I just have some questions for you about your military athlete
program. First off, I’m going to be upfront and honest, I’m weak.
Physically I am terribly weak, and looking to beef up my strength over
all. My PT test scores are laughable and I’m tired of being the way
that I am. I want more from myself. I’m 33 Y/O sitting at 6’0" 185lbs.
What type of training program do you recommend for me? Basically,
picture me starting from ground zero, but want to be ready for Ranger
School by the end of this deployment. I’ve got around 7 – 9 months to
get myself prepared. I really appreciate your assistance with this.
I’m very serious about getting myself back into my 20 Y/O physical
fitness status. Thanks for the help!


– E.

Took courage to punch out this email E. Good for you.

Start with our Bodyweight Training Program – it’s great strength training and a good way to jumpstart your way back to fitness:

– Rob


G’Day Rob,

I started your operator sessions a few weeks ago. I have a couple of questions for you if you have the time to answer them.

Q: In your program when it states to complete the pigeon stretch or foam roll lower back etc. how long is that for? Everything else is for time or reps etc. but these are very open ended. I assume this is because you do not want to put a strict clock on them; but is there a rough time or particular outcome you want on each iteration.

A: 10-30 seconds. Get a good stretch or perform the mobility drill correctly, but don’t linger long – it’s not yoga. When performed in a strength circuit, the mobility drill is designed as "working rest" between sets. By the time you perform the mobility drill and add some weight to the barbell, you should be able to lift again. Work briskly, but not frantically.

Q: I have read that ‘static stretching before exercise increases the likelihood of injury and reduces strength outputs’. Given that you are proscribing static stretching during the rounds I am interested to know what you think about the statement.

A: We can find studies on both sides of the issue. Our experience, however, has proven these drills can improve range of motion and functional movement. Plus, my athletes need to rest between strength sets – and I don’t like them standing around doing nothing!

Q: Some endurance athletes are starting to move away from Long Slow Distance training towards interval training (i.e. Crossfit Endurance). In the short period of time I have been doing operator sessions I have noticed that Fridays appear to be rucking days. Why do you proscribe the distances and weight you do? To me it looks like you trying to strike a balance between getting us under load for a reasonable amount of time regularly without running us into the ground on massive stomps every week.

A: The distance/duration we go with the rucking/running/step up efforts depends somewhat on the cycle we’re in. In general, when it comes to endurance, I don’t believe in short cuts – you need to train in the mode you will apply in the field (rucking, IBA Runs, Step ups, running), and you have to go long. When it comes to heavy rucking, or ruck running, we do know these can lead to overuse injury – so we aim to balance the need to get the athlete fit in that mode, but not injure him in the process. We do consciously program good amounts of sprinting – especially shuttle sprint efforts. These are designed not for endurance, but to build work capacity, and sprinting speed. When things are most dangerous for military athletes, you need to be a able to sprint fast, and repeatably.

Q: I have personally had some good results from the Westside Barbell periodization method. In particular developing speed by lifting at 50-75% 1RM. In your strength cycle you appear to work at 85% 1RM and do not focus (at least during those particular rounds) on speed. Have you looked into the Westside Barbell method? And why do you use the model you do?

A: I’ve had mixed success with the Westside dynamic training sets. Instead, we use complex training and/or total body power exercises to train explosive power. Complex training is where we pair a strength exercise with a fast, explosive, power movement which uses the same muscles and movement patterns – for example, doing box jumps immediately after heavy front squats. The measure of our programming effectiveness is not gym performance – how strong we get our athletes – but rather outside performance. Studies have shown that complex training is a way to train strength and power together, and increase both, faster than training them individually. Also – it’s very athletic and dynamic. Certainly we want to get our athletes strong – but our measure is relative strength (strength per bodyweight) not absolute strength (like Westside). Our strength standards are modest compared to what powerlifters like Westside’s athletes, aspire too. But soldiers also need to be able to move swiftly and dynamically over ground, and be durable. Hence our tag line: Strong. Swift. Durable.

Please do not get the perception that I am trying to second-guess everything you are doing. I have not been doing your program for anywhere near long enough to know how effective it is, but I am really excited about finding out.

I ask these questions because I want to know your reasoning, as some of what you proscribe appears to contradict what I believe to be best practice.
Having said all that I started doing MA is because of how much sense your concepts make, such as durability and the burden of constant fitness. I only need to look around work each day to see the results of exercise ‘programming’ that did not consider any of these things to know how important they are, let alone reflect on my own experiences.
Thank you to you, your team and the lab rats for the time and effort you all put into making the programs, and thank you for making them so easily accessible and fool proof.
Yours sincerely
– T.

Hey Rob,

My name is D., a little about me. I am 29y/o 71" 219lb. I have always loved the meat head style of lifting (HST, Dogcrapp, German Hypertrophy) For a lot of my years never did any form of cardio with circuit style lifting my primary way to get my heart up. As I got older and I was introduced to Crossfit I started that, love the "o" lifts and the "suck" factor but hated the everyone is a winner thing. If I’m lifting light weight don’t tell my I’m John North! Anyway I know a few guys who used MA before and loved it. I am currently going through SOCM so I don’t have 3 hrs to devote to training session. Ok now that my life story is out of the way. I’d really like something specific to my application Special Operations Medic. Good cardio, strength endurance, a good work capacity without losing a lot of strength. Not asking for too much right…lol.
Hope you can help me out or at least point me in a good direction. Thanks!

– D.

The place to begin with our programming is the "Start Here" button on the website:

In terms of training programming plans, I’d recommend you start with our Work Capacity plan:

– Rob

I have been doing your operator series for roughly a month now and love it. My question is should I be incorporating my own cardio. I have been running on days there are no workouts and wanted you thoughts on this.

– J.

All of our cycles include work capacity and endurance efforts of some degree – depending upon the cycle.

You’re welcome to add training, but be wary of overtraining.

– Rob


My name is C., currently in the USMC and re-enlisting into Recon. I am caught between picking up the Recon program you have or the Devgru Selection program. I went through A&S and didn’t get selected, mostly because after the wear and tear my body could not preform like day it did on day one so I was unable to maintain being as fast or strong as I was. My base fitness after that was low. Anyway, I got about a year to train before BRC and I do not know which program would give the best results. Trying to get stronger, be a fish in the water and ruck like a beast and both seem to offer that. If you help me end the back and forth and apperciate it. I’m 5’9 and 152lb. I have a hard time benching my body weight but I am already a decent swimmer 300 in 9:30 and ruck 12 miles in 2:47m just need to get better.

– C.

I’d start with the DEVGRU plan, then do the A&S plan directly before selection. Between the two plans, subscribe to and complete the Operator Sessions.

Here’s the link to the DEVGRU plan:

– Rob

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