First, I wanted to thank you for all you do (and have done) for our Marines deploying overseas. I was lucky enough to meet a fellow Marine who was using your programming in early 2010 that turned me onto it. I am fully convinced that if the Marine Corps adopted your training principles, we would break far less people and “embrace the suck”.
Second, I want to ask you a question. I am a recently retired Marine with over 20 years of active service and have taken a legit two years off (legit!). I have packed on the weight (overeating and under-training), but still stay active and in good health. I have finally figured out (…only took 44 years) that I’m goal based with my fitness and need a gentle push (no one holding me accountable now).
My son (who learned to surf on the west coast) wants me to surf with him on my 45th birthday (I have 8 months). He and I did some body surfing and boogie boarding this summer.
My question is this: Using your template (base, sport generic, and sport specific) as the model, what programs would you recommend for the base portion of my training? I was thinking bodyweight (which I purchased) first, but then I “gray out” looking at 200+ programs! I was leaning toward Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie for the 45+ year old athletes (…come on, man…I’m close!!).
Also, for my sport generic I was thinking swimming, SUP, and skate or carve boarding. Then for my sport specific, intense paddle sessions, underwater training, etc. If you have any suggestions for this portion as well, I would welcome your expert opinion.
Finally, I like to wish you and your team continued success! You have certainly built a company worthy of the term ATHLETE. Thanks again, Rob…and to all your “lab rats…and I look forward to your response. Take care.
I am a surf rescue supervisor in Florida and have used your plans before and loved them. I am trying to find a plan to do this offseason and was looking at the surf preseason plan. I was curious if I am able to paddle and have water nearby can I substitute the swimming for paddling? And if so should I just use the same distances. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
For a Surf Rescue supervisor I’d consider you a tactical athlete, and rather than the Surf Pre-Season plan, I’d recommend the plans/order in our Pirate Series
. These were originally designed as day-to-day programming for LE/Military SOF with water-based mission sets and include swimming, but also include strength, work capacity, chassis integrity, tactical agility and endurance (run, ruck, swim) Start with Barbarossa
If you’re determined to do the Surf Pre-Season Plan. Yes on the sub, but again, the Pirate Series plans would be better.
My SFRE is in Mid November, which puts me about 12 weeks out for tryouts. I want to start training, so, do you recommend I do the 7 week SFRE course as soon as possible or should I delay it until I’m 7 weeks out?
Delay until 7 weeks out. You want to complete the SFRE Training Plan
directly before SFRE.
What program(s) would you suggest for a 22 hour rim to rim hike|trek of the Grand Canyon? No sleep stops. Stomp down then up and a return trip.
I am new to the grinder style of workout I grew up a power lifter that stopped working out and got comfortable and need to lose 20 pounds on top of needing to increase my pool endurance heavily as I am making a career move from being a firefighter to hopefully getting a diver contract with the navy. Basically what I am asking is what is the best plan you guys have for me to achieve my goal?
I’d recommend you start our stuff with the USAF PAST Training Plan
– which includes bodyweight work, running and swimming. This will keep you out of the weight room, help with weight loss, and improve your swimming.
Follow it up with Barbossa
from our Pirate Series
for LE and Military SOF with water-based mission sets. Barbossa trains strength, work capacity, chassis integrity (core), tactical agility and endurance (run, ruck, swim).
I’ve heard some good stuff about the programming you all offer and I’ve decided to give it a whirl. But there is an abundance of different programs and I’m sort of in a weird spot for what I’m looking for.
I ETS out of the National Guard in about a month and intend on re-enlisting into the Active component with an 18x contract. Government work is never fast, so I’m assuming itll be a few months before I ship.
Until then I’m a full time Police Officer attached to SWAT. I’m in pretty good shape right now. Probably 280-290 on the Army PFT and can do the murph in kit in about 50 minutes.
I’m not wanting to get in the best shape of my life before I ship for 18x because I have a feeling that would be damn near impossible to maintain going through TRADOC again. I’m just looking to get a structured plan to ramp up my current level of fitness a few notches without risking injury or going nuts before I ship.
If any plan sticks out that you would suggest. Send it my way please.
I’d recommend you work through the plans and order in the Virtue Series,
beginning with Humility
. (Skip Military OnRamp).
I am a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, and I’m interested in using your program to better prepare myself for a career as a Marine Corps Officer. I want to start the Hypertrophy Program for skinny guys, but I have a few questions first:
1. How flexible can the nutrition plan be? Here at the academy we don’t get much choice of what we get to eat, especially as an underclassman, so most of the time we eat what we get. It’s almost always pretty balanced, I’m just not sure if that fact would make the program not worth doing.
2. Is this a good program to start out on? I’ve looked at the on ramp program as well as the body-weight foundation program, but I think I could benefit from some muscle/weight gain.
3. If this isn’t a good program to start with, which one would most benefit my running ability as well as pure strength for rucking, the PFT, and the CFT?
Thank you for your help.
1. Do your best. The programming is most important.
3. See above.
I’m looking to purchase a training program for my hiking/mountaineering objectives in the next year. My objectives in the next year will be 2 weeks mountaineering in Ecuador (mid-January), 3 weeks hiking in Patagonia (April), 2 weeks hiking around Mont Blanc (September) and Denali/Logan in 2020. I’m also going to be doing small objectives including climbing Mt. Rainier in mid-June and Mt. Washington (I live in Ottawa, Canada).
What training program do you recommend me to purchase. I noticed you have Denali Training Plan and Big Mountain Climbing Training Program but not sure which one would be best or whether you have another training program you would recommend. I have access to a climbing gym which also has a small crossfit style gym. they also have a sled, rope and GHD.
Focus on Ecuador first.
By my count you have 21 weeks, counting this week, between now and Jan 15, 2019. Here’s what I recommend:
The Mountain Base plans will establish your mountain-specific mountain fitness including strength, work capacity, endurance (run, hike uphill under load), chassis integrity (core), and climbing fitness (rock). They will lay a fitness foundation for the mission-specific Big Mountain Training Plan – which you’ll want to complete the 10 weeks directly before your trip.
I was introduced to you through a hunting podcast. Since that introduction I have read many of your blog posts and other collateral. Much of what you have written appeals to my ideals and values.
If you have time to respond to the following it would help me in purchasing the right programs from your organization and implementing them in the right order.
Male 44, 5’10” / 170lbs
Live at 6500 ft in the mtn west with plenty of mtn access out my front door (literally) no need for step ups here.
Which would be the optimal programs and periodization of those programs throughout each year to accomplish the following?
Potentially Conflicting Goals:
- Gain lean mass (get to ~180lbs) & maintain as I age. (I’m a hardgainer even at age 44)
- Redevelop / improve cycling & backpacking capacity
- Improve / optimize mobility.
- Peak for my backcountry hunt beginning the last Saturday of August each year.
- Maximize wattage (for the casual rider) for a spring and fall gran fondo
Right shoulder seems impinged, can’t shake it. Flares up with dips and similar exercises but by getting the scapula positioned right I can bench, overhead press and other exercises w/o pain. Doesn’t keep me from shooting archery and playing golf.
Participated in endurance type events through my 30s, weighed ~162 lbs age 18-43.
Didn’t train specifically for anything, just stayed active. Consistently ran sub 3:30 marathons “off the couch”. Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim, Olympic distance triathlons with a couple gran fondo bike rides each year because my wife likes cycling.
Focus each year is a 9-14 day backcountry hunt that I have been doing for 14 years. Sometimes solo, sometimes with companions but base camp is generally at 12K feet and 10 miles (all day hike) somewhere into Colorado Wilderness.
Aside from the work hiatus into the backcountry and a couple of scouting trips each summer I enjoy skiing in the winter, mtn biking and cycling in the summer and occasional round of golf (2.3 hcp index).
Last September after exiting the backcountry at ~155 lbs I decided to stop any running in order to minimize joint damage long term. Along with that I stopped cycling and all “cardio”. Focused on core lifts of squat, deadlift, bench and overhead press with some box jumps, pull-ups etc mixed in. No programming, just did what I felt like doing 4-6 days a week, doing lower and upper body each workout. For first time ever I eclipsed 170 lbs and maintained it. Most of this coming in lower body. I don’t max but I do 5×5 squats with 275-295, deadlift sets 225-250 bench 175. I could go heavier with each exercise but don’t want to risk injury.
Thanks for your time and the quality content you have out there.
I don’t have one plan which will make you good at everything at any time. Our approach is first to use “base fitness” programming to establish a solid, well-rounded fitness foundation, then, directly before the season or event, drop out of the base fitness programming and into the sport-specific training plan for that event – for example, 8 weeks directly before your hunting season, complete the Backcountry Big Game Training Plan
Please know we don’t have a road-cycling training plan and I’ve little to no experience working with road cyclists. Road cycling seems to be a major part of your fitness goals, and I can’t help there.
In terms of Base Fitness programming, for you I’d recommend our SF45 Programming, beginning with the plans/order in the SF45 Packet I
. These plans are designed for high impact mountain and tactical athletes ages 45-55 (44 is close enough), and chose exercises and programming more appropriate for athletes in this age group. These plans, in general, have a greater endurance emphasis than our other base fitness programming, avoid heavy loaded squatting movements to minimize the impact on aging knees, etc. It would be possible for you to replace the endurance work in these plans with road cycling.
Specific to your question about bodyweight – any endurance work will impact your bodyweight. My guess is once you start your base programming for cycling you’ll end up burning off muscle. I would add, however, that a focus only on bodyweight is myopic. Better would be to focus on your relative strength – or strength per bodyweight. You want to have a high relative strength.
I’m considering a subscription. Particularly interested in the Helen plan since I have easy access to a bouldering gym and it seems like a good off-season plan. Could you provide some thoughts on the below questions for me? (Apologies if I missed an article on any of this on your website):
1- How would other cardio activities (2-3 hr long bike rides, 1-2 hr top-rope climbing, 1-hr yoga, a beach volleyball game) fit with the Helen plan or other plans? Should those be on break days? Avoided?
2- Would you say Helen is a good choice if body comp is also a goal? (Assume this would be an incidental benefit as long as dieting is right. I see you have body comp-focused plans but my read is that those are for folks coming from a lower baseline.)
3- Do Helen and the other plans involve a strength assessment or is there a recommendation for how to scale certain workouts up or down? (I see there are running assessments built into the samples, but nothing on what’s the, say, right Scotty Bob weight.)
Thanks for your thoughts. Really like your website.
Before I get to answering your questions know that you don’t need to subscribe to purchase Mountain Base Helen
. You can purchase the plan individually.
Also – know that the entire first week of Helen’s programming is published behind the “Sample Training” Tab – so you can try the programming before purchase.
Now to the answers:
1. Depends upon your incoming fitness. Helen is a no-joke, 6-day/week training plan which includes endurance, climbing, strength, etc. Watch for overtraining.
2. 80-90% of bodyfat is diet related. You can’t outwork a shitty diet. Eat clean and your bodycomp will improve, regardless of the programming. Helen is not a body-comp plan. It’s focus is on improving mountain sport performance.
3. The strength specific work in Helen is assessment based, or deploys our “hard but usable” loading – so to a large extent, it scales to your incoming strength. We do make some strength assumptions with the program loading – work capacity efforts for example. Be cautious and use common sense – if the prescribed load is too heavy, drop it.
Question about running with a ruck on, both specifically as it relates to your Ruck Based Selection plan. For the interval rucks, is that intended to be a true “ruck run” with a 60lb ruck, or is that a walking pace?
Separate from that, what studies have you done on the effects of running with a ruck on during training over the long term? I am just curious to see how weight/speed/elevation etc effect overall health of knees/hips/back/ankles.
Intervals are based on your long ruck assessment – so are faster than your long ruck. Most run/fast walk the long ruck – so it could be possible you run with the ruck.
Don’t have any long-term studies, but here’s the functional reality: On the battlefield, and likely at SFAS, and definitely at SFOD-D, you’ll be forced to run with the ruck – perhaps your orienteering gets messed up and you have to make up time. Our programming is designed to respect the realities of the real thing. We want you to experience ruck running in training – so when you have to do it in battle or at selection, you’ve experienced it before.
Good luck if you think you can walk fast enough and still meet the standard.
I am a 41 year old male (ex-military since 2006). My current fitness level is not great as I am just getting back into running and working out after about a 2 year break due to several injuries (torn calf / Broken Ankle). I am planning to train up to complete the Bataan Death March next Spring but need to determine which training plan is the best to start with to improve my overall fitness and probably drop some weight before really training hard on the Ruck March. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I’m looking for a program on the list to get lean and strength. Looking to drop some fat in the midsection my BMI is about 17.6%
You gave me a program and helped me crush the selection at NSWDG back in 2014. Hope all is well.
I’m having wrist surgery and want to work out around my hand being in a cast. I remember you had some ideas but I didn’t see it on your website. Can you please assist. I appreciate it. Thanks.
I was curious if you offered a military discount.
At what point is it better to buy a single program versus paying for a subscription. Would I be able to pay the subscription, plan my program and cancel the subscription? $30 will add up pretty quick I think. Thanks!
1) Sorry, no military discount.
2) Below is the difference between purchase options:
What is the difference between purchasing an individual training plan, packet of plans or an Athlete’s Subscription?
- Plan – Like purchasing the DVD of the first Star Wars movie. You own it forever, including any updates we make to the plan.
- Packet – Like purchasing the DVD’s of all the Star Wars movies. You own them forever, including any updates we make to the plans.
- Athlete’s Subscription – Like subscribing to Netflix. You get access to all 200+ plans in our library, but lose access if you unsubscribe.
3) “Would I be able to pay the subscription, plan my program and cancel the subscription? $30 will add up pretty quick I think.”
Nothing in our system would prevent you from doing this, but it would be a douche bag move.
I would like to purchase a program similar to Off-Season Strength Training for Endurance Athletes, however I do not have access to a “functional” gym. I have access to a basic gym with barbells and free weights, no boxes or sandbags.
My specific needs are rebuilding strength over the winter after coming off a knee-injury, so heavy on strength, low-to-no impact exercises (running or jumping). My sport is Obstacle Course Racing and Trail Running.
Is there a program you could recommend to fit my needs?
I’m super interested in the backcountry skiing pre-season program. I’m giving the sample workouts a try. Day 1 was great. Humbling, which is excellent!
- Do you have recommended substitutions if I don’t have access to sandbags? The gym where I work out has most things (including kettlebells which is where my mind went but the get up would be a very different exercise) but not sandbags.
- What substitution do you recommend if I don’t run? I’m a runner at heart but after too many injuries, I haven’t run a step in 3 years. My body is good with most cardio machines–stepmill, elliptical, bike, etc.
1. There is really no substitute for the sandbag or its exercises. Others have built their own and taken it to their gym. Do the same.
2. Best would be spinning on a bike. Assume you would run 10-minute miles and make the sub based on time. So if the plan calls for a 5 mile run, bike/spin for 50 minutes.
I just wanted to share with you my results from the MTI Relative Strength plan. All my 1RM’s increased from week 1 to week 5, and I gained about 5 pounds.
Really enjoyed working through this plan!
Next, I’m thinking about either doing Fortitude or BIG 24 before the USMC TBS plan. My goal is to get stronger so that my numbers are closer to the MTI tactical athlete strength standards but I also want to set my self up for success at TBS. What plan do you recommend I complete before the TBS plan?
Awesome on the improvements.
I dig your approach but am not sure which plan to go with. I spent my 20s working on a Hotshot crew and enjoy mountain sports specifically climbing and mountain biking. However, I have a fairly demanding job and family life and need to keep my training to about an hour a day. I try to incorporate longer sessions with mountain biking twice a week. I have been doing CrossFit for five years due to the condensed nature of it. This I try to fit in 3-5 days a week although recently have regressed to 1-2 due to moving and needing to work on the new house. With life settling, I need to ramp it up. I was thinking a CrossFit style program with more endurance built into it would be ideal. I do enjoy the weights but want my workouts to benefit my mountain biking. Let me know your thoughts.
I’d recommend SF45 Bravo
, which has you in the gym training 2 days/week training strength and core (Monday) or strength and work capacity (Wednesday), and training endurance 3-4 days/week.
I am trying to decide on a plan to purchase and was hoping to get some idea what you think is best.
I am a current SWAT officer and in good shape (50+ situps and pushups in a min, 10 pullups, 9:30 mile and a half time). I am considering either the DEA or HRT selection plans mainly for the challenge of them. I like to make sure i still hit weights to maintain/improve my relative strength. I wasn’t sure if either of those plans include lifts for that?
Is there different plans you would reccomend that could be challenging and further my fitness/strength? My other thought was that in place of swimming days on the HRT plan, because i have no pool access, i would just do weights.
Thanks for your time.
The selection training plans are focused on the events in the selection. To that affect, the DEA FAST Plan does not include any gym-based strength training – there is some, 1-day/week built around front squats and bench press, in the FBI HRT Selection Training Plan.
So of these two, I’d recommend the FBI HRT Plan. But Prior, I’d recommend you 1-2 plans from our Gun Maker series which are designed for full time SWAT/SRT. Begin with Ruger – the first plan in the packet.