Plan Focus: Mountain Warfare School Training Plan

By Charles Bausman

The Army Mountain Warfare School (Jericho, VT) and the USMC Mountain Warfare School (Bridgeport, CA) both provide a wide range of military-based mountaineering skills at the individual and unit level. These schools are physically arduous, with plenty of loaded, uphill and downhill movements at high elevations. This requires a high level of fitness centered around the legs, core, and lungs to be prepared for training.

MTI’s Mountain Warfare School Training Plan is an 6-week long program – 5 days/week, yielding 30 total training sessions to be completed 6-weeks prior to your Mountain Warfare school training date. The plan is built around the following exercises and activities:


  • DOT Drill – Lower body joint strength
  • Leg Blasters – Lower body strength and strength endurance, especially for downhill movements
  • Loaded Step Ups -Sport specific exercise for uphill movements
  • Sandbag Getup – Core strengthening of the combat chassis
  • Tabata Calf Raises – Calves tend to wear out first during extended uphill movements. This will develop the strength endurance of your calves. Be warned – it burns!
  • Rucking – Develop the aerobic base for rucking
  • PFT Prep – Individual training courses at both Mountain Warfare schools have an initial PFT that you must pass. Keep in mind that there is a significant elevation at each location, so showing up overly prepared for the PFT is critical. You’ll assess your PFT in Week 1, 3, and 6 and a percentage based progression to automatically scale to your current level of fitness.

Don’t underestimate courses at the Mountain Warfare Schools! The combination of elevation and loaded, uphill movements will make life very miserable if for athletes showing up out of mountain-specific shape.

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