I am really happy to have found your site. I used your free Cooper Test training plan to get ready for the Physical Ability Test that got me into my academy and I had so much improvement over the 6 weeks that I had to become a monthly subscriber to the site.
I am a little overwhelmed with where to go from this point. I have 14 weeks left in Academy and want get back to my department in the best possible shape. Any guidance on what plans I should do would be helpful.
Thanks, – C
Start with the On Ramp LE plan – which is one that comes with your subscription.
Follow it by jumping into the LE Athlete Officer Sessions. Start the Officer Sessions at the beginning of the most recent cycle.
When you get to that point, email if you have any questions and I’ll get specific.
Can the Big 24 plan be recycled but with different exercises that are similar to the originals? I’ve run the plan once with great success, and would like to do it again, but I’d like to add in hinge lifts and maybe power cleans. Also, if I were to run during the plan, what would be a good progression or plan to do that? I don’t really have time to do 2 sessions in a day, but I’d like to run twice a week. Any ideas? – J
Yes – in fact, we’re on Version 3 of Big 24 and I’ve changed the exercises around every time. The progressions are solid.
Running? – Simplest would be to do Big 24 M/W/F and run on Tues and Thurs.
I’m 4 weeks post L4/L5/S1 surgery, and just cleared to start PT. I was working thru SF45 immediately prior and enjoying it. Question: once I graduate from PT, where would you steer me – Bodyweight foundation, Low Back, or scale back into SF45?
thanks, – J
Bodyweight Foundation … be patient and safe.
I purchased your big mountain training plan to help me get ready for a excursion in the Dolomites. My question is should I complete the training right before going into the mountains or complete the training plan in the climbing off season and then rest (other workouts) before the season starts again…or does it even matter?
Also what is your take on dairy products as part of a diet specific to this training plan?
Thanks! – C
Complete the Big Mountain Training Plan directly before your trip to the Dolomites.
Dairy? A little dairy is OK – hard cheese, half and half in coffee, etc.
I have a question regarding plans regarding two different selection processes that I am embarking on. I have looked at the Special Forces Selection plan you have as well as the CCT/PJ/CRO training plan. Only one program in each matches with each other and that is the sandbag/weight vest/dumbbell program.
What would be your suggestion regarding which plan or what combination of programs listed in each plan to morph into one long training regimen that would prepare me for either selection? I’m applying to SF, CRO and STO and obviously unknown which (if any) I will be selected to attend but want to start preparing now. – J
These training plans are designed to be completed directly before selection – and are “sport specific” to that individual selection.
Both (Ruck Based and USAF CCT/PJ/CRO) are no joke in their own right, and will push your training time ability, discipline, etc.
It seems now you want and need a challenge like this – and many guys do one of our selection training plans way before their selections simply to start understanding what it’s going to take. It seems you’re in this spot.
So jump in.
For you – if you have regular access to a swimming pool, do the CCT/PJ/CRO training plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/usaf-cctpjcro-selection-training-plan/).
If not – do the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-program/).
I retired from the Marines eleven years ago and turned 50 this year. I was in great shape in the Marines but it’s been more difficult to exercise in civilian life. I’m ready to get fit again and make the necessary changes to stay fit.
I live in NW Montana with plenty of mountains. What program would you recommend start with and then follow on for continued high levels of fitness?
Thanks, – M
I’d recommend you begin our stuff with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/).
Follow it up with a subscription to the website, and begin following the SF45 Training Sessions.
“SF45” stands for Strength & Fitness 45+ and is geared toward relatively fit athletes in the 45-55 year old range.
Is it possible to purchase the first version on the Big 24? I did it a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Thank you and have a good day.
Quick answer is no … just because of the admin changes through our store. But …. over the years the primary changes I’ve made to Big 24 are the exercises.
The originial version used these three exercises ….
– “The Exercise”
– Squat Clean
– Power Clean + Push Press
I moved away from “The Exercise” simply because so many guys have shoulder flexibility issues with the snatch.
Anyways … you can purchase the current version, and just sub in these exercises for the big lifts.
I’m currently about a year out from my planned selection cycle. I’m in decent shape. Did operator ugly with a 102.5 score. 1rm’s are 225 bench, 235 front squat, 165 squat clean. Rucking is ok; 6 miles at 60# in 87 min (pure walk). 5 miles at 45# in 57 min (running about 2 min in every 10). Apft is 88 push-ups, 93 sit-ups, 1227 2mile and a 33min 5 mile. I’m 5’10, 170#. What do you recommend going forward?
Thanks. – M
From our stuff, I’d recommend you begin with Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/, follow it up with Valor: http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/,, then follow the Operator Sessions until 10 weeks out from selection.
10 weeks out, do the SFOD-Selection Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/sfod-d-delta-selection-course-training-plan/
You can also subscribe now – both Fortitude and Valor come with your subscription.
I was referred to you by 5 different people that have all bought plans off of you and they said that your plans helped them dramatically. Now I’m coming to you in hopes that the same will be for me. As the Subject states I am currently on a deployment in a carrier and I have 3 months until I get back into the states. My goal is to get into BUD/S and I looked at the description for all 3 of your plans however I noticed that all them require swimming for certain days and other exercises that I can’t do simply because of equipment purposes. Now being on a carrier it isn’t likely that I will be able to swim. So my question to you is might there be a better program other than BUD/S program for me right now?
My numbers need work I won’t lie but that’s why I’m asking for your help. My swim was 10:00/pushups 79/situps 89/run 9:34. As of right now being out here Im currently running approximately 15 miles a week (long runs/sprints). If im doing body work I throw my 40lbs vest on and do sets of 20 pushups and 10 pullups and then take the vest off and finish with a set to failure or ill do ladders along with power lifts and strength exercises.
I know your plans work and I would like your thoughts on a plan or any input you have to offer.
Thank you, – B
Now I’d recommend working on our “Base Fitness” for a military operator.
If you have access to weight lifting equipment, I’d recommend you start our stuff with Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/). You may need to complete the 1-mile intervals on a treadmill – which is okay.
No equipment? Do the Sandbag/Dumbbell/Weightvest Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/sandbagweight-vestdumbbell-training-plan/
I just purchased your USM PFT training plan to help improve my scores for my upcoming OCS PFT for the boards. I currently do 20 dead hang pull-ups and 75 crunches (although I believe I need to work on my form to improve this number). The overall focus of improvement is in my 3 mile run. Anyway, my question to you is can I add 2-3 days of swim work on top of the PFT plan and what would you recommend? I have a lifeguard test in January that I want to be prepared for. The test is a 200 meter swim, 2 minute no-hands tread, and 10 foot dive brick recovery.
Yes …. as long as you are making the progressions in the plan. I’m concerned mostly about shoulders, and overall work. Do the plan sessions first, then swim.
I am being looked at for Rookie Smokejumper Training starting somewhere around mid May. I want to complete the Smokejumper packet you put together right before I go through selection. What plan(s) do you recommend completing in the mean time? Thanks a bunch – A.
Couple options –
1) Purchase and complete the Virtue Series Training Packet: http://mtntactical.com/shop/virtue-series-packet/
4 plans focused on tactical athlete-specific base fitness – relative strength, work capacity, durability and endurance (running and rucking). Each plan is 6 weeks long, so you’re looking at 24 weeks of training – and I’d want you to take a week total rest between plans – so about 27 weeks in all.
2) Subscribe to the Website, and begin with Fortitude (one of the Virtue Series Plans which you get access to with a subscription) then drop into the Operator Sessions for your day to day training.
Regardless of the path you choose, 8 weeks out from Smokejumper selection, drop out an begin the Smokejumper Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/smokejumper-training-plan/). You’ll want to complete this plan directly before selection.
I know the whole Mountain Athlete/SSD program has grown significantly since I started using it over a year ago. I have 3 of the programs and have achieved all of my goals and then some by using them.
Thank you and keep up the great work and continued success.
Respectfully, – N
I am preparing for selection but waiting a while longer then Your plans call for until my current contract runs up before I go to selection. Out of the two you have, which would you recommend to start with knowing that the program will not run right up to selection? Thank you for your assistance love your sight. – T
You’ll want to do the selection specific plan directly before your selection – each includes a taper. For example, if you’re going to SFAS, you’ll want to complete the Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-program/) the 8 weeks directly before you report.
All of the selection plans are heavy on volume and intensity – and you’ll train 6 days/week. So going into beginning these plans you’ll need a high level of military-specific “base fitness” – high relative strength for durability, good numbers on your PFT, solid rucking proficiency, good running endurance, etc.
From our stuff there are several options. For SFAS and similar ruck-based selections, we’ve bundled together a series of plans in a “packet” – which extends 9 months (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-packet/). We’ve also done this for SFOD-D, and USAF CCT/PJ/CRO.
You can also subscribe to the website, where you’ll get access to our Operator Sessions. These are our day to day fitness for military athletes, and deploy Fluid Periodization to address strength, work capacity, durability and military-specific endurance (rucking, running, swimming). Many do these right up to beginning the selection-specific plan.
With a subscription, comes access to 35+ specific training plans including our Virtue Series, PFT plans, and plans focused on specific areas – strength, rucking, or running for example. This allows you to take 4-6 weeks and either kickstart your fitness before jumping into the Operator Sessions or address a specific weakness like strength or running.
Email back if you have more questions.
I will keep this short.
When dealing with time constraints and training with your programming, is it a better choice to cut the number of rounds per exercise or to skip a section in the workout all together? It’s safe to assume that you may say not to sit on your “duff” and get to work, but when faced with exactly one hour and working out at large facility, which is best?
Thanks and keep up the good work! – C
Drop the rounds in each section – but try to get to each section.
As well – often rack space is an issue. You can always sub dumbbell exercises for barbell exercises if needed.
I saw that this was for mountains like Denali and the Himalayas. I was debating between this and the backpacking one. I will be hiking the four day trek up Machu Pichu. I won’t have a heavy pack so I was leaning towards the “big mountain” one. I have climbed some fairly easy 13-14ers but am told Machu Pichu is a lot of up and downs of steep stairs. Do you have a recommendation? I need a plan 😉 or I won’t stick to training for it. It’s not till March. Thanks!!!!
I’d recommend the Peak Bagger Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/peak-bagger-training-plan/).
The updates to your dryland plan with the move to heavy eccentric training sound very interesting, and I’m particularly excited to hear that you’re incorporating backcountry-focused training as well. Will the experimental dryland (preferably with backcountry included) be available to subscribers?
On a related note, if the new dryland + backcountry cycle isn’t available, will the backcountry packet be available to subscribers? Failing that, do you have recommendations for adapting the currently available dryland plan for someone focused on backcountry skiing? If left to my own devices, I would assume swapping out (or inserting) some combo of trail running + stepups similar to Mountain Alpha (which I’ve been greatly enjoying).
As a side note, it’s been phenomenally interesting to follow the progression of your training and philosophy over the years. I used to feel overly strong and heavy with too much gym time, but the return to endurance in the SSD and Mountain Base tracks has fixed that over the course of the year. Thanks again for making high quality programming available to mountain athletes around the world.
Best, – A
I don’t plan to make the current dryland cycle we’re doing here available. The problem is until skiing begins, I don’t know if the new stuff works!! We “lab rat” here, fix, then publish. I updated the Dryland Program on the site this January – and it’s based on last year’s work in the gym.
We just made the Backcountry Training Plan available for subscribers yesterday.
Good luck and have a great season!
Two big kudos: First, I’ve been using your Body Weight and On-Ramp Programs for my cadets on alternating workout days of Tuesday and Friday. In the past, I had no programming other than to find Crossfit workouts or others that I would use. Or, make them up myself. Since I’ve been using yours I’ve seen more gains, less issues, and positive anecdotal evidence with my cadets. Thanks. Second, I’ve been following the Falcon Program and am in my 6th week. I feel great: slimmer, stronger, and in better overall condition with no injuries.
That leads me to my question: Since I’ve been doing the Falcon Program I didn’t realize at first how much running there was when I bought it. I don’t run and walk for my APFT (2.5 miles in 30 minutes) and have supplemented the running with brisk range walks or rucks. And, due to my age (52) I’ve had to scale some of the workouts. So, in the end, I’ve probably done 85% of the non-running workouts. I complete the program at the end of next week. What do you suggest I continue with? And, I have Fall Break for a week immediately following my last workout. Should I take a week off or get right into the next program. I’m feeling good although tired at times but I make sure to get plenty of sleep when I need it.
Thanks. – T
Thanks for the note and glad our stuff is working for you.
Next for you I’d recommend some heavy, solid, strength training – specifically Big 24 (http://mtntactical.com/shop/big-24-strength-training-program-v3/).
You can purchase Big 24 at the link above. As well – it’s one of the 35+ plans which come with a subscription to the website.
Recently read a question on your Q&A in regards to strength standards and how many times you have athletes who exceed those strength standards but are lacking in other aspects of military fitness (running, work capacity, etc). I definitely feel that I fall into that category. I currently weigh 245 at 6’1″. My barbell numbers are as follows:
Cleans and jerk 315
The issue I have found (due to a love of being as strong as possible) is that my distance running is lacking as well as body weight strength. 245 is a lot of body weight to move on pull-ups and while running. What program would you recommend to improve endurance capability while maintaining and possibly increasing strength. I understand it’s difficult to have both, but is it possible?
Thanks for the help and any recommendations. I look forward to hearing from you. – J
At 6’1″, I’d like to see you around 215-220 pounds. You’re too heavy at 245#.
That extra 30# is like running and rucking with an external 30# weight vest …. it’s gonna slow you down. It seems from the lifts we measure which you sent 1RM’s on (Bench, Deadlift/Hinge) – your relative strength (strength per bodyweight) is about right.
Understand our strength standards are based upon relative strength – or strength per bodyweight. Here are our Military Athlete strength standards (BW=Bodyweight)
MILITARY STRENGTH STANDARDS
LIFT MEN WOMEN
Front Squat 1.5x BW 1.0x BW
Dead Lift 2.0x BW 1.5x BW
Bench Press 1.5x BW 1.0x BW
Push Press 1.1x BW .7x BW
Squat Clean 1.25x BW 1.0x BW
Squat Clean+ Push Press 1.1x BW .7xBW
What I’d suggest to you is that you could drop 30#, get down to 215, greatly increase your running/rucking speed and endurance, and actually increase your relative strength – or strength per bodyweight.
Your absolute strength would decrease – i.e., your 1RMs – but your relative strength would go up.
Understand our strength standards are “light” in the strength world. However, as a military athlete, you can get overly strong. At some point, this excess strength doesn’t transfer to the field, and you become heavy and slow.
Can you increase endurance and also increase strength? It depends your starting point. For a gym rat like you, likely not. The best you could do is maintain your current strength, while increasing your endurance.
In general, endurance training hampers strength gains. As well – running and rucking will take away from the time you have to lift.
From our stuff, I’d recommend Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/) – which combines some gym-based work capacity, speed over ground focused endurance, and a touch of gym-based strength.
This plan can be purchased individually at the link above. As well – it’s one of the 35+ which come with a subscription to the website.
Kudos & Question
Excellent work putting together the backpacking pre-season plan. I was more than well prepared for my trek of the Inca Trail and as a result was able to thoroughly and safely enjoy the entire experience. During the challenging portions of the trek, I never once questioned my capability because there were certain workouts in your plan that pushed my limits physically and mentally and I got through them. It was such a great feeling to have that confidence. I can’t thank you enough.
I’m giving consideration to participating in the Birkebeiner cross country ski event which is 51K or the Kortelopet which is 24K. Do you have any training plans that would cater to these events?
Thanks for the kind note about the Backpacking Pre-Season Training Plan.
Birkebeiner or Kortelopet? One of the interesting things about endurance sports is the programming across disciplines is very similar – just the modes are different.
We don’t have a nordic ski training plan, but you could easily apply the programming from one of our Ultra Running training plans, and just ski, instead of run – to achieve similar results.
A place to start for both these races would be our Ultra Pre-Season Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ultra-running-preseason-training-program/).
This plan maxes at 41 miles/week and 18 miles in a single effort.
It would be a good start for the longer 50K race, and could act as a stand alone plan for your shorter, 24K race.
The plan also includes solid strength training.
First off I’d like to thank you all for your dedication and focus on first responders. I’ve been a deputy sheriff for 20 years and have followed you for quite sometime on and off ever since your WOD’s were free years ago. Today I have a specific question regarding SF45. What is it exactly? They are great training, but I was just wondering who it’s designed for etc.
Thank you for your time, – A
Thanks for the great note!
“SF45” stands for “Strength and Fitness 45.” These sessions are designed for athletes aged 45-55 years old.
I’m currently following your training program to get as ready as possible for my fitness test for the police department, unfortunately I’ll only be able to complete 4 out of the 6 weeks of training since my test is on the 31st of October (a Saturday) and I’m barely on week 1. My question is should I take a day of rest before the test or do my workout Friday and take the test Saturday without any rest Prior? And if you think I should rest prior to the test, how many days? – J
Take two days full rest from the Cooper Test Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/cooper-physical-fitness-test-training-plan/) before your assessment.
A quick thank you for your programming. I used your Peak Bagger(again) to prep for a 4 day backpacking trip in Utah. All those step-ups really made me strong throughout the trip – we were mostly off any kind of trail.
My question is next step. Prior to the Peak Bagger plan, I spent 4 months exclusively doing triathlon training (half Ironman). My next mountain trip is a back country ski trip, but not until late February and I’ll do the Backcountry Ski plan 6 weeks before that. I have two basic options, I think. First, do a pure strength plan, maybe Rat6, then daily programming. Or, drop straight into the SF45 programming – I did some of your earliest SF45 work when you launched it last year and found it fit my needs(I’m 51).
Thanks again for your great work. – K
Thanks for the great note – and glad Peak Bagger paid off for you.
Drop into the SF45 sessions. Start with Beaver 1. The Beaver cycle has a solid strength emphasis.
I’m currently training with the LE officer sessions and was curious if the sessions begin to focus more on strength during the colder months? Just trying to prep for winter workouts and won’t be able to do workouts that may have a running element thrown in the middle of workout as I will be working out in the police building gym. Thanks for the heads up!
Yes and no. We have the cold issue here too, and often move to indoor short sprints (40 feet), and other work capacity modes to try not to freeze outside. At the same time, often we’ve laced ’em up and headed into the snow.
LE Officers have an important sprinting fitness demand regardless of season. If we spend all winter pumping up, you’ll lose this fitness.
I am a grad student who used to be very active and now have spend more time in the lab then I should to the neglect of my body. A couple questions for you about the rookie training plan.
1. Do you have any student discount?
2. Do I get the packet all at once or does it come daily?
Thanks, – N
1. No, sorry.
2. You get the entire packet at once. Here’s the link: http://mtntactical.com/shop/rookie-training-packet/
I have completed the Big MTN Climbing training program and attained all the goals I set out for this season!
I cannot thank you enough for providing such an excellent plan; one that has allowed me to attain the best fitness level of my life and therefore not only complete my goals but just crush them! It has been a long road over the past two years but now with over 70lbs lost and a life reinvigorated by the great outdoors I feel I am ready to move on to next level and would like to put on more muscle mass. I have been considering the Atlas Training Program, Hypertrophy for Skinny Guys & Falcon Training Plan all for off season strength building plans before completing the Big MTN program again this spring ahead of my Mt Rainier trip. Are there any other programs I should consider for this or do you have additional advice?
ps. Loved seeing the facility in the Meru film!
Thanks again! – M
Thanks for the great note and glad the Big Mountain Training Plan worked for you.
Options looking ahead:
1) Complete the Mountain Base training cycles (Alpha, Bravo and Charlie). The Mountain Base training is my day to day training for mountain athletes. The idea is to use this programming between sport-specific train ups for sports seasons or events. These cycles are available with a subscription to the website, and also through the website store. Note – these sessions have a climbing element – rock climbing – and are designed to be completed in a typical rock gym which also has a general fitness training area. They include strength training, but also have a strong endurance and work capacity element.
Charlie – coming soon
2) Falcon – A great general fitness training plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/falcon-training-plan/