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Plan Focus: Teton Grand Traverse Training Plan

Ryan Burke atop Teewinot, the first summit of the Grand Traverse. Grand Teton is in the background. Andy Bardon photo.

By Rob Shaul

I’ve never personally completed the Grand Traverse. Best I’ve done is the Cathedral Traverse – the first 3 peaks – Teewinot, Owen and the Grand. MTI Athlete and Senior Exum Guide Brenton Reagan lead me up and over these peaks one day a few years ago.

It wouldn’t be accurate to say Brenton “guided” me – more like “dragged.” There was no easy “guide’s pace” hike up the steeps to the top of Teewinot, and while walking across a ledge with a several thousand foot drop below somewhere near the Gunsight Notch between Owen and The Grand, I asked Brenton, “Hey, shouldn’t I be roped up for this?”

He responded. “No, you’re good. Just don’t look down.”

Several mountain runners and alpinists have completed the entire traverse in day – under 12 hours, solo. The climbing isn’t difficult by most standards – 5.8 in spots – but the exposure is severe. Solo completers free-solo these parts – no rope. The Fastest Known Time is just over 6 hours.

One of my former athletes, Brian Harder, described free soloing the east face of The Grand during his 11-hour 1-day traverse. He got off-route, and had to down climb some sketchy 5.8. “I was so scared I almost threw up,” he remembered.

With 10 Peaks, 14 Miles, 24,000 feet vertical gain and loss, the Teton Grand Traverse is perhaps the premier alpine traverse in the lower 48. Most complete the Grand Traverse in 2-3 days, with one or two bivys.

Starting elevation is 6,700 feet. The Grand Traverse links Teewinot, Mount Owen, the Grand Teton, Middle Teton, South Teton, Ice Cream Cone, Gilkey Tower, Spalding, Cloudveil Dome and Nez Perce for a total of ten summits.

While the mileage is not insignificant, the 24,000 feet of vertical gain and loss is the “crux” on the fitness side. Most of the route is 3rd and 4th class scrambling, up and down, up and down granite. Hence the major fitness demand – uphill hiking under load endurance, and specific leg strength and endurance for uphill and downhill movement.

The Teton Grand Traverse Training Plan is intense, 8 week, 6-day/week training plan designed to prepare athletes for the fitness demands of the Teton Grand Traverse. It is designed to be completed the 8 weeks directly before the climb. Week 8 in the plan is an unload/taper week.

This program combines loaded vertical climbing, focused eccentric leg strength training for the descent, bodyweight strength and core, long trail runs and 1x day/week rock climb training.
Here is the weekly schedule:
  • Monday: Loaded Step Ups or Vertical Ascent
  • Tuesday: Eccentric Leg Strength Training, Bodyweight upper body and core, Moderate Run (Possible 2-A-Day)
  • Wednesday: Climbing Fitness in Bouldering Gym
  • Thursday:Loaded Step Ups or Vertical Ascent
  • Friday:Eccentric Leg Strength Training, Bodyweight upper body and core, Moderate Run (Possible 2-A-Day)
  • Saturday: Long Trail Run out to 13 miles.
This is not a beginner’s program. Athletes need to have a high level of fitness before beginning the program.

Week one includes two days of strength training, 3000 feet of vertical movement, a 8 miles of moderate running and 7 mile trail run. The program increases in difficulty and volume from there and peaks at Week 7 with 7,000 feet of vertical movement, 20 miles of moderate running and a 13 mile trail run.

Click the Product Image above, then the “Sample Training”  tab to see the entire first week of programming. We recommend athletes complete this before purchase to see if they are ready.

Required Equipment
This is a limited equipment training plan. The strength training in the gym is bodyweight only. Below is the required equipment:
– Steep Hill, Stadium Steps, or 16-inch Step Up Bench for vertical movement
– Backpack with 25 pounds of load
– Pull Up Bar
– Foam Roller
– Bouldering Gym for Wednesday’s V-Sum
Recommended Equipment
– Wrist GPS to monitor running mileage
– Hand Counter to count step ups

This is an endurance-heavy program which demands commitment in both effort and time. Sessions last 60-180 Minutes. Bodyweight Strength Training  (Tuesday/Thursday) is designed to take 30-40 minutes, but these sessions also include a moderate run which can be completed directly after the strength work or later in the day as a 2-a-day. Endurance days could extend to 180 minutes. 


Rob’s Backcountry Scouting & Backpacking Kit

Wyatt Shaul glasses for big mule deer bucks last week.

By Rob Shaul

Below details the kit I’m currently running and/or recommend during this summer’s backcountry hunt scouting (mule deer & elk). This kit would also work for backpacking.
Note that many of these items are on – military, LE and mountain professionals should all qualify for this program.
Pack and Essentials:
Elberestock X2 Pack. This little bomber pack has a simple aluminum frame and handy, long, outside pouches which hold my hydration bladder, tripod and spotting scope. It’s comparatively heavy and this extra pouch volume isn’t needed for backpacking – but it rides super well, is super durable and organizes my gear perfectly for my scouting.
For backpacking (no optics needed) I roll with the Black Diamond Speed 30 pack. This is a bomber, multi-use, light pack from one of the top alpine gear makers out there – Black Diamond.
Cook Kit
  • Breakfast: Starbucks Via Instant Coffee and a ProBar Meal Bar. Meal Bars are great calorie per ounce fuel and you can get them on Promotive.
  • Snacks between meals: Honey Stinger Waffles These are awesome – and also on Promotive
  • Lunch: Hard Salami, Hard Cheese and Coffee, or a Probar Meal Bar.
  • Dinner: Mountain House or other Freeze Dried Meal. Mountain House is on Promotive.
Emergency Kit:
  • Black DIamond Spot Head Lamp (Trick: Make sure you turn one of the batteries around before you pack so the lamp doesn’t get bumped on and drain the batteries)
  • Sunscreen (Trick: You don’t need a full container. I fill a small, empty medicine bottle and take it only).
  • Sunglasses – I wear Native Kodiak sunglasses
  • Ibuprofen
  • 15 Feet Paracord
  • Ace Bandage
  • Athletic Tape (doubles as bandaid)
  • Moleskin
  • Firestarter and Lighter
  • Extra batteries for Headlamp
Water is a big deal deer scouting. I like to bivy on the ridges … which means I have to carry my water (4-5 Liters) up from the last water source – usually 1,000-2,000 feet below – later in the summer. I use a 2-3 Liter Camel Back reservoir and carry extra water with Platypus collapsable bottles.
The Sawyer Mini filter is light, cheap and works great.
  • Delorme In-Reach (no cell service and I often scout alone – not needed if you have cell service and/or are scouting with others). This unit allows me to send pre-set text messages at night letting family know I’m safe, and send an SOS for help if I get hurt and can’t get out on my own.
  • Smart Phone – Photos, GPS (Gaia App), Maps (Topo Map App)Kindle Reader (I read a book at night). With apps, you can download topo maps and use your phone for a GPS. It’s awesome.
Also, I’ll get on Google Earth, take screenshots of the area I’m scouting, and email the photos to my phone. Super handy!
Sleep System:
  • Outdoor Research Helium Bivy – Light and bomber. I use a bivy over a tent – I’ve been rained on this thing and stayed dry. A bivy is lighter, faster, and you can sleep anywhere. I often sleep in deer beds!  OR is on Promotive.
  • Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite – Perhaps my most important piece of gear. This thing is awesome!! Last weekend I slept like a baby on rocks!
  • Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt: I replaced my bag with this and sleep in my fleece hoody or puffy jacket. Works awesome. You don’t need a 0-degree bag in early September. A 30-degree bag/quilt will work. Big Agnes and Therm-a-Rest offer quilt/pad systems together. Big Agnes is on Promotive.
HERE is  a Video of my Sleep System
It’s HOT during the day, and cool, but not cold, at night. You don’t need super warm stuff.
Here’s What You Need:
Shorts – Nylon, with side pocket (I Keep my collapsable mug in my side pocket, and use it to drink from springs on the way up to the ridges.) I find nylon is the most durable. I currently wear Arcteryx Lefroy Shorts.
Shirt – Long Sleeve Synthetic or Merino Wool. I like synthetic. Long sleeves protect you from the sun. A sun hoody is good too as I can put the hood up over my hat when glassing.
Mid-Layer – Fleece or Merino Hoody
Puffy – Light down or synthetic hooded puffy jacket. Doesn’t need to be an expedition parka! Lightest level is fine. **Note – this last trip I combined the Fleece and Puffy into one jacket – one of the “Active Synthetic” jackets – and it worked great.
Rain Jacket – Light and also doubles as a wind breaker.
Gloves – Lightweight (You don’t need winter gloves!)
2 Pair Thick Wool Socks: You’ll wear one and keep another spare.
1 Pair Synthetic or Merino long underwear. I put these on at night under my shorts to sleep in and they keep me just warm enough in the evenings and mornings before I start moving.
1 Pair Synthetic Underwear. My favorites are Outdoor Research Echo Boxer Briefs.
Ball Cap – Again, it will be hot! You’ll need a hat.
Note: Don’t take any extra shirts or long johns, underwear. You won’t need them. Also, with a midweight or active synthetic hoody, you won’t need a warm beanie hat.
You don’t need stiff-soled leather, gore-tex mountaineering boots! Trailrunners work fine. I’m a fan of Hoka One Ones and currently wear .
What I Wear:
Mid-Layer/Puffy / Combo: Acteryx Proton LT Hoody
Gloves: $2/pair acrylic stretch gloves you can get in a grocery story.
Socks: Patagonia Wool Mid-Weight

Q&A 7.20.17


“Last time I emailed you I was preparing to ship for Army BCT. I just got back from training a week ago. I just wanted to let you know I was by far one of the most  physically prepared individuals throughout basic and AIT because of your programs.”



I’m an SF student here at SWCS in Ft. Bragg. I’ve recently gotten injured, severe stress fractures in both shins as the doctors put it. I’m on a no run/ruck profile for at least two months, so I figured I’d use this time to regain some strength I’ve lost over the pipeline by completing big 24 agin. Aside from that is there anything else you’d recommend? Especially to be able to maintain/ even still improve my running ability with my injury? Thanks for your time.


Cycling/spinning is about your only option. Step ups might help, but my guess is spinning would be best to try and improve running. Understand you’ll mostly improve at spinning, but there should be some transfer to your running.
– Rob


I’m currently going through SQT in the SEAL pipeline. I’m looking to take my fitness to another level and heard of Mtn tac through a friend. I was looking at the Greek hero program but wanted to get your opinion on what’s best for my schedule.


We just published (last week) the Pirates Series of training plans designed as day-to-day training for tactical athletes with water-based mission sets (USAF Special Tactics, SEALs, BORSTAR, etc.). These 4 plans deploy our Fluid Periodization methodology but also include pool work 1x/week – swimming, finning, etc.
These are what I’d recommend.
– Rob


Hey guys! I’m a kinda a fat overweight Sfc Medic getting ready to leave the ARMY and go into contracting with triple canopy or SOC. My knowledge and experience are what enable me to get these jobs. However, my spine is jacked from years of time under rucks, body armor and jumps.
I need to be fit, quick and Strong. The only real limitations I have is that back squats if I do them to heavy will hurt my back and I’m probably the most inflexible dude on earth.
Yes I have multiple bulging discs and hurniations however, I need to make money while the money is good. What can you recommend?


Start back with the Military On-Ramp Training Plan.


I just enlisted in the Army and got 18X. I have 13 Weeks ans I am trying to get into great shape. I am interested in your Ruck + SFAS program but it says that I needed to plan back 42 weeks. As I don’t have that much time what do you guys think I should do? I saw that there is an SF Qualification course as well, but it doesn’t seem as intensive.


Weeks    Plan
1-5          Military On-Ramp Training Plan (you’ll skip weeks 6-7 in this plan)
Good luck!
– Rob


Hi Coach,

In your “Long and Easy” article about endurance training, you mentioned that MTI’s time standard for long, easy training is 4 hours. Why 4 hours? Does that mean our longest workout should slowly build up to 4 hours and no longer?


One theory in the endurance world is that an athlete has developed “aerobic base” for a single mode when he/she can move for 4 hours in that mode at his/her easy pace based on heart rate – around 65-70% of Max.
Under our current methodology, we consider endurance training any mode 45-60+ minutes long. We go over 4 hours.
– Rob


Hello Rob,
I have been following your programs for a long time. I enjoy the challenge and just need some advice. What type of program do you recommend after the 8 week kettlebell circuit. I’m 45 and your circuits have kept me healthy but want to maintain current advances. I have a pt assessment at the end of July and want to keep my current strength. Advice??

Also should I take a couple of days off between programs? The kettle bell ends this week.



1) SF45 Alpha – designed for tactical athletes ages 45-55. Less impact, more endurance work.
2) Greek Hero Series – start with Hector. Full on day-to-day programming designed for SOF and those who aspire to that level of fitness. Concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (running, rucking), chassis integrity and Tactical Speed and Agility
3) Humility – bodyweight strength, dumbbell work capacity, loaded running in IBA
– Rob


Hi Rob!
I just purchased the Humility program and I am doing day session #2 Tomorrow.

I am looking for some clarity on the burpee ladder test.

Is it I must make the designated amount of burpees within that timeframe in order to pass that level?

So if I did 52 burpees in 4 minutes I would pass that level but it I could only do 85 burpees in 6 minutes I have not yet passed that level?

Burpees      Total

Level   Min    per Min   Burpees

1          0-1       10                10

2          1-2       12                22

3          2-3       14                36

4          3-4       16                52

5          4-5       18                70

6          5-6        20               90

7          6-7        22             112

8          7-8        24             136



Each minute you have 60 seconds to get the designated burpees for that level. So level one, sprint through 10 burpees, and rest the remainder of the 60 seconds.
Level 2, sprint through 12 burpees, rest the remainder of the 60 seconds.
You can see how terrible this will become.  Haha.
– Rob


What would be a good plan for a sedentary female who has no real history of excercise?


None of our stuff is appropriate for someone who is seriously deconditioned.
– Rob


Hey rob I’ve been a Starting Strength Heavy lifter for sometime now but I’ve noticed turning 40 that my joints and back are constantly aching.  I’m looking to begin a new direction for my training.  Something helps keep decent Strength but also can maintain decent conditioning.  I’m 40 5’8 and at 215 pounds.  Thank you sir.


I’d recommend SF45 Alpha. “SF45” is an acronym for “Strength and Conditioning 45” and this programming is intended for athletes 40-55 years old. It’s what I’m doing – I’m 3 weeks from 49.
More on the plan HERE.
– Rob
Thanks for the recommendation. I see your coming out with a B and C program as well.  When I have completed C at that time will I just restart A and cycle through or move on to other things?

Kinda ….. the focus of our programming is to help athletes perform outside the gym. SF45 is a “base” fitness program, on top of which you’ll build sport specific fitness prior to events/seasons. For example, I’ll be dropping out of the SF45 programming soon to start our Backcountry Big Game Training Plan in preparation for bowhunting which starts Aug 15 here.

In general, the idea is to do base fitness programming – SF45 or Mountain Base – in the “space” between sport-specific train ups. So from a macro perpsective, your gym-based training revolved around your outdoor pursuits/seasons, etc.

What outdoor sports do you do? Any mountain sport trips planned?
– Rob
I do have a Goruck event in September that I will be getting ready for closer to it.  And January next year a deployment to Afghan. Other than that I do basic fishing camping and hiking with family.  Big game is a goal for fall 2018.  I still I still have a lot to learn in big game.
Directly prior to your Goruck Event, complete the appropriate Goruck plan (Challenge, Heavy, Selection), and prior to deployment, depending upon your base in Afghanistan, complete either the Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Plan(mountainous patrols) or the Urban Conflict Pre-Deployment Plan.
In between complete SF45 cycles or mountain base daily sessions/Greek Heroine Plans.
– Rob
Hey thanks for the info from earlier.  I’ve lost access to my fully equipped gym but I do have access to Kettlebells all ranges and sandbags 40,60,80.  Body weight and pull up bar is good to go.  Can I still do the Operator Hector series and SF45 or do I need to consider something else?
You’ll need a fully equipped gym for both Hector and SF45. Look at  Sandbag Ethos or Humility. We also have three Dumbbell/Kettlebell only plans, Larry, Curly and Moe – more HERE..


I am looking into purchasing one of your workout plans. I’m in fairly decent shape about 5’11” 185lbs and 21 yrs old. I currently strength train 4 days a week and ruck about 3 mornings through the week. I also like to mix in a couple runs. I have time to do a morning and evening workout. Which program would you recommend for me to use? I am hoping to improve upon my total body strength while also continuing to improve my rucking/running performance. I’m all for something more intense that will keep me challenged. I have been looking at your Fortitude program, but I’m not sure if that is the best one you have for my situation. Please let me know.



Yes – start with Fortitude. It’s an awesome plan which has you lifting heavy in the gym, as well as running and rucking.
– Rob


I found your site via a general google search, I think it has everything I’m looking for.  But wondering if you could confirm?  Below is a quick snapshot of who I am and what I’m looking for:

Who I am:

  • 39-year old male
  • Father of three young kids (7,5,2)
  • Work out 5-6 days a week, but it can be difficult keeping a regimented workout schedule w/ kids and work
  • Former military, still active with light upper body lifting, but lots of trail running, mtn biking, telemark skiing

What I am looking for:

  • I would love to create a year-round strength/conditioning program tailored to the seasonal sports
  • For example:
    • Summer: I do 3 trail runs / week, each @ 8 – 12 miles with mtn biking in between
    • Fall: I pare back mtn biking and running and want to get in shape for telemark skiing
    • Winter: No running, just skiing on weekends (both lift-assisted and backcountry)
    • Spring: pare back skiing, integrate running, prep for mtn biking
  • I would love to increase certain weight training in each season to accommodate weekend runs/skiing and prep for next season
    • Example: No squats in summer w/ all the running and biking, but lots of squats in fall to get ready for skiing?
    • Example: no squats Thurs/Fri so I’m rested for weekend skiing?

I think your online site has everything I need for the above?  Thanks for your help –


Our Mountain “Base” programming is designed as day-to-day programming for all-around mountain athletes either in-season or between seasons. Our Greek Heroine plans represent our most recent evolution of this programming and concurrently train gym-based strength, work capacity, mountain endurance (running, uphill hiking under load), Chassis Integrity (our core training methodology).
But no programming can keep prepare you best for each mountain sport. So, directly
Directly prior to seasons, athletes need to drop into sport-specific cycles to prepare as sport-specifically as possible. You’ll see these on the site – our dryland ski, alpine climbing, Ultra Pre-Season and other plans.
An example for you would be Ultra Pre-Season in the Spring, Mountain Base Helen in the summer (2-3x days/week), Dryland Ski in the Fall, In-Season Ski during the Ski Season, etc.
Plans can be purchased individually or all accessed with Athlete’s Subscription.
– Rob


I will be climbing the Grand Teton this summer and wanted to know which training program you recommend.  We are going with this company



I built the Peak Bagger Training Plan ( specifically for climbs like the Grand Teton.
Have a great climb!
– Rob
Do you think the Peak Bagger Plan would be good if I wanted to climb Mt. Rainier? Thanks


I’d prefer you used the Big Mountain Training Plan:
– Rob
My fiance and I are doing a 14 day trek to Everest Base camp. I wanted to know if I should stick with the Big Mountain Training plan for that. I believe it is going to be mostly hiking slowly up the mountain, it will just be 7-8 hours on our feet per day. Thanks again.
Big Mountain is likely overkill for that. I’d recommend our Backpacking Pre-Season Training Plan.
– Rob


I am currently a member and have purchased a few plans. I need advice on what plan to purchase to really improve my Army pft run time. I am currently coming in at 15 min and I want to make small gradual improvements. I noticed that there is a running improvement plan, and i want to know if that is the best fit for me. I would like to have some professional advice on the topic as i have tried everything from increasing mileage to running sprints and have not really made any significant progress. I would like to purchase a plan, but before i do i would like a recommendation.

thank you.


I’d recommend the APFT Training Plan.
It includes specific training to improve the run.
– Rob


Sir,  I have the Ranger Program and I see that it is intended to be used 7 weeks before going to Ranger School. Will it still benefit me doing this, even though I am quite a long ways out from attending Ranger School? Thank you


There’s no hard in doing the Ranger School Training Plan now, and then again the 7 weeks directly before you go to school. Doing it now will give you a great “snapshot” of your fitness.
Click HERE for some of the feedback we’ve received on the plan.
– Rob


I’m seriously overweight, and not sure which program of yours to start with…
I’m 6’3″ and 42 years old. I was over 360 pounds, then lost down to 258, and after a couple of years, gained back up to over 300.
All of that said… Do you have a specific program that works for guys over 40, who have some lingering old injuries?
I’m noticing that recovery is harder than it used to be. I have only had two real injuries, back from when I was in the service. They both healed a long time ago, but at my current weight they are an issue. I dislocated my right ankle(i didn’t know that was a thing), and in a separate event, dislocated my left shoulder in a mountain bike accident. I am fully functional, but since hurting my shoulder, my pullups just sort of stopped. I never redeveloped the skill, but I used to do sets of one arm pullups back in the day when i weighed 200 pounds. My right ankle doesn’t feel stable when doing shuffling movements at my current weight. When I was around 200 pounds, it felt completely normal, though. The lightest weight I’ve been as an adult was 176 pounds, but I was running 10k 6-7 days per week at that point.
Hope to hear back.


We don’t currently have a specific training plan for seriously de-conditioned athletes.
From what we do have, I’d recommend you start with the simple APFT Training Plan.
This plan was built specifically to train guys for the Army’s PFT (2 mile run, 2 min push ups, 2 min sit ups). Why I like it for you to start is because we designed the plan so out of the gate you take the assessment and then use your assessment results for the follow-on progressions.
This way the plan automatically “scales” to the incoming fitness of the athlete. You may have to walk have the run, just get a handful of push ups and sit ups, but it doesn’t matter. The plan will “scale” to your initial results. Plus you re-asses 2x during the plan … so it continues to “tune” to your improving fitness and push you.
Also. Fix your diet. HERE are our day-to-day nutritional guidelines.
Finally. I’m 49 and men our age die all the time. Don’t be one of them. Everything starts with your health.
After the APFT Plan, move to the Military On-Ramp Training Plan.
– Rob


BLUF: Is it feasible to add your hypertrophy for skinny guys program to Crossfit/PFT work?

I am a skinny (5’11/145) military athlete with a heavy base in endurance and swimming. I currently maintain my fitness with Crossfit and leading the unfit members of my unit in basic USAF PT work. I am looking to build muscle mass as my size is becoming a limiting factor. Is it feasible to add your Skinny guy program to a 5 day/week out schedule? Or is another program needed?
More info, I work in a Non-Tactical unit, Lowest I have scored on a AF PFT is 97 and I typically exercise 5-days a week, comfortable with 2 a days.

Thank you for all that you do.


No. You’ll overtrain. Do the Hypertrophy Program alone.
– Rob


Good evening,
I am currently deployed in Afghanistan and was looking into following your TACP training program as I aspire to cross train. However I do not have access to a pool, any suggestions to replace those swims with?
Thank you.


Any cardio work will work. If you have a rower, row 5000m. Moderate pace.
– Rob


Did a quick search on the site and couldn’t find info on this, sorry if I missed it.  I’ve purchased a few of the mountain athlete programs, and did a great job following the programming during mud/off seasons, but now that it’s summer I’m having some difficulty.
I’m starting in on the peak bagger program, and I work out in the mornings.  I’ve noticed that it makes me too sore/tired to get outside for after-work mountain bike rides, hikes, etc.  And weekend backpacking trips and hikes need to be cut way down to make sure I have enough down time to recover.  So here’s my question:  How are the athletes you train able to follow your programming while still getting out a few times per week to play, and enjoy the benefits of the training, without becoming overtrained/too tired to give it all in training?  Is it just a matter of “suck it up and do it, wuss”, or do you recommend cutting down on the fun outings while following a training program?
For a specific example, I live in Gunnison/Crested Butte, CO area. Mountain biking is a way of life in the summer, and I try to get out on the trails a few times per week.  Is there any way to do that while still using the peak bagger program to train for an August 14er trip where we’re going to bag several 14ers over the course of a long weekend?
Thanks in advance,


Our programming should make you perform better on the mountain, not negatively impact your performance because of soreness/fatigue.
Here I stopped training my mountain lab rats on Fridays because of this …. they wanted to be fresh for weekend adventure.
You specifically, you can strategically think about what mountain biking is doing for you when it comes to peak bagging, and what it isn’t. What it is doing for you is helping your uphill climbing ability. We’ve seen this anecdotally  – biking has good transfer to hiking uphill – esp. unloaded or with a light pack like you’ll carry for a peak-bagging trip.
What it isn’t doing is building eccentric strength for the downhill. This is what  the Leg Blasters do in the Peak Bagger Plan. Mountain Biking also isn’t training mid-section strength – which is what the sandbag getups in the plan hammer.
So, skip the step ups in the plan if your cycling lots, and try to work in the leg blaster and sandbag getup progression 2x, mid-week to keep you fresh for the hard weekend pushes.
– Rob


Hey there Rob! Hope all is well!

I had a quick question: I come from more of a powerlifting/ bodybuilder background in the last 10 years of training… I have thrown conditioning in the mix as well in the form of sprints, prowler work, some mid distance runs, etc.

Lately I have taken a liking to Spartan races. I have been doing fairly well actually, placing in the top 15 out of males in my age bracket. I just finished my first trifecta within 7 weeks– one of which was a half marathon in length through Montana (I’m from Wisconsin) the farthest I’ve ever run prior to this was a 5k and I managed to finish in the top 25% of participants and my last two races I have finished in the top 1&2% of participants in the open category.

I want to try to improve and see how far I can push myself, possibly start racing in the competitive waves, but with the caveat of not wanting to give up the size and strength I have. I’m not big by any means but the muscle and strength I do have has taken a long time to build and I don’t want to throw it away…I actually find my strength helps me immensely at obstacles where I see more of the endurance guys struggling. I still want to make strength, power, and hypertrophy part of my overall focus with an endurance component added in there with a higher level of work capacity. Basically an ultimate hybrid athlete.

Currently I have an almost 2.5x body weight Deadlift, 1.5x bw bench press and am just shy of a 2x bodyweight back squat— I’m sitting roughly at 170#. Any plans you would recommend right away for someone after my goals? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Appreciate all you do man!


I’d recommend Valor.
This plan comes from our Tactical side and concurrently trains gym-based strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (our mid-section programming methodology) and speed-over ground endurance – for ruck running and running. For you I’d make one addition to the plan, a long easy to moderate run on the weekend – 8 miles weeks 1 &2, 10 miles weeks 3&4, 12 miles weeks 5-7.
– Rob


Finished hypertrophy for skinny guys recently it was great!

I’m a Park Ranger/LE so I can go from road patrol to backcountry patrol, SAR’s, wildfires it all changes day to day… want to increase my strength and endurance without losing the mass I just put on (putting on a little more mass wouldn’t be so bad either) I was thinking Humility or Greek Hero pack. Advice?


With your rural mission set, you’d be considered a “green” tactical athlete under the MTI classification – same as military SOF – Green Berets, and Wildland Fire/Rescue.
Pivot to the Greek Hero Plans – start with Hector.
– Rob


I will be racing next summer in a multi day, self sustained race across the Gobi Desert. I’ve ran ultra marathons and I ruck frequently since I’m in the military. I’m stuck deciding between your Denali training plan and the peak bagger plan.
The race is broken down roughly into four days of ~26mi, one day ~50mi, then final day is ~10mi. The pack I’ll be carrying will contain ~20-25# of supplies, over terrain ranging from dunes, to hilly plains, and some steeper spots.
Equipment wise, I have access to barbells, kettlebells, free weights, stair climbers, everything but a tire to drag, although I’m going to order a sled.
Can you recommend either of those plans or another one? Thanks.


I’d recommend the 50-Mile Ultra Training Plan.  The bulk of your training should be trail running. Do the running in the plan with your pack – 25#.
– Rob


I am a National Guardsman an I’m looking to start one of your programs but I can’t decide which one. My top goal coming home is gaining strength. I’ve always been more endurance centric and on top of doing only high rep calisthenics/running for the past 6 months, I feel very weak right now. However I would like to maintain my conditioning and running ability. My day job is a career firefighter at a rather busy Fire Department. So I need both strength and conditioning but again I really need to get my strength up. What plan would you recommend for me?

Thank you,


I’d recommend you start with a focused strength cycle, then transition into our day-to-day programming for Urban Fire/Rescue.
Strength? Do Big 24 Strength.
Day-to-Day? Big Cat Packet of training plans for Urban FIre Rescue. Start with Jaguar.
– Rob

Backwards Sandbag Drag

Get down on all fours (hands and feet) with sandbag in front of you. Grab sandbag with right hand, drag it toward you as far as possilbe. Move back on all fours, grab bag with left hand and drag it towards you as far as possible. Move back on all fours.

1x Rep =  30 ft. Drag.

Recommended Loading: 40# for women, 60# for men.

Packet Focus: Ranger School Training Packet

RAP Week Ruck…

By Rob Shaul

Ranger School is a right of passage and badge of professional excellence for Infantry.

The fitness programming to prepare athletes for Ranger School has two distinct missions:

(1) Prepare athletes for the intensity and specific physical gates of RAP week.

(2) Prepare athletes’ physical and mental stamina, endurance, durability and resiliency for the long “grind” during the multiple Ranger School phases, afterward.

The six training plans contained within the Ranger School Training Packet detail 43 weeks (approx 9.5 months) of training in with these two missions at the forefront.

The first 5 training plans introduce athletes to the intensity of MTI programming and build the foundation fitness, durability and resiliency.

You’ll begin with the MTI Military On-Ramp Training Plan which will introduce you to the intensity and scope of MTI programming and lay the base for the following programming.

The next four plans in the packet, Humility, Fortitude, Valor and Gratitude come from our Virtue Series of training plans which were originally deployed as day-to-day fitness for SOF and have since evolved and been updated to represent the latest elements of MTI’s programming approach for military athletes.

These four training plans are potent tools which work progressively together to build your physical and mental fitness, durability and resiliency moving toward Ranger School.

Directly before Ranger School, you’ll complete the Ranger School Training Plan which is laser-focused on preparing you to pass the gates during RAP week, including the Ranger PFT and 12-mile ruck, and build your endurance/stamina for the months at Ranger School that follow. We’re on Version 3 of this plan – just updated in July, 2017.

This packet is organized so that each plan will builds fitness for the next. The purpose is to build sufficient fitness to complete Ranger School regardless of the athlete’s incoming fitness level.


The six plans, in the order you’ll complete them are listed below. 

(1) Military On-Ramp – Bodyweight Strength, Gym-Based Strength, sprint interval work capacity, ruck runs with increasing weight and unloaded running intervals. The place to start with MTI Programming for Military Athletes. 5 day/week training plan.

(2) Humility – Limited Equipment Training Plan with slight endurance emphasis. Bodyweight strength endurance and dumbbell strength progression. Loaded (25# or IBA) running and unloaded running. Chassis Integrity work. Humility has a “hardening” effect on athletes who complete it. 5 day/week training plan.

(3) Fortitude – Heavy gym-based strength, unloaded running and ruck running. Unloaded running and rucking intervals, gym-based Strength, Work Capacity, and Chassis Integrity. 5 day/week training plan.

(4) Valor– Work capacity and speed over ground focused training plan which continues gym-based strength work and Chassis Integrity Development.  5 day/week training plan.

(5) GratitudeStrong endurance and stamina emphasis. Heavy, barbell-focused strength work. Endurance deploys gym-based endurance, unloaded running, and ruck running. Bumps up to 6 days/week.

(6) Ranger School Training Plan – Specific training for Ranger School PFT, Running, Rucking, and Work Capacity.

It’s very important you complete the final, Ranger School Training Plan the 8 weeks directly before you report for reporting. This plan includes a taper, so there’s no need to take rest week after it’s completion.


What equipment is required?

Click the individual training plan links below to find the specific equipment requirements for each training plan. In general, Humility and the final Ranger School Training Plan are limited equipment training plans. Fortitude, Valor and Gratitude require a fully-equipped functional fitness gym: Fully Equipped Functional Fitness Gym including barbells, racks, bumper plates, sandbags (40# for women, 60# for men), Dumbbells and/or kettlebells, plyo boxes, etc.

All the training plans include rucking, so you’ll need a ruck and up to 65# of filler/load. Other equipment includes a stop watch and foam roller.

Option is a gps watch for measuring running and rucking distance.

Again, click the individual training plans below to see the required equipment for each:

Who is this plan appropriate for?
Military athletes attending Ranger School in the next 6-12 months.

What if I don’t have 42 weeks before attending Ranger School?
It’s important you begin this programming with the Military On-Ramp Training Plan and finish with the Ranger School Training Plan directly before Ranger School – this is 14 weeks of training. Fill in the time you have between with first Humility, then Fortitude, then Valor, etc. We can help with specific guidance and planning. Please email

How long will I have access to these training plans.
Forever, or as long as MTI is in business, whichever comes first. You will also get access to any updates we make to the training plans.

Can I see sample training?
To see/experience the first week of programming for each of these training plans click on the individual training plans above, and then click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming.

I don’t want the entire packet of plans. Can I purchase the plans individually?
Yes. Click the plan links above to purchase individually.

The price for this packet of plans, $209, represents a 30% savings over the combined price of the individual plans.

Questions? Email

Arete 7.13.17

Ex-CIA contractor says Pakistan’s leaders helped him escape murder charges, Intel News
Islamic State fights the Taliban, Afghan government-backed locals in Tora Bora Mountains, Long War Journal
Qassem Soleimani boasts of Tehran’s expanded footprint throughout Middle East, Long War Journal
China’s First Overseas Military Base, The Atlantic
Israel’s Forthcoming Security Dilemma, War on the Rocks
Events that led to arrest of Army soldier on terrorism charges, Military Times

Homeland Security/Terrorism
The Ugly Aftermath of a Cyberattack, NY Times
Syrian war monitor reports death of ISIS leader but U.S. can’t confirm, In Homeland Security
US-Mexico Border Tunnels Evolve to Defy Security Measures, In Homeland Security
Communication in times of crisis, Homeland Security Newswire
Predicting Natural Disasters, Homeland Security News Wire

First Responder
Report: Police pursuits are causing unnecessary deaths and injuries, Police One
Becoming a Cop . . . It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, Law Enforcement Today
Characterising resource use and potential inefficiencies during large-fire suppression in the western US, International Journal of Wildland Fire
Ohio Sheriff Refuses to Equip Deputies with Narcan, Police Mag
The 9 Most Dangerous Things Firefighters Do, Backstep Firefighter

Creative Camping: Where To Sleep When There’s Not A Site, Gear Junkie
Rural Indonesia Is the Next Great Climber’s Paradise, Outside Magazine
Serious WTF: 25 years of Matchstick Productions’ best ski crashes, Freeskier
(Video) Kiteboarder Hits Humpback Whale, The Adventure Blog
Climbing Trip Tune-Up with Neil Gresham, Training Beta

The Complete History of the AR-15, SWJ
The Case for Size-Specific Mountain Bikes, Outside Magazine
U.S. Marshals Service – Expired Body Armor, Inconsistent Training Raises Risks For Marshals, Soldier Systems
27 Eastern Mountain Sports stores slated to close,
Army looks to replace the Squad Automatic Weapon, Army Times

This Is Your Brain on Exercise, Outside Magazine
Chest Strap Vs Wristband Heart Rate Monitors Breaking Muscle
No Sugar Or No Fat? No Thanks, Breaking Muscle
Coconut Oil: Health Food or Heart Killer? T-Nation
Can poor sleep lead to Alzheimer’s?
After Knee Surgery, Try Anti-Gravity Treadmill, Science Daily
Combating Chronic Kidney Disease With Exercise, Science Daily

Geek Cycle #2 – Ruck Run Speed Improvement

By Charlie Bausman

On July 11, the tactical lab rats began a second iteration of our Geek Cycle. With this cycle, we pivot to improving ruck run speed.

We’ve programmed interval ruck progressions based on varying assessment distances for Operator Sessions, selection plans, and ruck improvement plans. Our rule of thumb for the intervals is one-third of the assessment distance, at a pace which is 20% faster than the assessment pace.

For this cycle, we will use an assessment distance of three miles while wearing a 45# ruck. This is a fairly short assessment – we are constrained by the amount of time we have access to the lab rats. The 45# rucking load is standard for our programming, as well as for the rucking tests used in the military.

Following the initial assessment results, we’ll split the lab rats in to two groups – Group A and Group B. The two groups will use a different methods of progression, training rucking speed for three weeks. Following the mini-cycle, we’ll re-assess the athletes to see which group had the greatest overall improvement.

The Initial Assessment

We used a 400m track to time the lab rats 3-mile ruck run. Each lap was recorded as well as the final assessment time. Lab rat results below.

Overall, this is a fast group. Because the majority of the lab rats are so close in the assessment times, it should provide us two balanced groups in terms of speed for testing. Vinny is new to ruck running and the biggest athlete by a wide margin. It will interesting to observe how his times progress as he becomes more familiar it.

Group A Progression

Group A will conduct 1-mile intervals twice a week on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. Using our rucking calculator, each athlete will be prescribed a per mile time for the rucking intervals. They will begin with 2 Rounds of 1-mile intervals, and then progress to 3 Rounds of 1-mile intervals.

Group B Progression

Group B will also ruck twice a week on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. One day a week they will conduct 1-mile intervals in the same format as Group A. The other rucking day will consist of a 5-mile ruck at 45#, but at a slower, steady pace. Our rucking calculator provides a ‘moderate per mile’ pace, which the athletes maintain for the duration of the 5-mile ruck. This pace is 10-20% slower than the athlete’s 3-mile assessment per mile pace.

Considerations and Thoughts Going Forward

Our primary tool for developing speed over ground in running or rucking is intervals. We’ve observed rucking improvement via intervals here in the gym, as well as the feedback provided by those following MTI programming online. The question isn’t whether intervals work or not, but rather are they more effective when complimented with a longer, steady state efforts. We’re not sure.

The loading at 45# is standard across the military services for testing purposes. Some will assign this weight ‘dry,’ meaning it must weight 45# before including water and/or Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s). This can increase the weight significantly. For the purposes of our testing the lab rat’s have made sandbags that weight 43#. Including the weight of the ruck, it makes for a even 45# load. The lab rats did not carry any water/food during their assessment, and won’t during the follow on progressions.

An additional consideration is terrain. All progressions and assessments are completed on a flat 400m track. In previous studies we had analyzed different systems of predicting rate of movement based on terrain changes (incline/decline) and developed the MTI Route Card. How might terrain change affect results between Group A and Group B? Again, we’re not sure. For this Geek Cycle, we’ll only use the track, but we may look at further testing this idea on varied terrain.

In order to focus on the rucking testing, the lab rats from Group A and Group B will conduct the same gym training on Monday and Wednesday’s. The focus for gym work will be strength and chassis integrity. With both groups completing the same gym sessions, we’ll have less variables in analyzing the results of the ruck run test.

Want to participate in the Geek Cycle? Complete the 3-mile assessment and pick a progression to follow.

Email your results to


MTI now offers over 200 plans!


By Mintra Mattison

You’ve asked for it and here they are. Our Coaches have been working hard to provide you with newest methodologies and training plans to meet your demands.


Below is a list of all 202 plans that are now included with the Athlete’s Subscription Package:


Mountain Plans:

  • 100 Mile Ultra Training Plan
  • 30 Minutes/Day Dryland Ski Training Plan
  • 50-Mile Ultra Training Plan
  • Alpine Rock Climb
  • Alpine Running Training Plan
  • Alpinist Fitness Assessment Training Plan
  • AMGA Alpine Guide Course Training Plan
  • AMGA Rock Guide Course Training Plan
  • AMGA Ski Guide Course Training Plan
  • Backcountry Big Game Hunting
  • Backcountry Ski V2
  • Backpack Pre-Season
  • Big Mountain V2
  • Big Wall Climbing
  • Core Strength for Runners
  • Denali Training Plan
  • Dryland Ski Training Plan V4
  • Expedition Ice/Mixed
  • Fall Dryland Ski
  • Free Ski Training
  • Ice Climb Pre-Season
  • In Season Ski Maintenance
  • Monster Factory
  • Mountain Base Alpha
  • Mountain Base Artemis
  • Mountain Base Atalanta
  • Mountain Base Bravo
  • Mountain Base Charlie
  • Mountain Base Climbing Alternative
  • Mountain Base Danae
  • Mountain Base Helen
  • Mountain Bike Preseason Training Plan
  • Mountain Guide Pre-Season
  • Off-Season Training for Endurance Athletes
  • Peak Bagger
  • Rainier Training Plan
  • Randonee Race
  • Rock Climb Pre-Season
  • Surf Preseason
  • Ultra Pre-Season
  • Warbonnet

Military Plans:

  • Afghanistan Pre-Deployment
  • Air Assault
  • Airborne School
  • APFT Plan
  • Army OCS
  • Battlefield Airman Assessment Training Plan – TACP
  • Beep Test Training
  • Best Ranger Competition
  • British Officer Selection Board
  • BUD/s V2 Training Plan
  • Busy Operator I
  • Busy Operator II
  • CDQC
  • Core Strength I
  • DEVGRU Selection
  • Fortitude V2
  • Gratitude
  • Humility V2
  • KSK Selection
  • Marine Corp OCS
  • Military Athlete Endurance
  • Military On-Ramp
  • Operator Achilles
  • Operator Actaeon
  • Operator Apollo
  • Operator Hector
  • Operator Pentathlon
  • Operator Perseus
  • Operator Ugly Train-Up
  • Operator Ulysses
  • Pirate Series Barbossa
  • Pirate Series Blackbeard
  • Pirate Captain Morgan
  • Pirate Madame Cheng
  • Potential Royal Marine Course
  • Q Course Training Plan
  • Ranger School
  • RASP
  • Resilience
  • Ruck Based Selection Plan V5
  • Rucking Improvement
  • Sandhurst Competition Training Plan
  • Sapper Training Plan
  • SASR Selection
  • Service Academy CFA
  • SFOD-D
  • SFRE Training Plan
  • Shipboard
  • Upper Body Round Robin
  • Urban Conflict Pre-Deployment Training Plan
  • US Navy PST
  • USAF CCT/PJ/CRO Selections
  • USCG Rescue Swimmer Plan
  • USMC Basic Recon
  • USMC Recon Challenge Program
  • USMC TBS/IOC Training Packet
  • Valor Training Program

General Strength and Conditioning Plans:

  • “Curly” – Dumbbell Kettlebell Plan
  • “Larry” – Dumbbell Kettlebell Plan
  • “Moe” – Dumbbell Kettlebell Plan
  • 357 Strength
  • Big 24 V4
  • Bodyweight Build
  • Bodyweight Foundation
  • Chassis Integrity Training Plan
  • Core Strength Bodyweight Only
  • Eccentric Strength Training Plan
  • Fat Loss Plan
  • Hypertrophy For Skinny Guys
  • In-Season Strength Training For Endurance Athletes
  • Meathead Marathon
  • MTI Relative Strength Assessment Training Plan
  • Rat 6
  • Run Improvement
  • Sandbag Ethos
  • Sandbag/Weightvest/Dumbbell Training Plan
  • SF45 Alpha
  • SF45 Bravo
  • SF45 Charlie
  • SF45 Delta
  • Single Limb Strength
  • Stuck in a Motel
  • Super Squat Strength
  • Swimming Improvement
  • TLU Strength
  • Ultimate Meathead Cycle
  • Ultimate Work Capacity I

LE Plans:

  • Cooper Test
  • DEA FAST Selection Training Plan
  • Law Enforcement Academy Plan
  • LE Fitness Assessment
  • LE OnRamp Training Plan
  • LE Patrol/Detective Bourbon
  • LE Patrol/Detective Tequila
  • LE Patrol/Detective Vodka
  • LE Patrol/Detective Whiskey
  • SWAT Selection
  • SWAT/SRT Beretta
  • SWAT/SRT Glock
  • SWAT/SRT Ruger
  • U.S. Marshalls SOG Selection Training Plan

FR Plans:

  • CPAT Training Plan
  • Fire Academy Training Plan
  • Fire Rescue Assessment Training Plan
  • Fire Rescue OnRamp
  • Fire Rescue Tactical I
  • Fire/Rescue Jaguar
  • Fire/Rescue Leopard
  • Fire/Rescue Lion
  • Fire/Rescue Panther
  • Fire/Rescue Tiger
  • HotShot/ Smoke Jumper Pre-Season
  • Smokejumper Rookie
  • Wildland Firefighter

Competition Plans:

  • GORUCK Challenge
  • GORUCK Heavy
  • GORUCK Selection

Injury Plans:

  • Arm Injury Training Program
  • Leg Injury Training Program
  • Low Back Training Plan V2
  • Post Rehab Leg Injury Training Plan

Legacy Plans:

  • 3-30 Work Capacity Training Plan
  • 369 Work Capacity
  • Atlas
  • Bataan Death March
  • Bodyweight I Training Plan
  • Bodyweight II Training Plan
  • BUD/S V1 Training Plan
  • Courage
  • Dryland Ski Program V3
  • Falcon Training Plan
  • Gym Based Stamina
  • In Season Girls VB/BB
  • Kayak/Paddling Pre-Season
  • Kettlebell Strength
  • Mountain Athlete For Crossfitters
  • Patrol Officer Training
  • Pingora
  • Range Fitness Mid-Range Carbine
  • SF45
  • Spartan Sprint Race
  • Squad PT
  • SSD for Crossfitters
  • Stamina Training Cycle
  • Strength And Honor
  • Tough Mudder


The following plans are the newest addition to the MTI Training Plans:

SF45 Series

SF45 is an acronym for “Strength and Fitness 45” and this programming is designed for older tactical and other high impact athletes in the 45-55 age range.

Pirate Series

This series of plans is deigned to specifically to meet the day-to-day training needs of multi-mission military and law enforcement units with a scuba, rescue, and other water-based mission set.

Military Plans

Designed in specific preparation for the physical events of certain schools/tests.


Again, all these plans are now included in the Athlete’s Subscription Package along with our day-to-day programming for Military, Mountain and LE Athletes, as well with educational online courses for the experienced athlete or coach who desires to learn more about strength and conditioning program design.

But we don’t stop here. We are driven by “holes” we see in mountain and tactical programming as well as athlete requests.

So here are a few of the Training Plans currently in the queue:

Upcoming Tactical Plans

  • SOCOM Fitness Assessment currently conducted by Exos coaches
  • 724th STS Selection
  • Canadian Army FORCE Fitness Test Training Plan
  • Tactical Speed and Agility Training plan
  • Border Patrol PFT & Academy
  • USSS Physical Fitness Evaluation
  • North Carolina OPAT
  • Smoke Diver Training Plan
  • Wildland Firefighter Assessment and Training Plan

Upcoming Mountain Plans

  • Grand Traverse Training Plan (Grand Traverse in the Teton Range)
  • Backcountry Mountain Snowmobiling Pre-Season Training Plan
  • Adventure Race Training Plan (Run/Hike, Bike, Paddle)
  • Rim to Rim (Grand Canyon) Training Plan

Upcoming General Fitness Training Plans

  • Sandbag Logos and Pathos
  • Gym-Based Endurance Training Plan
  • Pull Up Improvement Training Plan
  • Push Up Improvement Training Plan
  • Ultimate Work Capacity II and III
  • Pregnant Woman Training Plan



Can’t Decide? Check Out Individual Training Plan or Athlete’s Subscription




Q&A 7.13.17


“Morning Rob, I hope you are well. Also I went to SFAS in May and got selected. I followed your Ruck Based Selection Plan and never had a problem – was told by the cadre I was a top 5 performer.It worked extremely well and I felt strong throughout. I know some guys have been saying there isn’t a need for the longer rucks (12+ mile), but I felt that they made the difference on the land nav phase, where just being on your feet under a ruck for days on end started to break down the other lads. Because I had the extra milage in the legs and back, I felt my ability to recover was much better.  The only thing I did change was on some of the 2 mile intervals, I carried a 50lbs KB in one hand to work on grip strength and replicate events on Team week, that really gave me the edge. I watched people quit because of that.”



I’ve got a Rainier climb coming in 6 weeks. I’ve done it before but I’ve been getting out of shape due to injury. Injury should be good.

Is there a program that can help get me back my cardiovascular fitness and strength in time? I usually just do a heavy pack on a 8 mile round trip 3000ft mountain a couple times a week but my knees have been getting really sore.


We’ve built a sport-specific training plan for Rainer HERE.
This is a 7-week plan – Complete weeks 1-5, skip 6, and finish 7 to coincide with your time left before the climb.
Good luck!
– Rob


I’ve been a huge fan of your training programs for the last five years or so while I was in the active duty serving with Marine Corps units in CA. I’m out of the Active Duty now, living in New York and just signed up for the Spartan Ultra Beast race in Killington, VT this September (four months out). The race is classified as 26+ miles of nasty mountain terrain trail running plus an assortment of functional-fitness based strength challenges along the way. I was wondering if you had a recommendation for which of your programs might be a good fit for training leading up to that race. I had in mind a schedule that would look something like:
Mon: Strength
Tue: Med Length Run
Wed: Strength
Thur: Hills/Stairs/Sprints
Fri: Strength
Sat: Long Run (Trail when possible)
Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated as this seems to fall a little in between the mountaineering programs (due to the fact that I will be running the vast majority of the race) and the Mil/LEO programs. Please advise and thanks again for all the great work you guys do. Cheers.
Very Respectfully,


Going in, you’re doing too much strength, not enough running. 4 months = 16 Weeks. From my stuff, here’s what I’d recommend:
Weeks   Plan
1-6         Helen – Helen comes from our mountain base side and is a 6 day/week program, with two days in the gym training heavy strength, work capacity and chassis integrity. One change to this plan, skip Friday’s scheduled climbing gym work and run 2/3 the
              distanced of Saturday’s prescribed trail run. So if the Saturday run is 9 miles, run 6 on Friday, then the 9 on Saturday.
7-16       Ultra Pre-Season Training Plan – this plan includes strength work – primarily bodyweight, but also cranks up your running and will prepare you for the 26 miles.
– Rob


Good evening, I recently subscribed to your athlete program and I have a question. I am currently switching over from the SOFLETE strength team just to change things up a bit. But as i look at your programs i see that a lot of them run 4-6 weeks. My question is, are you supposed to run the program, take a deload and then run it again, possibly even 3x? I assume that’s correct as i can’t see real progress being made in just 4-6 weeks. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you.


Depending upon the athlete, 15-20% improvement is our goal for strength gains in one of our strength-focused programs (Rat 6, Big 24, Super Squats, etc.) over a 6 week cycle. The younger the training age of the athlete (how long they’ve been training), the greater the gain. The older the training age (longer they’ve been training), the lessor the gain. Older training age athletes should already have strength closer to their genetic potential – so have less room for improvement.
For younger training age athletes, we’ll see the bulk of the improvement in the first 3 weeks.
We don’t recommend repeating the plans again and again – first because of boredom/staleness, second for overtraining, and third, because one of the strength and conditioning truisms is “everything works, but nothing works forever.” Athletes accommodate to the training stimulus and new stuff is needed to spark growth.
If you’ve been focused on strength, I’d encourage you try on of our military programs which deploy Fluid Periodization and concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (running, ruck running, gym-based), chassis integrity and TAC SEPA (Tactical Speed, Explosive Power and Agility).
Our most recent iteration is found in our Greek Hero series of plans. Start with Hector, and follow the plans in the order recommended.
Regardless, good luck.
– Rob


Good morning,

Ran into your program through recommendation from a friend of mine. I have a quick question in regards to a few exercise programs.

I come from a high intensity/ high fitness background as an athlete. About 5 years ago I took a hard fall and had ACL surgery and it pretty much took me out of training and conditioning to the point that it became difficult to “jump back” in to it. I want to start at bodyweight foundation but I also saw the post rehab leg injury program as well. My legs have become pretty weak to my standards after the injury and never really pushing after rehab the knee so my question to you is after all these years, should I bounce into the post rehab leg injury program or just start at body weight foundation? Or rather blend the two?

Thanks for the help,


I’d recommend you start with our Post-Rehab Leg Injury Training Plan.
Email back on the other side.
– Rob


I have a few questions regarding the backcountry big game hunting plan. I am also going to be utilizing a mountain bike into my mountain hunting this season and would like to include this in my workouts. Do you have any recommendations to include that as well? My hunt is further out than 8 wks and I have no problem adding additional days to the workout plan to include biking. I do enjoy running as well and don’t want to replace that. Are there additional exercises included each week besides the ones listed in the sample week? Also, am I given full access to the plan if I purchase a subscription and not the plan or do I get access to new workout each day with the subscription? My hunting season starts in 15 wks and I have a long hunt in 17 or 18 weeks. Once the season starts I won’t be able to follow the plan as close and will have about 3-4 days a week for workouts.



1. Mountain Bike? Careful there. I sometimes use a bike to shorten my approach, but in terms of the actual time percentage I spend moving in the mountains, on-foot movement dominates and for me – it should be the bulk of my programming. If you’re going to be doing all your approaches on a bike, you could substitute mountain biking for the unloaded running in the plan. If you’ll use your bike from time to time to approach, you could alternate between unloaded running and biking. In terms of substitution, assume you’ll run 10 minute miles and make the sub for biking in time. For example, if the plan calls for a 4 mile run, bike for 40 minutes. Don’t substitute biking for step ups or rucking.
2. Additional exercises? This is sport specific training plan built focused on the fitness demands of backcountry big game hunting – mountain endurance, chassis integrity, uphill movement under load, eccentric leg strength for downhill movement, etc. The exercises I’ve chosen are the most efficient and transferable to mountains I’ve found so far, and no, there’s not a lot of exercise variety. Each week will be the same thing, only harder. This isn’t a general fitness training plan.
3. I’d recommend completing this plan the 8 weeks directly before your season starts – not your long hunt. The plan is full on, and training will interview with your hunting during week 16 (i.e. you’ll be sore and tired).
With the plan purchase you just get access to the 8-week Backcountry Big Game Training Plan. I wouldn’t recommend repeating it back to back, but it’s up to you. You could do some of your own programming then drop into the plan 8 weeks before your season.
With a subscription you get full access to the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Plan as well as 190+ of our other plans. If you do this, I’d recommend doing Humility for 7 weeks now, then dropping into the Big Game plan directly before your season.
– Rob


Started SF45 Alpha today with my climbing partner. Since January, we’ve been training general strength and conditioning in the gym, squats, deads, step ups, ect, We just climbed Mt. Washington this past week as our first test to assess our overall readiness for bigger objectives. While a relatively easy climb, Mt. Washington pointed out where our weaknesses are. Our big objective for the year is a climb of Grand Teton with Exum Guides in July.

Thought it was only day one, SF45 Alpha seems to be exactly what we needed to kick our training into a higher gear.

I feel, however, that since some of these exercises are unfamiliar, my form is not the greatest. I’ve watched the videos, but videos don’t tell you when you are doing something wrong. What do you recommend for me to learn better form for push presses, etc.?

Also, when we are in Jackson Hole, would it be possible to stop in to say hello, and possibly get some tips on exercises and future plans after we finish with Grand Teton?

Thanks for putting this plan together, I really feel my buddy and I will benefit greatly from it.


Exercise proficiency? Be smart with loading, get some practice, and there are literally a bazillion resources online. You could hire a coach if you’d like wherever you are, but most learn on their own.
You’ll want to do the Peak Bagger Training Plan 6 weeks directly before your Grand trip. SF45 Alpha won’t prepare you sport-specifically for that event – and the Peak Bagger is specifically designed for one day, non-technical summits like the Grand.
Email when you’re in Wyoming – you’re welcome to visit the facility.
– Rob



I’m looking to start your Army OCS plan.  I’m not a great runner and I’ve never run 5 miles before.  Workout #2 has the 5 mile run and I’ll be using the table you provide to find my 2-mile interval times.  The thing is, I’m not going to be able to do the 5 miles in under 50 minutes and that’s the slowest time your table shows.  The same goes for the 2-mile APFT pace table, it goes up to 17:29.. I’m closer to 20 minutes.

What would your recommendation be?  Am I too unprepared to start this plan?

Thank you.


How far out are you from OCS? – Rob
Actually, I’m not going at all.  My fiancee, on the other hand, is starting OCS in a few weeks.  As silly as it sounds, I just want to endure a small fraction of what she’ll be doing there.  I’m a police officer in the civilian world and need to get a jump on my fitness anyway, so I figured following the OCS plan would knock out both of those goals.

I’d recommend you begin with the APFT Training Plan. This plan is assessment-based: you’ll take the APFT out of the gate, and use your assessment results for the follow-on progressions. The run is a more manageable 2-miles – and with this and the way the plan will automatically “scale” to your incoming fitness, it’s a good place to start.
– Rob


Hello Coach Rob,
I was pondering the following training programs you have:
“Greek Hero” Training Packet
Virtue Series
USAF CCT/PJ/CRO Training Packet
Fire/Rescue “Big Cat” Training Packet
My question is, if I were to partake in these programs would there be a crawl-walk-run type of order? I understand the Greek Hero training packet is for Green Tactical Athletes. I am actually trying to train and become what you call a Blue Tactical Athlete, but that series has not been posted yet. I would not want to start off too high of an incline and then become burned out part of the way through. I have been doing/coaching CrossFit for eight years and five years, respectively. I’ve also been training for Pararescue. I’m a power and strength background, so Olympic style weightlifting and power lifting are my bread and butter; endurance has become tolerable to keep it neutral. Just pondering your thoughts, brother, I’d like to get some quality training going. Any help will be much appreciated, thank you.


I’d recommend you begin our stuff with the Virtue Series – specifically Humility. It will get you out of the gym and away from barbells for a while, and start pushing your bodyweight strength endurance and military aerobic endurance (running/loaded running). Humility also has a distinct “hardening” effect, and my guess is you’ll appreciate the variety and being pushed in different areas.
– Rob


Hello, I just have a quick question. I’m starting a 30 week fire academy in just under 5 weeks. I’m planning on using your fire academy plan but wanted to ask your opinion. With the fire academy plan being a 7 week plan and my academy being 4-5 weeks out should I skip the first weeks or just do what I can of the plan before I start? Or is there another plan you would recommend.


Stick with the Fire Academy Training Plan but don’t skip ahead. Follow it as prescribed until the last week before your academy, then skip to Week 7 in the plan.
Good luck! Excited for you!
– Rob


I have a surprise apft in 3 weeks. Would just pushing weeks 1-3 cause any appreciable improvement in performance, especially in the run?


You’ll definitely see improvement. How much depends upon how unfit you are now. If you’re unfit, you’ll see the most improvement. If you’re fit, you won’t see as much. Here is our APFT Training Plan.
It deploys the APFT out of the gate, then uses your scores for the follow-on progressions. This way it automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness.
– Rob


I am trying to select the correct program to start with.  A little background on myself.  I’m currently 26 years old and plan to join the Ohio National Guard as an infantrymen.  I have further aspirations but for now I need to focus on the 25 meter objective.  I am a former college athlete (football) however I have hardly maintained a level of fitness acceptable for service.  I’m 6’2″ 235#s and recently did an army style APFT test in which I completed 62 pushups, 41 sit-ups, and an 18:15 2 mile run.  I have a long way to go to max the PT score which is my intentions.  I also have a case of chronic tendonitis in my left knee, which I believe is the result of an ACL reconstruction I had while as a college athlete.  The injury occurred before my final season and due to a lack of proper rehabilitation I have developed a substation strength imbalance between legs as my right leg is 2-3 inches larger.  I’m looking for a program to establish a strong cardio base, improve sit-ups as I have struggled to improve these on my own, and bullet proof my lower body from tendonitis issues.  I have trained on and off for the past 3 years and will be the first to admit that my knee improves greatly when it is strengthened, I just have no idea how to properly correct the imbalance. Sorry for the book but I’m sure the background will help in your recommendation.  Also I was have full intentions on setting up an account and yearly subscription but am trying to understand the benefits as to opposed of just buy a plan.
Thanks you for you help and for your time,


Hi Ben –

I’d recommend you begin our stuff with the APFT Training Plan and see how your knee/leg responds to the running, and sprinting in the plan. My guess is it will strengthen with training and start to even out.
Also – fix your diet. I’d like to see you around 215#. Here are our Nutritional Guidelines.
Plan purchase vs. Subscription?
A plan purchase gives you access to one training plan, and all it’s updates as we evolve our programming. It’s like buying a movie DVD.
An Athlete’s Subscription gives you access to all 190+ of our training plans (military, law enforcement, fire/rescue, mountain, general fitness, legacy) and their updates, plus our daily programming for military, law enforcement and mountain athletes – but you lose access if you cancel your subscription. It’s like subscribing to Netflix.
– Rob


I just returned from a NTC rotation at Fort Irwin this past weekend and I am looking at starting my train up for SFAS.  I plan on doing your Ruck Based Selection Program 8 weeks before my selection date (which as of right now I do not know).  I believe my selection date will be either end of this upcoming October or around January-February 2018.
I am thinking of doing running Mon/Wed/Fri and rucking Tues/Thurs/Sat for morning PT and then do training programs in the afternoon.
I wanted your advice on which training plans to use.  I would say my weakest area is my endurance/run times physically, but coming back from NTC I know I have lost a little bit of strength as well.  I have looked into the Ruck Based Selection Packet, but realize that I may not have enough time to complete the entire packet.
Which plans do you suggest I prioritize in my train up prior to using the Ruck Based Program?
Thank you for your help and programs.  They have redefined the way I get after attaining my desired physical fitness levels.


You should train like SFAS is in October. Based on my calendar counting skills and best guess, if so you would be starting the Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan the last week in August. That gives you 13 weeks to fill.
Working back from the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet, I would recommend you start Valor next week for it full 7 weeks, and follow it up with 6 weeks of Resilience, then roll into the selection-specific plan.
Glad our stuff has worked for you and good luck!
– Rob


Hey coach,

I wanted to ask for some back up on supporting ruck-running. I’m a 2LT in the Infantry and I’m currently on your Valor Training Program in the Ruck-Based Selection Packet. A lot of the conventional officers I’ve talked to think ruck running is a quick way to get injured and is not a smart thing to train. There seems like there’s a good deal of negativity surrounding the topic. Since I started the packet, I’ve gotten better in every way and personally, I enjoy the ruck-runs and my knees/ankles do not feel any more worn out than they have before. I guess I just want to know what leads you to be such a believer in them for your military programs.

Thank you coach!


I heard the concerns also, took it as gospel, and when I first started programming for military athletes, didn’t program ruck running. But a couple things changed:
1) We started ruck running and experienced any undo lower body impact from ruck running. In fact, we found we really like it. It has a way of “tightening” everything up.
2) Unless you’re a giant, selections require it. And we don’t want our athletes attending a selection, and having to do something they didn’t experience in training leading up to it.
– Rob


I am a 32 year old low mileage runner (up to 15 miles/week with long run of 5) who is increasing my mileage in hopes of completing a marathon. I am not in bad shape (as I’ve completed a 5K in under 20 minutes and 5/6 miles isn’t all that difficult at a 7:30 pace), but I’m not incredibly strong and I want to get in the best shape I can be in. I have access to a gym and all the equipment I could need. What plan should I start with to increase my overall fitness? What would be the profession of plans moving forward after that? Any help is appreciated. Thank you.


I’d recommend you start our stuff with the Running Improvement Training Plan.
This plan includes assessed and progressed running (threshold shorter intervals and long, easy runs) and strength training. Begin the 15-week plan at Week 6.
– Rob



I am currently Active Duty in the Military and am on Deployment. I turn 40 this year and have been in SOF for almost 20 years and am still operational. I am very active and stay in good physical condition at all times throughout the year. That being said, I am trying to choose a program that will increase my strength on (back squat, military press, bench, etc..) but still let me maintain my metabolic conditioning and endurance that I have kept through the years. I see some of the programs that look applicable but thought I would ask the experts which one I should focus on.

Thank you very much for your help and time.


I’d recommend you work through the Greek Hero series of plans, beginning with Hector.
These training plans are designed as day-to-day programming for military SOF and concurrently train strength, work capacity, military endurance (running, rucking), chassis integrity and tactical agility.
Hector is an awesome plan which deploys our TLU Strength progression in the weight room, gets you under the sandbag for sandbag getups, includes ruck running at 45#, and unloaded easy runs to 7 miles.
– Rob


I recently purchased your 10 month SFAS prep plan.  I just finished my conditioning plan, and I’m going to start humility in a few days and I’m super excited.   My first question is:
I’m having a little trouble understanding the “flow” of the burpee ladder test.  Could you give me maybe a step by step, or a different explanation?
Second question:
Do you see a problem with me supplementing workouts with some extra running and especially rucking maybe 2 times a week?  I’m in moderately good shape at the moment, but my ruck is actually still a little weak.
Thanks for your time and dedication to tactical fitness!


Set a repeating countdown timer at 60 seconds.
On “Go” – do 10 burpees … faster you finish the more rest you get before the next level starts.
Next time the timer beeps, do 12x burpees.
Next time the timer beeps, do 14x burpees …. and deep going, increasing 2x burpees each level until you can’t finish the prescribed number of burpees in the 60 second time limit.
Then add up all the burpees you completed during the assessment.
This is pretty terrible. More here and here.
– Rob


I am a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps.  I am currently awaiting training at Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal.  I am in an organization that is male dominated and trying to get into a field that is even more male dominated.  Compared to the typical female civilian, I am probably extremely fit… compared to the typical male Marine EOD technician, I am seriously lacking in physical capabilities, endurance, and strength.  I need to be able to carry my weight and not be a source of weakness in the team.  Specifically, I would like to increase my pull-ups to 23 (I have been nursing a strained shoulder for the past month and a half but it is feeling much better.. before shoulder injury, I could do 7 underhand, can now do 3 underhand), improve my 3-mile run time of 26 minutes, increase my upper body strength, work on rucking, and prepare for carrying another individual plus their gear.
1) Do you already have a plan created that fits what I am looking for?
2) If not, what do you recommend?
There is another female Marine student here, as well, so I want to share whatever information I get with her, too.
I look forward to hearing from you!!


Okay – I understand you’re through selection. I’d recommend you begin our programming with 3 plans from the Virtue Series – Humility, Fortitude, and Valor – in that order. These plans were developed specifically for military athletes and concurrently train strength, work capacity, military endurance (running, ruck running), and chassis integrity (our mid-section programming).
Humility is an intense limited equipment training plan which starts you out with bodyweight strength training, dumbbell-based work capacity, and IBA runs – out to 7 miles. It will lay the foundation for Fortitude – which will move you into the weight room for heavy barbell-based strength work, and increase your rucking load to 45 pounds. Fortitude pulls back some on work capacity to focus on strength.
Valor ramps up the work capacity work with intense gym-based work cap efforts and hard, assessment based running and ruck running intervals.
On the other side of these plans I’d recommend you move into our Daily Operator Sessions or the Greek Hero packet of training plans – starting with Hector.
Good luck,
– Rob


Rob and crew,

What plans would you all consider “limited equipment” training plans? I know some military plans are considered this and some mountain plans but wanted to see if there was a list or if y’all had knowledge of the limited equipment plans.

FYI, I’m loving the Run Improvement Plan.



We have an entire list of “Limited Equipment Training Plans” under the General Training dropdown.
Click HERE for the list.
– Rob


Good afternoon!

I am so excited that I found your site! I am ready to take the plunge and purchase the package. I was wondering if you could give me some training recommendations.

I am 48 years old and have recently recovered from having two surgeries last year. As a result I am in poor to fair shape and probably around 60 pounds over weight.

One of these days I hope to draw a sheep tag in Wyoming so I would like some recommendations on how to ramp up to get into sheep hunting mountain shape, maintain that level of conditioning year around, and then any final training that should be done to prepare for a trip.

I have enjoyed numerous trips to Wyoming but always felt I could have trained better.

Thank you!


I’m not sure I have a great plan for you – your extra 60 pounds is a concern. From what I do have, I’d recommend the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan. This is the first plan in the Backcountry Big Game Training Packet.
None of our stuff is easy, or designed for de-conditioned athletes. But the Bodyweight Foundation Plan deploys an assessment out of the gate, and the follow-on programming uses your assessment results and in this way the plan automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness.
Are you fit enough now to begin this plan? I’m not sure … but when you go to the Bodyweight Foundation product page, click “Sample Training” and you’ll see the entire first week of programming. Try it. If you survive you’re ready, if not, you’ll need to start somewhere else and come back to our stuff.
No matter what. Fix your diet. Here are our Nutritional Guidelines.
Finally, I’m 49 and guys our age die of heart disease and other nasty stuff all the time. Get healthy.
– Rob


Hello, had a question for you.  I lived in Jackson last winter, but unfortunately had to move back to NC and now I am stuck here, unable to afford to move back to the Tetons.

However,  I have been doing some Mountain Athlete workouts here in the flatlands of NC.  I just wanted to know if the leg blaster routine is exclusively skiing specific or if it would be applicable to my summer training as well. I realize any workout provides benefit, I just didn’t want to use this one incorrectly.  I mostly just trail run now but I am an avid skier as well.
I hope to move back to Jackson in the near future and possibly train at your gym.  Thanks!


The Leg Blaster complex is a great all around leg strength training tool, and key tool to train eccentric leg strength for many of our programs. Eccentric leg strength is the type you use snowboarding and skiing, as well as hiking downhill. For winter sports we use the Leg Blaster and it’s big brother, the Quadzilla Complex to train skiers. In the Spring, we use these complexed to train hikers, peak baggers and others for downhill mountain movement.
– Rob