Plan Focus: Military On-Ramp Training Plan

By Rob Shaul

I just updated our Military On-Ramp Training Plan this week.

I developed this On-Ramp Plan specifically to build reasonably fit military athletes to the point where they can complete MTI’s Operator Sessions and other training plans designed for SOF personnel and those who aspire to that level of fitness.

This program program is progressive in nature. It increases in difficulty and intensity as the athlete works through it’s 7 weeks.

It includes bodyweight, dumbbell, and barbell exercises that train the main targets for military athletes: strength, military endurance (running, ruck running), work capacity and Chassis Integrity (MTI’s functional core/midsection training. Click here for more).

The program also deploys multiple bodyweight strength and running assessments and uses the assessment results for follow-on progressions. In this way the program keeps pushing athletes as their fitness improves.


  • Monday: Bodyweight Strength, Work Capacity (sprint intervals)
  • Tuesday: Dumbbell Strength, Chassis Integrity
  • Wednesday: Ruck Run (begins at 3 miles/25# and builds to 3 miles/65#)
  • Thursday: Strength, Work Capacity (gym-based, multi-modal)
  • Friday: Endurance (3 mile run assessment or 1 mile intervals based on the most recent assessment)

Common Questions: 

What equipment is required?

  • Fully Equipped Functional Fitness Gym including barbells, racks, bumper plates, sandbags (40# for women, 60# for men), Dumbbells and/or kettlebells, plyo boxes, etc.
  • Ruck and 65# of filler/load
  • Stop watch
  • Foam Roller

Who is this plan appropriate for?
Reasonably fit military athletes who want to build their fitness to be able to complete MTI’s Operator Sessions and plans built from these, as well as MTI’s Selection Training Plans.

I think I’m “reasonably” fit, but how do I know I’m ready for this plan?
Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the first full week of programming. Try it. If you survive, you’re ready. If not, complete the Bodyweight Foundation Program first, then come back to this plan.

How long do the training sessions last?
– Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday’s sessions are all designed to be completed within 60 minutes.
– Wednesday’s Ruck Run may push past 60 minutes, depending upon your pace.

What does “4/8x” mean? How about “15/25#”?
First number is for women, second is for men, both for reps, and loading. Examples:
4/8x Chin Ups = Women do 4x, Men do 8x
15/25# = Women us 15#, Men us 25#.

What does “Increase load rapidly each round until hard but doable” mean?
Exactly what it says. Don’t over complicate it. The aim is to use the first 3 rounds of the exercise as a rapid warm up, and complete the last three at the “hard but doable” load. For example, below is how I would work up to 5x Walking Lunge:

6 Rounds
5x Walking Lunge – increase load rapidly each round until 5x is hard but doable.

Round   Load
1           16kg
2           20kg
3           24kg
4-6        28kg

What does “Grind” mean, exactly, for the Chassis Integrity training in the plan?
“Grind” through the circuit for the prescribed time. Work briskly, but not frantically.

The prescribed load says 65#. Does that mean both the barbell and the plates or just the plates?
Generally, both the barbell and the plates. Exceptions are for Standing Russian Twists and 1-Sided Dead Lifts, where the prescribed load refers just to the plates.

What if I miss a training day?
Ideally, you will train 5 days in a row, and take 2 full days off for rest. If for some reason miss a session,  do not skip ahead. Start again where you left off and complete the sessions in order throughout the plan.

Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE

What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.

What if I don’t have Dumbbells or I don’t have kettlebells?
All the dumbbell/kettlebell exercises in the training plan are interchangeable. For example, if the training session calls for a “5x Slasher @ 16/20kg” and you don’t have kettlebells, women use a 35# dumbbell and men use a 45# dumbbell. You’ll need to make the pound to kg conversion. Use google.

My gym doesn’t have sandbags. What should I do?
Make one and take it to the gym when you train … a sandbag (40# for women, 60# for men) is required for this program. We sell sandbags at, other venders sell them, and you can make your own. Be resourceful.