Q&A 11-6-14


Been using your plans for awhile, they are great. I have a two part question. I was sidelined with a injury and had to switch to primarily body weight and lost a lot of my strength. I also training mma twice a week, and train for my job in the military. I am wrapping up your single limb program, (which was tough due to my injury caused break from training) Trying to build back strength first towards working up to your fortitude program, but concerned about over training too much too soon. What plan is best next ultimate meat head to rebuild strength first or On ramp to do a little of everything?



Strength First. Ultimate Meathead is awesome and a great start: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ultimate-meathead-cycle/



I was just wondering what running technique you recommend. I keep hearing most crossfit type gyms recommend POSE running, but then some of the Olympic running trainers say POSE is worthless. What’s your opinion and what do you guys see giving people the most results.



I used to be a strong advocate of POSE running – and it certainly seems like the theory behind it is solid. However, some athletes, if they don’t do it naturally, (myself included) really struggle to learn the technique.


I’ve personally given up on POSE and similar running techniques, and am currently just trying to “run tall” – and see how that affects the impact on my joints.


So my advice is to try POSE – see how it works for you, and if it doesn’t, know that you’re not alone, and try something else.


Wish I could offer more…



I’ve been using MA for a few years now, but recently I’m in need of a new program that gets me back to basics. I’m looking to cut about 20# of fat, and focus on increasing my run time, push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. I’m looking for a 8-12 week program that helps me get there. Which plan do you think would be most appropriate for me? Your site has obviously a wide range. I would like to use minimal equipment, except for maybe a kettle bell, Olympic bar, and pull up bar.


I hope all is well, and thanks for pointing me in the right direction.



A couple places for you to start:


1) OnRamp Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/on-ramp-training-plan/

This training plan does require a fully equipped weight room – and I’m not sure if have the equipment for it.


2) APFT Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/apft-plan/

Running, push ups and pull ups, and it scales to your current level of fitness.



I was looking at the operator sessions and found a lot of the names and exercises programmed are new to me. It got me thinking about the valor program and trying to complete it at the gym or elsewhere. Does the program come with an exercise list and descriptions? Or would I have to refer back to your website for the descpritions while I completed it? Also, is it emailed in pdf like some of the others or sent in a book?



Unknown Exercises – you’ll need to see the exercises link on the website:http://mtntactical.com/category/exercises/

Plan format is .pdf.



I recently purchased your 357 strength plan and began using it last week. I feel as though it is an awesome plan.I also have several other plans such as the bodyweight 1, military athlete for crossfitters, and the endurance cycle plan and am interested in buying the valor plan. My question is what plan do you think I should use after 357? I’m not training for anything specific right now although I don’t want my run times to take too big of a hit as they are apt to after I don’t train running for a while. Also do you think I can add some shorter distance sprints such as 200’s with 357 and if so how would you recommend incorporating this. Sorry for the length of the email and keep up the amazing programming.



Valor would be a great plan next (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/) following the strength focus of 357 Strength.


Valor combines work capacity and endurance, and is running and rucking- intensive. You’ll love the 1-mile repeats!


357 and sprinting? Sure, – just watch over training.



I’ve subscribed to LE Athlete and love your philosophy.


I am coming off a three month strength cycle and have ignored other areas to hit the strength standards from SSD website. I’ve reached those standards.  However, now I struggle to complete the LE Athlete programming in regards to endurance and time.  (I’m smoked and I’m well over an hour.)


Should I cap my training to time or a specific point in the programming?  I know within a couple weeks I’ll be able to complete the programming as written.


Second question:

In your second nutrition video, you spoke briefly of sweet potatoes at the end. How should I incorporate them into my eating? I love them in every form, but don’t want to go overboard.


Best regards to you and your team.



Don’t cap your time. Keep grinding.


No limit on sweet potatoes. I had a baked one with almond butter for breakfast. Awesome!!


I remember before your site was remodeled that you had a diagram of what the strength standards were.  I found them on your new site under “Help” but I wanted further clarification on the following:


Power Clean

Squat Clean

Military Press


As well as BW exercises such as push ups, sit ups, squats, and running at varying distances.  Thanks



Our squat clean strength standard for military athletes is 1.25 x Bodyweight for male athletes. For Mountain Athletes, I have a Hang Squat Clean strength standard of 1.1 x Bodyweight.


I don’t have strength standards for the Power Clean or Military Press.


I do have a relative strength test however – which is ….


1RM Front Squat

1RM Bench Press

1RM Power Clean


Divided by your Bodyweight. I’d like male athletes to be at 4.0 and female athletes to be at 3.0.


Haven’t put anything formal together yet for push ups, situps, squats, and running.  But my guess right now, for general fitness, for men would be:


2 Minute Push up – 80x

2 Minute Situp – 80x

Max Bar Dips – 20

Max Strict Pull ups – 20

2-Mile Run – 14 min

5 Mile Run – 37:30

10 Mile Run – 80 Minutes.



I’m trying to decide between two training plans: Off-Season Strength for Endurance Athletes and the Dryland Ski Training Program. The product descriptions of both appear fairly similar, can you highlight the differences between the two programs?


For context I’m looking to get ready for ski season but I’m also coming off a spring/summer of endurance races (running, cycling, triathlons) and would probably benefit from correcting strength imbalances.



The programs are significantly different – the Off Season plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/off-season-strength-for-endurance-athletes/)  is a great general fitness strength plan, while the Dryland Ski Training Program is not a general fitness strength plan at all – but rather is laser focused on ski-specific strength and strength endurance.


Given your situation, I’d recommend the Dryland Ski Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/dryland-ski-training-program/).



I am pretty banged up from a summer of running ultras and am taking some time off.  I am planning on starting your off season strength plan again in a week or 2 and was curious about your other ultra plans.  Are the plans intended or designed to progress from the off season strength plan to the preseason plan into the 50 mile plan or 100 mile plan?



No, they’re not exactly designed that way although the nature of each progression and taper allows for a reasonable progression between them, especially the pre to 50 to 100.



I’ve been following your website and some of your workouts for a couple of years now and I was interested in both your Military Athlete and Mountain Athlete programming courses. I am a veteran and currently work in sports and recreation as an Athletic Coordinator. I also hold a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology. I was just wondering if there were any requirements before signing up for the programs? Also what is the normal class size?


I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully attending one of your courses.



No “requirements” but the programming course is not for new athletes and/or athletes new to gym-based training. You need to know your way around the weightroom. For example, I’ve had endurance-only coaches attend and they’ve struggled because they didn’t know the exercises.


It’s most suited to experienced coaches and experienced athletes who’ve been doing our stuff for some time and are ready to begin their own programming.



In 5 months I have the physical fitness assessment for the Australian army which is 30 push-ups, 60 sit ups and 10.1 beep test. These are the minimal standards but I would like to obtain much higher scores since the job I’m going for is competitive. What training plans do you recommend?



I don’t have the one perfect plan for  you.


Our APFT Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/apft-plan/) would work for your push ups and situps.


Our Beep Test Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/beep-test-training-plan/) covers the beep test, and includes some intense general fitness training. This will help with push ups and situps.


Of the two, I’d recommend the Beep Test Plan.



Got my subscription last night for the Operator Sessions. I am transitioning from Crossfit programming to a more work related training. I work for Border Patrol and plan on trying out for BORSTAR in March, which is similar to BORTAC so I will jump on the BORTAC training program that you offer a few months before I go to selections. I was able to get the full sand bag set that you recommend.  For the most part, I have all the gear you recommend except  dumbbells. Do you think I can wing the sessions with a set of 16kg, 24kg, and 32kg kettlebells in place of the dumbbell work? I’m not having much luck finding any dumbbells on CL, other than the power blocks. What’s your thoughts on training on a scheduled off day? I don’t like to take more than one day off at a time. I was planning on following the law enforcement athlete sessions and maybe hitting a military session on one of the off days. Thanks for any feedback and thanks for what you do! I wish we had training programs like this on deployments. Take it easy.



You should be good with your kettlebells. One pair of dumbbells we do seem to use a lot is a pair of 25# – and in general you can pick these up at any big box sporting goods store, and even a walmart.


Currently, the Operator Sessions are 5 on, 2 off. LE is 4 on, 3 off. Remember – you get more fit not by training, buy by resting after training – so don’t overload it. Our stuff is intense.


BORSTAR Selection – we’ve built a sport-specific training plan for this here: http://mtntactical.com/shop/borstar-stc-training-plan/


Water confidence and swimming are a big source of attrition at BORSTAR selection – so if you do decide to train during an off day, and you have access to a pool – swim.



I have completed multiple training packets from you guys and I decided to start preparing for the CSCS cert. and the tactical athlete program through NSCA. I’m currently a firearms and use of force instructor for the Border Patrol. I used your programs for the last year to get ready for the BORTAC academy. I wanted to say that your programs put me in the best shape I have ever been in.


What advice would you give someone looking to get into training tactical athletes? Which one of your programming courses would be of the best use for someone in my position?



Thanks for the great note!


My advice for all aspiring strength coaches is the same – if you love to train, you’ll love the job and be a good coach. If you don’t love to train, you may be successful, but you won’t love the job.


Next – read, read, read – I generally read 2-3 strength and conditioning books/week, and our library is extensive. This professional reading is the one key which will put you far ahead. But reading, and loving to train go hand in hand. If you love to train, you’ll be fascinated by all the reading. If you don’t love to train, you’ll hate it, and find some “formula” you think will sell and do that. This is the trap many crossfit affiliate owners and coaches get into.


Next – internships. Even to compete for an internship here an aspiring coach needs a Masters Degree, CSCS, and at least 1 internship in a college weightroom.


Finally – courses and mentorships. From our stuff you should take the Advanced Programming Course – but only after you’ve coached for a while. It will be over your head if not.

Good luck!


I took my CFT Saturday morning and scored decently. My sprint was slightly slower than I had hoped but otherwise all of my scores were perfect. Thanks for the advice, it really helped focus my training. Since it’s past CFT season now, I just signed up for your operator sessions this morning. I am going to start today with the 7.28.14 cycle, as you suggested. I’ve read over some of it and I’m excited to start. I did want to ask a question, however. I have begun swimming again two months ago and I do not want to drop it from my training. The cycle you started me on has plenty of running and rucking but I did not see swimming.


Without overtraining, how can I continue to include several swims per week in the schedule? I’m training for the 500 m breaststroke, and average 10:20slick (no gear/uniform). I try to average 2-3 thousand yards in every session, although I sometimes go over. I need to continue progressing here, so what would you say is a good starting point? I do have plenty of time during the day to work out, so I can split the sessions without issue.



I’d recommend dropping either the running or the rucking from the 6-week cycle, and replacing with your swimming. Drop which either you are best at, and focus on your weakness.



I recently finished the North Face Ski Workout Program (and had a blast) and was wondering if (and how so) the backcountry ski workout plan differs from the app? Also does the lift assisted workout plan mirror the North Face app? Just want to make sure I am taking the workout to the next level and continue progress!



The North Face plans we build are similar in exercises and progressions, but not as intense as the plans available at Mountain Athlete. Consider them a “lite” introduction to our programming.


The Backcountry Ski Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/backcountry-ski-training-program/) combines eccentric-based strength training with leg/core and lung development for skinning uphill. It’s intense.



First off, I wanted to say that I have heard excellent things about your training methodology.  I have a soldier in my company who attended some recent training you hosted at Bragg and he is a convert to Military Athlete.

My goal is to attend and successfully complete SF Selection and the Q-Course.  My current fitness level is a 246 on the Army APFT, I maintain a ruck time of between a 14:45 to 15:00 mile on 4-8 mile rucks with 40 lbs.  Currently 6ft even at 226 lbs and 29 years old.  I am average so to speak.  I intend to train up during 2015 with a goal of going to selection no later than spring 2016.  If the progress is quicker, I intend to go to selection quicker.  Is there a good program that would establish a baseline that would prepare me for the Q Course Training Plan?  Sorry for the long email, its easier to weed out unnecessary info than it is to guess or play email tag.   Thanks for your time.



Couple options for you:


(1) If you know you’re committed to SFAS, purchase and complete Ruck-Based Selection Training Packet (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-plan/). This collections of training plans will take you into SFAS.


(2) If you’re not sure, I’d recommend you begin our stuff with Fortitude (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/) which combines focused “combat chassis” strength training (legs/core) with military-specific endurance (running/ruck running).


This plan is no joke, a great introduction to our programming, and will be a serious gut check for you. It will give you a good idea if your ladder is up against the right wall (SF).



I have a question. I’m nearing the tail end of the Fortitude program and am really enjoying it. However, once this cycle is done I want to run it again but would like to focus a bit more on sprint work and less on the longer endurance runs. I enjoy the five mile runs on Mondays after strength work, but I was wondering if on the Friday runs I could replace them with sprint work instead. Or perhaps there is a program similar to fortitude that has a  focus more on mid distance and sprint work that you’d recommend. I appreciate the help and any type of response.



Sure,  – instead of the 5 mile run after lifting (I can’t remember which day that is) – you could run sprints. Another option is Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/), which deploys hard 1 mile run and ruck intervals, plus gym-based multi-mode work cap efforts.



I have a question regarding which program would best fit my goals. Currently I weigh 200 lbs. and am 6 ft. tall, and have lost 44 lbs. in the last year and a half. My goal is to get to around 180 lbs. and enlist with a Ranger contract and a PFT of 300/300. I completed your APFT plan and improve from a sad 77/300 to a 177/300 score(still sad). I plan on completing the APFT plan again, but would like to find a plan that will be optimum for weight loss and strength gains.



After the APFT Plan, I’d recommend 369 Work Capacity: http://mtntactical.com/shop/369-work-capacity-cycle/



I’ve been reading a lot on your site, I saw that there was mention of an air assault school plan but I did not see one; is there one?



I’m sorry, we haven’t built a program for Air Assult yet.


I’m thinking the Army OCS Plan might work well: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ocs-army-training-plan/



Could you explain the primary difference between the two body weight programs and provide a sample of the typical workout found in each?



The two programs apply different exercises and progressive strategies under our Fluid Periodization Model. If you’ve done neither, do Bodyweight I first (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-i-training-program/).


Sessions below.





Obj: Strength/Work Cap


Warm up:

3 Rounds

4-Square Drill

5x Push ups

10x Situps

10x Squats

Instep Stretch




(1) 10 Rounds

Mini Leg Blaster

30 Seconds Rest


(2) 3 Rounds

30 Sec Push ups

30 Seconds rest, then

immediately ….

Max Push ups in 60 Seconds


(3) 10 Rounds

Suicide Sprint every 30 seconds


(4) 4 Rounds

15x Situps

30 Second Front Bridge

5x Hamstring Hell

Lat + Pec Stretch

Hip Flexor + Pigeon Stretch






Obj: Strength/Core



4 Rounds

8x Push-ups

2/3x Pull-ups

8x Air Squats

3x Floor Slide


(1) 8 Rounds

1/2x Pull-ups

1x Chin-ups

Hip Flexor Stretch

Rest 30 sec.


(2) 10 Rounds

3x Air Squat then

immediately ….

3x Squat Jump, then

immediately ….

3x Jumping Lunge

3x Poor Man’s Leg Curl


(3) 4 Rounds

20/20 sec. Low Back Lunge

20x Russian Twists – unload

20/20 sec. Kneeling Founder

10x Face Down Back Ext.


(4) 3 Rounds

Pigeon Stretch

Lat + Pec Stretch

3x Floor Slide


(5) 3 Rounds

Instep + Pigeon Stretch

Lat + Pec Stretch



I am active duty Army Ranger and am currently deployed. Back home my wife and I enjoy going to the gym and training. I recently skyped with her and she told me that she is getting bored of her “Cosmo” workout as I call it, haha, one of those right out of the magazine things. In the past she has done a few Military Athlete workouts with me and she said she wanted to find a program like that. My thought is why not ask you what would be good SSD training for my wife? She has some gym and lifting experience, she doesn’t know how to perform snatches but cleans and hang cleans she’s good. Which program would you recommend for her?



SSD daily sessions are great, but might be too much coming from her “Cosmo” stuff. I’d probably push her toward the Mountain Athlete Bodyweight Plan first (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-training-program/) – and see if she likes our style.


I’ve completed RAT 6, I’m almost done with the Ultimate Meathead and Im going

into 357.


I’m enjoying the strength and mobility that I’m achieving with these programs. Looking ahead past 357, what would be a plan you would recommend. My goal right now is to just increase my overall strength, work capacity, mobility, durability and endurance.


I’ve glanced at the Valor Training Plan as my next step. Thoughts?



Yes – do Valor next. You’ve done 3 strength plans in a row and need some work capacity and endurance. Here’s the link to Valor: http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/



I have written to you multiple times in the past, and come to you seeking advice.  I am in the Army, and have realized that I won’t get to go to Ranger School or SF Selection, or any real cool stuff for that matter.  My PT is great and not a problem at all.  I will be in a classroom environment school for the near future, and want to get back into marathon running and the longer distance Spartan races.  My question for you is do you have a plan that will help me improve the strength I need and improve my run, or do you have any recommendations?  Could I do one of the running consults and tailor it towards what I am looking for?  I know you are the subject matter expert and I have a hard time balancing the strength training and running.  All of my Army related activities like PT and rucking are great, so I am coming to the oracle for advice.  Thank you for your time and all that you do for us!



We do some work with distance runners – but primarily on the ultra marathon side. I would say that your running performance for marathons will be primarily based upon your aerobic base, and mode-specific running training and progression – not weightroom strength. We’re careful not to tell the endurance athletes we work with that the strength work we program for them will make them faster. Rather, we strong believe strength will make them more durable.


On the marathon side, there are many qualified coaches available and I’d encourage you to go that route.



Hi Rob — I’m working my way through the surf program and have a question regarding certain ladder exercises such as #(3) in workout #32:

(3) 5 Rounds


Pull Ups

Push Ups x2

Back Extensions On Floor x3


Does this mean

  • you do a total of 29 pullups, etc.  (i.e. 5 on round 1; 6 on round 2, etc. . .)?
  • OR does it mean you do a total of 145 pullups, etc. (i.e., a ladder for each of 5 round, which would be 29 pullups x5 rounds)?



Round 1:

5x Pull Ups

10x Push ups

15x Back Extensions.


Round 2:

6x Pull ups

12x Push ups

18x Back Extensions


Round 3:

7x Pull ups

14x Push ups

21x Back Extensions


Etc ….

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