Hey Coach,

I just recently graduated the sfqc am preparing for combat diver.  Just wanted to say thanks for your programming.  Your training sessions helped me to excel in all of the physical events and helped tremendously with the field problems.  I spread the word about military athlete as often as I can.  Thanks again.

– J

I have been using your Operator Sessions for close to a year now and they have done wonders for my overall fitness. Recently my father (47 Y.O.) has started to exercise and lose some of his excess weight (from 260 to 215 at 6’1”). He’s starting to get a bored of the Insanity work out that he repeats through, and I was curious about getting him the OnRamp program. My concerns are that he hurt his back about 8 years ago and while he complains a lot less now that he has lost some weight, I worry that the intensity may irritate it. Does the OnRamp program sound like a good idea for him to use, or would you recommend some other course of action? My hopes are that he can eventually start the Operator Sessions to keep things from getting too monotonous for him.
Thank you for your time and all that you do for us.
Very Respectfully,


OnRamp might be a good place for him to start. Another might be the Ultimate Meathead Cycle:

I’ve found that for most guys my age (I’m 45) – noting gets our juices going to train like bunches of bench presses and other awesome upper body mass building work (I think this is called vanity!) 

UMC also includes leg, core and some work capacity stuff – so it’s a great overall plan. 

– Rob

I was looking at your swim improvement plan because, well, I suck at swimming. I did have a couple of quick questions about it before I started though.
Is it based off CSS or Freestyle, or is that up to the user?
If its based off one, is it possible to include the other at all, just to maintain proficiency?
I’m occasionally thrown into pool PT sessions with a Recon GySgt who has us do a lot of aquatic confidence stuff (treading in MARPATs, treading with bricks, underwaters, bottom walks with bricks etc.) Is there any room to throw aquatic confidence stuff? 

Thank you for your time.

Very Respectfully,

1) Stroke choice is up to the swimmer – we assume most will use the CSS

2) Yes – you could assess both or work them in. But I would focus on the one used for your school/selection.

3) Yes – esp. on Wednesdays. Plan is a 5 day/week plan. Here’s the link:

– Rob


I’m and Army ROTC cadet at Georgia Southern University. My goal one day is to go to Ranger school and make it SF so I can work my way up to the CIA. I consider myself to be a very physically fit person and I’m always looking for ways to improve my fitness and strength to gain and edge on my peers. So I was wondering which program would you recommend that I try? I thank you again for your time. 

– K

A couple programs will give you a good taste of our programming. First is the Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training Program:

Second is our Bodyweight Training Plan:

Both are no joke. Enjoy! 

– Rob

I’ve been just a normal lifter for the longest time and a friend of mine in my unit showed me a leg workout and did it with me and it was a slay fest , for someone who is still wanting to put on size what would you recommend me doing as far as your site and programs ?

– M

Start with the Ultimate Meathead Cycle:

– Rob

I’m currently training my body so that I may go to the  MARSOC Indoc , I know I need to get faster at running , rucking and basically be better at crossfit then I already am . Anyways I saw your website and I was wondering if the programs would help me get ready for the Indoc . Thank you for your time

I’ve built a plan specifically for MARSOC A&S:

– Rob

Hey Rob. What’s the difference between the hypertrophy plan and the ultimate meathead cycle? Which one is tougher? And would you suggest your nutrition recommendations for these plans or would you suggest adding more of the "other" foods to gain weight.
Lastly, I’ve noticed that you have created a plan for wildland firefighters. Do you have any plans to create one for urban firefighters?
Thanks again.

– D

The Hypertrophy Plan ( deploys mass-building set/rep schemes for upper and lower body. The Ultimate Meathead Cycle ( uses strength-building volume for the legs, and mass-building volume for the upper body. Which one is harder? They are both hard, but the Hypertophy Program, will make you sore for 3 weeks. 

Urban Firefighter Plan – yes, in the works. 

– Rob

Any workouts specifically geared towards a preseason (and in season) rugby player? Ideally, I need to focus on core durability, leg strength and work capacity. Thanks.


I’d recommend the first 6 weeks of Military Athlete for Crossfitters:

– Rob

Rob, I am looking to do the GoRuck challenge this summer with a goal to go to GoRuck selection in Oct. Regarding the training material what is your suggestion regarding the programs and training starting now through next October? I see there are different programs based on the different courses. Thanks

– T

Operator Sessions until 6 weeks out from your GoRuck Challenge. Then cx your subscription to the Operator Sessions and complete our GoRuck Challenge Training Plan:

After the Challenge, drop back into the Operator Sessions, until 8 weeks out. Then cx your subscription and complete the SFOD-D Plan prior to the GoRuck Selection:

– Rob

I just wanted to take a quick minute and thank you for your programming.  I just recently graduated Ranger school.  I used your Ranger school prep program and let me say it is spot on.  I don’t feel like there is anything else out there that could prepare you as well as this program.  While going through the program I wondered if I was doing enough or too much but once I got to school I saw that you definitely studied what would physically prepare you to complete the course.  I will say that most beneficial aspect of your program is the sandbag getups.  When you are humping a 100# plus ruck you need that core and lower back strength, not to mention the only want to successfully get that heavy of a pack on is to start from the seated position and get up.  I don’t know how many times I did that movement while in school but all the getups in the program sure helped.  Once my body began to fully break down I knew that I still had a little more to give because physically I was as prepared as I could be.  Again thank you so much and I look forward to getting back into shape.  Which brings me to my question, which of your programs would you suggest to get back into it?  I didn’t lose as much muscle as I thought I would; however, I am just physically weak with minor joint pains that come naturally with completing a school like this.  I went to the gym the other day and was humbled at how broken down my body is.  I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you might have at a measured approach to get my fitness levels back up to where they were pre-Ranger school.

Thanks again for all that you do.

– J

Thanks for the great note and Congrats!! 

First – take two weeks off total rest, for sure. Second – when you do start to train again, pay attention to your attitude as much as your body. If you get to the gym, and just don’t want to be there, listen, and give it another day. 

Getting back – a low volume strength-focused plan would be best. Low volume would save your joints, and a strength focus would build back up what’s most important. From our programming, Rat 6 (  would be a great plan to start with. Or, join the Operator Sessions and start with the most recent strength cycle. 

Starting out, you may want to train just 3 days/week – follow the sessions in order, but I think your body would appreciate the extra rest.

– Rob

I came across your site and would like to try it out. My question is, is it possible for someone like me who lives in Los Angeles? I don’t see any Military athlete gyms here so would that mean that I would have to buy all the equipment? Or is your membership just limited to people in your area?


– P

We have guys around the world follow our programming remotely. Some have their own garage gyms, but most train in a base or commercial gym. You’ll need a functional fitness – equipped gym to complete the programming. 

A great place to start, and good a good taste of our programming approach, which doesn’t require equipment, is our Bodyweight Training Plan:

– Rob

What does the Ruck based selection multi modal work look like or consist of?   Thanks.

– R

Example below from the Program: 

Obj: Work Capacity/Core

Warm up:
3 Rounds 
3x 4-Square Drill
8x Squats
8x Push-Ups
8x Sit-Ups
Instep Stretch


(1) 8 Rounds for Time
5x Renegade Man Makers @ 25# Dumbbells
10x Sandbag Back Squats @ 60#
15x Situps
Run 200m with Sandbag

Compare finish time to Session 4

(2) 4 Rounds
5x 1-Arm Weighted Situps @ 25# Dumbbell
10x EO’s
60 Second Sandbag Hold @ 60# Sandbag
30 Sec Superman Hold

(3) 2 Rounds
20 Second Jane Fonda
10x Hamstring Hell
Foam Roll Legs/Low Back

– Rob


I am currently in a commissioning program to become and Officer in the Army at West Point and, after running a marathon at the end of October, I have taken some time to reflect on and assess my workout strategy and fitness level.  I have come to the realization that, while I have been working out consistently since my start at West Point two years ago (began June 2011), I have not followed a true plan with a set goal in mind since I swam competitively in High School (ended February 2011).  I can complete events such as ruck marches, GoRuck Challenges, and Tough Mudders without any problem but I am by no means anywhere near the fitness level I would like to be in, or need to be in for the profession I have chosen and I am now determined to change that. 

With all this in mind I have set out with the goal of refocusing my fitness around the central goal of being in the best overall, functional, military focused shape I can be in.  I want to take a holistic approach and in doing so there are 6 main areas I want to focus on:  Cardio (running (both endurance/distance and sprint), rucking, swimming), Obstetrical Courses (West Point IOCT), Fitness Tests (APFT, Operator Ugly), Body Weight Strength (including but not limited to pushups, pullups, situps, dips), Weight Lifting Strength (including but not limited to squat, bench, dead lift), and Mobility/Flexibility. 

I have spent the past week researching and studying various plans and programs trying to find a good place to start from the bottom and work my way up.  In my research, I came across the Operator Ugly test that you have on the site, and while I want to try it and use it as a benchmark for my progress, I know that I am in no shape to perform as well as I would like on this. 

I am writing to ask your advice and see if you feel starting with the On Ramp Training Plan and then moving into a set program (options I have looked at are the 5/3/1 program (attached), the Horsemen program (attached), or the Operator Sessions you provide on your site) would be a good way to organize my workouts and get to the point where I can perform well on the Operator Ugly, APFT (above 300), IOCT (see video above), and have a high level of functional fitness all while improving strength in the Gym as well as maintaining my running ability.

I am 21 Years Old Male
72 Inches, 170lbs
My marathon time was a 3:49 (8:36 pace; this was the day after the 10 mile ruck below)
My latest ruck march was 10 miles, 50lbs in 2 hours, 25 minutes (14:30 pace).  The route included some pretty steep incline and a decent amount of downhill.
My last APFT was a 279 (During this APFT I was recovering from IT band issues from my marathon training resulting in a slower run than I wanted)
Situps (historically my weakest part):70
Strict Pullups:7
IOCT Time (Standards Attached): 2:55

I recognize that I am both setting a big goal in taking this holistic approach and asking a lot in this email and if you do not feel you can answer all of this, I completely understand.  Thank you for any advice you can give and I hope you have a good weekend.

– K

The idea that you can do everything well all the time is wishful thinking and certainly isn’t something I promise as a strength and conditioning program for Military Athletes. Our approach is to continually build a high level of military-specific Base Fitness, on top of which we deploy sport-specific training programs for specific fitness tests, schools, selections, deployments and other events.

The Operator Sessions are our Base Fitness training program, and in my opinion, should be the default day-to-day training program for most athletes. Guys will drop into and out of the Operator Sessions as they tailor their training to upcoming demands.

For example, before taking the APFT, I recommend guys drop out and train specifically for the APFT – either using our program or another. After the test, drop back into the Operator Sessions.

For SFAS, I recommend guys drop out of the Operator Sessions and train sport-specifically for that selection, using our Ruck-Based Selection Plan or a similar program. After selection, drop back into the Operator Sessions.

Some athletes come to our programming with different areas that need initial work. At 6 foot, and 170#, I believe you need to add some muscle and strength. I’d like to see you at 185-195#.

Additional strength and power would help balance your endurance background. You’ll get more powerful, faster, and a lot more durable.

Specifically, I’d recommend you do a Hypertrophy Cycle (mass building) first, then follow it up with a dedicated strength plan supplemented with rucking. You could start with our Program for Skinny Guys:

5/3/1 is a popular strength training plan which you could roll into after putting on some mass. If you chose to do one of our plans, I’d recommend the Rat 6 Strength Plan:

Whatever strength plan you chose, I’d recommend you do some supplemental rucking and ruck running. You can lift in the morning or mid-day, and Ruck in the evening using our Ruck Improvement Plan:

After strength and rucking, you could drop into the Operator Sessions and start at the most recent Work Capacity Cycle, or do a sport-specific plan to prepare you for your summer assignment.

– Rob

I am interested in your programs but both of my forearms are a little messed up.  I have been working around this for years and learned that I have a hard time doing anything from the rack position.  I also have a hard time with rope climbs.  Climbing up is no problem but coming back down hurts.  Swimming is also terrible on my forearms.  I need to build up to an 18 mile ruck march with an unknown weight and time hack.  I have no other specific goals, just to be in overall great shape.  Basically I am looking for a program that doesn’t include many workouts that involve the rack position and if they do, what can I substitute? 

Thank you for your advice,

– C

The plan we built for GoRuck Heavy seems about perfect for your needs:

Plan includes pull ups – you can pull up and drop off the bar if needed to protect you elbows. I’d also recommend you try the Ultimate Elbow Stretch:

It might help. 

– Rob

I was wonderign if I could get a trial sample or more information about your squad pt program.  Any help would be appreciated.
– B

Squad PT is a programming theory I developed specifically for guys in austere locations or others who have limited access to a weightroom and barbells, bumpers and other equipment. It uses sandbags, dumbbells, rings, IBA/weight vests, bodyweight, etc. as equipment, but still provides world class strength and conditioning, and it deploys my Fluid Periodization – with strength, work capacity, stamina cycles, etc. 

I’ve had guys downrange use this programming, as well as squads, platoons and companies garrisoned here in the states, but simply without good access to a gym. For example, a squat at Fort Richardson which has to PT at 6am, but all the gyms are on base are so crowded at that time, they needed and alternative. 

We sell a Squad PT Training Plan:

as well as have archived Squad PT training sessions on the website. We don’t update the sessions on the website any longer – a subscription will give you access to the archives. 

Below are the first 2 sessions from the training plan we sell at the website store: 

– Rob

Obj: Strength

Warm up: 5 Rounds
3x Pull ups
7x Push ups
10x Sandbag Back Squats @ 60#/40#
Instep Stretch


1. 6 Rounds
4x Sandbag Burpees (increase weight each round until 4x is hard but doable), then immediately
2x Broad Jumps
30 Sec Y+L unloaded

1. 6 Rounds
5x Sandbag Lunges each shoulder (10 total steps, increasing weight each round until 5x is hard but doable), then immediately…
2x Jumping Lunges each leg
3x Floor Slide

1. 6 Rounds
8x Horizontal Ring Row (increase weight if possible using body armor), then immediately…
3x Clapping Push ups
3rd World Squat Stretch

Obj: Work Capacity

Warm up: 4 Rounds
5x Burpees
Run 200m
HUG Hip Mobility


1. 10 Rounds, Every 60 Seconds:
100m Sprint in Body Armor

1. 5 Rounds for time:
3x Sandbag Get ups each side @ 80#/60#
3x Sandbag Burpees @ 80#/60#
30x Step ups

1. 4 Rounds
10x Weighted Sit ups (hold body armor overhead)
45 Sec Elevated Front Bridge
10x EO’s each way
15x Face Down Back Extensions

1. 2 Rounds
30 sec Jane Fonda
30 sec Y+L unloaded
3x Shoulder Sweep


I am a senior at the United States Naval Academy. I have recently been doing the Rat 6 Strength program and have been making great gains. I am going to be a Naval EOD officer when I graduate and have Dive School in a few months. I was wondering if I should go to another strength plan after I complete Rat 6 or start doing the Operator Sessions? My goal is to get as strong as possible before Dive School so I do not lose much strength while just doing body weight type stuff in training? Also, I was wondering what a sample workout from your Swim plan was like? I currently swim on my own but mostly just try and ask around for workouts or remember ones we did in high school. I do not have a set plan. Thank you for your time.

Very respectfully,

– T

Keep you’re eye on the ball. Worry about your Dive School performance/graduation before your loss of strength. Going in, you want to focus your training on what your expectations are about the day-to-day fitness demands of school. The strength training we do helps lay a base of fitness, and adds quite a bit of durability – but it’s not an answer for everything and likely won’t carry you through sport specific events. You don’t want to risk it. 

The closer to school, the more "sport specific" you want to get with your training and preparation. I’m assuming this is mostly swimming, but I’m not sure about the fitness demands of EOD school. I’m assuming you’ll be doing plenty of outside the pool PT – and you want to train this also. It’s one thing to lift heavy for an hour and swim, and quite another to do a long ruck, long run, bunches of burpees and other bodyweight exercises, and then swim. I’m thinking you’ll want to get sport specific 8 weeks out. 

Our Swim Improvement Program uses a baseline swim assessment of the stroke you’ll likely use at your event (combat sidestroke for most), and then follow-on intervals, drills, underwaters and distance work to improve your assessment performance. It’s designed to complement the Operator Sessions, or one of our strength plans. You lift in the AM, swim in the PM. 

In terms of your sport specific work, one of our plans might work – the BUD/s Plan includes lots of swimming, running, bodyweight work,etc.:

Our CCT/PJ/CRO plan is one of the most intense we’ve ever built – and not only includes swimming, but also heavy rucking, etc:

– Good Luck! 

– Rob

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