TV

Avalanche Accident Case Studies,

Steps to Get Ready to Climb Big Objectives in Alaska, American Alpine Institute

First Free Ascent on the Diamond, Outside

Full Report On Avalanche That Claimed Hayden Kennedy And Inge Perkins, Unofficial Networks


Homeland Security/Terrorism

DHS Pics Sig Sauer for Sidearm, Soldier Systems

45 Foreign Fighters Arrested in Malaysia This Year, OODA Loop

The Rise and Fall of Los Zetas, War Is Boring


First Responder, Wildland Fire

Homicide the largest contributor to years of lost life among African Americans, Homeland Security Newswire

Sergeant Suckup, LE Today

Review of “Only the Brave,” Wildfire Today

FBI: Felonious Deaths of Officers Spiked 61% in 2016 – 116 Killed, Police

Respect Vs. Fear, LE Today

Interview with Amanda Marsh, Wildfire Today

Why Firearms Standardization Puts Officers At Risk, Police One

Stunned Suspect Kills Officer, Police One

LE – Analyze your Defensive Tactics Curriculum, Police

Wildfires: How they Form and Why They Are So Dangerous, Nat Geo

Eagle Creek Burn Flyover, Outside


Nutrition, Fitness

How Much Food Does it Take to Feed and NFL Team in a Week?, Men’s Journal

8 Best Muscle-Building Foods for Vegans and Vegetarians, Men’s Fitness

What a Single Fatty Meal Can Do to our Arteries,

The Healthiest Packaged Breads, Crackers & Chips, Muscle & Fitness

Healthiest Packaged Meat & Meat Alternatives, Muscle & Fitness

How Do People Die of Diabetes?, NY Times

Nearly 4 in 10 US Adults are Obese, WebMD

5 Things That Help When you’re Depressed, Psychology Today

Here’s Why Cross Training Is So Miserable, Outside

Thought & Theory Behind MTI’s Update to the Backcountry Ski Training Plan

By Rob Shaul

MTI’s Backcountry Ski Pre-Season Training Plan was due for an update and currently here in Wyoming, we’ve got 23 “lab rats” testing the sessions in the new design.

One of the consistent elements in all our plan updates is simplification. Over the years I’ve found that as I’ve gained experience as a coach my programming has become more direct, focused, and simple. I like to say that “sophisticated design is immature.”

This doesn’t mean the person who does the design is immature – but the design itself is immature … and as it “matures” over time and application, “extra stuff” gets cut away.

Program design generally begins too “sophisticated” – or complicated. The best design – houses, cars, tea pots, clothes, training plans, is simple.

Getting to “simple” is a surprisingly arduous process involving testing, running session, experience, and the confidence to make the decision on what elements of the program stay and are enhanced, and which get cut.

Video: MTI Lab Rats work through the Leg Blasters/Mixed Grip Pull Ups circuit and second Touch/Jump/Touch to Box Intervals in today’s session to the coming update of our Backcountry Ski Training Plan. 

Overall Cycle Goal
Our mountain sport pre-season cycles are designed to get the athlete sport-specifically fit for the activity so they he/she can begin the season physically prepared. In the case of this cycle, not only do we want our athletes to be able to be able to ski strong and long the first day of the season, but also be able to recovery, and ski the next day, and the day after that, and the day after, etc. So we’re not only training first day fitness, but also the ability to recover from a long day skiing and skiing.

Below is a chart I developed when beginning the Backcountry Ski Pre-Season Training Plan update which outlines the primary fitness demands of backcountry skiing, the exercises/circuits I deployed in the plan update to train them, and the end of cycle goals for this updated plan.

Note we don’t train “balance” during this cycle. I’ve found there is little to no transfer from gym-based balance training to outside performance. Quickly gym-based balance drills simply make the athlete better at the drill, and don’t help them in the sport. At the beginning of a ski season, all skiers are going to be “rusty” in terms of technique. If my skiers are fit, however, they can spend more time skiing early in the season and more quickly kick out the rust and get back up to form.

As designed, the cycle is 7 weeks long, with 3x assessments at Weeks 1, 3 and 7:

Strength Assessment – 1RM Hinge Lift

Sport-Specific Work Capacity Assessment – 90 Second Touch/Jump/Touch to Box for Reps

Endurance Assessment

30 Minute AMRAP wearing 25# Weight Vest or Pack:

4x In-Place Lunges

20x Step Ups (16″ Bench)

4x 25m Shuttles

Here is the weekly schedule: 

Mon: Eccentric Leg Strength (Quadzilla), Posterior Chain Strength (Hinge), Upper Body Strength, Leg Lactate Tolerance (Touch/Jump/Touch)
Tue: Backcountry Ski Endurance (Lunge, Step up, Shuttle Circuit), Chassis Integrity (ART)
Wed:Eccentric Leg Strength (Quadzilla), Posterior Chain Strength (Hinge), Upper Body Strength, Leg Lactate Tolerance (Touch/Jump/Touch)
Thur: Uphill Endurance (Step Ups), Chassis Integrity (Low Back)
Fri: General Endurance  – moderate paced distance run up to 8 miles.

Learning how to set the progressions for any cycle is part of the art or “craft” of coaching. These training sessions are intense – and my goal is to have the athletes not only be able to complete them at the top of the cycle, but also recover from the effort. This recovery goal plays a part in the setting the progressions.

The most “intense” exercises in this cycle are the Quadzilla Complexes and the Touch/Jump/Touch to box intervals. I’m running the different progressions for each 4 times – or four sessions, before increasing. The goal is to have the athletes able to not only complete the progression – but recover from it, before moving on to the next.

Recovery Drink Mini-Study
We’ve partnered with GU Energy for this cycle and are completed a recovery drink “mini study” in conjunction. Approximately 1/2 of the lab rats are drinking GU’s recovery drink after each gym-based session (Mon-Thurs). At each re-assessment (Weeks 3 and 7), we’ll compare results to between the two groups to see if the recovery drink perhaps made a difference.

After the lab rats complete this cycle and report back from their initial days on the snow, we’ll determine what worked and didn’t work, and update the current plan.



Q&A 10.12.17



I’ve been up well past my bedtime since I returned home from my graduate program this evening drinking coffee to grind through almost 3 hours of class.
So, I just read your article on “Big Boy Rules” and how that approach does not work.  I have to agree with you.  For the last two plus years of working with the unit I am currently assigned to (and all previous units) leading Marines, I have seen A LOT of Marines doing their own thing.  As a result of this, I usually instituted at least a one day a week PT program, which often evolved into me working out with those who really want to improve.  I always welcome it as I know their presence along will make me train harder.
This was based off a few of observations after having worked with those units for a short period of time.  I watched and I could tell the guys/gals who were and were not working out and maintaining a level of combat readiness, regardless of us not being infantry Marines.  Some were fat which made them easy to identify.  Some of those fat kids could performed physically.  Many looked fit, but showed their true colors during any kind of PT by falling out of the training, vomiting, or fake vomiting to gain some recovery time.  Some found every excuse to get out of any fitness activity.  I told them that was fine, but their performance evaluation could influence their markings under the areas of setting the example, leading subordinates, and courage depending on their rank, position, and medical readiness status.  But some, some were as fit or more fit than me.  Regardless, I was responsible for them and as Jack Nicholson said in The Departed “I don’t want to be a product of my environment.  I want my environment to be a product of me.”
So, I started weekly sessions.  I tried to set the conditions and expectations by telling Marines three things about my PT sessions which were almost always “functional” fitness oriented.
1) I care that you showed up because that is the first step in getting in better shaped, and being combat ready. And, I know it isn’t always easy with our work schedule.
2)  I don’t can if you are first or last during our PT sessions.  You don’t have to be the strongest, fastest or most powerful out of the group.  But, I expect you to be the strongest, fastest or most powerful version of yourself during those sessions.
3)  If our group session is the hardest, most challenging thing you have done all week (and yes, some were really tough) you are not training hard enough in your own time.
Some guys really responded to this, many did not but in time they were won over.  At first, I could tell they hated my Friday sessions early in the morning.  I planned, briefed, and led the first month of sessions to set the standards.  Then, I started rotating sessions throughout the Marines.  This was where the money was made.  I would leave it up to someone to plan and lead the session, but vet the session to make sure it was challenging or not too challenging.  We went a little too far when one Marine was hospitalized for rhabdomyolysis following the session he planned and I approved.  I’m ashamed I let that happen.  I learned from it.  More importantly, he made a full recovery.
I knew I was achieving the result I desired when on a Monday or Tuesday the Marines would ask me what we were doing for PT that week or someone would volunteer.  And, the competition set in.  Guys started the “one-upper” game of trying to out due one another.  I tried to managed that game with the exception being the one workout mentioned above.
All this took a while, but it was good for unit cohesion and fitness.  Not to say they couldn’t have been achieved some other way if I had more time, but those results were only achieved through those events during this time period.
And so, I started the four week CFT training program today.  I sent a call out to the unit to see if anyone wanted to participate.  This was voluntary and I would be softly leading the sessions, e.g. keeping us on track, demonstrating exercises, keeping scores, etc.  But, I said I wasn’t going to entertain special requests to modify the times or workouts due to people’s schedules with a few exceptions.  They either come or they don’t.  Regardless, I will be at the track/stadium at 0630 Monday through Friday.  I got about 10 Marines who signed up.  I think that is pretty good.
So, I did the first session this afternoon.  All of us were taxed by session 1.  We all complained or griped during the events about how hard it was.  But, we all felt like we had accomplished a critical 1st step today.  One Marine who has been in for more than 20 years and did the session stated to someone who asked how the session went  “It was terrible.  It is exactly what I need.”
I don’t know if I would do this without them.  In the most humble of voices, I know they wouldn’t do it without me.  Even though all ten of us do not working the same sections, we have formed our own unit to train.  It is a pretty cool experience and I thank you guys for putting together this program.  In many situations, and this is one of them, Suffering equals growth.  Suffering together provides strength toward the growth.
I have no doubt that at the end of this, those who complete the entire four weeks will be talking shit to others who didn’t do it.  That and the best scores of their lives will be the part that makes me truly feel accomplished.



I am reaching out as I am looking through your routines and workout plans and trying to decide on what might be the best fit for me as I fall into a few categories for your recommendations. I am an urban firefighter, ocean rescue lifeguard, have my red card for wild land firefighting and also compete professionally as a paddle athlete in long and short distance as well as surfing. Im looking at a combination of programs but wanted your advice on which route you would recommend. On the water paddle sessions, swim sessions and gym training are what I am looking for. Thank you in advance for your help.


Recommend you do our Big Cat Training Packet, which is specific to the demands of urban firefighting. You can add in your own swimming/paddle sessions in the afternoon if you want. We always recommend training for the athlete’s main profession. Firefighting depends on a high level of specific fitness which could save your life – everything else is secondary.



New to your programming, didn’t see any general guidelines related to athletes 40+ years old.  Anything you can share?


We recently published the SF45 Packet, which is strength and conditioning programming specific for athletes in the 45-55 age range. Below are some of the details on the training principles we’ve applied for the packet. This should do the trick for you.

Heavy, Low Volume Strength – think heavy barbel and 1-3 reps per set. The goal is to increase or maintain relative strength (strength per bodyweight) in the most efficient manner possible. Some SF45 cycles will feature bodyweight strength training, but none will include moderately loaded free weight strength training in the 5-12 reps per set range. This is to avoid unnecessary joint impact.

The heavy, low volume strength Strength Programming in SF45 Delta breaks from Alpha, Bravo and Charlie in that the plan steps away from heavy, low-volume barbell-based strength training to focus exclusively on bodyweight strength training.

Endurance – Recreationally, most activities for athletes in this age range are outside and have a strong endurance component – biking, hunting, trail running, hiking, alpine climbing, etc. As well, for experienced athletes who’ve spent decades throwing iron around in gyms, the appeal of training inside wanes. Endurance programming includes assessment based intervals at a threshold pace, long distance intervals at an easy pace, and gym-based endurance training. This programming may include rucking and ruck running, as well as loaded step ups.

Chassis Integrity – MTI’s mid-section training methodology aims at building transferable mid-section strength and strength endurance. Four movements are emphasized: Rotation, Anti-Rotation, Total Body and Extension. Chassis Integrity can be trained in focused circuits, as well as in complementary gym-based endurance events.

Non-high Impact Work Capacity – In this age group, gone are the days of hard, intense, high impact multi-modal gym-based work capacity programming. For day to day training, the interest and need for this type of fitness is not worth the joint impact. Work capacity training is limited to lower impact gym exercises and shuttle sprints.

Deep Loaded Squat Avoidance – For our over-40 lab rats, it’s nearly impossible to do heavy back or front squats without limited joint pain. Lower body strength training in these cycles will focus on lunges, hinge lifts and bodyweight or lightly loaded complexes



I just bought the SFRE training packet and I’m wondering is there is any particular brand of rucksack you guys recommend?


We use the standard ALICE ruck, which can be bought at any military surplus store. We recommend you use the same ruck you will use at SFRE if possible.



First off thank you for everything you do! I love your programming!
A little back story, I’m 27 and haven’t taken fitness too seriously in the past. I’ve realized the error of my ways and have to decided to make a change in a big way. I’m working to join an Air Force reserve pararescue unit. The unit I want to join uses indoc grad standards for their try outs. I know I have a long way to go to get there and am dedicated to doing what it takes to get there. My question is what programming do you suggest I use to get my self in the physical and mental shape I need to be able to achieve my goals? I’ve already completed the body weight foundations program and am currently working through the military on-ramp program so now I’m looking for help to plan what my next steps should be to get myself where I need to be as efficiently as possible. Time isn’t really an option as I’m giving myself at least a year before attempting to enlist but I still don’t want to waste any time. Thanks in advance for help you can provide.


You picked the right plans to get started with Bodyweight Foundations and the Military On-Ramp. Once you’ve finished the on-ramp program, here’s what I’d recommend:
1. Greek Hero Training Packet + Swim Improvement Plan – The Greek Hero packet is our latest work on military fitness programming and will build you a very solid base of fitness. Add in the Swim Improvement plan to ‘get your feet wet’ and start nailing down your swim technique. You can repeat the swim improvement plan – it will automatically scale to your latest swim assessment times.
2. Pirate Training Packet – this is programming for water based military units. It includes 1x day of swimming with strength, work capacity, and endurance work.
3. PAST Training Plan – specific programming for the PJ/CCT PT test


Hello from lisbon! I am 19 years old , this year i want to stablish myself as a mountain athlete with more focus on Climbing and trail running , normally in summer time i do big backpacking and climbing trips.

I lead climb all 6a and have some onsigths on 6b´s and this year i will compete on national skyrunning circuit
said this i want to ask if you can advise me a training plan from your site !


Recommend our Greek Heroine packet. It will train all the fitness attributes you need for climbing, trail running, and vertical gain in addition to developing strength, work capacity, and core development.



I just finished big 24 training plan what would you recommend next. I want to improve my balance, core strength and still keep the strength I gained from big 24. This was a great plan loved it looking forward to hear from you.


I’d recommend Operator Achilles from our tactical side. Achilles has a slight strength focus and deploys our Super Squat progression for bench press and back squat, but also includes a healthy dose of bodyweight work capacity, agility and running for endurance.



I am and currently serving in the US Navy. I’m quite interested in the 18X pipeline and have been training with rucking and calisthenics but don’t quite have a good workout plan with rucking and running because I kind of just do it and not really see a lot of progress. I feel like I’m at a plateau. I would like to know from your experiences and knowledge about what program is best for me to set myself up for success when my time comes to join the Army on an 18X contact. I just recently found out about this website and quite curious in what can better myself physically and mentally for what selection entails. I also just got deployed so being here on the ship might limit some certain workouts. If you can please email me back with more info on what you might suggest for my training program would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and have a great day.


I’d recommend you start our stuff with the Virtue Series of training plans, specifically Humility, then on to Fortitude, Virtue, etc.
Humility is a limited equipment training plan – so you should be set in the short term. Humility testimonials HERE.
Email back if/when you join the Army and get slotted for 18x. I’ll likely shift you over to the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet.
– Rob


I have been searching for a program to get me through my climbing plateau. Because of work and school, I generally can only climb twice a week (once in the gym, once outside if possible). I can climb every 5.11 in the gym consistently, as well as most 5.9’s and 5.10’s outside, but I cannot seem to get above that grade.
I am hoping for a program that is 4-5 workouts a week. Preferably 3 gym/cardio days and 1-2 climbing days.
Could you point me in the right direction of which one you would recommend?


We’ve had great luck even with our advanced climbers working through our Rock Climbing Pre-Season Training Plan.
This training plan focuses on finger/grip strength, work capacity and strength endurance, but also includes general fitness gym-based training and endurance running. It’s no joke.
Good luck!
– Rob


I am an 27 year old male Army ROTC cadet that has until the spring 2019 semester to be be able to score at least a 180 in the APFT for contracting, with 270 being the target for my ROTC Battalion. My sergeant gave me a copy of the APFT 6 week training program from when you guys were still called to get me there. My issue is that I’ve been out of shape for about 7 years now and have only been starting to get back into fitness over the past year. I’ve done starting strength and couch to 5k to get myself a bit of a baseline but now I need to go sport specific in my programming. Below are some relevant numbers that can maybe help you point me the right way.

What I want to know is: is it alright for me to push through with the plan I was given or if I need to train up to it first. If so, what plan should I follow from your catalog to develop a solid baseline. Numbers below, I look forward to hearing from you.

I am 5’8, 250lbs.

Starting Strength Programming:
Squat: 305
Press: 140
Bench Press: 165
Deadlift: 310
Power Clean: 140

Running capability: I can jog really slow (13-14 minute a mile pace) for up to 40+ minutes. I have not been able to maintain a constant 8-9 minute a mile pace for running yet and need to develop this ability so I can pass the APFT run in my age group.

Rucking capability: I can hump 6 miles with 30lbs in just under 2 hours.

Unofficial APFT Scores as of last week:
Pushups: 34
Sit-ups: 30
2 mile run: 24:36


OK. You’re overweight and need to get that in control. Fix your diet now. Click here to see our nutrition guidance

For training, this is the order of training plans I’d recommend:
4) The APFT Training plan your Sergeant gave you
I have a quick question about equipment that shows up in the first plan’s overview: what counts as a 17-20″ Step? Is it something like this:“&dpPl=1&dpID=51B8E1TQUZL&ref=plSrch

I just wanna make sure I buy only what i need, nothing extravagant. Direction on this would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.
You can use anything sturdy for step ups … we use our own custom-built benches, but other have used stacked bumper plates, benches made for bench pressing, outside concrete ledges, sturdy chairs, etc. The box you sent will work also but I’d look around your house for a “free” option first.
– Rob


I’m very interested in purchasing a program from Mtn Tactical. I’ve heard nothing but good things and would love to give it a try for myself. Let me show you where my curiosity is.I’m an infantryman in the Colorado Army Guard and the big goal I have right now is Ranger school. I’m not sure if you’re familiar or not but at least in CO if you want to go to Ranger you first go to an OML, which is a weekend tryout. If you pass that you get sent to RTAC which is the guards version of pre-ranger. Then if you pass that you go to Ranger school.
The issue lies that I know for sure the OML will be in May, which is plenty of time to do my physical and mental homework. But I don’t know the time gap between the first weekend and RTAC, which is two weeks long, and the school itself. I’ve looked into your Ranger training packet, which seems excellent but I don’t have the full 10 months to prepare, and then I’ve looked into some of your other programs as well. I would really appreciate some advice. I know that physical prep isn’t the only thing that carries someone through schools such as Ranger, but it certainly helps. I have pretty good records of where I’m at physically, so if you need those to make a better assessment just let me know.
Thanks for your time Rob! I really appreciate the advice as well as all you do for the military/leo/fire/mountain communities. I’m a native Wyomingite myself so I also want you to know I think it’s sweet that all you’re doing is coming out of my home state.
Thanks again and have a good one.


I’d recommend you go-ahead and go with the Ranger School Training Packet – I understand your scheduling unknowns with you’re OML, RTAC and then subsequent Ranger … but the plans in this packet are progressively designed to get you ready for Ranger School and will lay a solid foundation setting you up for success when you learn more about OML, etc.
As you get closer to OML, email back with whatever details you can find out/learn/discern. 6-8 weeks out we may want to see if we have a plan which can come close to sport specifically preparing you for this event. Likely, one of the plans in the packet will suffice well.
Go Pokes!
– Rob


Hope you’re well. Just looking at some training plans on Mtn Athlete and trying to decide which could work best.

I’d say I’ve got 1 – 1 ½ hrs a day to train 5 days a week and then on the weekend I can likely do 1 day of 2 – 4hrs depending on family commitments, and then a day a month of a longer 4 – 8 hr day.

I’m on the Mountain rescue team here on Mt Hood where most of our missions involve skinning up for 3000/4000+ feet carrying rescue gear, I’m considering doing a couple of ski rando races as well between Feb and April next year as well.

I was looking at Artemis/ AMGA Guide pre season and the Ski Rando Training, trying to figure out if any of those or something else would be most applicable, thanks for your assistance.


I’d recommend the Backcountry Ski Training Plan to prep for your ski/rescue season. Once the snow flies and you can skin, you can switch to the Rando plan, but now – I’d recommend the BC plan and you focus on your rescue duties.
– Rob


I came across this site while looking for some training plans to work on to get/stay in peak Alpine shape next season.  I’m thinking of starting out with the Bodyweight Foundation or Fatloss plan to get started and ease into your methods.  I notice that all the plans (mountain and general) include running, sadly (I used to love running) having had my tibial plateau crushed and reconstructed after an accident, I’ve been advised to avoid running all together (though I am cleared for all climbing activities, my ortho just doesn’t want me running).  Is there a good substitute, such as hiking similar distance times or cycling intervals?


You can bike/spin. When you make the substitution think, time, not distance and use 9-minute miles for running.
So … if the plan calls for a 5 mile run, 5×9 min/miles = 45 minutes. Bike for 45 minutes.
– Rob


You have two plan options , 1)pay $29 per month cancel anytime and you can access and/or download any plan in your library with unlimited downloads ???And 2) pay $29-39 per plan individually??
I’m a little confused by your plan choices and why it would make sense for anyone to purchase individual plans if you have access to the entire library for $29?
Btw I’m interested in your calisthenics and weight loss plans that don’t require gym membership , workouts that can be done at home or at the park .  I been having a hard time time losing weight in the past and I’m currently at 218 lbs. but my goal is to be around 170 lbs again.  Of course I’d like to get right and ripped at the same time, looking for more of a aesthetic look not the big bodybuilder type look
Please clarify your plan options and what program or programs in your library would be the produce the best results for me, thx.


There are 3 ways to access MTI programming – individual plan purchase, packet of plans purchase or monthly subscription.

What is the difference between purchasing an individual training plan, packet of plans or an Athlete’s Subscription?

  • Plan – Like purchasing the DVD of the first Star Wars movie. You own it forever, including any updates we make to the plan.
  • Packet – Like purchasing the DVD’s of all the Star Wars movies. You own them forever, including any updates we make to the plans.
  • Athlete’s Subscription – Like subscribing to Netflix. You get access to all 200+ plan in our library, but lose access if you unsubscribe.
For you, I’d recommend you start our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan.
– Rob


Operator Ugly comprises lowerbody barbell work alongside sprinting and running.
What is the best way to program these elements with a view to avoid lowerbody overtraining?


I challenge the assumption of your question – which is that you can’t train leg strength, and sprinting based, and other work capacity, concurrently.
Certainly this doesn’t represent the reality of many real life tactical and mountain operations/missions, now even team and individual sports – football, rugby, hockey, etc.
Also, overtraining isn’t in isolation. It depends upon the individual athlete’s fitness. What could constitute overtraining for an unfit athlete, could be an easy work load for a fit athlete.
The bulk of our programming addresses this fitness issue by scheduling an assessment day 1 of the program, and then basing the follow-on progressions based on the assessment results. In this way the plan automatically “scales” to the incoming fitness of the individual athletes. This is the approach of our Operator Ugly Train Up, and this is the plan I’d recommend for you.
Please understand these programs are designed in the abstract, then published. We’ve run our programming approach with our “lab rats” at our Wyoming and other facilities, and have changed/evolved/fixed the plans and seen the results.
– Rob


First of all, I want to sincerely apologize for my delay in sending this to you.  It’s now been  nearly 18 months since your visit to Denver for your weekend certification class with Dave Hageman.  There have been numerous times when thoughts have come and gone of things I wanted to mention or questions I had only to be lost to my short attention span and inability to actually sit down put words together.
I am a Lieutenant with Denver Fire. We’re busy but make it a point to work out together each morning before our day gets too busy.
I would like to begin with saying that I tremendously appreciated the weekend together last year.  It was just what I was looking for and the MTI program is now a part of my life.  My crew at Engine 10 was all in with me, with the exception of one member, and they always provided very positive feedback.  My crew now at Engine 23 is also all in and looks forward to the workouts each shift.  I am still following the plans we created over that weekend in the course and am using my course book, albeit somewhat worn and tattered.
I can say a crew favorite is the TACSEPA workouts we do.  The guys really get into it.  I believe mostly because it is so applicable to what we do and it is different than just working out.  We often do our evolutions at a park using whatever obstacles we can find, getting creative and making it work.
A challenge I’ve had to overcome is following the routine.  We work a 24hr shift every third day, so what I’ve done is just alternate days with lifting days and TACSEPA days.  Lifting heavy total one shift, TACSEPA the next shift, Heavy lower the next shift, TACSEPA the next shift and so on….  I found it nearly impossible to try for the four or five day routine as it is intended simply because when we are off shift everyone is busy with their lives, families, other jobs, etc…..  I found it a small victory to get the buy in like I did from my guys for each and every shift.
I personally have tried to follow the plan but often times mix things up once home.  Here is where I have some questions for you.  I live in the foothills above Golden, west of Denver.  So I often trail run or mountain bike from home.  These days I tend to place in between my lift days, but it’s not always consistent with two toddlers at home and a wife who just went back to work.  I tend to trail run or ride my bike hard for about an hour on the local trails, which are brutally steep.  So I feel I get a great workout.  What I don’t want to loose is that emphasis on the explosive power however.  Is there a way to incorporate that in while still working towards building and maintaining endurance on those days?
In addition, I spend much of my summer out on our Wildland team on a hand crew.  So, come spring I tend to ramp up my prep for endurance under load in anticipation of those long days.  What is the best way to add this into the mix?  Also, in the winter, I work part time as a backcountry ski guide.  I found your leg blasters about six months prior to meeting you and have been a believer in them ever since.  Last year I just did a set of mini blasters in the fall once a week after workouts and eventually worked up to full blasters once or twice a week.  That seemed to work pretty well but is there a better way to add in ski season prep with the fire focused workouts?
Finally, I’ve got a story for you.  I mentioned the one member who chose to not partake in the workouts with us at my previous firehouse, Engine 10.  This individual was a senior member in the firehouse, almost 20 years in that company, in a promoted position as the engineer (driver) and severely overweight.  He is known across the job as a difficult person to work with and someone who has all the answers, is never wrong and has been there, done that.  Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me, not only as his officer, but as someone I was encouraging to partake in the workouts with us, the crew.  I always encouraged him to join, to be a part of the team but I never did get him to partake. He did start doing things on his own accord during our workouts towards the end of my tenure there though; putting in time on the elliptical, jogging on the treadmill, etc….  I had to consider that a small victory….
One of the greatest challenges however came when he was perusing through my MTI book that I had left out near the workout equipment one day and came across the line where it talks about “not being a counselor for the fatties.”  Well, he apparently took that personal and the next day I found myself in the Captain’s office being questioned about this new workout plan I’m “forcing” the guys to do and calling people fatties.  I could only shake my head as the misinterpretation was ridiculous but this guy was looking for anything he could to knock holes in what I was doing with the rest of the crew.
I remember we spoke at length during the class about holding people accountable and no snowflakes, etc… but unfortunately we, like many other large fire departments, have a culture that doesn’t necessarily follow the notion that we are tactical athletes, that our brothers and sisters depend on us to go the distance.  Its a sad thing but it’s reality.  It was a good lesson in trying to manage this gentleman, to not ostracize him and to always keep the door open for him to join us, but infinitely frustrating.
I had mentioned this story to Dave a while back and he thought you would appreciate it.
I’ll close with saying again that I apologize for the tardiness in my follow up but that I am all in on the MTI fire plan as best as I can make it work for me and am grateful for the opportunity I had to learn so much about it during your visit.
I hope this email finds you in good health as fall (and hunting season) is setting in and I look forward to hearing back from you when you have time.


Thanks for the note, and I’m glad our approach to Fire/Rescue fitness – both the programming, and the emphasis,  has resonated with you and some of your colleagues.
To your questions:
Q1: I live in the foothills above Golden, west of Denver.  So I often trail run or mountain bike from home.  These days I tend to place in between my lift days, but it’s not always consistent with two toddlers at home and a wife who just went back to work.  I tend to trail run or ride my bike hard for about an hour on the local trails, which are brutally steep.  So I feel I get a great workout.  What I don’t want to loose is that emphasis on the explosive power however.  Is there a way to incorporate that in while still working towards building and maintaining endurance on those days?
A1: I’m not sure I understand your question, but in general, as a professional tactical athlete, your work-related fitness must take priority over any recreational fitness. If the sessions you’re doing prior to your shift are hitting the relative strength, TAC SEPA, work capacity and chassis integrity elements of Fire/Rescue fitness, I’m not sure you need to worry about that on your off days, and can just enjoy your trail running/biking.
Q2: In addition, I spend much of my summer out on our Wildland team on a hand crew.  So, come spring I tend to ramp up my prep for endurance under load in anticipation of those long days.  What is the best way to add this into the mix?
A2: Best would be to shift from our Urban Fire/Rescue programming and complete our Wildand Fire Pre-Season Training Plan the 6-weeks before your summer fire season starts.
Q3: Also, in the winter, I work part time as a backcountry ski guide.  I found your leg blasters about six months prior to meeting you and have been a believer in them ever since.  Last year I just did a set of mini blasters in the fall once a week after workouts and eventually worked up to full blasters once or twice a week.  That seemed to work pretty well but is there a better way to add in ski season prep with the fire focused workouts?
A3: See answer #1 … your F/R fitness must take priority … but if you’re able to add in leg blasters and recover, keep doing it. We’ve found Leg Blasters not only an incredible tool for increasing leg strength, but also and incredible tool for increasing the leg eccentric strength for downhill skiing. Work up to 5x Full Leg Blasters with 60 seconds rest between. Killer!
Your story about the de-conditioned engineer … again our approach to tactical fitness does not subscribe to the holistic “wellness” approach common at most departments. We think your body is the most important piece of your safety equipment, and answering any type of emergency call with an unfit firefigher is a major safety issue. In simple terms, his poor conditioning is putting his life, and the lives of his crew, at risk, not to mention the public you are paid to serve.
In my opinion, you are not only being failed by this member, but also by your Captain, who I would have expected to have your back in this important safety issue. He didn’t.
In my ideal world, instead of the unfit fire/rescue guy going to the Captain, you and your crew members who are professional about your fitness, would have to the command and said you refused to work with this unfit member because his lack of fitness was a major safety issue putting his, yours and the publics’ safety at risk.
Just imagine the “cleansing” effect that could have have on the entire department, and how that could make an immediate and lasting change in the departments’ fitness culture.
– Rob


First, I want to begin by expressing how much I enjoy your programs. I am former Army infantry and have kept a high level of fitness since leaving the army in 99. I’m currently 40 years , 6’2″, 220 pounds and no real injuries.  In the past I had been primarily focused on weight lifting, a gym rat so to speak. Earlier this year, I decided to climb a mountain (Mt Baker- Washington State) and a friend that climbs recommended I check out your program. So I signed up and used the Big 24 and Rainier plan to prep. Not only was it great for getting me ready, but I really enjoyed the workouts and was completely impressed with your programs. Since finishing my climb I have been using your 357 Strength program which I have enjoyed. I am currently (meaning for the next 6 months) not training for anything specific but I enjoy variation and would like to keep a high level of fitness and strength.
My question- what program would you recommend for strength and overall high level of fitness. I like to keep it interesting and enjoy doing a lot of variation work with and emphasis on not gaining much weight though I am a lean 220. Any thoughts you could provide would be great.
Again- I am so grateful to have found your programs and look forward to hearing back from you.


A couple options.
1) Complete the Mountain Base Training Plans in the Greek Heroine Series, beginning with Helen. These plans concurrently train relative strength, work capacity, endurance (uphill hiking, running), chassis integrity (mid-section strength) and climbing fitness.
2) Complete the plans in the SF45 Packet – these plans are designed for high impact athletes 45-55 years old, but many 40+ year olds complete them too. They are still intense plans, but have a greater endurance emphasis and are easier on your joints – especially knees. Start with SF45 Alpha.
– Rob


I have heard great things about your program.  I wanted to know how do you size it down for a female with little upper body strength.  Do you have an upper body strengthening program and core building program that can help her progress to a passing score?  Her grip strength is weak.  She can do a monkey bar crossing. However, she is unable to do even 1 pull-up.  She is motivated to get in shape and willing to do the work – it just has to be something she can actually do.

She is using the 100 push-up app and the 200 sit-up app along with the running program from the Run Faster, Run Less book.


This plan deploys the assessment, and then uses the athlete’s initial score for the follow-on progressions. In this way it automatically “scales” to her incoming fitness. Plus – the plan is sport-specifically designed for the CFA.
– Rob


I’ll be attending canadian army basic training in almost a year. I was gonna do the rookie packet to begin with. But was wondering which plan would be suitable to do just before i began Basic training.


We don’t have a specific plan for CF basic training, but my guess is finishing the last plan in the Rookie Packet, the Operator Ugly Train Up, will have you over prepared for anything you’ll face at basic. You should be fine.
– Rob


I am 4 weeks into your Patrol Officer Training Plan and I am loving it. It has been tough but I am seeing measurable improvements and the plan is delivering across all areas as promised. I will be finishing it in 2 weeks and I’d like to continue with your LE style of training. I’m wondering if I should purchase your “Spirits” training plans or if I should repeat my current program. Are there significant differences between the POT Plan and the Spirit plans? Will the POT plan have a second version?
Thanks for all that you and the lab rats do. I recommend MTI to others in my security department every chance I get. Keep it up!


The Patrol Officer Training Plan was our initial programming for LE Athletes. There will not be a second POT plan.
The LE Spirit’s Packet of plans represent our latest iteration of fitness programming for LE athletes and what I recommend next for you. Start with Whiskey.
– Rob


I plan on becoming certified as a Personal Protection Specialist and was wanting to know which subscription to subscribe to for such a position.


I’d recommend our programming for Law Enforcement Athletes.
Start with the LE On-Ramp Training Plan, then move to the plans in the LE Spirit’s Training Packet.
The plan/packet can be purchased individually at the links above. As well, all these plans as well as 200+ more in the MTI library are included with an Athlete’s Subscription to the website.
– Rob


Arete 10.12.17

Military/National Defense

Afghanistan and Strategy – 16 years On, Real Clear Defense

Iran Threatens US Bases if Republican Guard Named Terror Group, Real Clear Defense

A Military History of Afghanistan, Real Clear Defense

Give War a Chance: How to Deal With N. Korea, Washington Examiner

US, Turkey Relations at Crisis Point, The Cipher Brief

The Growing Danger of a US Nuclear First Strike on N. Korea, War on the Rocks

What the Great Scud Hunt in Iraq Can Tell Us About War with N. Korea, War is Boring

Army’s New War Doctrine Envisions Big, Mechanized Land War, War is Boring

ISIS Fighters Surrender En Masse, NY Times

Finland Treats Soldiers the Right Way, War Is Boring

Podcast: Fighting Inside Grenade Range, Modern War Institute

Soldiers Using “Warhacks” to Transform Combat, War is Boring

Why Nerds Should Not Be In Charge of War, The Diplomat

China’s Military Expanding Bases Globally, Bloomberg

Do Japan and S. Korea Need Nukes?, The Cipher Brief

Army Investigating Blackhawk Crash with Civilian Drone, Real Clear Defense

N. Korea Preparing Long Distance Missile Test, Reuters

Time for SOF to Dump “Unconventional Warfare,” Real Clear Defense


Homeland Security, First Responder (LE/Fire Rescue)

ICE will Arrest at California Worksites, Police One

Will Vegas Attack Change Event Security?, Police One Podcast

Houston Police Chief Calls for Gun Control, Officer

Terrorism and Guns: Troubling Implications for the US, Homeland Security Newswire

Nearly 3,000 People Shot in Chicago So Far This Year, Officer

Washington State Firefighters Issued Body Armor following Vegas, Police One

Leadership and Morale in Wildland Firefighting, Wildland Fire Leadership

Dallas May Use Demotions to Get More Officers on the Street, Officer

80K Acres in 18 Hours: Cali Wildfires, Wildfire Today



Makalu: The First Ski Descent, Outside

1st Avy Death of the Year Reported in Montana, Unofficial Markets

Rock Climbing: The Projecting Process, Training Beta

Honold, Ozturk Ponder Risk, Reward While Climbing Big AK Walls, The North Face

Head to Head, Enduro V. Downhill MTB, Gearjunkie

Goodbye to Francek Knez, Slovakia’s Silent Climber, Planet Mountain

What Climbers Can Teach Us About Focus, Outside

5 Rock Climbing Injury Prevention Articles, Training Beta

Brazilian Ultrarunner Sets Kili Speed Record, The Adventure Blog

How Climbers Sleep on a Big Wall, The Adventure Blog

Climbing and Outdoor News 10.5.17, American Alpine Institute

Colorado Debates Whether E-Bikes Will Be Allowed on Trails, Unofficial Networks

Meet the Women’s Group Changing the Face of Hunting and Fishing, Gear Junkie

Dear Fat Crack: A Not-Quite Love Letter to the Wide, Climbing

Trailer: “Waking Dream” Captures Terrifying Side of Chamonix, Unofficial Networks

Video: “Fountain of Youth,” Salomon TV


USMC On Hunt for Compact Pistol, Real Clear Defense

Backpacking: How To Keep Your Feet Dry, Backpacking Light

Heavy Competition for Army’s Light Tank, Real Clear Defense

Black Crows Ski Apparel, Powder

Best Wallet-Friendly Mountain Bikes, Outdoor Gear Lab

The Best Hiking Shoes, According to Adventure Guides, Outside

Why Do I need Trekking Poles?, American Alpine Institute

Down vs. Synthetic & the Future of Insulated Jackets, Gear Patrol

Gore Exhibiting Next-Gen Fabrics and High-Performance Cables & Materials for Military and Defense Applications at AUSA 2017, Soldier Systems

Best Sports Bras of Fall, 2007, Muscle & Fitness


Fitness, Nutrition, Health

Massive increase in antimicrobials use in animals to lead to widespread drug resistance in humans, Homeland Security Newswire

12 Common Failures of Passive Aggressive People, Psychology Today

The Homemade Energy Bars that Power My Climbs, Outside

How Overconfidence Subverts Rational Thinking, Psychology Today

Can Exercise Prevent Depression?, Psychology Today

The Healthiest Dairy, Milk Alternatives and Drinks, Men’s Fitness

An Honest Guide to Sports Gels, Outside

15 Things to Know About Food – The Industry Won’t Tell You, Psychology Today

Rogue Cells Can Give You a Fat Belly, Men’s Fitness

“Pornography Addiction” in 2017, Psychology Today

How Too Much Sugar Can Damage Livers of Even Healthy Men, Web MD

How to Deal With Takers at Work, Psychology Today

Is there Any Reason Not to Get a Flu Shot?, NY Times

Online Training Plan Improvements

By Mintra Mattison

MTI Customers have made several requests in regards to accessibility and user-friendliness of our online training plans.
Below are your requests and the changes we’ve made accordingly.

(1) “I want to be able to print out the workouts so I can take them with me.”

You can now print out every week of your training plan simply by hitting Print under the file tab of your internet browser.
It is set up so the whole week will fit on a standard letter size sheet. You might have to adjust you printer layout settings to Landscape.

(2) “When I log in, I have to search for my Plan first, then for the Session. I want to be able to start right where I left off.”

We created a bookmark so you can get to your session within one click.
In order to bookmark a session click once on the flag at the top right of your screen.

After clicking on the flag, it will then turn green to verify that your session has been bookmarked.

Next time you log in, you will be directed to that exact session by clicking on the notification at the top of your screen.


(3) “It would be great if there was an easy way to look up exercises I am not familiar with.”

You can now easily access our Exercise Library through the View Exercises Button on the top right. It will open a new tap and you can look for unfamiliar exercises.

As always we need you to get better.

Got any questions, feedback or requests? Please email us at

Why MTI?

By Rob Shaul


1)  Mission Direct

Gym numbers mean nothing. All that matters is mission performance. 

To this end, MTI’s fitness solutions and programming are not boxed in by convention, tradition, orthodoxy, public opinion or any other artificial constraint driven by inside or outside forces.

We begin with the raw fitness demands of the mission and build a fitness solution which directly prepares the athlete for those demands.


2) Fitness Solutions Built from the Ground Up

MTI’s programming is not “re-tread” bodybuilding, football, CrossFit, kettlebell, strength or general fitness programming. We’ve built our fitness programming for mountain and tactical athletes from the ground up.

The Fluid Periodization methodology we deploy to concurrently train multiple fitness attributes is completely original and has continued to evolve and improve over the years.

Our mid-section training methodology, Chassis Integrity, is also original, as is our endurance programming, 7 strength training progressions, tactical agility, and work capacity programming.

Our mountain sports pre-season training plans, tactical PFT, selection, school, course, and fitness improvement training plans across military, LE and Fire Rescue are MTI-developed, tested and athlete-proven.

Over the years hundreds of athletes and coaches have taken our advanced programming and unit fitness leader programming courses and MTI is widely recognized within the mountain and tactical professions and fitness media as a thought leader in fitness programming for military and tactical athletes.


3) The MTI Method

→ Research: MTI begins program design with extensive research of the fitness demands of the mission, sport or event, identifies the exercises and progressions which sport-specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the training plan.

→ Deploy & Assess: We deploy the training plan “Lab Rats” at our Wyoming facility. Training session and cycle issues are identified and fixed as we work through the training plan. Post cycle we assess the programming’s effectiveness and efficiency. We keep the stuff that works, and fix or toss the stuff that doesn’t.

→ Publish & Assess Again: Plan is published for purchase as an individual training plan and made available to our subscribers. Feedback/results are assessed.

→ Iterate: We take what we learn from lab rats and athletes, re-visit, update and improve already published training plans. Several of our individual training plans are on their 4th or 5th version.


5) Field Proven

Our stuff works. Weekly we receive unsolicited reviews of our programming and testimonials to its effectiveness.


6) Programming Breadth

MTI’s library of 200+ sport-specific fitness plans for mountain and tactical athletes is unmatched. Resources range from specific programming for tactical special forces selections, to specific plans for climbing Rainier and Denali, to general fitness solutions such as running improvement, to post-rehab from injury.

Over the past decade, MTI has partnered with hundreds of athletes throughout their individual mountain and tactical careers, and provided fitness solutions as they face new mountain objectives, tactical schools, selections, PFTs and deployments, and came back from injury.


7) Worldwide Influence

Our work is not limited to US Athletes.

We’ve developed selection-specific training plans for Canadian, UK, Australian and German Special Forces Selections and worked with individual military personnel from Scandinavia, South, and Central America.

Canadian, Australian, UK and western European law enforcement and fire/rescue athletes have used MTI programming for mission-direct fitness.

On the mountain side, Alpinists from Japan to Slovakia have consulted with MTI and used MTI’s programming to prepare for mountain objectives.


8) Mission Performance beyond Fitness

MTI’s exists is to improve Mission Performance for mountain and tactical athletes and keep them safe. 

This focus on “mission direct” solutions, enhancements and improvements drives our work and research and extends beyond fitness solutions to include training, leadership, gear, team culture, and safety. 

Fitness is just one area of our work.

Our non-fitness research has included tactical cultures, combat uniforms, and gore-tex performance, and effect of stress on marksmanship.

Our work on defining what it means to be a Quiet Professional has had penetrating influence and driven healthy conversations with both mountain and tactical professionals.


8) Direct, Honest, Clear Answers

Since 2007 we’ve taken and answered dozens of questions weekly from mountain and tactical athletes. We’ve saved these individual Q&A’s and now thousands are archived on our site.

We’re not salesmen, and our answers are noted for their directness, honesty, and clarity. Our stuff isn’t for everyone. If we can help, we’ll let you know. If we can’t, we’ll let you know that, too.

– Rob Shaul, Founder


All of the Above is Backed Up By Our Promise: Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.


Plan Focus: FLETC PEB Plan


By Rob Shaul

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Physical Efficiency Battery (PEB) is a one day fitness assessment for Law Enforcement Officers beginning training in any FLETC course or training academy.

The PEB is an interesting mix of events, different than many of the tactical athlete fitness assessments we’ve seen and programmed for over the years. Here are the events:

  • Body Composition Caliper Test (Ungraded Event)
  • Sit and Reach Flexibility Test
  • Bench Press One Rep Max (1RM)
  • Illinois Agility Drill
  • 1.5 Mile Run

This is an old assessment, from what we can learn, and is unique in 4 ways: (1) No push ups, sit ups or pull ups; (2) Includes a 1RM strength assessment – the bench press; (3) Includes an agility drill; (4) Includes a graded flexibility test.

While I don’t feel the PEB is an adequate assessment of tactical fitness for LE, the unique events did present an interesting programming puzzle for us to solve with this training plan. Here is we tackled each event in this plan:

Sit & Reach
We address this graded event two ways – practice the actual event 2-3x/week, and with our Toe Touch Complex exercise, which trains hamstring flexibility.

Bench Press 1RM
We deploy an assessment and use our proven percentage-based Rat 6 progression. Athletes are assessed 3x during this plan – beginning, middle and end. Progressions are reset after the mid-cycle progression to account for the athlete’s increase in fitness from the initial weeks of training.

Illinois Drill
Similar to the Sit & Reach, we tackle training for this classic agility drill 2 ways: (1) Practice the drill – 2-3x/week and with 10-meter shuttle repeats to train drill-specific movement, strength and work capacity. The plan also includes our Quadzilla Complex which will help train overall leg strength, and the eccentric leg strength needed for the direction changes in this drill.

1.5 Mile Run
We deploy our proven Speed over Ground progression to get candidates faster for this specific event. Initial, mid-cycle and end cycle 1.5 mile run assessments are taken and we use athlete-specific pacing and 400m and 800m repeats to train

The PEB is graded dependent on Gender and Age. CLICK HERE to view the PEB Score Chart.

MTI’s FLETC PEB Training Plan is a 6 week/5 day per week training plan which is sport-specifically designed to maximise performance for this specific assessment. The plan deploys a full PEB assessment at the beginning, middle and end of the cycle. Event progressions are based on these assessment results and in this way the plan automatically “scales” to the incoming fitness of the athlete. Everyone, fit or unfit, will be pushed by this plan.

Week 6 of the plan is an unload week. You’ll want to complete the plan the 6 weeks directly before your FLETC course start date.

Here is the weekly schedule:
  • Monday: FLETC PEB Assessment or progressions
  • Tuesday: Upper/Lower Body Strength, Agility
  • Wednesday: Run Improvement
  • Thursday: Upper/Lower Body Strength, Agility
  • Friday: Run Improvement
  • 1.5 Mile Run Course
  • Stopwatch/Wristwatch
  • 2x 15/25# Dumbbells
  • Pull Up Bar
  • Ruler/Yardstick for Sit and Reach
  • 8x Cones or markers for Illinois Agility Drill
  • Bench Press, Barbell, Plates for Bench Assessment/Progressions
  • Foam Roller