All posts by SSD

The Mountain Guide: My 3 Most Dangerous Mountain Mistakes

By Brenton Reagan

#1 Failing to Research the Route/Objective

On the East face of 12,330-foot Teewinot in the Tetons, I pressed on without my partner who was too tired to continue. 

It was early season when the snow line was at 9500 feet. 

As I reached the notch to climb onto the summit block I found that the climbing to be harder than I expected, but I could see an anchor so “I must be going the right way” – I told myself.

Upon reaching the top of the tower I realized it wasn’t the summit at all.  Teewinot is notorious for this – unbeknownst to me.

With an anchor, but no rope I would have down climb, and it was super sketchy.  I was stuck.

I went back up to the top of the false summit more than a few times to look for other options, but found none. 

So I finally worked up the “courage” to pull through the tough down climbing moves.

Prior to the attempt, I had not asked anyone for any information on the route or conditions.  I just thought I knew which one was the summit. 

I had no partner and no rope and after taking a long time to down climb from the tower I raced down the East Face in a hurry to get down before a major snowfield re-froze. 

I also had no crampons – so crossing a steep, frozen snowfield in just approach should could lead so a terrifying steep slide ride to my death on the boulders at the bottom.

Upon returning to Jackson I told my long time friend and mentor about my adventure and he congratulated on surviving the most dangerous route in the Tetons – the East Face of Teewinot has more accidents than any other major route in the range.

Lesson: Research unfamiliar routes and objectives prior to climbing.


#2 Watch What You Eat, Stick To Routes You Know

During a one-day Grand Traverse attempt my partner and I arrived at the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton – the half way point – which is at 11,650 feet.  We had a fellow guide leave some food at the hut for us.  It was pizza. 

In our fatigued and hungry state we managed to eat all of it.  As we started the second half of the traverse towards the North Ridge of the Middle Teton we knew what had made a mistake by eating too much.

We had to slow our pace – our stomachs were upset. 

This compounded ….

We then decided we didn’t want to get out the rope for one of the upper sections because it would further slow us down so we decided to try a route we didn’t know, but had “heard” might go without a rope. 

The unknown way slowed us even more and ended up using the rope anyway. 

As we were nearing the end of the Grand Traverse with only a few peaks left a thunderstorm threatened.  We were in our 13th hour of climbing.

We decided to not risk the lightening and bail back into the canyon below.  But, to do so we had to manage very firm steep snow field with just a light axe and no crampons. 

It was some of the scariest glissading of my life. 

Lesson: Chose appropriate nutrition the mission stick with the terrain you know.

#3 Unknown Partner, Lack of Fitness, Death Calls Twice

When I got a chance in early 2002 to obtain a grant to climbing in Kazakhstan I jumped on it. 

I was the 2nd of 2 climbers from the U.S. to get a chance to climb the 7,010 meter Khan Tengri. 

But, I had not trained much myself, nor even met the other climber – my partner for this attempt. 

We had some confusion upon the travel arrangements and he ended up 2 days a head of me on the travel leg. 

Due to some logistical problems I was stuck at base camp, 7,000 feet, for a week longer than my partner before finally arranging a heli flight to the upper glacier. 

Altitude sickness hit me on the glacier. I got very sick and had no one around the help me out. My “partner” had been there a week already, acclimating.

Summit day came, and though weak, sick and tired, I went anyway.

Soon I fell far behind my partner and other climbing groups.

The group ahead managed to knock off an avalanche that just missed me as I was ascending the fix the ropes – Death’s call number one.

Later on the upper mountain as I was headed for the summit but was so tired a few hundred meters from the top I stopped to rest only to fall asleep!

A Russian climber woke me and encouraged me to head down before nightfall and death by exposure. – Death’s call number 2.

My “partner” had summited and was safely back down in the snow caves at high camp – unconcerned about my fate.

I was nearly killed at least 2 times if not more on that trip. 

I didn’t know anyone and hadn’t spent any time building a relationship with the only other American on the mountain. I was not fit for the climb, nor had I adjusted to the high altitude. I did not know, and could not trust my climbing partner.

Your partner(s) on a big mountain expedition like Khan Tengri is more important than the climbing objective. 

Lesson: Know, train with, and build trust with a partner prior to any expedition. Train appropriately. Don’t leave yourself at the mountain’s mercy.

About the Author: Brenton is a professional mountain guide, sponsored mountain athlete, and long-time friend and athlete at MTI. 

MTI’s Most Read Articles For the Last 6 Months

Again, our article about unfit first responders has been our most read.


So far Mountain Tactical Institute had over 2 million page views in the last 6 months and to our surprise once again our most read article was an opinion piece  by Rob about Unit Fitness Leaders in Law Enforcement and Fire Fighters Departments.

You can find this article below as well as  9 others of our Top 10 of best read for the last 6 months.



Learn more about MTI and our promise that Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.

Q&A 6.15.17


Looking for some suggestions on training plans. Base fitness would be the main goal with prioritization later for any key events, seasonal mix to more strength in the winter and endurance in the summer. Really a focus on all around strength/work capacity/endurance; want to be able to have recreational competence in several things and 6-8 weeks out train for a specific event.

My Stats:

·        33 yr old

·        175 lb

·        5’8”

·        Max Bench/Squat/Deadlift/Pull-up: 190-200; ~225; ~250; 10-15

·        6mi pace 8-9min mile

·        Probably 10-15lb heavy



·        Last triathlon 2 years ago

·        Long distance endurance biking: Typical 60-80mi on Sat most weekends

·        Mountain Biking – more infrequent

·        Running – half marathons, etc.

·        Snowboarding

·        Spent Nov, Dec, Jan lifting heavy – put on some weight

·        Regular training includes 1 day starting strength type lifting (squat, press, deadlift), other days endurance and functional exercise.



Background: So it is a hodge-podge of stuff. Triathlon training was the main focus for about 4 years, I dropped from 175lbs to 150-155lb. Cycling was always my dominant sport; strength training was neglected during this time. Last two years have been a mix of running, cycling and strength – I’d create programs but have trouble completing or would change program. Most recently I was training for a half marathon trail run with my wife – however training was de-railed by a bike crash (mostly roadrash and a bad hip contusion, pretty much healed now).  


Goal: Increase functional strength while increasing endurance and speed. Want to increase overall capacity for running, biking and hiking. Since I prefer doing a number of sports would like to establish a solid base and do periodization heading into any event (1-2 mnt biking events/maybe xterra and 1-2 longer alpine climbs). Also, would like to start doing Judo again which I did in high school and early college. Have contemplated working on rock-climbing as well.

Appreciate the help!


I’d recommend our Base Fitness training plans on the mountain side, specifically the plans in the Greek Heroine series, beginning with Helen.
These plans concurrently train …
– Mountain Endurance (running, uphill hiking under load)
– Climbing Fitness (bouldering/rock gym work)
– Strength – gym/based work
– Work Capacity – gym/based and sprinting
– Chassis Integrity (mid-section work).
– Rob


I recently subscribed as a monthly member and have a few questions, quite frankly I am overwhelmed with all of the programs (185+) you offer. I am three weeks into the old Work Capacity Program and this is my second round of Work Capacity since November. I like the Work Capacity grind and can say overall I have improved my fitness this second time around. I completed the MTI Assessment yesterday and scored a 4.0.
My goals are simple: improve overall fitness and endurance. I work at the Pentagon and ride a desk all day, I can train 60-75 minutes up to 5 days a week. Logistically a ruck sack and sandbag are hard. What programs do you recommend after I complete this current iteration of Work Capacity? I will eventually return to an operational unit and want to maintain, even possibly gain a little before arriving back to jump and ruck again.


I’d recommend the Greek Hero Packet of plans – these represent our most evolved programming for military athletes. Based on your current equipment restrictions – start with Achilles.
– Rob


I just got my ship date, then will go through OSUT, Airborne, and then RASP. What plans should I use before going and while I’m in? While I’m in I was thinking RASP plan with plyometrics before airborne school.


I’d recommend Valor prior to OSUT.
The Airborne School Training Plan prior to Airborne. If you’re going right from OSUT to Airborne, do the Airborne plan prior to OSUT.
RASP Plan prior to RASP. If you won’t have a break between Airborne and RASP, do the Airborne Plan.
– Rob


I am 34 years old, 174 cm, I did MMA in m 20’s, and from 2011 to 2015 I moved to bodybuilding and became 82 KG with 19% body fat.
I started only bodyweight training in April 2016, lost my size and I am now 72 KG with 14% body fat but i gained more strength. I usually pick between 4 and 6 exercises (upper, lower, core) and do them in 5 circuits pattern, 3 to 4 days a week. I feel like I am stuck and not moving forward, even sometimes i change the exercise progression.
Which workout plan, or sequence of plans for longer period (package) do you recommend for Hypertrophy and increasing athletic performance at the same time ?
I am fine if it is a combination of a gym and bodyweight workout.
PS: I do not run because of  flat feet and tibial rotation in the right foot, but as you recommended before I replace running with spinning, and sometimes i do rowing.
Thank you so much.


I’d recommend the plans in the Spirits Packet for Law Enforcement Athletes. These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, upper body hypertrophy, chassis integrity and tactical agility.
– Rob


I’m trying out for Swedish SF next spring. An army buddy
pointed me your way after having tried a couple of your programs and
being very satisfied. Your training plans/packets seem very mission
specific (which is good) but I’m wondering which program you would
recommend for me. Swedish SF selection is a lot of marching / land nav
with a ruck coupled with solo and team events. Endurance, core and grip
strength apparently play a big role (I guess Swedish SF selection
probably resembles a lot of western selection programs). What selection
packet from MTN should I go for? SFAS? SFOD-D? Looking for some advice.


I’d recommend the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan:
Your selection is very similar to SFAS (US Green Beret Selection) and this plan is build for SFAS.
– Rob


One of my friends used the DEVGRU Selection Training Program and they said there were two other programs you are supposed to complete before starting that one. Can you tell me which programs those are?


I’d recommend the plan order we use for the BUD/s Selection Training Packet, with one change – finish with the DEVGRU Selection Training Plan instead of the BUD/s V2 Plan.
– Rob


I’ve been looking through the Mountain Tactical programs, and they’re impressive…and a little overwhelming!! I’m looking for an all around program, that’s not too crazy, but something I won’t get bored with. I need to be light on my feet, have endurance, more upper body strength, and still have enough for a kick at the end..
I’m a US Border Patrol K9 handler, down in south Texas. My partner and I mainly do track and trail work, with a little narcotics work as well. The track and trail is usually over desert terrain, rocky hills, hot conditions, usually with a few high fences to climb. Fun stuff. Normal gear is long sleeve ODUs, Camelback with 2 bladders (around 200oz of water), gun belt, and a tac vest with all the goodies…extra cuffs, radio, flashlight, IFAC kit, ect. I don’t wear my body armor unless it’s a search warrant or raid, because it’s too restrictive and too hot. I also have my partner I have to deal with, who is 80lbs of muscle, fur, and teeth (and who doesn’t carry any of his own gear :-/ ).
I’ve been in this line of work for over 10 years, and I love it. The problem is, I’m a female, 38 years old and about 135lbs. It’s starting to wear on me.
I’ve done Crossfit, P90x, ran marathons, ect., but now I’m looking for more of a functional strength program, that’s going to help with flexibility too. Any suggestions?


You’re mission set and loading is similar to that of full time SWAT/SRT teams with rural responsibilities.
From our stuff I’d recommend the training plans in the SWAT/SRT “Gun Maker” packet of plans for these athletes.
These plans concurrently train strength, work capacity, chassis integrity and endurance.
More on the plans HERE:
– Rob


I’m wondering if you guys plan to experiment on a program involving isometrics. Whether as a way to deload, recover from injuries, or as a way to boost strength and speed.

You fellas seem to have put all of your programs through rigorous testing.
I’m a Border Patrol agent and jujutsu practicioner. I absolutely love your programs, and your BORSTAR and BORTAC selections have helped several agents.
I’m currently recovering from cervical fusion, and find that isometrics and cardio will be my bread and butter for awhile.
For us Patrol Agents, ankle and knee injuries, sciatica, tendonitis and shoulder injuries are common.
Sorry for the long winded post, but I was just interested in your feedback.


No plans. We’ve done a little experimentation with isometric training in the past, but it seemed to add complexity without performance return. We may return to it in the future, but now solid plans now.
Glad our stuff has worked for you.
– Rob


I am looking into your GoRuck Challenge, Heavy, and Selection Programs.

I am a 31 year old with an ok base level of fitness. I recently took the APFT and passed with 55 pushups, 63 sit-ups, and a 16:35 2 mile run. I’m currently rucking at least 10 miles a week with #20 and doing 2 ruck workouts through Team Spearhead Pathfinder.
I have a goal of completing a GoRuck HTL event and possibly GoRuck Selection (one step at a time…) and want to lay a solid foundation first and build strategically w/o injury ideally over the next year(s).
My question is…with these goals would your GoRuck Challenge be the best place to start? Are there workouts with a ruck included in the program?
Would it be more beneficial to work towards other military programs you offer like Devgru Selection or German KSK? (I don’t just want to go through the GoRuck events but want to thrive within them b/c of the hard-work of training.
Thanks for your time and help! I look forward to training with MTI!


I’d recommend the plans and progression order in the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet.
These are designed as a 10.5 month long prep for SFAS and should work for your events.
Specifically to your question about the GoRuck Challenge Plan – yes, it includes rucking.
– Rob


Does the Ultimate Work Capacity I training plan have the entire Chassis Integrity Workout training plan built into it or does it only include partial additions of the training plan?


Ultimate Work Capacity I deploys our Chassis Integrity mid-section programming theory but also trains other fitness attributes. The Chassis Integrity training plan deploys just Chassis Integrity circuits.
So if you’re looking at Ultimate Work Capacity I, but want to be sure you get Chassis Integrity work, that plan includes it. You don’t need to buy both plans.
– Rob


I just purchased a subscription, and I am very excited to start training. I am in a Delayed Entry Program for Army OSC, so I won’t start the OCS PFT training program until I get closer to my training date. In the meantime, I am looking to get fit and well prepared for the Army.
My question is: where should I begin if I want to follow the Daily Training – Operator Sessions? I want to be on the same week/date as the program, but I am unsure if I should jump into it in the middle of a cycle. What do you suggest?


Start with the Military On-Ramp Training Plan, then you can jump into the Operator Sessions.
– Rob


So I am really hating your Military On-Ramp program (which I think means it is working well!).  lol!
I am planning on going the x-ray route in the US Army in the next 12 months or so.  I was planning on jumping into the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet (  My question is in how updates (when ever you do them) work.  For instance, the SFRE Training Plan is on V5 now.  Do I ‘own’ V5 or do I have access to 5 and 6 or is it just straight updated to 6 because it will be a better plan?
I LOVED your article by the way.  It makes a lot of sense and I really appreciate you sharing that.  It makes me believe in your programs more and I love the transparency.  I also really appreciate that you take the time to keep the programs up to date, relevant and the best they can be!


When we update the plan we over-write the old version – you wan’t have access to the old version any longer.
Thanks for the note – glad you liked the article.
– Rob


I’ve been looking into your videos an browsed your website. Currently active duty army, planning on going to SFAS. I see you have a packet designed specifically for that. I already have a your older version of the ruck based selection plan from 2009 I believe, but I see that you steadily improve the programs, also states in that program that if you haven’t completed previous programs similar that it’s recommended to do so. That being said I haven’t tried these types of workouts at all. I’m used to the basic lifting style. I’m very interested but also tight on money, Id love to hear from you an your recommendations on where to start instead of going in blind eyed. Thank you


More on the plan HERE plus a 20% off Coupon.
– Rob


I was recently selected at SFAS. My fitness level is not what it was prior to selection due to weight loss and back-breaking events towards the end of the course. I have 19 weeks until I head out to the Q Course and was wondering which program might be best to start with given my weakened state. With my time frame, I’ll hopefully be able to do three programs from MTI. I planned on the Q Course Selection program being the last one I do.


Weeks      Plan
1-7            Rat 6 Strength – Solid strength to build you back up.
8-14          Hector – Multi-modal plan which concurrently trains strength, work capacity, endurance, chassis integrity and TAC SEPA
14-19        Q Course Training Plan – Course-specific plan going into the Q Course.
– Rob


Do you guys have any push-up plans? I’m good in all other cal aspects I just feel like I’ve hit my plateau.


We don’t have a push-up only plan. The APFT Training Plan includes push ups and sit ups.

– Rob


I had some questions on training. Primarily without a gym. But I have some concerns with background and current strength levels. I would like to talk sometime if possible.



We offer several limited equipment training plans HERE.
My most recommended plan is the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan.
Do you have a specific concern or question?
– Rob
Thanks for getting back to me.

A few concerns would be for something bodyweight, my goal would be to get out of a gym completely, but I do not have a tower or anything for pull ups/dips.

Also, will more bodyweight type training turn more into cardio/endurance only?  Is there any way to replicate a more traditional lifting type training or get some of the same results, some strength, some size etc.?

I was looking at some of your assessments for strength etc.  I would say I am not balanced with pullups anyway.

I do not do them anymore, but my squat and front squat and deadlift would be very high.  Last time I did them, squats were around 450 for 5 as just part of a workout, deadlifts were 500 for 5 as part of a workout.  Front squats or zercher squats were always done after squats or something else and for a little higher reps so I never got much above 315. I never really did cleans, but I have done a much more controlled version to move bars around with 225.  Pull-ups – I was never that great at pull ups, at this point, I do not know how many I could do, less than 10.  I used to do say 3-4 sets of 10-15 years ago at my best.  Bench, I shy away from, my shoulders have never liked it, but I do incline, and not sure on max, but a set in a workout would be say 235 for 5.  As another example bent rows around 275 for 5 or so in a workout.

My main worry is that I do not want to do the heavy compounds like that as much.  I just don’t feel it is necessary, but, I wonder if bodyweight is really going to do that much for me.  My goals would be to gain some lean size, more endurance, and better general fitness.  I did partially tear my gastroc in December, and re-injured it so I didn’t do much for 2 months.  So I did put on some weight.

I weigh probably 235 right now.  I would like to be more like 220.  Or lower, but at least 220.

In short, I am looking at different styles of training, the gym gets stale.  But, it seems like I may need at least a tower for certain movements.

I am not training for anything in particular.  I did find out about you through a backcountry article regarding eccentric movements.  I have done some leg blasters.  They feel much more like cardio to me, but where I do start to feel it more is the jumping lunges.  I thought this would be helpful for snowboarding, I carve and ride more bx orientated style.  As far as sport specific, that is about the only thing I do.  I hike when possible, but no climbing or any type of endurance races.  I hunt, so at times, I can be carrying a bit of weight, but usually moving pretty slow.

Do you have any thoughts or comments?

You can’t get as strong doing bodyweight movements as you can lifting freeweight. Some athletes will see significant hypertrophy doing bodyweight, some not. It is somewhat dependent upon your body type.

If you want to focus on bodyweight only work, here are a couple options:
It sounds like your training has become stale and you need something fresh. Don’t overthink it. Chose a plan and start training.
Click each of the links above then the “Sample Training” Tab. You’ll see the first week of programming for each plan. Try it and see if our stuff is for you.
– Rob


I’m new to MTI and I live in Ohio so cant currently seek training in person so where do you recommend doing MTI workouts? I’m having a hard time finding a location near me that has basic functional fitness and calisthenics equipment like pullup bars, dip bars, even terrain for timed runs etc. all within a 2 to 3 minute walking distance from one another. (I’m planning to do the Military On Ramp Training Program) The closest thing I’ve found is a parcours trail on hilly terrain, but cant seem to find something that I could use as a 20 inch plyobox, not even a stump.
Do you know of any folding plyo boxes or stools? Do MTI athletes workout at crossfit gyms?


We have athletes around the world follow our programming in their garage gyms, big box gyms, or during open gym hours at crossfit affiliates. Be resourceful.
– Ro


After listening to you on the hunt backcountry podcast and looking through your website I am very interested in a training package to help me get in shape for hunting season. I intended to purchase your backcountry hunting plan but after hearing more about it I couldn’t handle it at this point and feel like I need to start from scratch as I have become out of shape.

Just a little bit of background on myself, I have always been an avid hunter and used hiking and hunting to keep me in shape until now. I was in decent shape last summer and ran a couple 5k’s until I tore up the ligaments in my ankle the night before the bow hunt started and was unable to do much hunting at all because of it. We also had a new baby the first week of October and started building a new house so needless to say I didn’t get out much. Between working on the house, eating poorly, drinking to much and not exercising at all for last 6 months it time to make a change. I don’t have a real strenuous backpack hunt scheduled this year just lots of day and overnight hunts. So I would like to start some type of program now to help me get into good enough shape to hunt hard this year and not burn out after five miles like in years past. Then next year start the hunt backcountry hunting plan to further improve.


I recommend you kickstart your fitness with the Military On-Ramp Training Plan.
This plan is a solid bridge into the Backcountry Big Game Training Plan.
Also – fix your diet. Our recommendations are HERE.
– Rob


Heard about you guys and your LE training plans from a friend so I was wondering how your programs work. If you purchase the program does it just provide workouts? And also do I need to have crazy equipment to complete these workouts? Thanks


With a plan purchase you get a username/password access to the training sessions.
Each plan product page includes tab for Sample Training and Required Equipment – so you can know ahead of time what our programming looks like (and try it first) as well as the needed equipment.
Our front line LE programming is captured in our Spirits Series of training plans. The first plan in the series is Whiskey.
– Rob


My biggest goal for my fitness right now is to become physically prepared for all situations, I.e., not having to worry about running, rucking, fighting, lifting, swimming, etc., and just be able to complete any challenge presented without feeling like I need to reevaluate my training.

Right now I’m working on completing Valor. Is there a program I should “graduate” to once I’m done?


I’d recommend you move on to the plans in our military focused Greek Hero series of plans. Start with Hector.
These plans are designed to be the day-to-day programming for SOF military personnel and other military athletes who aspire to that level of fitness.
– Rob

Reviews On Grunt PT

Grunt PT is MTI’s day-to-day mission-direct, tactical programming for line unit, active duty soldiers.

After witnessing many top-down, command-driven fitness initiative failures over the past decade, we committed to developing programming line unit soldiers at all levels could implement on their own, with or without command support. In this way we consider Grunt PT a “Fitness Insurgency.”

Grunt PT has it’s foundation in MTI’s elite level “Operator Session” day-to-day programming for SOF personnel and trains the following fitness attributes concurrently:

  • Relative Strength – strength per bodyweight
  • TAC SEPA – Tactical Speed, Explosive Power and Agility
  • Work Capacity – with a sprinting emphasis
  • Chassis Integrity – MTI’s functional core training methodology
  • Military Endurance – running, rucking


We wanted to know what our customers like best about Grunt PT here are a few answers:


"I only have 3 Squads so team brake down works well. My Squad leaders are all also behind this 100%, the buy in helps with the quality of training"


"Equipment utilization is fantastic working with a 20-man class. Scalability for the individual is nice. Exercises are intuitive and not over complicated."


"Soldiers enjoy the variety of the workouts and like to see their individual improvement."


"The group of exercises that work on the lower back have really helped me strengthen my back and has reduced my back pain."


"All around great program, definitely feeling stronger, faster and tougher"


"Stretching in the circuits really helps focus on getting in that dynamic warmup"



More on Grunt PT HERE


Kudos for MTI’s Athlete’s Subscription.


With the Athlete’s Subscription Package comes access to over 190+  MTI Training plans for Mountain, Military, Law Enforcement, Fire/Rescue, and General Fitness.

In addition – the package includes access to our daily training session across 3x programs:

  • Military Athlete
  • Mountain Athlete
  • Law Enforcement Athlete


We wanted to know what our customers like best about the Athlete’s Subscription and this is what we got:

"I like the programming content and the ability to mix and match parts from various plans."


"Easy to access programmes and operator sessions. Great exercise demonstration videos - links in sessions to exercise videos would be appreciated."


"I love the access to a large variety of plans. I find that my immediate needs change and the subscription offers me variety to meet the different fitness needs I have. Also the plans available vary in length, and functional focus. For example, I can use APFT improvement then switch back to Greek Heroes when I have an APFT come up"


"Access to huge amounts of plans, so I can target specific areas I wish to develop and keep my training fresh."


"Accessibility is great, being able to plan ahead by accessing all the available programs allows me to be flexible in my periodization"


"Programming. Very work related for Fire/Rescue"


"I have seen tremendous improvement in my relative strength and chassis integrity. I really enjoy how structured each workout is."


"All areas of fitness and carry over into the job. Especially the way I feel physically, very little pain with this programming."


"The operator programing and access to all the tons of other programs is exactly what I need to keep my fitness fresh and realavant. I have settled into a routine of doing an operator plan followed by an improvement plan and then repeat."


"Great, well thought out programming. I prefer to use the plans over the daily workouts these days, but I use to do the daily workouts"


"Removes the burden of planning day-to-day training. I can focus on work and school because my training is already planned out. Also, I have found that assessment component helps drive progress efficiently."


"I like the ability to look at the workouts for any training program to help determine which one is most appropriate for my training goals and available time and equipment. Great mix of plans that fits a lot of my mountain related goals. I'm a relative novice at weight lifting- videos and descriptions have made it less intimidating to incorporate into training."



"I'm waiting for a back injury to get better whilst waiting for my selection to start. Having all the programs to go through progressively gives me confidence that when go to selection I'll be ok."


"I like that I can move from plan to plan as needs develop or change. It's also helpful to see all of the workouts ahead of time to get a complete sense of the programs that I'm considering so I can choose the one that works best with my schedule, training goals, etc. The overviews are sufficient and can be trusted but more detail is always helpful when evaluating a plan."


"Simple, straightforward, and like the ability to see all the plans at once and tailor them for my season."


"Having access to workouts whenever I need them and being able to choose what workout plan I want to do. This helps with the always changing schedule that comes with being in the Army."


"My subscription & the plans I choose give me the road map to achieving my fitness/activity goals. Having access to these plans takes the guess work out of what to do when I hit the gym, which when left to my own devices, inevitably devolves into doing some variation of the same exercises. The monkey see, monkey do works well for me as I'm certainly not skilled in putting plans together nor do I have the interest in doing so."


"The vast amount of plans available in addition to the daily sessions."


"Ability to move among strength-focused plans (357, Aecteon, Rather 6, etc.). I really like the entire plan being posted (i.e. all 6 weeks and the overview)- easier to schedule workouts around travel and equipment limitations."





More on the Athlete’s Subscription Package HERE


Arete 6.15.17

How Russia Targets the U.S. Military, Politico
What we saw in War Machine, War on the Rocks
A Base Is More Than Buildings: The Military Implications of the Qatar Crisis, War on the Rocks
SOF Operational Design and Strategic Education for the 21st Century Warrior-Scholar Small Wars Journal
Shabaab overruns base in northern Somalia, Long War Journal
Marine ‘Uber Squad’ Will Get Suppressors, M27s, SOCOM Gear,
Handgun Drills, Outdoor Life


Terrorist Attacks Pour Gas on Saudi-Iranian Rivalry and Gulf Tensions, NYTimes
Why Aren’t There More Terrorist Attacks Like the One in London?, RAND
Following the Money – A Primer on Terrorist Financing, CNAS
New Training Aims to Improve Operational Security at US Border, Homeland Security Today
Increasing Use of Drones to Conduct Terrorism Might Spread from Middle East to the West, Homeland Security Today

Reality Training: How to handle a volatile crowd, Police One
Ohio’s Model of a Comprehensive Health and Physical Fitness Program, The Police Chief
Fighting Violent Crime in Chicago,
NFPA: On-duty firefighter deaths at 69 in 2016, National Fire Protection Association
(Wildland Fire) Local Leadership Lessons and the National Cohesive Strategy, Wildfire Magazine

The Rack That Will Launch the Western B.C. Heli-Bike Industry, Outside Magazine
(Mountain Bike Video) POV: Pool and Ice – Eagle, CO,
In an age of same-day delivery by drone, will small town ski shops stick around?, Backcountry Magazine
(Video) White Water Woman, Redbull TV
Defending the Idea of Wilderness, Patagonia The Cleanest Line
Denali Climber Saved from Crevasse, Gripped
Tommy Caldwell – Why Honold’s Free Solo Scared Me, Outside
Mountain Biking Iceland, Outside
Intangibles, Patagonia
Sending the World’s Hardest Ice Climb, Black Diamond
7 Moves for Eternity, Mammut
Hunting Bears from a Ground Blind,
Fitzroy Traverse, Red Bull TV
Gym to Outdoor Bouldering Conversion Chart,

Tool Tales: ‘A Leatherman Saved My Life’, Gear Junkie
Here’s More Proof that 29ers Are the Fastest, Outside Magazine
Fiber Optic Sights for Duty Use: A Few Thoughts from an End User Perspective, Black Sheep Warrior
Best Wallet-Friendly Short Travel Mountain Bikes 2017, Outdoor Gear Lab
The Best Summer Sleeping Bags of 2017, Outside Magazine
Double Taps vs. Controlled Pairs, Breach Bang Clear
Hoyt Pro Defiant Review, Peterson’s Bowhunting

What Really Happens to Your Body When You Ditch Carbs, Men’s Journal
Research Shows Bouldering Is a Cure for Anxiety and Depression, Men’s Journal
The LAST Blog Post You Ever Need To Read To Be Successful – (SERIOUSLY!)
How Cardio Combats A Fatty Liver, Breaking Muscle
A Brief History of the Sub-4-Minute Mile, Outside Magazine
This Is Your Brain on Exercise, Outside Magazine
Four Things Top Performers Do Every Day, Outside Magazine
3 Ways to Regulate Insulin That Have Nothing to Do with Food, Mark’s Daily Apple
How Our Brains Protect Our Fat When We Diet, Science Daily
Regular Exercise Cuts Cellular Aging by 9 Years, Science Daily

Humility Plan – KUDOS

Endurance in Humility includes Weight Vest/IBA Runs


Here is what our customer said about the plan:

"Hey Rob, just thought I'd share an update. About 5 weeks into humility. Needless to say, this is the best training plan I have ever done this far. It's challenging, but I am seeing results. Can't wait to continue with the other ones. Thanks for all the R&D to help guys like me prepare for the future."
"I just finished Humility. I had previously been doing a mix of different workouts from your Ruck Based Selection Packet that I bought a couple yeas back. I'm finally starting to prep for SFAS and your new philosophy on prepping for it caught my eye, especially with all the research you put in to back up your change of programming. I decided to get Humility and see how the new programming method was. I loved it.

The Quadzilla and Gorilla complexes thrashed me, as did the Devil Dog Circuits. Now that I've finished the program my "combat chassis" feels better than ever. The 7 mile IBA run and 12 mile unloaded run were once far off goals and are now a reality. Here are all my assessment numbers for Weeks 1 and 7. The program took me about 9 weeks to complete due to field ops etc.

Burpees 66  81
EOs 60  72
Box Jumps 38  40 (Week 1 done with 16" box, Week 7 done with 20" box. My bad.)
Hand Release Pushups 31  36
Jump Lunges 24  30.5
Pullups 23  24
3 Mi Run 22:14  21:29  20:49 

Thanks for the great program. I really enjoyed it and made some great progress, especially on my lower body. Up next is Big 24 and I can't wait."
"I just assessed my 3 mile today in Humility, 4 minute improvement, very happy with the results. Your programming is awesome, and really been enjoying it. Thanks for the quality work!" Regards, - L
"Rob, I need to take a moment to say thank you. I recently completed Humility. It took 11 weeks to finish your 7 week plan. At the time I finished I had dropped three minutes from my three mile time, I chalked that up to the possibility of it being significantly warmer than my last four time trials (from the plan and PT tests). Today I was given a short notice APFT and dropped 1 full minute off my 2 miler (I'm now 45s from maxing) and took my sit-ups from 66 to 76 (maxed out). I found this progress incredible considering the program was just building general fitness and not sport specific training for the APFT. I'll be finishing big 24 soon and rolling into Fortitude; even with the change in run volume I hope I can continue to see progress on my run. Thanks for great training plans!"

 Learn more about Humility


The ‘Ultimate’ Answer To Our Most Popular Question: What Type Of Training Do You Recommend?

By Mintra Mattison

‘What type of training do you recommend?’, has got to be the most frequent question we get asked.

To answer a question with a question: How much is fitness a part of your professional and/or personal life?

What we’ve witnessed over the years is that our mission-direct programming inspires many athletes who began with an individual plan to make fitness a bigger part of their life and eventually purchase an Athlete’s Subscription and use MTI’s programming as a partner moving forward.

So here are couple of answers for you.

If you are working mountain or tactical professional.
You are “professional” about your fitness and understand and embrace the principle that work-specific fitness is a critical responsibility for you. Then our stuff is for you and will be partner through your career for day-to-day fitness, PFT’s, missions, schools, deployments, long motel stays and mountain objectives, injury recovery and recreation.

If your Sport Changes with the Season.
You are a serious recreational mountain athlete who’s sport changes with the season, then an Athlete’s Subscription is for you. The plans included will prepare you for each specific sport before the season, and maintain your “mountain base” between seasons.

If your are a committed Gym Rat.
You have always been doing some type of training?
An Athlete’s Subscription will open your world to cutting edge fitness specific programming such as bodyweight, relative strength, endurance, concurrent programming and the exercise selection and progression intricracies of mission-specific programming and Mission-Direct research.

If you are a Strength and Conditioning Coach.
You are a Professional or aspiring one driven to do the best for your athletes? MTI’s programming is the Tip of the Spear for Mountain and Tactical Athletes, unique in it’s design, innovation, creative, mission-directness and results. Subscribe, devour and learn and deploy with your athletes.

With an Athlete’s Subscription to MTI, you get access to 190+ sport specific training plans for mountain and tactical athletes and professionals, including 27 general fitness plans, injury recovery plans, etc. New plans and plan updates are being completed weekly.

Click HERE for a full list of the current included plans.



Ruck Based Selection Training Packet – KUDOS

MTI’s Ruck Based Selection Training Packet consists of 6 plans with a total of 44 weeks of training.

  1. Humility – Bodyweight strength, loaded work capacity, IBA runs and long, unloaded runs
  2. Big 24 – Barbell based total strength
  3. Fortitude – Gym based strength, distance running and rucking
  4. Valor – Gym based work capacity, short, intense running and rucking intervals
  5. Resilience – Gym-based strength, Chassis Integrity, heavy rucking and distance running
  6. Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan



Here is what our customer said about the plans:

"I recently was selected through SFAS to continue in the SF Q-Course as a hand amputee. The difference between success and failure in many aspects was your Ruck Based Selection Training Plan. Thank you for your passion and ability in programming effective workout regimens."
"I just wanted to send my thanks for your Ruck Based Selection Program. Just got back from SFAS and was selected! I was in the top 10% for all events and rucks. Was able to beast through Team Week even after the long days and nights of the STAR Course. I couldn't have made it through without your program. Amazing job in what you and your team do. As a guy who isn't infantry, it was difficult in figuring out where to start with my training. You took the guess work out of it, and it paid off in the end. Thank you so much." - A
"Sincere appreciation for y'alls work. I recently came back from SFAS and was completely prepared physically for what we faced. I appreciate the support!" - T
"I'm a huge fan of your work. I appreciate the scientific rigor you use to create truly inspired workout programs for military guys like me. I just (mostly) finished the Ruck-based Selection train-up and it helped me finish in the top 10 of a support company of over 100 Soldiers during a week of physical events that included the APFT, pull-ups, rope climb, CWST, 5-mile run, and 12-mile ruck." - N
„I will be working through Valor before then doing the USAF PFT programming (this suits Australian Army BFA training) before taking a test in March.  Not too sure after that but I'm thinking a gym based work-capacity program would be ideal. I've gone from a complete functional fitness beginner to nearing your strength standards and nearing my own endurance goals (12km in 60 minutes) in only 10 months.  I cannot wait to see where I'll be at in another 10 months. Your programming really is the shit.  Quite often when looking at the next days programming it looks easy.  Then you start the workout and the lightbulb soon goes off that Rob Shaul won't let you off that easily.  What I like the most about your stuff is that it is programmed, progressed and it works.  I trust it.  I don't waste emotional energy worrying if the work I'm doing is what I really should be doing.  It's not "working out" it's "training" and that's also one of the things that keeps the motivation so high. Keep up the good work.“
"Wanted to send you another quick note and thank you for the recommendations and advice over the past year.  As you know, I have completed several of your operator plans (Humility, Sandbag/Weightvest/Dumbbell) and recently used the Pre-Deployment plan to prepare for a week-long backpack-style archery elk hunt in the Rockies.  Long story short, I was able to connect on a 5x5 bull on the last day of the hunt, with an hour of daylight left.  As you know, just covering ground in Rocky Mountain "elk country" is hard work — but doing that for 6 days straight and then spending the 7th day packing out and elk?  That is quite a bit of demand.  I credit your plans for giving me the physical ability, durability, and mental toughness to make it through a long week, hunt hard right up until the end, and then still have something left in the tank to get an elk out of the backcountry.  I killed the bull about 5 miles and 2,500 vertical feet up from the truck, so doing two round trips of that with a weighted pack made for a long day.  (Thankfully I had a great hunting partner and a few pack goats to share the load with!)  The Pre-Deployment plan prepared me for the climbing, as well as the weighted descent, and improved my core stability to bear the heavy pack." - M


"I just finished Fortitude... awesome stuff.  I was doing some swimming concurrently (only time I could get coaching) which when coupled with the Big24 progressions of bench and push press, was just murder on my shoulders (impingement).  I found the speed of my runs and rucks didn't increase much throughout the program, but I definitely feel that it built a solid base ready for some future speed work.  I just did my assessments for Valor and my run and ruck times per mile at max effort have dropped considerably."

 Learn more about the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet