All posts by SSD

Q&A 4.26.18


I have been dabbling in the Greek Hero Fitness Plans for about a year now. I completed Hector, Perseus, and Achilles and then randomly gave myself an APFT plus an UBRR and an 18 mile Ruck in the course of about a week. I scored a 296, crushed the minimums of UBRR, and a 4:51:00 on 18 mile with @ 60lbs (Finish not Win pace). It should be noted that I suffered a Grade 3 ACJ in 2013 non surgical and that when I found out about you guys. I started with your bodyweight plan to get back on my feet. I know all of your plans work. Diet has been key. No Alcohol. I am 34. Thanks for what you do and I will be buying the rest of the Greek Hero plans. I just have to go do this “thing” first. They are the best blend of running, rucking, lifting, and explosive bodyweight exercises I have ever done. My friends that suffer through Thor 3 watch in envy. Some of the exercises go easy and I was able to add to them. For example, 6 rounds power clean followed by rope climbs is an awesome concept. It crushed me at first. Then I started doing 3rounds with a 25#vest 3 rounds bodyweight. Then that turned into the whole thing with vest. Then that turned into sliding 2x 5 lbs plated in my vest with plates in already. Then that turned into adding 6 pull-ups with vest after the rope before rest(which I would extend by 30sec) and then the next power clean. I learned that I was pushing it as I started to get major fatigue in my forearms so I backed off for a while and then move on to different plan. That plan also had power clean rope climbs (Yes!) I went back to splitting reps half vest half bodyweight and I highly recommend adding the change no pullups… I can sweep up the rope now like a 90lbs Pacific Islander and I am around 200 with an X frame and can’t dance. I say all this to give feedback. Help the plans evolve. Help you guys stay competitive. The Greek Hero plans have it all. Everyone comments on what I do. I don’t do it because of that. I do it because it’s not standing in front of a mirror curling or working cable tri’s meanwhile having a gut. Far too much of the warrior community are peacocks. They take the easy road by shaping muscle, by looking strong, not performing, hoping to deter aggressors. That is sheepdog mentality. They want to make a big display on the perimeter of their courage. That’s not for me anymore. I desire to live out past the perimeter now. I digress. If you asked what could be added I would say I am at a point where I need more emphasis on stretching rolling soft tissue stuff and your programming will knot you up fast. I have blended Thor 3, Some Squat University stuff, and your warmups and cools downs and it seems to be helping prevent injury. Over the last year the most common tight spots or pain areas were the arch of the foot tightness, calf’s, hamstring lower back. Thanks for what you do. Hope this helps.”


Me and my buddies are currently in the SFQC. We have taken your relative strength, endurance, and work capacity assessments over the past month. In using the given scales, we found that we rated as “excellent” in all 3. We were wondering if there was a level of fitness higher than your given “excellent” numbers. We would like to know where we would stack up against, say, the most elite of tactical athletes. Almost like a leaderboard. Not sure if it’s something MTI has ever thought about, but one draw to the CrossFit Open is that we can compare our scores to others competing in the same events. Nonetheless, we were wondering if you or the lab rats have any “all time best” scores for the three assessments we can compare our scores to.


Other than teasingly competing with each other, we’ve never done official scoreboards like Crossfit. It might be interesting to apply something like that to one or two of the official MTI assessments.
Good for you for doing the endurance assessment. Most skip that one!
Would you mind sending me in your scores? Pls include height/weight/age and individual loads/reps for the strength assessment, and times for the 3 legs of the endurance assessment.
One high level of fitness from our stuff, very few have achieved, is a score of bodyweight or better on Operator Ugly. The closest I ever came was a score of 151 at a bodyweight of 155. Here’s how a group of SOF guys did on this assessment.
Another killer challenge is to complete the Barbell Complex at bodyweight – but you have to work up to it over 4 rounds. So for example, if my bodyweight is 155, I have to do the first effort at 125#, then 135#, then 145#, and finish with 155#. I’m not sure I’ve personally seen anyone do this.
Another event, from our Range Fitness work, is to get to the highest level (16 hits) in our Quad Deuce Range Fitness event. I’ve seen 2 people do this. Once on the website, we offered a $400 prize for anyone who could do this and record it. No one claimed the prize … so I withdrew it. I’ve personally come close (15 hits) several times! So frustrating!
– Rob


It’s been 4 months, can you make sure I’m headed in the right direction?  When I wrote to you in  December 2017, I asked for a long-term approach to improve my pushups. This Tuesday I scored a personal best on pushups on the APFT, over 80 points!  However, I couldn’t quite stick to your plan between January and now.    I’m planning to start over on the Hypertrophy/Strength plan you gave me unless you think I should do something else.

After I got your email, I decreased volume for a couple weeks around the holidays, then got halfway through the Ultimate Meathead Cycle. I had an APFT on 22 January and scored 53 push-ups/77 points. Because I was under 80 points, my unit made me do once-a-day company-led PT.  I have been following the Hybrid Push-Up plan at the same time, completing the Hybrid sessions before company PT or in the evening.  I took another APFT on Tuesday, scoring 57 push-ups/82 Points. This gets me out of company PT purgatory, so I can follow your programming without competing requirements.

So what should I do next?  I’d like to get to 75 Push-ups/100 points, but I know that will take time. My endurance is good enough right now; this push up number is holding back my career. I don’t have to take an APFT for at least 6 more months, probably closer to 9 months. I’m planning to do Ultimate Meathead Cycle, then Eccentric Strength, then check in again.

You are a great resource for tactical athletes – thank you!


I’d recommend you shift your focus from the APFT and do one of our more well-rounded training plans – specifically Hector from the Greek Hero Series.
Then, 6 weeks before your next APFT, complete the APFT Training Plan.
– Rob


I’m not really sure what would be the best program for me, I’m planning on climbing Mont Blanc in June (11weeks away) and then going straight to Italy to climb the dolomites, I have been doing some light training hiking, running and gym sessions, nothing very heavy as Im coming back from a calf injury. My rock climbing endurance is terrible at the moment so I really need to be building on that too.
What can you suggest I do?


I’d recommend …..
Weeks    Plan
1-5          Mountain Base Helen – trains strength, work capacity, core, endurance and climbing fitness via the V-Sum. Great way to tune up your base fitness.
6-11        Alpine Rock Climbing Pre-Season Training Plan – focused and intense to prepare you for your trip to Europe. Rock climbing fitness, uphill hiking under load fitness, etc.
– Rob


The base that I am currently stationed at does not have a track. Therefore it’s hard to do programs that include interval runs or sprints. It is also limited in space. I wonder if you have a good operator style workout that uses cardio machines incorporated instead of running sprints etc…


No. You can always measure 400m outside on a road somewhere. Be resourceful.
– Rob


I’m interested in trying one of your courses. Could you please advise me as to which would best accomplish my fitness goals?

I’m 36yrs old, for the past 9 months have been lifting regularly (have a well equipped home gym). I’m wanting to increase my strength, but also wanting to compete in an MMA match (have been training for years, have previous fights). Had considered the BJJ course, but don’t really need that kind of grip strength.
So, looking for strength increase with the major lifts/muscle groups, core/ chassis strength, as well as cardio/ high intensity endurance for 5min rounds.

Thank you,


The BJJ Plan covers all the bases your interested in. It includes barbell-based heavy strength training, intense core work, and high-intensity work capacity.
This is the plan I recommend.
– Rob


I’m probably going to sound crazy, but I’m determined to reach a milestone and I need your help developing a plan. Here’s a little about me. I’m a 52 year old Army National Guardsman/High School English teacher. I know my way around the weight room. But I’ve only trained bodyweight exercises for the past 2 years. My training has been sporadic for about a year. I stopped regular running after a patella tendon repair in 2000. I mainly row, bike, use the elliptical and walk. I can run, but have not trained at running in years. Now here’s where I need your help…

I have this crazy desire to max every event on the APFT (PU, SU AND Run) by October 2018 (sooner would be AWESOME). My most recent stats from my November 2017 APFT were 57 PU, 57 SU and 2.5 mile walk in 32:57.

My vitals are all excellent according to my physician after my physical a couple of weeks ago. The knee is fine. I’m 6’1, 225 lbs. I just started the nutrition plan MTI advises. There’s nothing physically preventing me from achieving my goal other than I don’t know where to start and I’m only moderately fit.

What training programs would you recommend to get me to my goal?

Thank you in advance.


Start our stuff with the Military OnRamp Training Plan, then follow it up with the APFT Training Plan.
– Rob


A quick question on recovery time between rounds.  I’m just finishing Resilience and going to start Big24v4.  An exercise physiology book I just read emphasizes the importance of appropriate recovery time between sets – they propose something like 2 minutes when doing strength sets – what do you program/recommend?  Apologies if that info in on the website – I looked but may have missed it.


Each circuit includes a stretch or mobility drill. This is your “working rest.”
In general, we’ve found that a minute is plenty … but take longer if you stop making the prescribed reps and loading. When we first start Big 24, the sessions go quick – 50-60 minutes. But near the end, when the loading is heavy, the sessions take around 70 minutes. The load causes us to take more rest. You’ll see…. it’s super intense.
– Rob


I am a 45 year old athlete.  Last year I competed in cycling at the Gran Fondo World Cycling Championships so I have had a high degree of endurance (at least on the bike) in the past.  I am not much of a runner though at all.  For my 50thbirthday year, my plan is to Trek in the Himalayas and do one of the “trekking peaks”.  Still a challenge at over 6000m elevation and with over 20 days of trekking.  Ideally I would like to do something like the following:  I did some light mountaineering in my 20s and I would like to get back into it now that I am a little more settled and have a bit more financial resources.

Unfortunately very shortly after the bike race last year, I developed a tendinitis in my adductor magnus which I am still working through.  I also had frozen shoulder and my right shoulder presents ongoing issues for me. I expect it is my lack of core strength and flexibility that is creating some of these issues for me (not to mention my long days at a desk as a lawyer). I am seeing a sports doc for these issues and I will hopefully be able to resolve them as I am working through your programs.   I want to make sure that I get my body prepared for the next challenges so I can accomplish my goals.  I also put on over 30 pounds since I had the injuries.  This summer I will primarily do hiking and scrambling but I want to follow a progression so I am ready to tackle the mountaineering and climbing courses I will take roughly a year from now.  I will likely do a week long mountaineering course in June of next year (2019) and take it from there.

Do you have a recommended year-long progression for essentially a novice to be ready for some serious mountaineering in Canada and to get prepared for the Himalayas.  I think if I can get that first year under my belt, I will be able to manage selecting programs to build on over the next few years.

Your site was just what I was looking for, and I really hope it will assist me in preparing for my goals.  I also have 4 sons, the oldest is now just entering his teenage years and I want to challenge them and try to keep up with them as they get older!

Thanks for any assistance and/or guidance you can provide!


I’d recommend you begin our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, then follow it up with the plans and order in the Greek Heroine Packet.
Bodyweight Foundation will tighten things up and lay a strength and endurance foundation for the Greek Heroine Plans. These plans are “Base Fitness” for mountain athletes, and concurrently train strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (running, uphill hiking under load), chassis integrity (core) and climbing fitness. Take a week’s full rest between plans.
Altogether, this is 35 weeks of programming.
Email back on the other side of Mountain Base Atalanta.
– Rob


So I definitely want to get one of your fitness plans. Just struggling with which one to start.
I’ve run a 15K recently and can run a 5K in under 10minutes. Lifted before but stopped to concentrate on running (big mistake)
What plan would you recommend? I plan on backpacking this summer but didn’t know if I should aim for one of the general plans first before the preseason backpacking plan.
I zoned out and read the entire quiet professional piece and all related articles during downtime at work in one shot. Really resonated with me. Every word of it.
I’d recommend you complete SF45 Alpha. Originally designed for older athletes (45-55), this plan is a great base fitness plan which combines heavy barbell strength, work capacity, chassis integrity and three types of endurance – a 6 mile run assessment and follow on 2-mile intervals, gym-based endurance, and a long run or other modes of endurance on Saturdays. It’s a 6 day/week training plan.


Thank you for putting together such great plans. I am just completing the fat loss program. In trying to plan on what’s next I’m thinking about the military onramp to continue my base. The question I have is what plan to do after that I’m 47 years old prior service in the Marine Corps I am a desk jockey at this time but like to do a little bit of everything swim run bike ruck row triathlon goruck. Is there a plan that he has that variety I was thinking about looking at the pirate package of workouts Or is there other plans that would be well-rounded to consider as I’m not training for a tactical job but just want to have variety and fun while working out?

Thanks again I really enjoy your website.


After Military OnRamp move to the plans in the SF45 Packet. These are designed for athletes 45-55 years old and address your needs.
– Rob


Was looking for some kind of HIIT.


– Rob


I’m doing an Utra Beast and I’ve signed up for a subscription to the site.   I noticed the plan only has a long distance run of 16 miles.   The Spartan ultra is 30 miles.  I am doing it in Breckinridge Colorado.  My concern for this race is primarily the altitude.  I live at sea level.

What’s the best program on your site for preparing me for the altitude from a stamina standpoint etc…?   Currently for running I’m doing a modified training program for a marathon that has me running  4 days a week.   I am also working out with weights  days a week.


There is no shortcut other than being as aerobically fit as possible, or having a week + at the altitude before the event. One issue you can train for is the vertical ascent and, especially the descent – which his very intense on leg muscles.
– Rob


I just returned from SFAS. I unfortunately got cut for land nav. However, I did get a 1yr return date which I absolutely intend on going back.

I completed the Ruck Based Selection prior to going however, now i am left with a year now to train before going back. Would you recommend starting over with the SFAS packet, and starting over at the base level for running and rucking? Or start with a more advanced program and train up again to finish with Rucked Base Selection? Thank you.


I’d recommend dropping into the plans/order in the Greek Hero Packet, then drop into the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan the 8 weeks directly before selection.
– Rob


I am currently on week 1 of the Ruck-based selection program. Right now I am scheduled to leave mid to late October. What modifications to the 52 week program do you recommend I make? Thank you very much.


By my count you’ve got 29 weeks. Here’s what I’d recommend from the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet:
Weeks   Plan
1-8         Humility
9            Total Rest
10-16     Fortitude
17          Total rest
18-20     Valor (1st 3 Weeks)
21          Total Rest
22-29     Ruck Based Selection Training Plan
– Rob


I purchased the policy academy prep program about 8 months ago. In that time (within a few weeks of purchasing the plan), I broke my leg. It didn’t heal and I had to get surgery to put a metal rod in. I just got out of the walking cast this week (So August to this week in a cast). I’ve gotten the Ok to walk and start doing things, though the fibula is still separated (they cut it in surgery).  I’d like to start doing PT again but am not sure how I should go about weight training with my leg not 100%. I can’t run yet, but hope to maybe do some light rucking.  I’m curious your thoughts or possible resources on how to best train after a broken tibia.


I’d recommend the Training Plan for Athletes Suffering Leg Injury.  This plan will train the rest of your body around your injured limb.
– Rob


I’ll be spending the next 6-8 weeks at the National Training Center in California. The only exercise equipment I’ll really have will be my ruck, my body armor, and the terrain. Would the bodyweight training plan be a good routine to follow or would you recommend another training program?


Do the runs wearing your body armor.
– Rob


Hoping you can help me with a question I have in regards to  the Fat Loss Training Program. First.. I think that is the right program for me (according to your quiz it is).
Little background about me – I underwent bariatric surgery June ’17 and have recently lost 150lbs.  I have another 60-80 pounds to lose and my body fat percentage is still around 42%.  I am interested in increasing my strength while also losing fat. My starting weight was 385lbs and I want to be a strong and solid 145-165 one day.  I believe your programs will help me get there -my brother did them to increase his skiing ability and he’s a beast now.
Do you agree that the fat loss is the place to start?


I’m afraid that plan would prove too intense. Look at the Bodyweight Foundation Plan to start.
– Rob


Recently I listened to the backcountry hunt podcast with MTN TACTICAL as the guest.  I’m interested in finding a program for me.  Currently I’m a firefighter, avid mountain bow hunter and USAF veteran.  There are a few chinks in my armor though…which is why I’m contacting your company in hopes you have some suggestions.

About 3 or 4 years ago I had a couple major back injuries, 6 months apart from each-other that left me laid up in a bed for a couple weeks.  SI joint/nerve irration stuff in my left hip (I guess all that time overseas in the USAF lifting heavy weights focusing on only squats, chest and upper back with lots of sitting in between didn’t help.)  Since the injury, I’ve done multiple functional movement screenings and have improved drastically.  I follow Kelly Starrett religiously and do tissue work daily(recovery during the elk season has been phenominal.)

I’ve been injury free for the last couple years thanks to the fore-mentioned, but I still feel like there are some huge muscle imbalances in my system.  I can carry 2 rear elk quarters in the pack fine, but if you put 1 in my arms and told me to walk 500 yards I feel like I would topple over after 100 yards.

Currently I’ve got a tactical triphasic program that I do at work.  Overall I’d say I feel pretty good considering, but I feel like my low back is always the lagging muscle group that begins to break down first.  A simple long hike with no weight leaves me with a tight low back.  Having dealt with low back pain and injury for the last 7 years I’ve gotten to know when things just aren’t right (in the hips and low back).  I’m not proud or happy to say this but on a daily basis I find myself adjusting my left hip(at least I think the adjustment happens in the hip), which requires me to get into the bretzel position on my right side and with a slight stretch/pressure…POP, its back.  But that only lasts for a couple hours or a day at most, then I have to do it again.  Rarely do I have to set my hips because of leg length discrepancy.  But it does happen every now and then(once I found Kelly Starrett, I realized that was the source of most of my back pain.)  But there’s still tension and I’m sure there is a couple issues going on with the hip and low back, but I just wanted to give you an honest evaluation from my eyes and hopefully you have some good ideas to start with.

I really enjoyed the podcast and was VERY intrigued by the training methods described and honestly just want to shore up my weak spots and become a better mountain hunter!


I’m not sure the source of your imbalance, and am not a Physical Therapist or doctor – so can’t diagnose you.
Our programming is built around the fitness demands of the event, not the individual wants/needs/limitations of the athlete. The fitness demands of a backcountry elk hunt are the same for everyone … and so we program to those demands.
Are you ready for our stuff? I’d say yeah given your current training.
If you’re looking to prepare for the Fall hunting season, I’d work backward from the start of your Hunt and complete the plans and order of the Backcountry Big Game Training Packet so you finish the Backcountry Big Game Training Plan directly before your hunt.
If you’re looking for a plan to address your imbalance, I’d recommend the Chassis Integrity Training Plan. This plan deploys our chassis integrity mid-section programming methodology, which I feel is the most functional and transferable to the field or mountain and tactical athletes. You can use the sessions in this plan to supplement your current other training.
– Rob


I have a subscription to your plans and would like something to help me train for a 50 K ultra. I notice you have plans for alpine running 50 miles and 100 mile but I can’t run 13 miles straight at this point. What would you recommend? I’m trying to increase my strength for trail running as well as slim down



I have a shoulder injury that I’m currently doing Phy Therapy for, but I’m also trying to lose some weight and get back into peak form as I try to recover from various injuries over the past year.

Currently, I’m running 4-6 times a week and incorporating sandbag exercises (the gym only has a 30# sandbag, though), squats, and ab exercises. I’m wondering what other tpyes of exercises you would recommend as I’m trying to use my shoulder as little as possible for intensive activities so that the PT actually has a chance to work. There are a lot of lifts I can’t do because of the injury and many that I’m staying away from as they put too much strain on my shoulder, but I’m looking for some ideas to change it up some, and all the plans I have looked at are going to put too much strain on my shoulder at this point in time.

I’m currently deployed, so I have some equipment limitations, but the gym is fairly well equipped. Thank you for your help, your plans have been a huge help to me in the past and I appreciate advice.


We built the Training Plan for Athletes Suffering Arm Injury for athletes like you. This isn’t a rehab plan for your injured shoulder, but rather is designed to train the rest of your body around your injury.

– Rob


To start I’m 6’5” 250 and 54 years old.  I work out five to six days a week super setting several exercises for 35 minutes followed by a mile of walking.  I am pretty happy with my strength but would like to add some lung capacity to my work outs several days a week.  Suggestions?


I’d recommend you start our stuff with SF45 Alpha. The SF45 plans are originally designed for high impact athletes ages 45-55, and concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity and endurance.
– Rob

Fitness is a Tactical Weapon As Important To A Soldier as His Rifle. But He Doesn’t Have to Build His Own Rifle…

Marines at USMC Base Hawaii finish the MTI Tactical Athlete Work Capacity Assessment.

By Rob Shaul, Founder



My old workout partner, Curtis P (of the exercise fame) got me interested in watching Mixed Martial Arts when the UFC first became popular in the early 2000’s.

I’d go over to Curtis’ house to watch the pay-per-view events, and Curtis would do play by play for me, introduce me to the different fighters, and some of the history of the sport.

Curtis really admired Frank Shamrock, who was a middle-weight UFC Champion in the 1990s, and during his peak was considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the game.

Shamrock was known for his cardiovascular fitness and overall stamina, and would often wear down opponents over the course of the fight, looking for opportunities to pounce.

“Conditioning is my greatest submission weapon,” Shamrock would say.

Fitness is also a weapon for tactical athletes and comes to play for mission sets across all areas of the tactical athletes we work with – Military, LE and Fire/Rescue.

Frank Shamrock, right, vs. Tito Ortiz back in the day.


Programming and Weapons

Each athlete type needs a combination of physical endurance and stamina for long, grinding events or movements which can culminate in an intense, dangerous, violent confrontation, firefight or fire suppression. Then, in that dangerous situation, he or she needs work capacity, working strength, chassis integrity, tactical agility, stamina – to survive, and prevail over the enemy.

A modern fully equipped M4 with its optics, lighting system, ambidextrous controls, etc. is an integrated, sophisticated weapons system designed, built and tested by engineers and scientists.

The programming behind MTI’s base fitness and mission/event specific training is similarly sophisticated.

I taught a short programming course to a dozen or so Marines at USMC Base Hawaii this Spring. There were a few junior officers in attendance, but the bulk were junior enlisted, including a squad leader or two – who in the Marines and Army, are the primary strength and conditioning coaches for their squad.

MTI programming is thorough and sophisticated. It’s taken me years of trial and error to develop our Fluid Periodization methodology on concurrently training the multiple fitness attributes included in Base Fitness. Then within each attribute is its own progression methodologies.

I invented this stuff. No one knows it better than I. I do it for a living. And still, it generally takes me a full day and a half to develop, design and write a 6-week Base Fitness cycle for Military, LE, Fire/Rescue or Mountain athletes.

I simplified this complex system as best I could for the Marines, and they took feverish notes, but it’s simply too much to ask these athletes to design their own programming. I’ve taught programming courses to Tier 1 SOF, Tier 2 SOF, and professional strength coaches – and many have struggled to grasp the entire system. I’ve had master-degreed and doctoral interns who’ve taken weeks of practice to finally understand and apply our programming methodology.

That sophisticated M4 is paid for by the service or agency and given to the infantryman to master and deploy during the real thing. His Fitness Weapon System? He has to build that himself.

Asking a tactical athlete to design his own programming is like giving him a block of metal, and a lathe and asking them to build his own rifle.

Without the years of educational background and practice, the resulting weapon would be a club. This is often what happens on the fitness side – squad leaders and team leaders responsible for fitness programming resort to what they know or what they’ve always done – often push ups, pullup, sit ups, burpees, running, repeat.


A Look At Overseas

The British and Australian Army do it differently. These services have an enlisted MOS fitness designation, and these active duty fitness experts design the programming for their units.

One of the Marine officers I worked with in Hawaii said British active duty enlisted strength coaches ran PT at OCS. In Australia, the SOF full-time coaches are active duty enlisted fitness coaches, not contracted civilians like here in the US.

Good idea. The US should copy it.

Question, Comments, Feedback? Email



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Q&A 4.19.18



I have purchased the Athletes subscription and I really like your programs and methodology. However, I have difficulties selecting a program and sticking to it, because I end up second-guessing and overthinking.
My goals right now are:
1. Develop my rock climbing technique and skills. I am a beginner level climber. Right now I have access to fully equipped climbing gym everyday if needed.
2. Maintain and develop running endurance so that I could enter few OCR and trail running events later in the spring summer. I do those for fun and I dont have strict goals for placing or setting PR’s
Some of your programs match those goals, for example Danae cycle, but I feel I would need more actual climbing to develop my skills. Do you have suggestions how to modify some of your programs to match my goals? Right now I have been doing two density bouldering sessions with short strength circuit (from Mountain Base Charlie) per week (Tuesday and Thursday), one longer V-Sum session on Saturday and two trail runs (Wed and Sun). I enjoy it but I dont trust myself because I dont have experience setting up this type of program.
Any help is really appreciated!
Thank you and greetings from Finland.


Switch to the Rock Climb Pre-Season Training Plan. It includes focused running work as well as climbing. Do only this plan.
– Rob


I’m looking at getting the Running Improvement Plan, and am nervous about a Knee Injury flaring up again after taking a while off from running regularly. I injured my knee while in the military and just am being extra cautious so I wanted to know what good ways are to prevent said injury from coming back.
From what I was told I had Patella Femoral Syndrome in my right knee, and about the only thing that was done for it was Cortisone shots for two months and a hip realignment. I’m also curious if you think it would be dangerous or not to do a plan like Busy Operator II in conjunction with the Running Improvement plan.
Thanks for what you do, I love your work out plans and am excited to get back to running more regularly. I hope to hear from you soon!


I’m not a doctor and can’t give you knee advice.
In general, it’s best not to double up our plans.
I’d recommend starting with the Running Improvement Training Plan, and doing it alone – the first 5 weeks. The plan includes strength work, and you’ll get an immediate idea of what your knee can do. If it’s too much, switch plans away from running.
– Rob


I just signed up for my subscription and looking for a suggestion on which program to start with. I’m a 35 y/o NSW operator. I’ll be transferring to our basic training command in about 4 months and need to make sure I can hold my own with the young guys going through training.

While I do not want to do a BUD/S specific training plan I’d like to tailor my training with some of those core events in mind.  I’d like a program that will

  • Improve overall strength without focus on adding size
  • Prep for 4 mile timed run
  • Improve pull ups/O course strength
  • Improve ruck run

I’d like a program that still includes the core strength exercises: bench, squat, DL, clean if possible.I do not have access to a pool right now so no swimming and I’m currently training in a garage gym but I have all the core equipment items.

Thanks and look forward to your suggestion and getting started.


I’d recommend Perseus from our Greek Hero Packet of Plans.
The Greek Hero plans are designed as day to day programming for SOF – and concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (running, rucking), tactical agility and chassis integrity (core).
Perseus includes a 3-mile ruck run for time, and a 5-mile run for time, with follow-on intervals based on your assessment times.
After Perseus, and once you get to a pool, switch to the plans in the “Pirate Series” – these are designed as day-to-day programming for SOF with a water-based mission set and include swimming.
– Rob


I was using the ranger prep program and it was going great. I was on a rest day and did some deadlifting and hurt my lower back. I’m not sure what the injury is exactly but it sucks. I’ve been out for about 2 weeks and slowly working back out (everything but back) attempted to a very light deadlift today and hurt it again. I need to rehab my back. What program would be best?


– Rob


Been a follower of the operator sessions for a few years. I’ve just said goodbye to kicking down doors and I’m looking to transition to the mountain workouts for my own hobbies like snowboarding, climbing, biking, kayaking etc. Where should I start and where should I go from there? Is there a daily program for mountain like there was for operators? Thanks in advance and thanks for all the years of health and top level performance.


Complete the plans and order in our Greek Heroine Packet of training plans. These are designed as day-to-day “base” programming for multi-sport mountain athletes. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis-integrity, climbing fitness (rock) and mountain endurance (running, uphill hiking under load).
However, prior to each season, you’ll want to drop out of the base programming and do one of our pre-season, sport-specific training plans. For example, here many athletes head to the desert in Utah for spring break to rock climb and they’re doing our Rock Climbing Pre-Season Training Plan.
– Rob


I have an achilles injury and I need to prep for a 12 mile ruck about 7 weeks from now. What are some ways I can continue to train while still focusing on recovery?


Train around your injury using our Training Plan for Athletes Suffering Leg Injury.
– Rob


I’m planning on attending a Spartan Sprint in November. If I were to start training now, purely from an optimization perspective, should I be doing the Spartan Sprint plan over and over again, or are there any other plans I might want to mix in?

If background helps, I am a 25 y/o, healthy male that is a novice in weightlifting and with very limited running experience.


I’d recommend working through the plans in the Virtue Packet, until 6 weeks out from your event, then complete the Spartan Sprint plan directly before your event.
– Rob


I am very interested in signing up for your program. My daughter signed up for it a few months ago and highly recommended the program to me. She is in Navy ROTC in college and real bad ass.
I checked your site and I am both thrilled and overwhelmed by all the options.
I thought perhaps if I tell you a little about myself, you could help me choose the right program.
First of, I am a 60 year old woman. I have been athletic during my youth, mostly marathon running. and then life happened, kids, work and all, so there was a long period with very little fitness activities.
I started training again when I was 50. I did CrossFit for 4 years. I had to scale down some things, but I loved it and I had fun. I would still be doing it if we hadn’t moved from Arizona to Texas 2 years ago. The coaches at CrossFit Blade were really really good, and, sadly, I could not find a box even comparable to my old gym in my new location.
I am currently lifting weights at a Starting Strength gym. You may have heard of Mark Rippetoe and his book about weight lifting: the general idea is to lift heavy with perfect form.
I am enjoying weight lifting following the Starting Strength model. However I am looking for another training program. Starting Strength does not include cardio at all, because it claims that lifting not only develops strength, but is also a cardio vascular exercise.
I miss doing cardio, and my body seems to miss it too. I get out of breath easily as a result, when 2 years ago I could do 50 burpees without thinking twice about it. I am looking for a more balanced approach that tackles all aspects of fitness, not just strength.
My goal is to stay strong and fit and enjoy life. And fight the many ailments that often come with age, like osteoporosis because I am convinced that I can do something about those old age related problems.
I hope you won’t mind such a long email from a total stranger. I thought that if I told you a little about where I am in my fitness journey, and what I am looking for, it would help pointing me in the right direction. Please answer at your convenience, no rush at all.
I am looking forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful day


You’re a little bit outside our age range for general fitness, but I can suggest a couple options.
First – take a break from the barbell and complete our Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan.
This plan deploys an initial assessment, follow on progressions are based on the assessment and in this way the plan automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness.
Plan also includes work capacity and running.
Follow it up with the plans in the SF45 Packet. These are designed for high impact athletes ages 45-55. They are no joke on the strength side, but do have a significant endurance element I seem to like more and more (I’m 49).
– Rob


I wondering if you could advise me on the best path forward for my fitness.  I am 44, US Army reservists recently back from Afghanistan.  I am a nurse anesthetist assigned to small unit, far forward surgical teams.

I roll BJJ 2-3x week, and have about 30-45min to train the other days.  Goals are to max PT test, be able to roll with the young guys and have the physical presence to be the “silverback” in both my civilian and military units.

On my recent deployment I had spent a lot of time in full kit and that extra 40lbs kicked my ass more than it should have.

Thank you.


Based on your time available to train, I’d recommend our Busy Operator plans. Start with Busy Operator I.
– Rob


I have been training as a powerlifter for 5 years on and off.

A friend of mine in the Australian Army recommend i checkout your site.

I currently lift 4 – 5 days a week, using a strength based program on the 3 major lifts. I don’t do a whole lot of cardio other than the occasional boxing session or a circuit at the end of accessory workout.

I’m not sure where to begin but i know by the end of the year i want to be capable of completing your USAF PJ program.

Is there a test you would recommend to figure out my baseline/ starting point ?

Once i’ve established my baseline, would you be able to suggest a training “pipeline” to achieve my goal ?

Is it still possible to continue my strength training while working my way through your programs to my goal or will i have to change my training completely?


Work through the plans and order in the USAF CCT/PJ/CRO Training Packet.
Don’t double up with your outside lifting. These plans are full on. Some include strength work, but overall this will mark a significant change in your programming esp. on the endurance side.
– Rob


My question starts with the assumption Jane Fonda’s and shoulder handjobs benefited me in the past, I felt stronger. I’ve mostly stopped practicing them as they are no longer parts of the programming.  Have these exercises been discarded or should they be held in reserve for personal supplementation?

Also, I am about to start big 24 and the work capacity seems to be on the lighter side, is it recommended to follow program as is or, again, personally supplement the program?

I ask because I’m rather uneducated, and very concerned in maintaining current work capacity levels.  If it helps, I’m a hobbyist judo player that usually smokes people on the mat endurance wise and I’m worried about losing that.


Jane Fondas and Shoulder Hand Jobs – I’m not sure about their transfer outside of the gym, which is why we’ve moved away from them. Also – our programming has changed some, and these are not appropriate to be worked into a circuit of other exercises. If you disagree and feel they worked for you, keep doing them.
Big 24 is not a hybrid program – it’s a strength plan aimed at increasing strength. Complete the programming as prescribed.
If you’re looking for a hybrid program, look at Valor.
– Rob


Thank you for everything you do for the military and first responder community. I’ve used your training numerous times over the years and keep coming back.

I am former military and current LEO. I’ve been riding a desk as a secondment for the last six months and want to get back into regular training. I’m halfway through the LE On ramp and wanted to follow it up with the Run Improvement Plan. I feel my running is the attribute which suffered the most and wanted to work on it prior to getting on with the spirits package.

Keeping in mind that you recommend hypertrophy for LE, I did want to add some upper body specific training. I was thinking about adding in gorilla complex at 45 or 65lb, power curls with rows, and bench with mobility to the training a few times a week on a rotating basis. I was wondering if you had any other recommendations or add ons to vary the additions and which days or schemes you would suggest for the additional training.

Thank you in advance,


In general, it’s best to find a plan that covers what you need (which may or may not be what  you want … ) and complete it in isolation. Adding all the stuff in extra quickly removes the effectiveness of the programming.
I’d recommend you complete Whiskey from our Spirits Packet for LE.
– Rob


I am 21 years old and am getting both bored with my current training regimen and lacking the necessary strength that would make my athleticism more well rounded. My regimen right now is: Monday swim 5k; Tuesday run 10 miles; Wednesday bike 30 min, transition to run 6 miles; Thursday bike 45 min, transition to run 6 miles; Friday swim 5k; Saturday long run; Sunday bike 30 min, transition to 6 mile run. I also do core work everyday and try to get in body weight strength exercises. I love endurance workouts. However, when I played sports in HS I was big into Olympic lifting. I miss strength workouts but find it hard to combine both together. What would be the best plan for someone like me?


I’d recommend SF45 Alpha.
This plan has a significant, focused barbell-based strength component, trains work capacity, and includes gym-based endurance and running endurance, including a 6-mile run assessment and follow-on 2-mile repeats.
– Rob


I have a subscription and can view all of the plans. I’m trying to find one that is based around sprinting/sprint improvement-do any apply? I’ve been searching through them but there are so many I got bogged down. Any help is appreciated-great job with the website and plans by the way. Thanks!


I don’t have anything for you, beyond supplemental strength training, if by “sprinting” you mean competing in track and field events. Our sprinting work is work-capacity focused on the tactical side – and designed to develop movement under fire work capacity performance.
For that – I’d recommend Ultimate Work Capacity I – which includes 800m repeats and shuttle sprints. Ouch!
– Rob


I’m a 58yr old male (daily trainer: run, bike, OCR, functional weightlifting, hike and ruck, yoga, physically demanding work…some of my workouts do include “sprints” and HIIT) my wife is 55yrs (work constraints impact training frequency: run, bike, hike, yoga).  We have access to a pool (May 8 opening), bike, trails, olympic weight-set, TRX, kettlebells, med balls at our home in Cincinnati, Ohio.  We committed to a 10-day supported hiking trip in the Andes beginning mid-June.  Elevations 7,000-10,000ft generally, one higher pass at 15,000ft.  We have two days in Cuzco before our trip starts to help acclimatize.  Do you have any programs that would help with our trip to higher elevation?


I’d recommend our Backpacking Pre-Season Training Plan – complete the plan directly before your trip.
– Rob


My husband, is in law enforcement and just purchased your whiskey workout. I am now wanting a workout for me.
I am a mother of 5, used to be very fit, but am not anymore. I’m 49, and very overweight but can still do various crossfit workouts… I’m looking for a beginner workout to lose body fat and gain muscle.
We have a small home gym with an airdyne, concept 2 rower, and lots of misc weights/bands/kettle bells….
What do you suggest?


This plan deploys an initial assessment, and then has follow-on progressions based on your assessment results. In this way it automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness. It also includes some running … you can run/walk if need be, just complete the prescribed distance. But don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” …. this plan is no joke. I’m 49 too, and don’t be surprised if you need to split up, cut down the sessions, and/or take an extra rest day. Work hard, but be smart.
Email back on the other side of Bodyweight Foundation.
– Rob


A little background, 30 year old career fireman. Hx of bilateral clubfoot, with recent exacerbation to the right ankle. Both feet supinate, with right more so, and limited dorsiflexion, again on right. X Rays show a small growth to the distal tibia that is inhibiting dorsiflexion. I have a Model D Concept 2 Erg I use regularly, what do you suggest for shuttle run substitution? Further, what do you suggest for squats? If I squat with my shoes on, I do not “properly” squat, my heels come off the ground, right more so. I have been using 5-10# bumper plates, or a half foam roller to allow full depth, as well as Reebok lifters.
I hope to hear back from you, and appreciate your assistance


If you’re a career fireman, you need to be able to sprint. My concern is if you don’t train it, the first time you do it is at a fire …. and that’s not good.
Work capacity/cardio fitness is not directly transferable. So just because you could be a great rower, this doesn’t mean rowing fitness transfers to sprinting.
But if you must row, think intervals, not distance. So if the event is a 300m shuttle every 2:30, row hard for 1:15, rest for 1:15.
Squats – You can elevate your heels, but better over time – fix your squat. There are a bazillion resources out there to help you do this:
– Rob


Thanks for the great plans you have put together.  I’m really enjoying the progressions.  I am starting a new season of activity after focusing on general strength training for the past several months.  I have many years of endurance events under my belt (half-ironman and olympic distance triathlons, several ultramarathon trail running events, 10 yrs of long-distance cycling events like LOTOJA, etc).  I’ve also been in and out of mountaineering activity for 20 yrs.  I am 44 yrs old and much more fit than just about all my peers.  I’m doing a couple GORUCK events this summer to keep my motivated (not my first ones) and using your training plans for those, plus headed up Mt. Rainier again this summer.
My main question is which plan would most improve my ability to prepare to climb the Matterhorn next summer?  It’s a moderately technical climb that starts with a short (3 hour) hike to the climbing hut, then an early morning start and 8-12 hours of very exposed and steep scrambling/climbing with a fairly light pack (under 20 pounds) at over 14k feet.  I’m thinking the Peak Bagger might be the ticket.  Thoughts?


Yes on Peak Bagger for the Matterhorn.
– Rob


Greetings!!! Hope all is well in your world.

Just ended week one of the Urban Assault Pre-Deployment plan.

:30 minutes of sandbag get ups were AMAZING!!! I’d never done them before and by the time I finished I wanted another :30 minutes!!!

Thank you for the inspiration.


“Amazing” …. not sure that’s the word I’d use. But they work – work capacity, chassis integrity, mental fitness. One of my favorite, all-time exercises… – Rob

Relative Strength Snapshot of Marine Corps Junior Officers

Brandon, Barry, Zack and Sean – all USMC 1st LT’s, took the MTI Relative Strength Assessment on 04 Apr 2018 at MCBH.

By Rob Shaul, Founder

I recently had the opportunity to put four USMC 1st Lieutenants stationed at USMC Base Hawaii through the MTI Relative Strength Assessment. There were two goals: (1) get a snapshot of the relative strength of active duty Marine Infantry Officers, and; (2) test a change to the way pull ups are scored in the assessment.


MTI developed the Relative Strength Assessment in 2016 to answer this question for mountain and tactical athletes: “Am I Strong Enough?”

Both athlete groups have mulit-modal fitness demands – strength, work capacity, endurance, agility, core, etc. A confounding truth of fitness programming is time spent working on one fitness attribute, strength for example, comes at the expense of other attributes like endurance and work capacity.

With the MTI Relative Strength Assessment, we wanted to functional relative strength standard for our athletes, and for military athletes in particular, the strength assessment works with the MTI 3/3/3 Military Athlete Endurance Assessment and the MTI Tactical Athlete Work Capacity Assessment to establish standards for the three primary areas of mission-direct military fitness.

Importantly, this assessment measures “Relative” strength, or strength per bodyweight. Both tactical and mountain athletes primarily move themselves during missions, training or events – thus relative strength is most important.

Also, by choosing to measure relative strength, this assessment automatically “scales” for each individual athlete regardless of size, allowing a small and large athlete to be compared “apples to apples” in terms of strength.

Assessment Details, Scoring & Change to Pull Up Weighting

The MTI Relative Strength Assessment deploys a 1 Repetition Maximum effort (1RM) on three classic barbell strength exercises – the front squat, power clean and bench press, as well as a max rep strict pull up effort. Here are the four events in the order they are completed in the assessment:

(1) 1RM Front Squat

(2) Max Rep Strict Pull Ups

(3) 1RM Power Clean

(4) 1RM Bench Press

Scoring for the barbell exercises is simple – the 1RM for each is that event’s score.

Pull Ups are scored differently: multiply your max rep pull up times 7% of your bodyweight.

For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, and get 12 pull ups, you’d multiply 7% of 200 (200 x .07 = 14) and 12.

14 (7% of your bodyweight) x12 (your max rep pull ups) = 240. 240 is your pull up “score” for the assessment.

** Note on Pull Ups … the Max Number you can use for scoring  for this assessment is 20. So even if you tested at 25x pullups, the most you can use for your scoring is 20.

Previously we had weighted pull up heavier. We has used 10% of the athlete’s bodyweight. But ultimately, feel this over-emphasizes pull ups in the ultimate score and thus reduced this to 7% of the athlete’s bodyweight times his or her max rep pull ups.

Scoring Example:

Here are the event scores for a 200 pound male athlete:

  • Front Squat 1RM: 275#
  • Max Rep Pull Ups: 21 Reps
  • Power Clean 1RM: 205#
  • Bench Press 1RM: 295#

His pull up score is 7% of his bodyweight times the number of pull up reps. Remember, even though he completed 21 total reps, the most he can use for scoring is 20.

200 x .07 = 14. 14 pounds is 7% of his bodyweight.

14 x 20 (max number of pull ups he can use for scoring) = 280. So is pull up score is 280.

Relative Strength Score = Front Squat 1RM + Pull Up Score + Power Clean 1RM + Bench Press 1RM divided by bodyweight. So…. 275+280+205+295 = 1,055 divided by bodyweight (200) = 5.27.

Below is the scoring scale. A score of 5.27 is “Excellent” for male tactical athletes.


One of the limitations of the assessment is familiarity with barbell lifts, especially the power clean, which assesses total body power. Many junior enlisted line unit soldiers and Marines simply don’t have experience with free weight training or the power clean.
USMC Junior Officer Snapshot Scores & Discussion

The MTI Relative Strength Assessment was administered to 7 USMC Company Executive Officers, all 1st Lieutenants, on April 10, 2018. None of the Marines who took the MTI Relative Strength Assessment had trained specifically for it previously. All were volunteers. Scores are below:

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by these scores. Three of the athletes scored “Good” and one, Sean, scored “excellent.”

As Company XOs, each junior officer had the liberty to train on his own, and each included free weight-based strength work as part of his training program.

A major disadvantage of this strength assessment is it does require familiarity with the three barbell-based strength exercises. Many line-unit infantry in the US Army and Marine Corps simply don’t have this experience – especially in the junior enlisted ranks. I had hoped to give the assessment to more marines from this unit, but during a short programming course with about a dozen Marines, asked how many knew what a power clean was. Only the officers in attendance raised their hands.

We conducted the assessment using a company HIIT box of equipment, and even though we conducted the assessment at 0600 on a Tuesday morning, no other Marines were competing with us for equipment. It was not being used.



5 Killer MTI Fitness Challenges

Pro Freeskier Forest Jillson fights for sandbag get up reps @ 80# during a 10 minute assessment. Forest is a sandbag getup “monster” and one of the few athletes I’ve seen get 80+ reps in 10 minutes.

By Rob Shaul

Over the years with thousands of hours coaching lab rats in the gym programming hundreds of training plans, we’ve developed several, unique fitness challenges. Here are a few of my favorites.

1) 70+ Sandbag Getups in 10 Minutes @ 60/80# Sandbag

Not only is the exercises highly metabolic, but the  bag sits on your shoulder, crushing your chest, restricting air flow, making it all worse. My first attempt, I barely managed 50 reps, and was crushed mentally, after.

Over the years we’ve done lot’s of work with this exercise, and have deployed a 10-minute Sandbag Getup for Reps assessment in several individual training plans.

Regardless of bodyweight, 70+ reps at 60# for women and 80# for men is no joke. My best ever is 76 reps. The best I’ve seen in all these years is 80 reps.

For this assessment, each get up counts as one rep, and you can switch shoulders as needed. We’ve found it takes some strategy to get to 70+ reps – especially few shoulder swaps. The last time I tried I started with 20 reps on my right shoulder, then went 20 on my left shoulder, then 10x each shoulder, plus a few extra on my right side to get to 76.

There is no rule that the number of get ups on each side be equal. You can do all 70+ on your stronger side if you want … though no one has been able to do this.

Professional Adventure Photographer Andy Barton warming up with the barbell complex.

2) 4 Rounds Stepped Barbell Complex Progressions Finishing at Bodyweight

I’ve only seen one athlete actually do this, and have been too fearful to try myself. Here’s how it works. First weigh yourself, then round up to the nearest 5 pounds. Then, subtract 30 pounds, and begin your barbell complexes there. Add 10 pounds each round, finishing at your bodyweight on round 4. Rest as needed between rounds.

For example, for an athlete whose bodyweight is 155 pounds, here would be the progression.

Round   Barbell Complex Load

1            125#

2            135#

3            145#

4            155# (bodyweight)

Again, rest as needed between rounds.

3) 10 Rounds, Rope Climb Every Minute on the Minute, 15-18’ Rope

Yes you can use your feet, but expect pumped forearms and biceps. I’ve never been able to do this … my closest was 12 minutes. Much more intense than you might expect.

4) Bodyweight or Higher Score on Operator Ugly

Operator Ugly is MTI’s comprehensive military fitness test, and our oldest-standing assessment. Over the years, I’ve seen just a handful of athletes score their bodyweight or better on this assessment. My best score ever was 152 …. three points short of my 155# bodyweight at the time.

Lab Rats love burpees!

5) 90 Plus Burpees on the Burpee Beep Ladder Assessment

This is pretty terrible and in our work with lab rats, only a couple have managed to make it past level 6 on this test. Real quick, this is an every minute on the minute assessment. The first minute you do 10x burpees, 12x the second minute, 14x the third minute, etc. until you can’t get the prescribed reps within the minute time frame. If you are able to get through level 6, you’ve completed 90+ burpees in 6 minutes….


Arete 4.19.18


Soldier Swarm: New Ground Combat Tactics for the Era of Multi-Domain Battle, Modern War Institute
Army missile defense systems Patriot and THAAD talk in test, Defense News
The Pentagon Plans for a Perpetual Three-Front ‘Long War’ Against China and Russia, War is Boring
US Reducing SOF in Africa, Small Wars Journal
New Army Precision Guided 155mm Round Destroys Targets Without GPS, Real Clear Defense
Is the US Still a Reliable Ally?, The Cipher Brief
Here’s How Russia and America Could Go To War in Syria, The National Interest
Russia’s Deadliest Commandos Speed Around in Jeeps, Armed with Mines, The National Interest
Pentagon Is Asking for 3 Times as Many Drones in 2019, Defense News
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Russia’s Military, Deutsche Welle
An Update on the War in Afghanistan, Brookings


Homeland Security / First Responder

Do Terrorist Groups Really Die? A Warning, Rand Corp
Tulsa Fire Engine Struck at Fire Scene, Firefighter Close Calls
30-Year Old Wisconsin Firefighter Dies after Hectic 48-Hour Shift, Firefighter Close Calls
Cops, Violence, Stress and PTSD, LE Today
How Can the Police Let This Happen, They Wonder? LE Today
Hypocrisy and the Never Ending Attack on Police, LE Today
Operation Blue: The Program that Teaches Cops to Stop Terrorists,
The Toxicity of a Spiteful Leader, LE Today
4 Utah Officers Burned in Man’s Suicide Attempt,
Youtube, Google Donate $280K to First Responder Foundation,
Waterborne Hotshots, Wildfire Today
More Research Indicates Forests are Not Growing Back After Wildfires, Wildfire Today
Wildfire Suppression Costs, 1985-2017, Wildfire Today



Stas Beskin Demonstrates New Technique for Climbing Delicate Ice, Climbing Magazine
Introducing ROAM: The robotic ski exoskeleton designed to save your knees,
The Best 20 Degree Sleeping Bags Under Two Pounds, Gear Institute
Climbing in New Mexico’s Bat Cave, Outside Magazine
Young Nemuel Feurle masters Prinzip Hoffnung,
A Historic Moment For Backcountry Skiing in New Hampshire, Powder Magazine
Man Claims He Was Left on Ski Lift Overnight,
Petzel Boreo: Most Protective Climbing Helmet, Outdoor Gear Lab
Give Your Sprinter to a Real Dirtbag!, Outside
6 Mistakes from My First Backpacking Trip,
Tips for Cold Weather Streamer Fishing,
Has Patagonia Grown Too Big for its Cultural Good?, Adventure Journal
National Park Service Backs Away From Nat Park Fee Raise, Adventure Journal
Nice Sunglasses are Worth It After All, Adventure Journal
Mexican Mule Deer Dreams,
Sherpa Teams Makes First Ascent of Langdung in Nepal, Alpinist
Best Rope Bag for Climbing, Outdoor Gear Lab
4 Lessons We Learned on a DYI Hog Hunt, Outdoor Life
The Best 20-Degree Sleeping Bags Under 2 Pounds, Gear Institute
Learn to Evaluate Trad Anchors With this 12-Point Rubric, Climbing Mag


Fitness / Nutrition

Peanut Butter & Jelly Should Fuel Your Next Adventure, Outside
Don’t Forget to Strengthen Your Feet, Outside
Gear to Help You Fuel, Outside
The Age of Peak Marathon Performance in Cross-Country Skiing—The “Engadin Ski Marathon”, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Associations of Physical Fitness and Body Composition Characteristics With Simulated Military Task Performance, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
A Practical Guide to Walking On Your Hands, Breaking Muscle
Build Your Base with Postural Mechanics, Breaking Muscle
Stopping Exercising Can Increase Depression, Science Daily
Primal Recipes on a Budget, Mark’s Daily Apple
Does physical activity influence the health of future offspring?, Science Daily
All About Heart Rate Variability and How To Track It, Muscle & Fitness
Why It Matters How You Think About Pain, Outside
Freestyle Swim Technique Tips, Men’s Health
An Hour of Running May Add 7 Hours to Your Life, Men’s Health
6 Ways Eating Too Much Sugar Damages Your Body, Men’s Health
7 Scariest Workout Injuries, Men’s Journal
How Long to Rest for Greater Muscle, Strength and Weight Loss, Men’s Journal

Expedition Lessons Learned From the Mountains of Kyrgyzstan

Basecamp in the At-Bashi range, glaciers and peaks in the background

By Marion Krogh

In the Fall of 2016, a 5-Woman Team received a MTI Crux Award for a Ski Traverse of the Tien Shen range in Kyrgyzstan. The trip was originally intended for 2017, but was delayed until 2018, and finally completed in February. Marion Krogh is a professional mountain athlete and was the expedition leader. – Rob Shaul

Trip Background

The mountains of Kyrgyzstan are big and relatively unexplored, especially by ski. To plan and execute a ski traverse and ski 3 peaks, two which would have been unclimbed, and one which would have been unskied.

There was going to be a lot of work. This is exactly why we wanted to go there, but also why a lot of things didn’t go to plan and why we were able to learn so much about trip selection, planning, team dynamics, communication, and mountain safety in an isolated and cold part of the world.

We started planning this project in July 2016. There were about 10 female skiers who initially expressed interest in participating but this quickly shrunk to three. We set out to head to Kyrgyzstan in January 2017 but in December decided to push the trip back a year because of injury and our general lack of funds and preparedness.

Over the following 12 months we put in A LOT of work. The commitment was big, probably 10 hours/week of work required in trying to get sponsorships and apply for grants, study google earth, liaise with local guides and connections, follow the weather, etc etc. We also were training intensely following a customized six day/week program created by MTI.

We all underestimated how much work this project would be. It was an even bigger challenge with the three of us on different continents and therefore timezones. We all had to put in some late nights and early mornings to coordinate group Skype meetings.

The last time that we were all in the same spot was July 2017 hence we decided to meet up in Canada for a week prior to heading to Kyrgyzstan in January 2018 to reacquaint ourselves, reaffirm goals and objectives and test out our new gear. This was a good decision; we confirmed that our packs would be really heavy, that we still weren’t the confident with a few different rope skills and that our stove wasn’t working.

To get sponsorship is not easy, ask any budding professional athlete. But we really thought we had a unique pitch and we were an all-female team. Surely companies would love us??

It really wasn’t so. We spent days writing to various companies asking for support and really didn’t end up with much in return. We got some pro deals and a few bits and pieces of clothing but no money and nothing substantial. It was pretty disappointing.

Grants were even tougher; long applications thoughtfully written accompanied by detailed maps, budgets and more. At one point I was positive that if we’d simply spent the hours we’d used on applications working at the local grocery store we would have been much more effective at raising funds.

All the hard work finally paid off however just a week before heading to Canada when we heard back from The North Face and were offered gear including a tent and -40 sleeping bags. It was a lifesaver.

Many days waiting in the At Bashi town meant we were able to go to the very important local livestock market.

What did we get right?

1) Our group size and commitment in the 6 months building up to the trip. Three was a good number to split workload and gear, and not too big to allow for larger disagreements or slacking off.

2) Our planning for most aspects of the trip was very good. We were dedicated to our training program regardless of where we were in the world and were all very fit and strong heading to Kyrgyzstan which made us a lot more confident.

3) We made the most of the unfavourable ski conditions and took advantage of our village location to really get a true local experience. Because of this our trip was a success. Had we not had the cultural exploration element we would have left Kyrgyzstan very disappointed.

We were able to access and investigate some ski options via horseback.

What did we get wrong?

Team Communication.

While our communication leading up to this project had been excellent however it fell apart at times when we were in the mountains. We were torn between trying to complete an objective and safely assessing the conditions. Ultimately our eagerness to summit a peak interfered with our ability to express our concerns about the snow pack safety and resulted in two of us being caught in a small avalanche.

It was small, nobody was hurt, but scary and could have been much worse had we been on a larger slope. It was also VERY cold. We knew that heading in and were well equipped with the best sleeping bags, mats and tent for the conditions. We also had a well thought out emergency plan should one of us get injured and need a rescue.  

We were not aware of the non-visible signs of frostbite however and four hours after being out in temperatures well below zero fahrenheit and numb feet one of our team got some serious frostbite.

Our expedition had to end early and we skied out of the mountains having barely actually skied at all.

If you had to do it again, what would you change, and why?

Potentially we could be more flexible with the location in Kyrgyzstan and have a back up area elsewhere in the country. We were set on the At-Bashi range because of the local connections we had there and its large number of virgin peaks.

We were aware that there wasn’t much snow and so we weren’t able to do any of the initial three traverses we planned. We moved further north in the range to a new location where there had been more snow which was marginally better. The avi danger was high here, but there was also significant danger in all parts of the country this winter.

More time would make a big difference. Even If we’d allowed four weeks instead of three it means an 8 day airline baggage delay wouldn’t have been as much of an issue and we could have had more time to investigate other mountain ranges and have more weather windows. Probably most significantly we wouldn’t go again mid winter, we went in January as all of us were able to secure time off work then but a trip later in the season (probably but not guaranteed) would have meant warmer temperatures and a more stable snowpack.

Overall, would you do it again?

Yes absolutely. We’re already planning another expedition with kayaking to access skiing in Patagonia. We’re prepared for things not to go as planned again and have learned a lot from this trip to make the next one more successful in other ways.


Shepherds hut near one of the areas we initially planned to ski.
Skinning away from basecamp towards our objectives (not pictured).
Impromptu English lesson at the local school. Again another opportunity we wouldn’t have had if the ski bag had arrived on time.
Team photo including Cholpon our translator who we brought equipment for and taught to ski on the slightly inclined road.
My frostbitten foot (gross).
Camping at treeline our first night on the way up to basecamp.
A cold afternoon attempting to stay warm and positive inside the tent.

Reader’s Comments on “First Responders: Why do you tolerate unfit police and firefighters?”


We recently re-published an article on fitness standards within the first responder community. Once again, we received lots of comments/feedback from the MTI Community which we wanted to share with you. If you too have thoughts, comments or questions on this matter, email us at


Orginal Article → First Responders: Why Do You Tolerate Unfit Police and Firefighters?




I believe it was the old country singer Porter Wagoner who had a song called, “The cold hard facts of life.”  Amazing perspective on this topic. I am a police academy instructor. There are 6 full time staff and I am blessed to work with a great crew. However, we are deeply divided in the area of fitness. The 3 masters degree guys pretty much wont even walk through the gym much less work out.  The other 3 of us “knuckle draggers” work out with the students with the lead PT instructor having a CrossFit instructor rating. We follow Cooper protocol for entry and exit recruit testing. I really feel a burden to set an example for the younger and older guys in training. I’m almost 52 and pretty stocky but can keep up with most of the kids. I wish there was a way to motivate them to get back in the gym. I have even had recruits ask why the other 3 don’t work out with them so obviously they are seeing it as an issue. I wish only the best for my brother instructors but would love any insight into a solution you can offer. I’m guessing their issue may be ego-based in part. Nobody likes to look bad in the gym or on the range. Another interesting aspect of our work is the number of 20-something’s who show up to the academy unable to do more than a couple of pushups or sit-ups. It’s a battle on all fronts!! Sorry for rambling but this struck a chord. Love your work, stay the course!

That drives me up the wall, how am i supposed to care for a patient when my partner is just as likely to fall over from an MI or lecture a patient about not being on top of their diabetes when my partner is 300+

Not to mention my major fear of them not being able to extract me from some place should i ever get injured

Especially given how large fitness culture is now this shouldn’t be a thing

Unfortunately sometimes you don’t have a choice but to tolerate them. If you tell them they’re unfit and need to do something about it they will file a harassment complaint. It’s more likely to cost you your job than to make them change.

My partner and I have been shut down by admin for adding basic PT and conditioning at the beginning of our department DT sessions…they said it was “unfair” and singled out “some” members

It’s such an officer safety issue!! You need to be fit and strong to stay safe and keep others safe!

Because they’re too busy worrying about cops with tattoos to be concerned about fitness.

Culture. The culture still accepts it. But I think tides are turning. If you look at the spread of causes for LODDs in firefighting it’s arguable that you should spend more time working out and less time doing RIT yet find me a Chief Officer with the fortitude to stand behind that statement. They’re few and far between. Sadly it’s getting harder and harder to ignore the facts.

It’s in the military too. Yes there are height and weight standards and PT tests but they’re a joke. 

If you’re military, or first responders of any kind (police/fire/ems) you need to be a prime example of a human being. Best of the best and hold yourself to the highest standards. No exceptions.

I think it’s a cultural thing. You either have the drive to stay fit or you don’t. When I tore my Achilles, I got out of shape because I couldn’t run anymore… also got depressed a bit. It felt wrong to me, though, because I’ve always kept myself in shape. All it took for me was to glance in the mirror and see the number on the scale and I set my alarm for an hour earlier… I’m still doing PT for the Achilles, but I’m hitting a good 40 minutes of cardio every day. I’m still nowhere near where I want to be, but I’m never going to be as bad as I was.

My department has no standard. So you can’t discipline anyone for poor fitness. To change the policy requires the state legislation to change a law.. So…. We have no standard.

I am in charge of the fitness committee at my Job. We use to have the pack standard for our arduous testing for red cards annually. That has changed over the years due to injuries during the test. Cal Fire is not the only organization that does not have a standard. When I tried to implement a standard/change it gets very complicated due to employees rights and one of the biggest hurdles is ourselves and the Union standard/lack of standards.

In North America we have decided that everyone is to be tolerated at all times and no one’s feelings are ever to be hurt under any circumstances. Inclusion is more important than performance. Tell someone at work they are out of shape? The sky would fall. And then you’d be up to your eyeballs in harassment complaints, conflict resolution meetings and sensitivity training.

Not really excuses. If there is no standard or policy that says you HAVE to meet a fitness standard, you CAN’T fire someone. The agency, Union, and coppers/hose draggers have to get behind it and put it on PAPER. It can’t be some theoretical “you should be in good shape”. There has to be a standard!

True there has to be a standard, but on an even more basic level, why? Why would an individual sign up …no work hard to do one of these jobs only to fail because of preventable physical limitations. Police, fire and military are learning professions. Be a student of your profession mentality. Endeavor to excel physically

don’t see any mention of the effect of altered shift and sleep schedules, ptsd or cumulative stress which are all documented to have effect on the physical well being of first responders. This article seems to suggest that it’s simply a lack of motivation that leads to unfit members. If the organization is going to demand fitness it needs to provide opportunity ( gyms and time to use them) and it needs to account for stress and sleep issues and the hormonal effect they have on the human body.




You Might Also Like Firefighter Fitness: I have not created this problem, but I’m not fixing it either

Arete 4.12.18


U.S. Military Says It’s Not Finished With ISIS in Syria Even as Trump Pushes for Exit, Small Wars Journal
“Row Well and Live”: A Military Cliché that Deserves to Die, Modern War Institute
The House Armed Services chairman doesn’t want to ‘rob military’ to fund border wall, Defense News
13 Tips for New Lieutenants from the SOCOM Commander, Modern War Institute
US, UK Test Robot Breachers, Drones In Germany, Breaking Defense
One of the Best AK-47 Variants Is Polish, War is Boring
The Navy Just Cancelled a Major Military Exercise for a Very Tragic Reason, National Interest
The F-22 and F-35 Are America’s Best Fighters (but They Can’t Communicate), National Interest
The U.S. Navy Wants to Spend Billions on Aircraft Carriers That Aren’t Ready, War is Boring


Homeland Security / First Responder

Surge in Russian spy activity prompts US agencies to bring back retired officers, Intel News
Analysis: A premature declaration of victory in Syria? Long War Journal
PODCAST: Truck Ops Podcast Series–Episode 1 from Engine House Training, Fire Fighter Enemy
Hypocrisy and the Never Ending Attack on Police, Law Enforcement Today
Catching a Chinese IP Thief: How the FBI Tracked and Caught Sinovel, The Cipher Brief
America’s Arms Sales Policy: Security Abroad, Not Jobs at Home, War on the Rocks
NYC Secure launched: Cybersecurity initiative to protect New Yorkers online, Homeland Security Newswire
Madison Firefighter Dies After Traumatic 48 Hour Shift, Fire Fighter Close Calls
5 Reasons Why Cops Should Carry Off-Duty, Law Enforcement Today#
LAPD Officer Awarded $3M for Alleged Sexual Harassment, Retaliation,
Law Enforcement United: Honoring the fallen, remembering the survivors, PoliceOne Daily



Has Patagonia Grown Too Big for Its Cultural Good?, Adventure Journal
Sherpa team succeeds on first ascent of Langdung (6357m) in Nepal, Alpinist Journal
Learn to Evaluate Trad Anchors With This 12-Point Rubric, Climbing Magazine
Winter is still kickin’ at Kicking Horse,
The Best Winter Traction Devices for Running Shoes, Gear Institute
When Skiing Collides with Immigration Politics, Outside Magazine
Phase Change: How Climbers are Becoming a Major Economic Force, Climbing Magazine
The Women of the Barkley Marathons, Outside Magazine
Red Bull Der Lange Weg: the ski mountaineering traverse reaches halfway point,
Jackson Hole Skier Remains in ‘Stable Critical Condition’ After Cornice Break, Powder Magazine
American Skiing Legend Bob Beattie Dies at 85, Powder Magazine
Himalaya Spring 2018: Double Amputee to Attempt Everest, Teams in the Khumbu, The Adventure Blog


Fitness / Nutrition

A Practical Guide to Intermittent Fasting, Breaking Muscle
Obesity impacts liver health in kids as young as 8 years old, Science Daily
What Happens “After Keto”? Mark’s Daily Apple
The Best Natural Energy Gels and Chews for Endurance Exercise, Men’s Journal
Timing of stress-hormone pulses controls weight gain, Science Daily
Phys Ed: Bananas vs. Sports Drinks? Bananas Win in Study, NYT
The Women of the Barkley Marathons, Outside Magazine
The Safety Of Deep Squats, The Barbell Physio
VIDEO: Cholesterol and Keto, Robb Wolf
Best sources of Vitamin B12, The Worlds Healthiest Foods
Older Americans Are ‘Hooked’ on Vitamins, NYT

Q&A 4.12.18


Over the past two winters your Backcountry Ski Training Plan has been excellent and I have enjoyed the benefits.
However, now I am in a pickle. I am a Wildland Firefighter for the US Forest Service and have currently been a guinea pig for the past two pre-season years for a program they have been working/collaborating with. After pre-season that program is over and I train on my own and with some of the guys on the crew. I have been thinking about the Army and have looked at some of your training plans that interest me, but am not sure where to start. This is because it is in the middle of fire season and I can be gone 2 weeks at a time, working 16 hour days chain sawing trees down. If you have some good suggestions, that would be great!
I am a past D-1 collegiate distance runner and obviously hike with my pack on all summer. My forest service gym is limited to a bench with plates, dumbbells, weighted vests, pull-up bars, and a lat pull down/tricep extension machine.

I am looking for a plan now.

It is also fire season as it started early down south and that is why I included the complications of working during the season.



I consider Wildland Firefighters “Green” tactical athletes – the same as military infantry, and special forces. More HERE.
Correspondingly, I’d recommend you work through the plans in the Greek Hero series, beginning with Hector.
– Rob


We’re ready for our next plan. Thus far, we’ve completed, in order:

Fat loss
Bodyweight foundation
SF45 Alpha-Delta (finishing Delta on Friday). All the SF series has been outstanding. We very much appreciate an eye toward fitness for “older” athletes with typical wear and tear. At this point, we will gain strength, and feel comfortable popping off 16 to 18 miles off the couch.

Looking toward a trail marathon as goal in early fall. Also, want to continue strength gains.

I looked at Ultimate Work Capacity and seemed interesting. Would love to get your take on programming for now with an eye toward a distance run, or Ragnar trail late summer early fall.


Move to the Greek Heroine Plans, starting with Helen. Might as well join a climbing gym and do the climbing sessions also.
Trail Marathon? – Ultra Pre-Season Training Plan the 8 weeks directly before the event.
– Rob


I’m interested in subscribing.  I followed the links and considered just shopping all programs but I wasn’t sure if I could do that. Seems when you subscribe you can choose any program but once you choose one that’s the only one you can access.

My immediate goal is to lose some weight and the nutrition guidelines will be helpful and I’d like a 6-8 week program to start. We may still get some more snow before winter is over. What program would you recommend for losing weight that doesn’t yet require much running? I’ve got room in the basement for your shuttle runs, and step ups, but running outside may not be a possibility for the immediate future.


If you subscribe you have access to all the programs – you’re not locked into only looking at one at a time.
Plan? Tequila.

Weight Loss – make sure you fix your diet. Here are our recommendations:

– Rob


I’m running a Ragnar Ultra Race in mid-July in Tahoe.
24 hours
34 miles
6400 ft elevation gain
Avg rest between legs is 2.25 hours
Leg 1: 3.2 miles, 400 ft gain
Leg 2: 6.4 miles, 1400 ft gain
Leg 3: 7.1 miles , 1400 ft gain
Run each twice
What plan?
The Spartan Ultra Beast looks like the obvious choice. However, I’m 3 months post shoulder surgery and will have a fairly relaxed but detailed rehab routine with a physical therapist up until the race so I’m not worried about this plan including upper body strength.
Thanks for your help. Love your work and the subscription.


If there are obstacles, the Spartan Ultra Beast Plan. If not, the Ultra Pre-Season Training Plan.
– Rob


Guys, I’m at a crossroads physically.
After the Marine Corps I was lucky enough to work with a hotshot crew and now, well needless to say, a desk job as an engineer.   All the years preparing physically and training for a purpose have left me questioning what my goals are now!
I have purchased several plans with the most recent being Barboosa.
I think at the end of the day, all said and done, my goal is overall effectiveness functionally.
I’m not looking to deadlift 500 lbs or squat 450, but I am in search of that balance between endurance and strength.  I always find, my strength goes up, endurance goes down, endurance goes up, strength goes down.
It’s like a cycle I can’t seize.
I enjoy rucking, I kayak, Mtn bike, lift 5 days a week, run 4 to 6, whitetail hunt.
If I can find this balance of endurance and strength, I think I would find the goal in mind.  I realize more specific training requires a tuned approach.
Generally speaking though, as an in shape man, that wants to continue to keep, not only the mindset, but the physicality of being prepared, agile, strong, endurance oriented, fast, and fun….would you recommend a new program to me?
Fortitude? Achilles?


Fortitude is awesome and a great place to start our stuff if you’re fit. This plan has a strength and endurance focus but does hit some work capacity and chassis integrity.
If you want to avoid ruck running, yes on Achilles.
– Rob


Obviously the Jane Fonda is a brutal exercise, but it’s clearly harder for me on my left side.  I’m guessing I uncovered an imbalance in my hip flexors or gluteus medius on the left side.

Is there a prescription for working on this imbalance or should i just do more sets of Jane Fonda?


Not sure the issue – could be strength, could also be nervous system – ie. your right leg is your dominant leg – so it’s stronger. Just do the Jane Fondas prescribed.
– Rob


I am doing the swat selection workout, prepping for my operator school. On the days such as session 14, 10rounds every 3 minutes of devil dog and all the additional stuff.  Am I doing all that in 3 minutes? I don’t come close to doing all that every three minutes.


It’s not impossible – our lab rats were finishing at around 2 minutes:
Work faster and extend the interval to 4 minutes.
– Rob


What would you recommend in a packet to build up to the USCG Rescue Swimmer plan? No specific time limit. For a female candidate requiring extra focus on a strength base.
Also, do you have any thoughts on developing grip strength?

Thank you for your time,


The plans and order in the BUD/s Selection Training Packet would be a good lead in to the Rescue Swimmer plan.
– Rob


Quick question about substitution of exercises, in January I had a quick knee scope to remove some loose debris, as a result I’m missing a bit of cartilage now. I’ve cleared rehab and am working through the post rehab training packet. I’m slated for SWAT selection at the end of May and am planning on starting the SWAT selection training packet April 1. My question is should I be substituting some of the running / sprinting events with lower impact ones like aerodyne for sprints / elliptical for longer events, my rehab and surgeon seem to think that’s the way to go. Also if you agree what would you sub with? I’m experiencing no pain when running so I’m on the fence as to subbing it just doing.

Thanks for the input.


I’m not a doctor, and can’t give you medical advice. From a coaching perspective, you don’t want the first time you’ve run in several months to be at selection.

Airdyne and elliptical? About as the best you can get for super low impact.
– Rob


In reference to the ruck improvement program, should these rucks be conducted on paved surfaces, trails, overland or a combination?


Because the plan involves assessments and assessment-based intervals, the surface you use and the assessment course, should be the same. Trail or dirt road would be best.
–  Rob


I am applying with the border patrol and have gotten a decent ways along in the employment process and was looking for a plan to get in better shape for the academy should I be offered a job. I have been on weight watchers and am down ~53 pounds and have been in the best shape of my life, and I have already taken and passed the Border Patrol PFT-1. I am currently a senior in college and our campus gym has almost everything listed in the sample training week for this program. If I were to purchase this plan, what could I do to make up for the Sandbag Get up and Run?


There’s no substitute for the sandbag work. Be resourceful, make your own sandbag, and take it to the gym. Others have done this.
– Rob


I am k9 handler at my agency and our main priority is tracking suspects through all different terrains, water, fences, and possibly fighting the bg at the end..

I want to keep most my size (210) and strength, but become more explosive, agile, flexible and take my stamina to another level.

Which program would you recommend for this job.. I run at least 2 or 3 tracks a night as well as other k9 requests we have on a nightly basis.

I don’t want to have to worry about my physical conditioning when I’m reading the dog, giving updated locations, and then being in a fight at the end.

I’m sure your programs are all good, I’m just looking for something specific to what I do and help me sustain the physical conditioning for years and years down the road.

Thanks for your time,


I’ve recommended other K9 handlers complete the day to day programming we have designed for full time SWAT/SRT because of the limited endurance elements. These plans are found in our Gun Maker packet, and can also be purchased individually. Start with Ruger.
– Rob


I’m a little bit over a year out from hopefully attending a&s what packet would or training plan would you recommend? I’m currently on week 6 of the on ramp.


Complete the plans and order in the BUD/s Training Packet, but replace the final plan in the packet with the USMC MARSOC A&S Training Plan. You want to time it so you complete the MARSOC plan directly before selection.
– Rob


I’m trying to figure out what program to purchase or a monthly subscription. Some things about me….I prefer functional muscles workouts, I am a wrestling coach, I have a few of your sandbags, and a bunch of KB. I’m 47, my body gets beat up to much by running but I like the benefits of running. I believe I need more of a structured program, I like having energy and lately it doesn’t seem like I do. I refuse to believe that my age should have that much of an impact…. I can go on but I hope you can guide me in some type of direction…. I just like having strength and be active…

Thanks in advance and I hope you can help. I would also like to use a program for wrestlers also.


I’d recommend the plans in the SF45 Packet. These are designed as day-to-day programming for high impact athletes ages 45-55. Start with SF45 Alpha.
– Rob


I’ve been looking at the plans you guys offer, but I can’t decide which one to pick.

Currently, I do triathlon training and boxing 2x per week as part of PEX classes at my university.

Additionally, I work on a ranch 3x per week chiefly doing sawyer work and lots of continuous lifting and carrying of cut wood. During the week I also do general strength training.

This May I will be starting as a wildland firefighter on an engine with the chance to detail out on several 2 week rolls with a hotshot crew. My goal is to come in with excellent fitness and impress the superintendents to make it onto a shot crew next year. I want to absolutely crush the BLM fitness challenge.


Plan to accommodate your tri and boxing? Best would be a strength plan – I’d recommend the MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan.
But best plan for you now is the Wildland Fire Pre-Season Training Plan. This is an intense plan, and you can’t double up with tri/boxing.
– Rob


I am looking to attend A&S for MARSOC sometime next year. I am looking at the various packages you have and am interested in purchasing one. I am looking at the Greek Hero package at this point, but I wanted some feedback on what is a good program to build that base foundation for the SOF community. I was a huge weightlifter who has primarily done bodybuilding type exercises for the last 3 year. Also, I played football in college. Currently I am 245Lbs. Any help of suggestions would be much appreciated.


Yes on Greek Hero Packet. These plans are designed as day-to-day programming for SOF. You start with the Military OnRamp Plan which will prep you for the remaining plans in the packet.
– Rob


I am having trouble picking my next plans.  I am a mt athelete with focus on skiing; backcountry, ski mtneering, inbounds.
In the summers i mt. bike an average of 40 m/wk.
According to your assessment, which i agree with, i am a bit weak upperbody and core.
So i wanted to do a strength program, 357 or mti assement plan.  Thoughts?
Followed by a day to day training in prep for next winter.  I was thinking the greek herione package.  With this, how many days are spent in climbing gym and can i substitute anything depending on miles biked that wk?  Or can i just continue biking while sticking to the plan?  Or should i look at another plan?
Thanks for the help.


MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan now, then the Greek Heroine Series. You can sub in extra cycling for the climbing in the plan.
– Rob


Hello, I am currently in the Pathfinder program which can be used in conjunction with any other program. In addition, I have some custom programming for strength work; it will end in a month and a half and I decided to try your system because it seems to be a better fit to what my goals are focused on achieving. What would you recommend for Goruck events? I was looking at the entry level bodyweight program.


Start with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan and follow it up with the GoRuck Challenge Training Plan.

– Rob


A bit of background: I am a recent college graduate, 6’0 ft 178-181 lbs, if I had to hazard a guess 15-17% body fat (based off an in-body scan). I have a background in Olympic weightlifting from high school, but joined a fraternity freshman year and fitness went by the wayside. Training has been on and off since sophomore year, but I am a big fan of Dan John’s work. Since then my workouts have consisted of the fundamental human movements (goblet squats, HAT, bat wings, push-up position planks, and farmer carries). Slight mobility restriction in my right shoulder, but I have been consistently working on that and seeing improvements. Endurance work has always been something I have shied away from, I did crew before switching over to Oly lifting. I have a nine to ten month time frame before the PFT. What are your thoughts on training with this time frame and my background?


I’d recommend you start working through the plans and order in the Virtue Packet of plans, which begins with our Military OnRamp Training Plan.
Directly before OCS, complete the USMC OCS Training Plan.
– Rob