Q&A 10.14.16


I need some advice. What program should I chose to get started?

Background: I’m a 25 Year retired SEAL MasterChief. During my Team years, I was an endurance athlete who got sucked into and focused on swimming, running and cycling (Multiple disciplines). The only strength training was during BUD/S. I was very lean and fast but lacked functional fitness and core strength. 

After retiring, I have been experimenting with Crossfit. Belonged to a local gym but didn’t receive the coaching I really needed. Plus, I was getting hurt often because the peer pressure to Rx, regardless of my baseline strength 1RM’s and technique.

I have noticed significant strength gains but still lack the ability to go overhead with weight. Specifically the snatch. What I’m missing with the program is specification.

My goal: I still race for fun-cycling and running. Still do dynamic shooting and movement (client based events) drills. Body weight, I want to stay between 145 to 155 lbs and run a baseline 1 mile at 5:30. And, I want to get back into the water as a part of my routine. I like your methodology of specific strength/movement goals.

Let me know what you think. You came recommended by a Former Green Beret Operator that I assisted during his transition. Thanks.


I don’t have the perfect plan for you to meet your goals of speed-over-ground running, swimming and strength training.

From what I do have, the closest is the DEVGRU Selection Training Plan.

This plan includes assessed and focused bodyweight work and running, rucking, assessed and focused swimming, and a day of gym-based strength each week.

But for you I’d recommend modifications:

  • – Skip the rucking
  • – Drop to a 60# sandbag for all the sandbag work
  • – Cut down the mini events to 90 minutes, max.
  • – Do the ocean swim in a pool if you’re not near the ocean

Given this, I feel a better recommendation would be Fortitude.

Fortitude combines 3 day/week gym-based strength training with 2x day/week endurance (running and ruck running).

The strength training in the plan is simple, hard and solid.

The endurance work is designed to increase aerobic base – easy or moderate pace, and mid-distance.

The change I’d recommend for you is to replace Wednesday’s rucking in the plan with moderate paced swimming starting at 40 minutes and finishing at 90. It’s a 6-week plan, – add 10 minutes to your swim every week.

Some caution – most our stuff isn’t appropriate for guys 50+ years old – even former action guys… If you decide to go with either recommendation, please be smart, listen to your body and joints, and add in extra rest days if needed.

– Rob


I found your website “Mountain Tactical Institute” via an article on SOFREP and quickly realized the amazing work you have provided everyone.

I am writing to you to ask your opinion on where I should start and where I should go from there.

I feel like a fool asking given my current fitness level, but I am aiming at a complete transformation and aspire to join the 75th Ranger Regiment sometime in the next two years. Motivation wise I know I can do it as my younger brothers are a Marine Naval Aviator and a Navy SEAL respectively. I am not asking their opinions at the moment because I’d like to surprise them as well. I guess I have never been much of a mover and it has caught up to me over the years.

Currently I am 29 years old, 6 foot and about 270lbs. I have been using Stronglifts 5×5 the past 4 months and I am the same weight as when I started and I am sure some of this is muscle, but I am also sure I am still around 30+% body fat. I have never run before, so I know cardiovascular wise I am garbage. I just see so many plans out there for all different things at all different levels, but I want to make sure that I do and follow the best progression for my given fitness level (or lack thereof) so as to make the best of the time I am attempting to allot myself. I’ve been wondering if I should continue my 5×5 program and supplement with running, rucking, and calisthenics, drop it for now and build a solid foundation using another program, etc. You have a plethora of plans and resources, but I am not sure where to start. Looking at your plans I was wondering about starting with APFT, then RASP 1&2 and then maybe Ranger School Training? Or do a phase approach and go between APFT, RASP, then back to APFT and so on? But even with this idea I wonder if perhaps I should start first with the Bodyweight Foundation Plan and a Beginner Running Plan first, then hit APFT and RASP?

Thank you so much for your time, help and patience. It is sincerely appreciated. I also apologize for the length of my email and the ridiculousness of it (270lb, 29 y/o guy with hardly any physical fitness aspiring to the 75th…).


Start with Bodyweight Foundation.

Also – 80% of fat is diet related. Clean up your diet and you’ll shed pounds. Here are our nutritional guidelines.

Email back after Bodyweight Foundation.

– Rob


I’m active duty AF, and I’m currently training for TACP. I was reading about your many products and programs and i would like to know your opinion on where i should start. Ive seen the Rucking program, the Battlefield Airman assessment training (TACP), USAF PAST training program, USAF TACP training plan, or any of the PJ/CCT programs because already train in the pool already. Where is a good place to start, or in order which programs i should use. Im in solid shape, just looking to get advice and looking at specialized programs. I would love you know your opinion sir. Thank you for your time and service.


I’d recommend you start with the USAF TACP Training Plan for a couple reasons.

First – it will give you a solid idea of your current fitness level, and start to get your body and mind ready for the course.

Second, completing this plan, especially alone, is no joke, and will take serious commitment. Completing it will help you be sure TACP is the path you want to take.

Post this plan, I’d recommend an Athletes Subscription to the website, and following the Operator Sessions.

The Operator Sessions deploy our Fluid Periodization, and concurrently train strength, work capacity, endurance (running/rucking), chassis integrity and tactical speed/explosive power/agility.

Eight weeks prior to the TACP course, quit the Operator Sessions and re-complete the TACP Course plan.

Good Luck!



Finished humility, to be blunt, that kicked my ass. Thank you. I am sitting at 6’1 219. I’m at a sub 35 minute 5 mile. I am good on the APFT. I am looking to work on my strength numbers in the big 3 but I need to also work on my agility as I am not an agile guy at my size. What would you recommend? I have tossed the idea of doing a strength only session but I feel that will drop my conditioning that I just worked my ass off for. Any input would be great! Thanks again for what you do, you guys rock.


Glad you liked Humility – it’s an awesome cycle.

Next, I’d recommend Achilles.

This plan has a subtle strength focus with emphasis on the back squat, bench press and power clean. As well, it trains work capacity, chassis integrity, endurance and TAC SEPA – Tactical Speed, Explosive Power and Agility – 2x/week.

Plan is available at the link above. As well, it is one of the 120+ plans which comes with an Athlete’s Subscription to the site.

– Rob


Hello sir. I was considering buying the RASP 1 selection program for training but then discovered the “Ruck Based Selection Training”. I understand in the description that it says it is for SFAS but what’s the difference between the RASP program and the Ruck Based Program? The Ruck Based Program seems to be more appropriate than the RASP program however y’all are the professionals but I was just curious. I appreciate your time.


The Ruck Based Selection Training Plan was specifically designed for SFAS.


Overall, the RBSTP is more intense, is 6 days/week, has higher volume and longer, doesn’t include any swimming and the PFT work if focused on the APFT, not the Ranger PFT.

For RASP – complete the RASP I&II Plan.

Good luck!

– Rob


As my physical training coach for the past few years (via remote) I wanted to drop a line to tell you I was assessed and selected to an organization I’ve been looking to get into for years!  The physicality was basically a non-issue, which let me focus on the mental.  Needless to say, I came out in super good condition-no blisters, no strains/sprains/swelling, I was prepared.  Thank you.

I have been perusing the new programs and am kind of overwhelmed.  I was looking at Valor and then Whiskey.  Basically, I know you know your stuff, so I’d like to tell you my current metrics and hopefully field a recommendation.

Mid 30s age

290+ apft consistently (low 14s on the 2 mile), max push ups and sit-ups

Can hold a 12-13 min/mile pace with 45 lb ruck and weapon for 8+ miles

Working weight for all major lifts is competitive

Have access to all equipment

Needs improvement:

  • Rope work/climbing
  • Moving with full kit over dynamic environments (urban terrain)
  • Overall functional strength could always improve
  • Maintenance priority on rucking

That might be pretty general, hence my inability to commit to a plan.  To summarize, I need to get faster “on the job”.  Any guidance from you would be much appreciated. 

Thanks again, appreciate it all!


Move on to our “Greek Hero” series of plans – these represent my most recent tactical programming and cover the areas you’re interested in.

There are a total of 6 plans in this order:

Actaeon (should publish this week or next).

These plans deploy my most evolved iteration of Fluid Periodization and concurrently train ….

  • – Relative Strength (strength per bodyweight)
  • – Work Capacity (horsepower/aerobic power for short events – 30 minutes or less. Sprinting focused)
  • – Chassis Integrity (our new approach to core/mid section training)
  • – TAC SEPA – Tactical Speed, Explosive Power and Agility
  • – Endurance – military specific …. running, loaded running, rucking/ruck running

Plans are available for individual purchase at the links above.

As well, they are all included with the 120+ plans which come with an Athlete’s Subscription to the website.

– Rob


I’m writing because I’m interested in trying one of your plans. I have been attending group training sessions at the local climbing gym Momentum. Unfortunately that session is no longer available and I’m looking for a program to follow. What I’m interested in is general fitness. It’s hard to pick a sport specific plan because I want to train for rock climbing, backcountry skiing and mountain snowmobiling. My work outs have generally been barbell based with some warm up, some barbell exercise (bench, push press, f squat, cleans, etc) and some high intensity work.

I’d appreciate any suggestions.


Now I’d recommend you focus on backcountry skiing and complete our Backcountry Ski Training Plan.

That season is next in the cue, and should be your focus now. Much of that programming will also transfer to your snowmobiling.

On the backburner I’d put your rock climb training. You can still train this, but I’d recommend 2-3x/week.

Couple options for climbing.

1) Do the V-Sum 2x/week: http://mtntactical.com/exercises/mnt3228-bouldering-v-sum/


The V-Sum is the most efficient, focused drill we’ve discovered to concurrently train climbing specific strength, work capacity and technique.

2) Work through the training sessions in the Pre-Season Rock Climbing Training Plan.

– Rob


I’m a State Trooper that has decided I want to enter the selection process for out TEAMS unit (swat team). I was looking through your programs and trying to figure out which one would translate the best for my goals. The initial test consist of the following: One rope climb at 20 feet, 50 sit ups nonstop, 40 push-ups nonstop, 12 dead hang chin-ups nonstop, 1 mile run with a max time of eight minutes, fireman’s carry with a weighted manikin of at least 165 pounds 25 yards within 30 seconds. Then swim 300 yards nonstop within eight minutes, then tread water for 30 minutes to include 15 minutes of freestyle treading and 15 minutes treading while passing a 10 pound weight.  The entire test will be conducted in uniform with boots except for the swim. The first six movements are performed back to back without rest from my understanding.  Also after completing the initial test there is a weeklong pool of course that is very intensive swimming and underwater skills. I am 5’10” tall and weigh 175 pounds and currently in good shape. I work out 5 to 6 days a week mostly CrossFit and some running. Any advice or direction of which program to purchase you could give me would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you in advance for your help.


I don’t have the perfect plan for you, but I’ve got something close – from what I do have I’d recommend the BORSTAR STC Selection Training Plan.

Border Patrol BORSTAR selection has a significant swimming/water confidence component, and this plan includes extensive swimming and treading, as well rucking, running, bodyweight smokers etc. It also includes PFT assessment similar to yours and follow-on progressions which should cover you there.

The interesting aspect of the selection you describe is the swimming work the following weekend – and as I read this I’m thinking water confidence work. I can’t imagine that unlike BORSTAR your mission set includes a significant swimming component (I could be wrong)….

If I’m right, the cadre are using water confidence work to test your performance under stress.

This plan includes intense and extensive swimming and treading work, including hypoxic ladders and breath holds. But for safety reasons, this plan doesn’t push you to the limit – and you can’t push yourself safely.

What I’d recommend to supplement your training is to do some of the dryland breath hold training developed by spearfishmen and freedivers. I do a little spearfishing and have used this training in the winter waiting to get to water to good success. There are actually a couple iphone/smartphone apps which can lead you through it. You pretty much do extending breath hold intervals …. on dryland, where it’s safe.

Complete this plan the 9 weeks directly before your selection.

Good luck!

– Rob


I’m an active duty Marine currently work at Eastern Michigan and University of Michigan for the NROTC program.  I’ve been asked by some of the students to put together a PT/workout plan to help them get ready for BUD’s, A&S, and BRC.  I was looking at a few of your programs and I wanted to ask you opinion which program you thought would be best.

Some limiting aspects are: My command will not authorize ruck runs, and we do not have fins for doing distance finning. 

My question comes down to, does military athlete have a program that only utilizes the Gym, running, and swimming.  I could easily buy one of the programs you have available and modify it for the groups needs and allowed activities, but before I did that I wanted to reach out and see what you thought.


I’d point you to the DEVGRU Selection Training Plan.

This plan includes a weekly, gym-based strength session, plenty of swimming, running, bodyweight work, etc. It also includes rucking – which your students could fast walk.

This is a full on selection plan, with assessments, 2-a-days, and 6-day/week training including mini events. You could spread it out as needed to work with schedules there.

Equipment-wise, you will need to build sandbags. My first ones were made from Army duffle bags. Cheap and easy.

It’s an awesome, proven, plan.

Good luck!

– Rob

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