Plan Focus: Rat 6 Strength

Rat 6 Front Squats

By Rob Shaul

Rat 6 Strength deploys MTI’s simple, direct, tested approach to percentage-based strength programming. I first developed and deployed Rat 6 progression methodology with the MTI lab rats in 2016.

“Rat 6” comes from the lab rats I tested the programming  on (including myself) and the 6 classic barbell exercises we used:

  • Bench Press
  • Front Squat
  • Military Press
  • Squat Clean
  • Hinge Lift or Box Squat
  • Power Clean

The percentage-based progression in Rat 6 is based on your 1RM (1 Repetition Maximum) for the above exercises. Out of the gate you’ll test your 1RM’s, complete progressions based on these, retest, and progress again. In this way the program automatically “scales” to your incoming strength level and continues to push you as your strength increases during the plan.

Over the years Rat 6 has proven itself as a direct, effective strength training progression methodology for mountain, tactical and other athletes. I’ve recommended this plan for super experienced military athletes who have just completed Ranger School and need to build back strength, experienced mountain athletes new to free-weight strength training, and high school freshmen ready to start strength training.


It’s ability to scale to the athlete, focus on classic barbell exercises, and simple, effective, percentage-based progression will benefit any athlete interested in focused strength work.

Rat 6 is not strength-only. the plan also includes short work capacity and Chassis Integrity work.

This is an 8-Week, 5 day/week training plan. Here is the weekly schedule:

  • Monday Strength
  • Tuesday Strength
  • Wednesday Short Work Capacity, Chassis Integrity
  • Thursday Strength
  • Friday Short Work Capacity, Chassis Integrity

This design program is based on a super successful strength training cycle we first deployed with our tactical lab rats in 2013.

This is the third version of this plan, update Spring, 2017.


How long should the training sessions take?
Around 60 minutes. Some of these sessions will run short – around 45 minutes. Some may take up to 75 minutes.

How Should I Work up to my 1 Repetition Maximum?

Bench Press, Military Press, Front Squat, Hinge Lift or Box Squat – After the warm up, load up the barbell with a weight you can lift 5x. Then add weight, and complete 3x reps. Then add weight and start doing singles, adding weight rapidly until you reach your 1 Rep Max (1RM). Record your 1RM.

Squat Clean and Power Clean – After the warm up, load up the barbell with a weight you can lift 3x. Then add weight, and complete 2x reps. Then add weight and start doing singles, adding weight rapidly until you reach your 1 Rep Max (1RM). Record your 1RM.

Use Common Sense – Be smart and safe while working up to your 1RM. Don’t risk injury. Be smart and safe. And don’t linger – you need to complete each session in 45-60 minutes.

How long should I rest between Rounds and Circuits?
The strength circuits (Monday/Tuesday/Thursday) each include a stretch or durability exercise. Consider the stretch or mobility exercise your rest between rounds. There is no more rest between circuits more then what is required to change equipment and load barbells. Understand the strength circuits are not mini CrossFit-like WODs. Work briskly, not frantically.

Wednesday and Friday’s training sessions include Core Circuits. Don’t sprint through these. Work briskly, not frantically.

What if I can’t keep up the Monday to Friday Training Schedule?
If for any reason you cannot keep this Monday-Friday training schedule, do not skip a training session. Rather, complete all the training sessions in succession. Whatever the schedule, always take two days a week, ideally together, as total rest.

Can I see sample training?
Click the product image above, then click “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming.

What if I have more questions?

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