Peak Bagger Training Plan
- 6 weeks 5 days/week
- Designed to build strength and stamina into your legs required for a hard, fast push to a peak in a single day or two
- Requires minimal equipment or gym training experience
- This training plan is one of the 200+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.
- Required Equipment
- Sample Training
- Why MTI?
- Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.
- Common Questions
This program is designed to build your legs and lungs in preparation for single day, or hard, 2-day push to climb a mostly non-technical peak, such as the Grand Teton, or a Colorado 14-foot’er.
It is also designed to use minimal equipment, and thus be utilized to train without access to fully-equipped gym, bunches of equipment, and/or personnel who have little lifting experience.
This is a 6-week long program and makes the assumption that athletes will be training 5 days/week, yielding 30 total training sessions.
CAUTION: This is a very intense training program, and it’s recommended that athletes be able to complete 1,000 step ups with a 25# pack under 60 minutes before attempting this program.
The program is build around the following exercises and activities:
Leg Blasters – Leg Blasters are an intense, body weight only, lower body complex of exercises which builds incredible leg strength, and lactate tolerance. Also, we’ve found it key to building eccentric leg strength. During your trip, you’ll be climbing the mountain, but you’ll also be hiking down it. Coming down forces your legs to work eccentrically, and can lead to crippling soreness in the next day. Leg Blasters will help you prepare for this. Here’s a link which explains leg blasters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyfWQLWSMX4
Full Leg Blaster = 20x air squats +
20x in-place lunges (10x each leg) +
20x jumping lunges (10x each leg) +
10x squat jumps
Mini Leg Blaster = 10x air squats +
10x in-place lunges (5x each leg) +
10x jumping lunges (5x each leg) +
5x squat jumps
Step Ups – Step ups are a basic, butt-kicking single mode exercise used to build sport-specific climbing leg strength and cardio in a controlled, gym environment. During this program, expect to do thousands of step ups with a 25# pack. This is the primary exercise I’ll use to get your legs and lungs ready for long hiking uphill, thousands of feet to bag a peak. You can use any box, or bench, 16-19” high, for step ups. Here are the pace definitions for step ups:
Threshold Step up Pace – Fastest possible without straining
Moderate Step up Pace – Comfortable, but not easy
Easy Step up pace – moving slowly – should be easy
Sandbag Getup – We’ve found that core strength is a huge determinate of performance. Even more important, a strong mid section protects vulnerable limbs. I’m using this exercise to make you not only strong, but durable.
The sandbag getup is an old school, basic exercise which builds core strength like no other, plus it makes you breath like mother. Expect to do hundreds of these with an 40# (women) or 60# (men) sandbag. We recommend switching shoulders every 5x getups. You’ll need to build a sandbag. You can purchase one from our website store, or use an old duffle bag. Wood pellets, mulch made from ground up tires, and pea gravel make good filler – depending upon the size of the bag you use.
Interval Calve Raises – One of the first muscles to fatigue when climbing steep hills is the calf muscles. We use the interval calve raises help strengthen your calves. Our Calve Raise Intervals are 20 seconds continuous, rapid calf raises, unloaded, for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds in a holding “rest” position up on your toes (it’s really not a “rest.”)
Upper Body Strength Endurance – One thing you’ll notice about this programming is you won’t be spending much time doing upper body training. We’ve purposely limited upper body work to a circuit of strict pull ups and push ups, which double in volume over the course of the program. Why the limitation? Peak bagging begins and ends with the legs and core. We put our attention here.
Rucking – You’ll be doing bunches of rucking with a 25# pack during this program. “Rucking” is a military term which is simply fast walking with a pack. In the program, Rucking distance, and pace will be prescribed. For the purpose of this training plan, here are the optimal paces:
Threshold Rucking Pace – 12-13 min/mile
Moderate Rucking Pace – 15 min/mile.
When possible, ruck on a trail over hilly terrain, but without significant elevation gain/loss.
Distance Running – You’ll run relatively short distances at threshold and moderate paces during this program. Moderate pace distance running will help build your aerobic base, add durability to the connective tissue in your joints, and work to flush out the lactic acid and other waste products from your sore legs and other muscles. Threshold pace will push your lactate threshold.
Pacing – For the purposes of rucking and running in this program, we prescribe two paces. Here are their definitions:
“Moderate Pace” – Comfortable, but not easy: 8 min to 9 min/mile pace.
“Threshold Pace” – Fastest pace you can hold without straining: 7-8 min/mile pace.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED
1) Dumbbells – 25# men, 15# women.
2) Sandbag – 60# Men, 40# women. You can purchase a sandbag from the mountainathlete.com website
store, or build your own out of an old duffle bag.
3) 16-19” Box, bench, stool or whatever for step ups. We build our own step up benches.
4) 25# Backpack for step ups and rucking. Any filler can be used for weight.
5) Something to do pullups from – pull up bar, ceiling joist, tree branch, rings, etc.
How long should the training sessions take?
Each training session has a listed estimated completion time objective. Tuesday and Thursday sessions are 2-a-days, – you’ll train in the morning, and again in the afternoon/evening.
Here are your estimated total training hours by week:
Week Training Hours (Approx.)
What if I can’t keep up the Monday through Friday Training Schedule?
If for any reason you cannot keep training schedule, do not skip a training session. Rather, complete all the training sessions in order. Whatever the schedule, always take two days a week, ideally together, as total rest.
For this plan, Training Sessions 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, and 26 are Mondays.
Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE. The Run Calculator is listed as an exercise.
What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.
What does the lower weight mean for the loading?
The lower weight is the female athlete load. For example, if the session calls for “50x Sandbag Getups @ 40/60#,” female athletes use a 40# bag, and male athletes need a 60# bag.
What if I have more questions?
Required EquipmentThe plan uses minimal equipment. You do not need access to a fully equipped gym to complete it. Here is the special equipment which is required:
- Dumbbells - 25# men, 15# women.
- Sandbag - 60# Men, 40# women. You can purchase a sandbag from the mountainathlete.com website store, or build your own out of an old duffle bag.
- 16-19” Box, bench, stool or whatever for step ups. We build our own step up benches.
- 25# Backpack for step ups and rucking. Any filler can be used for weight.
- Something to do pullups from - pull up bar, ceiling joist, tree branch, rings, etc.
Sample TrainingShow More
1) Mission Direct
Gym numbers mean nothing. All that matters is mission performance.
To this end, MTI's fitness solutions and programming are not boxed in by convention, tradition, orthodoxy, public opinion or any other artificial constraint driven by inside or outside forces.
We begin with the raw fitness demands of the mission and build a fitness solution which directly prepares the athlete for those demands.
2) Fitness Solutions Built from the Ground Up
MTI's programming is not "re-tread" bodybuilding, football, CrossFit, kettlebell, strength or general fitness programming. We've built our fitness programming for mountain and tactical athletes from the ground up.
The Fluid Periodization methodology we deploy to concurrently train multiple fitness attributes is completely original and has continued to evolve and improve over the years.
Our mid-section training methodology, Chassis Integrity, is also original, as is our endurance programming, 7 strength training progressions, tactical agility, and work capacity programming.
Our mountain sports pre-season training plans, tactical PFT, selection, school, course, and fitness improvement training plans across military, LE and Fire Rescue are MTI-developed, tested and athlete-proven.
Over the years hundreds of athletes and coaches have taken our advanced programming and unit fitness leader programming courses and MTI is widely recognized within the mountain and tactical professions and fitness media as a thought leader in fitness programming for military and tactical athletes.
3) The MTI Method
→ Research: MTI begins program design with extensive research of the fitness demands of the mission, sport or event, identifies the exercises and progressions which sport-specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the training plan.
→ Deploy & Assess: We deploy the training plan "Lab Rats" at our Wyoming facility. Training session and cycle issues are identified and fixed as we work through the training plan. Post cycle we assess the programming's effectiveness and efficiency. We keep the stuff that works, and fix or toss the stuff that doesn't.
→ Publish & Assess Again: Plan is published for purchase as an individual training plan and made available to our subscribers. Feedback/results are assessed.
→ Iterate: We take what we learn from lab rats and athletes, re-visit, update and improve already published training plans. Several of our individual training plans are on their 4th or 5th version.
4) Mission-Direct Research
MTI exists to "Improve Mountain and Tactical Athletes mission performance and keep them safe." To that end, we have developed a unique research methodology aimed at identifying real world areas of improvement and identifying immediately deployable mission-direct solutions. Click HERE to learn more about MTI's Mission-Direct Research methodology, and Here to read about just few of our research efforts.
5) Field Proven
Our stuff works. Weekly we receive unsolicited reviews of our programming and testimonials to its effectiveness.
6) Programming Breadth
MTI's library of 200+ sport-specific fitness plans for mountain and tactical athletes is unmatched. Resources range from specific programming for tactical special forces selections, to specific plans for climbing Rainier and Denali, to general fitness solutions such as running improvement, to post-rehab from injury.
Over the past decade, MTI has partnered with hundreds of athletes throughout their individual mountain and tactical careers, and provided fitness solutions as they face new mountain objectives, tactical schools, selections, PFTs and deployments, and came back from injury.
7) Worldwide Influence
Our work is not limited to US Athletes.
We've developed selection-specific training plans for Canadian, UK, Australian and German Special Forces Selections and worked with individual military personnel from Scandinavia, South, and Central America.
Canadian, Australian, UK and western European law enforcement and fire/rescue athletes have used MTI programming for mission-direct fitness.
On the mountain side, Alpinists from Japan to Slovakia have consulted with MTI and used MTI's programming to prepare for mountain objectives.
8) Mission Performance beyond Fitness
MTI’s exists is to improve Mission Performance for mountain and tactical athletes and keep them safe.
This focus on “mission direct” solutions, enhancements and improvements drives our work and research and extends beyond fitness solutions to include training, leadership, gear, team culture, and safety.
Fitness is just one area of our work.
Our work on defining what it means to be a Quiet Professional has had penetrating influence and driven healthy conversations with both mountain and tactical professionals.
9) Direct, Honest, Clear Answers
Since 2007 we've taken and answered dozens of questions weekly from mountain and tactical athletes. We've saved these individual Q&A's and now thousands are archived on our site.
We're not salesmen, and our answers are noted for their directness, honesty, and clarity. Our stuff isn't for everyone. If we can help, we'll let you know. If we can't, we'll let you know that, too.
- Rob Shaul, Founder
All of the Above is Backed Up By Our Promise: Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.
Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.
By Rob Shaul
I received notes frequently from athletes hesitant to purchase a subscription or training plans asking me to sell them on why they should make the purchase.
While I understand the question, I’m not a salesman - so I can't put a hard sale on anyone for our programming.
I can tell them the process we go through to design our programming.
We begin with extensive research on the fitness demands of the event, identify the exercises and progressions which sport specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the plan.
Then we test the cycle on ourselves and our lab rats here in Wyoming. We document, note what works and doesn’t work, re-assess, and make changes and modifications.
Then we publish the programming in the form of one of our plans or as part of our subscription daily training sessions for tactical and mountain athletes.
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As we learn more and improve, we go back, and update the sport-specific training plans on the website. For example, we’re currently on Version 5 of our Ruck Based Selection Training Plan and Version 3 of our Dryland Ski Training Plan and Version 4 of our Big Game Back Country Hunting Training Plan.
We understand our programing isn’t cheap, but we believe it’s a great value. The $79 for the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan, and $39 for the Dryland Ski Training Plan reflect the, research, work, innovative theory, iteration, testing and feedback we've put in and received to make these plans effective.
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If you purchase an Athletes’ Subscription, follow the training sessions as prescribed, and are not satisfied with the quality of the programming, notify us within 30 days of purchase, and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.
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Is it true you guarantee your stuff works?
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How is MTI programming different than CrossFit?
This is a common question. Read our answer HERE.
You have a lot of competitors. Why should I choose MTI?
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What Equipment is Required?
Click the “Required Equipment” tab to find out what equipment is required for the specific plan you are interested in.
Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE. The Run and Ruck Calculators are listed as exercises.
What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.
Can I see sample training?
Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming. You are encouraged to do it before purchasing.
What if I have more questions?
Athlete’s Subscription Package
This Plan is one of 200+ plans included in the Athlete's Subscription.