Just wanted you to know I graduated from Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course today and I couldn't have done it without your program. Back when I was in the The Basic School's Basic Officer Course I noticed I was always exhausted in the field and knew I needed to prepare myself better for training that would be much more rigorous than what I was experiencing at the BOC. After FEX III I began doing Military Athlete Operator Sessions. The very next FEX, two weeks later (MOUT), I noticed an immediate difference in my field performance. Buddy rushing several hundred meters at R11 with a SAW all of a sudden was a breeze, where at FEX III I couldn't carry it during a movement to contact without being miserable. I continued to notice an improvement in performance during "The War". After that I had a two month long wait until IOC began and continued to do operator sessions. On January 9 104 Lieutenants ran the Combat Endurance Test. I was one of the 76 who passed it. From there we would lose 14 more throughout the course, making it the highest attrition rate in the history of IOC. I continually noticed the benefits of the operator sessions as I completed grueling event after grueling event and how I was able to not only demonstrate a high level of fitness in the moment, but was able to quickly recover for further performance that day and days afterward. I was never unprepared for any physical event thanks to your training. When we were fighting I was able to outlast the other guy and gain the advantage because he would run out of gas. I was able to hump large amounts of weight because of the emphasis your program puts on a strong posterior chain, legs, and hips. I was constantly recommending your program to others and feel there isn't a better regimen in the world for tactical athletes. Thank you and keep up the good work!
Wanted to let you know, did the program during airborne as much as I
could. Even with not making all the workouts it helped immensely. Made
it through SFAS and got selected. I continue to refer back to the
program, the operator sessions and use your APFT program here when I
can't get equipment.
Thanks for the help and the great programming,
First off awesome site, lots of info and videos. It makes it easy to navigate and keeps me motivated. Keep up the good work.
Little background on myself. I'm 6' 190# fairly athletic. I have a few years of fitness experience but am coming off of a 3 months break where I did little to no working out. I want to get back into shape.
My question is this: I have your "On-Ramp" program, was just wondering after completing it would I be able to jump into the training sessions (online subscription thing) or would I have to do another program in order to build up?
Also I read somewhere (think it was a Q&A) that you don't recommend going from program to program, is that correct? Are the programs supposed to used in between training sessions or can they be used together, back to back?
Thanks in advance,
In general, the best way to use our stuff is to use the Operator Sessions as your day-to-day training, and then use one of the sport specific plans to train for selections, assessments, fitness tests, or to focus on areas of weakness.
The Operator Sessions cycle through strength, work capacity, stamina and endurance – the goal is to continually build the "Base Fitness" of the military athlete, but also address the "burden of constant fitness" – the variety keeps things from getting stale, without being random.
Some guys are hesitant to subscribe and instead cycle through the different plans we offer. Others simply want a challenge – so they'll get the Ruck Based Selection Plan, or one of our other plans. Finally, some want to focus on one area – hypertrophy, for example, so they'll get that plan.
Instead of moving from plan to plan I'd rather guys subscribe to the Operator Sessions – this way I know all areas of their Base Fitness are being addressed. If not, many guys (myself included) will pick and chose the plans that play to their strengths (strong guys will pick the strength plans, endurance guys will pick the endurance plans) – and won't train their weaknesses. The Operator Sessions forces us to train our weaknesses too.
I built the OnRamp Plan as a bridge to the Operator Sessions – so that could be your next move. But it's really up to you. Other options include completing one of the strength plans (Rat 6 is a good choice), or getting away from the barbell with our Bodyweight plan or one of the endurance plans.
I tried the meat-head program and had great results. Right now I'm preparing for NSW selection this year with an multi-dimensional approach: karate practice 3-4 days a week, heavy weights 4 days a week, and swimming, running and calisthenics days 3-4 days a week. I'm seeing gains but it's pretty taxing at the end of a full workout week. Overworking muscle groups is a concern of mine, especially my shoulder which I threw out on bench press recently (old rotator cuff injury).
I was wondering what you thoughts would be regarding my current program and how it could be improved. Also, what do you recommend for shoulder mobility and strengthening against injury?
Thanks a lot,
"Multi-Dimensional Approach" does not equal a solid training plan.
Seems you're already having issues with overtraining. I'd recommend you stop doing a little of everything, identify the fitness demands of selection, your current weaknesses, and start approaching it like a professional athlete preparing for a major competition.
My programming recommendations:
1) Subscribe to the Operator Sessions and use them as your day to day training.
2) Complete the appropriate selection plan from our stuff the weeks directly prior to your selection.
3) Do an honest assessment of your swimming ability. If you're not solid (i.e. didn't compete in high school or college), complete our Swim Improvement Program along with the Operator Sessions. (Swim in the AM, Operator Sessions in the PM, or vice versa)
4) Drop Karate.
Shoulder – one thing we've learned is if you go into any selection with a nagging injury, you're asking for trouble.
I'm not a doctor and can't do an email diagnosis, but something tells me if your able to do all the stuff you're currently doing, it can't be that major of an issue. First thing to do is take a week off from working it. Second thing …. purchase "Fix Your Own Rotator Cuff" from amazon and start implementing those exercises …. or you can add our similar exercises – Y+L, shoulder scarecrow, shoulder hand job, etc.
If it's still an issue – see a doc.
Hey there Mr. Shaul,
I know the importance of physical strength and have been following your BUD/s regimen, twice I have done it from beginning to end adding extra sets and performing barbell complexes on top of the workouts for the extra good burn! I now am also subscribed to your Operator Strength and throw in a few swim workouts and long distance runs in there! (I like Military Athlete much better than SEALFIT!)
But I also want to know of mental strength, I want to ask you what your personal favorite books are. I, even during training, try to dedicate about 30-45 mins a night to read. I enjoy thinking and finding out what makes people tick, from everyone from Alexander the Great to Winston Churchill and modern day team guys. Now, I want to know what you enjoy reading, (if at all) or how you prepare yourself mentally or any kind of helpful information that, even when the suck really starts to suck, you press on and put yourself over that wall.
Recommended Books –
– "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl (Frankl survived the WWII concentration camps)
– "Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus's Doctrines of Human Behavior," by James Stockdale (ADM Stockdale was a POW in Vietnam and won the Medal of Honor)
– "The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness," by Epiptetus and Lebell
I'm a pretty voracious reader, mostly non-fiction, business, history, etc.
I just finished Rat 6 and really enjoyed the program. I upped each of my lifts by about 10%. I tested myself on the APFT though and my score went down from about 320 to 290 with the run suffering the most with a 45+ second increase in time. I figured that I would sacrifice some endurance for strength but I also didn't get to the point where I can complete Operator Ugly as my 1RM for Bench is 195 and front squat is 175. I also need to get my PT score back above 300. Would you recommend I start the Operator sessions and scale down the weight or is there something else you would recommend? Thanks for any input you can offer.
Couple things to think about here.
– First, be patient with strength/fitness improvement. There's no short cut … and it takes time.
– APFT Fitness and the fitness we feel is appropriate for a professional soldier are two different things. We understand the APFT is important, especially as we transition to a peacetime military, but the body type to smoke the APFT (light, good endurance speed) is different from the fitness needed for most selections (SFAS), schools (Ranger School) and all deployments (combat). Selections/Schools/Deployments require strength to carry the loading, and speed/power plus rucking ability. You need overall strength right now, and as you develop it, especially with a focused strength plan, your APFT scores will go down….. but you can bring them up….
– Realize the power of sport-specific programming. We feel your primary focus should be on developing the fitness required for selections/combat, but understand ignoring the APFT isn't possible. The way to do both is to focus on the APFT 3-6 weeks directly before your assessment, then after assessing, drop back into building the Base Fitness appropriate for a soldier.
What you should do now?
– The Operator Sessions are our day-to-day programming for Military Athletes. These sessions cycle through strength, work capacity, stamina, endurance and durability. However, these aren't designed to make you max the APFT. Some guys are mutants, and are able to do the Operator Sessions and still max the APFT. However, most can't …. we do well on the APFT, but won't max it.
Should you do them now??
– Yes, unless you've got an APFT pending in 3-6 weeks. If so, you should train sport-specifically for the APFT using our APFT Training Plan: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=51&cart_ID=30
….then after your assessment, drop into the Operator Sessions.
Hey Rob. I've done several of your programs and I love them! I want to get one for my wife for weight loss. I believe strength training is the way to go but I also want to incorporate METCONS into her training plan. Im looking for a program that incorporates olympic lifts with intense work capacity efforts. Do u have anything for me? Thank you. -J
Yes. 357 Strength: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=55&cart_ID=69
I’m wanting to enlist in the Air Force as special tactics. I’m not where i should be physically though. Which program do you recommend I use?
I'm not sure where you are in the process – but the place to start would be the USAF PAST assessment.
We have a plan for the PAST here: http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=51&cart_ID=94
Writing to you from the mountains of Afghanistan – I read your site regularly and was wondering who are some examples of the best athletes that you have ever coached/worked with and what were set them apart from everyone else? I see the broad range of people who you work with, from elite mountain athletes, to law enforcement teams to SF units. Is it their attitude, work ethic, genetics, diet that sets them apart?
Your training plans are great, the best I’ve ever come across, but I was just curious about your opinion of the premier tactical athlete. I’d love to hear your response.
Thanks and enjoy your weekend,
The best athletes I work with, on the military, mountain and law enforcement sides, are those who are professional about their fitness. This has nothing to do with athletic ability.
First, they realize that their bodies are their most important piece of equipment. For a tactical athlete, that means your body is your primary weapon. If you're unfit or injured, you're a liability to your unit, not an asset.
Second – they train for their job, not their recreational interest. On the tactical side you'll get two extremes – ultra runners or ironman triathletes and total body-building meatheads. Tactical athletes are hybrid athletes – you need strength, power, endurance, stamina, work capacity for short, intense events, load carrying ability, etc. Ultra runners can go forever ….until you put 60-80 pounds on them to carry. Body Builders can lift anything …. but struggle to ruck run 12 miles. This doesn't mean tactical athletes can't pursue sports ….. you just have to plan it around selections/schools/deployments. For example, if you're stateside in garrison for 12 months, you can get away from this hybrid fitness programming and train for a ironman, or body building contest – as long as you have enough time after the event to get back to soldier-specific fitness before your next selection/school/deployment.
Third – they self-educate. Soldiers will know everything about their gun – ballistics, breakdown, variations, etc., but drink the latest coolaid when it comes to fitness – PX90, CrossFit, etc. A soldier is a professional athlete and responsible for his own fitness …. just like he's responsible for his own weapon operation, kit set up, etc. I want athletes to question my programming – it shows me they have invested in it, and I like to explain what we're doing, why we're doing it, and what I hope to improve with it. I know the work we put into developing our programming and informed soldiers appreciate it.
Diet/health – Professional athletes don't eat crap, don't smoke/chew, and use alcohol in moderation. Soldiers are professional athletes.
It seems there are two athletes I really admire. First, super-athletic, naturally-talented individuals who absolutely hate to train…. but do it anyway because their are professionals. Many natural athletes avoid working hard in the gym – because they never have to – I've seen this many times on the mountain side. But I do have several natural athletes who bust their asses, and they're professional attitude toward fitness spreads throughout the rest of their career – and they advance fast in the sponsored athlete world.
The other type are those who have little athletic ability, and bust on the fitness side to narrow the gap with the natural athletes they compete with. Again, their professional attitude toward fitness spreads to the rest of their career, and in time, they surpass those natural athletes who don't act professionally.