All posts by SSD

Q&A 9.14.17


“Wicked kudos on the Humility program. I just finished it (okay, I finished it over a month ago and I’m mostly through Big 24 now, but still), and I gotta say you couldn’t have picked a better name for it.

Some background – I’m a 27 year old male, 6’0” 195 lbs, never been more than an average athlete, but with a decent amount of hands-on experience with fitness in and out of the gym. Prior to Humility I’d been doing a lot of traditional heavy lifting exercises in the gym, and I hadn’t done any serious cardio since finishing a GORUCK Heavy in May 2015. I looked at the Humility plan and figured, “Hey, what’s the worst it could be. Just body weight stuff and light dumbbells and maybe some running.”

I’m an idiot. The program didn’t make me any less of an idiot, but it did harden me up and grant me a little, er, humility. The running was a little rough at the start, but Tuesdays were my worst days b far. Usually I’d be totally burned up before I finished the quadzilla-Scotty Bob-pullups sets, thanks to the burpee sets that preceded them. The other days weren’t much better – seven miles was the most I’d run all at once in a long, long time, for instance, and it only went up from there. But I’ll be damned if I’m a quitter.

Overall, I ended up seeing substantial improvement on just about everything, with the exception of the pullups (max: 20 to max: 21 after 7 weeks, a whopping 5% increase), which I admittedly kind of slacked off on. Won’t do that again, I promise. The biggest benefit was the hardening that came from punishing my body, and I mean really challenging it, outside the sterile air-conditioned increasingly soccer-mom-populated environment of the gym. Humility did to me what I haven’t been able to do to myself for some time now, and for that I thank you fine people at MTI.

Big 24 is no joke, either, but I’m missing the daily ass-kicking that Humility gave me so I’m moving on to Fortitude after I’m done here in a week or so. Thanks again and Kudos on the good work.”


Good afternoon Charles.

I read your article from July 15, 2016 regarding the study of uniforms CRYE vs LEAF vs Standard Issue.

The OPP is the 2nd largest Police Agency in Canada are we are currently looking at CRYE vs LEAF uniforms for our tactical members.

We would sincerely appreciate if you could share the findings of your study.


Below is the link for a summary of our study. We found the Crye uniform we tested to be superior to the LEAF uniforms overall (and at a better price point compared to LEAF). Happy to help in any way we can.


Hi Rob,
I am starting the dryland ski program (v4 – full program) and it shows Friday/Sat/Sun as rest days.
Is there a cardio component I can add. In the past when I did the program, I did 1000 step ups on Friday.
Let me know your thoughts.


Depends upon soreness/how you are recovering.
I’d recommend at least a week with no extra work, then you can add in stuff. An easy 60 minute run, unloaded step ups, etc.
– Rob


Is there a way to do the running improvement plan and the law enforcement academy plan concurrently?


Depends upon you fitness, but in general, I’d recommend the Academy plan alone for the first couple weeks. If you are recovering and making the progressions, then you can add the running plan in as 2-a-days, 3x/week.
– Rob


I use to be a big user of your Big Mountain training program.  However, I’ve fallen off the wagon as you could say and I’m looking to get back on it without causing an injury.
39 years old
It’s been about 3 years since I’ve last exercised.  The only injury I have would be a shoulder impingement.
Life style wise I travel 2 – 3 times a week for work (UK -> Mainland Europe)
Would you recommend starting at your bodyweight training program or the one you have for fat loss?


– Rob


I’m trying to decide on a plan with the focus on building strength but also fit the surrounding goals. Ive got a solid running plan but I feel lost to a degree when lifting.
I’d like to have a day to day plan that includes
Swim workouts but will also build strength and mass. The swim work outs so I can have base plan for triathlons.
In addition
I’m 37 and currently is a reserve unit as Psyops officer (did not go to selection) so I’m looking to for something that can enhance my fitness to perform  at the level that’s excpected as a pseudo sof leader. I would like to improve my rucking as well as meet requirements to go to some of the other sof course and not be completely smoked.
Currently I work with a weight vest and vary speeds and distances as well as do one swim work out a week.


I’d recommend the training plans in our Pirate’s Packet.
These plans were designed as day-to-day programming for tactical athletes with water mission sets – SEAL, USAF PJ/CCT, etc.
Start with Barbossa.
– Rob


My brother (military athlete) has been singing your praises for years, and convinced me to get an athlete subscription. I am looking forward to finally trying one of your programs. I would love to get some of your guidance on where I should begin. I am unfortunately coming off of some injuries, including labrum / shoulder repair on both shoulders, ACL replacement and meniscus repair, and some lower back surgery (April 20). We were thinking of the low back fitness program… My fitness level is currently a solid 37 year old, 6’3, 240 and unfit… so I would be starting from scratch. We are working on Whole 30 (thanks to your recommendation!) and picking a program is next.  am cleared to start. I unfortunately was laid up for a few months and am at a solid 0.5% on my fitness. 🙂
Any help shoving my broke self down the right path would be fantastic…


Let’s start you with the Bodyweight Foundation Program. It’s no joke, and a great way to jumpstart your fitness.
– Rob


I need a good program for bear season here in Western North Carolina. I’ve been hitting the Big 24 for 3 cycles now(which is bad ass by the way) and I need to incorporate some serious work capacity and endurance into my regimen. Bear season here is with hounds and covers topography ranging from 1800 feet above sea level to 6400 feet above sea level. I need to be able to stay within hearing of my hounds and still have enough grit to get the harvested bear out of the woods. Can you prescribe a good fit? My pack would weigh between 30-40lbs, without H2O for me and the dogs probably closer to 20-25lb.


I’d recommend the Peak Bagger Training Plan.
Use 35# for your step up and rucking loads in the plan.
Good luck this season!
– Rob


I had a fellow employee forward me your website.  I am wishing I would have known about this a while ago.  I am from MI planning my first high mountain/backcountry archery elk hunt this September (16-26th).  I am 41 years old, I would say I am physically fit but definitely apprehensive on my 1st high mountain hunt.  I weight train 4 x per week and try to get 2-3 days of cardio, sometimes doubling up my weights & cardio.   I have been focusing on stairs.  My issue is living in MI I don’t have access to any type of elevation.  I have considered going to a local ski resort and hiking their “hills”.   Would your backcountry program benefit me being I am only 8 weeks out from my hunt?


Yes. Our Backcountry Big Game Training Plan is 8 weeks long and designed to be completed the 8 weeks directly before your hunt. The plan is sport-specifically designed to prepare you for the fitness demands you face on your hunt.
I hope to head to SD in October for Archery Mule Deer.
– Rob


Good afternoon. I am following your program and its amazing. I am thankful I found such a comprehensive and effective routine. Thank you. I’ve noticed that my ruck is really not that good. I fall out quickly and I’ve noticed my legs don’t move as fast as others. I’m 5ft 7. I would appreciate any advice you have. Than k you.


No easy answer here… shorter guys have to make up for the decreased stride length by increasing stride frequency. Simply put, you need to move those feet faster. Make sure you’re ruck is packed correctly (heavy stuff on top) and worn correctly (the higher on the back, the better). Check ou t this video on Rucking Technique, it might help.

I really appreciate this. I go for selection soon. We did a 5 mile ruck/run so I took today off. Today was suppose to be a 10 mile ruck on week 7. I think pretty soon my body will adapt. Thank you for the amazing info. My LT was amazed, he said this was the most comprehensive plan he had ever seen. You guys really take pride in your work. That means so much to those of us who want to qualify to be the best in the world. The k you again.


Thank you for your dedication to developing tactical athletes. I have benefited tremendously from programming. I have a couple of questions:
1. I feel like I am in great shape my shoulders, legs and chassis is solid. However I feel like my arms and chest don’t grow equally and I look disproportionate is there a supplemental workout I can add in weekly to help develop those areas equally.
2. I currently to the LE programming how soon can I repeat a program or do you recommend I change as the the programming changes on the website?


Quick answers:
1) 6 Rounds
8x Bench Press – increase load each round until 8x is hard, but doable
8x Chin Ups
Lat + Pec Stretch
2) I don’t recommend repeating plans again and again. At best, your training will get stale. Complete the plans in the Spirits Series for LE, or follow along with the daily Officer Sessions. You have access to all this with your Athlete’s Subscription.
– Rob


I’m training right now for a wilderness mountain goat hunt in Northwest Wyoming. I’m an avid hunter and have done several back country backpack hunts.
I usually stay pretty fit, work out 4 days or so a week. Last fall and winter I did the seal fit course by Mark Devine and I was in great shape. I can’t seem to get into that program again and have been trying to do more functional stuff like hiking, stair master, leg strength, and core. I know what it’s gonna take this fall and I’m worried I’m not gonna be there.
What program would you recommend from your plans?
Appreciate the help and time


This plan is sport-specifically designed to prepare your legs, lungs and mid-section for mountain movements and should be completed the 8 weeks directly before your hunt.
Congrats on your goat tag!
– Rob


Hi Coach,

I wanted to inquire about your services. I have a year to train for ranger school and I’m seeking assistance in long-term programming based off of what I need to improve on. Do you offer services that could assist?



We’re actually just finishing up a study comparing female-specific programming effectiveness for heavy rucking (75+ pounds) and loaded pulling.
I’m not sure this will result in different programming for women. We’ll see. The result should be published week after next. (Study Results: HERE)
These are the two areas noted as the biggest physical obstacles for Ranger, USMC IOC, etc.
Specific to your question, we don’t offer remote one-on-one training. I’ve tried this in the past – even with women preparing for Ranger School – and it hasn’t gone well. One reason is commands take special interest it seems, and dictate mandatory training which athletes can’t double up with our stuff. I’m not sure if this will be your situation or not.
We just published a Ranger School Training Packet which I’d recommend for you right now as we look to consider female-specific programming for these events.
To that second question, because the standards are the same, I suspect women may need more time to prepare, but essentially the programming will be the same. But I haven’t decided for sure.
Here is the link describing the study we’re completing.
Email back questions.
– Rob


Currently following your BUD/S V2 program for Navy EOD – I’m deployed without access to water for swim/tread evolutions. I’ve been rowing/cycling/flutterkicking/Jane Fondas to supplement and strengthen hips, but I’m wondering what the best way to prepare for weighted treading evolutions would be in this case.
Thank you in advance for the help.


Never had this question  …. my best guess would be a combo of flutter kicks, Jane Fondas and the shoulder blaster.
– Rob


Hi, Rob! I just interested in one fitness detail- Does exercises in which I do not need equipment belong only to BCT and SOPC/RAW (how I understand RAW is good alternative to SOPC) and is it true that it takes 1 year to become strong as rangers if I start with 12 weeks BCT and then go to RAW? Thanks a lot!


I don’t understand your first question.
Second question …. to my knowledge there are no official strength standards for Rangers. We have our own strength standards for tactical athletes HERE. Time to get to these depends upon your starting point.
– Rob


Hello again! you’ve helped me numerous times, prepare for rigorous schools and events.  I’m gearing up for a pump over the water and need something to get me ready. I’m looking for mostly flat land all around fitness, good core, good strength, with endurance and the ability to maneuver and fight with speed and power.  I’m not afraid to ruck and I’ve got access to a pool, and possibly two a days.  My Olympic lifts suck as I recently recovered from a wrist injury and spent some time away from the barbell.


– Rob


I’m working my way through the ruck based selection packet and am currently on Humility. I know Rat 6 is the next plan in this progression. I have two questions:
1) Is pairing the run improvement program with Rat 6 reasonable or could it be overtraining?
2) I saw your new ranger school packet just dropped. Would this plan be appropriate for ruck based selection if the end plan was the ruck based plan?
Thanks, love the programming, it’s paid dividends in the past.


1) It depends upon your fitness. Goal here is strength improvement and in general, running may inhibit your strength gains.
2) Stick with the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet. SFAS is more intense and strength dependent, but significantly shorter, than Ranger School
– Rob


I appreciate everything that you and your team has done to help all of us achieve our fitness goals. I ruck quite a bit and I am willing to provide you all with any data that you might find useful. I will outline what my rucks typically look like further down, but first let me provide a few details about myself.
I’m 37 years old, fairly good shape, in the Texas Army National Guard and looking to pursue a career in SF. I’ve completed the SFAD/SFRE and am awaiting a Selection date sometime in November. I love your routines but, due to the odd hours of my day job (Corrections Tactical Team) I find myself having difficulty sticking to a regularly regimented strength protocol. For this reason, I keep my weekly training fairly fluid. By that I mean that my programming is as follows:
– 3 runs/week (constant high intensity, long slow distance, intervals)
– 1 swim/week (just get in the water and move using freestyle and combat side stroke)
– 2 rucks/week (see below)
– 1 recovery/week (yoga, stretch, or sleep on the sofa)
– 3 strength/week (SEALFit, P90X, or some other routine with metabolic/strength conditioning)
I have been bitten in the buttocks in the past by telling myself, “Monday, you’re going to do this…Tuesday, do this…” because, well, life just gets in the way. So, my method is now just to simply make sure that I get all of those items done within the week. This has allowed me to live a bit freer and without the cloud of missing a workout looming over me.
As far as my rucks are concerned, my SFAD was conducted at Camp Bullis in San Antonio, Texas, which is notoriously known for extremely hilly terrain. The rucksack ended up being 70lbs once water and MREs were added. That is why during my practice rucks, I go 75-80# (ALWAYS) and with a 10# sledgehammer (ALWAYS). I’ll wear a t-shirt, ACU trousers and boots, along with my FLC which has snacks, rags to wipe my face, and my iPhone with earbuds.
I have four focus areas for my rucking: Distance (not concerned with pace, and max distances are never above 8 miles); Speed (my only concern is pace and I try to keep it sub-13 min/mile at a max distance of two miles or 1-mile intervals); Time Under (duration of the ruck without emphasis on distance or pace, but mainly performed on terrain other than pavement); and finally, Distraction (only concern is performing a task while under a ruck; i.e. land nav, team event, getting lost in the woods; it helps get the mind off of the suck).
I don’t have an extensive amount of experience rucking, but I feel that what I do have has allowed me to outperform many of my peers during SFAD/SFRE, and will hopefully allow me to do well during SFAS. I’m happy to incorporate some of my rucking into your MTI Route Card, or provide you with any other data that you think might prove useful. I have an online subscription with Mountain Tactical and have looked at your Ruck Based Selection plan in depth. My question is: Do you think that I am doing myself a disservice by not conducting an extended ruck beyond twelve miles even though I am getting positive results with my aforementioned routine?
Thanks so much for reading and I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks again for all that you and your team do for us!


To your specific question, in general we try to over-prepare our athletes for specific missions/events/selections knowing that the event may not be predictable. In terms of selection, rarely, if ever, will you ruck on fresh legs. This is the reason to go beyond the assessment distance in training.
– Rob


I’m running into an issue regarding finding a middle ground when it comes to mandated unit/section PT and having to fit in personal training for things like Ranger School and eventually selection.
Very rudimentary training plan that has been created by an NCO:
Mon – 4 mile run
Tue – upper body/abs circuit
Wed – sprints
Thu – deck of cards PT
Fri – 4 mile run
I’ve been able to sit down and finally influence the PT and get some diversity by adding swim PT twice a month and rucking twice a month (no more than that I’ve been told). However, utilizing the gym for strength sessions is off limits during the PT hour so we’d have to build our own sandbags to use for PT which isn’t a big deal.
So my two key questions are:
1) What program(s) would you suggest to implement and take the section from the rudimentary program they have been using to a more comprehensive, total body training plan now that I have control of putting the new PT in place within the guidelines I have been given? I have full member access to all plans.
2) Personally, what is my best approach in your opinion to do the PT plan(s) that you suggest for unit PT but then complement the selection plans I need to prepare for Ranger School and selection? I don’t want my body to get burned out and same muscle groups to be worked 5-6 days a week with no rest (ex: pushups situps sprints on Monday morning for unit PT but then selection plan calls for same exercises on Tuesday).
I also have membership to SEALFit which gives another avenue to use different type of training plans if you suggest mixing the two (ONRAMP, OPWOD, SOFWOD workouts).
Thank you for your input and help.


2) Your Unit PT as listed in your email is not very intense. You could do 2-a-days and train on your own in the evenings. Do the Greek Hero series, starting with Hector.
I can’t speak to Mark Divine’s programming, but I would suggest you chose one program and don’t bounce around.
– Rob


When a training plan says “Ruck” do you mean an all out jog? Or a ranger shuffle with a rucksack?


We ruck run.
– Rob


Im planning to start training for an October ranger school date on Monday July 17. I intend to complete the 7 week military On Ramp and then the 7 week Ranger School Plan. I see the military On Ramp has been recently updated (as well as other plans like ruck based selection). Is the ranger school prep in its current form still represent the best train up for that school? I didn’t see a date on it.

Thanks for all the work y’all have put into these programs!


We made some minor tweaks to the final Ranger School Training Plan recently. Plan is solid.
– Rob


First off thank you guys for what you do,
Secondly I am trying to get into a better run shape for my PFT since that is the only event I struggle in. But I also want to build muscle and strength while doing this. Any suggested training plans I should try?

Thank you in advance for any help.


I’d recommend Perseus from our Greek Hero series of plans for Military Athletes. It concurrently trains multiple fitness attributes – including gym-based strength, work capacity, tactical agility, chassis integrity and speed over ground intervals for both rucking and running.
– Rob


Quiet Professional: Do Your Job

Myrtle’s Father immigrated for Norway, her Mom, from Ireland.

By Rob Shaul

I was eleven, it was bluebird July morning, and I was anxious to grab my fishing pole and bike to the kid’s fishing pond at the town park.

But before fishing, I had to help my my grandma, Myrtle, gather up the washed linens and make all the beds in the house.

Myrtle was the daughter of Irish and Norwegian immigrant parents and raised poor in a dusty small town in southern, Nevada. Many of her adult years were spent in Reno, where she worked as a maid in the casino hotels.

I can’t remember who’s bed we were making, but I was in a hurry, rushing through doing a sloppy job. “It’s good enough, Grandma,” I remarked.

Big mistake.

She stopped, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “I’m a professional.” Then she proceeded to smooth out the sheets, square the corners, tuck in the covers, and perfectly fluff and place the pillows.

If a well-made bed can be a work of art, this was it. So went the rest of the bed-making – and she never said another word.

No one was watching Myrtle. She wasn’t getting paid. None of us would know the difference between a professionally-made bed, and just a “made” bed.

But it mattered to Myrtle, and her example has stuck with me all these years. She approach her job with clarity and dignity. 

Superior work in any occupation takes craftsmanship. Quiet professionals who put in the work, time, blood and tears to learn their craft develop a sense of dignity about their work that is unyielding.

Doing the work “right” is not about them, the customer or what their colleagues think.

It’s about honoring their craft, respecting the work and doing their job quietly and well, every time. It’s doing your job with dignity. 

It takes time to become a craftsman, but no time is required to be a professional about your work. This is an attitude, a commitment, an ethic any rookie or vet can embrace and apply.


You Might Also Like The Original Article What Does It Mean to be a Quiet Professional 

Plan Focus: Top 5 Exercises for Military Athletes Training Plan


By Rob Shaul and Charles Bausmann

Some training plans can use a wide variety of exercises to train the elements which we believe are criticial to the Military Athlete – Strength, Endurance, Work Capacity, and Chassis Integrity. This plan utilizes a simple list of five exercises inspired by one of our most popular articles, Rob’s Top 5 Exercises for Military Athletes with straight forward, scaled progressions to train those fitness attributes. Keep it simple, train hard, and get the results you’re looking for.


This training plan is straight forward, no-brainer solution for Military Athletes looking to improve their overall fitness. It includes an initial assessment in Week 1, and percentage based progressions in the following weeks to immediately scale to the athlete’s fitness levels. Week 5 is a reassessment to record your improved scores.

The 5 exercises are as follows:



  • Sandbag Get Ups –  the best overall exercise to train a military athlete’s “Combat Chassis” – leg, core, and lungs. With each rep, the athlete works core flexion, rotation, and extension. He or she also must do a loaded lunge or squat to stand up, and finally, at high reps, his heart and lungs will be burning through the work capacity hit.
  • Craig Special – 1x Craig Special is a Hang Squat Clean + Front Squat and is my favorite total body exercise. Technique issues can quickly crop up with Olympic movements, and I’ve found the hang squat clean to be the easiest for athletes to master. The clean trains explosive power, and catching the heavy barbell in the squat helps train the athlete to take impact – a valuable attribute for a military athlete. Finally, with each rep, the athlete gets in 2x front squats – my favorite squatting movement.
  • Rope Climb – My original lab rat, Josh, called the rope climb the “sled push for the upper body” – and it’s my favorite pulling movement – even when using the feet. I find the rope climb more functional than the traditional pull up – plus it’s a 3-for-one exercise …. pulling strength, grip strength, mid-section strength, and when loaded (weight vest or IBA) all of the above plus leg work. The Rope Climb is a great total body exercise
  • Three Mile Ruck Run for Time @ 45# ruck, plus 10# sledge, hammer, dumbbell or rubber rifle – Rucking is a huge fitness demand for military athletes and the best way to improve rucking is to ruck. The mid-distance 3-mile ruck run is long enough for fitness to transfer to longer efforts, but short enough that the athlete can ruck run the entire distance and train overall rucking speed. Finally, ruck running with this load further trains the “Combat Chassis” – legs, core and lungs.
  • Push Press – While the old meathead in me lusts over the Bench Press, the Push Press is the top upper body pressing exercise for military athletes because of its total body element and simple, mission-direct transferability. Strength Coach Pat O’Shea called the Push Press the “King” of upper body exercises. A vertical pressing movement to balance the vertical pull in the Rope Climb, the Push Press is really a total body exercise with an upper body finisher. Everything gets worked – legs, core, chest, and shoulders. Even better, this exercise can be completed with just about anything heavy – sandbags, dumbbells, kettlebells, big rock, barbell, girlfriend….

Weekly Schedule

  • Mon: Strength (Craig Special, Push Press, Rope Climb)
  • Tues: Ruck Run Intervals
  • Wed: Strength / Work Capacity (Craig Special, Push Press, Sandbag Get Ups)
  • Thurs: Ruck Run Intervals
  • Fri: Work Capacity (Sandbag Get Ups/Rope Climb, Power Clean + Push Press)

Required Equipment

  • Fully Equipped Functional Fitness Gym (Barbells, Bumpers, Climbing Rope, etc.)
  • Sandbag @ 60# (Women) or 80# (Men)
  • Ruck with 45# of Filler + 10# sledge, hammer, dumbbell or rubber rifle
  • Track or course of known distance for Rucking
  • Timer or Stopwatch


Questions? Email


Arete 9.7.17

The Baldwin Articles – Leadership and Volunteers vs Conscripts, Soldier Systems
A Funeral of 2 Friends: C.I.A. Deaths Rise in Secret Afghan War, NY Times
ISIS After The Caliphate, Small Wars Journal
US troops in Syria battle anti-Assad rebels once funded by the CIA, Intel News
Anatomy of a Taliban ambush, Long War Journal

Homeland Security/Terrorism
Democracy and Terrorism, Brookings Institute
The Terrorist Diaspora, its Returnees, and Disrupting the Rise of Homegrown Violent Extremists, Small Wars Journal
In Texas Flooding, FEMA Asks ‘All Citizens to Get Involved’ to Help, NY Times
Challenges of recruiting and retaining a Cybersecurity Workforce, Homeland Security Committee

AT Crushed: ‘Stringbean’ Sets Fastest Speed Record, Gear Junkie
48 Skiers Who Shaped Our Sport, Powder
Hamstring Injuries in Climbers, Training Beta
The Worlds Hardest Endurance Race, Outside Magazine
Hunters, the Surprising Saviors of Our Public Lands, Outside Magazine

First Responder
War Stories, Law Enforcement Today
Female deputy district attorney badly beaten before closing arguments in gang murder trial, Law Enforcement Today
Resilience Defined, Police Mag
Dozens of wildfires very active in Montana and Idaho

First Look: Patagonia ‘New’ Micro Puff Hoody, Gear Junkie
Seven Day-Hiking Essentials, Outside Magazine
7 Important Weapons Used By the United States in the Vietnam War, Small Wars Journal
Black Diamond Rope Review, Training Beta
How to Choose a Sleeping Bag, American Alpine Institute

How We Learn, Breaking Muscle
The Perils And Pitfalls Of Fitness Absolutes, Breaking Muscle
What I Learned from Sweet Spot Training Outside Magazine
Special Bacteria May Aid Athletic Performance, Science Daily
Power Training – Still Keeping It Simple, Ross Training

Q&A 9.7.17


Hoping you can point me to some work you have already done on this topic. I wasn’t unable to find anything when looking at your knowledgebase online.

What is your philosophy on training when sore and I’m not talking about minor soreness? I see two thoughts with one having muscle soreness that is such that it impacts movement (like you struggle to walk normally which is a good outcome of leg blasters/quadzilla complex, etc..) and then ultimately joint soreness.

For the first and I guess the last I have always had the power through it attitude. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve had times where I push and I react well during training and end up able to perform better latter after a recovery taper. I didn’t lose much performance during training and made incremental steps forward. Other times performance has declined and the end result suffered by pushing through. Partly due to getting older I suppose.

Any general thoughts? Again I’m nearing 43 and ready to admit that I’m not 23 anymore. However I still want to train at an intensity that keeps me functional for skiing, running, chasing kids, etc….


We push through.

– Rob


I am a recently graduated IBOLC lieutenant, currently I am doing your Push Up/Pull Up improvement plan concurrently with heavy strength training and that is going well. I also try to run 4-6 times a week and ruck at least once, my issue arises that while I know how to program strength quite well, my understanding of how to program an intelligent rucking and running plan is not quite there. I tried the Ranger School program some time ago and that program was simply too high volume in terms of rucking and running, I couldn’t recover well at all. So my desire is to try and find a happy medium as I am gearing up for ranger right now and I could not find a specific plan that applied to both rucking and running improvement, so I was hoping I could get some direction so I don’t feel like I am going around in circles.


What you’re asking for/want is Fortitude, which combines strength with running and rucking endurance. 

What you need is to get out of the weight room and focusing on strength, and start conditioning your body and mind for the volume/intensity of Ranger School, including RAP week, via the Ranger School Training Plan

– Rob


First, off I’d like to thank you for the excellent information you give out for free every week. I always am sure to save your emails so that I can reference them in the future. Second, I recently just subscribed to the athlete program this month and have a question as to which program to begin once my training is complete. I will be finishing Infantry Officer training for the Marine Corps at the end of the month and want to be as prepared as possible for any future fight we may encounter. I’ve been looking at the Busy Operator II, the Daily Operator Sessions,  the Urban Conflict Pre-Deployment Training, and the Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training Plans. I’d say my fitness level is relatively high, but while at school most of my training has been surviving as opposed to improving physically. I personally want to improve my strength levels without gaining much size. I’ve also realized at this school how important stamina and endurance are to maintain tempo and continuous operations. Any advice would be very much appreciate. Please let me know if you need clarification on anything or if you have questions. Thank you for your time Rob.


Move into the 6 plans and their order in the Greek Hero series, beginning with Hector. These are designed as day to day training for military athletes an concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (running/rucking), chassis integrity and tactical speed/agility. 

All these plans come with your Athelete’s Subscription. 

– Rob


A new offseason, new goal, which means another question for you (sorry!). Looking at tackling the Bigfoot 200 Ultra next August: But looking at the plans I am trying to structure a “packet” like you have done with Delta section packet etc. 

I have two weeks left of the run improvement plan currently. Would you run that, Ultra Pre-season, 100M ultra plan? One thing I think I would def need is mode specific work for all of the elevation changes (50k gain/48k loss)



Working back from the event, I’d complete the 100-Mile Ultra Plan, 50-Mile Ultra Plan, Alpine Running Plan, Ultra Pre-Season Training Plan and plans from the Green Heroine Packet. 

So … after you finish the Running Improvement Plan, roll into Helen, Artemis, etc. from the Greek Heroine Packet … 

Then … 

Ultra Pre-Season

Alpine Running Plan

50-Mile Ultra

100-Mile Ultra directly before your event. 

– Rob


Rob, what’s the spacing between the 5 positions for the DOT drill?


Use a 2ft x 2ft box with the dots in each corner and in the middle. – Rob


First off I’d just like to say how great the programming is! I’m 6 months post hip surgery (labral repair and had a lot of boney adhesions addressed). I’ve just left the military and into a job where I have a large amount of free time (maybe too much). I am currently running the meathead program and am at the start of week 3, I’ve noticed awesome results however I hate resting. My energy levels are good and I feel better doing something every day even if it’s just 40 min of rowing/ski erg/airdyne. My main question is there anything else I can run concurrently with the meathead program in terms of a bit of extra conditioning/met cons. 


You could complete the Running Improvement Training Plan concurrently. 

Lift in the AM. Run in the PM.

– Rob


I have a decent fitness baseline (good enough to start taking on a serious training plan) since I actively backpack/hike and climb in CO in evenings and weekends. I am interested in two near-term fitness goals (Denali unguided May 2018 and big game hunting Nov. 4-12) and came across your site as I researched training plans online. I am interested in your website plans for both goals but am a bit overwhelmed with how to manage separate plans with separate time frames. Could you please offer some strategic advice on how I could use your products to start training for Denali today, 8 months out, and incorporate the Big Game training plan at 13 weeks out? Both plans seemed to be designed for 8 and 9 weeks in advance.


In general, the further out from your season/event/mission/climb, the more “general” your programming can be. The closer to the event, the more “sport” or “mission” specific the programming should be. We call the “general” programming “base” programming.

Here’s what I recommend for you, starting with your backcountry big game hunting trip:

Weeks   Plan

1-5         Mountain Base Helen – Helen is one of the plans in the Greek Heroine Series of Mountain Base training plans. 

6-13       Backcountry Big Game Hunting Training Plan

Post Hunting Trip … 

This somewhat depends upon your winter and your winter activities – i.e. skiing, backcountry skiing, mountaineering, etc. 

But in general, use Helen and the other plans in order from the Greek Heroine Series until you’re 9 weeks out from your Denali departure date, then drop hard into the Denali Training Plan. This training plan will prepare you sport-specifically for your climb. 

Note that our sport specific plans – the Backcountry Big Game Hunting and Denali plans, are no joke. The “base” fitness built by the Greek Heroine plans lay the fitness foundation upon which to layer this more focused sport specific programming. 

My guess if you’re self supporting your way up Denali, you’ll have an active winter and there won’t be much time between the end of the hunting season and strapping on your skies. We have options there too – including an In-Season Ski Maintenance Training Plan

Finally, I’m assuming you’ll be hiking/scouting on the weekends between now and hunting season. Helen is a 6 day/week plan – you can substitute your weekend trips for the Saturday work in Helen and the hunting plan. 

– Rob


Hi there. Just signed up for the athletes subscription and needed some help identifying what plan plan of attack should be.

I go to Air Assault school in January, and then home for two weeks and then right to mountain warfare school. I want to get started getting in shape next week. I have already completed your on ramp program ( older version) two months ago.

Any advice!



Roll into the plans in the Greek Hero Series, beginning with Hector. 

Six weeks prior to Air Assault, complete the Air Assault School Training Plan

If you have any break between Air Assault and Mountain Warfare, complete what you can of the Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training Plan.

– Rob


First of all, you’ve got some great looking programs! I’ve already recommended your site to a bunch of friends and I haven’t even purchased a program yet. I’m training for a ruck event and an obstacle course race at the same time. As such, rucking and running are being given equal priority right now. Do you have any suggestions for programs that can help me focus my efforts? I’m limited on equipment, but I’ve got a homemade sandbag collection, some kettlebells, and a limited selection of dumbbells. I like Sandbag Ethos and Work Capacity, but I’m having a hard time figuring out how to fit my running and rucking mileage into those two programs. Any advice that you can give would be appreciated. 


I’d recommend Humility. Humility is a limited equipment plan which combines strength, work capacity, running and loaded running. 

For the weight/vest loaded running in the plan, substitute your ruck and weight you’ll need for your event. 

– Rob


Hey Rob! Just had a quick question regarding the hypertrophy program. Are the round supposed to be done in sequence, for example: 8 rounds of 8 bench press 8 bent over barbell row. Am I to do all of the bench press then move onto the rows or do them consecutively? Thanks for any help brother!


These are circuits … 

Do 8x Bench Press, then 8x Row, then stretch, then repeat…

– Rob


I want to ask what plan or packet you would suggest for me.

A little about myself. I’ve been platoon leader for a Scout/Recce unit the Danish Home Guard for about 2 years and have no problem with carrying a 50 lbs ruck for 10-15 miles, but have had some issues with my left leg when it comes to running and therefore haven’t run further than 2 miles for about a year (3 miles once in that year). 

I have taken your relative strength test and ends with a score about 4.4, and complete a 1.5 mile unloaded run in 10m50s

Next week I start Officer’s Basic Training in the Danish Army, which is 10 months, before attending the Royal Danish Army Military Academy for 18 months…

For the first 6 months, I’ll be going on a field exercise 1 week every month.

My goal is to get my relative strength up, but more importantly get my endurance, work capacity, and chassis up to a high level – preferably so that I would be able to complete something like the Australian SAS, Ruck-based selection or SFOD training program within the 10 months

Any suggestions for a plan or packet that would make that possible?

I will most likely only be able to work out once a day. 


Start our stuff with the Military On-Ramp Training Plan

This plan is no joke, and will lay a solid base of fitness for follow on programming. It will also get you running again in a safe, progressed, way.

Email back on the other side. 

– Rob


I’ve got a few programming questions for you, but first a few facts:

A-Race (Skimo): Patrouille des Glaciers, 53km, 4000 meters ascent, April 17 2018

Age: 45

Tall skinny guy, 6 feet 1, 150#

Not too good off piste descending (need more technique, stability and anti rotation control)

How do you recommend I make the best of your programming?  Anything new coming? I took a look at you ski rando program, but due to my age and weaknesses, I was planning on keeping some gym work.  I need a strong core and strong legs for the downhill and I tend to lose strength and muscle mass quickly.  I also looked at Monster factory which is a very attractive plan and was considering it for December since the snow will only be here in January.  How do you usually time it?  

Basically, here’s how I see it at the moment:

Autumn: Alpine Running Program

December: Monster factory

January – April: 2x week gym + xc ski during the week and skimo during the weekend inspired by the Rando race program

Would I be better off with the Backcountry ski V2?  Am I timing Monster factory right?  Is Alpine Running program a good choice?

Any comment would be appreciated.  

Can I have a scoop on what’s coming after Helen on the daily program? 🙂

Happy training and thanks for all the hard work you’re putting in.  I’m always looking forward to your newsletter.


I’d recommend now you complete Monster Factory Strength. 

Then, November 1, Start the Randonee Race Pre-Season Training Plan. 

Once you start skinning/skiing in January, you’ll want to combine your skinning with training for your race. Best way to do this is to build your programming around vertical feet gain. From our stuff, I’d recommend 8 weeks out from your race you complete the vertical gain programming in the Alpine Running Training Plan – which is just about perfect for your race. You’ll need to dedicate 2 days/week just to skin programming and this will interfere somewhat with your recreational backcountry skiing. But this programming will mean you won’t be “winging” it for your race. 

– Rob


Do you recommend everyone start at the beginning and progress though all the cats?  Or if you have some experienced people with a decent base level of fitness can you start further along the list?


The Big Cat training plans aren’t progressive in terms of difficulty – i.e. Lion isn’t harder than Jaguar. 

These are designed as day-to-day programming for full time Fire/Rescue professionals and all the plans are intense. We recommend athletes follow the plans in the order prescribed not because of increasing intensity/difficulty, but because of the fitness emphasis order in the plans, and, it keeps things simple.

– Rob


I’ll be running a marathon this fall and would like to maintain as much upper body strength as possible. Which plan would you recommend? I figured I’d complete one of the Greek or Virtue series, without the running. I plan on lifting 3-4x a week in addition to running 6. 


I’d recommend our Meathead Marathon Training Plan. I built it just for guys like you. 

– Rob


I’m planning on heading to the Q course in about 6-8 months, my rucking isn’t up to par at the moment (currently 15m/mi) and my run isn’t consistent. I’m pretty short so I normally have to run to make 15 or under on the ruck. As for my run, today I could run a 9 minute 1.5 mile tomorrow it could be a 11 minute 1.5 mile. What would you suggest to get me back on track?


Congrats on selection! 

I’d recommend you complete the MTI Special Forces Qualification Course Training Plan now, then complete Hector and Apollo from the  Greek Hero Series, then recomplete the SFQC Plan 6 weeks directly before you arrive at the course. 

– Rob


I’m looking at jumping on the Big 24. I’m a former 18D and Commercial Fisherman, I also a Mountaineer and practice Krav Maga. I ruptured a cervical disc back in April, I’m just now ready to get my strength back and this looked like a good option. Can I supplement 3-5 mile runs as well as Krav 2x a week and be successful on this program?


Depends upons your incoming fitness …. you’ll need to watch for overtraining. You’ll know because you won’t make the progressions in the plan. 

– Rob 


Hey rob I am getting geared up to go on my first back country elk hunt where I will be hunting anywhere from 7-11 days. I started training more specifically for the hunt back in March. I started with hiking with my weighted pack 3 times a week with lifting the other 3 days. I started crossfit and oly lifting about mid June til now and typically only get out 1 time a week to hike with my pack. I listened to you on a podcast (either hunt back country or gritty bowmen I can’t remember) and checked out your online mountain course and honestly I am very interested, but I like the crossfit stuff. My question is will your online backcountry course better prep more for this hunt? Or is what I am doing now good? I just feel that what I am doing now is not “mountain hunting specific” and worried I get there and get my butt kicked the first 3 days. I leave in exactly 8 weeks and want to best prep my body for the hunt so I can hit it everyday I am there. Please let me know your thoughts on what you recommend, I would greatly appreciate it.


Obviously I’d recommend our approach. It’s mountain specific, and I’ve tweaked and improved it every year. It’s sport-specifically designed to prepare your legs and lungs for uphill hiking under load, overall mountain endurance, focused mid-section strength, and focused rucking work at heavy load. 

The Backcountry Big Game Training Plan is 8 weeks long and designed to be completed directly before your hunt. You won’t need much equipment – a pack, step up bench or steep hill, pair of dumbbells and sandbag. 

Right now you’re “working out.” Time to start “training.” 

The difference? Progression, intent and focus on mountain performance. 

– Rob


I’ve had the joy of you trainingprograms now for a couple of years and I am very satisified.

I am now a retired officer and work fulltime at a office where I sit most of the time. I have 2 wonderful kids who are 1 and 3 years of age.

I have tried to complete the Bodyweight Foundation program recently, but the lack of sleep and the timing makes it difficult for me to complete the program as it is intended.

I have a gym close by which have most of the equipment I need to stay in shape and also an outdoor training park. I have a bicycle which I use to commute to and from work, it it’s about a 5 km uphill to work, and from work it’s a easy ride. I love training strength, and I am a novice using calisthenics, but I enjoy the exercises.

Just to add to my frustration, I can not run long distances due to injury.

My question to you is, do you have a fullbody trainingprogram that is max 4 days a week, with focus on strength. The sessions duration approx. min 30- max 60 min.


The LE-specific plans in our Spirits Series include optional Fridays, so can all be completed 4 days/week. I’d recommend Bourbon – which is specifically gym-focused, and 4 days/week. 

– Rob


Hi Rob, I found your company through an Outside Magazine video on the Ultimate core workout.  I will be 60 years old in the next couple of weeks and have 12 months to prepare to do my first 14er in CO next summer.  If all goes well the doctor will let me start exercising again at the end of July after breaking my elbow in a mountain bike crash in early June.  I have really let myself go since last Oct and know I need to take these next 11 to 12 months to get ready to do a 14er.  I live in the absolute flattest part or WI.  I have a meniscal cyst on one knee and would like to know were to start before purchasing the Peak Baggers Plan, as I really do not think I can do 1,000 steps ups with a 25 Lbs pack on in 60 mins, although I have not tried to know for sure.

So if you have any suggestions or programs for not so young, flabby butts, like myself to get me to a point were I can do the Peak Baggers program, I would be interested.



I’d recommend starting with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan

At the link above, click the “sample training” tab to see the entire first week of training. Try it and see how you recover. 

At 60, expect needing more recovery plan – perhaps a full day between sessions to start out.

– Rob


I’ve been working my way through the low back training program.   I’ve been feeling great after months of pain and I was through week 7, but have been off for two weeks with a vacation.  Is there anything I should do before starting back into week 8 or can I go straight into week 8?

Also, after I finish the low back training program, are there any programs I should do to continue strengthening my core and building back confidence?


Start back again with Week 7. 

Next Plan? Chassis Integrity Training Plan.

– Rob

Advice to my younger self: Ranger school

By Gordon Stock


Hey bro, I know you’re pretty excited to start Ranger School soon, but I got some bad news for you.  After about 50 days, you’re going to be leaving Ranger School, but without a tab.  You’re going to be dropped for failing patrols, twice, and having no case to stay.  But don’t worry about it; it’s going to be simultaneously the best and worst thing to ever happen to you. 

So here’s some advice that you learned the hard way, hopefully it helps. 

1. Taking it seriously means all of it

Ranger School is supposed to be a simulation of combat.  The physical stress is real, you’re going to be broken down, and you’re going to be hurt.  So getting ready for Ranger School doesn’t mean making sure your fiancé is ok with you leaving, or that your gear is sorted and labeled 1000 times over, and that your lease is going to be paid on time, though that is important.  Getting ready is putting your body through the ringer more than once and doing the workouts that hurt your body as well as your mind.  It means mentally rehearsing the push-ups on the RPA over and over and not trying to war-game what spot in line you’re going to get to try to get one over on the RIs.  It means being ready to re-test and taking every opportunity you have to prepare, even if its an uncomfortable two weeks at pre-Ranger.    

2. Your chassis is going to keep you alive out there

Its great if you can barely pass the RPA and the ruck, but what happens after that?  The rest of Ranger School is going to greatly rely on your ability to carry weight and keep moving with that weight.  And the bare minimum isn’t good enough, if you want to be a team player and a man that others can respect; you need to be able to carry the 240 or the litter.  So stop doing pushups and sit-ups and pick up a barbell.  Make your core stronger with some deadlifts and make your legs as strong as possible with some squats.   You know you’re not strong enough, so don’t ignore it, embrace it and fix it. 

3. You don’t know anything yet, accept it

You’re one of a million new lieutenants to go to Ranger and a mediocre one at that.  When you get there, pay attention, try to learn from the RIs, and don’t bitch about “the game” or “RI roulette”.  Even if it exists, the fastest way out is through, so learn the Darby systems, listen to the RIs, and give 110% at everything.  Use the little you know to help your squad out, but otherwise shut up and listen to the experience around you that has seen combat or spent a few years in the force actually doing their jobs.  This advice is going to be the hardest to swallow for you, but your arrogance and entitlement is going to be why you leave without a tab.  Ranger School is not something you just suck through on your way to be an infantry officer.  Its something you have to earn your way through in order to earn respect of much harder men later on. 

Honestly, it might be too late for you to take some of this stuff to heart, but I hope you can change a few things sooner rather than later. 

But here’s the good news.  Even if you fail, it will probably be a wake-up call, and you’ll get your house in order.  Yeah, it will suck showing up to your unit without a tab, but it will make you appreciate what is given to you.  Eventually, you’ll get a platoon and maybe a chance to go back to Ranger School, where you’ll probably realize every tiny thing you messed up on as a younger man.  And someday you’ll get to feel the inflation of pride that you deserve as your wife pins on a little black and gold tab.  But until then, good luck.


About the Author: 
Gordon Stock is an infantry platoon leader in the US Army. He enjoys reading, hanging with his dogs, and putting in hard work at the gym.


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Quiet Professional: Humility & Humor

Pronghorn Antelope – great professor of Humility & Humor.

By Rob Shaul

I’m approaching four dozen failed bowhunting stalks on pronghorn antelope between last year and this year.

Mostly the antelope “bust” me … they have incredible vision and a “6th” sense I’ve yet to overcome.

But on several of these failures, I’ve made the mistake.

Last year I snuck up to within 15 yards of a young antelope buck, went to put my release in my bowline and “click” – I’d failed to set my release prior. Know that by this time I had taken hundreds, if not thousands, of shots at the range – each time setting my trigger – but this time I didn’t.

That “click” from my release was all it took for that young buck to explode out of there.

This year I was putting a stalk on a bedded buck antelope from a perfect elevated approach, when my broadhead caught in the sagebrush and pulled my arrow out of the bow string. The barely audible “pop” when the arrow pulled free was all it took for the buck to explode away.

My last fail …. I was so focused on finding this one bedded doe antelope my tunnel vision prevented me from seeing the other three does 20 yards to my left standing there watching me creep forward on all fours. When I turned toward these three does, they exploded away, taking the bedded doe with them.

At 29 years old, and perhaps even at 39, I would have been the one to “exploded” at this last failure in anger and subsequently blame the antelope, “stupid sport,” nature or myself.

Now, at 49, I laughed at my mistake, and stood in awe, humbled again by these animals and the subtle, sophisticated art of bow hunting.

Instead of stomping away upset, disappointed and feeling sorry for myself, I felt warmly serene, and immediately my attention moved from the missed opportunity to golden morning sun rays ricocheting off silver-green sagebrush tops.

Humility and humor are brothers, and together offer a path to solace.

On humility …. I’m not sure which comes first … the hard life lessons which squeeze it out of you, or the wisdom which hopefully evolves and teaches you that you’re nothing special, thus making you humble.

Regardless, humor lubricates the process. For whatever reason, everything in life is hard, and at some point you’ll find you can’t help but smile at difficulty’s arrival, rather than be surprised and disappointed.

Ultimately the spiritual weight of self-righteousness begins to lift, making room for solace to elbow in.

This doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not like one day you wake up humble and smiling all the time and experiencing a zen-like serenity.  This certainly hasn’t been my experience.

I’m ashamed of the hissy fits I still throw over little shit. Too often humor is overpowered by petty anger and disappointment. I have much work to do.

But I’m able to laugh at myself and smile at life’s issues more and more all the time. Life isn’t any easier, but is more enriching, because of it.

Research Round Up

By Charles Bausman

Effect of Energy Beverage Consumption on Pistol Aiming Steadiness in Law Enforcement Officers
Monaghan, Taylor P.; Jacobson, Bert H.; Sellers, John H.; 
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research . 31(9):2557-2561, September 2017.

“Oklahmoa State University and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine worked together to study the implications of commercially available Energy Shots and Energy Drinks on pistol marksmanship. Previous studies have “shown that caffeine may provide enhancements in both anaerobic and aerobic exercises. Also, consumption of caffeine may increase cognitive performance in sleep-deprived individuals and in tactical situations, caffeine reduces friend-foe identification errors and decreases time in target detection exercises.

According to the article, previous studies have “shown that caffeine may provide enhancements in both anaerobic and aerobic exercises. Also, consumption of caffeine may increase cognitive performance in sleep-deprived individuals and in tactical situations, caffeine reduces friend-foe identification errors and decreases time in target detection exercises.”

However, other studies showed that caffeine consumption can reduce fine motor skills, a critical component of pistol marksmanship. The study analyzed 10 police officers with laser-practice pistols (no live fire) in order to ascertain marksmanship, comparing those who had consumed energy shots against the control group.”

“The ES group demonstrated significant (p ≤ 0.05) within group pre-to-posttest detrimental effect in the arm-hand aim steadiness after consumption of the ES. In addition, the ES group was significantly less stable in the arm-hand aim steadiness than the placebo group after ES consumption, illustrating the detrimental effect on steadiness resulting from ED consumption.

Energy shots may reduce marksmanship. It is not stated if this is due to the caffeine consumption, the “energy mix” found in energy shots, or the combination of both.

A Review of the Biomechanical Differences Between the High-Bar and Low-Bar Back-Squat
Glassbrook, Daniel J.1; Helms, Eric R.1; Brown, Scott R.1; Storey, Adam G.1,2
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: September 2017 – Volume 31 – Issue 9 – p 2618–2634

Researchers at the Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand examined the mechanical and practical differences and applications of the High Bar Back Squat (HBBS), and the Low Bar Back Squat (LBBS).

“During the traditional HBBS, the bar is placed across the top of the trapezius just below the spinous process of the C7 vertebra. Conversely, during the LBBS, the bar is placed on the lower trapezius just over the posterior deltoid, along the spine of the scapula…the LBBS may result in an ability to lift greater loads in comparison to the High Bar Back Squat. Differences in bar position between the HBBS and LBBS result in an altered center of mass. Therefore, different movement strategies are used to ensure that the center of mass remains within the base of support to maintain balance during the execution of these lifts, which will be covered in this review. These movement strategies manifest as differences in joint angles of the lower-body kinetic chain, vertical ground reaction forces (Fv), and the activity of key muscles.

The LBBS is presented with a greater forward lean and reduced knee flexion (i.e., reduced depth). This results in greater posterior displacement of the hip, and a maximization of the associated force-producing ability. Such displacement of the hip engages the stronger posterior hip musculature (i.e., gluteal, hamstring and spinal erector muscle groups), as supported in this review though analysis of muscle activity studies on each back-squat variation. By contrast, the HBBS presents with greater activation of the anterior thigh musculature (i.e., quadriceps)”

Training to improve Olympic lifts? Use the High Bar Back Squat. Training to improve maximal strength and/or field related performance? Use the Low Bar Back Squat.

Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study
Dehghan, MahshidDiaz, R et al. The Lancet

“The relationship between macronutrients and cardiovascular disease and mortality is controversial. Most available data are from European and North American populations where nutrition excess is more likely, so their applicability to other populations is unclear.

Dietary intake of 135 335 individuals (from across 18 nations, age ranging 35-70 years) was recorded using validated food frequency questionnaires. The primary outcomes were total mortality and major cardiovascular events (fatal cardiovascular disease, non-fatal myocardial infarction, stroke, and heart failure). Secondary outcomes were all myocardial infarctions, stroke, cardiovascular disease mortality, and non-cardiovascular disease mortality. Participants were categorised into quintiles of nutrient intake (carbohydrate, fats, and protein) based on percentage of energy provided by nutrients. We assessed the associations between consumption of carbohydrate, total fat, and each type of fat with cardiovascular disease and total mortality. We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) using a multivariable Cox frailty model with random intercepts to account for centre clustering.”

“High carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality. Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular disease mortality, whereas saturated fat had an inverse association with stroke. Global dietary guidelines should be reconsidered in light of these findings.”

Dietary guidelines often prescribe a higher carb intake with low fats. This would appear to be less effective for long term health and life span in comparison to higher fat diets.

The Relationship of Heart Rate and Lactate to Cumulative Muscle Fatigue During Recreational Alpine Skiing
Seifert, John; Kröll, Josef; Müller, Erich
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2009 – Volume 23 – Issue 3 – pp 698-704
“Common indices of fatigue may not respond similarly between downhill skiing and other activities because of the influence of factors such as snow conditions, changing terrain, and skiing style.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship and predictors of common fatigue indices during downhill skiing. Ten healthy female recreational skiers skied for 3 hours under standardized conditions. Feedback on heart rate (HR) and finishing time were given to each skier at the end of each run to maintain a relatively stable load. A chronic stress score (Cstress) was calculated from creatine kinase (CK), cortisol, and isometric endurance.Finishing times and HR from runs 2, 12, and 24 were similar.
Heart rate averaged 82% of HRmax. Heart rate was an insignificant predictor (p = .65) and was poorly correlated (r = 0.16) to Cstress. Blood lactate (LA) was a significant predictor of the Cstress (p = 0.05; r = 0.62). Pre- to postskiing peak forces were not different (p = 0.62), but skiers experienced a significant decrease in isometric endurance from 106.1 ± 29.6 to 93.2 ± 24.0 seconds. Endurance decreased by 13%, whereas cortisol and CK increased by 16 and 42%, respectively. Isometric contraction endurance and blood LA were significant predictors of overall stress. Individual compensation mechanisms and skiing style contributed to highly variable responses during skiing.”
“Whereas HR may indicate stress within a given run, it is not a significant indicator of Cstress and fatigue during recreational alpine skiing. However, the cumulative stress variables and LA can be used in field testing of skiers. It is suggested that LA is a practical on-hill marker of chronic stress.”
The major contribution to endurance during downhill skiing is the heavy eccentric and isometric muscular demand which leads to increased levels increased of blood lactate, reducing performance. Aerobic conditioning does not appear to play a particularly important role in ski performance.  Muscular endurance specific to the eccentric and isometric demands are significant and should be trained prior to ski season.

Differences in Climbing-Specific Strength Between Boulder and Lead Rock Climbers
Fanchini, Maurizio1; Violette, Frédéric2; Impellizzeri, Franco M.1,3; Maffiuletti, Nicola A.2,3
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: February 2013 – Volume 27 – Issue 2 – p 310–314
“The purpose of this study was to compare maximal muscle strength and rapid force capacity of finger flexors between boulder and lead climbers of national-international level. Ten boulder (mean ± SD, age 27 ± 8 years) and 10 lead climbers (age 27 ± 6 years) volunteered for the study.
Ten nonclimbers (age 25 ± 4 years) were also tested. Isometric maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) force and rate of force development (RFD) produced in “crimp” and “open-crimp” hand positions were evaluated on an instrumented hold. Climbers were stronger than nonclimbers. More interestingly, MVC force and RFD were significantly greater in boulder compared with lead climbers (p < 0.05), in both crimp and open-crimp positions.”
“The RFD was the most discriminatory outcome, as the largest difference between boulder and lead climbers (34–38%) was observed for this variable. The RFD may reflect the specific requirements of bouldering and seems to be more appropriate than pure maximal strength for investigating muscle function in rock climbers.”
Lead climbers on big walls have less power requirements than boulder climbers in respect to hand/finger strength. Those athletes who focus on bouldering problems should likely train power moves more frequently, while lead climbers have a broader spectrum of fitness training requirements.

Help Needed Developing Nordic SOF Selection Training Plans

Norwegian SOF in Syria.

By Rob Shaul & Charles Bauseman

We’re currently researching the various Special Operations Forces in the Scandinavian region to design the Selection-Specific training plans.

While we’ve found the names of units in these countries, we’re having a tough time finding more information on the units and various selection courses for entry in to the units. Have information you can share?

Let us know at

Here are the units we’ve found so far:


  • Fromandskopset (FKP)
  • Jaegerkorpset (JGK)


  • Forsvarets Spesialkommando (FSK)
  • Jegertroppen
  • Marinejegerkommandoen (MJK)


  • Special Operations Task Group (SOG)


  • Utti Jaeger Regiment
  • Erikoistoimintaosasto

Plan Focus: Mountain Sledding Training Plan

Hill Climb World Champion and MTI Athlete, Jess Tutur. Photo courtesy RTL Photography.

By Rob Shaul

Western Wyoming where MTI is headquartered is a mecca for mountain sledding and Jackson itself is home to the Hill Climb World Championships.

I work with both “granola” and “redneck” and a mix of mountain athletes in my gym. Granola mountain athletes are the alpine climbers, skiers, ski mountaineers, etc. The “redneck” athletes are the sledders, mountain dirt bikers and backcountry hunters.


Several of us, myself included, are mix of both.

One thing I’m not is a mountain sledder. It’s too hard! Ridding a snowmobile in deep powder is much more athletic and physically demanding than just aiming the skis and pushing the throttle.

A couple years ago a couple of my pro sledders dragged me out for a day. I spent much of it stuck … digging my sled out … or getting “muscled” by the sled. At the end, I was worked. To watch those who are good at this sport is to experience a beautiful melding of finesse, athleticism, and strength between person and machine.

This program is designed to prepare snowmobile athletes for the mountain sledding season. It is intended to be completed the 6 weeks directly before your mountain sledding season begins.

It is a  progressive, gym-based training program. You will train 5 days/week for a total of 30 training sessions. The intention is that Monday through Thursday are are training days. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are rest days.
You will need a commercial gym, with basic equipment. The only unique piece of equipment needed to complete the program is a sandbag. Men will need a 60 pound sandbag, and women will need a 40 pound sandbag.


  • Build Lower Body Strength and strength endurance for shifting weight back and forth across the seat, as well as digging out and lifting stuck sleds.
  • Build Grip Strength and grip strength endurance for long days working the throttle and handle bars.
  • Build All around mid-section strength and strength endurance, especially isometric, rotational and extension strength.
  • Build Upper body strength and strength endurance with a single limb and rotational component.
  • Build Multi-modal work capacity for intense top marking efforts.
  • Build Multi-modal endurance for dawn to dusk days of mountain sledding.


Monday: Leg Strength, Strength Endurance, Upper Body Press/Pull Strength Endurance, Chassis Integrity (mid-section strength)
Tuesday: Grip Strength, Gym-Based Endurance
Wednesday: Total Body Strength
Thursday: Leg Strength, Strength Endurance, Upper Body Press/Pull Strength Endurance, Chassis Integrity (mid-section strength)
Friday: Grip Strength, Multi-Modal Work Capacity



How long should the training sessions take? 
Generally around 60 minutes, though near the end of the program, training sessions may take up to 75 minutes.

What if I can’t keep up the Monday to Friday Training Schedule?
The days you train are not as important as completing the training sessions sequentially and taking 2 full day’s rest between weeks.

What if I can’t complete the exercises using the prescribed loads?
Drop, or “scale” the load or weight as necessary to meet the prescribed number of reps. For example, if the training session calls for 5x Bench Press @ 135# and this is too, heavy, drop down to 115#, – or whatever is required, to get 5 reps.

What if I’ve never training in a gym before?
This training program is going to be quite an adventure in athletic training for you! Wednesday’s strength work is built primarily around classic barbell exercises. These are not complicated exercises, but they can be awkward at first. If needed, you can seek exercise instruction from a local coach or personal trainer. You can also teach yourself these exercises by being patient, using lighter weights, and sticking with it. Practice helps! There are many web-based sites and resources to find information on performing these common exercises. You’re not helpless. Be resourceful.

What equipment do I need?
Fully Equipped gym including barbells, plates, squats racks, dumbbells. 14-16″ Box or bench for hippity hops and step ups and a Sandbag:  60# for men. 40# Sandbag for women.

What if I miss a day?
Begin where you left off when you return to training. This programmed is progressed – each session builds upon the prior session – so don’t skip a session or skip around. Follow the training sessions in order, regardless.

Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE. The Run/Ruck Calculator is listed as an exercise.

What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.

More Questions?