Q&A 11.10.16


I really enjoy your website and articles, they always provide good food for thought. I found myself maybe disagreeing with one concept in a recent article. To paraphrase, you recently wrote something to the effect “the more time you spend you spend climbing mountains, the more likely something will go wrong.” I’m not sure that is true. It seems to me that each time you go out, there are is a certain amount of risk. Each trip into the wilderness, or each combat mission, would have its own risk. For example, each time you climb a mountain, there might be a 1 / 1 million chance you will die. Climbing two different mountains on two different dates wouldn’t make your odds 2 / 1 million.

Think of the lottery: each time you buy a ticket, there are certain odds of winning or losing. Playing the lottery every week doesn’t change those odds. I completely agree with your thinking about being fit, making good decisions, having adequate gear, etc. All those things put the odds in your favor — for each excursion.

It seems a little crusty to say (and again, I’m paraphrasing) the more times you hike, the more likely something will go wrong. This concept may come from old guys who have hiked thousands of miles (like me) and have lots of weird stories. You cover enough ground, you will experience some unusual stuff. However, the risk should not necessarily be cumulative. There is an interesting arc of getting smarter and smarter as you get weaker and weaker. A strong 25-year-old without equipment may survive where a wise old 70-year-old would perish. Which leads to my next thought about your programs.

I would be interested to see you scale some of your goals based on size and age. Surely someone who is 65 could not lift the same percentage of body weight as someone who is 25. Someone who is 6’10” may have a different ability to squat from someone who is 5’10”.  Rather than thinking about being elite in absolute terms, it may be somewhat relative. It could be helpful to mention a range, i.e., every 10 years of life means X amount of decline in lifting ability, etc. Like there is no way an 80-year-old black belt would beat a 30-year-old black belt, yet they are both elite. How do you talk about something like that?

I am trying to be as elite as I possibly can, but that doesn’t mean I will be an Olympian or Seal. You may respond that you are focusing on a very specific niche, and that would be true. Just remember that the current absolute elites you serve will eventually be older and relatively weaker. Why not toss out a range (i.e. perfection = X, and that can be scaled by doing Y). Your programs may make sense for more people.

Thanks again for all the information, insight, and thought-provoking you do.


Thanks for the note- and great points there!

Older athlete standards …. this is something I go back and forth on. Certainly age naturally results in declining strength and fitness, but we don’t program for the athlete. We program for the demands of the job/event/sport.

The military had decreasing PT test standards as soldiers age …. but there’s also a job description change along the way …. 48-year old soldiers aren’t on the front lines knocking down doors. They are back at HQ deciding what doors get knocked down.

But for LE and Fire Rescue, it’s entirely possible to be a 59-nine year old first responder on the tip of the spear. The job demands are the same regardless of age – which is why older athletes must be even more diligent in terms of health and fitness.

And I’d argue many mountain events are the same. There’s no lower summit of the Grand Teton for 60-year olds. There’s only one summit, and you’ve got to hike up and down 8K feet to reach it – regardless of age, sex, fitness, etc. Certainly in my own mountain life my trips have become less ambitious with my age – perhaps for this reason – but still I push hard to stay as fit as possible and put the odds in my favor. Certainly I’m also smarter, and more “mountain aware.” But there’s a randomness to the battlefield, street and mountains which needs to be acknowledged. Not to scare the athlete, but make him or her that much more diligent. That much more prepared.

What unites the athletes who follow our work is not “eliteness” in ability, but rather “eliteness” in approach. We’ve never tried to cater to elite athletes or ignore normal ones. In our facility, I can ever tell the first day whose going to stick with the programming. Fitness and ability are not the deciders. Those with grit, and a selfless willingness to learn and improve, stick.

– Rob


I just completed the 357 Strength plan.  It was great, it took me awhile to learn some of the moves but I felt it was a really complete and holistic approach.

I am now looking to my next plan and was thinking of trying either the Hypertrophy or the Rat 6 plan.  Any recommendations?

As a reminder I’m the 59 year old gym rat.


I’d recommend a pivot to strength and endurance, Specifically, “Fortitude”: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

– With one change. Replace the ruck running in the plan with unloaded running. Run 2 days/week.

– Rob


I just got done listening to you on a  Hunt Backcountry Podcast and I am very interested in your fitness programs.  I have been in wildland firefighting for over 14 years now and have tried all kinds of fitness programs and it is time to switch things up for myself and my crew.  It just so happens that I do a fair share of extended backcountry hunts and would love more field specific exercises.  Unfortunately I can’t afford to purchase both  the Wildland Firefighter Training Program and the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Training Program.   Would you recommend one over the other to start with?  Do you offer any nutritional guides with those plans?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Keep up the good work.


The plans have similarities, because the activities do, but are still sport-specific to the job/activity. I always encourage tactical athletes – and I consider wildland firefighters tactical athletes – to make job performance the priority in their training – over sport/hobbie. So I’d recommend the Wildand Firefighter  Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/wildland-firefighter-pre-season-training-plan/

Nutrition? Here are our nutrition guidelines: http://mtntactical.com/inside-strong-swift-durable/frequently-asked-questions/#nutrition

– Rob


Love what your Team does and the workouts and advice you guys provide.

Question for you is what do you recommend for those working out alone to maintain the intensity and motivation in a workout session and over the weeks and months?

Keep what you guys are doing! It’s great.


Not sure what to tell you here – I’ve trained alone for years during periods in my life and it was never an issue for me. As long as I can remember I’ve wanted a physical element in my life. And it seems, the more stressful my personal and work like get, the more important fitness training is … just in terms of a release.

A couple things I’ve tried to do over the years ….

– Trained first thing in the day. Something always seems to get in the way if I try to train at lunch or after work. Training first sets me up for the rest of the day.

– Gone somewhere to train. I’ve found it’s always been helpful to go somewhere to train – a gym/run, etc…. – I know many train in their garage, but I’ve enjoyed going somewhere to train.

Finally – finding a good training partner is as hard as finding a good climbing partner, hunting partner and wife or husband. If you’re older, one option is to find a young person to mentor.

Wish I could offer more.

– Rob


 I am a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy and am currently assigned as an instructor at the Surface Warfare Officer school in Newport, RI.  My friend introduced me to MTI and thus far I am very impressed.

The programming is great because I can apply it to my job which focuses my attention and as a result leads to increased effort on my part. I stumbled upon on one of your articles in which you talked about the desire to learn more about a commands fitness culture and how to assess/improve it over time.  Next I read the May 7th, 2016 article, “Roles, Responsibilities, and Limitations of a Unit Fitness Leader”.

Both of these articles bounced around my head for a bit as I thought about the fitness culture of my command and of the Surface Navy community as a whole.  Fitness, whether a micro or macro view, are not placed as a high enough priority in my profession.

A common pushback about shipboard life is that “what we do is not physically demanding so we don’t need to waste time on PT.”  That may be the case throughout the majority of the day but there are plenty of moments where physical fitness levels will be tested.

The suicide bombing attack on USS COLE, the recent missile attacks on US warships off the coast of Yemen, and any time we have a fire or other damage control event onboard a warship, all require responses from physically fit men and women.

My goal both at this command and at my next command (which will be a deployable command again) is to make sure that the people around me are educated and motivated on proper physical fitness.  Have you written any more on recommendations for raising the fitness culture in a unit? Any advice or further reading you can suggest would be appreciated and definitely taken on board.

Thank you very much for your time; have a great rest of the week.


I’ve done quite a bit of thinking and work on this idea. Most had had the focus of First Responders, which like the Surface Warfare community, generally have poor fitness cultures.

Here is a link to much of the work we’ve done: http://info.mtntactical.com/veterans-day-subscription-sale-2016?hs_preview=vxEZKZRA-4497275426

Specifically to your question, here are my steps to improve a fitness culture: http://mtntactical.com/all-articles/feedback-wanted-step-step-guide-build-fitness-culture-first-responder-unit/

– Rob


I’ve been lifting in a low top converse style shoe with a 3/4 length Superfeet orthotic insole in them. I have issues with collapsing arches/runners knee, so I have orthotics in all my shoes, boots, etc….

What is your opinion on lifting shoes vs converse style shoes? If a lifting shoe that incorporates firm arch support exists, I haven’t seen it. I like the idea of having more comfort and support than converse style shoes, but idk how my insoles will fit in the lifting shoes that are out there. My current shoes work for lifting, but aren’t ideal for doing a workout that has deadlift/squats and other WOD style stuff too.

I order the Reebok Lifter PR last week. The insole isn’t removable and my 3/4 length orthotics made my heel sit up to high, so they aren’t gonna work.

Any help, insight is greatly appreciated. Thanks!


We love our lifting shoes! I get the cheap Adidas power lifters and use green superfeet in them. Mine are like 5 years old and still going strong. I can box jump in them … but not run.

– Rob


I am currently training for the United States Army. I am an officer candidate looking to secure an infantry spot to go to ranger school. The impression I’m under is the  process works in this order: you go to basic, then OCS, then if I receive infantry I will go to Airborne and then Ranger school. Obviously you most likely know more about it than I do which is why I’m emailing. I’m very intrigued by the ranger school plan. It seems very intense and I love that. But the question is would you recommend doing this before I leave for basic? Or should I look at another plan. Thanks Rob, and I look forward to hearing from you!


Ideally, you’ll complete the 8-week Ranger School Plan the 8 weeks directly before Ranger School. The problem we have is neither of us knows what your post-OCS schedule will look like.

Others face similar situations and I always recommend they complete the plan before Basic/OCS. A couple reasons … first – these plans are no joke and it will get your head and body right for what lies ahead. Second, you’ll definitely increase fitness, and if you do have time to complete the plan prior to Ranger School, you’ll get even more out of it and be that better prepared.

Regardless, good luck!

– Rob


I have an athlete subscription plan and I’d like to supplement what I’m doing now with extra core work. I saw in a Q and A article that you recommend adding in chassis integrity sessions from your new plan of the same name. Is that plan included in the athlete subscription package?


Yes.  It’s called the “Chassis Integrity Training Plan.”

– Rob


I was wondering what program would be good for putting on size? I like the athletic movements that are incorporated in these programs. I wanted to get back into rugby and was wondering what would be a good program to follow.


Two choices from our stuff:

1) Hypertrophy Plan for Skinny Guys: http://mtntactical.com/shop/hypertrophy-program-for-skinny-guys/

Mass-building volume for lower and upper body

2) Ultimate Meathead Cycle: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ultimate-meathead-cycle/

Mass building volume for the upper body, strength volume for lower body.

– Rob


I am currently deployed in Afghanistan and have been doing the Best Ranger completion plan for a few weeks now, in preparation for an upcoming BRC assessment. We are training at 8000 feet, I was wondering if you have any advice for nutrition, recovery, or if we should be scaling back the training at all from the plan. The biggest issue my partner and I are having is nutritional refueling and sleep recovery. We are coming from FT Hood, TX so the elevation difference is starting to take it’s toll physically. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, we have done a decent amount of research but you train at over 6,000 FT. so we are interested to see what tips you have for recovery at high altitudes.


No special advice or any changes. Once you’ve adjusted to the altitude, you’re set. In general, it take 2-4 weeks to adjust.

The Best Ranger Plan is no joke. You’d be suffering at FT Hood, too. Stick with the programming.

The benefit from training at altitude will come when you drop down in elevation. It will be a huge benefit.

– Rob


I previously used your program SSD 8 week BUDs prep to train for a Advanced Infantryman’s Course and had great results. So I commend you on your programming and can say it made the course significantly less stressful on myself compared to those who didn’t prepare. I recently noticed that you had changed it up and now had monthly subscriptions. I love the vast amount of programs you have offered in that platform and plan to be a longtime member. Only issue I seem to have ran into is you don’t have an AF PJ program on the monthly subscription, which is the next step in my career. I have about 7 months to prep for INDOC and would like to utilize everyday to prepare. So question being is, how far off from a PJ program is the BUDS program that I have? What program in the subscription program would benefit the most? I know that you have a PJ program, but I feel it would be foolish to keep paying for more programs as I have already purchased the SSD Buds as well as the monthly subscription.

I look forward to working as an MTN athlete for the following months and hearing back.

Take care and stay frosty,


You’re mistaken. We’ve had a subscription program for many years.

In addition to daily programming for military, mountain and LE programming, subscribers get access to 130+ of our training plans.

Currently, selection plans aren’t included with the subscription.

Here are the plans I’d recommend before you begin the specific selection train up:

          Week    Plan

  • 1-6         Humility
  • 7             Total Rest
  • 8-14       Valor + Swim Improvement
  • 15           Total Rest
  • 16-21     USAF PAST Training Plan
  • 22           Total Rest
  • 23-26     Operator Pentathlon Training Plan
  • 27           Total Rest
  • 28-33     Fortitude
  • 34           Total Rest
  • 35-44     Selection Plan

All these plans except the selection plan are included with your subscription.

One major difference between our BUD/s and PJ Selection Plans is rucking. You’ll want to add significant rucking to the BUD/s Plan.

Good luck!

– Rob


I enjoy the workouts on the site, but some guidance would be helpful.  I need something focused on general fitness.  Other than an annual ski trip, my “every weekend in the mountains” days are over!!!  Being 40 with a family of five and working 60 + hours per week I just need something to keep me fit, active, and my weight down.    

I have been working on SF45 for a while now, and I like that, but I don’t have an hour + for a workout 5 days a week and I end up just carving it up or cutting short to fit my time needs.  Do you have program that would be better, or can I cut one of the existing ones down?  Would love your input.


Options –

1) LE Patrol/Detective Plans …. daily sessions. We’ve made several of these plans in the “Spirits” series … Vodka, Bourbon, Tequila, etc. These are all designed to be 45-50 minute sessions.

2) Busy Operator Training Plan.

– Rob


I recently read your article and the subsequent test you built around it, the MTI Relative Strength Assessment. I completed the test today. At a body weight of 170, I got 205 on bench, 170 on front squat, 160 on power clean, and 17 on pull-ups. This comes out to a score of 4.85-ish. The reason I am writing is that in your article, you mentioned that the test helps you address imbalances in your fitness. My strongest attribute is undoubtedly pulling strength, then pushing, then leg drive, and lastly overall body strength. I lost about 15 pounds, which resulted in a dramatic decrease in my leg strength, and my run/ruck times improved slightly. Two weeks ago I clocked a 35:59 5 mile run, my fastest yet, and four weeks ago I got a 1:30:54 on a 8 mile ruck run (no rifle, 45 pound pack) which is a personal best by 4 minutes. However, as we’ve discussed before I’m tall and lean, and really needed those extra pounds. That being said, I was only a little stronger before. In fact, according to your test I am (proportionate to my body weight) stronger now than I was at 185. I was faster at sprint speed during that time, but slower at anything over 3 miles.

I guess what I’m asking is how should I balance the approach of trying to gain weight and be stronger, when relative strength tests like the one I just did say I’m stronger when I’m lighter? We train for performance in the field, but I honestly notice little difference in most events, except for carrying casualties. That is notably easier when I’m bigger. Everything else is more or less the same. Do you believe relative strength has value when compared to just being strong? After all, just because someone scores more poorly than me on the RSA doesn’t make them weaker. They may outweigh me by 45 pounds and consequently have to push that much more weight than me. Whereas they are stronger simply by achieving a similar score because I cannot front squat or power clean what they can.

Additionally, my scores are average or below average, but my pull-ups save me from being a total disgrace. I did pull-ups for years in the corps, and my current level is far below what I have achieved. However, I had to give up some of that to gain progress on other events. You can probably tell from my scores and times that I’m not the most athletic guy, nor am I great at any particular event, pull-ups and weighted pull-ups being the only exception to that. With such a dramatic imbalance, what program would you suggest to begin to rectify that?


A couple thoughts ….

1) Tactical athletes are not strength athletes – most the time you’re moving your body around. The MTI Relative Strength Test is just quick, useful, wholistic assessment to give you a yardstick for overall strength, and pinpoint possible imbalances.

2) It’s very possible to significantly increase your strength without increasing your bodyweight.

Next Plan?

I’d recommend Operator Achilles. Super Squat programming for bench press and back squat, Big 24 programming for Power Clean. Lots of Chassis Integrity work, and some long Friday runs. Awesome stuff.

– Rob


I am currently anticipating a seat for the sfod-d selection next year. How transferable is this program to what I will be encountering at selection?


I designed the SFOD-D Selection Course Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/sfod-d-delta-selection-course-training-plan/) specifically to prepare athletes for SFOD-D Selection. It’s directly transferable.

This is a 10 week plan, designed to be completed the 10 weeks directly before selection.

We also have a SFOD-D Training Packet (http://mtntactical.com/shop/sfod-d-selection-packet/), which is serious of 6 training plans (10 months of programming) concluding with the SFOD-D Selection Course Training Plan.

– Rob


   First of all I want to say thank you for the programming you have put together.  I have been using your training programs for the last year or so and I have been able to accomplish several of goals due to your work.  Additionally, I really enjoyed being a virtual lab rat for Perseus and hope you do that again sometime.

   I am writing as I have another challenge before me and could use your advice. I am signed up to do back-to-back GORUCK Heavies (3 hour break between events) and wanted to get your recommendation on training. I used the Ruck Based Selection Plan to great success in the past and planned on using the v5 plan in the weeks leading up to the event in mid-April 2017. As of this coming Monday, I’ll be 22 weeks out from the event. Also, I am finishing up the final week of Hector currently. That all being said, sorry for the length, here is what I was considering:

1. Operator sessions until 8 weeks out the Ruck Based Selection Plan

2. Valor, Resilience, RBSP (as per the full Ruck Based Selection Packet working backward being 22 weeks out)

3. Perseus, Actaeon, RBSP (or some combo of the Hero plans into RBSP)

4. Big 24, Operator Ugly, Perseus, RBSP (Military Essentials working backwards to 22 weeks out)

Not sure what the best option is so figured I would ask for your advice. Thanks again for the great work you do and thank you for any assistance you can provide.


The overall goal is to send you into the RBSTP healthy, strong and rested. As you know, that plan is no joke and will set you up for your event.

Any of the options above is solid – except 4. I’d switch the order and do the Operator Plan first, then Big 24.

Of these options, I’d recommend the one which is most new to you. Don’t repeat plans (Perseus) unless you need to. Any of these progressions will work. 

– Rob


I’m a from Australia and a Subscriber to your fantastic website.

I have just finished a great ski season here in the Southern side of the planet. My skiing was made so much better by following your programs ( Dryland , Body Weight Foundation and BW Build) all awesome with massive improvements to all aspects of my health and fitness.

The biggest improvement in my body shape ( lost 24 kilos so far) was completing Bodyweight Foundation , I am the same vintage as you Rob (67 model) and struggle with big bar type movements like cleans etc due to lack of mobility in my wrists and when I tried Xfit some time ago I popped a couple of discs which makes me nervous with certain movements.

I have worked on some slight modifications to the BW Foundation program which I have attached and completed up to session 5 so far it is tough and would appreciate any feedback as I train mostly by myself but try to have at least 3 sessions with the trainer at my gym a month, this gives me support for both pushing me harder and technique feedback.

Jackson Hole is on my agenda for a ski trip in 2018 and would love both meet and train at your gym if the opportunity was available, thanks again for your great programs and clear guidance on all excercises. I also like the gear articles/videos.


Numbers are solid.

Know that bodyweight training will only take you so far on the strength spectrum – at least the way I design them. Next progression strength-wise begins to move you into gymnastics stuff – muscle ups, hand stands, walking on hands, handstand push ups, and exotic stuff like flags. There are gymnastics books at there which will help program you in that direction – I haven’t gone that far with my programming and at this point, am not sure I will.

One of the issues with the gymnastics movements is connective tissue strength. Lots of gymnasts start the sport young and build joint/tendon strength along the way. Getting into this stuff late can sometimes lead to muscle strength out-pacing connective tissue strength.

The final issue is boredom. We like the ability to move back and forth between loaded and unloaded movements. When you’ve been a gym rat as long as I have …. 30+ years now …. variety is important.

Touch base if you make it to Jackson.

– Rob


Just purchased the big mountain training program….looks great and excited to start

Was wondering about substituting cycling or swimming for running? Do you have any thoughts as far as advantages/disadvantages to this?


Stick with running. I know it will transfer to mountain performance. Swimming’s transfer is not nearly as direct.

– Rob


Will be headed to SFAS in a few months.  I completed the ruck based selection plan before enlisting, and currently I am required to run/ruck in the AM and have the evenings to work out on my own.

Any plan you recommend for the PM?


I’d recommend Operator Achilles: http://mtntactical.com/shop/operator-achilles/

Achilles has a strength and work capacity emphasis, but also trains TAC SEPA and Chassis Integrity. Fridays in the plan are long, unloaded runs, which you can skip. It’s an awesome plan!

– Rob


I am a firefighter in a medium sized city in Indiana. I’m familiar with your training methodologies and followed some of the plans from military athlete back in the day. I was curious what the differences are between the leopard and jaguar plans. I have a few guys here at work that are considering competing in the FF combat challenge and I was thinking that one of these might be a good place to start.


Both plans are 6 weeks long, 4x days/week and train the following fitness attributes:

  • 1) Relative Strength – strength per bodyweight
  • 2) Work Capacity – horse power for short, intense, dangerous events
  • 3) Chassis Integrity – mission-direct midsection training which transfers to the job
  • 4) TAC SEPA – Tactical Speed, Explosive Power and Agility

Jaguar is a “balanced” program in the sense it trains these attributes in equal proportions across the cycle. Jaguar’s strength work is focused on 3 exercises: front squat, walking lunges and push presses. It’s work capacity deploys sandbag get ups, 150m shuttle sprints and the sandbag clean and step over exercise from our Fire/Rescue Fitness Assessment.

Leopard also trains these attributes, but has a slight emphasis on strength and work capacity. Leopard deploys a greater variety of strength exercises and work capacity events.

Of the two, start with Jaguar.

– Rob


I was part time LEO 4 years and am now full time the last 2 years. I aim to go for our Special Operations unit next year whenever it comes out.

My training experience revolves around running and lifting but neither to any major degree. I did a marathon 3 years ago and did mainly lifting until I went full time.

There is a 4 day selection course for our unit. The demands are bodyweight work (lots of press ups!), running (sprints to fast middle distance) and some sandbag work. There is very limited rucking and it’s not time limited. Generally it’s bodyweight & running with limited load work. Obviously there is sleep deprivation and plenty of tactical work, shooting etc too.

My current running is pretty good; 1.5 miles in 10:00 and 5 miles recently in 36:22. Not stellar but progressing. I’ve been told a sub 09:00 1.5 mile run is recommended, as is being able to complete a set of 50 press ups. My press ups are big great, I’d probably max out at ~40.

What program would you recommend? My constraints are: time and diet. I work shift with 2 hours commute total each shift,

so I can’t do 2x a day that often. Diet wise im fairly limited due to suffering from IBS. My diet is low fibre and not particularly high calorie.

Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated!!


Prior to selection I’d recommend our SWAT Selection Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/swat-selection-training-plan/

You could do this plan now, if you wanted, and repeat it directly before selection.

The other options for now is Humility: http://mtntactical.com/shop/humility/

Both these plans are full on, no joke. If your fitness is suspect, start with the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/

– Rob


I am currently on a mission to improve my troop, and squadrons view on fitness and what is practical as apposed to what is assumed for military fitness. My commander has asked me to do this and create a plan involving strength, endurance, combative, and job involved pt. The guidelines I was given was that I had free range on resources but very limited equipment. Doing more with less!

I was referred to your site for help as well as for a possible training class here in Vilseck Germany, I know your scheduale must be packed but any help will be much appreciated and if I could get you to have a class to help educate myself and my peers it would be an absolute honor. Thank you for giving the time to read this message, hope to get a response at your convenience


My sense is you’re not familiar with our approach. I could be wrong – and please let me know if I am. Implementing one of our training programs company-wide is entirely possible and many others have done so – but it’s best you’re familiar with the flow and intensity. It is difficult, if not impossible, to double up our stuff and Army PRT.

This is constant tension – guys who want something different than PRT, but are required to do PRT.

Regardless, from our stuff, a no-joke plan to give you a harsh, but clear introduction to our approach is Humility: http://mtntactical.com/shop/humility/

What I’d recommend is you deploy this program with a small group at first – high performing squad, recon platoon, or similar. This is a limited equipment plan, but does call for pairs of 25# dumbbells. You could also use sandbags – I’ll leave it up to you to be resourceful, and I’m always an email away for questions.

There are other options also – Bodyweight Foundation is a no-joke, bodyweight only plan, and Sandbag Ethos uses only sandbags, but Humility is focused on military programming. 

– Rob


Just came across your site. I am looking to improve my work capacity with elevation changes for the Spartan Race in Virginia. I would love to know which plan or recommendations you may have to achieve my goal of a sub 2:30 time.

I greatly appreciate your time in advance,

It is ~ 10 miles with ~ 4500-5000 ft elevation change. That is the piece that gets me.


We’ve build a Spartan Sprint plan, but stopped our spartan plans there.

From what I do have I’d recommend the Alpinist Fitness Assessment Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/alpinist-fitness-assessment-training-plan/) with a few changes:

1) Complete the Step Up Assessment and the follow-on progressions wearing a 25# pack – not 40# as prescribed.

2) Skip the V-Sum Assessment, and on Wednesday’s in the plan, repeat the Saturday training session – step ups and running.


I had ACL surgery 3/4/16 and have had an awesome recovery.  My PT and I had our final visit about a month ago and she said if I passed all her tests I would be ok for skiing – which I did, but she would like me to hold off until I hit the 9 month mark.

I recently purchased the 30 Min/Day Dryland Ski Training Plan and I have a maintenance program that she gave me – I would like to mash the 2 together, but I am a little worried it might be too much.  I played with both of them and put together a 4 week program.  Would you be willing to look at it or put something together for me going off both programs or do you have any suggestions.


You’re asking me a medical question and I’m not a doctor. The 30 min/day program is not intense by our standards, but it’s intense for most – both the quadzillas and the touch/jump/touch are high impact exercises.

By my count, you’re 9-month mark is 12/3/16.

This is a delicate situation. You don’t want to start skiing with a fully heeled, but very weak leg and knee.

At the same time, you don’t want to be doing anything stupid and re-injure your knee.

Best answer is to do your PT’s rehab stuff, and spend plenty of time on a spin bike, between now and 12/4, then work into the dryland plan. Another option is to do our Post-Leg Injury Rehab Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/post-rehab-leg-injury-training-plan-ssd/) now through 12/4.

If you’re stubborn and want to start the dryland plan now, I’d recommend not doing the prescribed quadzillas, but instead replace them with mini leg blasters (you can find this exercise in our exercise menu). The mini leg blasters also train eccentric leg strength, but are unloaded …. so less impactful.

Regardless, watch for swelling and recovery.

Be smart.

– Rob


my name is John and I am looking into a few of the plans that you offer online. I was in a motorcycle accident in July, and I haven’t been active (other than fast paced work environment) since. That being said, I want to work up to the busy operator series- however, my biggest question would be, which packet would be most effective to begin with if I ultimately want to land with the busy operator package? I haven’t maxed in bench, squat, or any other major lift in about five years. I want to buy a large plan that covers a wider amount of time- something that I can do for years and years but not grow stale or sick of. Any advice would be phenomenal, thank you very much. Also, are stretches included in these workouts packages?


I’d recommend the Virtue Packet: http://mtntactical.com/shop/virtue-series-packet/

Start with Humility.

All these plans are no joke … so be smart starting out. Humility has a strong bodyweight focus and is a great place to start out.

Many of our circuits include stretches, but know flexibility is not a major part of my programming.

Here’s more on the Virtue Packet: http://mtntactical.com/fitness/virtue-series-packet-overview/

– Rob


I just started the Bodyweight Foundations program and had a question about the pro drill.

When not otherwise noted, is this just 1 repetition of the drill (Session 3)?

Thanks for your time-


Yes. Each round is just 1x repetition of the drill. The aim is to train agility, not fitness, and keep the movement quick and crisp.

– Rob


First off thanks for putting stuff like this together. I have been trying to find a plan that can incorporate running and lifting and you have really thought this stuff out.

I’m starting my off season now and I’ve looked through your plans and could use some guidance.

Ideally I would like to still run 3 days a week and then do strength work 2-3 days a week. I can probably set aside an hour of time a day.

I am somewhat torn between your In-season strength plans and your out of season strength plans for endurance athletes. I am a larger runner and I would like to do more speed work in the spring but I get injured pretty easily, hence the strength training. Any thoughts would be appreciated.


I’d recommend one of the plans from our tactical programming, Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

Here is the Fortitude Training Week:

  • Monday: Gym-Based Strength, Endurance (Unloaded 5-Mile Run)
  • Tuesday: Gym-Based Strength, Work Capacity, Core
  • Wednesday: Endurance (Ruck-Run)
  • Thursday: Gym-Based Strength/Core
  • Friday: Endurance (Unloaded Run, up to 9 miles)

Fortitude includes ruck running. Don’t do this – just add 25% to the prescribed distance and run unloaded.

Good luck!

– Rob


What plan do you recommend to prepare for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Physical Efficiency Battery (PEB)? This test consist of a body fat percentage, sit and reach, Illinois  agility run, max bench press and 1.5 mile run (https://www.fletc.gov/physical-efficiency-battery-peb)


I don’t have specific plan for the Physical Efficiency Battery yet and don’t have a plan that’s a real close fit.

Rat 6 (http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=101&cart_ID=84) will help with the 1RM Bench Press and sprinting for the Illinois Agility Test. But, you’ll want to practice the Agility Test multiple times.

Rat 6 doesn’t include a train up for the 1.5 mile run, however. The 1.5 mile run is one of the events in the USAF PFT Test, but I’d hate to have you buy two plans and piece them together.

What you could do is complete a 1.5 mile assessment and enter your score in our Running Calculator: http://mtntactical.com/exercises/running-calculator/

Then, 2x/week, complete 5 rounds of an 800m run at the Interval Pace, resting 3 minutes between rounds.

Sit & Reach? No idea, rather than to do the actual event repeatedly and use the Toe Touch Complex to increase your hamstring flexibility: http://mtntactical.com/exercises/mnt678-toe-touch-complex/

I’m sorry – I wish I had more. I’ll add building a plan for the PEB to the list.

– Rob


My name is Logan, I was referred from a friend who is doing the ranger school prep program. I have done about 4 weeks with him, but am trying to do something next, but I have some obstacles I am trying to figure out. Let me explain.

I have been able to do many of the exercises with him, but I have had to modify some of my own and I am trying to find out if MTTactical is for me as well.I was in a ATV wreck in 2010, with 10 surgeries later, a reconstructed left ankle, muscle and skin graft, I have normal flexion to the left and right, but not up and down, due to no cartilage.

I have found if I just lift weights, I put on tons of weight and never lose any weight, here are some of the exercises, I am trying to find the best program for me. I am weighing in at 218 lbs, 5,8 height. I would like to get down to 200 or less. I am an avid rock climber, mountain biker, and hiker.

One factor is I cannot run physically, I can bike, climb stadiums, front squat, power clean at lower weight, deadlift, all body weight, and most all upper body exercises.

With all of those factors, do you have any advice for me in a way to move forward, I have thought about the fat loss program, kettle bell, mountain climber as well.

Let me know what you think and what you can do. Thanks for all your help.


I don’t have a perfect plan for you – you’ll need to be resourceful and make exercise substitutions for squatting movements as needed.

At 5,8 and 218 you’re either built like a fire hydrant, or carrying around some extra fat. I’d like to see you at 175-185.

From our stuff I’d recommend the Bodyweight Foundation: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/

Don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” – this plan is assessment based and no joke.

It does include running – you can sub in step ups and biking as needed. When you make the subs, think time, not distance. So if the plan calls for a 5 mile run, assume you’ll run 9 min/miles, and do 45 minutes of step ups or bike for 45 minutes.

Finally – fix your diet. 80-90% of bodyfat is diet related. Here are our nutritional guidelines: http://mtntactical.com/inside-strong-swift-durable/frequently-asked-questions/#nutrition

Good luck!

– Rob


Long term subscriber here. I’ve just come back from an injury and am able to train hard again. ive lost alot of strength and my cardio now sucks. What sort of program should I go towards that will be able me to increase both of these whilst still looking to get a decent baseline before moving towards a dedicated SOF training program? 


2 Options …

1) Bodyweight Foundation: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/

2) Fortitude:http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

You have access to both these plans with your subscription.

– Rob

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