Q&A 1/16/15



I’m almost completely finished with the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet. I started in July and I am about to enter the last 8 weeks of it. I have lost about 20 solid pounds which is where you recommended me to actually be in the beginning of this adventure anyway. The results I have attained during this program are undeniable. It has completely transformed my performance not only in the gym but especially on the outside. I really appreciate what you’ve done with putting something like this together. I have told everyone I come in contact with to look at your products when they ask how I’ve stepped my performances up so dramatically.


As you suggested, I picked up your Training Plan for Athletes Suffering Leg Injury. I just wanted to shoot you a note and thank you for helping me regain my sanity. I was losing my mind sitting on the couch and its a great thing to be able to back in the gym (even if I am on crutches). Thanks for the help.


I am 54 with some fitness and I am going to the Grand Teton for a climb with JHMG in August. I read the article you posted about being a little older and what comes with that and was wondering if the Peak Bagger program would be appropriate for my age or maybe modify it somewhat?


The progressions and the programming in the Peak Bagger Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/peak-bagger-training-plan/) are exactly what you meet for The Grand.

There is no summit of the Grand Teton for older athletes, unfit athletes, etc. There’s one summit – so the programming I recommend is the same.

What your age will impact is recovery. You’ll need more rest as you work through the plan.

As written this is a 6 week, 5 day/week plan. I’d recommend you start out 8 or 9 weeks, and for the first 2-3 weeks, do a full day rest between sessions.



I’m a military aviator that will soon be sent back to MARSOC for another FAC tour as a 35 year old man.  I was formerly a strength athlete, but I’ve been working primarily with weights over the last couple of years and it’s been intermittent at best.  I’m deployed on a ship for the next six months and I want to make the most of it.  Due to the ships movement overhead Olympic lifts aren’t a great idea, but otherwise I have access to gear and I can find open space(the flight deck).  I’m open to suggestion.


A great place to start our stuff would be our Bodyweight Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-i-training-program/

This plan is no joke, has a significant strength element, and because equipment isn’t required, you’ll have no excuses.

Follow it up with 369 Work Capacity: http://mtntactical.com/shop/369-work-capacity-cycle/

This is a great plan which includes running, ruck running, and gym-based work capacity efforts, as well as one day/week dedicated to strength. You’ll likely have to run and ruck run on a treadmill – which will and a good mental fitness element!!



I just learned of your site and watched your YouTube intro.  I’m signing up this week.  I’m a Deputy Sheriff in Maryland.  I work street patrol and also am a SWAT operator and sniper.  I was looking at the description for the military athlete program and LE athlete and am trying to decide which to choose.

LE athlete seems to be suited well for my patrol duties (30lbs gear, running, sprinting, fighting) but the military athlete seems well suited for SWAT function (60+ lbs gear, long periods on feet in gear, durability,  strength and endurance).

Any recommendations on one or the other, or maybe a mix of both?


This is a tough one and you’re note alone in splitting roles. Many guys it seems are full time patrol officers or detectives, but also part of their municipality’s or county’s SWAT team.

I’d recommend you train primarily for your full time job – Deputy, and do the LE Sessions. These aren’t perfect for your SWAT duties, but they are no joke.

One of the differences between LE athletes, especially patrol officers, deputies, detectives, and military SOF operators, line unit guys and full time SWAT officers is the is in degree of the “burden of constant fitness.”

None of you can afford to be out of shape. But at least military operators and athletes have some idea of deployment schedules, and full time LE SWAT guys don’t have the every day mental stress of lurking potential danger many deputies and others like you do.

The intensity and brevity of the Officer Sessions will get you fit and provide a good mental break you can work into a busy patrol day.

So start there. Your subscription also gives you access to the Operator Sessions, so after 6 weeks or so of the Officer Sessions, you could switch over and do good cycle on the Operator side.


I’ll get right down to it.  I’m a Navy veteran and a ten year veteran of a large sheriff’s department in Southern California.  I used to be in shape (or what I thought was in shape) until I found craft beer, bourbon, and BBQ.  Combine that with ten years of 12+ hour patrol shifts, poor eating habits, and the demands of a wife and three children, I have become extremely overweight and sedentary.  I have gotten to the point that my appearance is most likely hindering my ability to be promoted, despite my actual level of skill on the job.  I look in the mirror and do not see the warrior I once was.  I just see 250 pounds of chewed bubble gum in a tan and green bag.  I am tired of looking and feeling this way.  I want to look and feel like an operator.  I want my wife to look at me the way she used to.  I want my kids to say, “I want to be fit like daddy!” and take fitness and nutrition seriously, unlike the way I did.  Most importantly, I want to be healthy and able to overcome what faces me at work.  If I do not make it home to my family, I don’t want it to be because I was too unfit to survive.  I have the mind and spirit of a warrior, now it’s finally time to combine them with the body of one as well.  Please help!

As far as my level of fitness, I’m either at zero or even negative.  I am 5’10” and 250 pounds.  my body fat percentage is well into the 20’s, probably closer to 30.  I have no gym equipment at home, but I have the ability to buy my own gear.  I also have a few gyms nearby, such as Anytime Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness.  I have read books on Paleo, Eat to Live, and various other diets, but I have not been able to stick to them or convince my family to lean that way.  I am motivated and open to anything you suggest. Thank you for your help!


  1. Fix your diet. 80% of bodyfat is diet related. You can’t outwork a shitty diet. Here’s my nutritional guidelines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGs2tnMQJlc&list=UUiTR_zJV0cB8l8qSBYya-eg
  2. Start with the On Ramp Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/on-ramp-training-program/

Good luck.



Good morning!  I know you guys are busy, but I had just a couple questions as I begin my SFAS Prep Packet.

  1. I am actually preparing for the CCT pipeline, but I found no such packet.  How should I modify my packet to reflect a more swim-focused selection?  Switching out the last segment for the CCT plan for sure, anything else?
  2. I’ve been using my heart-rate monitor to track progress.  When you say moderate, I assumed 70-80% max heartrate.  Any opinion, or is it just based on perceived exertion?
  3. Should I ever break up these workouts, or are they designed to be completed in one session?

I know your gym has its hands full, and I appreciate your time!



  1. Yes – substitute the USAF CCT/PJ/CRO training plan for the last plan of the cycle. The other plan to consider is the Swimming Improvement Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/swim-improvement-plan/). I’d recommend substituting it for the Rucking Improvement plan during the Rat 6 cycle.
  2. 80-85%
  3. Complete in one session.



Do I only train four days a week with the SSD programming?


The idea is to give you Friday rest so you can hammer recreation on the weekend.



Do you have a range fitness plan available for sale?


We do – it’s for mid-range carbine work (80-100 yards) – depending upon the target size.

Range Fitness – Mid Range Carbine: http://mtntactical.com/shop/range-fitness-mid-range-carbine/



I have recently come across the Military Athlete program and I am eager to start but I was wondering what program to start with. I am hoping to get to Sandhurst in the September 2016 intake after my degree finishes and to hopefully go for the Parachute Regiment.

Also would it be possible to give an ideal progression of what I should be doing until September? Such as what programs to follow or what packets?

Before Christmas I had completed Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength Novice program.


I’m assuming you have already taken the British Officer Selection test are are set for Sandhurst. If not, we’ve build a specific plan for that: http://mtntactical.com/shop/british-officer-selection-board-training-plan/

Sandhurst …. Start our stuff with the OnRamp Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/on-ramp-training-plan/) and follow it up with a subscription to the site – following the Operator Sessions.

I haven’t built a Sandhurst-reporting specific day plan yet (it’s on the list), but our US Army OCS plan would work.

Six weeks out from Sandhurst, cancel your subscription and do the Army OCS Training Plan:  http://mtntactical.com/shop/ocs-army-training-plan/



I am looking at CAG operator selection fall 2015. Do you have a program that has helped military prepare for the unique physical challenges that selection demands?


I’ve build this plan for CAG/SFOD-D: http://mtntactical.com/shop/sfod-d-delta-selection-course-training-plan/



In the interest of time, feel free to skip this part:

First, I would like to say thanks again for your excellent programming. I’ve used your single leg program and bodyweight for both Military Athlete and Mountain Athlete. All three have been fantastic. Additionally, your durability focus has me feeling better than I felt two knee surgeries ago.

Anyway, I am the programming coordinator for my girlfriend and myself. I played football in college and used to work out at an Oly gym, so I am comfortable with pretty much everything I’ve seen on your site. However, my girlfriend is not. We have done most everything except Olympic lifts, which are on the docket for this quarter.

Actual question:

If I’m looking for a strength program with fewer Oly lifts for one experienced trainee and one who is less so, should I go for Rat 6, 357 or Big 24? Our goals are strength, durability, and some work capacity.

This is a pretty long question, so I apologize! I appreciate everything y’all do and I am looking forward to continuing to use your programming.


Thanks for the great note.

Do Big 24: http://mtntactical.com/shop/big-24-strength-training-program-v3/

Limited exercise menu, super intense. You’ll both enjoy it.



I was turned on to your program from one of my friends currently conducting one of your training regiments. I am not sure where to begin with all the products you have. A little about myself, I had a lisfranc fracture of my left foot a year ago, which tends to cause some overall running issues. I have improved over time and I can endure some running with proper stretching and preparation. I have just completed the Bobybuilding.com Jim Stoppani 12 week shortcut to size program and have just begun the 6 week shortcut to shred program. I am looking on reducing my body fat content and improving my strength and mobility so I can get off this permanent profile. My gym knowledge is limited to the past programs I have mentioned plus some YouTube videos I researched. Even though I do not have a very physically demanding job as I am an Electronic Warfare NCO. I am changing my lifestyle and plus, who doesn’t want to be as physically fit as Rangers or SOF. I would like to begin your programs, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.



To start our stuff, and push you out of body-building focused work, I’d recommend 357 Strength: http://mtntactical.com/shop/357-strength/

This cycle combines functional strength strength with short, hard, intense work capacity efforts.



Wanted to get your recommendation on training for some 2015 events.

Training for: Goruck heavy in July, Spartan races later in the year (like August+)

Background: Completed several Goruck challenges before getting hurt/burnt out while training for Goruck Selection in 2013 (was using SSD Selection training plan which I really enjoyed – just didn’t do enough stretching/mobility). Much of last year was recovery but did do a Spartan sprint. Have since been doing some running and Spartan workouts. Definitely need to do more rucking as the Heavy will be the first big event.

What I’m looking for is a series of plans that will get me ready for the SSD Goruck Heavy training plan (which I already have) and then more running focused events like the Spartan races. Any combination of your training plans and the order you would do them in would be great.


Between now and 8 weeks out from your GoRuck Heavy I’d recommend a subscription to the Operator Sessions on the website.

8-Weeks out from the GoRuck Heavy do our plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/goruck-heavy-training-plan/

We have also built a plan specifically for the Spartan Sprint race. After your Heavy, take some rest, and complete this plan before your Spartan event: http://mtntactical.com/shop/spartan-sprint-race-training-plan/



I’m about to start your run improvement program and I’m not quite sure how to implement a day of rucking. I was thinking of switching the LSD run with 6-12 mile rucks at 15 minute pace or faster. If you don’t think that would work out too well, how would you implement a Ruck day without over training?


Ruck Run on Wednesdays.

Start at 4 miles, and increase 1/2 each week.

Use a “moderate” pace – “comfortable but not easy,” but run the entire distance.



Sir I was hoping you could help me out with figuring out a plan to use.

Here is what my schedule looks like right now

  • Monday – Sprints, push ups, pull ups, sit ups
  • Tuesday – LSD, push ups, pull ups, sit ups
  • Wednesday – Rest
  • Thursday – Sprints, push ups, pull ups, sit ups
  • Friday – LSD, push ups, pull ups, sit ups
  • Saturday/Sunday – Rest

Now my question is how can I input weight training into my schedule? Do you have a program that I can incorporate with my current schedule? Would you be willing to help me out and create one?


To input weight training into your schedule, start doing heavy front squats and walking lunges on Tuesdays and Thursdays in place of your push ups and pull ups. In addition, I’d replace your situps with sessions from our Bodyweight Only Core Strength Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/core-strength-bodyweight-only/. Or better yet, our loaded, equipment bases sessions found in Core Strength I: http://mtntactical.com/shop/core-strength-i/

As far as a program to incorporate into your current schedule, my question back to you is are you serious about strength training or do you just want to dabble? If you’re serious, then give up your schedule and do Valor: http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/

No – we rarely do individualized training and you don’t need it. If you’re hesitant to do a complete shift from bodyweight work to gym-based strength training, at a minimum I’d recommend you stop doing your current schedule and do our Bodyweight Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-i-training-program/

This plan is no joke, will push you upper body and quickly identify your lower body and core deficiencies on the strength side. Unlike your current schedule, this plan includes extensive lower body and core strength work.


Want to start off saying that I have used your programming and plans over the past two years and more recently on a 9 month deployment getting ready for an officer package for BUD/S. Needless to say it worked extraordinarily well, I got picked up. I’m detaching soon to head out to San Diego. My question isn’t as much about training as I feel I have the physical and mental tools in order to succeed, but instead about durability issues and staying healthy throughout the pipeline. At this point getting injured is my  number one fear. Other than the standard rolling out, lacrosse ball/ mobility wod tools, and other standard mobility work; nutrition, and adequate sleep, what do you think the keys to staying healthy throughout are? Along with the best ways to minimize stress fractures, tendonitis, and other common ailments that people seem to face. To be honest when I ask most people, especially those who failed out on what they would have done or how to succeed where they failed, their simple response is to just do steroids. Obviously not the answer I’m looking for or even considering

Not sure if you have any further suggestions or guidance but it would be greatly appreciated.

I’ve really enjoyed all the training you’ve provided through your website, especially the knowledge articles and BUD/S prep programs. They’ve helped immensely on this long arduous journey.

Thanks again and all the best!


Here is my Durability Equation:

Durability = 80% Relative Strength & Fitness + 10# Mobility + 10% Functional Movement.

I’m a bit of a contrarian here, but by far, the best thing you can do to be durable for BUD/s is be strong and fit going in.

Second, if you think you’re going to get hurt, you are. Stop it.

Good luck! I’m jealous.


Good morning.  I had a quick question about the Valor workout I purchased back in November.  I’m a military athlete, active, 41 year old male.  I’m having a tough time especially with the Wednesday workouts (17 min EMOM’s).

My question is: am I over estimating my fitness level, should I scale the work back massively, or should I perhaps complete something like the running improvement plan, body weight program, and maybe the Big 24 and then go back to Valor?  Thanks for your time.


Those Wednesday work caps are no joke. Drop the reps for each exercise to 3x reps. If you still struggle, drop to 2 reps.


First of all, thank you for your Mil Athlete Ranger School prep program. I found it extremely effective in preparing for the school physically, and ultimately I earned my tab.

Secondly, I have not had a Operator Session membership for a few years now. I am looking to buy a year membership, but was wondering: How have the Mil Athlete Operator Training sessions and the programming you use to develop the sessions changed over the last few years? Do they include more running/cardio? Is there still an emphasis on strength?

Again, thank you for developing these outstanding programs. They’ve been a great benefit for myself and my paratroopers.


Three broad changes over the years:

1) Do few things. Do them Better.

I’ve continued to narrow down the exercise menu as I’ve learned what works best, is the most transferable, and can be done by most athletes. We’ve moved away from snatching for example – simply because this exercise has strong technique and shoulder flexibility components which often got in the way of training effect for many guys. I’m interested in increasing an athlete’s explosive power for outside performance. The snatch will do this, but so will the hang squat clean which is a much easier exercise for most athletes to learn. Instead of spending time on the technical intracacies of snatching, now we’ll work on adding weight to the barbell for hang squat cleans and craig specials. I’m not training crossfit competitors or athletes preparing for an Olympic weightlifting meet. I’m using the efficiency of the weight room and barbell to make military athletes more explosive for fast, sometimes violent movement, stronger in the midsection and legs (combat chassis), and increase their ability to take impact – all which are transferable to the battlefield. I want to use the simplest exercise to get this done.

2) Increase Military-specific Endurance.

Endurance programming has increased significantly – specifically ruck running and running. We now include endurance cycles in our Fluid Periodization approach, and look to maintain endurance when we’re deep into other cycles like strength and work capacity. This shift has been driven by a couple things – first, the drawdown and the move to a peacetime/garrison force where running is more important. Second – the knowledge that rucking and ruck running is a very specific type of fitness which needs to be practiced and maintained.

3) Base Fitness has become more “Sport Specific” for Military Athletes.

When I first started, “Base Fitness” was more general – but I’ve come to believe that there are certain work-related fitness demands military athletes can never get too far away from – rucking, for example. Also – a focus on the “Combat Chassis,” grip strength, pulling strength, sprinting ability, etc. You’ll really see this reflected in our work capacity cycles/training sessions for the Operator Sessions. Years ago our work capacity efforts would have programming based on duration, but exercise and activity choices had much variety. Now the work capacity sessions are still programmed with duration in mind, but exercise choice is also thought out. For example, many work capacity efforts are build around sprinting – very important for Military Athletes.

To get a taste of some of this programming evolution short of subscribing to the Operator Sessions, I’d have you consider Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

This is a 6 week cycle we completed last summer.



Let me start out by saying thank you for taking the time to read this. I just have a very simple question. I want to start your operator sessions. My question is i have weights at my house adjustable dumbells, rogue rig, bar, kettlebells, plyobox, flat bench, will this be enough equipment to do the operator sessions? If not what else should i get? Also doing the operator sessions, do you personally think i will be able to keep up to date with them doing my normal Army PT schedule? Thank you


The Operator Sessions require a fully outfitted functional gym set up – Seems you have just about everything needed – but you also need a 60 and 80# sandbag, and rack with pull up bar for squats/pull ups. Not sure if you have that.

Do these in addition to Army PT? It depends upon how fit you are and how demanding the Army PT is. The Operator Sessions are full on, and designed to be the day to day training for SOF guys and motivated line unit guys. If your Army PT is mostly running, you should be ok, if you’re fit. If it’s more involved, you may want to consider one of our strength plans instead. Many guys double up Army PT and one of our strength cycles. If you go this route, start with Rat 6 Strength: http://mtntactical.com/shop/rat-6-strength/

Army PT in the AM. Strength in the PM.



Hope you are doing well.  I had a quick question regarding my next plan.  I just finished up Falcon, and really enjoyed it.  I definitely felt stronger with a much higher work capacity and endurance threshold.  

I have a 10k trail run coming up in Mid-April that I am trying to beat my previous time on.  April is quite a ways away, but I feel like I am stuck between working through another plan, versus getting back into training hard to beat time.

My one thought was to subscribe to SSD for the rest of January/midway through February, then jump right into the Pre-season endurance plan.  Do you see an issue with that?

Thanks again for your advice.


Plan is solid. General fitness (SSD) 8 weeks out, then focus on the event specifics – running.



I have been doing GORUCK events for a little over a year. As a result I have started training more and have really enjoyed the programs you guys put together.

I was wondering if there are any of your educational offerings that I could participate in. I like knowledge because it helps me not get hurt. OR should I just be diving in to the articles that you guys offer on your site? I am relatively new to doing fitness routines and so I won’t be offended if you tell me that I should just stick to the plans for purchase, and not worry about any of the programming classes just yet.

One other question, is there a way to adjust either the kettlebell program or the Sandbag/weightvest/Dumbell program to just sandbags. I owe a couple of the GR sandbags and want to utilize them more in training.



Programming Course? Anyone can attend, but you need to know your way around a weightroom, and be an experienced athlete. Is this right for you? I’m not sure – mostly coaches, SOF guys and experienced athletes attend.

Here’s a video I put together on the Advanced Programming Course and who it’s appropriate for: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrGUBTf_Tdg&list=UUiTR_zJV0cB8l8qSBYya-eg

Just Sandbags? Not really. I haven’t built a sandbag-only plan yet. I’d recommend the Sandbag/Weightvest/Dumbbell Training Plan. You could use a pack for the weight vest and just buy a pair of 25# dumbbells.



Thanks for taking the time to look this over. At the moment I am finishing an associates degree but at the end of summer (July-August), I want to have enlisted and ship out for Airforce basic training. I am aiming to go to selection for Air traffic combat controller. I understand that you already have a training plan for that, (USAF CCT/PJ/CRO selection plan) and I plan on utilizing that. However, I am worried that I am currently a bit small and slightly understrength for that particular training plan.

About me:

  • I am 5’11
  • 165#
  • 22 years old
  • Bench press 3 Rep Max 165#
  • Pull ups Max 8
  • Squat 3 Rep Max 165#
  • I can run a 6:30 mile and a 14 minute 2 mile.

I was wondering if you would suggest jumping straight into the CCT/PJ/CRO selection training plan or if you would suggest a different plan to ramp up with first. I was considering the Hypertrophy Program for skinny guys.

Thank you again for your time.


I’d like to see you at 180-185#. Yes – start with the Hypertrophy Program: http://mtntactical.com/shop/hypertrophy-program-for-skinny-guys/



First, I love your website and what you guys are doing.  I’ve been looking for something like this and hope to get started soon.

I am 42 years old and starting running obstacle course races (OCRs) last year as well as did my first GORUCK Challenge in December.  I would like to select a program that will help me prepare for my upcoming OCRs in March, April and May and my next GRC in June.  I exercise at home but have he following equipment:

  •        TRX
  •        40lb and 60lb Sandbag
  •        35lb and 50lb Kettlebells
  •        Bands

I was looking at the Body Weight plans and thought maybe I could just add things if needed (like running, sandbags and kettle bells), but if there is another program where I can incorporate more of what I have that would be awesome.


I don’t have a plan that perfectly fits your equipment list.



I’ve followed your programming for almost two years now and have had great success in preparing for OCS and TBS. Now that I am actually at The Basic School, I feel as though my physical fitness is at a low for what I have been used to recently.  Although I am doing just fine on all physical graded events at TBS, I feel the need to prepare myself to a higher level for IOC. What do you recommend for the time I can fit in workouts during the training schedule? I have been taking operator sessions and just smoking myself when I get the chance, but typically I am short on time and squeezed into an overcrowded gym.


I’d recommend doing your best to work through the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-plan/)

You especially need to get in some rucking. Plus, this plan is not gym-dependent. The equipment list is narrow.

Good luck!



I had a female friend of mine preparing to reclass to civil affairs. Is there a particular plan you would recommend? Thank you


I don’t have a plan specifically for Civil Affairs yet, and I think the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan would be overkill. So I’d recommend the Army OCS Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ocs-army-training-plan/



I have been following your site for about 3-4 months now. I used the Bodyweight 1 while I was deployed to Japan recently and was very happy with being able to keep my fitness level fairly consistent. So I’ve downloaded other programs that have interested me like the Bataan Death March and the Big 24, and I feel that they work well, especially the BDM. But I also train martial arts sir, mainly Judo and Jiu-Jitsu, and I was hoping that you could give me some advice on whether or not I need to add another program or supplement in another way. I love the SF style programs and was very big into SOFWODS for about 2 years prior while doing both martial arts, so the volume was very high for me, and I truly enjoyed it. So do you have any recommendations that would help sir?


I’d recommend you use your martial arts training as your primary work capacity work, and use your gym time to train strength. If not, the overall volume will cause you to overtrain.

Your gym-based strength training should be heavy weight, low volume. From our stuff I’d recommend Rat 6 Strength (http://mtntactical.com/shop/rat-6-strength/)

Lift first, martial arts later. If needed, pull back your lifting to 2-3x/week – you’ll still make gains.


Firstly, I hope this finds you well.  I have just begun working through your low-back fitness program after being medically separated from the Marines for a brachial plexopathy and a back injury overseas.  I am back on what will definitely be a long road to fitness.  But I still can’t do a proper pull up.  I can do v-handle pull downs, TRX rows, and inverted rows on a smith machine but the regular progression method to a full, supinated, pull up isn’t working too well.  I was wondering if you may have any insight as to good progression. Thank you for your time,



  1. Lose weight. Not sure about your size, but most men can get at least 1x pull up. Chances are you need to lose some weight. Here’s our nutritional guidelines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGs2tnMQJlc&list=UUiTR_zJV0cB8l8qSBYya-eg
  2. Do this every day:

(1) 6 Rounds

3x Pull ups or negatives

Rest 45 seconds

(2) 6 Rounds

5x Horizontal Pull ups (http://mtntactical.com/exercises/mnt553-horizontal-pull-up/)

Rest 45 seconds

Pull ups …. each round, try to get 1x pull up from the bottom. If you can’t, do 3x “negatives” – jump up so your chin is over the bar, and let yourself down slow.

Good luck.



First things first – I’m a dedicated student of your workouts who has not only gotten results, but encouraged others to use your training plans. Keep them coming!

We train for a goal, right? This is my goal … In May 2015, I plan to kayak the Connecticut River, from the MA border to the iconic finish line of Long Island sound.  The route is 70 miles of flat water, with an average of 7 hours of paddling per day for three days.

How should I structure the pretraining/start/rest of your paddling training program? (i.e. what program pairs best as an on-ramp to paddling … how many weeks prior to the trip should I start the paddling program … how many days of rest should I plan immediately before the trip. Thanks a million.


Best would be to subscribe to the website and complete the SSD general fitness daily sessions until exactly 8 weeks and 2 days before your departure date.

Then cancel your subscription and purchase and complete the 8 week Kayak/Paddling Pre-Season Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/kayakpaddling-pre-season-training-program/).

Then rest a couple days and get after it.



I am on session 3 of the SRT/SWAT program and enjoying it. My assessment was 2 reps at:

  • 135 bench press
  • 13 24″ box jumps
  • 7 reps 95 power curls.

So what should my 35% be for all.

Should I lower my bench weight to get more reps or…

Thank  you for your time.


Drop your bench press load to 105# and try for 6 reps per interval. If it’s easy, go up to 8x.

Box Jumps: 35% of 13x reps = 5 reps

Power Curls – drop to 75# and try for 6 reps each interval. If it’s easy, go up to 8x.



I have completed multiple programs of yall’s training programs and really enjoy their success. I am thinking about subscribing to the SSD programs and have a couple of questions.

If your programs are periodized and are the ones the lab rats complete daily, what will I have access to if I subscribe at any given time? Do I begin with the workouts your gym is doing, or do start with some sort of initial assessment?

Is PayPal needed, or can I use a credit card? Do I make the monthly payments on my own on a specific date, or are the funds withdrawn automatically by SSD?


1) You’ll have access to all our of ongoing programming including SSD, LE Officer Sessions, Military Operator Sessions, SF45 and whatever mountain cycle we are in.

2) I generally recommend you begin at the start of the most recent cycle, and then follow in success from there. You should be doing the Officer Sessions.

3) You can pay with your CC. Payments are pulled automatically, I think the day of the month you subscribe.



For those who have liked and finished the Big 24 and Operator Ugly..what do you suggest as the progression for those.  Would you repeat the both of them until you don’t see anymore strength gains or would you recommend another one?


I’d a recommend a pivot to endurance. Do Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/



I’ve got a kind of tough situation, I’ve done a bunch of your programs in the past, to include ranger school prep, off season endurance, APFT, run improvement And SFAS. But now I find myself in a bit of a predicament. I’ve got stress fractures. 4th metatarsal, calcaneus, and femur all on my right side. The problem is I’m currently in SOCM as part of the SFQC, I need your help! What do I do? How can I keep the weight off and get my run back to the 40 minute 5 mile standard as fast as possible?


Weight off – this is 80% diet. Fix your diet – follow our nutritional advice, but eliminate the cheat day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGs2tnMQJlc&list=UUiTR_zJV0cB8l8qSBYya-eg

Training – I don’t have a plan specifically for the 5 mile run right now. Couple options ….

Stress fractures: I’m not a doctor and can’t give you medical advice here. I’m sure a doctor would tell you not to run. If you’re determined, ice and ibuprofen until you get through the assessment.



Stumbled across your website through Backcountry.com. Entertaining purchasing a plan or the subscription service but wanted to get your thoughts on a plan. A bit of background on me is important I think.

I am, 36, 5’6”, 150 (need to drop 10 or so), prior military, Field Biologist, Search & Rescue, Canyoneering Trip lead at Zion National Park (NPS employee), sport and trad climber, and a backcountry skier. I have chondromalacia patella in both kness, a torn meniscus, un-repaired, in my right knee, and some cartilage damage in my left hip which doesn’t give me much grief.

So no more running or lunges and mandatory trekking pole use. Endurance, recovery, strength are all important; work has me packing up to 60 pounds at times and some weeks I hike 30-40 miles with varying amounts of weight. Wildland fire pack-test for SAR is taken yearly, currently passing with a 41 or 42 minute time. Probably to much info but might be helpful.


I’d recommend our Alpine Rock Climbing Training Program (http://mtntactical.com/shop/alpine-rock-climb-training-program/).

You’d need to skip the Quadzilla complexes in the training – these involve lunging, but rest you should be able to do. It will help with your hiking under load (mountain endurance), core strength, upper body general strength, and sport-specific climbing fitness. This plan is designed to be completed in any rock gym which also has a small general fitness area.


Just wanted to give you the low down/ summary of my current situation and get your best input on it.  I am not sure how familiar you are with Army SF but I have been wanting to get after it for quite some time now.  I graduate college this May 2015 and planned to take a couple months off to train and just mentally prepare myself.  I noticed you have two Ruck Based programs for SFAS,an 8 week and a 36 week.  My question is which do you prefer for a guy like me most likely enlisting, in to the 18X program, after college?  I have been training for about two years now but have not rucked yet, however I am still in pretty decent shape (5 mile run is around 36 min).  For the 18x program the candidate goes to 10 weeks basic, 3 weeks airborne school, about 1 1/2 weeks of a prep course and then finally 3 weeks of SFAS.

So what I am trying to get at is whether I use the 8 week program or the 36 weeks program, there is still a huge gap of time from boot camp to SFAS I am without specific training.  Which program do you think would best prepare me for that? Also In the case that I do follow a program and I reach a point where I can do more weight/reps/mileage than it specifies, should I still stick to it, or should I go the extra mile so I increase my chances of improving?  Hope you can help.


You’re thinking too much.

After graduation, complete the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-plan/). This plan will give you a full dose of what you’ll face.

It’s unclear from your note how long you have between completing college and enlisting. But you’ll want to re-do this plan 8 weeks before you enlist. It will go much better the second time through.

Between now and graduation, you need to start rucking. Do it on our own, or complete the Ruck Improvement Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/4-week-ruck-improvement-program/).



I have been through selection and will be traveling around the country in pipeline training. I would like to make the most out of my time. I have looked at many of your programs. I saw military athlete as well as mountain athlete, I would appreciate blending the two. I know you have the monthly subscription, but I was seeing if you’ve programed at all for RQS or STS operators. Any information you can provide is greatly appreciated. Also how would you mesh the gymnastic bodies program in with your programs.


Several AF operators follow the Operator Sessions on the website. These would be my recommendation for you, also.

I’m not familiar with the gymnastic bodies program, but in general, you wouldn’t want to double up with the Operator Sessions.



Long time lurker here and have a few programs printed out since about 2011. I was hoping you could recommend a plan.

I am an intermediate weightlifter in the squat/bench/deadlift world and want to keep that work included in the plan for the heavy sets. I get great benefit from the quadzilla, leg blaster and step up work – single leg strength and work capacity elements seem to balance me out and add the 3-dimensional stability I feel I’m lacking.

On top of that I’m hoping to shred Big Sky in 8 weeks.

My only constraints are space. My gym has platforms and most everything else, but due to crowds and layout going from an olympic lift or squat rack over to space where I can do something like ankle-to-bar is rather limited (and would get me yelled at by other lifters).

So if there are any plans that allow those types of lifts to be compartmentalized, that would be killer.

I know you’re likely swamped with these requests but any direction would be great. I only venture to request because I really dig what you guys do and have had great benefit from other programs in other situations.


I don’t have a powerlifting plan for you. You could use the Big 24 progression for your powerlifting – by changing the exercises – but if you already have programming, you may want to stick with that.

Skiing – your back squatting won’t help at all for skiing. The problem is back squats don’t train eccentric strength, or leg strength endurance.

But, if you throw in Quadzillas and leg lactate sets in the middle of your powerlifting, your powerlifting progressions will suffer.

So, best plan would be to stop the powerlifting stuff 4-6 weeks prior to your Big Sky trip and do our Dryland Skiing Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/dryland-ski-training-program/

At a minimum, work in Quadzilla progressions 2x week, starting at least 4 weeks out. 3x, 4x, 5x and finish with 6x the week before Big Sky.


Appreciate all your programs. I am trying to get a slot to the Combat Dive School and was wondering if you have a program for that? Is the BUDS program what you would recommend as a training guide?


I don’t have a plan specifically for combat dive school yet, – it’s on the programming list – but from what I do have, the BUD/s Plan V1 would be best: http://mtntactical.com/shop/buds-v1-training-program-2011/



I just have a question regarding the training plan, I’m a bit confused on what you mean by ’rounds’. Does this mean we repeat this particular group of exercises x number of times?


Exactly. So ….

  • 5 Rounds
  • 4x Push ups
  • 4x Situps
  • 4x Pull ups
  • Instep Stretch

Means …. go through that circuit 5 times. In the end you’ll do a total of 20x Push ups, 20x Situps, 20x Pull ups and do the instep stretch 5x.



I have been reading and following about your training programs, the most recently with the North Face app of Mountain Athletics that was the last thing that convince me to contact you in order to ask for more information. I want to know what is the price for an individual/personal plan for my goals and competitions.

I compete not as a professional but I am an athlete with 16 years of training (at the present I am 33 years old), former professional Muay Thai fighter/champion retired in 2005 and since 2009 I have been into long distance competitions finishing 5 marathons, 2 Ultras, many open water swimming from 1.5KM up to 7,000 km,  two 70.3 Ironman’s plus many half marathons and short distance competitions that I do for the preparation of my main competitions.

I like to run in the road and also in the mountains, I started in 2009 running in the road with the marathons and doing open water swimming that is one of my favorites and where I ranked better finishing in the top 10 in long distances (from 3 KM and up) and in the top 4 in short distances (1.2 km to 2 KM) competitions in my country. In 2013 I started with the triathlon and 2014 started with the mountain running doing two 25 KM and two Ultras.

As you can see I like to train and compete a little bit of everything but my two favorite things are running (road and mountain) and open water swimming. I don’t have yet defined my goal for this year, last year was full of many things doing the two ultras, two 70.3 and one marathon, plus 4 open water swimming.

For this year I have very clear that I want to keep running in the mountain long distances (maybe starting in march with a 42 KM) run ultras and road marathon, also to do some swimmings (I feel very good with my actual swimming training program but need to improve my strength for the swimming), what I am not sure if I will do triathlon or not this year…


Because your race schedule is unclear any coach would have trouble helping you. First thing I’d recommend you do it get your schedule set, then you’ll have something to program your training toward.

Regardless – we’re probably not the best resource for you. We do a little swimming programming, but it’s on the military side. I don’t work with triathletes – which is where you seem to be heading. There are many quality tri coaches and coaching resources out available – either coaches, or books. I’d recommend you look there.

We do have three Ultra plans which are designed to be progressive, but even our plans don’t seem to match with your vague race/goal schedule. We no longer offer individualized ultra coaching – but there are many others who do.

One area we might be able to help is some off-season strength training. I’m assuming you’re looking to do most this competing in the summer – so  you’re in your off season now. If so, you may want to consider our Offseason Strength Training Plan for Endurance Athletes: http://mtntactical.com/shop/off-season-strength-for-endurance-athletes/

This plan requires access to a weight room. If you don’t have access, another option would be our Mountain Athlete Bodyweight Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-training-program/

We encourage endurance athletes to train strength hard in the off season first to give their bodies and minds a break from all the volume, and second to make them more durable before the next season.

Good luck.



I’m attending Ranger School this coming summer and are already preparing.  My question is: what is a long term solution for recovery after the course?  I’m lucky in the fact that I am a National Guardsman and won’t have real-world operational requirements following.  How can I best set myself for a successful recovery? Please advise.


After graduating, take 1-2 weeks total rest. Pig out week 1, but start to clean up your diet on week 2.

Start back easy and focus on strength. I’d recommend Rat 6 Strength (http://mtntactical.com/?s=Rat+6), but only 2-3 days week when you start back up.

Listen to your head as much as your body. If your body is okay, but your head is telling you it doesn’t want to be in the gym. Get out.



I have started and completed three GORUCK Lights and three GORUCK Challenges including a back-to-back CL.  I have more events booked for this year already including my first GORUCK Heavy.  I have completed the 6 week GORUCK training program in the past.  I am finishing up a MARSOC 10 week program this week and I am now planning my training to lead me to the Heavy.

I have been searching for various routines to help prepare me for this type of event.  I keep ending up back at Military Athlete’s plan for the GORUCK Heavy.  I am not trying to get it for free as I will buy it when I am ready but I have a few questions regarding the plan if you don’t mind.

  1. I saw the time requirements on your site that includes 4 days/week with 4-6 hour workouts.  I work full-time Monday through Friday.  Is it written to where I could easily split the longer workouts into 2 sessions/day or will that completely alter it?
  2. I have many months before my GRH, so I could repeat this program more than once.  Do you feel that running this a few times in a row would be a good idea or would I be over training?
  3. Your nutrition section of his site mentions that you prefer no carbs for six days, then a free-for-all day on the seventh day.  With a workout routine as strenuous as this one appears, I feel like I would need more energy to put in maximal effort during the week.  I will be trying a carb-free week with my current routine to see how it goes, but I was wondering if you suggest altering your diet approach for this plan.

Anything else on the program that you can offer would be greatly appreciated.  I know that everyone is different with different fitness levels and dietary needs, but I am trying to obtain several points of view to ensure I am training to the best of my abilities.  Thanks for your time and I look forward to your reply.


  1.  You can split if necessary.
  2. Over training and boring as crap. I’d recommend subscribing to the Operator Sessions until 8 weeks out, then doing the GorRuck Heavy program.
  3. Just no empty carbs – i.e. sugar. Understand there’s a difference between “event” nutrition and day to day nutrition. You could use gels and other carb supplements during the sessions, then pound veggies, etc. outside.



I’m going to apologize up front because I’m pretty sure the best answer is to rest it…but I’m not the type of person that can just sit around for weeks….and I don’t want to lose any gains I’ve had recently.

With that said, I wanted to see if you had a reco for a program and/or substitute exercises for someone with biceps tendonitis.

I’m presently going through the SSD strength/work capacity cycle.  There’s certain exercises/movements that set off my shoulder, so I’ll need to avoid them – ie. pullups, incline press, and military press.  The rest of the program seems fine and the Doc told me I could continue to workout as long as their was no pain.

What would you reco I sub in for the exercise I cannot do?  Or should I shift programs?


Rest it.

Easiest work around would be our Training Program for Athletes Suffering Arm Injury: http://mtntactical.com/shop/training-program-for-athlete-suffering-arm-injury/

This plan trains the rest of your body around your injury – and keeps you sane!

You could also just as easily continue with the SSD sessions. Easiest way to sub is do one-arm versions of the exercises that hurt you – 1 arm dumbbell military press, 1-arm rows for pull ups, etc. That’s what we do here.


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