Women in Combat Jobs? Food for thought…..
In recent weeks I’ve discussed the move to open up combat arms jobs to women with a couple career Army guys, one senior enlisted, and the other, a mid-level officer. Here are some quick ideas on the subject you can use as food for thought:

1) Women are not as strong as men, and likely can’t pass many current combat arms courses and SOF Selections.

2) Getting through selection is not the same as doing the job.
The fitness demands of SFOD-D or BUD/s or Ranger School chances are, are much more strenuous then the actual fitness demands of doing 99% of the job tasks. In other words, many women could do the job, physically, but not make it through selection – because of inherent strength differences. 

3) Just because they are not as strong as men, does not mean women are "weaker."
I’ve had many of my female athletes absolutely crush me in work capacity efforts where the load is scaled for them. As a general rule, I’ve found female athletes are more committed to training, and work harder during intense work capacity efforts then men.

4) Scaled selection criteria for women which accounts for inherent strength differences, does not mean it’s easier for them.
I understand the purpose of physically demanding selections is to push people to the edge, and see how they respond. There are lots of ways to do this.

5) Don’t reinvent the Wheel.
Forest Service Smoke Jumpers and Hotshot crews – women serve on these alongside men. Smoke jumpers have a no-shit selection. I’m not sure how/if it’s scaled for women. However, Hotshot and Smoke jumper jobs are no physical joke. and women do them. When’s the last time you heard of a female smoke jumper or Hotshot not pulling her weight and endangering her crewmates? Me neither.

6) Women can bring new tactical opportunities.
Fresh strategic thinking. Intelligence gathering and tactical planning opportunities and flexibility.

7) Sexual Harrassement and romance at work will be an unwelcome problem.
Yep. No doubt.

8) Mistakes will be made along the way.
Yep. No doubt.

9) But, Women are going to gain access to the combat arms jobs.
The political wind isn’t wavering. Practical, forward thinking military leaders will make it work.

More Food for Thought …..
Is the Chinese Political System is better than ours?….This TED talk is thought provoking, especially as politically, militarily and economically we turn our attention to Asia:

More on China’s Rise, the US Response, and different political systems – this is an awesome book:
Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World –

Now to Q&A….

Hey Rob –

Sandbag program looks rad… just downloaded it and will start it next week.

1) I assume the standing and seated rope pulls are self explanatory?  Just sit or stand and drag the sandbag 30 feet with the rope?

2) Also, assume you can substitute a backpack with 25lbs of sand as an alternative for a vest?

3) Lastly, for workouts like Day 2, I assume you ditch the vest after the first superset?

(1) 5 Rounds for Time in Weight Vest
5x Dumbbell Front Squat @ 15/25# Run 200m
10x Situps
*** Rest 3 Minutes ****
(2) 20 Rounds
1x Burpee + Suicide Sprint every 30 Seconds
(3) 4 Rounds
20x Situps
30/5/30 Sean Special 10x EO’s
15x 1-Leg Calf Raise 

1) Yes  – stand with feet square and pull hand or hand, or sit and pull hand over hand.

2) No, not the same. Buy a vest. 

3) Don’t read anything in or out of the sessions. If the circuit calls for a vest, wear it. If there’s no mention, don’t. 

– R


Since the Afghanistan prep program is restricted to
military/government personnel, what’s the nearest equivalent in either
Military or Mountain Athlete programs?


– T.

The plan is free for deploying soldiers, but you can purchase it here:

– Rob

Hey Rob,

Yesterday I finished the second of three 1 week selection phases for my police department’s SWAT team.  The next one starts September 16 which is 8 weeks from Monday 7/22.  Our PT test is a 2 mile run followed by max pullups, 2 minutes max pushups and 2 minutes max situps.  In April for the tryout, my scores were as follows:  16:45 two mile, 10 pullups, 50 pushups and 52 situps.  On June 15 for the PT test at the beginning of first phase my scores were 15:10 two mile, 12 pullups, 60 pushups and 68 situps.  To max out the test I need to do the run in 14:30 or better, 15 pullups, 70 pushups in 2 minutes and 80 situps in 2 minutes.  We did not do the PT test this past week. 

I would very much like to be able to at least max out the PT test on September 16 but here’s the catch.  The PT test will be at the beginning of a very physical week of training and it would be an asset to have better rounded fitness than just the PT test.  During first phase, a couple of the other candidates did better than me on the PT test but began to fall behind as the week progressed whereas I held up pretty well.  I think that was partially because I had a fairly varied program before starting that week.  I think we will do the Crossfit workout "Murph" among other things in September.  I was considering doing your 4 week running improvement plan at the same time as another one of your plans.  I was thinking either the Bodyweight plan or the Sandbag/Weight Vest/Dumbbell.  I have access to a 2 x 35 lb KBs, 2 x 44 lb KBs, 1 x 55 lb KB, adjustable dumbbells that can be very heavy if necessary and a barbell.  I also have a pullup bar and rings.  I do not have access to a power rack.  The Sandbag/Weight Vest/Dumbbell plan sounds appealing in that we will be wearing heavy body armor for a lot of the training in September but I wonder if it contains enough pullups/pushups/situps for me to max out the PT test. 

Sorry to be so long winded.  Let me know what you think.


– J.

Our Ruck Program sounds just about perfect for you:

– It includes focused work on your PFT 2 mile run, push ups and sit ups, – and it would be easy to add in pullups and follow the same progression. 
– In includes intense work capacity work, including IBA runs
– You could skip the rucking in the plan. 

Do this plan, staring exactly 8 weeks out from your selection.

– Rob

I am interested in the operator training. I was wondering if the program has a "crawl, walk, run" aspect to it or would I be simply jumping in? I haven’t been lifting heavy in quite some time, and not proficient with the oly. lifts.
Thank you
– B.

We’ve developed an "On Ramp" plan for guys starting out:

– Rob


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