Packet Focus: Pirate Series for Tactical Athletes with Water Based Mission Sets

Water Confidence training at BUD/s.

 By Rob Shaul and Charles Bausman

MTI  developed the Pirate Training Packet specifically to meet the day-to-day training needs of multi-mission military and law enforcement units with a scuba, rescue, and other water-based mission set.

We have identified 5 Types of Tactical Athletes, and under our categorization, tactical units with water-based mission sets fall into the “Blue” category.

The four training plans in this packet are appropriate for USAF Special Tactics, Marine Reconnaissance and Raiders, Navy SEAL’s and EOD, SF Dive Teams, Rescue Swimmers, BORSTAR, etc. The programming in these plans effectively balances swimming/finning endurance with land based endurance, strength, work capacity, and chassis integrity fitness demands.


Each plan has a focus for increasing speed and/or endurance in the water while continuing to develop the other attributes with our tried and tested progressions.

Each plan is scheduled for training 5x/week, for 6 weeks. Do the plans in order, with a week of total rest between plans.

1. Barbossa
The first plan in the packet, Barbossa aims to increase swimming speed based on 500m swim assessments as well as refresh on water survival through treading and 25m underwater crossovers.

We’ll develop full body strength via our TLU Strength Progression, trained 2x/weekly along with short, intense repeat work capacity events. Chassis Integrity and Tactical Speed are trained 1x/week each.

Land based endurance is focused on developing the aerobic base for mid to long distance running at moderate pace.


2. Black Beard
Black Beard transitions to finning speed for the water-based endurance. It utilizes intervals based on 3x 1500m fin assessment at the beginning, middle, and end of the plan. It deploys our Density Strength Progression with a focus on Craig Specials and Push Press.

The work capacity efforts are longer in Black Beard, ranging from 20-30 minutes. You will rotate through work capacity efforts, with one assessed and trained weekly. Expect burning legs and burning lungs.

Chassis Integrity is trained 1x/week, and we transition to Tactical Agility with level and direction drills under load.

The land based endurance deploys a short ruck run assessment and follow on intervals to maintain speed under the ruck.


3. Captain Morgan
The third plan in the packet, Captain Morgan will develop swimming aerobic base. Starting at 2,000m and working up to a 2,500m swim, these efforts are intended to be conducted at moderate intensity.

We’ll move to two classic lifts, Bench Press and Back Squat, for our Super Squat Strength Progression. The Super Squat progression is percentage based, 1×20 effort. We’ve found that the time under tension (you can’t rack the barbell!) has great effect on increasing strength. These are hard.

Work Capacity is trained 2x/week in varying time domains with repeat efforts. Back to back work cap efforts train the body to recover quickly and increase your metabolic capacity.

In Captain Morgan, we’ll train both Tactical Speed and Agility – linear speed, direction change, and level change. Chassis Integrity is trained 1x/week to maintain core strength.


4. Madame Cheng
The final plan of the packet, Madame Cheng deploys our Gym Based Endurance in conjunction with finning, running, and rucking for a heavy endurance focus.

We combine finning and running in a modified Brick format – you will conduct a moderate distance fin, followed immediately by a unloaded run once a week. You’ll also train moderate pace rucking, working up to 8 miles by the end of the cycle.

Gym Based Endurance is trained 1x/week with a long effort at 40-60 minutes. These are constant movement efforts utilizing dumbbell/barbell exercises, sand bag exercises, running, step ups, box jumps, etc.

Madame Cheng also includes strength training 2x/week utilizing the RAT 6 Progression, focusing on the Hinge Lift and heavy Thrusters.


More on the plans below. Click the individual training plan links above to see sample training for each plan.


Questions? Email


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