Wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for all you do for our community. I’ve been following your stuff off and on since 2010 and in my humble opinion it is the best stuff out there as far as special operations physical training goes. A couple of reflections I wanted to share with you and your team to let you know we appreciate what you do.
One of the things I love most about your training is the stoic, quiet professional, blue collar way you and the lab rats go about your business. I love the photos. Things I notice as a professional: No shirtless poster boy show boats with cool, high socks or head bands with their Fran time plastered on it. When I came back into the fold this past time to your programming, it involved me parting ways with my old Crossfit gym on less than great terms. All over a damn double under. The conversation went something like this, coach: "You know you are really going to have to concentrate on some of the Crossfit skills like the Double Under if you ever want to graduate to being an elite level athlete." My reply to the walking advertisement of a coach covered in Crossfit merchandised flair, "I have never done a Double Under in a tactical situation, not once…….When is the last time you did a 10K offset with 100 LBS of gear on your back, with no sleep, and less than ideal food?" My point is this, I firmly believe you deliver on your advertisement of tailored operator sport specific training. And you do it in a humble, workman-like way. No flash, no flair, just ordinary guys training in extraordinary ways and doing extraordinary things.
Your ability to recognize the burden of constant fitness is much appreciated. You acknowledge that the guys using your training are usually working extremely hard on the other finer points of killing. I don’t have time to get 12 hours of sleep a night, eat strict paleo zone 100% of the time, or get 3 WODs in a day. There are weeks where this job in and of itself is PT and a break is needed. The key is peaking at the right time for the right events and your specific trainups allow guys to do that while maintaining their base using your operator sessions.
You and the lab rats’ humble honesty is much appreciated. You put yourselves out there, post your times, stats and numbers, and reflect on the pains and pleasures of training. For type A personalities, striving to beat the experts is always an incentive and you post the numbers for guys to gauge where they are and it serves as a means of shared hardship over digital means. We appreciate it.
Really loving the new endurance cycles. As a meat head ex football player, the gym has always been my first love. Endurance is something I needed to work on and you have made me do it. I am anxious to see how it will transition to the strength and work capacity efforts and anticipate it helping both while still improving endurance over the long term.
I’ve went too long already, thanks again Coach.
Thanks for the great note!
Me and the other lab rats are all older guys – Jordan, is the youngest, at 32. I’m 45, Cody is 40, James and Nathan – both 38. Jordan is a mutant – at 165# he can squat clean 245#, and knock out close to 30 strict pull ups. It’s possible he’ll finish our 6-mile re-test next week in under 36 minutes, and complete the 3-mile ruck in under 27 minutes. He is a Navy veteran, and after his 4 years on a sub, became a Cat 2 road bike racer while in college at Austin, Texas (no joke). I can still occasionally beat him on bench press though, which is all that really counts.
James was a super successful high school and college football player. He played safety, and won 4 state championships in High School, and another in college playing at the University of Montana. He’s a middle-school science teacher and head coach of the local high school football team.
Nathan was a sponsored skate boarder in his 20’s, and still tears it up. He’s a "hard gainer" in his upper body, but his legs are as strong as mine and none of us can run with him. Nathan is a small business owner in Jackson. He made our t-shirts for years.
Cody is a middle school PE teacher, an assistant coach for the football team and has won multiple state championships as the head coach for the local high school ski team. He also races dirt bikes.
I’m primarily a redneck athlete – hunting and fishing.
Glad our stuff has worked for you.
Crossfit is an incredible program and Greg Glassman is a genius. While it’s not perfect, we all owe Crossfit a huge debt of gratitude for changing the way we consider fitness and training – and for getting functional fitness gyms built on bases. As Crossfit grows in popularity the Games have increased in importance – and the general fitness element of Crossfit has suffered some as the focus has shifted to games performance.
I was wondering what program I should start out with. I am 15, 6’2, 160 lbs, and have wanted to be a navy SEAL since I was 12. I was thinking I should probably start with either the skinny guys one or the on ramp one. I don’t meet all of your strength standards and I don’t have all the equipment for the operator sessions. I have access to a power rack, about 1200 pounds of plates (no bumpers), pull-up bar, dips bars, ghd, lots of dumbells, and I can make sand bags and a plyo box. Thank you for taking the time to answer this.
Yes, the Skinny Guys plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=55&&cart_ID=35
I had been training with the guys at our local SF recruiting station until about 3-4 weeks ago. I had a grade 2 strain on both my gastrocnemius and soleus on my left calf. I’m slotted for selection at the end of October which I may have to push back due to the injury. Looking to find out which program would be best to go with once my leg is back at 100%… Thanks for your time and attention
Several have used our Ruck Based Selection Program successfully for SFAS: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=52&&cart_ID=45
Hello Rob, I hope this email finds you well. Not sure how much work you do with civilians but I am hoping you can make some suggestions. I have signed up for the Go Ruck Challenge. I am a 43 yr who has done 4 marathons and have the troubled knees to prove it. The two best sport medicine docs in town have said it is either surgery or I suck it up. Since I don’t want surgery I choose Go Ruck. I need a training program that will prepare me for the challenge while protecting my knees as much as possible. I can do squats but I definitely feel it during and after. Also, I don’t have access to a formal gym. I have a set of "dial" a weight dumb bells and I have made myself a 60lb sandbag. I really "enjoy" the turkish sandbag get-up and have been run/walking 3 miles in less than 30 min with a 30lb ruck. (My wife says I look like a gorilla when I run) I feel like I need a lot more work on upper body due to my history of running, and my core is also of concern. I know my legs need work but probably not as much as the rest of me.
Whatever suggestions/programs you can offer would be really appreciated.
We’ve build a sport-specific training plan for the Goruck Challenge: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=54&&cart_ID=68
The plan runs 5 days/week, and includes one day of gym-based strength training. You rest this day or make substitutions as possible given your equipment.
Knees – I’m not a doctor and can’t give you medical advice. I will say that the Goruck Challenge, like most military-inspired events, is "combat chassis" focused – i.e. legs, core lungs. Our plan includes squats, step ups, running, sprints, rucking, etc., accordingly. I’m not sure by what you men when you say "protect your knees" – this plan will work your legs, knees/core. It won’t "protect your knees."
You’re a grown man and I’ll leave it up to you if you want to pursue the plan and the event.
In general, rowing, swimming and biking are aerobic exercises which will unload your knees and may be alternatives for you.
If you have a chance I was wondering if I could ask you or a member of your staff a few brief questions. I am currently a senior at Dartmouth and heavily considering going through the Navy Special Warfare Selection process a few years down the line.
What do you think separates your program from other programs like SEALFIT?
How might you think about the BUD/S preparation process if you were a few years out?
How would you think about injury prevention? I have a herniated disk and a few shoulder dislocations to my name – I can pretty much get through rugby at this point although I know my shoulder stability is a bit lacking. Have been pretty consistent with mobilitywod.com to try and resolve that. BUD/S is a whole different ball game however- would love to know your thinking on this issue.
Finally – Do you have any Gym/Coach recommendations in the NYC or northwest Connecticut area? I would like to maximize my chances and spending time with a coach rather than training myself as I have in the past seems key.
I am on the rugby team at school, and am currently strength and power oriented, which I know will have to change once I start training specifically for BUD/S. Currently weigh 190, Bench 240, Squat 315, Deadlift 405, and clean 210.
SEALFIT – Mark attended one of my programming courses a few years ago and we are colleagues. My focus is on constantly learning and improving our programming, and I’m just not familiar with Mark’s work at SEALFIT to point out the differences between our work and his. Mark is a former SEAL, and SEALFIT is SEAL-BUD/s focused. His is stuff might be a better choice to prepare specifically for BUD/s.
BUD/S Preparation Process – I don’t think you should wait. If you want to be a SEAL, go right after college (or OCS after college, then right into BUD/s). If not, life will get in the way and you’ll have regrets.
Durability/Injury – I’m not a doctor and can’t diagnose your shoulder/injury issue. I would say in general, strength = 80% of durability. I’m not a huge believer in geeky mobility exercises, massages, yoga, meditation, smoking weed (medical marijuana), chiropractors, etc. Increase your relative strength (strength per bodyweight) and you’ll increase durability. Based on your bodyweight and lift numbers, you need more lower body strength and a lot more upper body strength. You want to be bench pressing and front squatting 1.5x your bodyweight.
Gym Recommendation? Sorry, No.
Couple of questions on the plans in subject
1) how many sessions per week does the running improvement plan involve? Those add up or substitute the normal operator sessions?
2) does the operator pentathlon plan include 2-a-days? In general, can you give a bit more detail on how the plan is structured?
Thanks a lot
1) 5 days. It can be done alone or in conduction with the Operator Sessions as a 2-a-day.
2) No scheduled two-a-days, but Friday’s are "brick efforts" – run/swim, run/ruck, swim/ruck, and many of the other sessions last longer than 60 minutes. Wednesdays are spent at the pool. The structure is similar to the current Operator Sessions endurance cycle.
I love your site and all of your programs. I am very excited for leathlete.com to roll out. I have had some friends interested in starting, but they are very out of shape and not sure where to begin. I have told them to look into either your bodyweight program or one of the Army Boot Camp programs to start. I also tell them to follow your nutrition advice as it has worked for me. Do you have any thoughts on where someone should start if they are just starting and very out of shape?
"Very out of shape" is a tough one. Likely best place to start is to have them take the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), and then complete the corresponding Army Basic Combat Training Plan (Boot Camp) we’ve built.
If they score lower than 100 points on the APFT, they should do the Army BCT Under 100 Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=60&&cart_ID=100.
If they score 100-199 points on the APFT, they should do the Army BCT 100-199 Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=60&&cart_ID=101
If they score 200+ on the plan, I’d probably recommend they jump up to our Bodyweight Training Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=56&&cart_ID=96
Rob, which of your programs is best suited to prepare me for this?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exercise_Cambrian_Patrol
After reading the event description I’d recommend the SFOD-D Training Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=52&&cart_ID=99
I’ve been using your plans over the past several years with great results.
I started with the Big Mountain program based on your recommendation which yielded significant, measurable gains across the board…strength, stamina, work capacity and endurance.
These were lasting gains which carried me through a challenging season of events ranging from mountain based endurance events to long, open ocean fin swims which I was able to transition to with zero prep. My legs, particularly my calves and feet, were solid.
Lately I’ve been using the Afghan Pre-deployment Training Plan to quickly condition myself for rucking once again. And once again your programing delivers.
Which brings me to a question. Do you still offer Mountain Athlete or Military Athlete coaching certifications and gym affiliations? I recall seeing that info on the sites a while back but I can’t seem to find it now.
If so, I am serious about pursuing instruction and certification in your programming methodology based on my personal experience. This pursuit would be a full time career not a weekend hobby.
I want to help others achieve their fitness goals and I want to do this via your programming methodology.
Thank you for your time and for your programs.
Thanks for the great note!
Right now all we offer are the programming courses. I’m sorry.
I’ve been using the Leg Injury Plan, and have been loving it. My injury is better and I’m ready to return to my normal training (which lately has been 5/3/1 with added running/rucking/swimming, depending on the season).
Would it be wise to stick a deload week/days between the last week of Leg Injury and starting off a new routine?
No L. I’d jump in, unless mentally you needed a break.
Would you recommend inputting strength training with your PST program? If so, how would you recommend it be done?
Generally no. Depends if you want to max your score on the PST. If you’re just doing it for training, you could lift heavy – sets of 8×3 or 6×4, leg-focused (squats, hinge, lunges), 2-3x week, in the morning, before the PST work.