::: GENERAL :::

"Around 2012 I ended up dealing with a torn pec muscle and dislocated shoulder while I was deployed to Afghanistan.  Through some rehabilitation with the Army and a long period of time of attempting to get back into shape, I saw that I was not going anywhere.  I attempted different workout programs to no avail, I was getting in shape in other ways but my pec muscle still saw significant strength loss.  I attempted rehabilitation one more time, but to no avail.  I had pretty much given up trying to get back into shape at all.

That was until I found the awesome programs and individuals at the Mountain Tactical Institute.  I had emailed Rob with some questions, thinking I would not hear anything for quite some time, but I was pleasantly surprised to find an email with helpful answers to my questions.  I started with the Military Ramp-Up program and through hard work and a simple, yet sophisticated, program I began to see real results for the first time in years.  I am now on the Virtue program and have plans to return to the military as an officer.

I can not thank Rob and the Mountain Tactical Institute enough for their assistance with bringing a 31 year old vet another opportunity to find glory."
"I stumbled across mountain/military athlete in 2011 while deployed. One of my good friends was following the operator sessions and I decided to tag along. Since that time I have completed the ruck based selection work out, SFOD plan V1, APFT prep, UBRR prep, and the Afghan pre deployment workout.  No matter the challenge, I always find myself adequately prepared when using a military athlete program. From general fitness, to sport or training specific preparation, The military athlete sessions are always well designed and have never been the weak point for me!   Thanks for everything you guys do to provide the best workouts"
"I am four days into my first program. I am very impressed with the detail, description and tools that are provided to help follow and accomplish my goals. Excellent video to describe what and how all exercises are to be performed! Looking forward to the results and then progressing with more programs! Thank You! Quick bio; age 58, 160lbs, 72" I was in crossfit for one year, then had to have rotator cuff surgery (I was in a tussle with a 1200lbs steer) but had a serious infection went from 180lbs to 140 now 3.5 years later working my way back into shape! So far your work is awesome! P.S. GO COWPOKES!"

 

::: MILITARY PLANS :::

RUNNING IMPROVEMENT 
"I've been doing the Run Improvement Plan you recommended for an upcoming 10k trail race. Even though I've never officially competed, I want to try and come in  first. I would like to say the Quadzilla Complex just flat out sucks! But I have seen tremendous improvement on down hill running. I also understand that if I truly do want to have a good showing, I will have to perform in my Zone 3-4. I decided to run 3.1 miles and really push myself. I ran the first 1.3 miles around 6:40 then dropped to about 12:00 while running up hill to regain energy. By the time I was back on top of the hill, my time was back down into the 6:30s. Btw, I weigh about 215. Thanks for the advice and continued support!!"
RANGER SCHOOL
"Just graduated from Ranger school today. I just want to tell you that following your planning was something that settled me up for success.
I just med recicle Darby because one level 2 ankle sprain but I was able to recover in 2 weeks and be back on the game going straight through the end.
Awesome plans and insight.
RLTW"
HUMILITY
"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."
UBBR
"Just wanted to give my thoughts and opinions on your UBRR prep.

First test scores:
Age 30 BW 220
Bench 175 20
Pushups 53
Situps 40
Pullups 17
Dips 27
Rope pass
Kipp up 10 (grip) 
4×25m sprint 21sec
5mile ruck 62min

Score 1,215


Finale score:
Age 30 BW 222
Bench 225 25
Pushup 63
Situps 43
Pullups 22
Dips 33
Rope pass
Kipp up 13
4x25m 18sec
5min ruck 55 min easy (very hot 90°)

Score 1,408

I made some modifications (dread of any program author.) I increased the bench to BW in training and in testing (225.) Also dropped the shuttle sprint training to 50m or 2x25m I found that I was pacing myself with the full 100m and that my time decreased in my second test (week 3) by going shorter I stayed very explosive and pushed harder. I feel it helped. 

Limiting factor of my situps was speed of movement I can do high 70's in 2min. I tried moving fast in training but little change on test day. Grip was my limiting factor on the Kipp ups I started incorporating dead hangs for 10sec after my work sets during the rounds, but only for the last two weeks of the program. I feel if I had done this early it may have helped much more. 

The ruck was easy and I paced do to the temperature. Body felt fine and I recovered well from day to day. Obviously I made improvements overall to my score. You gentleman have a good day and keep up the good work."
APFT
"I just took my APFT after running the 6 week program. It might not sound like much, but I broke 80 points in each event. I haven't done that in almost 8 years since I've been in the national guard. I just wanted to thank you for putting together the program. This is huge for me. I can't wait to try Humility next."
HUMILITY
"I've been following  the Humility V2 program to T. 
Currently, I'm working through week 4 of the program (the week in which you reassess your fitness), and I've never had such large improvements to my fitness in such a short period of time.
Thank you for the excellent, specific, and well designed program."
HUMILITY
"I'm finishing up Humility and it's been a complete smoker. I loved it! My overall fitness is the best it has ever been and I can definitely feel that "hardening" effect that you've mentioned a couple of times. This is my first real taste of your more difficult (but kick-ass) programming and I'm definitely hooked. Thanks for the work that you and the other coaches do!"
APFT PLAN
"I used the APFT programme. After four weeks I went from 60 to 80 pushups, and 65 to 84 situps. Super pleased. 300 points after just a month. My run didn't improve (12:53) but I played sports all day the day before and that took a lot out of legs on test day."
HUMILITY
"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."
RUCK BASED SELECTION TRAINING PLAN
"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."
RUCK BASED SELECTION TRAINING PLAN
"Good afternoon. I am following your program and its amazing. I am thankful I found such a comprehensive and effective routine. 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. Thank you again."
MILITARY ON-RAMP
"I am in the Active Army, Special Operations and currently am deployed with my team to the mid-east. My team mates have been doing the military on-ramp program to start off the deployment and have since moved on to other programs. I have recently attended a female SOF course and wish I had known about these in depth, incredibly  researched, programs offered here. I had a coach through my sof Thor3 center, and he trained me through fear of not knowing what to expect. That contributed to me going into selection past peak and over reaching. I was not physically consistent throughout the selection. Although I made it to the very end through pure relentless tenacity, it was extremely difficult and I have some sustained injuries resulting.

I am in day two of the first week of mil on-ramp, and love it. This is what I was missing. What wonderful structure this program has and I assume all of the others do as well. Also, I appreciate that this program teaches patience. Through anxiousness and fear of the unknown of some of these schools and selections, its easy to go overboard and think its the right thing if you are not careful. Again, hindsight is 20/20 and boy this stuff is amazing."
AFGHANISTAN PRE-DEPLOYMENT PLAN
"Wanted to reach out to you just to say thank you for recommending the Afghanistan pre deployment plan for me in preparation for Army Mountain Warfare School. I crushed it. Graduated at the top of my class. Other trainees were asking me how I trained for the school even. I only have good things to say about MTI and I look forward to the next program. I'm also looking forward to the big Idaho hiking trip in a couple weeks more than ever after seeing the results from your program. All the best!"
HUMILITY
"Hey Rob, just thought I'd share an update. About 5 weeks into humility. Needless to say, this is the best training plan I have ever done this far. It's challenging, but I am seeing results. Can't wait to continue with the other ones. Thanks for all the R&D to help guys like me prepare for the future."
GENERAL
"First I wanna say your programs have dramatically improved my fitness over the past 6 years or so. I’ve been following your programs from back when I was preparing for ROTC until now as an Engineer Officer getting ready to start BOLC. So, thank you for all the hard work and dedication to building quality programs. I’m a firm believer in your methodology."
GREEK HERO HECTOR
"Just finished Greek Hero Plan Hector based on Rob and team's recommendations and I am once again hooked on another MTI /MilAth plan. I asked for a plan that would focus on explosive strength in short spaces and they nailed it. I will be continuing the Greek Hero series. MTI God bless you guys. I think it's apparent our military needs help in physical fitness training based on your Q and A posts. I hope you guys get broad recognition for this. Jealous at how fun your job must be."
AFGHANISTAN PRE-DEPLOYMENT PLAN
"I've had great success with all of your programming I've tried, starting back more than handful of years ago with your Afghanistan prep plan before my first deployment. I ran the Virtue Series Packet throughout my most recent deployment last year, and left in some of the best shape I've been in a long while. I've got an older version of the APFT plan and have used it several times over the years with solid success, and I always recommend it to soldiers in my unit struggling with their scores- I've seen it turn a couple guys careers around at the last minute. It's amazing what working up to a decent PT score can do for a soldiers morale. I'm a big fan of your programming and the methodology/mindset behind it. Keep up the incredible work!"
RUCK BASED SELECTION PLAN
"I just wanted to send my thanks for your Ruck Based Selection Program. Just got back from SFAS and was selected! I was in the top 10% for all events and rucks. Was able to beast through Team Week even after the long days and nights of the STAR Course. I couldn't have made it through without your program. Amazing job in what you and your team do. As a guy who isn't infantry, it was difficult in figuring out where to start with my training. You took the guess work out of it, and it paid off in the end. Thank you so much." - A
RANGER SCHOOL TRAINING PLAN
"I would also like to give you all some kudos. I graduated Ranger School on Friday (17OCT) and was able to make it through without any recycles. A large part of that I think is due to my training leading up to Ranger using your Ranger School Prep program. The program did an excellent job of preparing my physically and mentally for the rigors of Ranger School. I cycled through it once before our Brigade level Ranger Assessment Program, then cycled through it again before going to RTAC at the WTC in Fort Benning. I would recommend that you somehow incorporate more flutterkicks into the workouts as they seemed particularly fond of them in Darby Phase. Also, for those of us who are time-constrained, if push comes to shove between a workout and a ruck march on the plan, always pick the ruck march. During Ranger School you spend so much time under a ruck that rucking will serve you best instead of lifting weights. For the rucks in the plan, since you have two per week, I would recommend having one be for time (i.e. to prep for the 12 miler that weighs about 50lbs) and then one that is for distance and at a heavier weight (i.e. 60-80lbs). After RAP week, I can't think of a time when we rucked with anything less than 60lbs (maybe through Darby if you didn't carry any squad equipment).

Just some thoughts and comments. All in all, I thought it was a great plan, and am still an avid fan of Military Athlete. Thank you for all you all do, and the support you give to the military and law enforcement communities." - J
SFOD-D(DELTA) SELECTION COURSE PLAN
"I just wanted to drop you a line and thank you for the SFOD Selection Course Training Plan I purchased on your site. I did the program twice in preparation for A&S and it proved to be quite beneficial and I know it contributed to my success there. I would have to say the only thing I would change is that I would have increased the frequency of step-ups throughout the program. Other than that, I felt I was more than prepared for selection. I will definitely recommend your site and training plans in the future."
HUMILITY
"I just finished Humility. I had previously been doing a mix of different workouts from your Ruck Based Selection Packet that I bought a couple years back. I'm finally starting to prep for SFAS and your new philosophy on prepping for it caught my eye, especially with all the research you put in to back up your change of programming. I decided to get Humility and see how the new programming method was. I loved it.

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

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

Thanks for the great program. I really enjoyed it and made some great progress, especially on my lower body. Up next is Big 24 and I can't wait." Thanks - P
RUCK BASED SELECTION PLAN
"I am a little late to sending this, however, I wanted to take a moment and let you know that I appreciate what you do for our community. I recently successfully completed SFAS at the end of January and was selected to start the SFQC.

A little background on me and your training program. I first found your Mountain Athlete in 2009, when I was a Sophomore at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. I stumbled upon your programming by doing some of my own research. I was initially extremely disheartened when the only programming I could ever find for Military (or sport specific) training was all body weight and running that included thousands of reps. I quickly became pretty burnt out conducting "Army" PT in the morning and my own lifting regiment that I picked up from high school sports in the afternoon. Anyway, I quickly began to follow some crossfit workouts, but I did not believe in the "random" training aspect. I wanted to get more sport specific. So I compared all different athletes and tried to figure out what sport is most closely related to "Military Fitness" needs. So I researched professional climbing workouts and coaches. I finally stumbled upon your website as well as Gym Jones. Since then, I have been following your Military Athlete programs to help me complete and exceed at IBOLC, Ranger, and most recently SFAS. I can tell you up front that I could not have been so successful without the training you and your team develops at Mountain Tactical Institute.

I utilized your Ruck Based V5 Selection program to prepare for SFAS. I will say, the programming was definitely pretty difficult and required some dedication at times (but anything worth doing does). At selection, I was able to finish in the top 1% for the rucks, including the trek. However, the runs I was finishing more in the top 20%-30%. I would like to believe that is because the younger 18Xs are just ridiculously fast runners. I would like to offer some feedback to you from my thoughts on your training plan and its effectiveness in preparing for SFAS. 

- APFT - I maxed the APFT and ran a 12:25 2-Mile. Only thing I would recommend here is addition of some extra push up training during the week, maybe included in the 6 mile run workouts.

- 6 mile running workouts - the 2 mile repeats were probably the thing I dreaded the most each week. I definitely got use to the mileage and suck factor, however, I was just curious on the effectiveness v. the recovery factor every week doing those repeats at a 13:30 pace after an AM workout.

- Strength - I believe your sandbag focused strength training effectively helped with the "awkward" lifting of heavy shit that occurs quite often at SFAS. Only suggestion I would make is possible addition of some extra low carry training.

- Rucking - obviously your ruck training was on point. It helped me finish consistently in the top  of the class. I don't really have a recommendation here just kind of curious to the need of 16 Mile and 18 Mile rucks. Of course, I completed them because they were on my training calendar and for some reason I just can't skip something that's written down, possibly my stubbornness. However, I just thought maybe it was a little excessive to go over 12 Miles when we are focusing on a training effectiveness v. durability for Selection aspect. These are just me thoughts here, and like I said, I still completed the 16 and 18 miles.

I just wanted to provide you and your coaches with some feedback. I logged every single one of my workouts on paper and I would like to send my data to you if you believe it could be useful for improvement in the future. It astonishes me that the Military and its personnel are not treated more like athletes when it comes to fitness, nutrition, and recovery. All the Army programs that are out there seem to me to be half assed and behind the power curve. Your programming is the closest I can get to having an individual trainer who knows what I need ( and I would not be against paying you for personal training). Again Rob, Thank you for everything you and your team does at MTI, keep up the good work because there are a lot of us out here that rely on programming like yours." 
RUCK BASED SELECTION PLAN 
"I recently was selected through SFAS to continue in the SF Q-Course as a hand amputee. The difference between success and failure in many aspects was your Ruck Based Selection Training Plan. Thank you for your passion and ability in programming effective workout regimens."
GENERAL, RUCK BASED SELECTION PLAN 
"Just wanted to say thanks for all the work you've been doing in the functional fitness field. I've used your plans a few times in my military career. Most recently your Ruck Based Selection Plan. I attended SFAS in November of this past year and was Selected. I was definitely prepared for the physical aspect thanks to your programming."

Keep it up! - A
GENERAL, RUCK BASED SELECTION PLAN
"Sincere appreciation for y'alls work. I recently came back from SFAS and was completely prepared physically for what we faced. I appreciate the support!" - T
RUCK BASED SELECTION PLAN 
"I'm a huge fan of your work. I appreciate the scientific rigor you use to create truly inspired workout programs for military guys like me. I just (mostly) finished the Ruck-based Selection train-up and it helped me finish in the top 10 of a support company of over 100 Soldiers during a week of physical events that included the APFT, pull-ups, rope climb, CWST, 5-mile run, and 12-mile ruck." - N
DEVGRU SELECTION PLAN 
"Based on your recommendation I completed the DEVGRU program  (with a cut back in some ruck/run volume and adding in more bodyweight PT circuits) and it was definitely the right call for the SEAL screener.  It was 28 hours, 50% got medically dropped or quit, and even several that finished came out of it with stress fractures and joint problems.  Me and a buddy, who have been on your programming for a while, only experienced the muscle soreness of a really tough lift, and were consistently top performers.  We credit your programming with that, so thank you!" - K
GENERAL, VALOR
„I will be working through Valor before then doing the USAF PFT programming (this suits Australian Army BFA training) before taking a test in March.  Not too sure after that but I'm thinking a gym based work-capacity program would be ideal.

I've gone from a complete functional fitness beginner to nearing your strength standards and nearing my own endurance goals (12km in 60 minutes) in only 10 months.  I cannot wait to see where I'll be at in another 10 months.

Your programming really is the shit.  Quite often when looking at the next days programming it looks easy.  Then you start the workout and the lightbulb soon goes off that Rob Shaul won't let you off that easily.  What I like the most about your stuff is that it is programmed, progressed and it works.  I trust it.  I don't waste emotional energy worrying if the work I'm doing is what I really should be doing.  It's not "working out" it's "training" and that's also one of the things that keeps the motivation so high. Keep up the good work.“
USAF TACP PLAN
"Just wanted to let you know I followed your USAF TACP plan and supplemented some weight training prior to the ALO assessment.
Not only did I feel confident in my training during the extended training sessions, but I was selected out of a large pool of candidates." - D
GENERAL, HUMILITY
"Wanted to send you another quick note and thank you for the recommendations and advice over the past year.  As you know, I have completed several of your operator plans (Humility, Sandbag/Weightvest/Dumbbell) and recently used the Pre-Deployment plan to prepare for a week-long backpack-style archery elk hunt in the Rockies.  Long story short, I was able to connect on a 5x5 bull on the last day of the hunt, with an hour of daylight left.  As you know, just covering ground in Rocky Mountain "elk country" is hard work — but doing that for 6 days straight and then spending the 7th day packing out and elk?  That is quite a bit of demand.  I credit your plans for giving me the physical ability, durability, and mental toughness to make it through a long week, hunt hard right up until the end, and then still have something left in the tank to get an elk out of the backcountry.  I killed the bull about 5 miles and 2,500 vertical feet up from the truck, so doing two round trips of that with a weighted pack made for a long day.  (Thankfully I had a great hunting partner and a few pack goats to share the load with!)  The Pre-Deployment plan prepared me for the climbing, as well as the weighted descent, and improved my core stability to bear the heavy pack." - M
OPERATOR SESSIONS
"Thank you for putting together the training programs and Operator Sessions. Everyday is a challenge and a felt sense of accomplishment once completed. This is THE best workout program out there for those of us burdened with maintaining a constant level of fitness."
OPERATOR SESSIONS
"I just wanted to drop you a line and say thank you for the awesome programming. I just brought my company back from a very challenging 6 months in eastern Afghanistan. The bottom line is that without your program we would not have been able to accomplish half of what we did and we would not have brought home as many guys as we did. My Soldiers hated me when I first instituted mind numbing amounts of leg blasters, step-ups, and sandbag get ups, and training that was like nothing they had ever done before, but all these things became a rallying cry as the Soldiers realized how far ahead of their sister companies they were in their physical and mental fitness. Keep doing what you are doing, the benefit cannot be understated." – B
GENERAL, RUCK BASED SELECTION, BEST RANGER COMPETITION PLAN
"Just got home from SFAS, successfully selected. I know you've got tons of athletes, but I'm going to run down a quick laundry list on how your program has had a direct and significant impact in my life:

In 2009, I was first introduced to your program as my USMA Sandhurst team used it to get ready for the 2010 competition. The training helped us place first in the nation that year. At the end of 2010, after working through operator sessions over the summer, I used your ruck based selection program to get ready for Ranger School. Day 4 of Ranger School, I blew my knee out on the Darby Queen.

Not knowing the extent of the injury, I got up, dusted myself off, and completed the next 59 days of Ranger School. I would later learn I had torn three ligaments and my meniscus. In November 2011, I had surgery on that injury and used your single leg program to get back in shape while my knee healed. With the help of the single-leg program, I recovered a month ahead of schedule and was able to assist in the rehabilitation of over twenty other soldiers in my unit dealing with leg injuries.

My unit used your programming to prepare for our 2013 Afghan deployment, to much success. In February 2014, I coached a Best Ranger Competition team from Fort Campbell- we used your BRC prep. The team, first time competitors, finished 21st out of 50 teams with zero training or competition injuries. Finally, I used your Ruck Based Selection Program to get ready for SFAS this past May- I placed in the top 10% for the course with zero recovery issues and zero injuries.

Thanks for what you do, from the programs to operator sessions to the forums and gear. Your work has helped me reach so many goals in this profession. Look forward to more." - J
GENERAL
"Not only did I never fail a physical evolution throughout this past year and a half, I was able to excel in them and experienced no injuries. It’s true that BUD/S is a mental game, but I can remember several times thinking to myself, "I could not have trained or prepared any better for this". In any event, thank you for your program.“
HUMILITY
"I need to take a moment to say thank you. I recently completed Humility. It took 11 weeks to finish your 7 week plan. At the time I finished I had dropped three minutes from my three mile time, I chalked that up to the possibility of it being significantly warmer than my last four time trials (from the plan and PT tests). Today I was given a short notice APFT and dropped 1 full minute off my 2 miler (I'm now 45s from maxing) and took my sit-ups from 66 to 76 (maxed out). I found this progress incredible considering the program was just building general fitness and not sport specific training for the APFT. I'll be finishing big 24 soon and rolling into Fortitude; even with the change in run volume I hope I can continue to see progress on my run. Thanks for great training plans!"
FORTITUDE PLAN 
"I just finished Fortitude... awesome stuff.  I was doing some swimming concurrently (only time I could get coaching) which when coupled with the Big24 progressions of bench and push press, was just murder on my shoulders (impingement).  I found the speed of my runs and rucks didn't increase much throughout the program, but I definitely feel that it built a solid base ready for some future speed work.  I just did my assessments for Valor and my run and ruck times per mile at max effort have dropped considerably."
RUCK BASED SELECTION PLAN 
"First of all, i just wanted to say thanks.  I did your 8 Week Ruck Based SFAS prep program and just got selected.  Physically i was well prepared for the events, and afterwards am recovering much faster than some others.  A few days after the last event i actually felt completely fine. Thanks again!"
HUMILITY, DEA FAST SELECTION PLAN 
"I’d like to thank you for all you do and the knowledge and advice you share!  I had the privilege of competing in the OCR World Championships this past weekend in Ontario and couldn’t be more pleased.. I finished in the top 20% for my age group (40-44) in both races and more importantly completed every single obstacle and kept both my wrists bands! If you fail an obstacle they cut your band off and your considered disqualified for any prizes etc.  I’ve been following your programs for over a year now and felt lean, durable and prepared coming into this event.  I did a mixture of Humility which I’ve done in the past along with the mini events from the DEA FAST program with the running improvement program thrown in there towards the end of my training leading up to races.  I followed your new thoughts on chassis integrity and my lower back and all around core performed great!  I can’t thank you and your hardworking lab rats enough for the guidance I’ve found in your emails, Q & A section and the tried and true real world programs that you guys put out!  I look forward to branching out into more adventures of different types and will continue training and staying  prepared for whatever may come thru your great programs and the strong mind that ensues as a result!" - J
OPERATOR SESSIONS
"I'm a long time follower of your gym and Military Athlete training ideals from Australia - I've touched base with you a couple of times before. Just wanted to give you some feedback from my recent personal experience.  I had after a few years of relatively successful Olympic Lifting seasons here in Perth (couple of years as state champ at 94kg) followed by probably a year of general inactivity - I had no real training focus. The last few months I have jumped back into you Operator Sessions starting with John and am now half way through Luke. What a change it's been! I've been strict with following your sessions in order - I don't necessarily train monday to friday because of work but I have maintained the order to your sessions. I've dropped 11kg of body weight and my running went from struggling to break the 5 minute barrier on a 1km sprint to last night running (as part of my 6 mile/9.2km run Luke session 16) consistent sub 5-minute kms for 10km and feeling great afterwards. My estimated VO2 has gone from low 40s to 52.

I know my pacing is a little quick (quick for me!) compared to what you have prescribed on the run chart, based off my initial 3 mile test in session 2, but I'm generally pressed for time so if I can run it quicker I will. The run times aren't super quick by comparison to a lot of people but they are for me! The gym-based endurance stuff is also a fresh experience and a good mental workout for me. Your Operator Sessions are putting me in a good place for an upcoming exercise in a few months and deployment at the end of the year, especially after being a lazy POS for so long haha. I am also gearing up for an attempt at SASR selection in 2019 if everything goes to plan and I feel like your training is absolutely right direction for me."

Thanks for the awesome work you are doing.
GENERAL
"I wanted to send you a note thanking you for your article that I found here: What Does it Mean to be a Quiet Professional?
I run an engineering company in support of SOF…..check it out if you are interested.  I am having a company wide meeting next week and I found your article “What Does It Mean to be a Quiet Professional?” and it immediately struck a chord with me.  I plan to read it to my entire company since I live by this same creed.  My husband is a retired Tier 1 SEAL, so we truly know what it means. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your article, and wanted to send you a note of thanks."
GENERAL
"Just got done at the gym and thought you deserved a quick note. I was sporting the military athlete shirt and hat and had two guys stop me to compliment your programming. I'm down here at benning and on behalf of all of us, thank you. Everyone that knows of your programming knows it works and has nothing but good things to say. Keep up the good work!"
CCT/PJ/CRO SELECTION PLAN 
"I wanted to send along my gratitude for the programming and assistance you provided over the past few months. Last week I went through a USAF Special Tactics Officer Selection. The week was full of grueling workouts and leadership challenges. Your CCT/PJ/CRO Selection plan left me more than prepared to handle it all.

Each of the focus areas (ruck run, heavy ruck, swim work cap, PAST, etc.) was spot on for what we saw at selection. The workouts provided a meaningful and objective challenge each day, with logical progression towards improvement. I've used other selection workouts with success, but none of them matched the logical layout and sensible progressions for your workouts. All of this is to say that I was extremely successful at selection and was picked up. I couldn't be happier with my Mountain Tactical Institute experience and will be returning to the site for tune up training as I get ready to hit the pipeline.
 
Can recommend some changes as someone who followed your program exactly and then went to selection? First, put STO in the title! It works perfectly for those of us trying to become STO's as I'm sure it works for CRO hopefuls too. Personally, I was weak in my sit ups to begin with. Overall the PAST preparation was great, but I wish there was more of it. The once a week focus on calisthenics might not be enough for people needing work on their muscular endurance. I might suggest throwing in an extra day or workout for calisthenics. Overall the plan is great. These were minor things that I altered or fixed on my own, but might help another hopeful in the future."

 

::: LAW ENFORCEMENT PLANS :::

SWAT SELECTION TRAINING PLAN
"I want to say thanks.  Your SWAT selection plan worked incredibly well for me and I had no physical limitations during my selection process."
FIRE/RESCUE ON-RAMP TRAINING PLAN
"I just finished my first training plan with mtntactical. I chose the On Ramp Fire Plan to prepare for our annual Work Capacity Test, followed by our (arduous) Pack Test for Wildland with Jackson Hole Fire/EMS. The On Ramp program was a great resource for me to work through to feel prepared. I placed the Preseason Wildland program in my cart and plan on working through it next. Now that I'm in my late 40's, I haven't been able to will myself through like I used to. This is a great resource for me, and I've learned I have to stick to a strict training regiment if I want to keep up, let alone, lead.."
VODKA
"Just wanted to pass along that I had my 3rd degree hapkido/jiu-jitsu test on the 21st.  I’m 42, will be 43 in April, 5’9 and 183lbs.  A lot of our guys are former military and current Law Enforcement officers and they let me have it for over an hour.  I was one week short of finishing “Vodka” prior to the test.  And while I didn’t move quite as fluidly as I wanted to (not because of fitness, probably more adrenaline dump related and nerves from being the only one on the mat for all the spectators), I was able to work at a very high threshold (higher than even I thought I could!) for the entire test.  I was to the point that it was pretty difficult to get me fatigued in training to simulate that dynamic.  But of course I’m much more comfortable there, where I can just focus on training and teaching our lower rank members.  I think that was why I wasn’t as fluid as I wanted, just because nerves and adrenaline and I just couldn’t seem to calm down.  Anyway, love the programs you’re putting out, and even though I’m not your “target” market, hoped the feedback would be useful.  And if you do get out to Des Moines anytime soon, please, let me know."
SPIRITS SERIES, SWAT GUN MAKER
"I've been using your LE programming since April and have seen significant gains in strength, speed, and endurance - all while being pain free and without significant injury.  I'm on a Federal SWAT team and the workouts are definitely applicable to the type of fitness required to do my job.  I've done LE Whiskey, Tequila, SWAT Rugar and SWAT Beretta. I’m hoping to see you continue with the SWAT series as I feel its been the best programming for SWAT Athletes." - K

 

::: GENERAL FITNESS PLANS :::

3-WEEK PUSH UP & PULL UP IMPROVEMENT PLAN
"The push up pull up improvement plan is great! Just 20 mins per day and you can greatly improve your upper body strength in such a short time. It's week 1 but am already making progress"
RAT 6 STRENGTH
"Its given me a great boost in strength, overall performance, and confidence in moving heavy weight. All my lifts increased. Ill send you my final numbers once finished. I am very happy I have a year subscription to Military Athlete. Wishing you well from Iraq. Thanks."
POST REHAB INJURY LEG TRAINING PLAN
"I went through the post rehab leg injury training program. I've the confidence I had lost after my injury and am back to where I was at before the injury. Thanks a lot for your program."
100 MILE ULTRA RUNNING TRAINING PLAN
"Rob - Just wanted to give out a huge kudos to you and your 100 Mile Training Plan.  I just completed the Bryce Canyon 100 in 33:45 with the use of your training plan.  This is the fourth 100 I've completed and I've used various other plans and expensive coaches, your plan crushes them all in my opinion.

For the first time in all my training I enjoyed all the workout sessions, I could see week to week improvement in my speed, strength, and endurance.

One of the most impressive things I saw from the training plan during my race was my consistent speed across the course and the distance. This was most impressive to me because I live in Chesapeake, VA where the highest hill is an over pass and 99% of my training is done on flats, while the Bryce 100 has 18,800 vertical gain.

I also credit my quick recovery to your plan. While I had a few aches and pains following the run, with in a few days I was back to a relatively normal range of motion. I also never really felt "beat up" like I have during past 100's and I credit that to the strength and chassis work programmed in.

Huge thanks to you and your training plan for helping make my run a success. This will be my go to plan for all my ultras - Thanks again"
GENERAL 
"I'd like to lead off by saying thank you. Thank you for providing an outlet for individuals to tap into your skill set, as it pertains to a deeper level of fitness knowledge. Myself and several of my friends and colleagues have utilized several of your workout routines, and the nuggets of wisdom contained within, to pass selection programs, train for personal improvement, and better ourselves for the mission sets we prepare for." - K 
GENERAL
"I'm a Spanish fan of your website and methods and Master of Kinesiology (Exercise Physiology) student at the University of Calgary, in Canada and I'm also studying to take the CSCS. And I also try to be a mountain athlete (even though lack of time and money are important limiters to my time spent in the mountains). 

I really enjoy the articles you share in your website and I have learned a ton from them and I appreciate your vision of training: train for mission performance, fluid periodization and efficient programming, the unorthodox way in which you plan training. I think you definitely are onto something and you and the MTI will help move the field forward" - F
50 MILE ULTRA RUNNING PLAN
"I recently completed the 50 mile training plan to prep for my first ultra in 10 years, which was a 50k. I threw in a lot of "bonus" rest days to take it slow, and would have liked to have had a few more/heavier more upper body pulling exercises in the program, (but then, I have chronically unstable shoulders, so maybe that's just me). Anywho... 

After doing this program, (mostly on a treadmill), I went and did my trail 50k and got first place among the females (16th overall). My stabilizers were more than capable of taking the strain of a trail ultra, and nothing got pulled or strained or overly stressed. The aid station crews kept saying it looked like I wasn't even trying! I think that's the mark of some stellar training. Thanks for putting this together. You guys rock." - S
BODYWEIGHT FOUNDATION
"Love love love LOVE your Body Weight Foundation so far! Today was Session 14 and I did not think 800s would EVER be that easy for me. Your program is AMAZING and follows the KISS principle of "Keep It Simple Stupid". Thank you SO much for creating these. I'm looking forward to the Body Weight 1 Training Plan when I'm finished with the current." - C
BODYWEIGHT FOUNDATION 
"I took your advice I jumped feet first into the Bodyweight Training Program and one week in I have been completely humbled. Honestly, I was worried about losing the strength gains I had made through Starting Strength, halfway through my first mini leg blaster I could care less and I realized how out of shape I really was. If anyone doubts the effectiveness or difficulty of this program, please feel free to refer them to me! Thank you again!"
LOW BACK TRAINING PLAN 
"It has been close to a year now since my injury and I wanted to say thanks for your help and programming. It was hard getting back into the groove of working out and not being afraid of re-injuring myself, but your low back training plan allowed me to get back to doing the things I love. I am happy to report that this January I was able to summit Cotopaxi, Cayambe, and Chimborazo in succession (~19k, 18k, and 20k feet respectively) with no problems whatsoever! I have also been able to begin pushing myself on sport and trad again. I am very excited for this spring climbing season.
Just thought I'd share, and wanted to say thanks once again."
ON-RAMP, 357 STRENGTH, RUN IMPROVEMENT, CHASSIS INTEGRITY, FORTITUDE
"I previously completed On-ramp twice (second time with more running), 357 Strength+Run Improvement (alternating days), then your chassis integrity sessions from the subscription, before moving onto Fortitude.  For someone as unfit as I was, I strongly recommend this or a similar progression of programs for true beginners.  It built everything nicely to begin Fortitude."
STUCK IN A MOTEL PLAN 
"I utilised your stuck in a motel programming for a cruise I recently went on just after Fortitude.  The program fitted perfectly with the equipment available on the cruise ship, though I did add some pull ups because there was a pullup bar.  I did however get a lot of weird looks when doing such things as a renegade manmaker and treadmill run work capacity session in a pretty packed gym, but anyone who asked got pointed your way.  It was also interesting doing exercises such as craig specials and front squats on a rocking ship, definitely taxed the proprioception.  I feel that the programming has suitably maintained my fitness ready to start Valor."
TLU STRENGTH PLAN 
„Just a quick shout. The new TLU strength program you made is great! Loving the strength gains without the loss in endurance. 
I can walk right into a 5 mile run and complete it in under 40 minutes without straining. Same with weighted rope climbs, pushup/situp events, etc. Thanks again for the great program.“
LIMITED EQUIPMENT PLAN, BODYWEIGHT FOUNDATION
I purchased the limited equipment plan back in January after hearing you on the Art of Manliness podcast.  I had shoulder surgery back in September for an old rugby injury and was looking for a plan to get back in shape since my physical therapy was completed.  I am a freshman in NROTC at UC Davis and totally latched on to your sport specific approach.  I had always struggled with the idea of focused training to actually make progress, and the importance of being well-rounded.  I had built great fitness running XC and track in high school with calisthenics in the mornings.  By committing to and completing the bodyweight foundation and SB/DB/WV plan I am pretty much back to my pre-surgery level of fitness.  I am starting Humility next week and looking forward to it.  Most importantly, MTI's attitude has really helped me get back on track.  Ever since I was a kid I loved to plan.  Hell, I was working on my Halloween costume in August and had the my Lego cities organized to the T.  In training, it's easy to have a great idea, but then before you give it a chance, you go down the rabbit hole of another modality. I was definitely in the paralysis by analysis camp.  However, hearing you talk about being a professional tactical athlete changed that for me.  I have now adopted a blue collar attitude towards training; I show up, put in the work, go home, and let the training take care of its self so I can focus on school and my other responsibilities.  Developing the discipline and attitude of a professional athlete has been very liberating.  In addition, your article on commitment struck a cord with me.  I am currently in the midst of the "yolo" mentality in college and your article helped dispel some insecurities I had about not living that lifestyle.  I share MTI's articles and work with my fellow Midshipman and it is appreciated.  Just in case you are having one of those inevitable days where you wonder if what you do matters, it does.

 

::: MOUNTAIN PLANS :::

RAINIER TRAINING PLAN 
"Sitting here in the airport waiting to head back to NYC. I just wanted to say thank you. I used your plan to train for a climb on Mt. Rainier. While we did not summit due to conditions on our route, we made it to the top of disappointment cleaver just over 12,000 ft. Even though we did not touch the top. Not once did I feel like my physical ability would keep me from getting there. People were taken aback by the volume of step ups I was doing. They paid off both physically and mentally! I look forward to using that plan to train for my next attempt at it.
Thank you !"
PEAK BAGGER TRAINING PLAN 
"I just finished a Grand Canyon Hike (down to the river in one day and back up in two days) with a 25 lb pack.  I am 66 years old and completed the “Peak Bagger” program prior to the trip.  This is the 10th consecutive year for the trip and the Peak Bagger training was a huge success!  Usually, the trip down kills my calves & knees.  I normally had trouble walking the next day.  No such trouble this time.  The trip up was actually easy compared to the thousands of step-ups!!  As feedback to you for my age group, I was able to do all of the reps and rounds for each session in the peak bagger.  I was generally not able to achieve the intensity and in most cases the weight recommended.  I think I can get up to it, but over a longer period of time.  Do you have any suggestions for maintenance sessions in the gym through the summer?  I will likely hike 4-5 days per week, and mountain or road bike 1-2 days per week. Thanks for your great programs and I look forward to any suggestions on maintenance!!!  You helped me feel young and strong again."
GENERAL
"I was an outdoor ed teacher for a long time and considered myself a backcountry athlete... even did the infantry thing when I was young. I say "considered" myself a backcountry athlete because I had a rude awakening a​bout 5 years ago my buddy got me into hunting and back into fishing.  After a few years of hunting from my truck, I decided to head back out into the backcountry.​ ​What I didn't realize was just how out of shape I'd let myself get.  2 years ago I tried to do a hard day trip over a traverse and my legs gave out... I was in total shock. This past ​fall I found MTI and your programming has​, in all honesty,​ turned my life around.  I finished an alpine lake hike in early July​ that no way I could have done last year. I've been out numerous times this summer, hiking, scouting and just enjoying being in the backcountry.  I'm happier, stronger and having a much more fulfilling break from school.​"
RAINIER TRAINING PLAN 
"Thank you for your amazing Rainier Training Plan.  I used it leading up to an attempt on Rainier’s Liberty Ridge. While we didn’t summit because of bad weather, I felt extremely strong and fit during the climb.  The training plan did a great job of focusing on every aspect of fitness that one would need on the mountain. My 35 pound back weight didn’t even phase me.  I was especially surprised and enjoyed the sandbag getups, the first few weeks they were murder, but by the end of the program I was just cranking through them. 
I did find the amount of time required to be excessive, and had to add in an extra rest day each week to catch up on my “adult” responsibilities, but I’m sure other people will be able to manage." Thanks again!
GENERAL 
"First I wanted to just say thanks for your great training plans. I’ve been using your programs for years and seen great results from both your mountain athlete programs when I was a ski patroller and in my current military career. Keep up the good work." - O
GENERAL
"I want to extend my appreciation to the team at Mountain Tactical Institute. The variety of plans, nutrition guidance, articles, exercise database, Q&A and so much more make MTI a go to for effective, time-efficient training. It has had a tremendous impact on myself and undoubtably many others within the military community. Please extend my thanks to all the folks on your team."
BACKCOUNTRY BIG GAME HUNTING PLAN
"I just wanted to reach out to you about your Backcountry Big Game Hunting Program. I’m just coming off of a three week backpack trip in the Mackenzie Mountains in the Northwest Territories and I used your program to prepare for it. There’s no question in my mind that it more than paid off. I’d say that almost without exception, I was the only one not physically damaged in some way when we came out of the mountains. I think that endurance performance goes without saying, but the thing I noticed above all else was my durability. I mean we took some serious punishment and places where my body had previously failed me held up without the slightest problem. Seriously, well done on this and everything you guys do.
I love your philosophy, your simplicity and the sincerity towards your athletes." - T
BACKCOUNTRY BIG GAME HUNTING PLAN 
"I recently purchased your Backcountry Program and have been enjoying it immensly. I have finally found something to really prepare me to haul out 3 Elk in 4 days out of Idaho's backcountry. I love it and find the specifity unparralled. I am a former crossfiter who became frustrated at the lack of focus applied to the sports I like best spent in the mountains (hunting, mountain biking, ruck-runs etc....)."  
BACKCOUNTRY BIG GAME HUNTING PLAN 
I am 40 years old, a former Federal Law Enforcement Officer, and understand your methodologies well. One of my concerns though as I age is the wear and tear I put on my knees when completing 75 plus lb ruck runs and other mini-events within your program that emphasis lots of weight over distance and elevation.

My body feels great when completing any of the routines with 50 pounds or less on my back.
When I put 75 plus, the aches, pains, and wear and tear of years of CrossFit come out.

I am seeking some guidance from you if you have heard the same concerns with the backcountry training program, and if you may have some suggestions at helping to curb the pounding on the knees at these high ruck weights?

Again, I am not complaining but feel the need to reach out and see if you may have ideas to train with the same mountain endurance goals in mind but maybe have a few different applications of excises (mountain biking, ???, etc...) thought could be mixed in to help reduce the potential for overloading the knees from excess weight during the long rucks.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.


ANSWER
Our job with this program is to prepare you for your event - your hunt - that's why the heavy loading is 75# - which in my experience, is a minimum pack out weight. 

It's up to you if you lower the training load to 50#, just know I can't guarantee rucking at 50# will prepare you for the real thing - the pack out.

I'm 48 and have similar issues. The mountain doesn't care.

- Rob


REPLY
Thanks for getting back to me.  I agree the mountain does not care.  Also agree the minimum pack out is 75 lbs minimum. 
More specifically, I am holding out hope there could be a smarter way to train as we get older and want to hunt for as long as we can.

When I was 23, I could ruck as far with as much weight as I wanted.  I would recover fast, probably not mobilize, probably drink a stupid amount of beer, get up and do it again the next day.

After 20 years of this I have changed a thing or two.  No Beer, added restorative Yoga, standing work-station, sleep more, even skip a workout if my body feels like crap.  I used to just push through thinking it was the right thing to do.  Now I am much smarter regarding recovery, nutrition, and can take an inventory so I dont push into an injury.

I guess I would be interested if you ever design a workout study if as an older athlete there could be some periodic substitutions for an athlete in their 40's vs. in the 20's in regards to the heavy long distance rucks.  It would be interesting to try and track injury rates of a couple groups as well.

I guess you risk not being prepped on a packout but if you could get close and not risk the overuse, tendonitis type, middle age knee problems it could be interesting.

Not sure what those substitutions are - have to research and reach out to my PT and training community for some answers.
Anyways good dialogue, love what you guys do, and specificity you have brought to my mountain prep/training.
Bought a sandbag from you as well.  Love it!  Very rewarding and efficient.

 

ANSWER
Believe me, I've considered this before. One change we've made to our programming is eliminated useless Garbage Reps, but I've yet to find exercise substitutions for heavy rucking, uphill movement under load, and especially, the downhill movement under load.
 
There may be ways to train good enough for the muscular and cardio demands with substitutions. But I'm not sure there is a way to short cut the joint and connective tissue demands of a heavy, backcountry hunting packout - i.e. knee/ankle connective tissue strength and stability.

As you know, backcountry hunting especially is 50% or more off trail - which adds to these joint demands. Walking off trail, down hill, with 75-100# on your back takes elements of leg, knee, ankle and mid-section strength which I'm not sure can be short cutted. There is a real risk of injury if the athlete simply doesn't know what it feels like to carry that load, and/or isn't strong enough.
 
Overall, I'm developing a day to day programming system for 45-55 year old athletes still in the game ... but changes will be primarily to the day to day programming, not the sport-specific train ups - at least not until I can figure out how to do it.

 

::: COMPETITION PLANS :::

GO RUCK CHALLENGE 
"I completed a GORUCK Tough event after completing your GORUCK Challenge plan and the plan certainly did it's job.  Firstly, the rucking was never an issue and my core never felt fatigued.  The sandbag get-ups and low back complex forged a tough chassis that never failed me.  Secondly, the Monday and Wednesday strength and work capacity session did there job, no single "smoker" during the event put me out for more than a minute or two and even on hour ten my recovery was quick.  Finally, the Saturday mini events were also spot on, after the final and longest of them all I knew exactly what to expect for the event.During the whole GORUCK I felt like I had energy on reserve, enough so that I felt that my individual performance exceeded my expectations but I was also able to continuously contribute to the team and motivate individuals when things got tough. Thank you for the plan, it is perfect."

 

 

 

 

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