All posts by SSD

Arete 1.19.17

The Technology Race to Build — or Stop — North Korea’s Nuclear Missiles, Defense One
The U.S. Army’s New Missile Launcher Has a Super Game Changing Trick Up Its Sleeve, The National Interest
Lithuania signs agreement with U.S. on troop deployment, Military Times
Trump and the nuclear codes, BBC News

DARPA Research Leads Grid Security Solutions, National Interest
The Future of U.S.-Russia Relations, Center for New American Security
Mexico-U.S. Border Tunnels a Security Risk, Officer
Iraq has retaken east Mosul from Isis, says Army General, The Guardian

USAF SOF Getting AWD Motorcycles, Press Release
U.S. ‘Thrilled’ With Iraqi Progress in Mosul, Small Wars Journal
The Drones of ISIS, Defense One
Navy Acquisition Chief: Surge to 355 Ships ‘Easily Done’, DOD Buzz
McCain proposes $640B defense budget for 2018, The Hill

Canines to help firefighters detect early signs of cancer, Fire Rescue 1
Are sports drinks, water or IV fluids better for firefighter rehab?, Fire Rescue 1
Why are fire trucks red?, Fire Rescue 1
Why Can’t You Do Your Job?, Fire Rescue Magazine

Border Patrol Recovers $2 Million Worth of Meth at Texas-Mexico Border, Police Magazine
Police secretly track cellphones to solve routine crimes, USA Today
De-escalation: the word du jour, Law Enforcement Today
Guns & Weapons December/January 2017: 6 New Products for LEOs, Tactical Life
7 Reasons Why Cops Choose the 9mm Over the .40, Tactical Life

Skiing the World’s Biggest Glaciers, National Geographic
Unbelayvable: A Missed Catch, Climbing
A New Approach to After-School Programs Means Hope for Opelousas, Outdoor Industry Association

Eat hot peppers for a longer life?,  Science Daily
The Top 7 Ways Fit People Injure Themselves at the Gym, Health
The best pre-workout foods, Men’s Fitness
Best Post-Workout Foods, Men’s Fitness

Fitness Stuff We’re Currently Testing

Gabe trains single leg box squats as part of the tactical single-limb strength cycle the lab rats are working through.


By Charles Bausman

Single Limb Training… Can it Replace Traditional Squatting?

We’re currently discussing removing barbell back squats entirely from our programming. I haven’t done any heavy squatting in nearly a year with the exception of one front squat assessment. My knees feel better, and I can still front squat 1.65x of my body weight. Rob has pain in his ankle and knee, and may cut it out of his programming as well. What would we replace it with?


We don’t want to stop training lower body strength. The substitute we’re currently testing is unilateral strength movements.


Our tactical lab rats are in the middle of a six week cycle which emphasizes single limb, or unilateral, strength and power. Michael Boyle has been a proponent of this method of training for years, and has published the benefits on his blog.


Training a single limb has several advantages according to Boyle. First is training to increase injury prevention and durability. For our pro skiers, ACL tears are by far the most common season-ending injury. With single leg strength movements, the athlete can recognize and correct unilateral strength imbalances that may not have been cognizant of with traditional squatting or deadlifting.


Secondly, Boyle argues single leg training is more “functional.”  You walk, run, and ruck one leg at a time. Even Michael Jordan dunked from the free throw line by jumping off one leg. If weight and power is going to be distributed to one leg, shouldn’t we be training like that if functionality/transferability outside the gym is our goal?


Boyle also argues that a “bilateral deficit” exists with traditional squats and deadlifts. Simply stated, he argues that the sum of weight lifted with single leg exercises for both legs is greater than the weight lifted with both legs at the same time.


Switching to single limb strength training would complicate things for our programming. Our strength standards, MTI Relative Strength Assessment, and Operator Ugly all utilize the bilateral barbell lifts as a test for lower body strength. What would it mean for those strength assessments? From a functionality perspective, is carry a heavy ruck a more accurate measure of military and mountain specific strength?


Additionally, unilateral training is more challenging to determine 1 RM’s, which we use frequently for determining load in strength sessions. How could we duplicate our strength progressions?


We want to find the “sweet spot” in increasing lower body strength and durability safely, without overly complicating the programming. The results from our cycle so far have been promising, and may lead to removing the heavy barbell from your back.

Multi-Mode Endurance

Our endurance training has traditionally focused around unloaded running or rucking. We refer to this as single mode endurance training. Running and rucking are basic components of military fitness, and it’ll remain in our programming. However, can we train endurance without hitting the trail for a long run/ruck?


Some of our Lab Rats just finished “Luke,” wemphasizedsized what we call “Multi-Mode Endurance”, and we just began a Mountain Base cycle which continues to refine the programming. We’re using a single piece of equipment (such as a 60lbs sand bag), 3-4 exercises, and work through each exercise for 5-10 minutes for a total of 60 minutes of constant, steady work. Below are two sample sessions.

We’re using a single piece of equipment (such as a 60lbs sand bag or barbell), 3-4 exercises, and work through each exercise for 5-10 minutes for a total of 60 minutes of constant, steady work. Below are two sample sessions.

2 Rounds – 60 Minutes Total on Running Clock
5 Minutes – Power Clean + Push Press @ 45/65# 5 Minutes – 20 Step Ups, 6x shuttle run
5 Minutes – Clean Grip Snatch @ 45/65# 5 Minutes – 20 Step Ups, 6x shuttle run
5 Minutes – Barbell Burpee @ 45/65# 5 Minutes – 20 Step Ups, 6x  shuttle run


6 Rounds – 60 Minutes Total on Running Clock. 3x Through …. 
10 Minutes of …. 
6x Sandbag Toss and Chase @ 40/60#
3x Sandbag Keg Lift @ 40/60#
6x Sandbag Get Up @ 40/60#                                     Then …. 
10 Minutes of …
20x Step Ups @ 15”
6x Shuttle Run


The speed of each repetition is relatively slow, pacing the reps through the duration of the training session. We’ve found this creates a respiratory rate that is very similar to a run at a moderate pace. We’d also like to measure the lab rats heart rate to see if the demands are similar.


Multi-mode training could be utilized in austere environments where you may not have space to run or ruck. It may also serve as a way to replace our “Stamina” cycles, which have not been designed into programming lately due to the amount of garbage reps which were involved in the old stamina sessions. We’re feeling our way through designing and implementing this theory… more to follow.


Central Nervous System (CNS) Tap Test

We all have bad training days. Overtraining, lack of sleep, or poor diet can affect our CNS and therefore, performance. In the past, we have used basic observation of the athlete to see how they’re feeling. Most of our lab rats have been training at MTI for years, so we can tell when they are dragging ass and should be sent home for the day to rest. However, can we quantify overtraining to truly determine when an athlete should or should not train?

Running coaches have utilized athlete’s resting heart rate to determine overtraining. If his or her resting heart rate increases, it is a sign of overtraining. This study published by researchers at the National Institute of Sport found that the correlation between a higher resting heart rate and decline in performance to be accurate.


Resting heart rate is best tested by looking at your heartrate once you wake up. This would mean our lab rats would have to do this on their own and record it. As a whole, our lab rats simply aren’t that smart, so we needed a way to test overtraining without resting heart rate. Our answer came from Dr. Kevin Serre, who works with Canadian SOF, and attended our Scrum last year. He had his athletes do a “tap test” on a phone app.


We borrowed Dr. Serre’s idea, and we’re testing our lab rats with a simple CNS finger tap test app to develop a baseline for each individual. The Finger-Tapping app is a 30 second test designed to measure psychomotor and CNS function. Commonly used with medical patients with diseases affecting neurological performance such as Alzheimer’s, we are testing to see if is predictive of physical performance.


The athlete completes three rounds of 10 second max finger taps onto their smartphone. The average is recorded. By completing this immediately before and after each training session, we are able to determine the baseline score for each athlete.


Once we have their baseline established, we can compare daily test results to determine whether they are overtraining and fatigued, or performing at normal levels. If the results are low, we may alter the training session or simply force them to recover. This can also be utilized for intentional overtraining and specifically timed de-load weeks, which has been shown to increase performance overall.


Comments, questions, concerns?

Want More? Click HERE for our Single Limb Strength Training Plan.


Q&A 1.19.17


I was interested in joining but I am not sure which plan would be best for me. I am a 32 yr old male, ( 5″10 300lbs)  I workout about 5 days a week at a gym primarily bicycling 4 miles and light weight lifting. I work rotating shifts midnight to 8am or 8am to 4p. I am looking to lose weight and get back in great shape. I have been thinking of going back into the service as a reservist or possibly Active duty again. I have been looking into SF or Ranger but would love to get myself in top shape before I decide what to do. I appreciate any help and look forward on hearing from you.


At 5’10”, I’d like to see you at 180-200 pounds, so your priority should be weight loss. Training helps, but key is diet. Here are our dietary recommendations:

Training Plan? Start our stuff with Bodyweight Foundation:

Good luck!

– Rob


Can you explain the intent of the standing/kneeling founder and the low back lunge exercises?


Low back isometric exercises we learned from the folks who created Foundation Training:

We’ve had great luck with them over the years.

– Rob


enjoyed your podcasts on hunt back country. I’m not sure what plan I’m after I’ll give you the brief story,I’m 54 starting to train for an elk hunt in 2018 I have a full knee replacement in the next months and an ACL on the other to follow also trying to fix shoulder impingement in both my diet is coming around but the exercise regime is a mess I need much more strength and endurance for this trip. Any help on where to start a program would be great.


My guess is your current knee pain is significant, and so I don’t have much to offer you now – except perhaps our Swimming Improvement Plan:

And to fix your diet by deploying our nutritional guidelines.

Post surgery, after you’re cleared by the PT’s, I’d recommend our Post-Rehab Training Plan for Leg Injuries:

After the Post-Rehab Plan, follow the plan progressions in the Backcountry Big Game Training Packet:, prior to your hunt.

Good luck.

– Rob


After listening to Rob on a couple Hunt Backcountry podcasts I decided to look into the training programs offered by Mountain Tactical Institute. I do live in a bit of a rural area that does not offer a whole lot for gym equipment although I’d like to purchase the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Packet. I’d probably end up needing to purchase as much equipment as possible to use for the programs. I have the backpack, sand bag weights, watch, and timer already so I’m just missing the “fully equipped functional fitness weight room”. Can you provide a more comprehensive list of fitness equipment used for the 4 plans please?


Barbell, Rack, Pull Up Bar, Bumper Plates, dumbells or kettlebells, 20/24/30 Plyo Box. Area to sprint (we do it mostly in the parking lot) …

– Rob


Rob, firstly thanks for everything you do, awesome site.

I am enlisting in the Parachute regiment reserves here in the UK. I was a regular soldier in the Airborne and have already passed P company so won’t have to do that again. I will have to run a 9:30 mile and a half (preferably sub) I’m an extremely good looking 38 yr old, any suggestions?

Also any programs you suggest I follow so when they start beasting me I can keep a smile on my face?


Specifically for your Run, I’d recommend you complete the USAF PFT Training Plan ( which includes a 1.5 mile run.

Next, I’d recommend you complete the plans in the Virtue Series Packet:

Good luck!

– Rob


What strength program would be best for preseason base phase for mountain biking?


Two Options:

1) Mountain Bike Pre-Season Training Plan:

Includes both gym-based strength training and programmed spinning.

2) Off-Season Strength Training Plan for Endurance Athletes:

– Rob


I’ve been following you guys for a couple years. I recently got picked up for JAG, but I was hoping for a little advice to help me make accessions standards – I was enlisted for 9 years, and in the 3 years since I got out I put on a ton of weight due to a rugby injury followed by extreme apathy. Now that I need to cut weight, plus get in shape for DCC.

I’m about 70 lbs over my Army max weight, but I’ve never made weight in my career – I’m 6’1 and a former competitive power-lifter and rugby player, the standards just weren’t meant for me and my thighs. I can usually hit tape about about 45 over; I’d like to take 10 more than that off for safety/the desire to not be THAT officer. Would you recommend I re-purchase the APFT plan (my link is expired)? I was also looking at the Army OCS plan, running improvement plan, and the body-weight training I plan. Historically, I hit about 70-99-70 on my PT test. I’m not a great runner (I’m only about 30 seconds faster pace on my 2 mile than when I do my half marathons) , but I don’t usually worry about rucking – I’ve never missed a time hack, even with a full combat load.  Push-ups are more of a mental challenge for me, so I usually knock some out every morning.

Any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I went to law school solely to get back in as a JAG and now that my chance is here, I don’t want to fuck it up just because I didn’t train to my max potential.


So I’m clear … you’re about 70 pounds overweight right now?

If so…. I’d recommend you start Bodyweight Foundation:

And immediately clean up your diet following our nutritional guidelines:

Be cautious and patient with yourself at first.

– Rob


First off thank you for your incredible programming, you can tell you truly care about the safety of tactical atheltes from your work.

I have two questions for you, one about me and one for my wife.

First a little about me, Im a Corrections Deputy and former Wildland Fire Fighter. I am 22 years old 5’10, 165 pounds, about 16 percent bodyfat which is high for me. I have more of the body type of the Wildland Fire Fighter than the CO ( i am pretty skinny).

Ive boxed for 4 years and have done MMA for the past year. I have always been active. My relative stregnth score was not satisfying for me when i completed the assessment in Novemeber. Here are my numbers.

  • Bench: 185
  • Front squat 185
  • Power clean: 135
  • Squat clean: 145
  • Hinge lift: 275
  • Strict press: 125
  • Dead hang pull ups: 10
  • Also my physical fitness numbers for testing for patrol.

300 meter sprint 50 seconds

1.5 mile run 13:30 im a turd when it comes to running i only run for tests

Max push ups 35 (i can do more but this maxes the test)

Max 1 minute sit ups 30 (i suck at sit ups, this is the minimum number to pass).

I completed LE tequila and felt the difference at work. From sprinting across the jail to a fight, running up stairs to a medical emergency and what i feel most importantly controlling inmates. I work the booking area a lot and also as a responder officer which is fancy talk for the guy who shows up when it hits the fan.

Given my posts i get into a lot of uses of force and i have felt the difference from your programming. I am currently in rat 6 as i feel relatively weak still despite the increase ive seen so far. Im loving rat 6 i think it is a great program, i havent done the assessment again because im still in week 3 but while doing reps with weight that use to crush me i now feel like im crushing it.

Im testing for patrol again soon (last time i didnt score so hot on the written portion) so ive been taking the sit up training and run training from the fbi sa pft plan and working it into rat 6, after my test im going to stop doing that and focus solely on rat 6 for the remainder of the plan.

My plan was to complete ultimate meathead next then 357 stregnth to get a good strength base before getting into the le stuff. The upper body mass is great but i dont think it helps deter violent encounter in my case because i look like im 12, i have a baby face and constantly get crap for it, but i cant change that.

Would you recommend me completing the strength plans, then jumping into either the virtue series, patrol series, greek hero series, or the gun maker series? I cant decide which i should do after, or do you think i should finish rat 6 then get right into one of the above series? The police academy does a lot of body weight training so i feel the military athlete stuff would be beneficial.

Thank you

Now for my wife she 20 years old and is a former high school athelete (swim team and soccer). She was also active duty army before injurying her knee. She is 5’8″ and she wont tell me her weight, although when we first met she was 170 but she was very lean and athletic at this weight.

She never lifted much but rather did bodyweight, running, rucking, swimming.

Since her injury she has had two knee surgeries with the most recent being about 2 months ago. We also had a baby girl 10 months ago, so the past 2 years have been hard on my wife. She hasnt been able to lose much of the baby weight and is probably 30 pounds heavier than she needs to be.

She is currently in phsycial therapy and her PT gave her the go ahead to do your post rehab plan concurrently with pt as she is progressing very well. She has to scale somethings like box jumps because she cant jump very high right now. However she is making amazing progress.

She isnt estimated to be in PT for much longer and once she turns 21 she would like to also get onto law enforcment, she wants to skip the jail and go straight to patrol.

I was thinking after she finishes pt and the leg rehab plan that we would have her do the bodyweight foundation plan before moving into either the fat loss plan (depending on where she is at) or into the virtue series. She isnt interested in the upper body mass but more the strength. She doesnt want to gain any size, even when she was lean her shoulders and back muscles put me to shame. What she wants is to get back into the shape she was in while she was active duty and to max the patrol test. What do you feel is the best course for her to follow?

It might be a while before she takes the PT test because we have to wait for her to turn 21and the baby to get older before we both work a crazy schedule. A timeline would maybe be 6 to 8 months before she tests. Im also less worried with her passing the test and more concerned with job performance she is a stud at pt tests so i know once shes in shape she will max it out.

Im sorry for such as long question. I appreciate your time, thank you for any info you can give us.


I’d recommend the Gun Maker series of plans for you.

Bodyweight Foundation for your wife post the leg Post-Rehab injury plan. Know that bodyfat is 80-90% diet related. We can’t outwork a shitty diet. I’m sure you’re familiar with our nutritional guidelines.

It’s awesome that you’re using our work as it was intended. It’s an honor for us to be a small partner in your career as a tactical athlete.

– Rob


Right now I am doing your In Season Ski Maintenance Program. And I will be switching over to your 357 Strength Program after ski season. However, my question or you is, I have a small gym located down the hall from my office. It has a barbell and squat rack, full set of dumbells and kettlebells, and some cardio equipement.  In order to stay active during the day, I walk down there and do a couple of 5-10min lifting sessions throughout the day in addition to performing whatever the daily workout is for whatever program of yours I’m on at the time. It’s nothing super intense or heavy because I don’t want to overttrain.  Is this acceptable or should I stop doing it?  Are there any particular things that I should do when I go in there? I’m just looking for your insight and guidance as to how best to go about this. Thanks for any advice.


I’d probably recommend instead of doing this randomly, you use to focus on one attribute …. i.e. do  pull ups for a month, then do push ups, then do swings…. It might make it more interesting for you and lead to some serious gains in specific areas.

– Rob


I hope you have been well.

I was wondering, do I have to load my bodyweight on a bar and complete the “Bodyweight Rob Shaul” exercise or can I just do it with a PVC pipe? The reason that I am asking is, I weight about 166, and my max push press is around 140. Is it ok to just do a percentage of my 1RM and complete the exercise?

As always, thank you for your guidance.


The Rob Shaul exercise is barbell based:

The “Bodyweight Rob Shaul” exercise is all bodyweight:

Sorry for the confusion.

– Rob


I have 21 weeks until im presumed to leave for bootcamp then BUD/S training. What plans do you recommend of yours to get me in the best shape possible. Also keep in mind i dont have my Seal challenge contract yet.

Background to help.

135 lbs 5’9

As you can imagine im pretty good at swimming and running and pretty strong with calisthenics. Id like to add a bit of strength and muscle mass before i go.

Thank you for your time and AMAZING programming.


1) Valor + Swim Improvement

2) Fortitude

3) BUD/s V2

Good luck!!

– Rob


My buddy and I are going out for our department’s SWAT assessment school.  When we hear about the school it sounds like it will be like the Ranger Assessment Selection Program but no rucking.  We purchased your Bodyweight Foundation program and have are halfway now.  We are looking for something else that is similar but still high reps or improving bodyweight movement and running.  We saw the next step Bodyweight program and from the sample exercises we weren’t sure if it was going to help us excel at doing max repetition dips, flutter kicks, pull-ups, etc.

I believe there is a long distance run which is timed on tank trails ( between 6-9 miles with approximately a 10 min mile pace), sprinting, obstacle courses, and lots of bodyweight movements.  This school is more of a smoke session school to see if you are fit enough to finish it with tactics and shooting.  They don’t tell us really anything about the school on purpose.  The only information I get is from guys on the department that have failed.


We built a SWAT Selection Training Plan ( last year which I’d recommend for you the 7 weeks directly before selection. It think it will do a good job of assessing the fitness demands you describe.

You’ll want to do this plan the 7 weeks directly before selection.

Between now and then I’d recommend plans from the Gun Maker SWAT packet:

– Rob


Rob, I’m committed to running the Leadville Marathon this June.  I’ve used your training for to train for GORUCK events, 14K peak ascents, rock/ice climbing, and backcountry skiing. 

What would you recommend for Leadville?  I’ve looked at the Meathead Marathon plan but anticipate that would need to be tweaked for the factors that make Leadville special (altitude, elevation change, and broken terrain).


Closest I’d have would be the Alpine Running Plan:

– Rob


I was curious if you felt that your article “Squeezed for Time? Busy Law Enforcement Training Tips” ( )was still applicable and current with your programming. I currently fall between your Mountain and Military Strength Standards at a bodyweight of 171. My goal is to be in the gym 2-3 days a week with one day working out at home with Kettlebells and bodyweight movements to keep current for an upcoming LE academy. I also run approximately 15-20 miles  a week spread out over 3-4 days. I’m finding I have less time for the gym and strength work as my mileage has increased so I am capping the running at 20 miles per week. Some of this is tempo based 6 mile runs and others are 8-10 mile slower efforts.

My programing I have used is similar to what you prescribe in the article, but for strength I follow an 8×3 lower body movement paired up with a stretch and then some upper body push/pull or total body movement following this for 5 rounds. I follow the “difficult but doable” prescription. I normally cap this all off with core work. After 6 weeks I will move to a more work capacity style of programming for 4 weeks and then rest a week. I have followed your programming off and on many times since 2007-2008  as it has suited my needs but have struggled with the 5 days in the gym type of work and I find I burn out on that unless I have a class or event coming up. If I were to follow the programming again, how would you recommend completing the program and only hitting the gym 2-3 days per week and keeping up running?

On a side note: Part of the reason I run is that I have Type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent). The aerobic work helps control my sugar levels and I find a respond well with some but not too much long slow endurance work.

Hope you are well and I’m glad to see your business is still growing which is well deserved.


Lots of questions here.

The article you reference is for a quick, short session. It sounds like you have more time in the gym if you can do an 8×3 followed by a dedicated upper body circuit.

Also understand this was for one session, not an entire cycle.

I’ve identified 5 fitness attributes to train for LE Athletes like yourself:

  • – Relative Strength
  • – Work Capacity (with a strong emphasis on sprint repeats)
  • – Chassis Integrity (Our new approach to mid-section strength and strength endurance)
  • – TAC SEPA (Tactical Speed, Explosive Power and Agility)
  • – Upper Body Hypertrophy

Based on what you describe with your routine above, it seems it’s working, but you’re in danger of falling into a rut with your training. One of the interesting variables we apply to our programming is differing modes and progresssions for strength and work capacity. For example on the strength side, one cycle we may do an 8×3 progression with single limb movements (1-arm presses, Bulgarian Split Squats, etc.), the next we may deploy and Eccentric strength progression using barbells, the next, pull away from loaded work all together and hammer in some bodyweight strength work.

On the Work Capacity side, one cycle may focus on short, hard, multi-modal work caps, the next, 1 mile and 800m repeats, the next, sandbag getup intervals, etc.

I general, I don’t advise guys try to do one of our programs and pick and chose the sessions they complete. When you complete your own programming, you’ll end up doing what you’ve always done or what you’re good at. Certainly this has been my personal experience.

The endurance work you are completing is not a strong component of my programming for LE athletes, but it is for military athletes, so I’d suggest our military programming may be more appropriate for you moving ahead. One cycle you may look at is Apollo: This cycle has you in the gym 2 days/week and running sprints and endurance 3 days/week including a long slow run on Fridays.

– Rob



Do you offer a general fitness program aimed more at the weekend warrior? Something like 3 days a week with limited equipment that is intended to maintain fitness with no end goal (like a specific trip).


I’d recommend Humility:

This is an intense, limited equipment training program.

As prescribed, it’s a 5 day/week program.You could do it 3 days/week …. just follow the sessions in order. Don’t skip ahead or around.

– Rob


I came across your Ruck Based Selection program during my preparation for SFRE. Its awesome! I was curious about understanding some of the content. I noticed that some areas of the program have less running specifically the RAT6 portion. Is it safe to substitute some running on the weekends or do the Running Improvement earlier on ? Also what’s the calorie range I should fit in under the diet plan and I’m used to getting energy from my carbs. Is avoiding carbs necessary to get fat to be the primary source of fuel ?


I assume you’re talking about the packet, and not the plan.

Yes, it’s okay to add in running for the packet plans which are more strength focused …. but only as long as you are meeting the progressions in that plan. If you’re not making your numbers, stop the extra work.

Diet – Follow our nutritional guidelines in the FAQ. For the more endurance focused plans and long days, it’s okay to do “event” supplementation with gels, but you don’t need to be consuming bunches of pasta.

There are plenty of carbs in our nutritional guidelines, they come from veggies and a little fruit, not grains.

But in general, I don’t get into nutritional arguments. Try our guidelines if you want, or be stubborn, I really don’t care. We’ve found these work to lean guys up, and being lighter makes you move better/faster. All that matters in the end is your physical performance.

This packet and its progression is no joke. Good luck.

– Rob


I am planning on following the plans in the CCT/PJ/CRO training packet, but am taking these next 6 weeks to get back into training after about two months off. I had originally planned to complete a 6 week base building block (from the Tactical Barbell/Conditioning books, if you are familiar with those) which consists of 2 days of maximal strength building a week, 3 days of endurance activities (long slow sessions of run, swim, or bike), and my own calisthenics workouts added as supplements.

Since I am looking to complete programs in the CCT/PJ/CRO training packet, would you recommend completing the On Ramp Military program first (and then follow the training packet, starting with the USAF PAST program)? Or would the 6 weeks of endurance work be more beneficial?


I’d recommend the Military OnRamp training plan.

– Rob


I have a couple of your programs and just have a real quick question if I could. In your dry land ski training program, the Quadzilla complex is listed as 25# for guys which is around 12kg. Is that meant to be 2x12kg Dumbbells or 2x6kg Dumbbells.


The loading is for each hand, so you’ll hold a 12kg kb dumbbell in each hand, 2x total.

– Rob


Hey Rob, I am interested in the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Training Program but I live in the very flat area of Nebraska where it’s hard to find a decent hill let alone a mountain to train on.  Is this program designed to be used only by someone with easy access to mountain terrain or is it designed for anyone no matter what terrain they live in? Thanks for any input.


I designed this plan so it could be completed anywhere. To train uphill hiking under load, you’ll do thousands of step ups ( Total drudgery …. but super effective at training this mode.

– Rob


     Been using your programs for a little while now, and I was wondering how come you guys don’t program single-leg squats? I’m not being a snot or anything, this is just straight-up curiosity… Are pistol squats not really an effective tool for training?

Again, just wondering… No hurry.


We actually have a single limb strength program and our military lab rats are currently working through single limb strength as part of the next Operator Sessions cycle.

We favor single leg box squats, bulgarian split squats, and split lunges to pistols primarily because we’ve found everyone can do these exercises. At least half of our athletes – including myself, simply don’t have the ankle mobility/balance for pistols. Working with tactical and mountain athletes – in general – I found this to be the case. Our best natural athletes can do them fine. Meatheads like me, and endurance athletes struggle.

I understand and have implemented the progression for pistols, but at some point you’re training technique, not so much strength/fitness.

Point is, if the pistol was easier for most, we’d certainly deploy it. But we’ve been able to find/develop other exercises to effectively train single limb strength and avoid the technique issues with the pistol.

If pistols work for you. Do them.

– Rob


I bought a subscription to your programming because I failed the ruck at Ranger School a couple weeks ago.

1. Is the program meant to be done ruck running carrying the prescribed 70#s? (60# ruck 10# device)

2. Is it better to do the mileage at the prescribed weight but slow or at a lower weight like 55# but faster?

3. What program/exercises can I do to strengthen my arches and feet? The pounding gets to my feet first then my shoulders (feet ache and slow me down by mile 4… by mile 8 it’s bad enough that it slows me down enough that I can’t move fast enough to tap into my cardio). My arches ache (especially my right one). I haven’t rucked in a couple months besides the ruck at Ranger School.

The program calls for the ruck runs to be performed with a 60# ruck in addition to a 10# device. I rucked 2:53:00 a couple months ago with 55# total but carrying 70# of weight brought my time to around 3:46:00 and an early ache from the pounding.

Part of the problem is that my cardio has been killed due to a being out from a respiratory infection for the past couple months (5 mile run time went from 35:33 to 39:30 during the period). But the other part is a feeling that the weight is a bit much to be ruck running with. I finally received treatment and I now have the time to do a proper train up. I bow to your expertise and will execute what you recommend


1.  Yes.

2. Do the rucking at the prescribed load and train to move faster with that load. Our program deploys an initial assessment then follow on shorter, but faster intervals based on your assessment results … to train you to move faster.

3. Ruck. My sense is you didn’t ruck enough prior to school. There is no shortcut. To improve fitness for rucking – including feet/ankles/shoulder – it’s simply best to ruck. Understand your feet/ankle issues could be shoe/boot related. This is another reason to ruck alot during your train up …. it give you the opportunity to dial in your gear/boots.

Here is a link to our Ranger School Training Plan:

– Rob


I am a ski patrol as well as SAR member in Washington State. My primary activity is backcountry skiing. This season I have developed a  bothersome tightness in my left hip flexor (possibly the illopsoas). It starts about 30 min into uphill travel (worsens as the steepness increases) and persists all through the tour. By the end of the day, it becomes quite painful, feeling almost like a burning sensation.

I am not sure if this is due to an acute injury or more chronic problem (e.g. lack of core strength). Would you recommend any of your training plans that might help address this issue?


Can’t help you much here. That it’s on one side points to some type of injury … not a fitness issue. It could be some strength imbalance, likely not if you are just feeling it this year … unless you just started crossfit stuff this year.

It could be the result of a sprint, high box jump, etc., that surfaces with lots of use.

I wish I could offer more.

– Rob


I am currently in the process of starting my gym. I wanted to know if it is possible to get on a plan to use your programming in our gym? Is there a rate that coaches get in order to utilize programming or is it authorized to do such things?


Coaches around the world deploy our programming with their athletes and you can do the same. We don’t have an affiliate program, so you can’t advertise or claim to be a partner gym with MTI. There’s no extra charge.

– Rob


My name is Jake Blackburn and I am a firefighter in Fayetteville, AR. I am big into fitness and currently stick to a kettle bell heavy workout regiment, my cardio in that sense is good but could be better, I feel that building strength has somewhat plateaued. Im interested in some of your plans. Just curious at which plan you feel would best suit my goals? I am around 6 foot tall and 150 pounds. My main goal is to become stronger but with that I really want to generate more power and explosiveness without losing my cardio in order to more effectively operate on a fireground.


For a guy like you who is coming in fit, I’d recommend the plans in our “Big Cat” series of tactical fitness programming for fire/rescue athletes:

Start with Jaguar.

– Rob


I’m looking at getting some floating squat racks in my gym to supplement the stationary racks that we currently have.

What is the brand of racks that you use at your gym? Have you had any issues with them? They definitely seem sturdy enough.

Thank you for your time.


Rogue from

Things are bomber!

Only change is I would have gotten ones with pull up bars … for more versatility … but they didn’t make those kind at the time I bought these (like 7 years ago).

– Rob


You gave a talk on the “Hunt Backcountry” podcast recently.   Could you advise me on where to start with training to prepare for an Elk hunt next September?

I’m an under trained and overweight 50 year old that lives in Memphis, TN.  Memphis is in the Mississippi delta and is almost absent of any hills.   I guess I wanted to make sure that the 29week Big Game program was what I need before I purchased it.


Yes. Complete the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Packet:

The first plan, Bodyweight Foundation, is no joke, but does automatically scale to your incoming fitness.

Also, fix your diet. See our nutritional guidelines here:

– Rob


Hey Rob, im 19, 5’7/8, 66kg, ive always want to be in the military and sof, but i havent been training for about 8months, ive signed up to your website as a member and was just wondering what programs i should do and in what order to get ready for australian 2 commando selection, no date currently set but possibly within a year, im starting the on ramp program tomorrow but i dont know what i should do afterwards, thanks.


After Onramp, follow these plans in order:

Weeks        Plan

  • 1-7              (1)  Humility – Bodyweight Strength, loaded work capacity, IBA runs and long, unloaded runs
  • 8                     Total Rest
  • 9-14            (2) Big 24 – Barbell based, total strength
  • 15                  Unload Week
  • 16-21          (3) Fortitude – Gym based strength, distance running and rucking
  • 22                Total Rest
  • 23-28          (4) Valor – Gym based work capacity, short, intense running and rucking intervals
  • 29                 Total Rest
  • 30-35          (5) Resilience – Gym-based Strength, Chassis Integrity, Heavy Rucking and distance running
  • 36                 Total Rest
  • 37-44          (6) Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan

– Rob


I’m writing to ask recommendation on the programs I should consider taking. I’m living in Redmond, Washington and love big game bow hunting. This September I’m going to do a high-country Elk hunt in Montana. Your Big Game hunting packet sounds definitely interesting. However, my starting point is quite low, I have let myself to go to a bad shape (I don’t have much overweight, just bad core/strength/endurance shape)…And so I wonder if the program will start from “easy” enough level.

Several years ago I got a lower back injury and that reminds me if I do certain moves AND if I don’t keep myself in shape. Especially sudden explosive movements (jumps, etc.) and bending of lower back can cause problems…This is something I need to keep in mind. I would like to find a program that enables building core strength back “from scratch” and slowly progresses to needed hunting shape by September.

Any suggestions on programs I should look at?


This question comes up a lot.

Please understand our programming focus isn’t you, the athlete. Quite frankly, I really don’t care much about you and your individual story.

My programming focus is the event you’re training for. We program for the fitness demands of the event. My job is to design you programming, that if you’ll complete it, you’ll be well prepared for the fitness demands you’ll face.

As you know, there’s no such thing as an authentic, “high country Montana elk hunt” for out of shape guys with bad lower backs. Unless you’re paying for a fully outfitted, hunt where the horse will do all the hiking and the guide/wrangler will do all the lifting, you’re going to face jumping, lifting, uphill hiking, etc.

You know this already. The mountains don’t care.

There’s only this event, and the fitness demands are the same for everyone. No joke.

For you specifically, I’d recommend you start with the first plan in the packet, the Bodyweight Foundation training plan, it’s not easy, but it is assessment based, and as such automatically “scales” to the incoming fitness of the athlete. In this way Bodyweight Foundation puts the hurt on everyone …. no matter their fitness coming in. But it is bodyweight focused, and lays a solid foundation for the loaded work, including endurance, which comes later in the packet.

If you find it’s too much, after 2 weeks, drop out and pivot to the Low Back Fitness Training Plan:

After low back, pivot back to Bodyweight Foundation and continue on from there.

Sorry for the tough love and good luck on your hunt.

– Rob


Thanks for all your great training plans over the years. I am an Infantry Officer in the Canadian Forces looking at doing our Infantry course from mid May to early December of this year.

It is a very ruck heavy course, with many days in the field both in the dismounted and mounted portion, with a 50% attrition rate.

I am currently PTing at my unit (circuits, running, limited work capacity, LSD crosscountry skiing) every morning, but looking to add a little “oomph” in the PM.

My numbers:

  • Bench: 335
  • Front Squat: 320
  • Pullups: 18
  • Deadlift: 485
  • 1.5 mile run: 9:15
  • 30 years old, 203 pound, 6’2.
  • Have you any recommendations for me at this time?


I’d recommend the Ranger School Training Plan: – but with one change. Increase the heavy ruck load from 60 pounds to 75 pounds, and fast walk, don’t run the assessment (12 miles) and the intervals.

– Rob


I have a couple of questions. I’m currently in the first week of your Ultra Preseason Program and then will be doing your 100 mile program to prepare for my first 50 of the season. What should I do the rest of the season after I finish your 100 mile program and begin racing once a month?

My second question is  I’m planning a backcountry big game hunt opening week in CO this year (8/27)  and potentially one or more smaller hunts through September. I have a mountain 100k on 7/22 and potentiality a 100 miler on 9/29. How would you suggest I integrate training for the big game hunt with ultra’s still being my main focus? Thanks again!


Training during the racing season? Not sure, Josh. I’d recommend you reach out to an Ultra or endurance-specific coach for advice there. Lots in plan considering volume manipulation to keep you fit for your races but not overtrained. Also – this is a very individualized programming – which we don’t offer. If you’re seriously competing, hire a sport-specific coach.

Answer 2: Chassis Integrity work and uphill hiking under load  …. the volume in terms of time and miles for your ultras will be a lot, but to help with the loading for the big game season, I’d recommend working in sessions from our Chassis Integrity Training Plan ( 2-3x/week. These sessions are about 20 minutes long, so it’s duable. Also, I’d recommend replacing some of your unloaded ultra mileage with loaded, steep uphill hiking. As you make the conversion, think time, not distance – but 1x/week, put in 90 solid minutes of uphill hiking at 40#. Easiest is to get a 5-gallon water jug, fill it at the bottom, and dump it at the top.

– Rob


I noticed this whole packet is a lot of strength with some running in it. Would you say your endurance would take a shot here or would improve with this packet? Or even sustain?


I’m not sure what packet you’re looking at, but only one plan in our packet ( , Big 24, doesn’t have a significant military endurance component (running, loaded running, ruck running, rucking).

The final 8-week plan, the SFOD-D Selection Training Plan, has a significant endurance component – built on rucking.

Will your endurance improve, sustain, maintain? No idea. If you define endurance as unloaded running, there’s a chance your unloaded running will not improve.

If you define endurance as rucking or ruck running, it will most definitely improve. Which is appropriate, as SFOD-D is rucking dominant.

He hammer endurance two ways …. volume (easy pace, long distance) and speed over ground (short distance, threshold pace)

Regardless, good luck.

– Rob


Currently working through one of your programs and really liking it, and I’m looking at the athlete subscription. Could you clarify the descriptions that say “daily training program”. From the subscription do you get access to all the days from all the plans up from or is it more of a workout if the day type of subscription?


1) You get all of the sessions for every plan with an Athlete’s Subscription.

2) You also get access to the daily programming we have ongoing for Military, LE and Mountain Athletes.

Many of our training plans begin as daily programming for our “lab rats” here at our facility in Wyoming.

– Rob


I broke my arm about 9 months ago in a dirt-bike accident. I’ve been cleared medically to work out again, but it’s been awhile since I’ve lifted weights at all. I’ve been running about 3 miles 3 days a week just to stay active until I was cleared. I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass and I can also feel the strength imbalance between my right and left arms. I’d like to start subscribing to MTI, but would like to know if you have any ideas on which program I should start with and what I should progress to after.


I’d recommend starting back with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan:

– Rob


I have been exploring your site this week since a recent alert from #HuntBackcountry. Your site, along with exercise video library, and example training look great! I am an avid mountain athlete and hunter looking to get back into a strength training program. My 14 year old daughter races as a Nordic Skier and has been pleading with me for some time for me to show her some routines in the gym to improve her strength and power. Would you be able to direct me to a sample routine we could get started with before I look into a bigger commitment? Also, any advice on getting my girl started would be very appreciated.


I’d recommend following the plans in the Backcountry Big Game Training Packet (

The first plan in the packet is the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan ( – click on this page, then click the “Sample Training” tab and you’ll see the first week of programming.

Bodyweight Foundation would also be a great plan for your daughter to start with.

– Rob

Want More? Click HERE to get 30% off MTI’s Low Back Fitness Training Plan.

Casualty Carry Drill

Four parts make up this drill. You’ll need 25m of open space, a partner or dummy, and two sandbags or ammo cans filled with sand.

  1. Casualty Drag 25m. With your partner laying on his back, pick up him up under his arm pits and lock your hands together or grab your own wrist. Carry backwards. Then immediately…
  2. Fireman’s Carry with partner or dummy back 25m. Then immediately…
  3. Pick up two 60# sandbags and farmers carry 25m. Then immediately…
  4. Sprint 25m

Don’t have sandbags? Ammo cans filled with sand/dirt or two rucks will work.

Tactical drones are cool… Until they take your tactical job

The “Ripsaw” tank drone can hit speeds of 95mph.

By Charles Bausman

The military relies on skilled professionals to drive or fly tanks, ships, helicopters, and planes. A massive amount of money is invested in these individuals to train and sustain their skills. A single fighter pilot costs 6$ million to become qualified to fly.

The nature of those jobs puts the individual military man or women at an inherent risk. Training accidents leading to fatalities are common, and the risk to life in combat is obvious. Human factors limit how long the machine can be operated, requiring food, water, and sleep.

Development in robotics and automation has changed the face of commercial manufacturing forever. Automated driving may make long haul trucking (the highest density profession in the U.S.) jobs irrelevant in the near future. A host of other relatively unskilled professions is on the chopping block. Automation is simply more cost efficient and less prone to human factor based mistakes.

Following the private industry example, are military jobs at risk with the advancements in drones and automation? What tech exists that might alter the landscape of the military? Can we predict the change with the loss or displacement of military jobs?

Automation and the Private Sector
Manufacturing industry jobs have been the hardest hit due to automation. Since 1980, one-third of manufacturing jobs have been lost (approximately 7.5 million total).








A study by Dr. Hicks at Ball State University found that of those jobs lost, 88% are due to advances in automation. Meanwhile, manufacturing productivity has steadily increased. For the manufacturing industry, the trend is clear. Automation is simply more cost effective and productive.









While manufacturing jobs have decreased significantly, it has caused an increase in logistical jobs that support automated manufacturing. Dr. Hicks stated that while 7.5 million manufacturing jobs were lost, 9.5 million logistics jobs have been created in the same time frame.

However, some of those logistical jobs may be also be at risk with advances in other sectors. Long haul truck driving is the most common job in the United States, providing 1.7 million jobs. It provides an average salary of $42,500 that puts them in the middle class. The Uber owned Otto Motors is looking to change that.

By developing a kit that can be installed in to semi-trailer trucks, they are able to completely automate driving the vehicle.








The technology is a clear threat to long haul truck driver jobs. Federal and state government agencies must still approve and regulate the use of automated driving, but the writing on the wall is clear for those in the profession.

Military Technology Projects
While Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are commonly known to the public, several other projects are being developed by the U.S. military and foreign militaries to automate and remotely drive military vehicles.

These projects represent military efforts similar to the private industry that will either replace the need for human employment, or shift them to newer technical support roles.

Sea Hunter

 The Sea Hunter, or officially the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV), is a completely autonomous ship meant to hunt diesel submarines nearing completion for the U.S. Navy. It is touted to be able to operate at sea for months at a time over great distances, with no human crew. The ship costs $20 million per ship, which is significantly cheaper than human crewed vessels with similar missions.

Drone Boat Swarm

A similar project on a smaller scale is the Drone Boat Swarm project by the U.S. Office of Naval Research. These small vessels are able to “talk” to one another, altering tactics against a threat and ensuring that no area is left unattended. Designed for harbor defense, escort duties, and reconnaissance, they provide a possible solution to the kind of attacks demonstrated against the USS Cole in Yemen.


Lockheed Martin Kaman K-1200 K-MAX & UH-60 Blackhawk










The K-MAX is designed to provide aerially delivered logistical support in terrain deemed too dangerous for manned aircraft. It has already been successfully employed in Afghanistan. It is not remotely driven, but rather completely automated. Capable of hauling 6,000 lbs. of equipment, it began to provide support to Marine Corps units in Helmand Province as early as 2011.

In a similar effort, the U.S. Army has begun testing of a kit which allows the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter to be flown via software, completely automated. If determined that a pilot is needed, the aviator can simply climb in to the cockpit.

Ripsaw Tank

The U.S. Army has experimented with the commercially available Ripsaw Tank, which can be operated remotely. Able to be outfitted with a variety of weapon systems, the Ripsaw can travel at speeds up to 90mph.

Russian T-14 Armata Tank









The recently revealed T-14 Armata is Russia’s latest design to it’s history of tank vehicles. The turret does require manning; it is controlled from within via sensors by the crew, increasing survivability. Russian officials have claimed that is capable of become completely automated in the near future.

Law Enforcement and Fire Drones
Advancements in drones to fight fires and patrol highways are also rapidly advancing. The Fireproof Aerial Robot System (FAROS) is a quadrotor drone designed withstands temperatures up 1,800 degrees F. It can climb walls, detect fire sources, and search building interiors. In an environment where a firefighter may not be able to see due to smoke and debris, the drone can quickly locate and communicate the location of trapped persons.

In a South Korean prison, a Robo-Guard was tested to patrol and monitor prisoners in a correctional facility. The drone is able to recognize violent human behavior and communicate to Correctional Officers. South Korean officials intend to employ a version of the Robo-Guard during the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.











Is your job at risk?
How might drones and automation change jobs in the United States military in the next fifty years? If we follow the private industry example, those most at risk are jobs that directly employ machinery. Tanks, aircraft, ships… anything that has a steering wheel can likely be automated or remotely controlled.

As an example, lets duplicate the effect of manufacturing drones on jobs decline, or a one-third decrease in total jobs. The graph below shows the number of machines employed by the US Military according to report by Global Fire Power, number of personnel required to operate it, and the number of jobs potentially lost or altered due to automation and remote driven technologies.


Vehicle Type Total Number Crew Required Total Crew Population 1/3 Jobs Altered/Removed
Tanks 8,848 4 35,392 11,679
Armored Fighting Vehicle 41,062 3 123,186 40,651
Self-Propelled Guns 1,934 4 7,736 2,552
Helicopters (Attack and Transport) 6,084 2-5 12,168 – 30,420 4,015 – 10,038
Fixed Wing Aircraft 13,444 1-2 13,444 – 26,888 4,436 – 8,873
Destroyers 62 175 10,850 3,580
Submarines (Fast Attack) 75 135 10,125 3,341
Coastal Defense Craft (Cyclone Class) 13 28 364 120
Mine Warfare (Avenger Class) 11 80 880 290
Total: 70,664 – 81,124


This number is not inclusive of all vehicles within the military, nor does it represent the total number of personnel qualified to operate them. However, it does provide an approximate number of those who are actively serving as crews, drivers, or pilots at any given time.

To be clear, this automated technology is rapidly developing but is not necessarily employed currently. If we follow the manufacturing example, a 22% increase of forces would likely follow the automation of the vehicles in various support and logistical roles.

The ethical dilemma of automating machines for the purpose of war is often cited against its use. Regardless, the Department of Defense is investing large sums of money to advance the technology. If drones and automation technology continues to develop, the common jobs we have come to know in the military will likely be removed or altered forever.

Questions, comments, concerns?

Arete 1.12.17


What the U.S. Would Use to Strike North Korea, Real Clear Defense
Middle East Now Without a US Carrier, Defense News
US navy destroyer fires warning shots at speeding Iranian vessels, The Guardian
Compare any two countries in the GFP database in a handy side-by-side format, Global Fire Power Strength in Numbers

Trump vs. the Spies, The Atlantic
Bin Laden Son Put on Terror Blacklist, US News
US Commander Visits Pakistan Region Deemed ‘Epicenter’ of Global Terrorism, VOA News
EXCLUSIVE: Lessons Learned From The 2016 Berlin Truck Attack, Homeland Security Today
19K Mexican Homicides Through October, 2016, Business Insider
Terror No Longer Has a Nationality, Der Speigel

What Can Be Done About SOCOM, Small Wars Journal
How Many Airstrikes Did US Forces Execute in 2016?, Defense One
300 Marines Will Deploy to Helmand This Spring, Corps Confirms, Military
Congress and the Navy: Forty Years of Dysfunction, War on the Rocks
Retired U.S. Military Officers Urge Trump Not to Reinstate Torture, Small Wars Journal

Avalanche Kills Montana Firefighter, Firefighter Nation
New York City’s Fire Deaths Reach Lowest Point in Over 100 Years, New York Times
Do Police Officers and Firefighters Work Well Together?, Fire Fighting News
Wildland Fire – Best Job in the World, Video Series

The Math of Mass Shootings, Washington Post
Preliminary Crime Stats for 2016 Released,  FBI
US seeks death penalty in Fla. airport shooting case, Police One

Hunting as the new Action Sport, Mens Journal
11 Best Whitetail Bucks of 2016
, Outdoor Life
Small Outdoor Brands that Market Directly to Consumers, Entrepreneur Magazine
This Ski Boot Takes the Misery Out of Skiing,
Bloomberg News
Gear Week in Review,
In Search of the “Perfect” Lightweight Puffy,
Best Gear from Winter Outdoor Retailer 2017, Outside Online
Is Your Local Chairlift a Death Trap?, Outside Online

The 7 Heart Healthy Foods You Should Be Eating, Health Headlines
The Truth About Natural, Organic, and GMO Foods, Health Headlines
Sodium Ingestion, Thirst and Drinking During Endurance Exercise, Gatorade Sports Science Institute
Fitness Measures that Correlate to BUD/s Success, Naval Special Warfare
Why Men Sleep Better Than Women,
Best Rest Interval for the Bench Press,
Effects of Mental Fatigue on Physical Performance,
Low Carb, High Fat Diets and Performance in Elite Athletes,

MTI’s 10 Most Read Articles from 2016

By far, MTI’s best read article from 2016 was this one on unfit first responders.

By Rob Shaul

Mountain Tactical had over 4.5 million page views in 2016, and by far, our most read article was an opinion piece I wrote last Spring after teaching Unit Fitness Leaders to First Responders in Salt Lake, Boise and Denver.

What struck me after these courses that the first responders didn’t see fitness as a no-compromise safety issue as I do.

“Silent Acceptance = Quiet Approval” I wrote.

The article received significant feedback – the most interesting of which was the back and forth between the first responders themselves.

Our work with first responders in all areas continues.

Below is this article, and the 9 others in 2016’s Top 10 of best read.

  1. First Responders: How Come You Tolerate Unfit Police and Fire Fighters?
  2. What Does It Mean to be a Quiet Professional
  3. Initial Analysis of the Battlefield Airman Physical Fitness Test
  4. 1 Pound on your Feet Equals 5 Pounds in Your Pack: The 5 Thumb Rules of Hiking
  5. Why is the Cooper Test Used by Law Enforcement Agencies?
  6. Are you Strong Enough? Take the MTI Relative Strength Assessment
  7. Power Clean vs. Power Snatch. Which is Better At Training Speed and Explosiveness?
  8. 5 Tactical Diet Strategies
  9. Best Way to Improve Push Ups: Mini Study Results
  10. Evolution of our Chassis Integrity Training Theory

Want More? The Ultimate Tactical Athlete Training Session

Q&A 1.12.17


Hi, I’ve just come across an interview that features a army recruiter and a green beret; in which the green beret says he relied on some of your training plans to help him through the selection process.

I’m definitely interested in hearing what you guys have to offer.

To give you some background on myself, I’m planning on joining the military and have been preparing for well over a year now with my fitness. I’m a Canadian/American dual citizen, I’m 25, and live in Canada (most of my life) and began the application process to join the Canadian infantry last Oct. For whatever reason that seems to stall the military bureaucracy, I’m still waiting after 14 months for my shot (even though I’ve been keeping myself in good shape, and got highly competitive scores for my trade). I’m now considering heading down south to see if there are better opportunities in the states for me in the armed forces. My goals are specifically special forces after I put my time in. That is my expectation for myself.

I’ve been doing crossfit for over a year now, and my prior athletic background occilated between cycling, some middle to long distance running, and powerlifting.

My current primary goal has shifted towards improving my mobility, as I have upper thoracic issues and can’t even properly bodyweight squat below parallel (despite holding an over 400lb squat). I could definitely use some work on my body weight excercises if I plan to pass any number of different selection standards.

I’m interested in hearing what you have to offer (including if you can assist in mobility improvement), for advice for military service, to exactly what kind of training I should do to help whatever military selection I end up doing.


Without a school, boot camp, OCS or service in place, I can’t recommend one of our school/course specific plans. Given you fitness background, I’d recommend you start our stuff with the plans in our Virtue Series: Here’s an overview of the plans:

Start with Hector:

– Rob


I just saw your new Ultimate Work Capacity program, and to me it looks like the kind of programming I need to get ready for 15 weeks of Seattle’s Fire Academy.  Basically the structure of the school is Tuesday through Friday: 10 hours each day on the drill ground in full bunker gear pulling hose, ladders, searches, etc. Saturday through Monday are rest/ classroom days.  On drill days we are required to run(jog) everywhere, no walking. They recommend we intake 7-8000 calories per week, so it’ll definitely be a grind.

Do you think Ultimate Work Capacity is a good one, or is there a different plan you would recommend for this? I have 6 weeks to go before start date, and I’ve already been doing rucking, a lot of stairs, sandbag/ dumbbell work, and trail running.


I haven’t built a fire academy plan yet …. it’s on my list.

Based on your current training, I’d recommend the DEA FAST Training Plan:

With one change. Don’t do a 12-mile Ruck Assessment – do a 6 Mile assessment and instead of 3-mile ruck intervals based on your assessment time, do 2-mile intervals. Use our Ruck Calculator and your assessment time to get your interval pace.

The plan includes some swimming. Do it anyway …. it will help with recovery and give you some variety.

My sense is you’ll be way overprepared for the physical demands at the academy …. but that’s alright.

– Rob


TAC SEPS Stacked Box Agility Drill:

I’ve tried to replicate this at my gym… but can’t.  What is a replacement for this exercise?


The goal is to make you scale a wall or fence, under load. Outside using the bed of a pickup truck would work … so would an 8-foot chain link fence.

– Rob


First time I  tried jumping into the hood of our BearCat armored vehicle.  I fell and failed massively.


I have a training question. I just completed your Hypertrophy for skinny guys training plan.

I am 76″ 6Ft 4  Appox 195lbs. And I really didn’t gain any weight after this program. I am  currently on deployment so I followed the diet plan as much as possible I drink a protein shake before and after working out I also take creatine and a performance multivitamin.

I did every workout without cheating, all reps and sets. Do you have any advice on what I can include to bulk up, I would love to be about 210lbs. Keep in mind we are not allowed at this gym to do any cleans or snaches.

I am 28 Years Old, I was 6′ 4 144lbs when I joined the Navy back in 2007. In high school I played football and basketball but it was nothing crazy mainly running (Wide Receiver and Corner Back) .  I evened out at about 160lbs from then until about 2014. In 2014 I got really dedicated to lifting and stopping running ( I was running like 3-5miles a day) and I went from 160lbs to my current 195Lbs. let me know if an more info will help


I was hoping you were younger … and mass gain would come naturally as you moved into your late 20’s, but since you’re there already, I haven’t got any other magic bullet for you. You could be at your natural max. You could repeat the plan, and significantly increase your caloric intake. You could also try the Ultimate Meathead Training Plan ( …. which is aimed at adding upper body mass, and lower body strength.

– Rob


1.  What plan would you recommend to use in training for the Mountain Man March?

2.  Are there other ruck events besides GoRuck, Bataan Death March, and Mountain Man March?  I am interested in finding a list of these.


1. Bataan Death March Training Plan:

2. Can’t help here.

– Rob


I’m 52 years old practice Crossfit , all ready try sealfit 20x challenge want to now what program you recommend for my .


I’m not familiar with that event, and my first inclination would be to send you to sealfit and follow their plan for it.

From our stuff, I’d recommend Humility:

– Rob


Good datos Sir, Dieta you haga any plan recommendations for best medic competition? Also I want to improve my work capacity wish one is best?


Best Ranger Plan is what I’d recommend for Best Medic:

Work capacity improvement: Ultimate Work Capacity I:

– Rob


Been with you guys quite a while. I’m a 13year veteran of Army special operations and have followed your programming for several years. Overall best shape of my life now and I’m 35. My unit has all the various access to strength conditioning coaches, THOR3 etc but I choose my own path.

I am getting ready for a heavy TDY schedule….I have used your stuck in a hotel  series before. Any advice to supplement that if I don’t have access to a pool etc?

Thanks again for everything you guys do.


I updated our Stuck in a Motel Plan in 2015 ( and it has options if no pool is available. It does assume the motel you’re at has a set of dumbbells and a bench. It’s a 6-day/week plan including 2-a-days Mon-Friday.

Another, more intense option, would be Humility:

Humility is focused, limited equipment, and intense. It does require a pair of 25# dumbbells and your IBA (but you could also just put a dumbbell in a backpack and skip the IBA). In the past on long travel trips I’ve gone to the local sporting goods store at my travel location, purchased a pair of cheap 25# dumbbells, used the hell out of them during the motel days, and just left them in the room for the next guy.

– Rob


I found Mtn. Tactical while reading an article on The Art of Manliness site. I am interested in starting a new work out plan that will help me improve my climbing. I currently live an hour from a Climbing Gym, so would like to supplement that with workouts closer to home. I plan on going to the Planet Fitness down the road from my apt. Just seeing if you could recommend a training plan geared twords climbing.


Rock climbing is so grip/finger strength focused, we learned long ago general fitness has limited transfer.

What I’d recommend is ensuring you’re getting the most out of your Climbing Gym time by training there, not just climbing around. At the Rock Gym, follow the sessions in our Rock Climbing Pre-Season Training Plan: Ideally you’re making the effort to get to the rock gym 2-3x/week, minimum.

General Fitness – I’d recommend Mountain Base Artimes:

This plan deploys bodyweight strength training, and a heavy focus on mountain endurance …. unloaded running, and uphill hiking under load. The plan also includes programmed climbing-specific stamina work designed for a climbing gym. Skip those intervals when you’re at the rock gym in favor of the sessions in the pre-season plan above.

– Rob


I’ve been a subscriber for many years and love your programing. I’m active military (Navy) and I used your operator program for years, but I’m coming off some back issues (couple of herniated discs) and just completed your low back program and am halfway through your bodyweight foundation. I’m finding that I’m having some issues completing the running portions. I’m getting some low back tightening, and my endurance is not up to running for more than 30 minutes straight. What do you recommend? Also, where I am currently we are not allowed to use the barbell for power movements or anything overhead (cleans, press, etc) is it ok to sub kettle bell or dumbbell? Thanks!


1) Skip the running in the BW Foundation plan with walking with a 25# backpack or step ups (unloaded).

2) With a subscription you have access to the Operator Sessions. We just finished a new cycle called “Luke” – check it out, specifically, the gym-based aerobic work we deploy using a single kettlebell or dumbbell. We worked up to 20 minutes of 1-arm kettlebell snatches @ 24kg. I’d probably start you lighter then prescribed in the plan …. like a 12kg, and work up to 16 or 20kg. Others have had good success using swings and kb snatches for low back rehab – and this might also work for you. Just be careful.

I’d have you try Option 2 … and see how it feels.

– Rob


Hey Rob, how are you? Just had a quick question…

I have purchased your Chasis Integrity program, and first of all I must say thank you! -feels like the missing link to my workouts has been filled.  Right now I’m pairing it with a pretty basic hypertrophy workout that starts with the BB Complex @ 115lbs.  The question I have is, if you thought it was beneficial to use the Chasis Integrity program now, or if I should start it once I’m done with the hypertrophy program, which is only 6 weeks long?

Any pointers you can give I’d appreciate


In general, you want to be concerned about overtraining. Overtraining is determined by the intensity of our programming and your individual fitness.

My sense from your note is you’re not doing our Hypertrophy Program for Skinny Guys – which is super intense – and doing another. So I’m not sure how intense your program is.

The circuts in the Chassis Integrity plan ( can be completed alone, and also added to the end of other training. What I’d recommend to start out is to add the circuits at the end of your hypertrophy training, and see how you feel.

If it’s too much, perhaps alternate daily – hypertrophy Monday, CI Tuesday, Hypertrophy Wed, etc.

Or, add a CI circuit to the end of your other work just 2-3 days/week and not every day.

– Rob


How’s it going? I came across your website after looking at a post from Art of Manliness. The training plans seem on point but I’m trying to figure out the right one for me. Here’s my too long of a backstory….

Age: 36

Occupation: Military (USAF) — Being in a senior position, I sit/stand at my desk a lot

Gender: Male

Injury: I’m 36 and been through a lot of training and deployments in my past. My body is old and torn down but not done for.

— Overall, there is no major injury to report in the last year. I tore my abductor muscle last week because I was trying the strong lift program with running.

Goals: 1. Get stronger (I’m a barbel junkie) and running farther but keep my 1.5 mile under 10:00 (PFT). You know the two things that cancel each other out when you are over 30 😳

2. I’m also doing the spartan beast in August. I currently can run 4-5 miles but haven’t pushed myself in the last 3-4 months on running any further than that because I wanted to ease my way back up.

Cliff Notes: I’m getting older but I love barbell training and I want to be able to run 8-10 miles and do this all without blowing something out. Which one would be best

Just a guy needing a little advice.


I’d recommend Fortitude:

… with one change. Replace the rucking in the plan with unloaded running – keep the distance the same.

Fortitude combines heavy, barbell-focused gym strength training with military endurance. It’s a great plan to combine both strength and endurance. The running pushes to 9 miles.

I’ve been programming tactical stuff for 10 years, and Fortitude is one my favorite plans of all time.

– Rob


Thank you for taking the time to read this. A friend of mine shared your website on Facebook last month and have been considering subscribing. I need some assistance on where I should start.


Full time paramedic

I am a member of our special operations division that includes water rescue, technical rescue, and tactical medicine.

I would consider my fitness level as marginal.  I merely get by. Never the last but never the first.   I have been frustrated with my fitness for sometime.

So assuming a relatively low baseline. Which program should I start with?  I appreciate any guidance.


Start our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan:

Don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” … this plan is no joke. It deploys out-of-the gate assessments and then uses your initial assessment results for the follow-on progressions. In this way it automatically “scales” to the incoming fitness level of the athlete – and in this way will push anyone – super fit to deconditioned.

It’s a great place to start our stuff and jumpstart your fitness.

You can purchase the plan alone at the link above. As well, it and all the plans are included with an athlete’s subscription if you go that route. You can cancel anytime. (

Good luck.

– Rob


I’m curious which plans contain a strong flexibility focus. I would like to get back into martial arts, but I have not been able to touch my toes since childhood and would like to change that.


All of our programming includes mobility/flexibility drills, but flexibility is not a focus of my programming. I would recommend the Toe Touch Complex to help you touch your toes:

– Rob


Hey rob!

1/2 way through Rat 6 – finishing the first retest week this week- and was looking for your recommendation on what to do.

Body weight 190 : Lift (multiplier of Bw)

FS 300 (1.57) BP 245 (1.28) PC 235 (1.24)

Strict press 170 (.89) DL 385(2.02) Squat clean 255 (1.34) 18 Deadhang Pull-ups . Relative Strength Score = 5.9.         9:20 1.5 Mile

I feel it would’ve appropriate to shift gears and work on endurance/ work capacity more. Should I continue Rat 6 until my upper body catches up to the standard or start following the ‘Greek Heroes ‘ plans ? Maybe the virtue series ? I’m looking to do pre-ranger this year and maybe ranger school next year. I will need to do some plans already written to plan around TDYs. Any recommendations would be helpful.


Roll into the Virtue series now. Start with Humility.

– Rob


I am doing your post rehab plan for legs (I am 5 months post op from an ACL reconstruction and got the clear from the doc and PT to start upping my strengthening to build my muscle back). I have full range of motion and have done up to session 4. I can do everything but one exercise comfortably (though still working it). On my bad leg I have an extremely hard time doing the 1-leg box squats. I know from PT that I am behind on ecentric (sp? The exercises where I am going down into it versus pressing out of it, I.e. Going down on a lunge is harder than coming up).

Anyways, I was wondering if you had a recommendation for something I could swap just for my bad leg doing the 1 leg box squats. Or a modification. As of right now I’m just going down as far as I can but I can’t quite get to 90 degree bend. Any thoughts would be welcome! I am enjoying getting back in the swing of things using this plan. Though wishing I was farther along to take advantage of all the snow 🙁


Stick with the 1-leg box squats, but adjust the box height as needed. My sense is as you get stronger, you’ll be able to progressively decrease the box height to the 90-degrees.

I’m not sure where you’re training, but we’ll use 10 and 15# rubber bumper plates, on top of a bench or plyo box, to easily adjust box height. You can use books, or magazines or whatever to do the same.

– Rob


Been a big fan of yours for awhile now, your programs have helped to get through the gauntlet of best ranger and RASP train-ups to ruck based selections and beyond.

Long story short the next hurdle is CDQC and I was wondering what the sell was on that specific program vs. your Swim Improvement Plan.

I have a pre-CDQC program from our THOR3 trainers but between you and I, I am preferential to the programming that got me here…


Swim improvement plan is focused solely on swimming.

CDQC Plan ( is specifically designed for the demands at school – including:

  • – Focused CDQC PFT work
  • – Running
  • – Swim PT events
  • – Hypoxic work for water con
  • – Mini events

– Rob


Hello, I have a few questions about your training programs. I am a member of the special operations community and I’m looking for a more regimented training program. Much of the work I do is on my own and as such I don’t have a unit to train with or a command training program. I’ve already been through selection so I’m not too concerned with my run or swim times, or scores in general but I do want to continue to improve my fitness and abilities to use in the field. Most of what I do is extended operations involving relatively long insert and extract routes, brief sprint and explosive word during close engagements and general work capacity, carrying heavy loads for a long time and not burning out. What training program do you recommend for this. I am stateside and have access to a kick as gym for about two months and then will be OCONUS for the remainder of the year. Obviously training in theatre is a whole different ball game but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it I’m mostly looking for a program here in the interim.


I’d recommend plans from our “Greek Hero” series of plans:

These plans were first designed as our daily Operator Sessions – which is day-to-day programming for SOF and those who aspire to that type of fitness. They deploy my most recent programming and concurrently train Relative Strength, Work Capacity, Chassis Integrity (our approach to core training), Tactical Agility and Military Endurance (running, ruck running).

You can purchase the packet of plans above or purchase a plan individually. As well – all are includes in an Athlete’s Subscription. Start with Hector. (

Before purchase, I’d recommend you complete the “Sample” training at Hector’s product page. This will give you an idea of your approach and is the first week of the plan.

– Rob


I have previously purchased the body weight training plan and Peak bagger to train for Colorado 14ers and other mountaineering endeavors.  I love the programs and feel they have fully prepared my for previous goals.  I have recently decided to take on the Grand Traverse (the climb not the skimo race).  I was going to use the Peak bagger program and then follow it with one of the alpine specific programs on the site, but I felt I should contact you to see if you had any training plan suggestions for this objective. I apologize if this is a repeat question and the information can be found elsewhere on the site.


I’d recommend the Alpine Running Training Plan ( for the Grand Traverse.

– Rob


Rob, I have a molle backpack, what can I use as filler so I can ruck with it? Thank you.


rocks, books, dumbbell, iron plates, sand, gravel ….. be resourceful.

– Rob


I’ve been toying with a couple different options for training, but I’m feeling slightly lost and I found your information listed on the Mountain Tactical website.

I’m currently a senior at the University of Edinburgh, and I’ll be heading to USMC Officer Candidate School in September of 2017. I was a competitive cross-country/track and field runner throughout High School and my first two years of college, but after a severe overuse injury to my achilles I gave up running for a while and picked up rugby.

OCS and my time in the Marine Corps is still about a year away, but I’m trying to move from random workouts to a more periodized goal-based approach to build good habits and a strong base now. Ideally, I’m looking to focus on avoiding injury while maintaining a high-volume running and building strength. I run close to a 300 PFT (17:15 3 mile, 120 crunches in 120 seconds, 18 pull ups) but I know I need to work on my swimming and rucking.

In short, if possible how would you recommend training in such a way that I can injury proof, build strength, and improve my swimming and rucking? I’d also like to run a few races, which may help (or interfere with) my periodization.

I apologize for what seems to be a fragmented and somewhat incoherent email, but I would greatly appreciate any help/guidance you can offer.


In general, the further away from your event or season (OCS), the more general your programming can be.

The closer to your event, the more sport specific it should be.

From our stuff, I’d recommend you complete plans derived from our Operator Sessions, which is day to day training for military athletes. Specifically, I’d recommend you complete the plans in the Greek Hero Packet:

These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (our approach to midsection programming), TAC SEPA (tacital speed, explosive power and agility) and military endurance (running/rucking) using our proprietary Fluid Periodization.

Then, the 6 weeks directly before OCS, you drop out of these plans and complete the USMC OCS Training Plan:

My understanding of USMC OCS is swimming is included, but minimally. The dominant endurance fitness demands of OCS are running and rucking.


Here is our durability equation:

Durability = 98% Sport Specific Fitness (for USMC OCS in this case) + 2% mobility/flexibility.

It sounds like your achilles injury was a classic overuse running injury.

Races? You can’t do both well  – train for race performance, and train to be a military athlete. My recommendation would be to focus on your military fitness – you can still race – but understand you won’t perform at your full potential.

– Rob


I’m excited to try out the programming. A couple questions:

I’m training for a 100mi Ultra later this summer (August). As such, after scanning through all the programs I was thinking about doing the Ultra Preseason. Would you have any other recommendations?

I prefer to train everyday (but acknowledge the importance of rest and recovery). Can I split up the strength/run days into separate days or does that mess with the desired adaption the programming is after?


In general, the further away from your event (100-miler) the more general your programming can be.

I’d recommend you complete our 100-mile Ultra Plan to prepare for your 100-miler – in the 8 weeks directly before your race.. You’ll need to work backward from your race date to know when to schedule the start of this plan. Also, note the mileage required in the first week of the plan …. which means you’ll need to be running plenty before you start it …. – likely the Pre-Season Ultra plan, a week’s break, then start the 100-mile plan – total of 17 weeks or 4 months.

That gives you about 3 months before you need to begin dedicated training for this race.

Right now I’d recommend you complete 2 of our Mountain Base training cycles – specifically Mountain Base Helen, then Mountain Base Artimes. Both are 6 day/week plans.

With your subscription, you have access to all these plans.

– Rob


I tried searching through the Q&A’s on the website, but can you explain the

“Ruck Run”? Does this mean more like a fast shuffle?

Thanks for the great programing!


Don’t over think it. Run = Run.

– Rob


Any plans to update the BUD/S V2 plan? What is your opinion on the new information coming out of NSW regarding hell week success?


Right now I see no need to update BUD/s V2. Long ago we recognized the endurance emphasis of all selections and updated/built our selection plans accordingly. As well, for the past 3 years we’ve been slowly decreasing our strength standards for military/tactical athletes in continued to tweak, study, assess tactical endurance. We found what this write up also indicates …. guys get injured and/or quit when they are fatigued and endurance/stamina going in are the best buffer.

Our strength standards are still higher than what was needed based on this study. For example, the study found 1.73 Bodyweight Dead Lift was adequate. Our standard is 2.0 BW. I still strongly believe strength is a huge component of durability, but even greater is all over sport-specific fitness.

However, the numbers here also indicate that guys with relatively terrible endurance numbers, made it. And guys with great numbers, didn’t.

Perhaps grit and resilience are the difference makers.

– Rob


I was looking over one of the plans on your site and had a few questions. I am looking for an overall mountain fitness plan for myself and am not sure which is the best. I am 20 years old, experienced mountaineer, skier, rock climber and am looking for a program that will fit a variety of sports and well as allow for me to continue to lift on the side. With all that in mind, I just want a program I can do on my own (I have access to a decent gym) and get in very good shape for the summer/fall summit season. Which do you recommend?

Secondly, I was reading through the workout descriptions and realized I definitely don’t know many of the exercises listed yet it doesn’t have any description in the sample. Does a description of each exercise come with the program? I assume so, just wanted to double check.

Anyway, I look forward to your response.


Our Mountain Base programming is designed as day to day programming for all around mountain athletes and trains relative strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (running, uphill hiking under load), chassis integtrity (mid-section strength) and climbing fitness concurrently.

These training are designed to be completed in any rock gym with a general fitness training area.

Our most recent Mountain Base programming is captured in the “Greek Heroine” series of plans:

You can purchase the packet, individual plans, or subscribe to get access.

See unfamiliar exercises here:

– Rob


Hello, I am a high school senior who plans on going to buds after college. This means I have 4-5 years to train until then. Obviously my goals are to maximize physical ability and durability. Is there any plan that goes longer than a few months? The ones I found on the website were for a short time frame.


Our day to day programming for military athletes is captured in the Operator Sessions. We’ve got close to 8 years of archives and update day to day sessions each day. Access to the most up to dateOperator Sessions requires an Athlete’s Subscription to the website:

You can also purchase individual plans or packets built from the Operator Sessions. Our most recent stuff is found in the Greek Hero series of plans:

Finally, we’ve developed a BUD/s packet which is several months long:

– Rob


I cam across your nutritional guidance last week.  Since then I have purchased Why We Get Fat and am diving into it.  Maybe asking this question is some sort of shortcut to information that will come out in the book, but I’ll ask anyways…

Your guidelines are below:

Here’s our Nutritional Guidelines:

6 Days a Week: Eat lean meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and drink water. Don’t eat carbs (bread, spuds, rice) or sugar.

Cheat Day…

I have had it hammered into my head that post workout, you need a 2:1 carb:protien ratio.  I had it explained that carbs are the “taxi” (Uber) that transports the protein through the body and you need this post workout.

Obviously you (I) have to do what works for you (me) but my question(s) are:

How you feel about the preceding

Do you consider this nutritional approach one that can be effective for general athletic enhancement (Cutting fat and building muscle)? 

Ah, and sweet potatoes, they are okay?


1) Recovery Shake? Some studies, usually paid for by nutrition companies, have shown this results in greater gains from training. I know Exos changes the carb component in the shake based on the athlete’s fat … i.e. fat athletes don’t get the 2:1. My take …. whey protein shake is cheaper and good enough, but even it isn’t needed. Would either help with gains from that cycle? probably. But it can also get expensive. So… if you’re training for a race, school, selection or event I’d recommend it. Day to Day … it’s up to you.

2) This is pretty much paleo with a cheat day. We’ve had good luck with it. The cheat day helps people stay on it. Know that I’m not an appearence coach … all I care about is outside performance.

3) yep

– R


i Just ordered the athlete subscription and i am having trouble selecting which packet would be best suited for me.

I just signed my contract with the US Army, I will be leaving for basic mid April, after completion of basic I am slotted for Airborne School. After that I will be headed to selection.


Work back from boot camp, and do the plan progression in the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet:

This means directly before bootcamp, you’ll complete the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan.

– Rob


We’ve talked before but i wanna make sure im making the right choice. Im going hard with calisthenics/swimming/running right now. Im 135lbs and running/swimming are no problem for me at all. I have competitive times for both. (Navy Seal PST). Im looking to put in a 6-8 week strength/lifting cycle to put on some muscle mass and obviously strength. What program of yours do you think would be the best for me? Thank you sir.


Big 24:

– Rob


I’m interested in the BORSTAR STC selection course. I have a while before I go but when I get there I want to excel. Is this from Border Patrol BORSTAR right? Thanks


Yes. Our BORSTAR Selection Training Plan ( sport-specifically built to prepare guys for the Border Patrol BORSTAR selection. You’ll want to complete this plan the 8 weeks directly before selection.

– Rob


Hello sir, my name is Chris Carr. I’m currently active duty AF training for TACP. So I’m just curious how you came up with your program and how much it will help improve me to become the best I can be.


The process we deploy to develop our school, selection and pft plans begins with thorough research of the event including the gate pft, duration, subsequent fitness assessments (rucks, swims, etc.), team events, ruck loading, etc.

We’ve been successfully designing military selection plans for 10 years, and begin with an assessment week, followed by progressed events based upon the individual athlete’s assessment performance. This way the program automatically scales to the incoming fitness of the athlete.

Often, the plan includes multiple 2-a-days, and weekend “mini-events” to prepare the athlete not only for the specific fitness demands, but the mental and physical grind of the selection.

The plans include a taper, and are designed to be completed directly before selection.

We then publish the plan, and based on athlete feedback and changing selection events, update it.

These plans are no joke, especially if the athlete is completing it alone. It takes serious commitment to complete … by design. Not only to prepare the athlete physically, but also hopefullly build their grit and resilience.

Regardless of whether you use our plan or not, good luck.

– Rob


Before i ask my question my goal is to first ace the pst with very high scores and then go to buds.

So right now i am doing the big 24 program as a 6 week lift cycle. Then i want to do your navy pst program. Then buds v2 when (if) i get a contract. My question is. Has your navy pst plan consistently gotten people to 100+ numbers for pushups and situps and 25+ for pullups? Im only asking about the calisthenics because my run and swim times are already competitive. Thank you so much for your time. I love what you guys do.


With all of our PFT plans, we generally see a 15-30% overall score improvement.

Will this get you to 100+? It depends on where you start.

In general, the less fit you are at the start, the more score improvement you’ll see. The more fit, the less improvement.

But even if an unfit guy improves 30%, he may not reach 100+ numbers…. it all depends upon where he starts.

– R

Tactical Athlete and need someplace to start? Click the appropriate link below to get 50% off our On-Ramp Training Plan for your profession:

50% Off Military On-Ramp Training Plan
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PEDs for the Tactical Athlete – Follow Up

By Charles Bausman

Click here for original article

Last week, we asked whether or not Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) would be beneficial for the tactical athlete. With a overview of the pros and cons of it’s use, as well as the legalities (illegal without prescription from a MD), it would seem that PEDs could provide a advantage for those in inherently dangerous jobs.

With little experience of our own, especially it’s use while in a tactical career, we wanted to know what those who follow MTI have used, and if it has benefitted them. The majority of respondents were military, but the law enforcement and fire/rescue communities were represented as well.

In total, 67 athletes responded to the survey. Of those, it was a near 50/50 split for those who had used PEDs, and those who had not.

The benefits of the of PEDs based on survey feedback appear to support it’s use, although education of safe use and effective training protocols is a necessity. With that said, the results of the survey were overwhelmingly supportive of PED use for the tactical athlete.

Increases in strength, lean muscle mass, and energy levels in conjunction with decreased recovery times were reported across the board.

Older athletes seemed particularly encouraged by the results from PEDs use, especially after many years spent in the tactical realm.

Conversely, several respondent stated that the increased muscle mass did slow their run times. Only two respondents stated that they experienced the often cited side effects such as acne, testicular shrinkage, or mood swings.

The majority of those who reported previous PED use utilized testosterone injections. However, multiple respondent’s described various stacks of PED’s used in conjunction with one another, or while cycling off. Within this group, 19 reported they had been prescribed the PED legally, 12 acquired “by other means”, and 3 who fell in to both categories.

The overwhelming majority of respondents (despite whether they had used PED’s or not) stated that PED’s should be legal for the tactical athlete under appropriate medical supervision. In fact, 53 of 57 suggested that it would be beneficial.

The majority also responded that they would turn a blind eye to a subordinate using PED’s, although many stated that it was dependent on the users education and responsibility when using.

Below are respondent answers to our survey questions.

(Want to participate? Click here for link to survey)

Questions, comments, concerns? Email

What positive results did you experience (from PEDs use)?

  • Much better recovery from using testosterone and increased overall weight gain and strength. Much greater strength and sex drive as well as overall confidence and happiness.
  • Higher strength numbers across the board, mental sharpness, and intrinsic motivation sky rocketed.
  • Increased recovery and strength in the gym. Able to train harder for endurance without affecting strength.

  • Recovery, well-being, joint recovery, strength

  • The positives where gain in mass and strength. When I joined the Army I was 170, I was lean already and didn’t put on any mass during basic, airborne, or RIP. Try carrying a heavy pack at 170. It gets easier when you weigh more, I bumped up to 190 in 6weeks. I stayed lifting consistently old school, free weights style. Strength soared.

  • Increased lean muscle mass, strength, decreased fat. Better quality sleep Quicker recovery, less muscular soreness
  • I am turning 40 this year and about three years ago I had no energy and put on the belly fat. I had been diagnosed in the past with depression and taken medications. I didn’t like the side effects and continued to feel like crap all the time. I would workout one day and then feel exhausted for several days and could not make any gains in the gym. I changed doctors and he tested my blood. Found out my testosterone levels were way below the normal levels. Now I take a shot once a week and feel like a new person. I lost 50 lbs overall but made significant gains in muscle strength. I could workout day after day and recover properly. I am still older and the joints ache, but the muscle recovery and endurance has been a life changer.
  • Felt like a monster. Absolutely loved it. Bigger, Stronger, Faster. Recovery was insane. At 197lbs I was squatting over 500lbs and running a sub 4 marathon. Never felt better.

  • Testosterone,all positive. More energy, strength, overall attitude and mood is better. Sex drive is through the roof.
  • Increased strength, lean muscle mass and decreased body fat. Recovery was highly increased which meant I could train harder, longer, more often, and with more volume.

What negative results did you experience?

  • Compartment syndrome in my shins (muscle becomes too pumped and starts to stretch the fascia surrounding it). This created serious problems for me during runs and dropped my two mile over a minute and a half.
  • Need to use a PCT or post cycle therapy to help get your testosterone levels back to where they should be. Maintained most of my strength but also some weight so that should be expected.
  • Stigma of PED’s. No physical or psychological negative results.
  • Extreme shin pain when running & rucking if dosed too high. Excess weight gain if diet was uncontrolled that negatively impacted cardio. Mood swings if estrodiol crashed too low (with androgen & aromatase inhibitor use)
  • None. No testicular atrophy, no acne, no hair loss
  • The negative results where in my cardiovascular ability, which more than likely had to do with the weight gain. I couldnt run as fast for as long without having to stop and walk a bit (6+mile runs.)
  • Increased hunger, slightly decreased cardiovascular endurance in some instances
  • The only negatives that I have seen is if I let the prescription run out and don’t have the injection for a couple of weeks, I feel my energy levels dip.

What PEDs did you use?

  • I am a former active soldier and current guardsmen.  Went on Doctor monitored test while in army in 2008, had fucked up my own hormonal productions through some anabolic and test use.  Did injections for about 8 years, just last year started pellets, think they may have better applications for operators/soldiers at times.  Reason being is they are put under skin and slowly release over 100 days.  A medic could put them in for a longer deployment cycle.  You can also have special pellets that have some arimidex in them to limit aromatization.   You can’t get a huge burst like injections. but a consistent 10-18 mg a day release and your body draws more from the pellets depending on training load.  My doc gets for a  whole year of pellets (3 installs) for around 2000.  Just something to look into for people wanted to pass along some knowledge!
  • TE, HGH, and Winstrol (Stanozol). DO NOT EVER take Winstrol….it fucked badly with my cholesterol levels as well as my heart function.
  • Test and HGH only
  • Testosterone w/ Anastrozole (keep estrogen in check).
  • Testosterone, Equipoise, Anavar
  • First oral Winstrol-good results. Second – injectible Winstrol – mediocre Years later – stacked Test Proprionate and Deca Durabolin – phenomenal increase in LBM, strength, initial weight gain with subsequent weight loss, rapid recovery training 2x/day 5-6x/week. Three years ago Dr. scripted test same as you Rob. No major gains but recovery improved. Felt better.
  • Testosterone. Will try that combined with an anabolic steroid in the very near future.
  • Dianabol. Then a cycle of trenbolone 2years later. Both for 6week cycles
  • HGH, Testosterone and Oxandrolone. Moving into testing SARM’s IE MK-677 (GHRP) and Ostarine. There is good info on Inj. GHRP like Semorelin and CJC1295 DAC which produce more of a GH bleed vs GH Dump that HGH provides.
  • test-injectable by nurse

Do you believe PEDs have benefits for the tactical athlete? Why or why not?

  • Yes. Outmatch the enemy.
  • I believe they do have benefits for the tactical athlete if used correctly. I think they can seriously help older tactical athletes recover faster and increase their performance. However, I have decided at this time (young 20s) to not use PEDs again because overall I do not feel I need them and would rather continue improving on my own.
  • Absolutely and especially if they were under a controlled environment and with doctors or others who may be able to apply their knowledge to the process. I would add that I never had any “road rage” or negative side effects that I had always heard of.
  • I never took them for Law Enforcement or military. I wish I had. Fire/Rescue was more physically demanding but I was also older and really benefited from the boost. I believe that PED’s should be utilized under Dr’s surveillance.
  • Yes. They don’t need to be carried in field conditions to be effective. Using them in garrison under a doctors supervision and following a strong training regimen, the benefits will carry over when use is discontinued during field operations. They can still produce stronger more durable and more confident soldiers.
  • Yes, clear benefits in strength and recovery (only considering AAS and AIs/SERMs). However the possible side effects outweigh the benefits in most units including: The effects of higher doses (bodybuilding levels) of AAS on cardio and natural hormone production. Possible psychological effects with varying hormone levels that are different in individuals. Questions on how PEDs will be used in the field: supply, use, control. May introduce a reliance on PEDs when most units are better served by self discipline and a can-do attitude. In a competitive environment there will always be the temptation to dose too high. Low dose aromatase inhibitors may be the safest and most useful for all round tactical athletes in improving recovery by stopping testosterone drop in heavy training/op tempo with minimal side effects.
  • Potentially, there should be a study against the application during training where it can be controlled. Would these benefits last through during operations where the doses would stop. This could then suggest that athletes given doping bans for a defined period isn’t fair as they would still have a benefit and advantage to the use of PED.
  • Absolutely. Depending on operational tempo or training schedule, the physical work load can be tremendous and without adequate recovery can lead to overtraining and injury. Tactical athletes do not have the time or resources to utilize other recovery methods (ice baths, sauna, massage, etc).
  • Depends on the persons strength and size. I believe once a soldier has a certain level of strength and a certain size that anything that builds him up more becomes a problem. With that said if you are weak and or simply to light to to carry your load. You may need that extra kick.
  • I believe this is definitely an area that warrants more research. I believe there is the potential for positive benefits to the Tactical Athlete. However, optimal dosing schedules and the “right cocktails” are unknown due the their current legal status. If you are fighting fair then you tactics suck. We should be providing our Tactical Athletes with every advantage we can, as safely as we can.
  • Yes it does If you look at research, the PED’s are shown to promote all positive effects in the adult mature male ( 30 yers old and older ) With the mental and physical demands that the TA has to go through along side the shift work, poor diet, and bad sleep patterns the PED assist the TA in recovery, increased immune system, and sleep cycle
  • Yes. Especially older athletes. I am 40 and can keep up with my 30 yr old subordinates after about 6 months on program. Whereas previously I would be in the hurt locker for about 3 days.
  • Yes. The physical demands of the job continually take a toll… even more so as we age. The 24hrs shifts, combined with the cumulative sleep deprivation and stress build up are a hazardous cocktail that further exacerbates issues such as physical recovery times, mental acuity, mood levels, depression etc etc etc.
  • I sure do. Our performance can mean the difference between life and death. We need the edge.
  • FUCK yes…like Rob said, we don’t play a goddamn game when downrange. We’re trying to run down shitheads and whack them, and I’ll take any advantage to do it.
  • No, what happens when the athlete is no longer able to procure the PED? It might help for temporary quick fixes, but in the long scheme of things. Consistent job related training easily surpasses any PED
  • Yes, in the short term. Obvious benefits are the short period required to build the strength. At some point though, they will stop taking them and then what will be the damage done to the body when it doesn’t have anything to aid it in repair? Will the body quit production of natural testosterone leaving the person with the permanent need for supplements?
  • Yes, it is apparent that as we age, like oxidation on a car, it still performs but at what level? Reading your post, that is not unlike many men who at a young age have a high test level genetically but as we age it drops but stays “normal”. Low normal is not normal for the majority of men who as young men were athletic. PED’s as a tactical athlete are vital in my opinion as it begs the question, “what if my performance was 5% better on that day, that person may have lived, not been burned, or maybe I would still be alive.” As an LEO dealing with the criminal element, they do not obey the laws in any way, I/we need an advantage. I have many firefighter friends that utilize Boldenone Undeclynate or EQ for performance as with my LEO friends. Not only does Test improve performance it improves moods IE getting off Anti depressants, SSRI’s etc.
  • Yes, if used in low doses (roughly 200mg/week) as prescribed. Improves sleep, training capability, and recovery, which are all vital to the tactical athlete.
  • Absolutely. I agree with the article that tactical athletes are looking for any advantage we can get, because our lives and the lives of others depend on us. If there are means to safely improve our ability to train and deploy longer and be able to recover faster then we should have the ability to do so. We are not trying to cheat a game of rules, but win the fight. From my experience and what I have read and from people I know, the PED’s aren’t going to make a fat lazy guy a supersoldier. They will simply help those who are willing to put in the work to have a greater work capacity and a more rapid recovery.

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