Ruck Based Selection Training Plan V5


  • Intense, 8-Week Training Plan sport-specifically designed to prepare athletes for the fitness demands of SFAS (Green Beret Selection) and similar ruck-based selection courses which include timed rucking events, calisthenic-based “smokers,” grip strength, team events etc. It includes a taper into selection.
  • This, Version 5, is the latest version, completed August 2016. It’s designed to be completed the 8 weeks directly before selection.
  • One MTI’s most successful selection training plans. Read Testimonials Here
  • This training plan is one of the 200+ plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription


MTI’s Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan is sport-specifically designed to prepare athletes for the SFAS (Green Beret) and similar Ruck Based Selection Courses. This 8-week training plan includes a 2-week taper and is designed to be completed the 8 weeks directly prior to your course start week.

We built the first Ruck Based Selection Training Plan (RBSTP) in 2009. This, Version 5, is the latest version, completed August 2016.

This program gets progressively harder each week, until week 7, when the training tapers down into the start of selection. Don’t skip ahead!! The plan is designed to build upon itself. If you have to miss a training day, start-up back where you left off.

This is a 6 day/week training program with many 2-a-Day training sessions.
To successfully complete this program you’ll need to make training for selection a priority during your workday.

Ruck Intensive
This plan is “sport specific” to the specific fitness demands you’ll face at SFAS and similar selection courses – specifically rucking, running, calisthenic-based “smokers,” grip strength, etc. You’ll ruck 2 days/week and run 3 days/week. It also includes:
– Testing and progressive training for the APFT
– Extended, multi-modal work capacity events
– Grip strength training.
– Shoulder strength endurance work
– Sandbag Getups for work capacity, mental toughness, and core strength
– Loaded runs and carries
– Intense core, mobility, and stabilizer strength training for durability
– 4-Square Drills for ankle and knee durability

Changes from V4
Two changes – first, we added significant shoulder strength endurance work. Second, we’ve replaced the plan ruck in intervals tables with our ruck and run interval calculators.

The plan includes 48 Total Training Sessions. It is intended that you’ll train Monday – Saturday, and take Sunday’s off. Sessions 1, 7, 13, 19, 25, 31, 37, and 43, are Mondays and the beginning of each training week.



Monday: AM – APFT Work & PM – Heavy Ruck
Tuesday: AM – Strength/Core
Wednesday: AM – Work Capacity & PM – Run or Work Cap
Thursday: AM – Run or Work Cap
Friday: AM – Work Cap or Rest
Saturday: AM – Long Ruck

Saturday Long Rucks
You’ll work up to 18 miles at 60# Ruck plus a 10# rubber rifle, sledgehammer or dumbbell.



The plan includes 5 specific assessments and follow-on progressions. You’ll take these assessments multiple times over the 8 weeks:

  1. APFT+ – Max Sit ups (2 minutes), Max Push ups (2 minutes), Max Pull ups and 2 Mile Run
  2. 3 Part Work Cap Assessment – 10 min Sandbag Getups @ 80# for reps, Interval 25m Shuttles for Reps, 3 Mile IBA Run
  3. 10 Mile Heavy Ruck for Time – 60# Ruck, 10lb Rubber Rifle or Sledge Hammer, Full Cammies/Boots, Helmet
  4. 6 Mile Run for Time, shorts and t-shirt
  5. Multi-Modal Work Cap for Time



During this train-up, every number of repetitions you perform is based on the number of repetitions you completed during your latest APFT+, 25m 60/60 Shuttle Interval for reps, and 10 min Sandbag Getups @ 80# for Reps

Example 1:
Athlete Performs 50x Sit-ups on initial APFT+ during Session 1.
Session 7 from the plan calls for:
5 Rounds
30% of your Max Reps scored in Session 1, every 60 Seconds, then ….
1 Round, Max Reps in 60 Seconds.
30% of 50x Sit-ups is 15 (3. x 50 = 15). Set a repeating timer for 60 seconds. On Round one, do 15x Sit-ups as
fast as possible, then rest for the remaining time left in the interval. When the Round 1‘s 60 seconds is up, sprint
through 15x sit-ups again for Round 2, rest the remainder of the interval, etc. through 5 Rounds. On the 6th
Round, do as many sit-ups as possible during the 60-second interval – you can rest and start again if necessary –
just work the entire 60 seconds.

Example 2:
Athlete Performs 52x Sandbag Getups @ 80# in Session 3.
Session 8 from the plan calls for:
8 Rounds – Every 90 Seconds, 10% of Max Sandbag Getups (round up)
10% of 52x Sit-ups is 5.2 (.1 x 52 = 5.2). Set a repeating timer for 90 seconds. On Round 1, do 6x Sandbag
Getups (round up from 5.2) as fast as possible, then rest for the remaining time left in the interval. Repeat this 7 more times for a total of 8 Rounds

Example 3:
Athlete Performs 35x 25m Shuttles in Session 3’s 60/60 25m Shuttle Event.
Session 9 from the plan calls for:
12 Rounds – Every 30 Seconds, 10% of Max 25m Shuttle Reps (round up)
10% of 35x shuttle reps is 3.5 (1. x 35 = 3.5). So, set a repeating timer for 30 seconds. On Round one, do 4x
25m Shuttles (round up from 3.5) as fast as possible, then rest for the remaining time left in the interval. Repeat this 11 more times for a total of 12 Rounds



The training plan includes scaled paces for your runs, rucks and IBA Run. These paces are based on your assessment results from the heavy ruck, 3-Mile IBA run, 2-mile APFT run, and 6-mile run. You’ll take these assessments 3 times throughout the plan. Use your latest assessment results for the subsequent training sessions.

We use interval training to train your run, rucking, and IBA Run fitness. The interval distances are shorter, and pace faster than your latest assessment pace.

Assessment Interval Distance
2-Mile Run 800m Repeats
6-Mile Run 2 Mile Repeats
10 Mile Heavy Ruck 2 Mile Ruck Repeats
3 Mile IBA Run 800m IBA Run Repeats

Enter your assessment distance and pace in the calculators, and they will spit out your interval distance times. The calculators are listed under the “Exercises” tab on the website toolbar.



10 Mile Heavy Ruck Assessment and 2-Mile Repeats – Full cammies, boots, helmet, 10-pound rubber rifle, sled hammer, or dumbbell, 60# ruck plus water
IBA Run and Repeats – Shorts, T-Shirt, boots, 10-pound rubber rifle, sledgehammer, or dumbbell. IBA = Individual Body Armor. In lieu of your IBA, you can also wear a 25# Weight Vest.
6-Mile Run, 2-Mile Run and their interval repeats – Shorts, t-shirt, sneakers
Long Saturday Rucks – Full cammies, boots, helmet, 10-pound rubber rifle, sledgehammer, or dumbbell, 60# ruck plus water



Use this training plan to get your rucking dialed – including boots, pack loading (weight high instead of low seems to help), pacing, nutrition, and hydration dialed. Ruck in the same boots you’ll take to selection. Refuel the same way you’ll refuel at selection, etc. One tip for the Heavy Rucks – Run 3 Minutes, Walk 1 Minute can help you keep on pace. Also, work to increase the frequency of short strides to increase speed, rather than stretching out your stride.



  • Stop Watch with Repeating Countdown Timer – Timex Ironman is best.
  • 40, 60 and 80# Sandbags
  • ALICE Ruck or same ruck you will use at selection, 60# of filler, 10# Rubber Rifle (No rifle? Use a 10 lb sledgehammer or a 10# dumbbell)
  • Pair of 25# Dumbbells
  • Pull up Bar



What equipment is needed to complete this training plan?

  • Stop Watch with Repeating Countdown Timer – Timex Ironman is best.
  • 40, 60 and 80# Sandbags
  • ALICE Ruck or same ruck you will use at selection, 60# of filler, 10# Rubber Rifle (No rifle? Use a 10 lb sledgehammer or a 10# dumbbell)
  • Pair of 25# Dumbbells
  • Pull up Bar
  • Highly Recommended – GPS-enabled Stop Watch with repeating countdown timer (Garmin Forerunner 10 is recommended ) A GPS enabled watch will make measuring run and ruck distances much easier.

What if I have less then 8 weeks before I start the Selection Course?
Still start at the beginning of this training plan anyway. Don’t skip ahead.

What if I can’t handle the training volume at first?
Building stamina and resilience is a key training goal of this plan, and physical and mental stamina is also key to completing the Selection course. If you can’t handle the training volume at first, it is better to cut training sessions short, rather than take unscheduled rest days.

What if I can’t make the prescribed reps for the bodyweight exercises, or the prescribed interval times for the rucks or runs?
Do your best, and be sure to do the total number of rounds, even if you can’t make the reps or the time. Don’t quit.

How do you count reps for Sandbag Getups and 25m Shuttle Intervals?
Sandbag Getups – The prescribed rep count is total reps, so 50x Sandbag Getups at 60# sandbag = 50x total reps, 25x each shoulder. 25m Shuttle Intervals – Every length = 1 rep. So each round trip = 2x reps. Only full lengths count.

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

What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.

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

What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.

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 can’t do the whole session?
If you don’t have enough time to complete the whole session, you can split the session into two.

How do I access the plan? Pdf? Online?
Plan access is online, via username and password.

Can I print out sessions to take to the gym?
Yes – you can print a week of programming at a time.

What if I have more questions?

Required Equipment

  • Stop Watch with Repeating Countdown Timer – Timex Ironman is best.

  • 40, 60 and 80# Sandbags

  • ALICE Ruck or same ruck you will use at selection, 60# of filler, 10# Rubber Rifle (No rifle? Use a 10 lb sledge hammer or a 10# dumbbell)

  • Pair of 25# Dumbbells

  • Pull up Bar

  • Highly Recommended – GPS-enabled Stop Watch with repeating countdown timer (Garmin Forerunner 10 is recommended ) A GPS enabled watch will make measuring run and ruck distances much easier.

Sample Training


Obj: Assessment (APFT+)

Warm up:

3 Rounds

  • 2x 4-Square Drill

  • 8x Squats

  • 8x Push-Ups

  • 8x Sit-Ups

  • Instep Stretch

Rest 5 Minutes


(1) 2 min. Max Push-Ups

Rest 5-10 Minutes

(2) 2 min. Max Sit-Ups

Rest 5-10 Minutes

(3) Max Pull ups

Rest 5 minutes

(4) 2 Mile Run (timed)




Obj: Assessment


(1) Run 6 miles for Time




Obj:  Assessment

Warm up:

3 Rounds

  • 2x 4-Square Drill

  • 8x Squats

  • 8x Push-Ups

  • 8x Sit-Ups

  • Instep Stretch


(1) 4 Rounds

60 Sec 25m Shuttle, for reps

60 Sec Rest


**Rest 5 Minutes

(2) 10 Min Sandbag Getups for Reps @ 80#


**Rest 10 Minutes

(3) 3 Mile IBA Run (timed)




Obj: Assessment

Warm up:

3 Rounds

  • 2x 4-Square Drill

  • 8x Squats

  • 8x Push-Ups

  • 8x Sit-Ups

  • Instep Stretch


(1) 8 Rounds for Time

  • 5x Renegade Man Makers @ 25# Dumbbells

  • 10x Sandbag Back Squats @ 60#

  • 15x Situps

  • Run 200m with Sandbag




Obj: Rest Day


Obj: Ruck Assessment

(1) 10 Mile Heavy Ruck for Time, Flat Course

Load - 60# + 10 lb Rubber Rifle/Sledge/Dumbbell

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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.


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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.

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→ 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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.



Well.  I am hooked.  My friend pointed me in the direction of MTI because he knew how excited I am about being athletic and outdoors.  I shopped around, I liked the smell, and I settled on a package deal.  I am so glad I did.  I am seven weeks into my Ruck based Selection Plan.  I am very pleased with my progress.  I really appreciate the scientific approach to measuring and analyzing of every effort.  I like the blog posts and Youtube content for when I am unfamiliar with a movement or need a little motivation.  I feel like the focus on standard military movements and ruck fundamentals really set me apart from my peers during a competition last weekend and I would like to very humbly report that I have won the honor of being 2018's NCO of the year for the Oklahoma Army National Guard.  I am moving on to the Region 5 competition in May and will definitely remain engaged with my MTI Ruck Based Selection Plan.


Completed your Ruck Based Selection Program in the weeks leading up to my SFAS date earlier this month. I definitely felt prepared for everything that was thrown at me during the course and was luckily 'Selected' to top it off. Just wanted to say thanks for the knowledge and work that is poured into your programs. Without them I don't know how well I would have done.


I just recently returned from SFAS this weekend and wanted to reach back out to MTI to say thanks for the quality training program and for making the coaches so accessible throughout the process. I'm happy to report that I was selected and felt great throughout the course. I was able to continue performing long into the course when so many of my peers began to deteriorate. I'm taking a week off and then getting right back after it in preparation for the Q Course. The grip training, heavy rucks, and run/ruck intervals were the key pieces that I believe made me overall successful. Again, thanks to you and the MTI crew for pointing us in the right direction and making our goals obtainable.


Just finished SFAS, and I can't thank MTI enough for the prep plan and all of your hard work (lab rats included!) I was selected and can confidently say your ruck based selection prep was a HUGE part of that.

Now that selection is finished, I still have airborne and waiting on Q course dates. I'm looking at 6-8 month window until the Q.

Thanks for everything you guys rock!


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.


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.


Coach -

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


Rob -

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 programing like yours.



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.


Hey guys, I've been using your plans for a few years now. Recently I attended SFAS and was Selected. Used your Ruck Selection Plan. - A


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


By the way, 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


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



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!

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