Thank you for putting together the "Ruck Based Selection Training" workout plan, my company commander had us follow it to train for the Fort Bliss Best Ranger Competition that took place on 22-24 October. In total four officers from my company trained for about six weeks (September – mid October) after returning from deployment in July.
I wanted to write saying thanks because I placed first in the competition and hope to travel to Fort Benning to compete in the 2014 Best Ranger Competition in April. I owe a large part of the victory to your train up plan, most notably the running and endurance component.
My two mile time decreased from 12:29 to 11:36 in six weeks.
Over a three month period (July to October), my VO2Max increased by 3% (from 55 to 57.1).
Thank you again for putting together the training plan.
I’m certain you receive plenty of emails regarding the success of your program. I am no different, although I have to share with you that Military Athlete has become more than a workout regime for me. It’s become a way of life that I have shared with my family, co-workers and close friends. It’s been with me through various PCS moves, deployments and now as an instructor. The program has lifted me through difficult times, challenged me when complacency was dominant, and prepared me for various races and my first Triathalon.
I’ve missed you, and your crew, at Fort Bragg twice. If ever I get the chance, I’d value the opportunity to simply shake your hand and express my gratitude face to face.
I just wanted to let you know I scored a 290 on my APFT! It was my best score ever–19 points over my previous high score–and not bad for a 43 year old.
Your APFT training plan was the key to my success. Thank you for your great training programs and the benefits they provide for our military members.
Hey Rob I’ve been looking at your website and I was thinking about starting your operator session. However, a buddy of mine said your stuff is great to get me ready for a “smokefest” but wouldn’t actually help me get stronger. I’m not a very strong guy( can barely bench body weight) and was hoping to increase my strength this winter. I was looking at some of your specific strength stuff but they seemed a little pricey. Can your operator sessions help me improve my strength?
You’re buddy is wrong. Strength is a huge component of the Operator Sessions, but not the only component. These training sessions are designed to address what I feel are the physical demands of a deployed military athlete – high relative strength, high work capacity, Stamina for long events and multiple events over a long day, endurance and durability.
These sessions are not designed to create body builders, competing power lifters or competing Olympic Weight Lifters.
Also – I feel our training plans are an exceptional value.
If strength is your main concern right now, I’d recommend the Rat 6 Strength Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=55&&cart_ID=84
Or subscribing to the Operator Sessions and starting at the most recent strength cycle.
Big delayed response on my end. Thanks for doing that Rob. Sorry to make the situation a bit complicated, I was in a bit of a jam that morning regarding time. Regardless, it’s all said and done.
You never let me down Rob, appreciate it.
Rather than sending a second one, I’ll just take advantage of this email. I have a few long questions for you. There is no rush here, I don’t need any sort of speedy reply.
1) Let me start by clearing the air and saying that I feel unimaginably fruity just for probing this. But given my age, available training time, and position, I think it’d be interesting to give the CF Regionals competition a go. I have plenty of training time, and given a perfect storm of a long train up and hard work, I think I’d fare well. I am not overestimating my abilities, I’ll be the first to say that I consistently score poorer than some of the lab rats in the Operator sessions. Though, my time under the barbell is much less; July, when I first signed up for the Operator sessions (started at the beginning of a stamina cycle), was the first time I had touched the barbell in roughly 4 years.
I understand there are other websites that are specifically set up for this style of training. But I understand your training paradigm, I know your coaching background, and appreciate the fact that the sessions are "training" and not randomness. I have looked at other websites and I cannot figure out their setup, it’s just semi-directional randomness. This really falls in line with the saying: "The devil you know". With the operator sessions, you can see a "plan" so to speak. For example, this work capacity cycle runs 15-25 minutes of work plus core/durability/rest. The week is cut up between short 3-5 minute bursts, 8-10 minute bouts, and 20-25 minute sessions. Split the week with a strength session and finish it with a endurance session. From what I’ve gathered, this is the basis for the current work capacity session. Every cycle for the past few years has always had some backbone to it.
I understand that you are busy with primary mountain clients, MA, and MTNA, however is there anything we could work out so that you could "coach" me up for this? If not, I was thinking about running the operator sessions and supplementing easy skill work (snatches, double unders, etc.). I’ll take any advice.
2) I have a client that needs to work on strength and I was putting together something that looked like a bastardized version of the Big 24. This wasn’t accidental, 3 weeks of your Big 24 did wonders and I like the concept behind it (at least what I pulled from it). I took the backbone behind the Big 24, combined some ideas from Westside and other powerhouses, and lengthened it. I was wondering how you felt about someone running a client through a program that is derived from one of yours. In no way do I want to be stepping outside any restrictions with your programming. If you’d like I could attach a skeleton setup of what I put together in an email. Let me know if I should scrap the idea completely or if there is no need.
3) I saw you posted a new date for the programming course. I was super stoked when I first saw that go up, until I looked at the price of airfare, car rental, and lodging. Have any past students given out tips on how to avoid spending upwards of $1,500?
4) Very basic two part question here. What are the differences between the Rat 6 program and the 357 program? For the Rat 6 program: outside of length, are there any differences between the January-February 2013 operator session and the PDF? I ask only because the "comments" on the OP sessions really help put things in perspective.
Super long barrage of questions Rob, sorry. Thank you in advance for the help.
1) I’m sorry, but no. I’m just jammed up, and honestly, because of the skill requirements to compete well at these games now, I’m not sure I’m the best coach for this. We’re actually decreasing our exercise menu and moving away from the more complicated Olympic Lifts and exotic exercises. Because our only concern is outside performance, this gives us focus, and allows us not to get caught up in gym-based exercises and numbers. We need exercises that transfer to outside performance.
As CrossFit has become it’s own sport, the skill required has increased also – especially with the Olympic Lifts, muscle ups, kipping/butterfly pull-ups, etc. I know first hand that form/skill is 50% of Oly lift numbers, and you need to work with a expert in that area to get there. Same goes for muscle ups, etc. If you’re serious, you should seek out an accomplished coach you can work with directly at your location, and go with him/her.
2) Good for you. No issue here.
3) Can’t help here. Having spent thousands of dollars myself to attend CrossFit, Athlete’s Performance, Gym-Jones, FMS, RKC and multiple other courses/seminars, I feel our programming course is an incredible value.
4) Both train strength, Rat 6 is more traditional design. 357 combines my basic strength session design with hormonal flush theories from CrossFit. The Rat 6 program is based on our lab rat experience in the Operator Sessions.
Im looking to purchase a workout plan. I am currently in the military. My biggest hobby is Tennis. Ive read through some of the workouts and am not sure which one would help to increase my fitness for the benefit of better tennis. The keys for me include: Speed, Agility, Endurance (stop and go type), Core strength, flexability, and injury prevention (tendonitis in the elbow being a big one as well as knees, which is a worry in any sport). If you have any suggestion for a workout plan or combination of two, please let me know. I am currently down range so i figured since I cant play, I can increase my abilities in other ways.
Thanks for your help and I look forward to hearing a response. I have done the mountain athlete basic strength when it was a monthly payment a couple years ago and have always liked the approach of preparing for which ever event you were participating in.
Not sure I can help much here. If you’re serious I’d recommend you seek out tennis-specific conditioning programs.
From our stuff, perhaps the potential fit would be the Bodyweight Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=56&&cart_ID=96
I was on Military Athlete’s website today and noticed you are no longer selling the GoRuck Selection training program. It that because you have replaced it with something else, are improving it, or do you not plan on publishing another one.
Based on the latest we’ve heard about the event, we’re recommending guys do the SFOD-D plan http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=52&&cart_ID=99. We updated our Goruck Plan just last week to include the new fitness test, but then found out the event has evolved to include more rucking than at first.
It seems GORUCK is moving the goal posts, and now their event seems to be a mini-Delta selection. Our SFOD-D plan includes focused PFT assessments and programming (push ups, sit-ups, pull ups) a times 6-mile Run, and a timed 10-mile heavy ruck, as well on ruck runs, IBA/Weightvest runs, and long weekend rucks. My sense is it’s just about perfect prep for the most recent iteration of this GORUCK event.
Right now I’ll send guys to this plan, until I get a sense GORUCK has finalized or standardized their Selection standards.
It’s been interesting to watch the evolution of all these obstacle-type events over the last couple years. It seems the bigger names – GORUCK, Tough Mudder, Spartan – are all working to keep upping the event difficulty within their individual race/event menu, as well as compete with the other organizers.
Next, if I would guess, is participants will be placed in the elements without cadre, and be left to get to the finish line on your own accord. I’ve heard of a couple shooting events which already use this format, though participants are given a radio and have medical support if needed.
Finally, participants will move on to the outdoors and design their own adventures self-guided/supported ski mountaineering trips, peak bagging trip, or backcountry bow hunting trips.
Right now I am currently in Afghanistan. I am wanting to go to selection when I get back and was turned to your page by an 18D here. My only real question is that i have a small and limited gym here and didnt know what all i could do to better myself here so that i can be as physically prepared as possible to join the ranks of the green beret. I also have kind-of a bum shoulder that im trying to rehabilitate and would like to know of any reccomendations that you could give if you have any.
Our Ruck-Based Selection Program (http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=52&&cart_ID=45) is what I recommend for SFAS. The plan is 8 weeks long, and designed to be completed directly prior to selection. It is also sport specific to the fitness demands you’ll face at selection, and thus doesn’t require extensive equipment:
The following equipment is required to complete this plan. Access to a full weight room is not required:
– Stop Watch with Repeating Countdown Timer – Timex Ironman is best.
– 40, 60 and 80# Sandbags – or one adjustible sandbag
– ALICE Pack or same ruck you will use at selection, 60# of filler,
– 10# Rubber Rifle (No rifle? Use a 10 lb sledge hammer or a 10# dumbbell)
– Pair of 25# Dumbbells
– Pull up Bar
Highly Recommended – GPS-enabled Stop Watch with repeating countdown timer (Garmin Forerunner 10 is recommended ) A GPS enabled watch will make measuring run and ruck distances much easier.
Bum shoulder – I’m not a doctor and can’t offer anything specific here. If it’s a rotator cuff issue, there’s a book you can get on amazon, called "Fix Your Own Rotator Cuff" I would recommend.
I just wanted to drop you a line and thank you for making the low back fitness program for those who have had a back injury. I have been dealing with lower back issues for about a year and nine months due to two herniated discs. I’ve had physical therapy and two cortisone shots and nothing seemed to help with tightness and mild discomfort. I bought the low back fitness program (currently going on week 7) and after the first week I experienced no discomfort and had no tightness or pain. I felt whole again, like I did before the injury and have enjoyed being active again. I have enjoyed the program and have nothing but admiration for your programs, website, and no fluff approach to training, focusing on hard work, discipline, and dedication. I do have a question however, I am currently in graduate school and going to school full time and working on my thesis. I am not currently training for anything specific due to schedule but have really enjoyed the low back fitness program. I am looking to continue to strengthen my core and lower back. I am also seeking to increase my upper as well as lower body strength. I am curious as to what my next step should be as I have two weeks before I complete the low back fitness program. Thanks again!
Next: I’d recommend the bodyweight training program: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=56&&cart_ID=96
Don’t be fooled by "bodyweight" – this plan is no joke and a great bridge to full on strength work. Plus, it’ll get you’re heart thumping!
What size/length/weight of chain do you guys use in your gym for box squats/bench press? Also, how & where do you attach them? Thanks!
Our chains are 5/8’s inch, I think – there were the biggest I could purchase at an industrial supply shop in SLC a few years ago. I bought 300 feet, and brought it back to Jackson, where I had a welder cut it into 5 foot, and 10 foot lengths. Our single chains, 5-feet – are around 15# each. Our double chains (doubled over at the middle – 10 feet long total) are around 25#.
We use a loop of cord to attached them to the barbell. You could use parachute cord also. Just make a loop and loop it around the barbell – they don’t slip. Also – we put the chains on before the plates.
The size/weight of the chain you buy doesn’t matter much – chains are used for "accommodating" resistance. As you get to the top of the lift – bench or squat, the physics make the lift easier. With chains, or bands, as you drop into the exercise – the chains pile on the floor, and the load looses weight. But, as you rise or lift back up, the chain comes off the ground, and makes the barbell heavier. As you rise up (from the squat for example) the chain comes off the ground, making the barbell heavier – and it helps counteract the physics effect of your joint.
Studies have shown that bands or chains lead to more rapid strength gains.
That’s the technical reason we use them. The real reason, though, is they look cool.
Hey Rob. Recently i purchased the Military Athlete Goruck Challenge and Goruck Selection training plans. These programs are masterfully put together but my timetable has changed. Possible employment as a Firefighter (just finished the last interview and although they have not told me that i have been selected for the academy, i need to be ready if they do) is just three months away and i need to become much more proficient at firefighter specific tasks such as stair climbs. Because i already have the challenge and selection plans and i like them both, i wanted to get your opinion on substituting stair climbing for rucking. There is a 6 story set of stairs set into a hill just two miles to where i live and i was thinking that i would do a full flight up for every mile the plans say to ruck. Thanks for your thoughts Rob, and again, the programs are phenomenal.
Make sure you understand the stair climbing demands for the firefighter test and follow on academy. I’m assuming you’ll be sprinting up the stairs, not making a steady climb. If so, you’ll want to train that way.
I would suggest attacking it two ways. One day, go ahead and do steady climbs, I’d suggest two laps for 1 mile of rucking.
The next day do sprints up the stairs …. start at 4 sprints, with the walk down as your rest. Work up to 16. (This is going to suck!)
Tool Fan like us? You’ve got to watch these kids crush 42&6. The young girl who sings is incredible! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYKLvYGqaC0