Q&A 2.2.17

Just wanted to pass along that I had my 3rd degree hapkido/jiu-jitsu test on the 21st.  I’m 42, will be 43 in April, 5’9 and 183lbs.  A lot of our guys are former military and current Law Enforcement officers and they let me have it for over an hour.  I was one week short of finishing “Vodka” prior to the test.  And while I didn’t move quite as fluidly as I wanted to (not because of fitness, probably more adrenaline dump related and nerves from being the only one on the mat for all the spectators), I was able to work at a very high threshold (higher than even I thought I could!) for the entire test.  I was to the point that it was pretty difficult to get me fatigued in training to simulate that dynamic.  But of course I’m much more comfortable there, where I can just focus on training and teaching our lower rank members.  I think that was why I wasn’t as fluid as I wanted, just because nerves and adrenaline and I just couldn’t seem to calm down.  Anyway, love the programs you’re putting out, and even though I’m not your “target” market, hoped the feedback would be useful.  And if you do get out to Des Moines anytime soon, please, let me know.


Do you have any training packets that you would recommend for cadre at a selection course?  Or do you just recommend the cadre use the selection prep packets?


Nothing specific … honestly this has never been asked. I’d recommend the specific selection prep plans minus the weekend mini-events.

– Rob


Hey Rob,

I am working on the hypertrophy for skinny guys and I am really enjoying the routine and pace. I am planning on adding the core workout for an evening workout as well. I was wondering what you would recommend for the next training plan to follow on. Thanks for the help.


Get away from the barbell and do some solid bodyweight strength and endurance work with Humility (http://mtntactical.com/shop/humility/).

More on the plan here: http://mtntactical.com/fitness/plan-focus-humility/

– Rob


My son is getting ready to start Wildland Fire School next fall. His programming is off and I am looking to get him on the right track. I come from a ultra endurance background and did crossfit for a few years after realizing my weaknesses.

He did crossfit and now lifts heavy and doing metcon type workouts now. He is in great shape, but does no endurance type work and needs to drop some body fat.

I am not sure what your packages are. The wildand one is $49 or close to that. What exactly is that? Is that 5 days of consulting or 5 days of one on one and I send him out there?


Purchase of a training plan gives you online access to the training plan sessions. Our Wildland Firefighter Pre-Season plan is sport-specifically designed to prepare guys for the fitness demands in the field – it including endurance –  rucking, uphill hiking and long field events (2-4 hours long).

At the product page (http://mtntactical.com/shop/wildland-firefighter-pre-season-training-plan/) click the “sample training” tab to see the entire Week 1 of programming so you can try and test prior to purchase.

I’m available to answer questions via email, anytime, but the purchase prices does not include personal coaching.

– Rob


I will try to keep this short.

I am vet who currently works 50+ hour weeks in law-forcement. Additionally, I JUST had my first child…a little baby girl.

In the past I would wake up early, take the dogs out, do a 30-40 min cardio workout (rowing or a weight vest run), and then do another 40-60min weight workout 4-6 days a week.  I have also gone through CF Level 1, Crossfit Endurance, and am a Fitness Advisor for my organization.

Now with a newborn baby in the mix, I am worried about letting my (in my opinion) well rounded athlete persona just turning itself into a well-rounded (mid-section) person.  I have no doubt that i will be able to pass my organizations fitness standards even with the additional time commitments, but I don’t want to be average.

I love endurance, having completed 6 Full Ironmans and also love to lift.  I saw your baselines for things like bench and front squat etc and haven’t really trained those in a while.  I weight about 220lb and rarely go over 185 on a formal bench (might do sets of 15-20).  When I do go bench “heavy” it is typically with DBs and might top out at 100lb DBs for an alternating set of 3-4 each arm.  I rarely squat (front or back) but try to hex bar deadlift and overhead squat all I can.  My max OHS is about 205 right now -275+ is my goal here.  If you can call it a front squat I will sometimes do thrusters at 135 for 5-7 reps.

To end this now, your website has come recommended by a lot of people.  My question…Is there a program someone like me SHOULD get into that would help keep me the most well rounded.  I could probably give 4-5 75min workouts per week and 1 90min per week (my job gives me 3 days a week of 2hrs to workout but that includes getting to gym and back).  I also have a home gym with a rower (2k best of 6:43 / 500 best of 1:22), bicycle with power meter, squat rack, 400lbs of numbers, a few light kettle bells that the wife loves, pull-up straps, a bench, and the like.

Thank you for your help.


Our approach for tactical athletes is you should train first and foremost for your job. Well roundedness, recreational sport … this all comes second.

These are the training demands we’ve identified for LE Patrol/Detective:

  • – Relative Strength (strength per bodyweight)
  • – Work Capacity (especially sprinting and sprinting repeats)
  • – Upper Body Hypertrophy (big chest and arms can be great deterent)
  • – Chassis Integrity (functional, transferable mid-section strength and strength endurance)
  • – TAC SEPA (Tactical speed, explosive power and agility)

We purposely design our LE Patrol/Detective sessions to last 45-50 minutes, with the knowledge that few of these athletes get on duty time to train.

These are the training demands we’ve identified for full time, urban LE SWAT/SRT:

  • – Relative Strength (strength per bodyweight)
  • – Work Capacity (especially sprinting and sprinting repeats)
  • – Chassis Integrity (functional, transferable mid-section strength and strength endurance)
  • – TAC SEPA (Tactical speed, explosive power and agility)

These sessions are designed to be 60 minutes long.

You’ll see neither has a strong endurance component. We do program in some short unloaded running (3-4 miles), but endurance is not a strong component.

Endurance (unloaded running, ruck running) is a strong component of our programming for Military Athletes, SWAT/SRT with rural mission sets, and Wildland Firefighters.

Given all that, with you’re strong endurance background, wish to maintain this, and time to train, I’d point you toward our day to day programming for military athletes. Our most recent stuff can be found in the “Greek Hero” plans (http://mtntactical.com/fitness/packet-focus-military-athlete-greek-hero-packet/).

You can purchase these plans individually, as a packet (as above), as well, each is inlcuded with an Athlete’s Subscription to the website.

Start with Hector: http://mtntactical.com/shop/operator-hector/#tab-sample_training

Click the “sample training” tab and you can try out the first week in the plan.

– Rob


I’m doing the Bodyweight Foundation program, and I have a question regarding the shuttle runs/suicide sprints.

I go to a very small Snap Fitness gym with no room to do the shuttle runs indoors…in the non-winter months (I live in Buffalo, NY), I just do them out In the parking lot, but we’re covered in snow right now.

What can I do as a substitute for the shuttle runs/suicides until the weather clears up?


10-20 Rounds of

  • 30 sec work (sprint!)
  • 30 sec rest

…. Exercises you can use:

  • – Box Jumps (jump up, step down, 20″ box)
  • – Hippity Hops
  • – Jingle Jangles
  • – Spin Bike
  • – Treadmill at 5% incline, Speed 6+
  • – Versa Climber
  • – Airdyne
  • – Rower

– Rob


Quick question about your Fat-loss Training Program.


What does one actually get upon purchase? A PDF? Access to a web page? Other? Also, does the package come w/ videos showing how to do each movement?

Just learned about your program through the AoM podcast, and looking forward to trying this out.


Username and password and access to the training plan – you’ll see a week at a time on your screen, but will have access to all the weeks. Also, you’ll have access as long as we’re in business.

From the plan product page (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/), click the “Sample Training” tab to see the training sessions from the first week of the plan. Try-em out!

Unfamiliar exercises can be found here: http://mtntactical.com/category/exercises/

Feel free to email any more questions.

– Rob


I know you are busy, man. Keeping this short:

In the process of state police application. The academy is based off of USMC boot camp. So group runs and body weight smoke sessions but no rucking. The PFT is 1.5 mile, push-ups, sit-ups. My PFT is good to go. Best plan you got for this, thanks beautiful. Haha


Overprepare and do Humility: http://mtntactical.com/shop/humility/

– Rob


I have learned a lot from your site.  Your sandbags appear very full.  Do you fill you bags with any supplemental filling to give it bulk or is it pure sand?  Mine weighs 92 lbs and still has a lot of space.  Thank you for reply and for posting your work.


We fill our bags with rubber mulch. We can just get 80 pounds worth into a bag. You can get this mulch at any garden store – including places like Home Depot. In the past we used wood pellets for pellet stoves  – these worked too, but eventually would get ground down and become dusty.

We make and sell our own sandbags, HERE.

– Rob


I am a big fan of your work and programming.  I have used many of your programs in preparation for scout sniper indocs, law enforcement cooper tests, USMC  PFT improvement and all around fitness.  I love the approach you take for training.  I am currently a full time LEO in CT and in the USMC reserves as an Infantry Squad leader.  My question to you is do you offer classes or courses that could potentially certify me in training ?  And if so how would I go about pursuing  that, and what is the cost and requirements?  My future plans would be to open up a facility here in CT that does similar training and make that my full time career.  I am extremely receptive to ideas and options, and am willing to work extremely hard to turn this dream into a reality.  If you have the time I would love to discuss this with you further.  Below is my contact information.


We currrently don’t have a certification program or an affiliate gym program. But we do have an Advanced Programming Seminar scheduled for early June. This would be the place to start.

– Rob


Hey man, I’ve used your programs before for goruck heavies and a few death races, and I really liked them. Well back in June I had hip surgery to repair my labrum and now I am getting back into it and I am looking for a program to follow to get a baseline again safely. Basically basic fitness, work capacity and low back pain. So essentially get to a point where I can start training again. What would you recommend I do for a program or programs thanks again for all that you do


Bodyweight Foundation: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/

– Rob


I am a long time 10+ year Royal Canadian Mounted Police ERT (Emergency Response Team) member. I have had numerous injuries over those years (3 knee surgeries, injury prone lower back, right shoulder rotator cuff issues, carpal tunnel in both hands with recent surgery on my dominant hand) and I am looking for a high mileage tactical officer training plan. I have looked over your LEO plans but haven’t found one I think fits.

I cannot run more than 1-2 times per week and it would likely be best to not run at all. I’m getting promoted to run a police station and will mostly be an administrator from now one. I am looking for a 5x per week plan to maintain fitness and loose/keep off unwanted pounds.

I am asking if you could recommend a plan for me?

Thanks for all that you do for the mil/Leo community.


In the past we had a SF45 program for senior guys 45 years and older in similar position to you … but the theory needs work. I’m 48 am and still working on it. (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/)

For you now I’d recommend Bodyweight Foundation to start, and substituting the running in the plan for biking/spinning, or rowing. When you make the sub, think time, not distance .. i.e. 3 mile run = 30 minutes of spinning.

Email back after BW Foundation.

– Rob


I will be going out for the FBI SWAT selection this May.  I was looking through the various selection plans and was wondering your thoughts on if I should go with the normal SWAT selection plan or the HRT selection plan.  The selection I am going for will be 3 days, so I don’t know if the HRT program would be too intense and include events I will not be tested on. For example, I don’t think there will be a ruck as part of my selection.  Basically, will the HRT program make me better prepared for the regular SWAT selection, or should I focus more on the events I will see using the regular program?

Any insight would be helpful.


SWAT Selection Training Plan:  http://mtntactical.com/shop/swat-selection-training-plan/

Good luck!!

– Rob


What are your thoughts on substituting the bench press with the incline bench press and is it alright to do the barbell complex between 135 and 155 prior to my strength sets


Okay on bench swap.

No on BBC. At that load you’ll limit the amount you can lift on your strength lifts.

– Rob


I was referred to your company by a professional mountain climber.  I am interested in training programs that your company offers.  A bit about me:

I’m a journalist, planning on climbing a 24,000 ft mountain in Afghanistan (Mount Noshaq) in July 2017 in order to cover a story.  I have zero experience in high altitude, with the exception of family ski trips in Colorado growing up. I have no experience in mountain climbing.  I’m in fairly good shape – I workout 6 days a week (running, yoga, strength training, weights, cycling).  Last year I trained for and ran a half marathon, and I’ve been an athlete in some capacity for over 20 years.  My experience with mountains does include several years of following the US military on their patrols through the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, which were often 12 hours of walking / 15k in length.  In March I plan to climb Kilimanjaro and then hopefully Denali in June to train for Mount Noshaq in July. Noshaq, I’ve been told is not a technical mountain but more so is simply difficult bc of it’s altitude.   

I live in Turkey so I am not able to come to your gym, but I did see that your company offers program packages that I could follow here at home.  Can you please advise me on how to get started or the best package that might be right for me? 

I’m also available to hop on the phone (via skype) for a chat if you need more information. I look forward to hearing from you.


My recommendation would be to skip Kili, and move up your Denali trip to April/May.

You’ll lose fitness/weight on Denali, and need time to recover for your work trip on Noshaq. But you’ll want the Denali experience. Kili is high, but a relatively easy walk up.

My sense is doing Denali in June and Nosaq in July carries risk on the fitness and scheduling side.

Nine weeks directly before Denai, complete the Denali Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/denali-training-plan/

Right now, I’d recommend you complete our Alpine Running Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/alpine-running-training-plan/

– Rob


Thank you for your response. 

Here’s some additional info:  Kili would be in February.  I want to see how I handle 19,000 / if i get sick, etc, since I’ve never been at that altitude before.  I have friends in Kenya I wanted to visit anyway.  Do you think that is OK, and that the 19k feet will give me a good idea on if my body can handle altitude (not the physical endurance of the relatively easy walk)?

Denali for April or May and not June: Duly noted.

I haven’t checked out the Alpine running training plan on your site yet, but I currently have a tweaky back and have been advised by a doctor not to make running my primary form of exercise (I run about once a week now).  Instead I cycle on a stationary bike, I left weights, I do HIIT exercises with cardio and strength training, and I recently started walked up 60 – 80 flights of stairs at a time with a pack.  Is there an plan you offer on your site that is an alternative to running? 


Depends somewhat on the time for Kili. Tourists walk up it, and I think it’s a 10-days to a week or so of acclimatization and effort. But I’m not sure. Understand you’ll be losing fitness during, so it depends upon your Denali climbing schedule.

I’d still recommend the Alpine Running Plan. It seems if you’re doing all those other exercises, your back can’t be that much of an issue. Alternate would be the Peak Bagger Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/peak-bagger-training-plan/

Know that the “Mountain Doesn’t Care” … about your inexperience, back, location, plans, etc. Denali will kill you without a thought. So will the peak in Afghan. Worse, if you’re not fit/prepared, you could get in trouble and put your lack of preparation could endanger your climbing partners.

Regardless, good luck.


I do appreciate your feedback.  However, re: my back, I have a disk that’s prone to slip.  Running is an impact sport, whereas cycling, weight lifting and walking stairs are not.  Because of the hard impact of running, I couldn’t walk for a week last year.  So while I hear what you’re saying, I don’t think your assessment regarding my back “not being an issue” is accurate at all.

Furthermore, I’m not exactly sure I understand what’s behind your last paragraph.  The entire reason I am contacting your company in the first place is to look for guidance and help, so I can train properly.  Telling me that my lack of experience, my location, my back, etc, might “kill me” on a mountain isn’t very helpful, nor is it a great way to win customers.  I’m training under the guidance of a renown professional mountain climber who you probably know, and I’m not planning to do any of this haphazardly or without the help and insight from professionals. I’ve been a war photographer working in Iraq and Afghanistan for almost 10 years – not endangering partners and colleagues in the field is of the utmost priority.  I’m sorry that you assumed the latter about me.

Perhaps I should seek training services elsewhere or from one of your competitors.


You’ll know you’ll be carrying a 70# pack and pulling a sled on Denali, right? And, you know you’ll be doing multiple trips down climbing under load – which is significantly more impact on your low back than running? Right now you should be building your chassis integrity and working harder than ever now to build some armor into your mid-section.

I’ve been doing this for a decade, at the highest level, on both the mountain and tactical sides, and call it like I see it. I’m concerned you could be being casual about your preparation. I could be wrong.

But you should know by now that in life it’s your friends who tell you when you’re messing up and to be thankful for it, not offended.

I don’t care where you go for your prep. Like all the athletes we work with, I just want you to be strong on the mountain and come home safe.

Regardless, good luck.

– Rob


I am thinking about acquiring one of your training plans, but not sure which one.  I´m 37, male, height 176 cms/weight 72 kgs. I currently run 3-4 times per week, go to the gym 2-3 days per week and do some spinning clases.  My strength training is pretty random (some push-ups, pull-ups, squats, dips, some dumbbell work…).

I am in decent shape but, frankly, I am not seeing much progress when it comes to strength (stuck in 12-13 pullups, for instance), so I am looking for a systematic strength plan that I can combine with running (I have type 1 diabetes, and running really helps me to control it).  Not interested in hypertrophy, but I would like to gain more strength and resilience.  I have access to a commercial gym with barbells, dumbells, functional training equipments…My initial thought is getting one of your bodyweight plans (not sure if the build or foundation one) or the busy operator (since I only have around one hour for each of the strength sessions).

I would be grateful if you could recommend me one of your plans.  Thank you very much.

Greetings from Spain.


I’d recommend Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

This plan combines heavy, barbell-based strength training and endurance.

Do this plan with one change – replace the ruck running in the plan with unloaded running.

– Rob


I was listening to the hunt back country podcast and was turned on to your programs through that. I was wondering a good place to start for getting into better shape for next years back country hunt. Last year I didn’t take the fitness aspect too seriously and got my ass kicked. Any information you could give me on a good program to use to start and then what programs to move toward would be greatly appreciated.


I’d recommend you train now like you’ve got a hunt scheduled in 2017 for September/October. Specifically, I’d recommend the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Packet of Plans: http://mtntactical.com/shop/backcountry-big-game-hunting-training-packet/

These plans are progressive -they begin relatively easy and get progressively harder, and deploy limited equipment … so you’ll have no excuses.

They’ll take you through August into September. Email back on the other side and if you have any questions along the way.

Good luck!

– Rob


Hello there. I like what I see in terms of the military programs. I am joining the Army soon and may possibly attend RASP in the future. I still have several months before I ship out. I am in decent shape at the moment, but I feel like I need to be way more prepared for the beat down I may endure. What would you recommend in terms of a training program?

Thank you,


I’d recommend you begin our stuff with the Virtue Packet of Training Plans: http://mtntactical.com/shop/virtue-series-packet/

These plans are specifically designed for military athletes and train relative strength, military endurance (running/rucking), work capacity, and chassis integrity.

Good luck!

– Rob


Hi Rob,

A year ago I tore my pec major at its insertion point on the humerus. I had it surgically reattached and completed physical therapy but did not continue to work out thereafter.

I have full ROM and the surgery was successful.

Now I am trying to get back into the gym and recently purchased a subscription on your website as I had done a couple of MTN programs and had great success with them.

I am currently using the Hypertrophy for Skinny Guys program, subbing out chest exercises for things like wall push-ups, light DB benches etc.

My question is do you have any programs/protocols/tips that address (post-surgical) chest injury rehab?

Any guidance would be awesome!


We have a Leg Injury Post-Rehab Plan, but not an upper body plan.

From what I do have, I’d recommend the Single Limb Strength Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/single-limb-strength-training-plan/

This allow you to train each side independently, and hard before you move to two-handed work.

– Rob


My name is Matt and I am a PE teacher/coach in the suburbs of Chicago. I heard your podcast on the AOM website and was very intrigued. I have been teaching PE for 12 years now and our program is trying to switch from a sports curriculum to a fitness based curriculum. I was trained in the old (sports) model and am looking to get more educated myself. I am wondering your thoughts on how to better serve kids in high school to give them the tools that they need to live more active lives. I feel I have the motivation part down but being able to come up with a program for each of the 45 kids in my class (230 total) has been a challenge. Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.


We’ve built multiple plans which begin with an assessment and then automatically “scale” the follow on progressions base on the athlete’s initial assessment results. This way the plan automatically scales to his/her incoming fitness.

Using time based intervals and progressions based upon the initial assessment results, you can easily have dozens of athletes, of different fitness levels, working together, but still each being pushed individually.

This is where I’d recommend you start. From our stuff, I’d recommend you try something like the APFT Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/apft-plan/

This plan deploys this programming methodology.

– Rob


     Just stumbled across your site and after perusing your articles I’m very impressed. I’m about to pull the trigger on a monthly subscription, but I’d like to get your take on which plan I should begin with and how I should structure my progression over the next few months.

     For background, I’m a prior service Army Ranger (started off enlisted in Regiment, then went on to get my commission in the Infantry). I served for eight years active, plus four at the Academy. I used to be in excellent shape – consistently a top 5% performer everywhere I went – but since getting out four years ago fitness has waxed and waned depending on motivation and time. I’m currently in my “getting back into shape” phase and would love to hear your thoughts on where I’m at and where I should be headed.

     Right now I’m 6’1″ and 225 – that’s mostly good weight with a bit of a gut. When I’ve had the time and energy I’ve primarily done strength work for the past couple of years. That said, I’ve been fighting some insidious weight gain during that time – based on past performance my ideal weight is probably more like 200-205. I’ve taken off five pounds in the last month just by adding in some cardio, which inspired me to get back into a more general physical preparedness stance. (I also recently came close to getting in a physical confrontation for the first time since my last deployment, which left me wondering about my readiness if I actually were to get in a grappling situation.) As a way to motivate myself I’ve decided to set my goal as attending GoRuck “Selection” on Sept. 1st of this year, which gives me about seven months to get back into ass-kicking shape. Even at 35 years old I think that’s enough time based on my prior train-ups.

     I’m thinking I should start by working on more bodyweight type exercises for now to build up my muscular endurance but would love to hear your thoughts (my current pull up total would be shamefully low in my past life). I’ve already started doing some rucking here and there, which has gone quite well so far as it’s always been a personal strength in my fitness repertoire. My body tends to put on strength and muscle mass quite rapidly though (I’m somewhere on the meso-endomorph side), so I’m also thinking that cardio-wise I should be probably be leaning out first, then building back up with rucking and strength work later in the year?

     I do have a couple of constraints. I’m a management consultant, which means I’m on the road anywhere from 1-4 days a week and can’t reliably get in more than an hour of workout time then. When I’m home I have access to a full gym (everything but a pool), and I’m happy to get a sandbag to bring in to Gold’s with me. When I’m on the road it’s a crapshoot, but usually the hotels I stay at have at least some cardio machines and a handful of dumbbells, and of course I can always do walks/runs outside and bodyweight work in my room. I do have a nagging shoulder injury that I’ve been dealing with for over a decade now. It means I can’t impinge at extreme angles, so I always have to modify back squats unless I have access to a sissy bar (which luckily my home gym does have) and I “guard” my shoulder when I’m doing more explosive upper body work. I’m also currently coming off a sprain to my right foot, but it’s nearly healed now. I can do some jogging intervals already, but when I try to go long distance it hurts for a few days after, which is part of why I started back with rucking instead of running. Diet is pretty clean when I’m at home (my wife is strict paleo, I’m less so but do my best to stay healthy) but an absolute grab bag on the road. Again, making attempts to get better, but sometimes I just barely have time to grab a sandwich as I power walk through an airport or train station.

     Sorry this was so long, but wanted to give you the complete picture. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! RLTW,


I’d recommend starting with Humility (http://mtntactical.com/shop/humility/)

This is an awesome, ass-kicking plan we designed for military athletes, and it uses limited equipment. You’ll need a 25# weight vest (or an old backpack and a 25# dumbbell), and a pair of 25# dumbbells. It has a strong bodyweight emphasis and is a great place for you to kickstart your fitness.

My sense is on the road you could simply toss a backpack in your travel bag and use your motel gym’s dumbbells. You’ll need to wrap the 25# dumbbell in a towel for the loaded running. I always stay at Hampton Inn’s because they always have a full set of dumbbells and a bench in their fitness rooms.

Another option is to do Humility at home, and complete sessions from our Stuck in a Motel Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/stuck-in-a-motel-training-plan/) on the road. These are awesome sessions also and include Swim PT if you happen to stay at a place with a pool.

You can purchase both plans individually at the links above. As well, both come with an Athlete’s Subscription to the website.

– Rob


I wanted to let you know I was provided this article from one of our members.  We have a small department and are dealing with an individual who falls into this category.  We have had personnel continue over and over to try and work with him, encourage him, but they continue to fail. 

We have a mandatory, non punitive fitness program. I have no strength in this.  I have encouraged the Union to change this stance, but there is further detail to work out.

We have a fitness exam following NFPA 1582 with an aerobic capacity test, but I am not entitled to specific results, only pass or fail, both of which I have not received in the past three years, another issue I am working on.

I believe our next step will be mandating him to seek assistance with an EAP, and I am checking to see if I can mandate a “Fit for Duty” assessment.

We are trying, but continue to struggle,


The paradigm shift I’m suggesting is to consider fitness a safety issue – and not the unfit officer’s safety (he/she obviously doesn’t care), but the safety of the public and other officers who have to deal with him/her and could be injured by his/her lack of professionalism in terms of fitness.

We argue that a tactical athlete’s body is his/her most important piece of equipment. If you were to knowingly sent officers into the field with side arms which had a chance to jam every shot, you’d likely lose your job.

Think of unfit officers as the same unreliable piece of critical equipment.

I understand the legal/union/human resources issues involved and don’t have an answer for those. These also tie the hands of senior leaders who want to do something, but have their hands tied by bureaucracy.

My gut tells me that someday, officers on the front line who have to deal with these safety issues daily will revolt, and simply refuse to work with officers unfit for the job (just like they could refuse to go into the field with unreliable firearms). A revolt like this will give leadership the hammer required to break through the bureaucracy. It would only take one or two departments, and I believe there’d be a significant shift.

Also understand there is a lot of good work that can be done along the fitness lines between where you’re at now, and having a high jeopardy fitness assessment which would work for you the way it does (for the most part) in the military.

I’ve seen several departments spend money, time and resources to implement wellness programs, personal trainers, by-the-book job specific fitness assessments, stepped implementation, plenty of notice, and still get sued by members who fail and have a judge stay the whole program. (Look into the the effort at the Colorado Springs PD).

I’ve written extensively on this in suggesting steps to building a fitness culture (http://mtntactical.com/all-articles/feedback-wanted-step-step-guide-build-fitness-culture-first-responder-unit/). The point is there’s lots of good you can do between where you are and creating an administrative hammer.

And more here: http://mtntactical.com/?s=fitness+culture

– Rob


I heard you on a podcast today and was very interested in your subject matter.  I am a police sergeant and for the most part I drive a desk.  I have been reading through the programs and really have no clue where to begin.  I used to be in great shape.  Not so much anymore.  I still hike and backpack a lot and have been reading through a lot of your plans.  A lot of them sound great but I was wondering if there is one you think would be better suited for me.


Start our stuff with the LE OnRamp Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/on-ramp-training-program/

– Rob


I’m considering purchasing your workout programming, but I was interested in a recommendation on which to follow.

I’m a private security contractor for the state department. Its essentially executive protection for the American ambassador in Iraq. In my head it fails somewhere in between the Mil, and LE programming. We do also take a fitness tests similar to the Army quarterly.

Please let me know what you think.


I’d recommend our LE Patrol/Officer programming – specifically the plans in the LE “Spirits” Packet – these represent our most evolved programming and train relative strength, upper body hypertrophy, work capacity with as repeat sprint focus, chassis integrity and TAC SEPA (tactical speed, explosive power and agility).

Plans here: http://mtntactical.com/shop/law-enforcement-spirits-plan-training-packet/

You can purchase the packet or individual plans. As well, each plan is included with an athlete’s subscription. The plan product pages include sample training.

– Rob


I’m looking at buying the Swimming Improvement Plan, but due to pool hours on post I may only be able to work it in during lunch. How long do the training sessions generally take?


Generally an hour, but it depends on how fast you swim!!

I swim like a rock…

– Rob


Hey Rob, checked our your site after hearing you on a podcast.

Here is my situation so I am hoping you can advise me of a plan and profession

I’m a member of the local Sheriffs Auxiliary so I carry out law enforcement function with a fully certified deputy once a week or more if something comes up

I am going to be attending the law enforcement academy in August to become certified and they do use the Cooper test

I need to work on my conditioning plus some size and strength

I originally thought of starting with the on ramp plan the progressing to the Le spirits training packet. Now I’m not sure if i should start with the Cooper plan.

Or should I start go with on ramp and go through some of the le spirits plan and then cooper right before the academy? But I’m not sure if the cooper would be too easy by the time I progress that far and make it pointless.

This is complicated by the fact that I need to start progressing now because my fitness could affect my life or someone else’s prior

to the academy due to being an auxiliary.

Sorry to be so lengthy but I’m trying to find a staring point and do this right and I’m doing this at 42 so recovery and overtraining is something I really need to watch.


I’d recommend the LE OnRamp Plan, then the Spirits Packet. About 6 weeks prior to the Academy take the Cooper Test – if you’re good with your scores, stick with the plans in the Spirits packet. If not – pivot to the Cooper Plan.

– Rob


I recently listened to a podcast you did with the art of manliness. I was intrigued by the show and have been looking at your website. I’m looking to either purchase a plan or do a monthly subscription. The question I have is what you would recommend for me at this point in time.  I am 39 years old and have consistently worked out the majority of my life. I have been a patrol officer for the last four years and do not have any injuries or back issues.  I have built my own home gym for ease of use.  I work 8 days on with 6 days off. My hours are from 1600-0200.  My cardio has always been pretty solid but my strength is not very good.

I really appreciate any advise on what to start with.


I’d recommend you complete the plans in our LE Spirits Series: http://mtntactical.com/shop/law-enforcement-spirits-plan-training-packet/

These plans all began as part of our daily programming for LE Athletes and represent the most recent evolution of our programming. The plans train Relative Strength, Upper Body Hypertrophy, Work Capacity, Chassis Integrity and Tactical Agility concurrently.

The plans can be purchased individually, in the packet above. As well, all come with an Athlete’s Subscription to the site.

– Rob


I have gone through 5 weeks of the Rat6 program and have developed shoulder pains in both arms when doing the push press. My max did increase but I experienced a ripping sensation in my front deltoid when I press the barbell up. What do you recommend I do? Should I reduce the weight to still maintain some of my strength or do an alternative exercise? I look forward to hearing your advice.


Go to one arm exercises for the lifts that hurt – i.e. one-arm push press with a dumbbell – and use a heavier load on your good arm and a load which doesn’t hurt on your sore arm.

– Rob


Been a fan of your workouts for a long time despite having our own Tactical Athlete Program/Strength & Conditioning Coaches at work.

One thing I have noticed being in the SOF community is that we crush ourselves in/out of the gym, but we always seem to have the same chronic injuries: lower back, shoulders, hips and knees. To no surprise, a lack of mobility sessions is also common.

The reason why I choose your workouts over the ones provided to us is the addition of mobility and the lack of “garbage reps”. (357 Strength is my favorite!) However, I think a mobility specific program of 20-30 minute sessions would be a great supplement while following some of your other plans. Do you have anything on the horizon in that direction? I’d love to follow a mobility program AND all of your other ones.


Lots going on in your note and it’s good timing with one of our initiatives.

First, I’ve yet to see the study, or the example in my own experience, which shows a definitive correlation between mobility and durability. This was the claim of the Functional Movement Screen, but that has since been de-bunked.

In my own coaching experience, I’ve found the most natural athletes (defined as movement in space), to also be the most mobile. I’ve also found them to be the most “delicate” in the terms of injury. The term “delicate” is deliberate … it could be that because these people are great at moving their bodies in space, also means they are more in-tune with their bodies, and therefore more susceptible and aware of when things aren’t quite right.

I’ve found the least mobile athletes, myself included, to be the most durable.

To use a bad analogy, say a great athlete is a $150,000 Ferrari, and a poor athlete (especially in terms of mobility) to be an old 1979 F150. Both vehicles get into a fender bender.  The Ferrari, though fast and agile, get’s it fiber glass fender dinged and it knocks everything out of whack and needs to take a couple weeks off. The F150, get a big dent in the fender, but shakes it off as character enhancing and keeps on grinding.

This has been my experience in the gym.

All that being said, we recently (last week) began work on creating mobility/flexibility standards for tactical athletes – just like we have strength, endurance and other fitness-related standards. Like all our work, we’re trying not to reinvent the wheel, and are currently researching mobility/flexibility assessments done at pro-sport combines and physicals … we assume that teams over the years have identified mobility/flexibility assessments that do have a strong correlation to career durability – and we’re curious/hoping we can apply that knowledge with our community.

We tried this once before … but I didn’t like the outcome … so we’ve regrouped and are trying it again.

Developing the assessment is it’s own puzzle. It has to be transferable/functional, simple to apply and simple to score. Our focus, as you’ve highlighted, is knees, hips and shoulders.

But back to your original question …. nothing I’ve seen indicates there’s a solid correlation between mobility/flexibility and durability. But I’m still interested in this idea of creating a mobility/flexibility “standard” for tactical athletes – an assessment that is “weightroom functional” in the sense it’s easy to administer and score. Hopefully, something which will answer the vague question out there … “am I mobile enough?”

Certainly stretching, mobility drills and foam rolling feels good, but I’m not sure it makes you more durable. That being said, I am intrigued by the idea of a mobility cycle and we’ve also considered this in the past. In fact years ago, I had a grad student/grappler interning with me (he went on to get his pHD) and asked him to develop a “flow complex” for us … a complex of movements which integrated stretching, tumbling, athleticism, suppleness and mobility in one synchronized series of movements. Essentially a “barbell complex” for mobility.

He developed it, and we deployed it for a while but it fell by the wayside. Perhaps it’s time to revisit it.

– Rob


I’m coming off an ACL reconstruction and working through your post rehab program.  Prior to my injury I primarily trained endurance with a lot of running and cycling with very little strength work.  My primary sports are skiing, hiking and kayaking although I’m stating to do more climbing both rock and alpine when I can get out of Australia and to proper mountains.  I don’t have any particular event I’m training for but primarily looking to build my base fitness up beyond where I was before my injury.  I’m looking at starting the Helen program once I finish the post rehab program and then either moving on to Artemis or starting the dryland ski training which would line up well with the Australian ski season.  Does this seem like an appropriate plan?  Additionally my gym does not have sandbags, is there any way to do the sandbag pickup and carry or sandbag clean using plates, kettlebells or dumbells?


Your plan is solid.

Our Mountain Base Cycles – including those from the Greek Heroine Series (Helen, Artimes, etc) concurrently train endurance (running, uphill hiking under load), strength, work capacity, chassis integrity and climbing fitness.

These cycles are designed as day to day training for all around mountain athletes, and to fill in the gaps between focused pre-season or event programming. So yes, you’ll want to drop out of these and drop into the Dryland Ski Training Program the 6 weeks directly before your ski season.

Sandbag? For many of our sandbag exercises there is really no substitute and many athletes simply build a sandbag and take it to the gym with them. But for the pick up and carry, – any awkward, heavy object will do.

– Rob


I was wondering if you could give me a little direction here. My ultimate goal is to attend USAF STO Phase II potentially in October of this year. That gives me a little over 8 months to prepare. I initially was starting to hit the USAF PAST training hard but I found out the other day I probably wont be taking the past for at least 3-4 months. My question is should I take this time to work on my base strength with some rucking before recommitting to the PAST training?

  • Stats: 5’8″ 145 Lbs 32 years old.
  • Back squat: 200
  • Bench: 165
  • Deadlift: 305
  • Powerclean: 140

I was thinking about doing the Hypertrophy plan since I am on the lighter side but I don’t know if putting on weight without real strength gains would help?

Before I started planning on this training I was doing Starting Strength. I floated the idea of returning to that but I am worried about neglecting the cardio, etc.

I appreciate your input and right now I have a subscription to your site so I can access whichever plans you recommend.


I’d recommend one of our Greek Hero Plans now, specifically Hector.

Hector is an awesome plan which combines classic strength with hard gym based work capacity including sandbag get ups, TAC SEPA, Chassis Integrity and serious military endurance – unloaded runs and ruck runs. It’s a great “base” plan to build your in all areas before dropping back into the PAST plan.

– Rob


I am sending this email to inquire specifically about the Sapper Leader course training plan. The FAQ addresses the situation where the customer has less than the time required to complete the program.

What would you recommend if the customer has a little more than double the time required?  I have about 20 weeks until I report to the schoolhouse for the Sapper Leader course (06/22/17).

Would it be best to go through the SLC training plan, then go through it again? Or perhaps start another plan? Or maybe it’s best to focus on another training plan, then hit the SLC plan 8 weeks out. ..or I could just let you answer the question.

I’m sure this won’t be an entirely easy question to answer, considering you [obviously] know nothing about me. I hate writing about myself so I’ll just say a few quick words:

I went to the course last year in February and did not make it to patrolling (PT was not a failure but no where near it should have been – points failure by 18 points). But now I have a grasp on what it takes.

I don’t want to go to ‘survive,’ I want to go to compete!

If you need any more information, I will be happy to give it. I’m extremely excited that there is a specific training plan for SLC – this is the first I have ever seen. Your time and help is greatly appreciated.


Best would be to complete one and a half of our “base fitness” training plans and then roll into the Sapper Leader Course Plan the 8 weeks directly before your course.

Specifically, I’d recommend two of the plans from our Virtue Series – 1) Humility (do the full 6 weeks), then 3-4 weeks of Fortitude. Take a week full rest when you stop Fortitude before you begin the SLC plan.

Humility: http://mtntactical.com/shop/humility/

Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

– Rob


I am currently in the process of applying for a AFSOC TACP position and I am curious what program would be best for me.

The selection is only 4-5 days long and not all of that is physical tests.  Here are some of the physical events that I am looking to train for.  Among those will also be various events that will include long endurance sessions.  I am sure you have an idea of what else a selection process will include.

Here is the PT Test:

CALISTHENICS: pull-ups, sit-ups, and push-ups — exercise to time limit or until muscle failure

  Minimums: 8 pull-ups in 1 minute 60 sit-ups in 2 minutes 45 push-ups in 2 minutes

RUN: 3 miles non-stop

  Minimums: 3 miles completed within 24 minutes (24:00)

CWST: Combat Water Survival Test

  Minimums: 1. Swim 15 meters: Swim 15 meters with rifle, wearing MCU/ABU, boots, and     Load Carrying Equipment (LCE) without loss of rifle and equipment.   2. 3 Meter Drop:  Walk blindfolded off a 3-meter diving board with rifle and LCE.  After entering the water, remove blindfold and swim to poolside without loss of rifle or equipment.    

3. Equipment Removal:  starting at poolside, enter the water and immediately submerge, discard rifle and remove LCE prior to surfacing and swim to poolside.  You cannot be touching any of your equipment when you surface.

If you could recommend a program it would be greatly appreciated.


I don’t have the perfect plan for you, but from what I do have I’d recommend the BORSTAR STC Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/borstar-stc-training-plan/) … with a couple changes.

– Increase the PFT Run to 3 miles to match your PFT, and for the follow on intervals, use our running calculator, your 3 mile assessment and run 3x 1-mile intervals (http://mtntactical.com/exercises/running-calculator/).

– Increase the ruck load in the plan to 55 pounds.

Swimming … this plan includes swimming, including 25m underwater repeats, long treads, etc. – but not specific training for your event. Training for that event alone could kill you  – as I’m sure you know – but you still need to specifically train for it but have a buddy/lifeguard close by in case you black out.

What this event really tests, in addition to mental fitness and comfort in the water, is breath holding capacity. One safe, and effective way to train breath holds on dryland using a phone app developed for freedivers or spear fisherman. Several are free and available, and they are effective. You can add intensity to this dryland training by doing simple push ups or air squats when you start your breath holds or during.

Good luck.


I’ve got a few of your programs already and was considering a subscription, but first have a question:  Do you have a yearlong planning in the mountain athlete training? Is it periodized?  I mean can you tell me how the training focus is divided thru the year? Do you have months of emphasis on rock climb, running, ski, ice climbing, etc?  If so, I don’t need the full planning, but would like to know the few different focus. 

The thing is that I do all of those sports.  I might use specific programming once in a while for a specific objective but I want, for example, to prepare for skimo and ice climbing at the same time.



Quick answer is yes and no.

We do have year round, on going programming for mountain athletes. We call this our “base” programming. We offer this programming daily as part of a subscription, and also through plans you can purchase – for example the plans in the Greek Heroine Packet: http://mtntactical.com/shop/greek-heroine-training-packet/

Our mountain base programming concurrently trains mountain endurance (trail running, uphill hiking under load), rock climbing fitness, strength, work capacity and chassis integrity. Cycles are 6 weeks long, and each has its own emphasis – for example one plan may emphasis strength and work capacity, the next endurance, the next climbing fitness and chassis integrity … but despite this emphasis, all the attributes are still trained.

Because of the different athletes we work with, their individual schedules and sports, and different hemispheres they live in (it’s summer down south) the system you describe hasn’t worked for us seamlessly.

So what we do is develop and design focused sport-specific pre-season cycles – such as the Dryland Ski plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/dryland-ski-training-program/) for lift-assisted skiing and the pre-season Rock Climbing plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/pre-season-rock-climb-training-plan/) for Spring Desert climbing Trips.

These sport-specific plans do not have the “balanced” programming of our Mountain Base cycles. They are laser-focused on preparing athletes for that sport/season.

What we recommend is athletes deploy these sport-specific plans directly before their seasons, and drop back into the Mountain Base cycles in-season, or in gaps between sport-specific plans.

Some athletes do this through purchasing individual plans, others do it with a subscription – where they get access to all our mountain base, and sport-specific mountain plans.

– Rob


Several of my peers and I have been following your programming. One individual is preparing for SOAS (Seal Officer Assessment & Selection) which will take place some time after May. We have around 14 weeks left to prepare, and are currently using the Swimming Improvement plan in the morning and the Humility plan in the evening. We plan to continue this for the next 6 weeks, then transition into the BUD/S V2 program for its 8 week duration. What are your thoughts on this?

Following the completion of SOAS individuals will receive word regarding their acceptance or denial to BUD/S based on their performance and ROTC package. Assuming an individual receives acceptance to BUD/S, how would you recommend training for the year or more time period before reporting to BUD/S? Which plans and in which sequence?

Thanks for your help and keep up the good work,


1) Plan is solid.

2) Subscription to the website and the Operator Sessions with added swimming. As you get closer to pre-BUD/s I’d recommend a pivot first to the Operator Pentathlon Traiing Plan, then a repeat of BUD/s V2 prior to the Navy’s pre-BUD/s.

– Rob


I am a new subscriber to your site. There are so many plans to choose from, I need some direction on where to start.

I have a relay race I am preparing for, April 21 (http://smr.smokymountainrelay.com/). My 3 segments should total around 15-19 miles. Last year I completed the Spartan Trifecta and also a half. My runs range from 5 – 11 miles. But my times are nothing to brag about.

For work, I am a Critical Care Paramedic and teach Wilderness Medicine. I play outdoors with usual mixture of trail running, hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, SUP, surf, etc.. Lately trail running has become my goto for the sake of simplicity and having a busy schedule. 

My current fitness goals: to improve my running, while also increasing my overall strength.

I have access at home to pull up bar, rings, sandbag, indo board, slackline, few dumbbells and kettlebells. I would also have access to a full gym and bouldering gym as needed.   

I hope that is enough info to get some advice on where to start. I am excited about the fitness plans you have developed and your methodology.


I’d recommend you start our stuff with Mountain Base Helen: http://mtntactical.com/shop/mountain-base-helen/

This is one of our mountain base plans, and concurrently trains strength, work capacity, chassis integrity, climbing fitness and endurance (running and multi-mode this cycle).

The plan is designed to be completed in any rock gym with a general fitness area.

Here is Helen’s weekly schedule:

  • Monday: Gym based strength, short gym-based work capacity (3-5 min), Chassis Integrity
  • Tuesday: Speed over Ground (running) development using assessments scaled 400m/800m repeats
  • Wednesday: Gym-based strength, short gym-based work capacity (3-5 min), Chassis Integrity
  • Thursday: Multi-Modal Endurance – stepups and running
  • Friday: Climbing Strength/Work Capacity using the V-Sum at a climbing/bouldering gym, or upper bodyweight strength training
  • Saturday: Long easy run (8-14 miles)

The strength work in the plan does call for a barbell …so if you don’t have access to one, and you don’t want to work on climbing fitness, pivot to Humility: http://mtntactical.com/shop/humility/. Humility trains strength using bodyweight and dumbbells, and includes extensive endurance work – running and loaded running (25#). It’s killer plan.

– Rob


I stumbled upon your website online today and I loved it. I’m interested in a couple different programs, but also have a few fundamental problems so I thought I’d shoot you an email to get some advice.

The biggest problem I face is I’m on deployment right now & in the Navy so I’m stuck with the gym on my ship. It’s pretty bare bones. We have a couple treadmills, bikes, rowing machines, a good set of dumbbells and a smith machine. I hate the smith machine and try to use it as little as possible. We also have an 80lb & 125lb sand bag. I looked over your programs and the ones I thought would probably be best for my situation was the sandbag program, and the sandbag/dumbbell/weighted vest program.

As for background, I like to think I’m in fairly good shape. Because of the boat I row & cycle instead of run on the treadmills but am not against it. I DORed out of EOD at the beginning of my naval career & have considered going back so I’m open to a more advanced program. I’m also the surface rescue swimmer on our ship, but can’t go out for swims whenever I’d like. I think I’m pretty well rounded.

If you would have any advice on which program would be best suited for ship life or any other advice it’d be greatly appreciated. I’ve been looking for a good workout program for deployment and I know your site has what I’m looking for.


We’ve actually build a specific Shipboard Training Plan at the request of some deployed Marines.

Here’s the link to the plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/shipboard-training-plan/

– Rob


I have a 17 son is applying to the army reserves in June of this year. He is about 5’9″ @ 127#. He has no gym experience.

However, he has martial arts experience(10 yrs) karate, jujitsu,rock climbing, and a little boxing. What plan would u recommend to start since he is a hard gainer who needs size on his frame.


A great place to start your son to build mass would be our Hypertrophy Plan for Skinny Guys: http://mtntactical.com/shop/hypertrophy-program-for-skinny-guys/

It’s also a great plan to introduce him to basic barbell-based strength training.

– Rob


I have been following your CCT training guide. I am working my way through the pentathlon training block currently. About 4 weeks ago I started to get shin splints. So I have iced, stretch my calves, and bought new shoes. They are beginning hurt from just walking around the office. How do I go about recovering but still seeing positive improvements in my run and ruck times?


I don’t have an answer for you on shin splints. Some athletes are susceptible, others can make simple changes like shoes and fix the issue. Those with the most experience are distance runners and I’d encourage you to research what those coaches and athletes are recommending. In the mean time, the best transfer to running is spinning/cycling. It’s best to run/ruck, but if you have to lay off to recover, you can spin. When you make the conversions think time, not distance. I.e. if the session calls for a 5 mile run and you run at 8 min/miles, spin for 40 minutes.

– Rob


I’m trying to decide what would be the right work out plan for me. Let me start with what I do. I work in private security, plain clothes undercover type of work. I’m a climber and skier, with a bit of road biking when my friends invite me on ridiculously long century rides (not sure why I do these, but they are hell).

My main problem is time. I work three days, off for four. 14+ hour days. I’m not sure how and what to do for the four days that makes sense.

Is there a program you suggest that I can tweak to fit my schedule, that will work for all the things I do?


As private security I consider you a tactical athlete. From our stuff, I’d recommend you start with Humility: http://mtntactical.com/shop/humility/

Humility is demanding, limited equipment training plan with a strong endurance component (loaded and unloaded running).

Schedule? Humility is a 7x week, 5 day/week training plan for 35 total sessions. You can still the complete the plan 4 days/week, but don’t skip around. Follow the training sessions in order and begin again where you left off when the week comes around.

– Rob


First off I want to say thank you. I trained with a friend that had one of your plans and I was selected at SFAS. Secondly, as I start to get ready for Q course and improve my overall strength and rucking ability, I am looking at the Greek hero packet. Is this packet something that would be beneficial for this scenario? I read what you have written about it and it seems like what I want/need. What are your opinions on this for a Q course prep and overall strength and ruck improvement? Specifically I have the 5 mile run in under 40 mins and the 12 mile ruck in 3 hrs. Thank you and I love your programs.


Congrats on selection!

We’ve actually built a 6-week, sport-specific training plan for the Q-Course here: http://mtntactical.com/shop/special-forces-qualification-course-training-plan/. This plan addresses the initial fitness gates at the course.

I’d recommend this plan the 6 weeks directly before you start the course. Working through the Green Hero plans prior to starting this plan is solid.

– Rob

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