I’m curious about a couple of things:

After a year and a half or so of trying other things, I’ve returned to Military Athlete. The first things I noticed that (I think) is different is the workout/rest day schedule. It was 5/2 before, right? I looked at a bunch of the old operator sessions, but might have missed it if the switch was explained. I’m wondering how this came about. Did you adopt the 4/3 setup because athletes were stalling or getting hurt? Or was it so there’s more latitude for guys to add in a run or ruck or something during the week?

I do sled pushes or pulls once or twice a week after reading up on Joe Defranco’s stuff, and I think it’s a great conditioning tool and figure it has pretty good carryover to the mil athlete domain. Have you played with sled/prowler stuff? I didn’t know if it wasn’t included because a sled can be an odd item for a gym or if it just didn’t fit with the programming.



– G

Our training schedule depends upon the cycle we’re in. Some are 5/2, others are 4/3. This is based on what I feel is appropriate recovery given the intensity of that cycle’s training sessions. Because we "lab rat" the sessions ourselves, I have a first hand idea of how the training is affecting athletes. For example, in general, we’ll go 5/2 for strength and work capacity cycles, with endurance on Fridays. But this can change if I think/feel the training is chewing us up more than normal. It’s important to remember you don’t get more fit from training. You get more fit from recovery after training. 

We sled push for conditioning every once in a while – in fact I’ve scheduled some sled push intervals for our next cycle. These are great conditioning, but not the answer to everything. Understand De Franco works with a lot of team sport athletes. Fitness demands for a football player is not the same as the fitness demands for a military athlete.

For military and other "industrial" athletes like firefighters, LE officers, mountain guides, I really like sandbag getups, ruck runs, and sprinting and step ups. 

Sled availability and space is an issue for lots of guys. This is something else I need to consider. It’s frustrating to guys when I prescribe an exercise which requires a specific piece of equipment many gyms don’t have. 

– Rob

I got introduced to your site a few weeks ago and have purchased your APFT plans as I am about to graduate from college and am trying to go into Army ROTC during Graduate School. I will be attending a 4 week Leadership Training Camp for incoming cadets this summer and want to be able to max the APFT by then but am not sure how I should focus my training until June.  

The past 2 months I’ve been running a lot with a few days of body weight exercises but I recently subscribed to your Operator Sessions which are great work outs.  My current APFT is:

PU: 48
SU: 60
2-Mile: 14:34

Score: 223

My question is should I continue to do the operator sessions, then switch to the APFT plan, or body weight plan sometime in the spring? Or should I combine the APFT plan with another fitness plan? I still want to improve my overall fitness levels but want to be able to max the APFT as well. Thanks for all you do with the site.


– B

To max the APFT you want to train sport-specifically for that test. That means our APFT Plan:

What I’d recommend is canceling your subscription to the Operator Sessions via paypal (visit our FAQ to see how) and purchasing and completing this 6-week plan now. 

Then re-subscribing and completing the Operator Sessions until 6-weeks out from your Leadership Training Camp. At that time, cx your Operator Sessions subscription, and re-complete the APFT plan. 

– Rob

Hey Rob,

I’m a Marine reservist who is pretty out of shape coming off of an injury that kept me mostly out of the game for five months.  For the last two months I’ve been doing Rippetoe’s Starting Strength and supplementing it with running, and I’ve been seeing some pretty fantastic results in my strength and cardiovascular conditioning.

I heard about your Operator Sessions from a friend and I’m intrigued, but I looked at the free workouts and I think they may be a bit beyond my current ability.  Is there a program you might recommend that would allow for me to improve my fitness to a level more on par with your Operator Sessions?

– W

I’d point you to our OnRamp Training Plan:

– Rob


I am serving in the Army right now serving in the infantry and I am on a profile from a bi-lateral hernia surgery. I was considering using your body weight program in the next two weeks when I am fully cleared to workout again. I was wondering would this program be to difficult for someone who has only been able to jog and use the elliptical for the last two months. I was cautioned by the Dr. to ease into working out.

I basically just need a program to get back into shape and were I was before the surgery. What program do you think will best serve me? I have your PT improvement and I love it, but I am going to need a more full body type of workout.

– J

Don’t be fooled by "Bodyweight" – this isn’t an "ease" into plan. It’s no joke, and includes leg blasters, sprinting, etc. I’m thinking it’s too intense for you. You may want to consider our Low Back Fitness Plan. Of what we offer, it would be a better fit:

– Rob

 I have been on profile for the past year +, what workout do you recommend to get back to fighting shape?


– V

OnRamp Training Plan:

– Rob

My girlfriend (who is an EMT), and I (Deputy) were interested in becoming members for your Operator Sessions but was curious does the membership get me a discount if I wanted to purchase some of your Training Plans?  For example I was considering moving over to a Police Department so I was looking at your Patrol Officer program, and she was interested in possible trying to become a TacMedic for the SWAT team so I suggested she might try your FBI HRT Try Outs Training Plan.  

– S

Sorry, No.

– Rob


First off thank you for taking the time to answer so many questions and provide training advice. I always like reading the questions and answers even if it doesn’t pertain to my goals and learn something new. I am 44 and have used your GRC training plan two times to prepare for challenges and worked great. I am recovering from a bad elbow injury and after doing PT and rehab I am working to get back into things and although I want to try the Operator Sessions  my elbow is just not ready yet. Even though I still cant do pullups was wondering if the body weight plan would be a good choice if I could substitute something for the pullups or if you had another suggestion. 


– D

The bodyweight plan also includes plenty of push ups/dips, etc. I’d rather have you do our Arm Injury Plan which works totally around your elbow:

– Rob

Hi Rob

I was just wondering do you have any advice on doing hypertrophy work and keeping body fat low? Diet has a lot to do with it I know, but in the past I’ve found it hard to keep the body fat gains low when increasing muscle mass. With increased calorie intake there is most likely going to be bodyfat gain but, from your experience, have you any tips on minimising this? i.e. diet, training intensity/frequency

I completed a German Volume Training cycle after a marathon in the past and added around 4kg of muscle mass, while losing just under 1% of body fat. The intensity was high so maybe that helped. Right now I’m lifting solidly and doing some work capacity and stamina. I would appreciate any tips on keeping bodyfat down during my next hypertrophy cycle in 2 months.

Also, your hypertrophy programme. Would it be possible to substitute certain exercises? i.e. walking lunges/front squats/step ups etc instead of back squats and Oly lifts(if there are any in it).

As always, thank you for taking the time to reply to these emails. Really looking forward to you launching LE Athlete!

Kindest Regards,
– I

Not a geeky nutrition guy. I’m sure you’ve seen our dietary guidelines. I can’t go much further than that. Sure on the exercise changes – but know the plan already has lunges and front squats. Step Ups aren’t a strength exercise under my programming theory. 

– Rob

My name is Nick Zwiesler and I have recently been told about this website and found a workout routine I would like to possibly try. I’m looking for a change in a workout and the patrol officer training plan has caught my eye. I like working out mostly in a normal  gym so is most of the weight lifting still going to be there or will it be more of a cross-fit type of a work out? If I could see a day or two of the start of the workout I would appreciate it, then I could decide whether or not this specific plan is for me. Thanks for your time. 

– N

This plan as four  primary objectives:
1) Increase upper body mass and strength.
We understand the deterrent value a big, strong chest and arms can be to bad guys and women who might want to mess with patrol officers. And if they do decide to try something, a strong upper body will help the officer take control. This training plan will to build upper body mass, and strength, including grip strength. 
2) Increase Core Strength.
This plan hammers your mid-section, especially your lower back. A strong mid-section will help you immensely in any scuffle or dangerous situation. It will also make you more durable and injury resistant. 
3) Sprinting strength, speed and stamina.
This plan builds lower and total body strength, then uses multiple sprint intervals to transfer that strength to sprinting speed and power. It’s unlikely a patrol officer will be running miles at a moderate pace during his or her duty day, but it’s very likely the officer could be called up to sprint, and sprint multiple times. 
4) Build short, intense, multi-modal work capacity.
Short intense events such as scuffles, sprint + tackle, etc. are a reality of a patrol officer’s fitness demands. This plan uses short, intense, multi-modal events to train work capacity and cardio/muscle power. 

First 2x Sessions:

Obj: Strength/Mass, Work Capacity

Warm up: 

5 Rounds
5x Push ups
5x Pull ups
10x Goblet Squats @ 16kg/35#
Lat + Pec Stretch


(1) 6 Rounds
8x Bench Press – increase load each round until 8x is hard, but doable
8x Chin ups (palm face face – do negatives if necessary to get all reps)
Instep Stretch

(2) 4 Rounds
10x Military Press – increase load each round until 10x is hard, but doable
8x 1-Arm Horizontal Row each side – increase load each round until 8x is hard, but doable
Pigeon Stretch

(3) 10 Rounds
30 Seconds 12m Shuttle (Sprint back and forth between two cones, 12m apart)
30 Second Rest

Try to get 10 lengths (5x round trips) each round

(4) 4 Rounds
15/15/15 Low Back Complex
15/15 Low Back Lunge
15/15 Kneeling Founder
15x Face Down Back Ext
15x Situps


Obj: Total Body Strength, Work Capacity

Warm up: 

4 Rounds
Barbell Complex (M-65#, W-45#)
Instep Stretch


(1) 6 Rounds
3x Power Clean + Push Press – increase load each round until 3x is hard, but doable
3/3/3 Toe Touch Complex

(2) 6 Rounds
5x Front Squat – increase load each round until 5x is hard, but doable, then immediately … 
3x Squat Jump
Hip Flexor Stretch

(3) 30-20-10 for Time
Swings (M-20kg/45#, W-12kg/25#)
Jumping Lunges (each jump counts as one rep)
Weighted Sit Ups @ 25# Plate

So first round is: 
30x Swings
30x Jumping Lunges (15x each leg)
30x Weighted Situps, 

2nd Round is: 
20x Swings
20x Jumping Lunges (10x each leg)
20x Weighted Situps

3rd Round is
10x Swings
10x Jumping Lunges (5x each leg)
10x Weighted Situps

– Rob

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