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 182+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.


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-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.

The plan is leg, lung and core strength focused. We recommend you be able to complete 1,000 Step ups to a 16-19″ box wearing a 25# pack within 60 minutes before purchasing and completing this plan.



Required Equipment

The 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 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 Training

Below is the First Week from this Training Plan:


Obj: Uphill Hiking Ability, Stamina, (90 min)

(1) 5 Rounds
200x Step ups @ 25#, Moderate Pace
Run 800m, Threshold Pace


Obj: Leg strength, Rucking Threshold, Core,

***AM Session (60 Min)

Warm up:
3 Rounds
5x Walking Lunge holding dumbbells (15/25#)

5/10x Push ups
10x Sit ups
Hip Flexor + Instep Stretch

(1) 10 Rounds
Mini Leg Blaster
30 Seconds Rest

(2) 4 Rounds
20/20 Standing Founder
20/20 Kneeling Founder
10x Face Down Back Ext
10x Poor Man's Leg Curl

(3) 3 Rounds
20 second rapid calve raise
10 second hold in up position
20 second rapid calve raise
10 second hold in up position
30 second rest

***PM Session (20 min)

Ruck 1.5 miles, Threshold Pace


Obj: Core Strength/Stamina, Upper Body Strength (60 min)

Warm up:
50x Sandbag Getups @ 40/60#

(1) 5 Rounds
3/5x Pull ups
10/15x Push ups
20x Situps

(2) 4 Rounds
30/30 Side Bridge
10x Seated Russian Twists @ 15/25# dumbbell
10x EO's
25x Glute Leg Lift


Obj: Uphill Hiking Ability, Core, (60min)

Warm up:
5 min Stepup @ 25#, moderate pace

(1) 4 Rounds
4 min Stepups, Threshold Pace
2 min Stepups, Easy Pace

(2) 4 Rounds
6x Ankles to Bar
45 Sec Front Bridge
5x Kneeling Slasher to Halo with dumbbell (15/25#)
10x 1-Leg Glute Bridge

(3) Run 3 Miles, Moderate Pace


Obj: Obj: Leg strength, Rucking Threshold, Core

***AM Session (45 Min)

Warm up:
3 Rounds
5x Burpees
10x Air Squats
15x Sit ups
Hip Flexor + Instep Stretch

(1) 10 Rounds
Mini Leg Blaster
30 Seconds Rest

(2) 3 Rounds
20 second rapid calve raise
10 second hold in up position
20 second rapid calve raise
10 second hold in up position
30 second rest

***PM Session (75 min)

(1) Ruck 5 miles @ 25#, Moderate Pace

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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 non-fitness research has included tactical cultures, combat uniforms, and gore-tex performance, and effect of stress on marksmanship.

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.
We don’t stop there - our daily programming is the “tip of the spear” for our programming evolution. We use these sessions to learn and make continuous improvement.

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.

All that matters for us is outside performance, and we feel strongly that Our Stuff Works in the real world.

Here’s our guarantee:

1) Individual Training Plan Purchase:
If you purchase an individual training plan, follow it as prescribed before your season/event/pft/selection, and if you don’t feel you were physically ready for your season/event/pft/selection, and/or didn’t see dramatic improvements in your early season performance, we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

2) Athlete’s Subscription
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.



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.


Once again, I successfully climbed my objective after using your Peak Bagger Training Plan. This year it was Kings Peak, the Utah high point.  And each year, I gain an appreciation for a different aspect of the training. This year I really loved how the training and conditioning helped in my recovery.  After our two-day climb, I didn't feel very sore at all. I felt a little tired, but if I wanted to, I could have hiked or climbed something else the next day.  Thanks again for great training!

 - B


A quick thank you for your programming. I used your Peak Bagger(again) to prep for a 4 day backpacking trip in Utah. All those step-ups really made me strong throughout the trip - we were mostly off any kind of trail. - K


I climbed Mt. Elbert in Colorado last week! I used your Peak Bagger Training Plan to prepare for it. It helped me in a way I hadn't expected. After the long day I was tired, of course, but I was not sore at all. My body doesn't recover like it used to, and even in my younger years a climb like this would have wiped me out. But I didn't feel sore whatsoever. I credit those leg blasters.

Thanks for the great training. I'm excited to get to the Big Mountain Plan for my Rainier climb next summer.



I did your Peak Baggers plan leading into a one day hike up and down Mt Whitney.  Dude, I felt like a freaking machine.  The climb took longer than I'd have liked, I think I could have done it in 2.5 - 3 less hours but we had some newbies that had underestimated how hard it is to walk up a hlll so we had to check the pace.  We still averaged 2mph when moving, which isn't too bad.  I ran / trotted the distance from TrailCrest to the Summit and felt great doing it.- C


Just wanted to send kudos to you. I used the Peak Bagger Program to help prepare me for the summer season of instructing/guiding up in Alaska and a short stint on Mt. Baker. I felt really strong even when I was on the sleep deprivation train for several weeks. Ten glaciers later, over 300 miles traveled on foot off trail, and about the same mileage paddling, I still feel pretty strong.

Just returned to the Eastern Sierra and will spend the next month and a half "resting" (playing, but no specific training). Planning on using the Backcountry Ski Training program (November-December) to prep for winter followed by the Bodyweight program (January) and possibly the Big Mountain Training Program (February-April) to prep for next summer mixed with getting ready for my next martial arts test (probably in the spring).

Thanks again, - B


No response necessary, I just wanted to drop you a long-overdue note to thank you for the Peak Bagger Program.   Although I probably should have used the Big Mountain plan, I used Peak Bagger to get ready for Mount Rainier last summer. I have never been stronger (or looked better) than after completing those tough six weeks.  On the last day of training, just a few days before the climb,  I discovered I was pregnant.  Thanks to the solid training, I decided to climb anyway and was able to have a very enjoyable climb (and summit). I had such a great experience that the following weekend I went to Colorado and successfully (and easily) summited Pike's Peak.

I now have a healthy and shockingly strong two month old baby girl and am looking forward to using your programs to get back in shape and head back to the mountains together this summer!

Thanks again!- TZ


Hey Rob,

I wanted to give you and Mtn. Athlete a huge shout out and thanks for your programming. I switched from crossfit to your base fitness programming this past February. I had never been as disciplined and excited about gym-based training as I have been over the past 6 months. I switched to your programming with the goal of training to attempt the Evolution Traverse in the High Sierra. I'm happy to report that we completed the traverse over the course of 5 days (3 days on route, 2 days on hike in and out) this August and it was an incredibly fun and rewarding experience. I completed the Peakbagger Training Program leading up to our trip and it thoroughly kicked my tail in a great way! While the traverse was exhausting and one of the most demanding experiences I've had in the mountains, my legs were never sore and I felt like I recovered well day to day.

It's hard to tell how much the training impacted my performance overall, but I had never felt more fit leading into a climbing objective. I am thankful that the Peakbagger program was so intense and really trained mental fitness alongside my legs and lungs. I pushed through many a PB session, saying to myself...."one step-up at a time" on my way to 800 or breathing through the burn of the leg blasters on those last 10 jump squats. This undoubtedly helped me out in the mountains to push through long days of near constant up and down climbing, route-finding and continuous effort.

Anyway, thanks! We are psyched on our accomplishment and already have plans in the works to attempt a traverse that is a touch harder than the Evo next year!

- T. , North Carolina
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