ABOVE: Sean hammers through….
First, thanks for dedication to fitness. I am in the Army and will be going to Civil Affairs Selection (10-day baby version of SFAS) on 19Feb (8 1/2 weeks from now). My fitness level is not good due to TDY and various other excuses, none of which count. Now, I finally have the time to train.
My stats : 38 y.o., 6'3" 210 lbs.
Assessment: pushups 55, situps 60, run 14:30, pullups 2 (I know how dreadful this is, but that's why I got the programs….to get better)
My needs: APFT, Upper Body Round Robin, endurance (run/ruck)
My question is that last night I just bought the Endurance Training Cycle, 4-week Run Improvement, and the Bodyweight Training Program. All three seem to fit my needs and can get me ready if used properly. How would you reccomend combining/stcking them? My thought is to start with the bodyweight program to get my joints back into it before doing the weights within the endurance plan. But, when/how would you implement the run improvement (or ruck improvement if I should get that one).
Thanks for any/all help Rob. It is truly appreciated!
I would have recommended the Ruck-Based Selection Plan:
But given what you've got, I'd recommend you start with the the Bodyweight Plan in the morning, and Run Improvement in the PM.
Then, the upperbody/core stuff in the bodyweight plan in the AM, and the Endurance Plan in the evenings as you work into selection.
Plan on being sore as hell the first 3 weeks or so….
Hope all is well Rob,
I have another barrage of questions for you. It seems the more I read about training, the less I know. You are honestly a huge help.
1) I've noticed that the Military Athlete sessions don't include as much plyo work as Mountain Athlete. What's your reasoning behind this?
2) Any recommended readings? Any recommended seminars? Any other recommendations for the wannabee S&C coach?
3) How do you come up with your circuits, is it simply experience and knowing what works? For example, how do you know what to pair together and what the work:rest ratio will be? A lot of times, I’ll put together a few movements that seem like they’ll pair together nicely and I’ll run a round of it but shorter and/or lighter. From that, I would make adjustments to improve the circuit. A lot of that is guess and check.
4) For your RAT 6 program, how did you come up with the rep/percentage scheme? It looks similar to Wendler’s work but has substantial differences. Also the program seems to push just outside Prilepin’s chart (I have yet to find the original source of this and my knowledge comes from the internet, mainly EliteFTS) and falls right around Poliquin’s Principle chart for relative strength increase.
5) I'm still hoping to attend the programming course. I was wondering what differences there are between the Military Athlete course and the Mountain Athlete course.
6) I just got done with a modified RAT 6 program. The original program had 6 exercises that were worked on and improved. I took the same reps and percentages and stripped out a few exercises and added a couple ones that I felt were essential. The lifts included back squat, hang squat clean, strict press, close grip bench press, deadlift, romanian deadlift, Pendlay rows, and jumping lunges. Each day included two lifts, a short (sub 5 minute) conditioning circuit, and a core circuit. The only lift that didn't use the rep/set scheme was the Romanian deadlifts; low reps didn't feel right on these so I bumped it up to 3 sets of 10-12 at a heavy load. The two major lifts, squat and press, were done twice a week. I just finished up a run on it and saw decent improvements, and plan on having a couple clients run it after next week. It'd be nice if I could tap into a larger athlete pool. I understand I may be out line in asking this considering my experience and position, but for the next strength cycle would it be at all possible to run the modified program? Each session last roughly 75-90 minutes but that is with long rest periods and I believe the conditioning/core circuits may be a little much.
I appreciate all the replies Coach.
1. Not sure I agree with you. However, we have found that plyos for guys 30+ years old are super high impact, and have cut back from the early years.
2. Recommended Books
Pat O’Shea, “Quantum Strength & Fitness”
Robert dos Remedios, “Power Training”
Eric Cressey, “Maximum Strength”
“The Ultimate Offseason Training Manual”
Rippetoe and Kilgore, “Practical Programing for Strength Training”
Joe Kenn, “The Coach’s Strength Training Playbook”
Mike Boyle, “Advances in Functional Training”
“Designing Strength Training Programs & Facilities) (E-Book)
Mark Vertegen, “Core Performance”
Gray Cook – “Functional Movement”
Vern Gambetta, "Athletic Development: Art and Science of Functional Sports Conditioning"
Zatsiorski and Kraemer, “Science and Practice of Strength Training”
LTC Grossman, “On Killing,” “On Combat”
Greg Shepard, “Bigger Faster Stronger”
Certs/Courses: CSCS from the NSCA, our programming course
3) Way too broad of a question for an email or phone call. I'd recommend you attend our Advance Programming Course.
4) Here's the general way programming works: First – you copy what other guys do. Second, you start combining what other guys do into the same session. Third – You start modifying stuff based on your experience. This is where I am now and is reflected in the Rat 6 set/rep scheme.
5) Most of the difference is in the details of sport-specific design. A training plan for a military selection differs substantially from a training program for an Ice Climbing season.
6) Not sure what you're asking here – but I haven't decided on the design for our next strength cycle. Likely it will be something new and different.
I found your Military Athlete site online while doing some research. I am trying return to some level of moderate to high performance. I worked as a contractor in Iraq and had to quit to come home and have a hip replacement at 28 (previous injury). I went from two-a-day gym sessions, lots of movement in armor, and a decent diet to sitting at home eating junk and going to doctors appointments. 6'0"/230lbs to 285lbs in about a year.
I found the nutrition video you posted and have started on that. Now I am looking to get back to exercise. Any thoughts on a program to prep me for the operator or Mountain Athlete sessions?
Our Onramp Plan is a good place to start: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=56&cart_ID=87
Hey Rob, I did you free session and through the suck I realized I had to start following your programming. I signed up for membership and have been doing your operator sessions. Just wanted to pick your brain and seek some advice. I started crossfitting about a year ago before I enlisted and got back into working out now that im in my unit and have actual time. My main thing is I do enjoy your workouts and programming but could I expect to gain size from following them I weigh about 160 currently I'd like to be at 185 some day with good strength(better lift #s) as well as endurance and my cardio. Would you say follow the operator sessions and just eat more?
Thanks again for what you do your programming is amazing.
The Operator Sessions aren't specifically designed to add body mass. I have built a plan for this: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=56&cart_ID=35
Follow the steps below to go to paypal and cancel your subscription to the Operator Sessions:
1. Log in to your PayPal account.
2. Click the My Account tab.
3. Click the History subtab.
4. Click More filters, select Subscriptions and agreements, and then click Subscriptions.
5. Change the date back to the year the subscription was created, and then click Show.
6. Click Details next to the subscription.
7. Click Cancel Subscription.
I plan on leaving for the 6-week Marine PLC during this coming summer to start my path towards becoming a marine officer. Just FYI, I'm 5'11", 160 lbs, and 16% body fat. I want to get into the absolute best possible shape to prepare myself, because I don't want to be in the slowest half of the pack. I need a strict routine to follow, got one for me?
Any advice helps
Start with the Rat 6 Strength Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=55&cart_ID=84
Then subscribe to and follow the Operator Sessions.
Six weeks out, cancel your subscription to the Operator Sessions and do the USMC PFT Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=51&cart_ID=31
I'm a huge fan of your site. I've been following and doing the Operator Sessions since 2009. I've recently taken over my unit's PT program and have begun incorporating some of your programming principles for our HQ staff personnel. It's a lot of fun for me and the team.
My reason for contacting you today was to get your opinion on the benefits of mobility training, like that popularized by Dr. Kelly Starrett and his mobilitywod site. Do you think there is worthwhile benefit in adding that to training, in addition to the MA Operator Sessions? It seems like your program already does some of those "mobilizations" and movement patterning exercises with things like the Instep stretch following lifts, Squat to Stands and use of the foam roller and peanut.
Bottom line: do you think it is worth the training time to focus on mobility?
Thanks and Merry Christmas,
Mobility for mobility's sake is a dead end. The bigger goal is "durability." Here is my equation for durability: Durability = 80% Strength + 10% Functional Movement + 10% Mobility
We've deeply explored and experimented with the theories of Starrett many others, but so far, nothing has pushed me from this equation.
So yes, I believe these have value – but aren't an end all.
I'm trying to determine which of the MA programs would be best for me. What would you recommend for someone who is considering joining the military/law enforcement in the future and who just wants to get in overall phenomenal shape? My relative strength is alright with weights but I have poor cardio and muscular endurance. If I was planning to join the army, the training would probably be 6-8 months out.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I'd recommend starting with our Bodyweight Training Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=56&&cart_ID=96
It's a great intro to our programming and is plenty intense.
Hey Rob, just noticed this morning that my right shoulder is about a half inch lower than my left. I have noticed for about a year that it takes a bit longer for my right shoulder to engage when doing pullups. During the operator session for today my left arm was definitely stronger during the push presses. Do you have any advice on identifying the underlying issue/strengthening the right shoulder? Thanks for your time.
No idea. You're over my head here. It could be a nerve issue – which causes atrophy/weakness. Please see a doctor.
My goal is to complete a GORUCK Heavy. My obstacle is a long history of back strains. No disc herniation, no surgery, but 20+ years of strains. I've lost 30lbs (about 10 more to go) and completed a GR Light, but have trouble going up in ruck weight. I've pulled my back every time I tried even small increments. I recently got the all clear from my orthopedist to continue training carefully and am thinking of starting with your lower back fitness training plan. My issue, however, is that I suffer from both lower and upper back weakness. Could you suggest exercises to add to strengthen my upper back?
Our Low Back Training Plan would be the place to start: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=57&&cart_ID=55
Also – I would continue to cautiously, but progressively increase your ruck weight. Keep the distance the same – say 5 miles, and add a 5# every 2-3 weeks.
I just started your guys Operator Sessions and love the programming. I'm a former crossfitter and I love the higher emphasis on strength in your programs. I am potentially going to the Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor course and I was wondering which sport specific program would be the best for preparing. Other than the entry PFT and CFT, I do not have any knowledge of what it will entail other than its pretty demanding. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
I'd recommend you go back in the archives and complete one of our Work Capacity cycles in the 3 weeks directly before your course. I'd also recommend you be grappling or training combatives 3-4x/week prior.
I'm currently in the last year and a half of my study and i am heavily considering a career in the military after that (Dutch Korps Mariniers). I basically have the year and a half to kick myself into shape.
The first PST consists of:
12 minute run: at least 2700 meters
push-ups: at least 30
pull-ups: at least 4
sit-ups: at least 30
cycling with continuously increasing weight: at least 12 minutes
The POST (Practical Officer Selection Test) consists of:
– Rope Climbing
– Exercises with logs, ammunition chests and other military material
– 50 meter breast stroke
– 50 meter front crawl
– 15 meter underwater swim
– 25 meter rifle overhead swim
– rescue dive and 25 meter rescue swim
– 20 meter abseiling
– Zip Lining
– 2 hour cross country run
– obstacle course
Military athlete looks like the ideal tool to get myself into the best condition possible for a military function, and i am really interested in knowing which of your program(s) you would recommend for this. I'm looking forward to a response.
A great place to start your journey is our Bodyweight Training Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=56&&cart_ID=96
I recently (and successfully) trained your 'ruck-based selection' 8-week workout. Thank you. I am currently in the SF Q-course.
I was looking on your website for a workout program I remembered from months ago: something about being stuck in a hotel room with no equipment. I was hoping that workout was still available…has it been renamed perhaps? Thanks again.
I replaced it with our Bodyweight Training Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=56&&cart_ID=96
Coach, first off your site and philosophy of training is awesome. I have done several of your plans and have seen great improvements. I recently bought your GORUCK Selection plan before you took it down. I plan on doing a GORUCK Heavy and was going to follow the Selection plan. Do you think I need to make any modifications?
Thanks for everything you do.
I recommend the SFOD-D Training Plan to prepare for GORCUK Selection: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=52&&cart_ID=99
I hope to start that programming mid-Jan. I'm currently down in El Paso testing the programming approach on several Border Control Agents and BORSTAR/BORTAC guys.
A good place to start, regardless, would be the Patrol Officer Training Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=58&&cart_ID=64
Thinking about some buying some of the specific programs but wanted to check on the le athlete status before I buy a program.
Thanks for the quick response, brother. There's one question that I and a lot of my buddies from selection have as we get ready for ITC: Would you recommend the ruck-improvement program over the A&S prep workout?
For a little background: My last operator ugly was a 213 at 5'11 and BW of 210 so I'm sitting pretty well on the strength portion of the combine. My PFT 3 mile will vary from 17:09-18:30 depending on how much I train it.
Right now I'm looking to combine ruck-improvement with swimming-improvement (my 500m is only 9:05, and I sink like a stone, so I can really improve there). With that, I would throw on some strength stuff/steak-face workouts at my local crossfit gym as I'm also looking to make regionals this year before I report to ITC in August.
My one question before I buy the ruck improvement program would be, does it have any dedicated work on running unloaded? I can usually make 10:00 pace under a ruck up to 12 miles even if I'm not training a ton for it, but making the 5mi run under 30 will be a challenge.
Sorry for the lengthy e-mail and thanks again. Any input you have is greatly appreciated. Take care.
Both the Ruck Plan and the Marsoc A&S plan include rucking, PFT work and unloaded running work (short and mid-distance). The Ruck Plan includes a weekly long ruck. The A&S Plan includes swimming work.
Combining all this with crossfit stuff? One or the other will suffer. Either focus on CrossFit in the short term and forget ITC Prep until after the comp, or understand your non-crossfit rucking/swimming work will hurt your crossfit comp.
I'd recommend focusing on CrossFit – taking it as far as you can, then this spring completing the MARSOC A&S Plan before ITC in August.
I just recently purchased your SFOD selection program. Right now I am
planning on going next fall, but I was wondering what you think. I was
considering doing the 10 week program right now starting next week or
the 1st of Jan and then taking a few months off and just doing some
things to maintain my fitness level and when June/July rolls around to
do the program again. Reason being, I just got back from an Afghan
rotation and I feel I need to start getting some rucking/running in.
As you know, in order to be successful there I will need in great ruck
shape. Obviously I want to make sure I am not overtraining though. I
have even considered laying off the long rucks on the weekends and
just doing some orienteering with a light pack for the first time I go
through the program. Hope to hear back from you.
You're jonesing to go now so I'd recommend you go ahead and start the plan. It includes assessments and progressions based upon your assessment results, as well as progressive long rucks. It will give you a good idea of where you're at, and start getting your head right for next fall.
Even if you do the program now, you'll want to repeat it directly before selection.
I was just following your Big 24 Strength plan and I have to thank you. I was skeptical at first but I now realize I was wrong to doubt you. I had a quick question for you. I am going on a semester abroad next month and 4 days later I will be going to the Army Reconnaissance Course. I plan to prepare while out of country and thought to follow your ruck based selection plan. However, I don’t foresee myself having access to a sandbag or a ruck pack while abroad. Do you know of any alternatives I can use?
None. Be resourceful.