USMC RECON Challenge Training Plan


• 12 weeks, 6 days/week, with multiple 2-a-day sessions and long weekend events
• Intense and demanding programming aimed at matching the difficulty of the event
• Includes range events performed with live ammo at a range.


Intense, 12-week plan specifically designed to prepare competitors for the USMC Recon Challenge. Plan includes multilple 2-a-day training sessions, pool/finning work,extensive rucking, and 3 mini-events scheduled for selected Saturday. The “mini-events” include Range Fitness sessions at a live firing range.

Not a competitor and just want a physcial challenge? This is one of the most intense plans I’ve ever designed. Be prepared to ‘lace ’em up!”

Required Equipment

- Swimming pool or place to do open water Finn swims. During the event you’ll be required to fin and push with you a 50# ruck rigged to float. You’ll train the same way during this plan - so in addition to a pool/place to swim, you’ll need to rig a ruck accordingly.
- Fully equipped weight room, ideally with bumper plates and kettlebells. No kettlebells? Subsitute dumbbells.
- Ruck for rucking - you’ll start your rucks at 55# and increase them until 75#.
- 60# Sandbag.
- GPS with Timer - this will allow you to add some variety to your rucking route. We like the Garmin Forerunner 10.

Sample Training

SESSION 13 (2-a Day)
AM Session
Obj: Strength/Work Capacity

Warm up:
3 Rounds
Barbell Complex @ 65#
Instep Stretch

(1) 6 Rounds
3x Squat Clean + Push Press - increase load each round until 3x is hard, but doable, then immediately…
1x Burpee
3rd World Stretch

(2) 6 Rounds
4x Weighted Pull ups -  increase load each round until 4x is hard, but doable
8x Dips (4x if using rings)
Lat + Pec Stretch

(3) 5 Rounds
5x Front Squat @ 95#
5x Push Press @ 95#
5x Pull ups
30 seconds rest

(4) 4 Rounds
2 min farmers carry with 24kg Kettlebells
Hip Flexor Stretch
Foam roll legs

PM Session
Obj: Work Capacity

Warm up:
Air Squats
Hand Release Push ups
Sit ups

(1) 4 Rounds
300m Shuttle every 2:05

*** Rest 5 Minutes ***

(2) 6 Rounds for Time wearing IBA
4x Sandbag Getups @ 60#
25x Step ups @ 16" bench

(3) 4 Rounds
10x Slashers @ 16kg

10x Face Down Back Exp
5x Kneeling Plate Halfmoon @ 25#
15x GHD Back Extension

Obj: Endurance

(1) 60 min Swim in fins with 50# Ruck Sack, then immediately ….

(2) Ruck 11.5 miles @ 65#, at 15 min/mile, or faster

Obj: Recovery


(1) Run 4 miles @ 65-75% Max Heart Rate

(2) Foam roll legs/low back
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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.


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