All posts by SSD

Q&A 8.24.17

I’m a TACP.  I’m trying to get to AFSOC and the best two programs you have for that selection are the CCT 10 month or the SFOD-D 10 month.  My question is would running these programs like, 3 times consecutively be a bad idea?  Would I develop weird imbalances or anything?

First of all thank you for everything yall do. I know my question might be a tad trivial but I’ve come to value the opinions of your organization so much I am sure I will get the best answer.

My platoon is deployed on a US Navy ship and we run some fitness classes pretty regularly. We have some folks approach us about pull ups in particular improving their scores. We often can help those gain numbers but my conundrum is how to get someone to improve at pull ups who can do zero to begin with. The usual science of pyramids or multiple short sets does not seem to apply in this instance.

Again thank you for your time and thank you for what you do.


Our best tool for getting athletes from zero to one pull up is negative pull ups.

Jump up to chin above the bar, slow, 5 second drop to full elbow extension. 6 Rounds of 3x Reps to start.
We’ve also developed a specific packet for this: Pull Up Improvement Packet.
Good luck!
– Rob


I am excited to start training, but with so many choices, I don’t know which program is best. Here’s my situation:

18 years in the army
6’2 265 lbs
Familiar with barbell movements
Can do  2 Pullups in a good day
I’m an OC/t at the national training center. This means I have crazy hours, sit in a humvee for hours per day, and wear about 15 extra pounds of gear everywhere I go. Not to mention it’s 115,000 degrees at fort Irwin.


Also – at 6’2″ I would like to see you around 215#. Fix your diet. Here are our Nutritional Guidelines.
Train before work, not after. Something will always get in the way if you try to plan to train after … as you know…
– Rob


I have completed the Basic Operator program and I am looking for the next program and I am asking for your expert opinion in this choice. There is not a recommended “next program” after completing the Basic Operator.

I’m currently deployed and have some limitations on distance running, rucking and a lack of a sand baby for certain exercises. I’ve supplemented the running with a combination of treadmill/ sprint work/ sled push/ plate push and kettle bells for a sand baby. All other required gym equipment for all programs is available to me.

What I’m looking for is an increase in size, core strength and continued weight loss, all the while continuing with challenging myself.

Any guidance in choosing the next program is greatly appreciated.


Move to the plans in the Greek Hero series.
These training plans are designed to be the day-to-day programming for SOF and other military athletes who are professional about their fitness. Do the plans in order, starting with Hector.
– Rob


I just started the FBI SA PFT training program and I have a quick question. I was just wondering if you would recommend completing this program along with carrying out my regular weightlifting program, or would that be too much? Look forward to hearing back, thank you.


It depends upon your fitness, but for most, it will be too much. How you’ll know is that you won’t be making the progressions in the FBI SA PFT Training Plan.
I’d recommend you do the plan in isolation for the first 3 weeks, then perhaps an in extra stuff 2x/week. But stop it if you can’t make the FBI SA PFT plan progressions.
– Rob


I’m currently about 3 weeks into the old BUDS V1 plan (without the swimming – no pool access).  I’d like to see some more improvement in my push-up numbers. I’ve kind of maxed around 100. I was inspired by your comment to another athlete about the deck of cards for push-ups, and was wondering how (if possible) I could incorporate the added volume into the old plan. I’m a full time paramedic, so the deck of cards actually is a good training session for the station if I don’t have access to a gym.


Do the deck 3x/week, and skip all the pushups in the plan.
– Rob


When should my last training day of peak bagger be completed prior to my event.  My event start day is Aug 27


Schedule in 2-3 days total rest before your event.
– Rob


I’m a TACP.  I’m trying to get to AFSOC and the best two programs you have for that selection are the CCT 10 month or the SFOD-D 10 month.  My question is would running these programs like, 3 times consecutively be a bad idea?  Would I develop weird imbalances or anything?


Bad idea. Our selection-specific training plans are very intense and high volume. They are designed to be completed directly before selection – to build you to a peak – not to be run continuously. You’ll overtrain at a minimum.
Prior to beginning one of the packets into your selection I’d recommend starting our stuff with the Greek Hero Series of plans. These are designed as day-to-day programming for SOF and other military athletes who aspire to that level of fitness and will build a solid “base” of fitness leading into one of the packets. The Greek Hero series is no joke. Start with Hector.
– Rob


Evening. I just completed the Rainier Training plan and summited Mt Baker here in Washington Monday! My legs were never tired and my “mountain chassis” performed well!! Thanks for a great plan! I do have a question. My next mountain here in WA will be either Olympus, which has a 17 mile approach, or Rainier. Since my body is already conditioned for Rainier, I’m thinking the Peak Bagger plan would be a good choice to maintain. Your thoughts?


Congrats on Baker! Yes on Peak Bagger.

– Rob


I purchased the 357 strength training plan 1 week ago, and am now unable to use the plan because of a previous injury. I used the pre-Afghanistan deployment training plan in the past to train for a GoRuck competition. The pre-Afghanistan plan was great and got me ready for the GoRuck competition. Since it was so helpful I looked to find another one of your training programs to use. I need a bit of help though in finding the one that is right for me, and I don’t know what to do.
I previously used cross fit for training in the past. Unfortunately I ended up with a rotator cuff injury and likely a meniscus tear. During the pre deployment plan I did not have any issues with either of these previous injuries. When I started the 357 strength, I have found the knee injury is becoming a problem (likely due to the amount of squatting…but I am not sure). So, I was wondering if there is a plan that you recommend for my goals without the amount of heavy squatting there is in the 357 strength?I have found I can not perform the exercises in the 357 strength.
Goals: to become a better rock climber. Currently I am 200lbs, and should be around 180. I would like to become stronger. I like big wall climbing, like Yosemite. I work out of town every other week, which means I have access to a full gym everyday, but only access to a climbing gym every other week.
Please let me know if you need any other information from me to help in deciding the right plan.
I greatly appreciate your help! And look forward to hearing back about your recommendations!


Your travel schedule makes it a little tricky.
If you didn’t travel, I’d recommend the Alpine Rock Pre-Season Training Plan, which combines uphill hiking under load conditioning with rock-climb specific training in a rock gym.
Since you do travel I’ll recommend a couple plans which can work together: Humility for general fitness training and the Rock Climbing Pre-Season Training Plan for your rock gym work.
Humility is a limited equipment plan and comes from our tactical side. The strength work is bodyweight. This, and the endurance and work capacity elements of the plan, combined with a clean diet, will help you cut weight.
The Rock Climbing Pre-Season training plan will and some professional programming and progressions to your rock gym sessions.
Do Humility when you’re traveling and the Rock Climbing Pre-Season training plan when your home. Not ideal, but it works.
– Rob


I was looking for some guidance on program selection in the lead up to joining the Royal Australian Navy as a clearance diver in 2-3 years time. I have completed with reasonable comfort the Military On-Ramp program and currently serve as a reservist in the army.

My idea was to develop a better strength base first by using the Relative Strength Assessment program, then following that with the Virtue, Greek Hero, and Pirate packets, ending up with a diver-specific selection program. Adequate rest included in between programs as necessary. Does that seem like a reasonable plan?


I’d recommend you start with the diver-specific selection plan now … just to get a taste of the experience and a good assessment of your swimming ability and comfort in the water. Specifically, I’d recommend the Combat Diver Qualification Course Training Plan.
Follow it up the the MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan, and then drop into the Virtue, Greek Hero and Pirate Packets before re-completing the CDQC plan before your course/selection.
– Rob


I’ve been tasked with testing out the Grunt PT program within the shop to see if it would work for an entire battalion. This morning we did session 4 of phase 1, Michael, which was a Strength/TAC SEPA day involving back squats and 1-Arm DB snatches as the primary movements. An issue we ran into was that we did the workout as more of a circuit, rather than sets of strength development. I know that generally, in order to focus on strength development, it takes 90-120 seconds of rest in between sets for the body to recover enough to produce the force necessary to move heavier loads. The program does not specify the rest time between sets, so I wanted to ask if the strength days were meant to be performed in circuit type fashion, or if we should be incorporating more rest in between sets. I appreciate the help!


Below are the two strength circuits in the session:

(1) 7 Rounds

3x Back Squat – increase load rapidly each round until 3x is hard, but doable, then immediately …

2x Box Jumps @ 24”

Hip Flexor Stretch

(2) 6 Rounds

3x 1-Arm Dumbbell Snatch  –  increase load rapidly each round until 3x is hard, but doable

5x Kneeling Curl to Press –  increase load rapidly each round until 5x is hard, but doable

Lat + Pec Stretch

These aren’t mini CrossFit WODs. You’ll want to work through each circuit, briskly, not frantically. Each should take 10-15 minutes to complete.
You’ll see the stretch or mobility drill in each – Hip Flexor in part (1) and Lat + Pec Stretch in part (2). These are your “working rest” for each circuit and are specifically designed in not only to work mobility, but also force the athlete to break.
Part 1: 
Do 3x Back Squats, then immedately walk over and do 2x Box Jumps. This is complex training and trains both strength (back squat) and power (box jump) together. 2x Box jumps isn’t going to smoke your legs or make you breath hard.
Do the hip flexor stretch (about 30 seconds for both legs).
Walk back to the barbell, add weight, and do 3 more reps, etc. Ideally by round 3-4 you’ll be at your “Hard but doable” load and won’t keep adding weight. The idea is to get heavy fast.
We designed these circuits so 3x soldiers can share the barbell. One soldier doing back squats, one soldier spotting him and one doing the hip flexor strength …. then they follow each other through the 7 rounds.
Part 2:
Here we super set two dumbbell exercises – a 1-arm snatch (total body exercise) and kneeling curl-to-press (upper body exercise). You’ll move from the snatches to the curls, but it’s not a race. Work steadily, not frantically. The stretch gives you a “working rest” between rounds. Would it be better to break between the snatches and curls? Perhaps, but we’re not training power lifters, we’re training soldiers, and we’ve found supersetting is super efficient at developing tactical levels of strength.
– Rob


I am in week 5 of the fat loss program, going great lost 4 pounds! (roughly 8 more to go)
I have been having to ease off some of the exercises, particularly the dumbell thrusters, in place lunges, step ups and shuttles because of pain in my left knee. I think i gave it a jolt in a mountain biking fall but there is not ligament/tendon damage.
I’m a ski instructor and have some cartilage damage in that knee which flares up when aggravated. Last fall I did the dry land ski training plan which was so effective, I could ski all day first day of the season! I had no knee issues with that program so I think the exercises aren’t the main problem I could continue training once the knee settles down.
I have to give it a rest for it to settle though and would like to keep training and not lose my progress. Do you have any advice as to which program I should do next, and any adaptions for the above mentioned exercises? I do rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking and wake-boarding in the summer so my focus is to continue to lose fat and build strength and endurance for these sports. Long runs are not for me because of my knee but I can run up to 2 miles about once a week without issue.


You can sub in hard spinning intervals for the thrusters and shuttles – on a stationary bike. Do multpile sets of 30 second sprint, 30 second rest intervals. They’ll be terrible ….
Next plan? Helen.
– Rob


I’ve been following your programing for a while with great results, but I still want to lose a little weight. I am 5’8 and weigh 183lbs. What should my ideal weight be? Thank you for all you do.


I’d like you at 175.
– Rob


Next week I leave for 40 days of training in 29 Palms. What should I be doing in my limited time at the gym while I’m there? Not sure how much time I have to workout, or if I’ll even be rested enough to do so, but just wondering what kind of maintenance I can do while I’m there.

I’m currently finishing up week 3 of Hector.


My guess is you’ll be doing plenty of rucking and PT in the field. In the gym, I’d recommend living heavy strength to keep up durability. From our stuff, follow the TLU Strength Plan. Skip any work cap sessions and just complete the strength work.
– Rob


Huge fan of all your stuff. I just finished the virtue series in prep for Navy Dive School but I’m having a hard time deciding which plan would be best to finish off with. Would you recommend BUDS V2 or the Combat Diver Course or a different program for Dive School?


Good luck!
– Rob


I’m about to start Week 6 of the Post-Rehab plan on Monday and my run time for the stamina/endurance sessions is terrible: about 10:30-11:00 for the 1-mile run.  As per your recommendation, I plan to start the Military On-Ramp afterward and move on to Hector, but I’m worried about the potential for an APFT in September and my slow running speed.

I had my last follow-on appointment with the podiatrist and he told me that I can really start pushing to get some speed back to my running.  I’m 5’  9” and about 195 lb right now; I traded muscle for fat early into my surgery recovery and I’m really feeling the extra weight when I workout.

Should I be looking at the APFT plan, or doing the Running Improvement Plan along with the Military On-Ramp (push-ups and sit-ups aren’t too big of an issue at this time)? If I do the Running Improvement and Military On-Ramp Plans together, do I still perform the ruck runs and 3 and 1 mile runs throughout the On-Ramp Plan?  Or should I just rely on the Military On-Ramp as-is and start Running Improvement when I start Hector?

Your recent article on the long grind of the quiet professional really struck me and made me think more positively about my overall recovery.  I understand that it’s not about “getting back to where I was”, but about improving myself over the long-term to an eventual better self.  Every time I have a rough workout (not feeling it that day, tired/cluttered head, disappointment by comparing my current state of fitness with where I was a year ago), I remind myself about this long, drawn-out process that is being a professional tactical athlete. So, thanks for having that article up; it was a good reminder!


I’d recommending sticking with the Military On-Ramp plan until 6 weeks out from your APFT, then drop into the APFT Training Plan leading into your assessment.
Thanks for the note. Just. Keep. Grinding ….
– Rob


So glad SF45 is back on track. I am 50 this year and knees are definitely not what they used to be. Orthopaedic surgeon has also advised against ‘high impact’ from trail running. Would like to hear your thoughts on ‘high impact’ endurance work you advocate.


Try step ups. If they won’t work, you’ll have to pivot to cycling/spinning.

For both, use time as your conversion. Assume a 9 minute running mile. So if the plan calls for a 5 mile run, do 45 minutes of step ups, or bike for 45 minutes.

– Rob


I am starting the BUD/s V2 training program soon and will be buying the TMI sand bag for the 60lb sandbag required for training (assuming it wont be awkward at that weight). I also read that I need to acquire a 20lb sandbag. Do you have a sandbag recommendation for the running with a sandbag on your head? Thank you for taking the time to read and reply, I appreciate your program. I am very satisfied with my purchase and have been recommending this to many of my friends,


Use mulch made from ground up rubber tires for your MTI Sandbag filler. This is what we use in our sandbags.
20# Bag? A cheap duffle bag or an old tote bag in your closet you’re not using. Use the rubber mulch to fill it, also.
– Rob


I am preparing for civil affairs selection in December. I am going to air assault in September and will be utilizing your air assault pt program. What can I utilize immediately after to prepare for this selection program?


Civil Affairs Selection Training Plan, we just published the plan last week.
– Rob


I’m a female law enforcement officer.  Its been a while since I’ve consistently worked out, either strength training or cardio.  Unfortunately after my injury I gained a bit of weight and my fitness level is not where I want it to be.  I plan on starting the Bodyweight Foundation program once I come back from vacation (August 14th).  For the running portions of it, I’ve got a surgically repaired ankle so I have to take it easy with running.  Is there anything in particular I should swap it out with if necessary?  And if I haven’t done any running recently, should I do any sort of running program first?  I’ve never been a great runner even when I was in the best shape of my life I struggled, never able to go long without slowing down.  I think my best was around a 9 minute mile, but that was well before my ankle was injured.
After I complete the bodyweight foundation, I was wondering which direction I should go.  I was thinking either Fat Loss, LE On Ramp, or start the Spirits Series.


Running? If your job is patrol or detective and may involve running/sprinting in the line of duty, you need to run. You can’t have the first time you have to sprint be a tactical situation. If you’re riding a desk, you could sub in cycling, but cycling is not sprinting and won’t build back your ankle.
Keep grinding and good luck.
– Rob


I’m a 43 year old male in reasonable shape for a 50 hour a week job and two young kids.

Two years ago, I blew my back out during a Crossfit workout. Since then, I’ve been focused on the road bike with push-ups, pull-ups, and air squats.  I also run 6 miles a week.  No Olympic lifts.  Last ski season, I felt like I had good wind, but that my legs lacked pop and I had lost agility.

I’m looking at your athlete subscription, but want to make sure I can tweak or work in at least 45 miles a week on the bike.  At my age, I want to ensure that I get the non impact work for the long haul.  I know I have gas in the tank, but I also want to make sure I am skiing with my kids when I’m 70.  Im not sure how to be as fit as possible while protecting my body for the long haul.

Would the body weight program be the place to start, then move to the ski season work?  Do you offer advice as I have questions?  Guidance on what programs to pair together?  I’ve worked my tail off to shed weight and be pain free.  Losing this ground is not an option.


Yes on Bodyweight Foundation. Sub in your cycling for the running in the plan.
Complete the Dryland Ski Training Plan directly before your ski season.
Yes on questions. I answer dozens weekly.
– Rob

Quiet Professional: “Knowing What to Do = Easy. Doing it = Hard.”

By Rob Shaul


Day-to-day decisions.

Ninety-five percent of day-to-day decisions we make don’t matter: what to wear, what car to drive, what music to listen to, where to eat lunch. etc.

However, 5 percent do matter, and are significant. These are focused around safety, health, relationships and work.

Safety decisions include always wearing a seatbelt, not texting while driving, wearing a bike helmet.

Health decisions include flossing and brushing, diet, getting an annual physical, mammograms, prostate exams, not smoking, moderate alcohol use, no drugs.

Relationship decisions include treating family like friends, simple, easy acts of connection and kindness, saying you’re sorry and forgiving.

Work day-to-day decisions are job-specific and for our community can include checking and re-checking your gear before going on patrol, equipment maintenance, following tactical protocol and checklists, comms checks, always wearing a helmet while skiing and climbing, marksmanship and other job-specific fundamentals technical practice.

Important day-to-day decisions can become “habit-ized.” Putting your seatbelt on in the car isn’t a decision – it’s a habit … you don’t have to ponder it.  Same with gear checks, comms checks, safety gear, technical practice.

The danger with these important day-to-day decisions is they can slip into mundane and conceptually lose importance with drastic, life changing consequences. That one time you text while driving can ruin your life.

What’s required is constant diligence,  which is “hard.”


“Big Decisions”

“Big” decisions pit our “hearts” (emotions) versus our “minds” (objective thought) and we go round and round in endless decision loops.

“My heart wants me to be an actor, but my head says I should avoid poverty and become a banker.”

“My heart tells me to marry Billy, but my head says I’d be more secure with John.”

Another element often present in these big decisions, somewhere between the heart and the head, is integrity. Sometimes this is moral integrity in the classic sense. In other decisions it is keeping integrity to the person you really are or want to be.

Below are some tools and lessons I’ve personally used or learned in making my own “big” decisions and advising others with theirs.


1) If you know what you are doing now is wrong. Stop doing it, even if you don’t have something else lined up to take it’s place. 

This directly applies to career/job choices and relationships. Stopping the wrong will force you to begin the journey to discover the right. Often people find themselves in a “rut” – they know what they are doing isn’t right, but it doesn’t hurt enough to quit.

Know that a “rut” is simply a grave open at both ends. Staying in these situations past their due – job or relationship –  will lead to bitterness and deepening discontent.

Sometimes, especially on the career side, this “rut” has no obvious cause. You can have a great job, but just find yourself wanting to try something different or needing a new challenge. Know that we are not static. People change over time, including yourself, and what “fit” 5 or 10 years ago may not be appropriate for who you are now. Don’t deny this … this sensation if/when it comes. Recognize it, embrace it and move on.

As you move on, the next thing doesn’t have to be perfect. But it should be a step in the “right” direction.


2) Not making a decision is a decision.

Putting off a big decision always comes at a cost, often in the form if declining options and missed opportunities. In this way no decision is a decision.


3) Deciding against “integrity” always comes with a significant, painful cost. 

On the classic moral integrity side, the cost can be an erosion of self worth, loss of respect, or simple guilt. On the “who I am or want to be” side, the cost is often a lifetime of regret.

The “right” decision for moral integrity issues is generally clear. This does not mean making the “right” decision is easy. Greed (money), ambition (career), envy (relationships) are all emotions we must struggle with daily and if they win, can lead to lapses in integrity.

In this I take Aristotle’s guidance to heart. The more often you decide with integrity – even small day-to-day decisions, the easier it becomes. The goal is not moral perfection, but constant improvement. When you mess up, see it clearly, own up to it, examine why, and aim to do better next time.

Personal integrity – in terms of who you are or want to be, is much more murky and the two – (1) who you are, and  (2) who you want to be, can be different.

Here are two tools I use to help clear the murk.

First – look at actions, not words. See if there is a disconnect between who you say you want to be and who you actually are.

An example …. a personal relative all through his late 20’s and 30’s talked about starting his own company. He researched business names, looked at a couple locations, borrowed a little money, but never quit his corporate job and followed through.

In his 40’s he finally realized that he enjoyed his free time and simply didn’t want to work as hard as it would take to have his own business. This realization was liberating for him. There was a disconnect between who he actually was and who he “thought” he wanted to be.

Second – work to make sure your ladder is up against the right wall. We often put a lot of effort into a journey only to find out when we get there it’s not really where we want to be.

Going to law school because your Mom is an attorney? Becoming a soldier because your Dad was a soldier? Training in finance because you’re scared of being poor? These are easy examples of ladders up against the wrong walls.


4) If integrity isn’t an issue, and it comes down to your “Head” vs. your “Heart,” always go with your Heart. 

I’ve yet to meet someone who went with their heart and regretted it, but I’ve met several who went with their “head” and have.

Likewise, if it comes down to “safe” vs. “exciting,” always go with “exciting.”


5) Don’t artificially limited your options.

This occurs often with career or location changes. We artificially limit our options, and miss the “in-between” space that can be the bridge to the best solution. Want to be a SOF-level tactical athlete but not move around with the military? Consider national guard SOF or LE SWAT/SRT.

Certainly there can be a cost of diminishing returns in terms of collecting more information and options. But in my experience, people too quickly put on blinders and fixated on just two choices when some more information collection and options development can open things up and make a hard decision, a much easier one.

Beware of just two choices.


6) Set a Deadline.

That being said, always set a decision deadline. The mental strain of a big decision can take it’s toll, and often finally making it lifts a weight from your shoulders.


7) The Happiness Formula

Three things make you happy ….

  1. Doing work you love
  2. Being around people you love
  3. Living in a place you love

If you can get 2 out of 3 you’re doing awesome. Get 3 of 3 and you’ve hit the jackpot.

With 1 out of 3 you can still be content.

Zero out of 3 and you’re miserable. Change it.


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Q&A 8.17.17


“Sitting here in the airport waiting to head back to NYC. I just wanted to say thank you. I used your plan to train for a climb on Mt. Rainier. While we did not summit due to conditions on our route, we made it to the top of disappointment cleaver just over 12,000 ft. Even though we did not touch the top. Not once did I feel like my physical ability would keep me from getting there. People were taken aback by the volume of step ups I was doing. They paid off both physically and mentally! I look forward to using that plan to train for my next attempt at it.
Thank you!”


Greetings from Camp Arifjan! You all continue to provide outstanding information and support to you clients. Keep up the great work! I have a couple questions:

1. I suffered a pretty bad knee sprain about a week ago. Do you have any plans / recommendations on what / how to train given my current condition? Something that doesn’t really utilize much leg training for the next couple of weeks?

2. On the Grunt PT, I am active duty but work in a Corps headquarters. Am I too far removed from the line to qualify for that subscription?

3. Could you please clarify one thing on subscriptions…does the monthly fee just give you access to all of your programs or do you provide individually-tailored programs as well?

Thanks again for your time and support. Love your plans–I’ve purchased three of them and they’ve really delivered. Appreciate your input.


1) Training Plan for Athletes Suffering Leg Injury – this plan works the rest of your body around the injured limb.
2) No – you can subscribe to Grunt PT.
3) Yes on access to plans. No on individualized programming.
– Rob


I just purchased a subscription. I am waiting on a BMT and TACP Schoolhouse date, which will be within the next 4 months. I have been doing multiple Crossfit WODs per day for the past 6-7 months, along with running and occasionally rucking. After looking at your programs and my goals, it looks like a good plan of action for me would be to do “Valor” and the “Running Improvement Plan” at the same time (Running in the morning, Valor in the evening).  And then once I get a confirmed school date, then I will switch over to the “USAF TACP” plan. Do you think this is a good plan of action? Thank you very much!


You don’t need to double up. Just do Valor – which includes both running and ruck running – and if you want, add in a long, easy run in the evenings 2-3 days/week – including Saturday. Long = 5+ miles, easy pace.
Yes on the shift to the TACP School Training Plan the 8 weeks directly before you report for the course.
– Rob


Coach, I’m a 45 yr old LE tactical TL that just went through ruptured disk surgery, L3/L4.  I have always stayed in shape, now I believe I have to focus more on my chassis especially after the surgery. What plan would you recommend I start, once I get the green light to start training again, to become overall stronger for the job emphasizing strengthing my chassis?


Start back with the Low Back Fitness Training Plan.
Check back on on the other side of this plan with how you’re feeling.
– Rob


I’m prepping for Pre Ranger Course/selection if my schedule works out. I’m limited on equipment and decided to take the time while training cadets at West Point to boost my APFT score with your program. I’ll be adding in my own limited workouts later in the day after first completing your workouts. I’d like to add pull ups to your program during the push/sit up days.

P.S. my other question is what do you suggest I do? – Once I get back from West Point , we will be starting our field/training cycle at Ft. Drum. I’m guessing I won’t be able to go to ranger school or selection until next year, and lose most of my gains. I want to do the on ramp training and then a RASP or SFAS selection programs.


Yes on the pull ups. Do an assessment and follow the same progression/protocol as the push ups.
I don’t understand your second question …. but in general, I recommend our military “base” programming via the Operator Sessions or the Greek Hero Series as your day to day programming, and then as you get closer to your course/school, complete the appropriate sport-specific plan.
After the APFT Plan, you don’t need to do the Military On-Ramp Plan. Move right into the plans in the Greek Hero series.
–  Rob


I was referred to you guys through a friend, who suggested that I take a look at your HRT plan to prepare for selection. I am still about 2 years away from trying out and to be quite honest, not physically ready to take on that plan. Can you suggest a plan or plans to build up to the HRT selection training plan?


Start our stuff with the Military On-Ramp Training Plan, then complete the Virtue Series of plans in order.
After the Virtue Series, complete the Gun Maker series of plans for full time SWAT/SRT, into the FBI HRT Selection Training Plan.
– Rob


I have used some of your training plans over the last few years and love them they are exactly what I’m looking for in a work out. My goal has always been speed and strength I’m not into bulking up and losing my mobility. The question I have is do you have a strength plan for tri athletes? I have been dabbling in triathlons the last few years and I was wondering if you had any type of program that is specific to that type of endurance competition? I see your strength program for endurance athletes for strength training during season. Do you have something for preseason? I’m deployed now but when I return home it will be the beginning of my base training for next summer and I’m looking for a strength program that works with all the triathlon disciplines.


Not specifically for triathlons, but we do have a general In-Season Strength Training Plan for Endurance Athletes which is designed to be completed concurrently with your endurance work.
– Rob


I’ve looked through most of your plans and can’t seem to find one that fits quite what I’m looking for. I primarily run trail races ranging in distance from 5k to 50k. I’ve done both the big mountain training plan and the ultra preseason training plan. I’m looking for something in the middle of the two plans. I was thinking Helen and extending the run segments or a plan from the virtue series and also extending the runs. Or maybe there’s a strength plan I could do concurrently with the ultra preaseason plan. Thanks for your input.


Nothing perfect for you – you’re essentially asking for an In-Season trail run racing plan – but from what I do have I’d recommend the Alpine Running Training Plan. This plan covers the distance and strength work.
You’ll want to complete the prescribed vertical gain and running work unloaded – not loaded as completed in the plan.
– Rob


Is Perseus the updated methodology for Valor?


In a general sense, the plans in the Greek Hero Series, including Perseus are the next evolution of my Fluid Periodization theory. The way to think of the difference between the Greek Hero plans and the Virtue Series (including Valor) is to compare a NFL receiver and tight end.
Greek Hero plans are the Julio Jones, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss plans – fit, athletic, strong, fast, finesse, fluid.
The Virtue Series are Tony Gonzales and Rob Gronkowski – still awesome, but a more direct, blunt tool – not quite as fluid.
We just updated Valor last month.
– Rob


Quick question. In November I’m doing an 18.5 mile ruck (Norwegian Foot March).  Do you think I can apply the “4-WEEK RUCKING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM” to that, or do you recommend something else?


The Rucking Improvement Training Plan is a focused, 4-week quick-hit program which pushes to 12 miles. It deploys a 5-mile assessment, threshold intervals based on the assessment, and longer rucks at the end of the week. It would work for an 18.5 mile one-time hit.
If you have more time, I’d recommend the Bataan Death March Training Plan. This 8-week plan pushes to 18 miles.
– Rob


I wanted to inquire on your training programs.  I am going on a 5 day hike in  Yellowstone. We are going to climb Electric Peak.

On average we are going to cover 10-12 miles per day over the 5 days and our packs will weight roughly 50 lbs. I am the founder of Evryman we are focused on male personal development and this trip is a first for us. I need to be fit enough to complete the hike but also need to be able to facilitate a group who is doing deep personal development work. I’ve done this work without the hike and it’s tiring so I want to be sure I am extra fit.

I am a 38 year old male. I weigh 210 lbs. I live in New York City. I have access to a gym during the week and can get to mountains / hills on the wknd. I am relatively fit a tad overweight but I do get to the gym for weights or cardio at least 3 times a week. I also do yoga at least 1 day a week. I ran the NYC marathon 2 years ago.

I am excited to use this trip as something to train for this summer. I was wondering if you all could suggest a training program or put a custom plan together.


– Rob


I just had I quick question for you. I just signed up for the Petawawa IRONMAN for 7 Sept 17 which is about 8 weeks away. I’m finishing up the big 24 strength training program this week and I’m looking for an appropriate training plan for the IRONMAN. I have the SFOD-D training packet and I was looking over the SFOD-D plan itself, Valour and Fortitude V2. Which would you advise?


Copy  – Valor.

– Rob


Good evening, I’m unfit at the moment and a bit overweight. My bodyweight exercises are crap and I start the police academy in a little less than three months. I can’t decide between bodyweight foundation and add sport specific running, the Le police academy or Le onramp. Thank you in advance.


Start with Bodyweight Foundation. This plan includes running – you don’t need to do extra.
Also – fix your diet. 80% of fat loss is diet related. Here are our nutritional guidelines.
– Rob


I’m slated to start Sapper School October 19th. By my count I have 19 weeks to prepare. I just finished Hector and plan to start Achilles this week, followed by an off week. That puts me at 11 weeks from school. Does it make sense to do two or three weeks of ulysses before starting the 8 week sapper program?

Additionally, I still have to conduct unit PT, but I have some flexibility in what I do. Is it too much to try to work in grunt PT or ruck/run improvement during that time?


Yes on 3 weeks of Ulysses prior to the Sapper School Plan.
Not sure what you’re asking with your second question, but in general, our stuff is no joke and I don’t recommend doubling up.
– Rob


Given the wide swath of contact you’ve had with people, is there an optimal body composition/lean mass ratio relative to size that you have found?

I ask because I am currently away at a long school and want to spin myself up for the RBSProg for SFAS and have at least 5 months before I would start the program since I finsh the school late next year (having the program finish and my school finish coincide). On that note, at 5’10”, 165, apprx 8-10% BF, what program would you recommend?
I am okay with gaining size/weight. In fact, I figure having a bit more would injury-proof me, so to say, and give me more strength potential.


At 5’10” I’d like to see you around 180# – but there’s not hurry.  I’d recommend you start our stuff with a focused strength plan, specifically Super Squat Strength, and then roll into the Virtue Series of training plans.
– Rob


I recently learned about your company from an LEO fitness group on FB. I discovered you guys offer a fitness prep program for those who are looking to join the field. The Cooper Prep program struck my eye because my local PD just announced they’re going to be opening applications for 29 new officers. I applied the last time but unfortunately failed the fit for no other reason than just not preparing correctly. I’m  ready to get serious, put my college degree to use and get as prepared as I can for the their upcoming test. I’m  ready to  pull the trigger on the program but had a few questions. Here in CT we don’t have the Cooper Test. It’s similar, but only consists if pushups, situps, sit and reach, 300m run, and 1.5 mile run. Is there anyway to modify the program(or create a new one) to emphasize on those specific tests? Also, is there anyway to develop a regiment to help with flexibility in regards to the sit and reach? If so please let me know what you guys at Mountain Tactical can do and we’ll take it from there. Thanks.


The FBI SA PFT Training Plan will sport-specifically prepare you for everything but the sit and reach. For that I’d recommend actually testing/practicing the specific event, and also the 3/3/3 Toe Touch Complex.
– Rob


I’m interesting in training for my agency’s special response team Indoc. It consists:

1.5 mile run for time

Obstacle course

60 push ups

60 crunches

Which would be the best course for me? Thank you for your time.


I’d recommend our SWAT/SRT Selection Training Plan. This plan will prepare you for these specific events and the other team and other events you face at indoc.
– Rob


I purchased your FBI PFT prep guide and have some questions for you if you don’t mind.
Specifically, I believe my endurance is my biggest weak point. As a result, do you believe the FBI PFT prep guide as laid out is best suited to shore up my weakness?
Below is further detail on my training and results to date:

I took the FBI PFT 6 weeks ago. I failed the 1.5 mile run (12m45s). I scored an average of 3 points per event on the other 3 events.

By the time I got to the 1.5 mile run, I was still huffing a bit from the prior events and I just continued to deteriorate during the run. I’ve run the 1.5 mile run sub 12 minutes on it’s own, but the cumulative fatigue from the other events made that too hard.

The test came up quick and I only had about 3 weeks warning. Pre-warning, I was running 4 x LISS sessions, for about 30-45 minutes per session, for only 2 weeks. After warning, for 3 weeks I ran 2 x 3 miles, 1 x 600m resets (4 resets) at max effort, and 1 x 60 minute LISS, each week leading up to the test.

For the past 5 weeks after the failed PFT, I’ve been running a basebuilding program and am up to 5 x LISS sessions per week, with this week including 300 minutes total running time and accumulating ~28 miles.

I believe another PFT will be coming up in the next 3-4 weeks and am considering following your guide, but am worried that the focus on sprints and intervals might not be addressing my core endurance issue. My belief is based on the thought that aerobic endurance is best trained via LISS.

I appreciate any feedback you would have and am happy to purchase other programs that you have, which may be better suited at attacking my weak points.


You’re not training general endurance, your training to run a 1.5 mile run. Our FBI SA PFT Plan prepares you specifically for that event in an individualized, progressed manner. Also – the plan deploys the actual PFT day 1 … so you get experience moving to the run after the other events.
We’re on Version 3 of this plan, updated in March.
– Rob


I am 16 weeks out from attending the initial fitness testing for the British Royal Marines- the Potential Royal Marines Course. I was wondering if you had a school or selection plan that would prepare me for this?


We don’t have a specific plan for the Royal Marines yet – it’s on our list but we haven’t gotten to it. From what we do have here is what I’d recommend:
Weeks   Plan
1-9         Humility (Bodyweight Strength, and military endurance – running/rucking) – This is a 7 week plan, repeat weeks 5 and 6.
10          Total Rest
11-16     Marine Corps OCS Training Plan  — with a few changes, see below.
Changes to the OCS Plan … Drop the ruck from 12 miles to 6 miles and use our Ruck Interval Calculator and 2 mile repeats.
Note that you’ll repeat weeks 5 and 6 of Humility. This will save you from purchasing a 3rd plan.
There is no swimming in either of these plans and I know there is a short swimming test. Practice it and make sure your good there.
– Rob
UPDATE: We just published the Potential Royal Marines Course Training Plan


I am doing a swimrun competition in Europe early October that consists of 33km trail running (flat ground) and 10km swimming in open water. The swim and run are intersped, ie we run a few km, then swim, then run. Water is cold (around 15 C) so people swim and run in modified wetsuit (cutting the suit below knees). There are 11 swim sections with the longest swim being 1500m and longest run 8000m. The fastest team finishes the course in 5h30 and the slowest in 8h+.
What plan(s) would you recommend for the preparation of this race ? The run looks comparatively easier than the swim.
Thank you !


I don’t have a good plan for this event. You’re moving into triathlon programming here and we haven’t programmed for triathlons.
From what I do have I’d recommend the Operator Pentathlon Training Plan, with a change. Replace the rucking with running.
– Rob


First off, thank you for all that you and the team do.  I’ve benefitted from following various Mountain Athlete programs for about 7 years on and off and now turning to you guys yet again for the next goal.
I’m slated to start EOD Selection and Training at DEVGRU next winter (~6 months out from now).  I was wondering if you could offer advice on what programming to follow for the next few months prior to starting your DEVGRU S&T Plan for the last two months?
I had reviewed your different improvement and military plans but didn’t know what would be the best foundation/progression to lead up to the end and figured I could use some expert advice to fit my long term goals rather than just me “picking and choosing” a program or running multiple iterations of the DEVGRU plan which I think would be rough on the body long term.
-I just signed up for a 6 month subscription last night
-I am on the road with my current job upwards of 50% of the time right now but still strive to have 5-7 sessions in the gym each week
-I did the DEVGRU S&T plan after returning from my last deployment to prepare for screening and was really impressed with my physical readiness going into the week (snapshot of the HP results attached)
Truly appreciate your time and consideration and any feedback you can provide.


Got it. You’re 6 months out and will be completing the DEVGRU Plan the final two months.
6 months = 24 Weeks. Here’s what I’d recommend:
Weeks    Plan
1-7          Humility – bodyweight strength, dumbbell/sandbag, multi-modal work cap. Unloaded and IBA Running – Great “hardening” cycle.
8-15        Hector – Great Balanced Plan from our Greek Hero Series – will increase your rucking load and train gym-based strength. This is a 7 week cycle – Repeat week 6 to make it 8.
16           Total Rest
The only caveat I’d add is we’re currently describing a series of “Blue” training plans for military athletes with SCUBA mission sets. What this practically means is these balanced plans include 1 day/week in the pool. We hope to have these out in the next couple weeks – and if so, will announce them via the Beta newsletter. I’d recommend you swap out Hector for the first plan in the Blue series – just to get back in the water.
Good luck!
– Rob

How To Choose a Training Plan – General Fitness

Pro Mountain Guide Sheldon and Sponsored Mountain Athlete Ryan train rotational chassis integrity with the sandbag keg lift.

By Rob Shaul

Are you training for specific event? (Obstacle Race, Marathon, BJJ, etc.)

Are you looking for an all around fitness program, or do you need to improve in a specific area?
All Around Program
I have an area to work on.


I have an injury, or limited equipment to train with.

I still can’t find what I need!

Email We answer dozens of training questions each week.

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.


Arete 8.17.17

Israel girds for next round of battle in Gaza Strip, Defense News
Afghan president is under siege as violence, joblessness persist, Washington Post
Are Mercenaries Really a Cheaper Way of War?, Defense One
Qods Force-linked Taliban commander leads insurgency in central Afghanistan, Long War Journal
The Air Force’s ‘Quiet Crisis’, Real Clear Defense
Pakistan’s Search for its Place in Southern Asia’s Evolving Order, War on the Rocks

Homeland Security/Terrorism
Russian spy services raid bomb lab in Moscow, foil large-scale suicide plot, Intel News
AQAP publishes guide for derailing trains in the US, Europe, Long War Journal
Police, FBI Foil Plot to Detonate Vehicle Bomb in Oklahoma City, Police Mag
Two Blocks From the Culture War: A Local Perspective on Charlottesville, Lawfare Blog
Venezuelan assassination plot targets Sen. Marco Rubio

The Snows of Chillan, Powder
Squamish Gets New Women’s Only Climbing Fest, Gripped
First Time In US, Adventure Racing Worlds Are ‘Cowboy Tough’, Gear Junkie
Silverton Mountain cleared to expand helicopter skiing terrain to total of 25,000 acres, The Denver Post
Changing of the Guard, Dirt Mountain Bike

First Responder
Charlottesville, Virginia State Police Criticized by Both Sides for Response to Alt-Right Rally Violence, Police Mag
Fewer Officers, Increasing Response Times in Dallas,
Helping Children Overcome Fear of Police, Law Enforcement Today
TEDx: “Living (dangerously) in an era of megafires”, Wildfire Today
More than a third of the large fires in the US on August 9 were not being fully suppressed, Wildfire Today

Guides Choice Awards 2017, American Alpine Institute
The Golden Age of Firearm-Suppressors Dawned in 1909, War is Boring
USMC Issues Notice of Intent To Sole Source Purchase Up To 50,814 M27 IAR From H&K, Soldier Systems
Into the Wild Overland Boreas XT Camper, Outside Online
19 New Products for Law Enforcement Communications,

Climbing Nutrition – Is Protein Supplementation Effective?, TrainingBeta
Keys to Raise the Clean, Westside Barbell
Ten Things you MUST Know About Eccentric Training to Get Better Results, Poliquin Group
Mansher Khera’s Strength & Conditioning Workout For Jiu-Jitsu Competition, Flograppling
Don’t ride for “fitness”, Bike James

Plan Focus: Border Patrol Academy Training Plan

By Charles Bausman

After several requests, we developed a plan for future Border Patrol Agents training for the Border Patrol Academy held in Artesia, New Mexico. This 7-week plan will focus on the physical rigors of the course as well as develop a solid foundational base of strength, work capacity, endurance, and core strength.

This 7-week plan will focus on the physical rigors of the course as well as develop a solid foundational base of strength, work capacity, endurance, and core strength.

Specifically, the plan will train to improve your Border Patrol Physical Fitness Test II results, as well as speed on the Border Patrol Academy Confidence Course.


This plan varies from our normal LE Athlete fitness attributes, as you are training specifically to meet and exceed the demands of the academy. Complete the plan in the seven weeks directly before your Academy start date… it includes a “de-load” week so that you are well recovered before checking in to the Academy.

Once you have graduated, we recommend you move on to our daily LE Athlete programming for job specific physical training.

The plan will train the following attributes:

  • Border Patrol Physical Fitness Test II – 220 yd sprint, max sit ups in 1 minute, max push ups in 1 minute, and a 1.5-mile run.
  • Lower and Total Body Strength – Trained 1x/week to develop durability and maximal strength in the recruit
  • Work Capacity – Repeat sprint efforts and a short bodyweight work capacity effort
  • Endurance – Work up to 5 Miles to develop aerobic endurance
  • Chassis Integrity – Functional, transferable core/midsection strength and strength endurance for mission performance and overall durability.
  • TAC SEPA – Tactical Speed, Explosive Power and Agility development for obstacle courses and confidence course

This is what your training week will look like:

  • Monday: Border Patrol Physical Fitness Test Prep
  • Tuesday: Strength, Chassis Integrity
  • Wednesday: Aerobic Endurance
  • Thursday: Border Patrol Physical Fitness Test Prep
  • Friday: TAC SEPA, Work Capacity, Chassis Integrity

Required Equipment: 

  • Fully Equipped Functional Fitness Weight Room including barbells, racks, bumper plates, dumbbells, plyo boxes, 25# weight vest, and sandbags (40/60#)

Questions? Email

75% of Survey Respondents – “Afghanistan Is Not Worth Fighting For”

By Charles Bausman

As the policy discussions in Washington D.C. continue on what the U.S. should do in Afghanistan, we asked the MTI community, many with multiple deployments to Afghanistan, what we should do in the country. (CLICK HERE to see the original article)

75% of the respondents, all of whom have served in Afghanistan, said that the country is not worth fighting for.

Many reasons were cited for getting out of the country militarily. The primary reasons were:

  • A lack of cultural unity, challenging the legitimacy of a unified Afghan national government
  • A lack of U.S. focus on an overall objective and end state for Afghanistan
  • After 16 years, it is time for the Afghan military and government to take the lead
  • Corruption in the Afghan government and safe havens in Pakistan negate any gains of U.S. and allied forces

The respondents who argued for a continued presence stated that Afghanistan is still readily able to host terrorist organizations for attacks beyond the Afghan borders, as well as the commitment, is worth seeing through to the end to justify the lives and treasures lost in the country.

We’ve included all responses below. Served in Afghanistan and have something to say? Scroll to the bottom of the page to fill out the survey.


3. What are the policy makers missing?

-Desired end state

-Carrot and stick method. Force the government to work for the people or we withdraw incentives. Weed out corruption, tell the Afghan government to punish those who engage in unethical behavior, not only in the national but provincial and district levels. Support and grow the Afghan Air Force. Increase pay for Afghan military members.

-They are missing purpose- what was our purpose of going there? To punish Al Qaida for 9/11. Mission accomplished- we need to pull out and leave a CT force to assist in any entity attempting to plot against us or our close allies.

-We will never control Afghanistan and we can’t force American style freedom on a population that doesn’t want or need it. Afghanistan’s tribal culture has existed far longer than the US has and it has served their needs.

-We failed to study the history of Afghanistan. No foreign army has ever invaded the country and won a war there. Cut our losses and leave. Look up the phrase “you have the watches, but we have the time.”

-Leverage SOF capabilities. Conventional forces cannot engage culture like highly trained, smaller forces. Afghanistan is not a civilized nation. The people are still human beings, but they lack the ability to come together and act as a unified whole. This is why the copious aid we’ve pushed toward them has failed. SOF assets would not be there to solve anything. They would only address symptoms of larger problems.

-A. The immense amount of time necessary to achieve lasting results. The examples of success in endeavors like this over the course of history required decades of investment. B. The value of a decentralized approach to the Afghan problem, with a weak central government and empowered provincial governors with local forces (as opposed to a national army).

-Nature of the combatants, understanding of terrain and the effects it has on success or failure, and the fact that you can’t win unless you commit more people.

-The fact that we have no real national interest in the place, and that ther is no “Afghanistan” as Americans understand nations to be. Right now it’s nothing but a money pit and a distraction from more pressing matters

-What is the end state the U.S. desires to achieve in Afghanistan. Once that is decided, set policies and activities to meet that end state. The attempts of the U.S. to have Afghanistan become a Jeffersonian Democracy will never be realized in an area where the loyalties of the majority of the population are to individual tribes and not to a nation state.

-The lack of support from the local population.

-Distinct understanding of the ancient tribal system that truly controls Afghanistan. This doesn’t fit with the planned government and is the same reason communism failed to take hold

-Missing knowledge of reality on the ground. Our cultures are so dramatically different that even us “trying to do the right thing” backfires.

-The people do not want us there… period. End of statement.

-That Afghanistan has thousands of years of tribal culture that isn’t magically going to convert over into a democracy overnight, or even over a decade. Additionally, we can’t want it more than the Afghans themselves want it.

-The mission ended when UBL was killed. If we are going to remain here, we need to take advantage of the resources Afghanistan has, such as lithium and other precious metals, and make them pay for the security and stability we are providing with favorable trade agreements to extract and bring these materials to the US. If we don’t, the chinese certainly will. Beyond that, “nation building” is a big fail.

-Providing real education to the Afghans and understanding that to really change things we need to be there for at least 20 more years. Worth it?

-That the Afghan people don’t comprehend freedom, you cannot win a campaign the people are incapable of buying into. The goal was Bin Laden and close terrorist training camps. Time to let Afghanistan sort itself out, people will rise up if they actually care.

-I did three tours in Afghanistan as a Civil Affairs officer from 2001-2007. In that capacity, I accompanied other SOF units and tried to bridge the gap from the DOD and the local population. I am convinced that trying to keep Afghanistan as one entire nation-state is a fallacy. There are many ethnicities which don’t like each other. By letting each group establish sovereignty over their part of the country, we can eliminate the petty squabbling and help each faction work for it’s own defense.
-Complexity of local relationship, ideologies coupled with a massive cost to our future generations – medically, psychologically, physically and economically.

-Influence of outside actors from China, Pakistan, Iran, and other areas

-courage. they all know it is winless, but no one wants to admit it and lose votes

-A end game contextualized within local dynamics. In a sense, the war is unwinnable. We cannot change people’s hearts – as much as we think we can. Many of the people I interacted with on a daily basis simply wanted to live their lives as best they knew how.

-Troop levels are not a strategy for defeating an insurgency. The problem all along has been the lack of a strategy to defeat the insurgency. With that there are the numerous problems within the Afghan government, military and police that must be addressed. The key to victory will be the Afghan people. The other issue that has to be addressed is Pakistan providing safe haven to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.
-You cannot impose democracy on a nation that knows not what it is, Nation building always fails.

5. Why or Why Not?

-To prevent another 9/11

-There is a statistic floating around that over 40% or more of terrorism is born/live/have safe haven in Afghanistan. We need to deny terror groups the ability to operate freely to prevent future attacks not only in Afghanistan, but all over the world.

-Once on patrol and elder told me- All I want for my family is security/predictability. When the Taliban was here I knew what I/my family could and could not do. It was very clear and the reprecussions for not doing it were very brutal (stoning/beheading ect) but we knew the rules. With the govt in charge one day I get taxed one day I don’t, one day I am beat by security forces one day by the district governor and then taxed by the Taliban….I wish the Taliban was back in charge. By the US govt bringing the corrupt govt to the people we are making it worse off.

-There is no way for us to come out on top and/or force our American ways on them.

-16 years is long enough. Their fighters are known for waiting out the armies of empires until they crumble.

-If you’re not going to invest in security in Afghanistan — if you’re going to allow it to devolve into a lawless sanctuary once again — then you should take all of your money and invest in giant walls, because that’s the only alternative to protecting Americans and American interests.

-We’ve invested a serious amount of money as well as those who’ve already given their lives. We need to see it through!

-It never was worth fighting for. The Afghanistan everyone imagines does not exist. It is more like 13 tribes kicking the shit out of each other that have slacked off a bit in hopes of grabbing some US$

-The Afghan government does not desire to enact change to allow itself to effectively end the Taliban and HQN threat. Nothing the U.S. can do will improve this situation. The country has held free elections and the people (as directed by their Maliks) have voted for their representatives. It is time to let the country decide its own fate.

-The corruption from top leaders nation wide. The lack of support from local population and that most could care less who runs the country. Also the non stop flow of fighters from Pakistan.
-Afghanistan needs to fight for itself. They have had 16 years to get ready. If they are not, they never will be. Along with that, America is providing security for other countries to exploit Afghanistans resources

-We’ve wasted billions of dollars and every strategic and tactical move we make creates more issues than it solves. Working on a paper for this as my senior research thesis

-No natural resources to justify our costs of operation. Nothing in it for Americans to prosper.

-Afghanistan isn’t a threat to the United States at this point in the proceedings, and US military efforts are probably better focused elsewhere. Ultimately, there is zero point in staying as an occupational force; Afghans need to push the Taliban out on their own.

-Not a black and white answer. The time for Ranger Bat to be conducting full frontal assaults in Eastern Nanghahar should be long past. I have fought in those valleys, and up into Kunar, killing large swaths of fighters through air strikes and firefights. Following each engagement, the losses did not matter to their numbers, they have a never ending pool of recruits to conduct these small scale attacks and spectacular attacks. In the end, continuing to stand up a competent Afghan Defense Force, able to hold major territory along with precision coalition CT and targeting is the only way to start tamping off the flow of fighters into the Taliban/ISIS/HiG/etc. As long as there is an overt American presence, they will continue to fight and die.

-You can’t bring 17th century culture and tribal divisions into the 21st century.

-Finish the mess we started

-Limited strategic value, we used it in the 80s to collapse Russia economically and now are doing to ourselves.

-A common saying is “if these walls could talk.” In Afghanistan, I want to know what the rocks would say. Going back thousands of years, that place has been a metaphorical quagmire for invaders.

-The cost is too high. We need to focus our priorities and come up with and end-game strategy and leave soon or we will continue to incur more debt. Who are we fighting? What is the focus?

-Nothing in the mindset of the Afghan people will change. They don’t identify as a nation, but instead as tribes. Until they obtain some type of national identity, any state building solution there will fail.

-the people there don’t want our style of government outside of the city centers. we can’t want it more then they do. We can always re-attack from a friendly middle east country or a carrier if ISIS-K et all, gains a foothold.

-Yes – but not by more US troops. The goal was always to get the Afghans to take the lead. Eventually, they need to do that. If not now, then when? They will never be ready enough – none of us ever are for anything in life.

-Westerners (me) are trying to change an ideology of how a country is governed, it doesn’t work when the majority of the population is uneducated

6. What do you think is the biggest obstacle to defeating the insurgency in Afghanistan?

-The collective tribal society….the insurgency is the people and without “taking care of Pakistan” nothing will change in AFG.

-We try too heavily to force our culture on theirs. They know we will not be there forever. But the Taliban or equivalent will be. They can pretend to side with us, but they know who will be around for the long term.

-Our lack of understanding of the Pashtun/Afghan tribal mentality, culture, warrior code.

-The Afghan inability to unify and act as a nation.

-Trying to create a centralized approach in a country and region where it’s culturally unfounded.

-Tribal nature of the locals

-That there is no Afghanistan to be fighting over.

-No loyalty by the people to the centralized government. This is caused by high levels of corruption. When people do not feel loyal to their own government, an insurgency is impossible to defeat.

-The non stop flow of foreign fighters and weapons from Pakistan. Corruption and distrust in the local government.

-The tribal system and lack of understanding of local population

-Improper understand of cause and effect in the context of local/tribal/religious customs, problems, and socioeconomic realities.

-The fact that we are foreigners. T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) stated “Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them.” As long as we are doing it will never last. That is their home and they need to be the driving force. The separation that divides the tribes is to large for them to come together. They understand fear, but they have their pride and that is their entire identity. There is nothing we can do for them.

-Too much of the general population still supports the insurgency. Until that changes, it’s a giant game of live-fire whack-a-mole.

-Large scale American involvement and safe havens in Pakistan.

-The Taliban, AQ, ISIS and other criminal entities simply have to wait us out

-Education and a longer term vision

-Not really possible, to many people in that country that support Taliban or that form of government ran by extremist ideology. Lie to your face during the day, rape little boys, and subjugate women at night.

-I would normally say that our politicians need to cut the leash restraining the military. Let Mattis and everyone else do what they do best. We have sixteen consecutive years of combat experience. I’d rather let the military have free reign than listen to war-weary politicians who criticize it only as a means to get reelected. However, I can’t say that with regard to Afghanistan as Mattis even admitted we have no plan to fix the problem.

-Time, troops, and rules of engagement that are too limited.

-Troop levels and the American public not supporting thousands more US deaths it would take to completely eradicate the Taliban. It would probably take 3 years of mass mobilization like WWII to hold the terrain

-We are an occupation force that’s been fighting for 16 years. If the insurgency is to be defeated, it must be done by the Afghan people.

-The current corruption of the Afghan government and the mistrust of the government by the people.

-Hearts & Minds doesn’t work.. Short story, I asked local Afghans who were alive when the Russians were there how bad was it, they said pretty bad. I then asked if the Russians came back and wanted to give more money and support than the U.S. is giving would you welcome them… they said yes… Afghan culture is “live for today” what opportunities are there for me and my family for the close foreseeable future.. They are an opportunistic people and that clashes with what western culture is trying to do. Many have tried and many have failed throughout history…

7. Which of the policy options listed below would you support?

More Troops

President Trump has approved Secretary of Defense Mattis to send up to 3,900 more troops to Afghanistan. These pre-approved troops have yet to be deployed, as Secretary Mattis attempts to clarify the policy positions of the Trump administration.

The proponents of additional troops make up the majority of the administration’s national security team – National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, SecDef Mattis, SecState Tillerson, General Dunford (Joint Chief of Staff) and General Nicholson (Commanding General of American forces in Afghanistan) all recommend additional troops.

The additional troops would provide further training, equip, and support for Afghan forces. No timeline has been specified for a troop increase, which was a source of contention during the Obama administration, possibly allowing insurgent groups to ‘wait out’ U.S. forces.

Former security officials such as Jack Keane and Leon Pancetta have stated that the 3,900 troop increase is not nearly enough to make an impact on the security situation in Afghanistan.

Full Withdrawal

The Wall Street Journal reported on July 30th that some members of the Trump administration were exploring the possibility of a full withdrawal from Afghanistan.

This option may have been taken off the table according to the Washington Times, but it displays the frustration of Trump officials over policy options in Afghanistan. White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon supposedly support further exploring this option.

Status Quo

This isn’t necessarily an option anyone is recommending, but rather the ground level fact as the deadline for an Afghan policy sits over due. Troop levels remain the same with the same mission sets.

The status quo has been described as an eroding stalemate as the Taliban and other groups retake ground from the Afghan government. 

The Contractor Option

Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and other military contracting businesses, proposed a private military contractor option for Afghanistan. He penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and has recently made the television media rounds. 

He recommended the establishment of a lead federal leader or ‘viceroy’ with private military advisors implemented at the Afghan battalion level in the fight against the Taliban. Prince also recommended a model based loosely on the Britsh East India Company, which served as the private business arm of the colonial effort in the Americas and India.

(CLICK HERE to see a recent interview with Prince on the topic.)

This idea was apparently met with contempt by H.R. McMaster and Secretary Mattis, but administration officials such as Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner have enabled Prince to gain the ear of the President.

Previous Options – Biden’s CT Plus

During the Obama administrations deliberations on Afghan Policy, Vice President Biden proposed reducing COIN focused troop levels, instead emphasizing counter-terrorism operations by special operations forces.

This would have focused on removing insurgent and terrorist leadership elements along with logistical support, and letting go of the counter insurgency based doctrine which required much higher troop levels of conventional forces.

This option was not chosen but likely remains in the minds of some officials as the Taliban continues to regain territory.

‘Other’ option responses:

-We need personnel there to deal with issues and “keep eyes on” potential future threats – but we should also be honest with ourselves and realize that culture is not transformed by military operations

-A radical change in approach – using the troops that you have differently…

-CT Plus, but understanding that Conventional Forces are not equipped to conduct COIN operations. Small scale COIN with specialized SOF forces, who are trained for these types of missions, will lower the American signature and greatly enhance the capabilities of the Afghan Forces.

-Military force for the explicit purpose of getting the natural resources AFG has waiting in the ground. It would be the only legitimate source of national income for this place.

-Let Afghanistan pay contractors to secure it…

Have something to add to the conversation? Please complete the survey below…

Plan Focus: PsyOps Assessment & Selection Training Plan

By Charlie Bausman, August 2017

This week we designed and completed the US Army PsyOps Assessment & Selection Training Plan.

In designing this training plan we brought to bear the decade of experience we’ve had in designing military and law enforcement special forces selection training plans. This 8-Week, sport-specific program is ruck-intensive, reflecting the ruck-heavy characteristic of PsyOps selection, but also includes focused APFT and 5-Mile run training for initial selection gates.

The APFT, 5-Mile Run, 8-Mile Ruck and MTI-inspired multi-modal work capacity event are assessed three times during this training plan and follow-on progressions are based on the athlete’s most recent assessment results. In this way, the plan automatically “scales” to the incoming fitness of the athlete and continues to push them as their fitness improves.


This program gets progressively harder each week, until week 8, when the training tapers down into the start of the selection. The plan is designed to be completed the 8 weeks directly before selection. Again, week 8 is a taper into the event.

This is an intense training plan which will demand physical and time commitment. To successfully complete this program you’ll need to make training for selection a priority during your work day.

Ruck Intensive
This plan is “sport specific” to the specific fitness demands you’ll face at the Civil Affairs Selection and Assessment – specifically rucking, running, work capacity “smokers,” grip strength, etc. You’ll ruck 2 days/week and run 3 days/week. It also includes:

  • Testing and progressive training for the APFT
  • Extended, multi-modal work capacity events
  • Grip strength training.
  • Shoulder strength endurance work
  • Loaded runs and carries
  • Intense core, mobility, and stabilizer strength training for durability
  • 4-Square Drills for ankle and knee durability

The plan includes 48 Total Training Sessions. It is intended that you’ll train Monday-Thursday with a long ruck on Saturday. Friday and Sunday are rest days.

Weekly Training Schedule

  • Monday: APFT Work & PM – Ruck Run Intervals
  • Tuesday: Work Capacity, Chassis Integrity
  • Wednesday: 2-Mile Run Intervals for 5 Mile Run Improvement
  • Thursday: APFT Work
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Long Ruck


What if I miss a day?
Don’t skip ahead. Start where you left off. The plan is progressive, and its training sessions designed to be completed in order.

What if I have less then 8 weeks before I start the Selection Course?
Still start at the beginning of this training plan anyway. The last week before your selection, complete Week 8 from this training plan. It is an unload and taper week.

What if I can’t handle the training volume at first?
Building stamina and resilience is a key training goal of this plan, and physical and mental stamina is also key to completing the Selection course. If you can’t handle the training volume at first, its better to cut training sessions short, rather than take unscheduled rest days.

I have more than 8 weeks before selection. What should I do before I start this training plan?
It depends on how much time you have, exactly. But in general, we encourage military athletes to start MTI programming with the Military On-Ramp Training Plan.

What if I can’t make the prescribed reps for the bodyweight exercises, or the prescribed interval times for the rucks or runs?
Do your best, and be sure to do the total number of rounds, even if you can’t make the reps or the time. Don’t quit.

Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE. The Running and Ruck Calculators are 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.


Q&A 8.10.17


“I used the APFT programme. After four weeks I went from 60 to 80 pushups, and 65 to 84 situps. Super pleased. 300 points after just a month. My run didn’t improve (12:53) but I played sports all day the day before and that took a lot out of legs on test day.”


Greetings. I recently purchased the USMC PFT prep plan and have the following questions:
1. for the worksets that are “every 75 seconds” is the 75 seconds measured from the time you finish the set, or is it just “every 75 seconds” including the work set? (meaning, the rest period is just whatever time I have left over between when i finish and when I hit the 75 second mark)
2. I believe the link to the “common exercise” explanations is down (the link referenced in the “overview” section of the program)–is it possible to please provide a working link?


1. Whatever time you have left after doing your set.
– Rob


Just completed big 24, which plan should I move on to next if ranger school this coming winter is the event I’m aiming for?


(1) Ulysses – Gym based strength, ruck run, intervals and moderate distance work

(2) Perseus – Unloaded running and rucking intervals, gym-based Strength, Work Capacity, and Chassis Integrity

(3) Actaeon– “Balanced” cycle training gym-based Strength, Work Capacity,  Chassis Integrity, and Distance running

(4) Ranger School Training Plan – Specific training for Ranger School PFT, Running, Rucking, and Work Capacity. Complete this the 7 weeks directly before Ranger School.

– Rob


I’m seeking some advice regarding a proper training plan for my very first climb. Next spring (may or June) I will be climbing Mt. Shasta with a few buddies and a guide company. I know you have a variety of plans to choose from for this sort of expedition, however I cannot narrow down which one best fits my journey.

I have zero climbing experience but feel that my fitness level is above average. I’m a marine corps veteran and currently a police officer. I constantly train for my profession and have followed your programming in the past (LE athlete). Any advice is greatly appreciated.


Complete the Peak Bagger Training Plan the 6-weeks directly before your climb.
Good luck!
– Rob


Subscriber here. I’m looking to you for guidance on a similar progression training for TACP prep – from before basic training to blowing through their PAST exam and being well-prepared for the pipeline.
The minimums are a little bit lighter than PJ/ CCT – but I understand the new TACP/JTAC Battlefield Airmen PT Test is being administered. And I read about the 10 mi ruck req, though can’t find standards on that yet.
You’ve outlined this for PJ/ CCT. What would you suggest for someone looking at TACP?

     Weeks     Plan

  • 1-6            USAF PAST Training Plan
  • 7                Total Rest
  • 8-14          Valor
  • 15              Total Rest
  • 16-19       Operator Pentathlon Training Plan
  • 20              Total Rest
  • 21-26       Humility
  • 27               Total Rest
  • 28-35        Big 24 + Swim Improvement Training Plan*
  • 36              Unload Week
  • 36-44         USAF CCT/PJ/CRO Selection Training Plan


It’s somewhat tricky with Basic in the middle, but here’s what I’d recommend:
Take one week rest between plans.
– Rob


I am beginning to train for the United Kingdoms Royal Marine Commandos; During my research about training for the military I came across your webpage and I am contemplating purchasing your monthly athletes subscription to aid me in my year and a half long preparation and I had a few questions about the subscription, they are as follows:

– I was wondering in what format are the training programmes presented? e.g emailed word document, a membership only site, etc.

– Which plan do you personally recommend for the aspiring “Blue” tactical athlete?

– Do you recommend incorporating multiple plans into one or do you believe this to be too strenuous on the body?

For me the Royal Marines will hopefully just be the start of my career as I hope to move up through the ranks and become skilled enough to enrol for the Special Boat Service or Special Air Service so as time passes my training focuses will change towards your “Grey” tactical athlete. Any advice on premature training for that would also be greatly appreciated if I do subscribe.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email and I look forward to hearing from you.


– Plan delivery is via online membership.
– I’d recommend you start our stuff with the Military On-Ramp Training plan.  After On-Ramp, I’d recommend you drop into the Pirate Training Packet.
– Rob


I use to do your workouts 7 years ago when I was still in the military. Now I am out and about 30lbs heavier. I’m getting back into a routine and never liked the generic workouts.
Would it be wise to jump straight back into your workouts after more than a year off from working out? If so, what plan would you recommend?
I see you guys have grown quite a bit since I last visited the site. Congrats on the success.


Start by fixing your diet. Here are our recommendations.
– Rob


I’d like your guidance on training for the Aus Army’s Infantry Corps physical standard. The test in this order is:

15km ruck with 40-45KGs in 150-165 minutes.
1km run in fighting order (everything from here on out is in fighting order): 22-23KG in 8 minutes.
72m fire and movement – this is actually quite easy, the bounds are about 5-10 metres, one drops to a knee in time with a cadence, then drops to a lying prone position, and then as the cadence dictates, moves to the next firing position.
18m leopard crawl in 30 seconds.
35KG box lift and place to a height of 1.5m.
10m casualty drag of an 80KG casualty.
11x25m jerry can carry with 2x22KG jerry cans. Essentially a farmer’s walk to a cadence.

I am most concerned about the ruck, the casualty drag, and the farmers walk. Which program/hybrid of programs do you recommend?


I don’t have the perfect plan for you. From what I do have I’d recommend Ulysses – which will help prepare you for the 15km ruck and 1km run. For the Rucks in Ulysses – use 45Kg.
Farmer’s Walk – I can  tell you how to train for this – find out the specifics of the assessment  – specifically cadence, and do an assessment. See if you can make the standard. You’ll want to do this 2-3x/week, and work up to 150% of the assessment distance to the cadence – so 16x 25m lengths. This is a duration issue more than distance as the cadence is set.
– Rob


I am interested in using your programming for an HRT Selection in the Fall. I am approx 19 weeks out from selection and am evaluating my training as I have been more focused on Crossfit-type workouts.
If I were to start the 9 week training immediately, I would have an additional 9 weeks left to train prior to selection. Would you recommend completing this training twice?


No. The FBI HRT Selection Training Plan is sport-specific and super intense. It’s designed to be completed directly before selection so you’ll “peak” at selection. Twice in a row would be too much.
To start I’d recommend Glock from our Gun Maker Series of plans for full-time SWAT/SRT – with a modification.
Glock is a 6 week plan we need to strength to 8 weeks. Repeat weeks 2 and 5 in the plan. Take a full week of total rest, then roll into the HRT selection plan.
Good luck!
– Rob


I am currently completing the Sapper Leader Course training plan. I have not quite been able to keep up with the demands of the plan (but doing fairly well), and I’m concerned I won’t know where to taper down to lead into the course. Maybe one week out skip to the last week of the plan?
If not, how should I adjust I adjust the plan to lead me right into the Sapper course? I start the Sapper Leader course in about 2.5 weeks.
Thank you so much for your time and expertise.


Week 8 of the Sapper Leaders Course Plan is a taper week. Skip ahead and complete this plan the last full week you have to train. Take the final 1/2 week in your timeline off.
Good luck!
– Rob


I’m looking to take my Navy PST and hoping to score well enough to enter the pipeline to BUD/s this fall. I’m trying to figure out how best to prepare for this using your plans. And then how best to prepare for BUD/s afterward. My strength and work capacity seem to be far better than my endurance and my swim confidence. Right now I was thinking about running your swim and running improvement programs then transitioning into the Navy PST program, and the USAF PAST program if my scores aren’t as high as I’d like. Then afterward depending on time, running your AF PJ/ CCT program and your BUD/s V2 program before I leave. Sorry for the long winded message! Any feedback on this schedule would be appreciated. Thanks!


You’re plan is solid, but I’d recommend you complete the plan progression in the BUD/s Training Packet.
– Rob


Can you recommend any sources for Ruck programming? Whats the best ”to learn” it? Normally i categorize/organize my Trainingsessions in a High/Low Scheme (CNS). But i have no Idea how to organize rucking. Treat it like Running or other breathing activities? How is the impact on the Recovery for Muscles/CNS? Whats your do’s/dont’s in Programming?

I own the SFOD-D Prep Plan, maybe these one can help to understand it?


Don’t overthink rucking. Just start doing it. The rucking progression in the SFOD-D Selection Training Plan deploys an assessments (5-mile and 10 mile), follow-on threshold intervals, and longer, moderate distance rucking. In general we deploy an assessment and train hard, fast, short itnervals, and long, slower distances based on the individual athlete’s assessment results.
We ruck run during assessments. Another strategy is to run for 3 minutes, walk one minute. When ruck-marching, or walking, there is some technique tips which will help. See HERE.
Weight ….. aim to place the bulk of your rucking load/weight – 2/3 – high in your pack, and while moving, keep most the load on your shoulders. We’ve found excess weight low in the rack and carried by the pack hip belt ends up putting our butt/hips asleep and slowing pace.
Please note that FOD-D Training Plan is designed for experienced military athletes, already with plenty of rucking experience, to prepare for SFOD-D Selection which is especially ruck-intensive.  Perhaps a better place to begin is Fortitude.
You’re welcome to email any questions.
– Rob


I’m prepping for a fall alpine climbing trip with the “mountain guides preseason training plan” but will be interrupted/away from gym facilities twice for 4 total weeks during the training period.

Would it be effective to utilise the bodyweight training program during those interruptions or would you have another suggestion?


Yes on the Bodyweight Foundation Plan during these periods.
– Rob


Wasn’t sure what plan to sign up for.
Planning on a backpack hunt for elk in Colorado the end of October. I am prior military (infantry & medic). Got out in 04 and haven’t carried a ruck since.
I live in west Texas and it’s pretty flat in my area. I work a oilfield job where I don’t have time to go to a gym and limited on equipment I can drag around.   In addition to to that, I had a significant shoulder surgery about 8 months ago and it is still significantly weaker than the other side. Is there anything y’all have that will help me train to improve  both my rifle & bow shooting?


Hunting – by my count you have 20 Weeks before your hunt. Here’s what I recommend.
Weeks    Plan
8-12        Humility
All are limited equipment training plans and none need a mountain to train on. You can complete them in west Texas.
Shoulder? See how you feel after the Bodyweight Foundation Plan. Completing that plan will likely go along way toward evening things up.
– Rob


I’m heading on a sheep hunt in almost 7 weeks. What type of routine would you recommend for a 33 year old male, flat lander (Dallas, TX) that sees 99% of his workouts done in a weight room type environment with very little cardio. I know, I’m late. But, gotta figure out what I can do with the time I’ve got. Thank you for your time. Have a good day!


This is an 8 week plan. Still start on week 1, but skip week 7 and finish with week 8. That should give you 7 weeks.
Good luck on your hunt!
– Rob


There has a been an epidemic of failures at IBOLC/Ranger school due to the RPA. The RPA accounts for approximately 25% of all RAP Week failures. Most of the RPA failures occur during the Push-Up event. The current pass for IBOLC is currently  around 32%. Those who pass the RPA tend to be successful. Do you have any supplemental work just for the push-up event to strengthen the chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles,


Our go-two push up training progression begins with an assessment and then density sets based on your assessment results. We deploy this in our Push Up Improvement Packet. The difference with the RPA at Ranger School as I understand it is the push ups have to be constant movement – almost to a metronome. You can’t rest in the up position.
Additional work? Do a deck of crds worth of push ups every other day, Aces count as 15x reps, face cards count as 10x reps and all other cards count their number. Turn over 2x cards at a time. Do that number of push ups (so if you turn over a 9 of clubs and queen of hearts, do 19x push ups in a “Slow, steady push-up repetitions executed to standard (elbows are locked, your body forms a generally straight plane, and you break the plane on the way down) will ensure you’re a GO” …. rest as needed, then turn over 2 more cards.
Break sets as necessary.
– Rob


I am interested in incorporating one of your strength routines into my training. I was reviewing the programs and I’m not really sure what would be best for me…
I am an ultra-runner who prefers the 50K distance with a lot of elevation gain/loss. I just completed one 50K last weekend and I have another in October with about 7,000ft of gain. In between, I have a fast-pack of the Wonderland Trail (3 days, September). I want to find a strength routine that will help me with all this climbing, etc so my body doesn’t get so beat up, but need to keep my mileage up so I am ready for those distances. I am prone to injury (runner’s knee/IT Band) so I try to keep my weakly mileage to about 40-50 miles in peak weeks.
What plan would you recommend? And how do you suggest incorporating it with my current running schedule (typically M-Rest, T-hill or speed, W-Easy Run, TH-hills or easy Friday-Easy Longer Saturday-Easy Trail, Sunday – Long Trail)


(1) In-Season Strength Training Plan for Endurance Athletes. You’d want to complete 1-2 of these sessions/week. I’d recommend Tues/Thurs, after your running.
(2) Alpine Running Training Plan – specifically, replace your hill/speed work on Tue/Thurs with the vertical progression in this plan – i.e. uphill hiking. Uphill movement involves both strength, but also mode-specific aerobic fitness. The best way to train it is to hike/run uphill. If you do this, complete the vertical sessions unloaded  – not with load as recommended by the plan.
– Rob


I am a long time user of MTI’s training programs – all have been perfect for my development and training!
I had a quick question regarding your “Valor” Training Plan.  I am on leave for about a month, getting prepped for a deployment to Afghanistan and was interested in this plan as a train up.  I wanted to gauge your recommendation whether or not this is an appropriate plan for improving overall strength/endurance?
Also, someone provided me a copy of the plan from 2014, and I believe what you are offering on your website represents an updated version.  Is there any reason I should purchase the new one (is it significantly better based on the goals of the program)?


Valor overall has a work capacity focus and specifically for endurance, a speed-over-ground emphasis for both running and rucking. I’d recommend Fortitude for strength/endurance. Fortitude has a greater emphasis on strength, and longer endurance efforts (running, rucking).
We just updated Valor to eliminate “garbage reps” and change the core programming to your new Chassis Integrity theory, along with other efficiency improvements.
Should you buy the new plan? No – the Valor Version 1 is awesome.
– Rob


What training would you suggest for a reasonably fit 60 year old guy who plans to go to Mexico and climb Mt. Orizaba (18,000′ +) in early December 2017.  I’ve not been above 14,400′ (ie Mt Rainier) and want to use the next 5-6 months to the best advantage. Thanks!


6 Months = 24 weeks. Here’s what I’d recommend:
Weeks    Plan
8-15        Mountain Base Helen
16-24      Rainier Training Plan
I understand you already climbed Rainier – but I think you find this programming appropriate for your objective.
– Rob


Two questions for you

First: Re: your article on 5 movements for mtn athletes:

Any immediate thoughts on efficacy of weighted step-ups versus stairs or even a stair machine? It seems easier to grind on a machine, but that may actually be detrimental to the effects.
I would assume it’s just a minimalism equipment thing in that anyone can have a bench & pack versus having a machine or a tower to climb stairs, but as a Dallas-based guy that likes to do 14ers, I’m particularly interested.
Second: In your experience, is there a limit on 20RM back squats for experienced lifters? 1rm at 405lbs (200lb BW) and a 300# 20RM seems to be around my upper limit at 75%, whereas Achilles programming goes to 85%. Is that a deficiency in strength-endurance or have you observed that before with athletes that are already near their physiological limit of 1rm back squat?
For what its worth, I feel great going through the programming with less of the ‘fried’ feeling I get from a 5×5 program. I’m a believer.
All the best and keep up the great programming.


1) No experience with stair machines. I know step ups work.
2) No limit. We’ve got athletes doing Super Squats now with 1RM back squats above 405#. This is why the progression is based upon the individual athlete.
– Rob


I am a Marine Corps infantry officer who is scheduled to go to BRC in December. I hoping to make it to a force company. I am looking at a lot of school specific programming for MARSOC A&S, BUDS, etc. While there is not one specifically for BRC, is there a program you currently offer that you feel would best suit preparation?


We do have a course-specific training plan for BRC – the USMC Basic Recon Course Training Plan.
– Rob


MTI’s Athlete’s Subscription Keeps Getting Stronger

By Mintra Mattison

MTI’s Athlete’s Subscription now includes 200+ training plans across, Mountain, Military, LE, Fire Rescue and General Fitness. But we don’t stop there. We are constantly reviewing and updating existing plans to match our latest programming theory as well as designing new plans by request or simply out of interest. 

These are plan/packet additions since January 1, 2017:

Push Up Improvement Plan
Pull Up Improvement Plan
Teton Grand Traverse Training Plan
Pirate Training Packet (4 Plans)
SF45 Training Packet (4 Plans)
3-Week Pull Up & Push Up Improvement Training Plan
MTI Strength Packet (7 Plans)
Fire Academy Training Plan
Law Enforcement Academy Training Plan
MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan
Eccentric Strength Training Plan
Civilian Affairs Selection & Training Packet (3 Plans)
Ranger School Training Placke (6 Plans)
USMC TBS & IOC Training Packet (2 Plans)
Potential Royal Marine Course Training Plan
Urban Conflict Pre-Deployment Training Plan
3 Stooges Dumbbell/Kettlebell Strength Packet (3 Plans)
Super Squat Strength Training Plan
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Training Plan
Border Patrol Academy Training Plan

In addition to building the above plans and packets, we’ve updated and improved multiple existing plans including …

  • Running Improvement Training Plan
  • Ranger School Training Plan
  • FBI SA PFT Training Plan
  • Rucking Improvement Training Plan
  • Upper Body Round Robin Training Plan
  • Big 24 Strength
  • 357 Strength

Online Courses
What we’ve noticed over the years is that our athletes not only enjoy and appreciate our programming but often like to understand the reasoning behind the progressions. So we added our Educational Courses to the Subscription Package for the experienced athlete or coach who desires to learn more about strength and conditioning program design.

These online courses are now available with your subscription:

Rat 6 Strength Design
357 Strength Design
Super Squat Strength Design
Eccentric Strength Design
TLU Strength Design
Big 24 Strength Design
Density Strength Design

When it comes to program design, methodologies and testing all that matters to us is outside performance. Our Stuff Works in the real world so here’s our guarantee:

If you follow the training sessions as prescribed, and are not satisfied with the quality of the programming, notify us within 30 days of purchase, and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked. Click HERE to learn more.


See What Other Subscribers Said About The Athlete’s Subscription HERE