Helen and Hector look like they have roughly equivalent goals but different exercises. What’s the difference between the operator and mountain training plans?
is designed for our Military Athletes. Helen
is designed for our Mountain Athletes. Both plans are “base fitness” for the specific athlete category.
Here are the Base Fitness demands for Military Athletes:
High Relative Strength (Strength per Bodyweight)
Multi-Modal Work Capacity
Military Endurance (Running, Rucking)
Tactical Speed and Agility
Here are the Base Fitness Demands for Mountain Athletes:
High Relative Strength (Strength per Bodyweight – but our strength standards for mountain athletes are lower than for tactical athletes)
Multi-Modal Work Capacity
Mountain Endurance Endurance (Running, Uphill Hiking under Load)
Climbing Specific Fitness
The quick difference between the two plans is Hector has Tactical Agility programming, Helen doesn’t and Helen includes climb training at a bouldering gym and Hector doesn’t.
Other differences include Helen’s step up work, it’s a 6-day/week plan as opposed to Hector’s 5 day/week, and in general, the work capacity and other loading in our mountain plans is lower than our tactical plans.
Note on endurance – not every Military “base” fitness plan includes both running and rucking. Some include both, some only running (like Hector) and some only rucking. Same is true for our mountain base plans – not all include both running and uphill hiking training. Some include both (like Helen), some only running and some only uphill movement.
You used to have an offseason endurance training plan. It looks like you dropped it. What’s the replacement?
I’m finishing up Humility and it’s been a complete smoker. I loved it! My overall fitness is the best it has ever been and I can definitely feel that “hardening” effect that you’ve mentioned a couple of times. This is my first real taste of your more difficult (but kick-ass) programming and I’m definitely hooked. Thanks for the work that you and the other coaches do!
A few questions if you don’t mind:
1) I’m going to take advantage of the one-month athlete subscription coupon I received from entering your recent sweepstakes and get a taste of your daily programming. Once the subscription ends, I plan to roll into Big 24 and then continue the rest of your Virtue series. This is my planned “base fitness” preparation for the SEALIFT KOKORO camp next July. About 8-10 weeks out, I will transition to sport-specific training. Do you think this plan is good or do you have other recommendations?
2) In preparation for SEALIFT, I want to incorporate your Run Improvement Plan and Rucking Improvement Plan over the course of my base fitness training but would like advice on how to do so given that the plans already have running and rucking in the them.
3.) Out of curiosity, what are the differences between your Virtue series and your Greek Hero series? I’ve noticed that you don’t train TAC SEPA in your Virtue plans (just an observation).
1) The Virtue Series
seems solid, but not unless there is a strong swimming/water confidence component to your camp. The Virtue plans do not include swimming. Also – I’m guessing you’ll want to do a focused selection training program directly before the camp. I’m not sure what the camp involves, but am guessing our BUD/s V2
plans would be the best fit. I don’t have a plan specifically for that event.
2) Don’t double up.
3) The Greek Hero series
of plans deploys our latest evolution of Fluid Periodization, and the Virtue Series deployed the previous version. Practically the cyclic emphasis in the Greek Hero plans is less intense and abrupt. These plans overall are more balanced. In application I think of the Greek Hero plans as having a little more finesse – in NFL terms – like a primary wide receiver – think Randy Moss, Julio Jones, Terrell Owens – big, strong, quick. The Virtue Plans are like NFL tight ends – not quite as much finesse, but more utilitarian – think Rob Gronkowski or Tony Gonzalez.
In generals, for focused fitness improvement, I recommend the Virtue Plans.
Good afternoon,I’m a US Marine and I’ve been doing body building styled workouts for a few years now, I’m 5’11 200 pounds so I have some decent size but I have gotten pretty bored, I would like to change up my workouts and have more functional training but want to continue to add mass and grow, the meat head training plan looks good but I’m skeptical because 3.5 weeks doesn’t seem like a long enough program to add any real size or make a difference but I’m not a pro or coach so I don’t know for sure, if you have any info for me on this or recommend a different training program of yours it’d be greatly appreciated.
While body building is common amongst many in the military, it doesn’t meet many of what we feel are the work-specific fitness demands of being a soldier or Marine. Here are our fitness demands for military athletes:
1) High Relative Strength – or Strength per Bodyweight. Excess mass is a detriment to movement. Click HERE
for our relative strength standards for military athletes.
2) High Work Capacity for short, intense events. “Short” = less than 30 minutes. As well, work capacity should have a sprinting and repeat-sprinting focus, including sprinting under load.
3) Military Endurance – running, rucking
4) Chassis Integrity – functional, transferable mid-section strength and strength endurance focused on the tactical chassis (knees to shoulders)
5) Tactical Speed and Agility – sprinting speed, loaded and unloaded. Tactical agility – level changes, direction changes, loaded and unloaded.
For you specifically – you’re bodybuilding focus has become stale, but you want to do more of it? – What I’d recommend is breaking away from that focus all together – if your ego will allow it – and training the fitness attributes described above. From our stuff, I’d recommend you start with Hector
– which is one of the plans from our Greek Hero
series, and deploys our most recent iteration of Fluid Periodization. Hector trains the 5 attributes listed above concurrently.
To your specific question about the Meathead plan – we’ve regularly seen significant improvement gains in 3-week cycles – even in athletes with a high training age, like yourself.
I’m hoping to partake in a guided climb of Mount Rainier in approximately one year. A friend of mine introduced me to your site and I’m very interested in your climbing plans!
I’m hoping you can help guide me on the best plans for my training. I’m 28-yrs-old and I hike once or twice a week in the Seattle area with my 2-yr-old daughter on my back. So! I’m hoping to start with a beginner program to get me up to speed.
Appreciate any advice you can provide!
In general, the closer to your climb, the more “sport-specific” you want your programming to be.
From our stuff, we’ve build a sport-specific training plan specifically for Ranier – the Rainier Training Plan
. You’ll want to complete this plan the 7 weeks directly before your climb.
I recall you used to have a program for female athletes with knee injuries. Perhaps it was just a testing program but I recall vaguely. Do you have information on helping females strengthen their knees in order to prevent knee injury? Thank you.
i didn’t get to put in for a tag in Wyoming this time but got an over the counter in montana. there are 3 of us planning on hunting around the little belt mts. we are going out september 6-13 to bow hunt. I’m looking for some tips and suggestions. This will be my first self supported back pack type hunt. we are planning on going in 5-6 miles based on the maps and boundary lines on these areas. these areas are relatively small and have pretty extensive trail system according to the biologist. if we aren’t on any fresh sign we probably will stay a day or two scouting then move to another area. i don’t for see staying the whole 6 days in one spot without getting back to the truck for supplies or to regroup. unless we luck onto elk quickly i would guess we won’t be in one area more than 2-3 days. I’ve been reading and talked to several biologist and fish and game people in the area about the terrain and how to hunt these areas. I’ve got time booked in the end of october also for rifle season if we strike out with the bow. most of my questions are on gear, food, equipment, etc. any hunting tips would be appreciated as well!!
1. what do you keep in your pack that you consider essential? external frame necessary for packing out meet or just game bags and a ruck? I’ve got a mystery ranch through work thats there military version about 5000 cubic inches or so.
2. food? how much, what kind, what kind of jet boil?
3. clothing- what do you wear on daily basis? what do you take for extra.
4. anything you suggest to read books, articles, etc
5. sleeping bag, pad, tent suggestions? i have a north face 0 degree bag now and a mt. hardware 2 man tent that weighs about 4 lbs.
thanks for your time and everybody appreciates what you guys do
on a side not I’ve got some family that just moved to thayne and am planning on hunting there next year so i might hit you up to go with me next time.
Answers below detail the kit I’m currently running and/or recommend. Note that many of these items are on promotive.com
– and with your job/history you should qualify.
1. Pack and Essentials:
Pack – What’s important is that you’re able to pack out at least 1/2 the boned out animal, plus your bivy gear after you kill something. So your pack should have more than enough room for your gear. I run a Mystery Ranch Metcalf Pack (4300 cubic inches) which is a hunting-specific pack. The back separates from the frame allowing me to stuff meat sacks between the frame and the bag. Your pack should be good. You don’t need an external frame pack.
The Metcalf is expensive. If you want to go with a specialized hunting pack, Eberlestock makes a Black Widow pack which you can get through your pro-deal on Promotive.com
. It’s an awesome pack too.
Tooth Brush/Floss. I put a glob of tooth pasts in the bottom of a zip lock. I keep this in a baggy in by food bag.
Starbucks Via Instant Coffee and a ProBar Meal Bar
. Meal Bars are great calorie per ounce fuel and you can get them on Promotive.
Lunch: Hard Salami, Hard Cheese and Coffee
Dinner: Mountain House or other Freeze Dried Meal. Mountain House is on Promotive.
Black DIamond Spot Head Lamp
(Trick: Make sure you turn one of the batteries around before you pack so the lamp doesn’t get bumped on and drain the batteries)
Sunscreen (Trick: You don’t need a full container. I fill a small, empty medicine bottle and take it only).
15 Feet Paracord
Athletic Tape (doubles as bandaid)
Firestarter and Lighter
Extra batteries for Headlamp
Tags, Hunter Safety Card, Orange Ribbon
Knife and sharpener – I use a cheap Kershaw Chill
knife and a sharpener. I tried one of the Havalon replaceable blade knives and it was so sharp I thought it was dangerous.
Water is a big deal deer hunting. I like to bivy on the ridges … which means I have to carry my water (4-5 Liters) up from the last water source – usually 1,000-2,000 feet below. I use a 2-3 Liter Camel Back reservoir and carry extra water with Platypus collapsable bottles
In Colorado you’ll want a water filter. The Sawyer Mini filter
is light, cheap and works great.
Delorme In-Reach (no cell service and I often hunt alone – not needed if you have cell service and/or are hunting with others)
Cell Phone – Photos, GPS (Gaia App), Maps (Topo Map App)Kindle Reader (I read a book at night). With apps, you can download topo maps and use your phone for a GPS. It’s awesome.
Outdoor Research Helium Bivy
– Light and bomber. I use a bivy over a tent – I’ve been rained on this thing and stayed dry. A bivy is lighter, faster, and you can sleep anywhere. I often sleep in deer beds! OR is on Promotive.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite
– Perhaps my most important piece of gear. This thing is awesome!! Last weekend I slept like a baby on rocks!
Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt:
I replaced my bag with this and sleep in my fleece hoody or puffy jacket. Works awesome. You don’t need a 0-degree bag in early September. A 30-degree bag/quilt will work. Big Agnes and Therm-a-Rest offer quilt/pad systems together. Big Agnes is on Promotive.
is a Video of my Sleep System
Two things are key to your clothing system: (1) Fit and; (2) Material.
Fit is most important. If the clothes don’t fit, you’ll be wasting money. Spend what it takes to find stuff that fits.
What to avoid:
– Choosing clothes based on camo pattern. They all work.
– Buying cheap stuff. Cheap stuff is wasting money … it won’t fit and you’ll replace it.
– Softshell Jackets. They are heavy and not needed. Don’t believe the marketing hype.
Note: It’s going to be HOT during the day, and cool, but not cold, at night. You don’t need super warm stuff.
Here’s What You Need:
Pants – Nylon Material, with side pockets
Shirt – Long Sleeve Camo Synthetic or Merino Wool Top. I like synthetic.
Mid-Layer – Camo Fleece or Merino Hoody
Puffy – Light down or synthetic hooded puffy jacket. Doesn’t need to be an expedition parka! Lightest level is fine. Does not need to be camo – green/brown/tan is fine.
Gloves – Lightweight (You don’t need winter gloves!)
2 Pair Thick Wool Socks: You’ll wear one and keep another spare.
1 Pair Synthetic or Merino Underwear (You’ll wear the whole time)
Ball Cap – Again, it will be hot! You’ll need a hat.
Note: Don’t take any extra shirts or long johns, underwear. You won’t need them. Also, with a midweight hoody, you won’t need a warm beanie hat.
Fit – Shirts … My Experience:
shirts fit generally well, but I have to size up to Large from my regular Medium.
shirts fit generally well, but I have to size up for the base layers to Large, and stick with Medium for the mid-Layers
– None of the Kuiu stuff fits me well
Cabelas’, Underarmor, etc: No experience
Fit – Pants … My Experience
Kuiu – Don’t Fit
You don’t need stiff-soled leather, gore-tex mountaineering boots! If you have strong ankes you can wear trail running shoes. The major demand on your footwear will be walking down a steep hill with 1/2 a deer right after the kill. Tread is important, and ankle support if you’ve got suspect ankles like me. Gore-Tex will just make your feet hot. Many companies don’t make boots that aren’t gore-tex so you may not be able to avoid it. Color is not important – your duty boots will likely work.
What I Wear:
Socks: Patagonia Wool Mid-Weight
I bring an extra pair of socks
Optics – What You’ll Need:
Your binoculars are most important. You’ll want high quality 10×42 or 10×50 binos.
I also take a lightweight spotting scope
Tripod – super important, mostly for your binos, not your scope. 90% of your time behind glass will be behind your binos.
Bino Tripod Adaptor
What I Use:
– The final 100-200 yards of the stalk take off your shoes and proceed stocking-foot. But … take one of your extra arrows and stand it up in your boot – fletching high. This way you’ll be able to find your boots after the stalk!! (I once spend 60 panic field minutes searching!!)
– There’s a good chance you’ll make a downhill shot. Make sure your bowsite has a 3rd Axis adjustment and you have it adjusted. Practice Shooting Down Hill
– Distance – be confident out to 50 yards, min. for Mule Deer. Standing, kneeling and sitting position. Chances are you’ll shoot Kneeling.
– Don’t be a Little Bitch! My first year I was one .. thought it was impossible, felt sorry for myself, didn’t try every stalk. Mule deer with a bow is a combo of extreme diligence in hunting skills, patience, enthusiasm, humor and grit. Just keep grinding … and understand the joy of hunting is the hunt, not the kill.
– Never Skyline. Never burst over a ridge or top without glassing first. Be diligent
– I carry my pack on my back so I camp on the ridges. This avoids the hike up early in the am, and down at night to a base camp and allows me to hunt longer each day.
– When walking a ridge which is treed on one side, have an arrow knocked, go slow and be ready. 3x I’ve jumped a bedded deer and once I got off a shot (I missed because I suck).
– Wind Indicator – I put baby powder in a small squeeze bottle made for travel shampoo. Works great!
Good morning, I’m going to run SF 45 again after this week. Would you recommend pumping times upfrom the last go-round? In other words week one has a 20 minute grind should I bump that up to a 25 this time around? By the way I love this program. I’ve dropped 10 pounds since starting in my joints feel great at 57 years old
You could do that. Better would be to move on to SF45 Beta. I just built out the remaining 4 plans in the SF45 Packet
Howdy. I’m a fire fighter, bow hunter, military vet (22 years naval aviator), and avid outdoorsman/waterman. I’m going on an epic powder ski trip March 15 2018. Looking to do the ski plan but not sure how to program from now till March 2018???? Any recommendations?
MTI’s approach is that training for your job takes priority. For your day-to-day training I’d recommend our Fire-Rescue specific programming found in the Big Cat Packet
In general, the closer you get to your event (in this case, your ski trip), the more sport-specific your programming should be.
What would you recommend for preparing the Army Mountain Warfare School in Jericho, Vermont? Based on what recent grads from my platoon have said, it it very ruck-intensive.
I would assume some mix of your civilian mountain athlete programs would fit (backpacking + climbing work), but I don’t want to leave out the “traditional” cardio work for long morning PT group runs.
We just built the Mountain Warfare School Training Plan
I am in need of choosing a program that will fit my needs.I have a physical test coming up in the next couple of months. One of the physical requirements includes climbing a rope that is either a thousand feet, or equivalent if rope is shorter, arms only without the use of any legs. This physical testing was designed by two Army Ranger Veterans and I can see some similarities, for their whole test, in some of the military programs. The rope climb is giving me the most pause at which program would suite me the best.
I don’t have rope-climbing focused training plan for you.
One progression we’ve used in the past is:
1x Rope Climb every 2 Minutes.
If you can get this, you can progress it either in all-over volume, or density.
Volume = Increasing the rounds, eventually to reach 20x Rounds.
Density = On the Odd Rounds (Still do 10 Rounds), do 2x Rope Climbs every 2 minutes, and on the even rounds (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) do 1x rope climb, Once you can get this try to do 10 Rounds, 2x Rope Climbs every 2 minutes.
I came across your training programs and was hoping to get more information about your programming for the GR Selection. I’ve been training on my own for the past few months, but am looking for more thoughtful programming in the lead up.
On the page for regular GORUCK challenges it says to NOT use that one for Selection, so I’m trying to figure out which program you would suggest? Also, don’t worry, I know what I’ve signed up for 🙂
We have a training specifically for the GoRuck Selection. CLICK HERE to check it out. Good luck!
I am a retired US Army Special Forces Medical
Sergeant. I was on active duty for 27 years and retired less than two years
ago. I am tired of feeling sorry for myself after being forced to retire,
due to time-in-service at my rank not for disciplinary issues. I have a lot
of physical, and some mental, problems. They are due to both combat related
injuries and general military overuse. I am 75″ tall and weigh about
230lbs. I have a little bicycle tire around my waist but it is definitely
not excessive. I however, have lost most of my musculature. I was going to
start with one of your plans. Which one do you recommend. I am not looking
to be Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lance Armstrong. I just want to not be old
flabby and out of shape and still be able to shit and get it if I ever need
We recently released the SF45 Packet… it’s specifically for older tactical athletes who have the unavoidable lingering injuries from a 27 year career. The packet includes 4 plans – you can buy it individually, or sign up for Athlete Subscription where you can also access it. The ‘old’ guys here in the gym have been doing to good results and really enjoy it.
Enjoying the programming. Appreciate your work to get it dialed in. Have recently completed Fat Loss followed by Bodyweight Foundation (two days left). Will take a two week break with biking, hiking, etc with family on vacation.
Our group that works out each AM, consists of four, 40-45 year old guys, decent fitness, likely lacking strength for our size, OK runners (23-26 min. For recent 3 mile). Frankly, we could all use a kick in the rear to dial in diet. I’d appreciate any guidance or suggestions on next plan. Have full gym set up available.
Thanks in advance,
are our nutritional guidelines:
I recently purchased the Large PJ/CCT selection packet. I am in fairly good shape and I’m maxing out my PAST tests however I leave in about 5-6 months so I will not be able to complete the entire 44 weeks. Is there anyway to modify and shorten it down or something I can cut out to save time? Thanks.
6 months = 24 Weeks.
1-4 Operator Pentathlon
12-15 Big 24 + Swim Improvement
17-24 USAF CCT/PJ/CRO Selection Training Plan
I have purchased several of your programs and have been impressed with each one I have tried.
About a decade ago I did the original 6 week Super Squat program, and saw about a 100 lb increase in my Back Squat. I am looking at several of your programs, like Achilles, that utilize the 1×20 set. I was unclear about a few things, do your programs start with a moderate weight and add 5-10 lbs each session, like the original Super Squat?
Do you have research on the benefits of doing the 1×20 on the bench press? When I did the original, I believe it was 2 or 3 sets of 12, and I saw significant increases in my bench in 6 weeks. I do not recall that program, or any other I’ve seen, using breathing reps on the bench.
Super Squat – we use a percentage progression, not a progression as you describe.
Bench Press … we are alone as far as i know in terms of applying the 20 reps and breaths requirement to the bench press. It’s killer. No “research” but our lab rats saw 10-15% 1RM gains post-program.
I would first like to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed your training
programs and have used the running program and body weighted training
program with great success. Your plans impressed me so much that I would
like to see what your opinion would be on making a training plan for a Ultra
Spartan Race? Or if there is a plan that is similar to getting ramped up for
the race I would like to do next April, I would appreciate your guidance
with that also.
I’m guessing you mean a spartan ultra beast race …. I couldn’t find any info on a “ultra” plan.
We don’t have a specific training plan for this.
From what we do have I’d recommend Humility
with some changes….
– Don’t do any of the loaded running as prescribed.
– Double the prescribed running in the training plan, and again, do all the running unloaded.
I am currently preparing for a February SFAS date using the ruck based selection packet. I am currently halfway through Humility and am planning to complete all programs in the sequence suggested outside of big 24 over the next 7 months or so.
Looking ahead to the programs that involve more rucking such as Fortitude, I noticed that “ruck running” is listed for several sessions. I am wondering if this should be a fast paced walk or a true run. I have heard conflicting arguments on pacing it out with a ruck versus running. Just looking for your input on this specifically with regard to improving ruck time and pace for SFAS.
Run. We ruck run and recommend it.
I’m looking for some advice on what to do next. As background, I’m a 37 year old guy who’s been focused on endurance (just done an ironman) for the last few years. I’m 6’3 and am at my lightest at 76kg (not acceptable!). I want to get back into the gym and put some muscle on (and get some decent strength back) but I’m also conscious of not totally losing my aerobic gains from the last few years, especially running.
I’m thinking ‘bodyweight’ as a starter then maybe something like ‘Humility’? Or should I go straight to something like ‘hypertrophy for the skinny guy’? What are your thoughts?
Appreciate your time and what you do.
The running volume in these plans are nothing compared to the volume you’ve been pushing – but both have loaded running, which will be new.
I’d recommend following the plans as prescribed for the first couple weeks, and if you are recovering well, add in a long, easy, unloaded run on the weekends.
I’m 39, male, 5’8 215. Athletic background. Muscular build currently compromised by eating too much BS and having a desk job. Should be in 185-190lb range. Lower back issues, and I’m rehabbing a badly sprained ankle through Nov, so it’ll be a bit before I can run or jump. I can walk/ruck, cycle, and do squats on most days. Love lifting free weights, but gunshy on some Olympic lifts because of lower back. Can work out for an hour 5x/week at local gym. My diet is in check now. Which workout plan would you recommend to burn fat while the ankle heals? Thanks, you guys are hands-down the best.
Check in on the other side.