Q&A 12/19/14


Questions include: Pre-BUD/s training plan? Modify FR fitness assessment to fit work schedule? Recovering from Ranger School–what to do? Substitutions for Craig Specials? Training for ultra marathon distances while maintaining strength?


I’m in the Canadian Army and two months away from attending Canadian Search and Rescue Selection with the hopes of getting picked up for The Airforce SAR (Search and Rescue) course. 30 Candidates have been selected to try out for only 10 spots on course.

I purchased your USAF PJ Selection training plan and I’m two weeks into it. However, Canadian SAR selection is a little different than USAF PJ selection and I want to make sure I’m on a program that will best prepare me.

This much I know: Canadian SAR Selection is 17 days long. It’s basically a “downed aircrew survival course with lots of beastings, smoke sessions, cock, i.e. ” Three days are spent in garrison doing paperwork, kit issue, and physical testing.

There are two tests administered: the old test and the new test as well as a 20m Shuttle Run. (Beep test)

The old test is a 1.5 mile run, 30 push ups, 30 sit ups, 450m shuttle run and two rope climbs all done as fast as possible. Followed by a 675m swim for time. (Any stroke)

  • The new test is a bit more complicated and involves a treadmill ruck. With a 55b ruck one starts out at a brisk walk on the treadmill for 6min to warm up. Followed by a 20min period were the speed remains constant but the incline increases every min on the min (EMOM)  After a 20 min period of steady walking the incline will be maxed out at 15% and the speed increases EMOM until one can now longer continue.
  • 5 min break
  • Then farmers walks, with 115lbs on a E-Z bar and two 55lb dumbbells.
  • The weights are shuttled back and forth over a 40m course alternating between loaded and unloaded receptions.
  • 20 min break
  • 750m fin for time.
  • Of the two tests the new one is “the official test” but they keep the old one around just to beast us.

I’m not worried about these tests as my scores are pretty competitive. However there is always room for improvement. Do you think your plan will help me improve my times on these tests? Or should I train specifically for these tests? I’m kinda stuck as how to improve on these test other than doing them every week. But is that the best way to improve?

After the garrison phase we will be bussed to northern Alberta to a Airforce training base in the bush. I’m expecting lots of rucking with snowshoes and mukluks of unknown distance (with 60-120lbs rucks), land navigation, stretcher carrying, and the usual stuff you face at selection: group smoker sessions, i.e. push ups, bear walks, flutter kicks, etc. Sleep deprivation will also be a factor.

The final three days will be spent alone in the bush with no food. One is expected to build a shelter and maintain a fire. Temperatures will be around -4F – -40F (-20 – -40 Celsius)

Your PJ plan looks solid but based on what I have described do you have any other plans that might better prepare me? Would your Ruck based selection plan be a better choice? Is there anything I could change to better adapt this plan to my selection, eg. should I add more work capacity training to better prepare for the smoke sessions? Four square drills to strengthen ankles, as I’ll be rucking in mukluks?

I have been doing the run and ruck intervals on the treadmill because it’s easier to set and know my pacing. However, would it be better to be doing these outside on snow shoes and mukluks? It would make pacing a bit more difficult but I could manage.

Any help and advice would be appreciated.


I don’t have a perfect plan for you, but the USAF CCT/PJ/CRO Plan comes pretty darn close.

How to modify the current plan:

1) Do this for Session 1 and use your numbers for the follow on progressions:

  • Warm up:
  • 10x Air Squats
  • 10x Push Ups
  • 10x Situps
  • 100m Run
  • Instep


  • (1) Run 1.5 miles for time
  • (2) Max Reps Push Ups in 60 Seconds
  • (3) Max Reps Situps in 60 Seconds
  • (4) 450m Shuttle Run for Time
  • (5) 2x Rope Climbs
  • (6) 675m Swim for Time


2) For follow on progressions – follow the prescribed format for the push ups and situps, and 1.5 mile run. Shuttle Run ….. Determine your Meter per Minute Pace – so let’s say you are running 25m lengths, and finish at 90 seconds. You’re running 300m/minute in 25m lengths. For your progressions, do 5 Rounds, 1.2x300m, every 120 seconds, or 360m = 14.5x lengths. Faster you finish, more rest you get before the next interval.

For the Swim progressions, determine your Meter per minute pace. Say you swim 675m in 20 Minutes. Your meter/minute pace is 34 meters/minute – x 1.2 = 41 m/min. You’ll swim 350m Intervals – each at8:35. (350/41).

3) For Session 2, do the treadmill test to get a baseline. You’re scored by how long you can stay on. For those progressions, get right up to 8%, and alternate 5 min at 8%, 2 min at 12%. Start at 4 rounds, then to 5, then to 6.

Rest of the plan do as prescribed. Trust it.



I recently completed Ultimate Meathead Cycle and loved it.  I’m going to start training with a cycling coach to get my base cycling fitness back up.  I’m training three days out of the week.  Is there any program you can recommend so I can keep my strength training without burning myself out?


In Season Strength Training Plan for Endurance Athletes: http://mtntactical.com/shop/in-season-strength-training-plan-for-endurance-athletes/



I’m currently starting to workout again, I’ve fallen quite a bit out of shape in the last 6 months. I bought your bodyweight 2 program not long ago thinking it would be a good start but I find it too difficult to stick with.  I started it Monday of last week and was so sore I couldn’t fully move my arms and legs until 5 days later. I really would like to stick with the program but I do have 2 kids and work full time as well. I can’t afford to be debilitatingly sore for almost a week at a time. Do you have any advice on how to scale the program to pretty much a beginner state or do you have a beginner program that I could purchase? Thank you for any advice.


Couple options:

1) Start with the APFT Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/apft-plan/) – this plan begins with the assessment and then uses your assessment score for the follow-on progressions. This way it self-scales to the fitness of the athlete.

2) Re-Do Bodyweight II, but first time through, leave the rounds the same but cut the reps for each exercise in half. Then repeat the plan at the full numbers.



Good morning! I was wondering if there was a plan for pre-buds training? Essentially what I am looking for is a program to get physically fit to take the PST. Then I would hop into the Bud/s training program. Any suggestions?


Not a Pre-BUD/s plan, but we do have a sport-specific US Navy PST Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/us-navy-pst-training-plan/



I am writing you today because I am interested in attending our National Special Response Team, Selection course in spring of 2016. It is too late for me to sign-up and attend the course scheduled for this upcoming spring, so I figured the additional time will give me a unique opportunity to prepare my body for this upcoming selection course. The training is at the same location where the BORTAC Selection course is given, and the training is similar in form. I was interested in purchasing your BORTAC Selection Training Plan to start now, but read that this program was designed to be completed the 8 weeks directly prior to your selection start week. I wanted to know if you recommend any other relative program,  that I could maintain, up until 8 weeks prior to the selection start date?

Thank you for your time and look forward to hearing from you.


If you’re fit, start with Fortitude (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/). When completed, subscribe and follow the Operator Sessions on the military athlete side until your 8 weeks out from selection.

If you’re fitness is questionable, start with the On Ramp Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/on-ramp-training-plan/) and follow it up with Fortitude, then drop into the Operator Sessions (subscription).

BORTAC/BORSTAR guys have similar fitness demands to military SOF guys – which is why I’m recommending the military programming.



Thank you for turning your expertise toward the fire service, we are desperately in need of this type of input into our profession. I am wondering what your thoughts are on the possibility of this FR Fitness Assessment plan being modified to fit a shift based training schedule. Some of us have the motivation to train 5 days a week for 3 weeks required of this plan, but the reality I run into in trying to motivate my members is that they are a captive audience every third day for 24 hours, but off days not so much. Is every third day sufficient to induce adaptation/improvement? Could you run the program spread over 6-7 weeks as opposed to 3? What might be modified/increased to make this as productive as possible? I understand you have put a lot of work into it as is, and this will produce the best results. I myself fully intend to run it as is come January. But for the rest who either are unable or unwilling to commit to more than every third day, what do you suggest? Thank you for your time and input sir.


Short answer is yes – you can do it once every 3 days and extend it out. Will that affect the results? Likely yes – how? I’m not sure – depends somewhat where the athlete starts. Doing the plan as prescribed is best. Extending it out to coincide with shift work is better than not doing it.

Modifying training for shift work? I know this is an issue, and will consider it as I build out the programming.

From a professionalism perspective, pros, like you, train every day. The question for me is should I build work-specific programming for guys like you, or  modify it somewhat for the guys who will only train on shift? This will frustrate guys like you, and how many of the guys who don’t train now, will suddenly begin training on shift. I’m not sure.

Best would be to build a fitness culture of training 4-5 days/week. But is this possible?

Again, I’m not sure. We’re watching numbers closely on how many request the free fitness assessment training plan as a measure. The assessment, and the train up, are no joke.

Our experience on the law enforcement side is mixed. On the military side, we don’t modify programming, and our programming is popular with SOF units, not as much with line units. But even in line units exists a culture of fitness there – driven by high jeopardy fitness assessments and fitness demands of schools and selections.

My plan now is to build 1-4 progressive Fire/Rescue-specific training blocks next. Progressive in the sense they will build upon each other. Each will be 6-8 weeks long.



What is the taper time for your Bataan Death March program? Thank you for your time, and helping me prepare for the march.


The last week of the plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bataan-death-march-training-plan/) is a taper week and the last day is a rest day. 1 or 2 more days rest and you should be good to go.



I have just completed the Pararescue Indoctrination course and will have a few months before reporting to dive school.  I would like to focus on lifting for the next month or so in order regain and build strength as well as let my body recover from the intensity and volume of Indoc.  I was looking at your Big24 and Ultimate Meathead Cycle programs- which would you recommend and why?


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

This plan trains your “combat chassis” – legs and core in a strength volume format – heavy load, low reps. It’s designed to get you strong. As well, the program used mass-building hypertrophy volume to train your upper body  – given you’ve just completed selection, I’m guessing you need to build back your strength and also gain back some mass.



I’m interested in starting Mountain Athlete, and have some questions.

  1.  Will the MA programming allow space for indoor climbing 2-3x/wk?
  2.  Are olympic lifts included in the MA programming? I no longer have access to a CF gym (too much $$) and the normal gym I go to isn’t a fan of the oly lifts.  I can do any powerlifts, front squat, and overhead press though.

Thanks for putting a program like this up.  This is exactly what I was looking for when my crossfit started interfering with my climbing.


Couple options for you:

1) Subscribe to the Strong Swift Durable training sessions and work these in with your indoor climbing. Either skip SSD sessions and/or do 2-a-days with your rock gym work. Some of the SSD Sessions do include oly lifts, but you can do hang variations and avoid the need for bumpers.

2) Purchase and complete the Mountain Guide Pre-Season Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/mountain-guide-preseason-training-program/) This training plan really highlights the unique approach we have of combining general fitness (weightroom based strength and core strength work), mountain-specific endurance (running, hiking uphill under load) and sport-specific climbing training (prescribed rock gym sessions).



I am a former marine infantry men spent 5 years in some time in Afghan and have been doing martial arts for 20 years. I am currently 5’7 165lbs at about 9% body fat been training and lifting for 3 years. I work private security right now and am looking to get a position with a company for their upcoming fitness test  which consists of:

  • 80+ push ups in 2 minutes
  • 80+sit ups in 2 minutes
  • 2 mile run in 13 minutes
  • 35+ consecutive pull ups
  • 16 mile ruck with 65lbs pack in 4 1/2 hours

Wondering which course do you think would best suit my needs any guidance you could provide would be greatly appreciated thank you for your time and consideration.


I don’t have a perfect training plan for this selection. The APFT Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/apft-plan/) would help with the push ups, situps and run. Do a pull up test along with these other events, and follow the same progression and you could cover pull ups too…. however, I’m assuming 35+ pull ups is a mistake, or they are kipping pull ups.

Ruck – You could add in rucking on our own or combine this plan with the Rucking Improvement Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/4-week-ruck-improvement-program/).

One plan that cover both is the Rucking Based Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-packet/) – however this training plan might be overkill just for this fitness assessment. If, however, this pt test is just part of a broader selection which includes smoke sessions, team events, etc. , this plan might be the best choice.



I know a young man that is not in shape at all and has had no structured fitness training ever.  He is not  shape at all.  He is now talking of joining the military.  What would be the best way to get him started?  He is over weight some by about 20lbs.  Has limited access to a full health club, just not as good or practical as yours. He has a year and a half left till high school graduation.  He has a treadmill at his home.  I also know of a 14yr old girl that needs some structured fitness training as well.  IF I can get them both motivated and passed the lazy teen stage.  Thanks for all your advice.


I’d recommend the LE Athlete On Ramp Training Plan for your kids: http://mtntactical.com/shop/on-ramp-training-program/



I had a question about weight vests after the stamina cycle for mil athlete. I’m a bigger guy (BW about 235 and chest measurement 47) and the straps on the weight vests at my gym let go constantly since the gym only buys medium and large vests. I was hoping you guys could recommend a vest for the program for a bigger guy. I really don’t want to buy my own and then it not work and I’m really tired of the best not staying put while I train. I lost time in almost every workout from having to adjust the vest. I could usually put my kit on, but want a viable second option for if I’m in school or some other circumstance where my kit won’t weigh the right amount. Thanks.


We use vests from weightvest.com. None of us are as big as you …. but these vests are pretty adjustable.



I was wondering if you would be able to answer an important question for me. I’ve been training for over a year now to get myself ready for the rigors of BUDS and plan on enlisting fairly soon (Probably 2 to 4 months). I recently purchased your BUDS training program but it seems that it would be more beneficial if I completed it 8 weeks before I actually attend BUDS. My question is can I modify the BUDS training program to lengthen it out for a longer period of time? and If not would you recommend any other program or programs on your site?

Thank you so much in advance.


It’s ideal if you complete the BUD/s plan directly before BUD/s, but if you get a SEAL contract when you enlist, chances are you won’t get to – you’ll go from boot camp to pre-BUD/s right to BUD/s.

I’d recommend you do the plan now – partly because of this scheduling, partly to make sure your ladder is up against the right wall. The plan is no joke and will get your head right.



In regards to your workout plans, I am going to start training for Ultra Marathon running distances but also want to maintain overall strength and agility. I was looking at your 50 mile ultramarathon plans but I think the mileage initially might be a bit too aggressive.

Should I buy that progam and just alter the mileage to best fit my needs? Thank for taking the time to answer my questions.


Make sure you’re giving the ultra the respect it deserves. My recommendation is if you want to complete an ultra, go all in, race, then go back to general fitness. You can train strength etc., in the off season, but the closer you get, the more running you better be doing.

So I’m not sure how best to answer you. May be best to start with the Ultra Running Pre-Season Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ultra-running-preseason-training-program/), or the Meathead Marathon Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/meathead-marathon-training-plan/).



Some guys in my platoon recommended I check out your website for a training plan to recover post ranger school. I spent about 5 months there and graduated maybe 3 months ago and last month i attended a 3 weeks SERE course, of which i finished one week ago. SInce  my SERE graduation I have started your SSD Bodyweight 1 program which is awesome and is definitely putting me through the paces on getting back in shape. The problem/question I have is that I was just told yesterday that i have a PT test 2 weeks from today, the standard in my unit is 80% with a sub 40min 5 mile, but barely meeting the standard is especially frowned upon, and as of right now the 3 rounds of 30 secs of push ups kills me which before School would have been an easy task. Should i stick to the BW1 plan or should i modify it in some way to better prepare myself for this test, I really enjoy the plan so I’d like to keep as much of it as possible. Thank you for your consideration.


Absolutely drop from the bodyweight plan and start training sport specifically for the events in your pt test – I’m not sure what those are, but I do know the bodyweight plan doesn’t have enough running to help you significantly improve your 5 mile time. I’d send you to our APFT Plan – but your assessment is obviously different.



Good morning. I wanted to ask your opinion which plan or plans would be best for me to prepare for an ARSOF Assessment / Selection Course (Civil Affairs)? My tentative course date would be June 2015.

I was thinking of using the APFT improvement plan first (my current APFT score is 277), and then moving to either the Go-Ruck Plan or SFAS Train-Up…maybe both.

What are your suggestions? Thank you for your time and assistance!


The Ruck Based Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-plan/) includes specific APFT work, and should cover all the bases for you. The weekend rucking is overkill – so I would recommend not progressing that past 12 miles. You’ll be over prepared.

Between now and then – You’ve got four months. Some options:



Our son uses your fitness programs, & recommended that we purchase the core strength one for our younger son (16-yr-old).  This son likes to be very active, but has had recurring knee & ankle injuries that are limiting his ability to do sports as much as he’d like.  He is currently in P.T. again, & his therapist said that he’s very weak in core strength (& I believe upper body also).  She attributes his re-injury of extremities to that lack of core strength.   His rt, knee pain prevents him from bending it very far.  Will this limitation hinder him very much in doing the exercises in your “core strength” program?

I just wanted your opinion on our younger son’s “fit” for this exercise regimen before we purchase it.


Rather than the core strength plan, I’d recommend our Post Rehab Leg Injury Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/post-rehab-leg-injury-training-plan-ssd/

You’re therapist could be right, that week core leads to extremity injuries, but it could also be weak extremities. This plan trains both – lower body strength and the mid section, and includes work for upper body strength.



I saw that you have changed the Big 24 considerably. I have the original version from around mid 2010 when I was a subscriber. I have done it 3 times total, and everytime I loved it. Excellent gains in strength, explosiveness and also always helped to lean me up, and I am very familiar and comfortable with it.

I noticed that you added back squats and lunges, took out the Exercise and military press.

I hate lunges, I pulled my left hip adductors/flexors 6 months ago doing your body weight program I.

Recently, I have a been very religious with Kelly Starett mobility WODs to get ready for the overhead squats and snatches and a proper rack position, and now I am disappointed to see the Exercise is gone.

Training wise, recently I have been doing 10-6-6-6-20 program for deadlifts and back squats and it’s been amazing. I’ve been adding 20 lb a week till recently when it dropped to 10 lb/ week up in weight. Also I did not neglect upper body: bench, military press, pull ups, also some core. The 10-6-6-6-20 is incredible for how fast you can increase your lifts for the lower body, but is also so draining, I can do only one lift a day and repeat every 6th day with running and upper body in between. I am getting close to 400lb deadlift (I do hinge lift, btw) and about 325 for squats, my bench still sucks around 240-250. I am a 67.5 in tall, 184lb, trying to lose weight, but with this I am almost gaining weight in spite of dieting.

I was planning on starting Big 24 after christmas break, I like to focus on strength ( now that I am out of the military!). Then later maybe start 5/3/1 (never tried it before).

I would really like to avoid lunges for a while and also avoid paying for the new Big 24 till I get my finances in place; what is your recommendation and general thought on this?


You can do big 24 with The Exercise, if you want. I took it out because shoulder mobility and technical proficiency both limit many from progression. The goal overall is to get stronger, not get better at snatching.

You’re way heavy for me, but you probably know that. I’d like to see you around 155#. As you get older, your joints will appreciate the less load. I’m 67″ and am trying to get down to 145-150#. Obviously I’m losing max strength on the way down, but hope to maintain or even increase my relative strength.

Simple fix is to put in the The Exercise in place of lunges. Another option is Hinge.



I am an Officer Candidate currently attending school at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I was wondering if you could help me with a couple problems I am having. First, I am larger candidate with fairly decent run time (around 20-21 minutes for the 3 mile), but I have recently been getting pretty bad shin splints, what’s the best way to counter act this? also, it seems that whenever I lower my run time, my pull-ups begin to hinder (going from 20 down to 16), is there a good way to keep strength up while performing rigorous cardio?


Shin Splints? I’m no shin split expert, but the first place to start is with an orthotic in your shoe and/or new shoes. I’d recommend both. Some have success with neoprene sleeves for their lower legs. Sorry I can’t offer more – I’d encourage you to research options and lessons learned from professional distance runners.

Running and Pull Ups? There’s no physiological link as to why extra distance running would lead to fewer pull ups …. as long as you were still doing upper body work, specifically pull ups. Keep doing pull ups and you should be alright.



Long time subscriber to your Military Athlete Programs.  First off, just want to thank you for all you do and the superb products that are provided.

My question today is what plan would you recommend for a high school varsity level female softball team for an off season strength/conditioning program?

I have a teammate of mine whose came to me with this question, as for his daughter is a pitcher on the team. Thanks in advance for your time.


We just published a plan which we’ve worked on for quite some time aimed specifically addressing the leg weekness, knee instability, landing mechanics and movement inefficients which lead to prep-age girls’ high incidence of knee tendon tears. The plan also includes solid upper body and core strength work. It would be a great place to start.

We named the plan “Athena” – here’s the link: http://mtntactical.com/shop/athena-female-strength-plyometric-training/



I am a National Guard soldier and a firefighter as well as a long time reader of Military Athlete/SSD. I was wondering what the scoring standards for the Fire/Rescue Assessment are with regards to Pass/Fail, average and above average scores?


Before assigning those, I need to get some feedback/results back from the field. I’m just not sure what they should be right now.

If you do the assessment, and the train up plan, I’d look for a 10-20% increase overall. 10% for fit guys going in. 20% for less fit guys.



Wanted to get your thoughts on a training program. I am 3 months out of ankle surgery, and doing quite well (as in getting stronger) through the Athletes W/ a Leg Injury Program. I am currently only using a brace on my ankle when I train, and my surgeon stated that I am ahead of the power curve for recovery at this point. Although not a runner by trade, I do have your ultra-runner train up program on hand. I am trying develop more leg strength through body weight exercises (can’t load too much weight yet because of some stability issues in the ankle), which will in turn strengthens my ankle and stabilizers in the injured leg. I will not be running for quite a  while (like 5 months), but really want to build the strength and durability back into my lower body. However, because I am still on active duty, I want to maintain the “tactical athlete” approach, and not forget about upper body strength, and still crush the APFT.

I am currently also cycling 2x a week in doors for a workout, as I am a former CAT 2 ‘cross racer, and now just plan to ride for fun and fitness once recovered. My thought for a training plan is:

  • Monday- Ultra running plan (no running)
  • Tues- Indoor cycling
  • Wed- Leg Injury Plan
  • Thurs-Indoor cycling
  • Fri-Ultra running plan (no running)

Any feedback would be appreciated, and I apologize if this is a bit long winded.



I’d rather have you do our Post-Rehab Leg Injury Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/post-rehab-leg-injury-training-plan-ssd/

I build this plan specifically for athletes coming back from knee or ankle injury.

You could combine with your cycling.



I am a Midshipman at the Naval Academy.I am looking for a workout plan that is very specific, as I am preparing for SEAL and EOD screeners (both very water and endurance focused mental evolutions designed to weed out those not ready for the warfare pipelines), as well as Ranger school. Clearly, my goals are very event-driven, and require a solid base in swimming, running, lifting, rucking stretching, and aerobic capacity to complete physical training.

I come to you because it seems like you have had a good amount of success with “Ranger school,  Army EOD, DEVGRU, Airforce EOD, and RECON Marines”; you seem to know what you are doing.

As you most likely distinctly remember from your Coast Guard Academy days, my schedule is very tight. I have been attempting to put together my own workouts, but they are either way too much, take too much time, are not enough, or simply break down because I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to swimming, lifting, and rucking workouts, much less of combining everything.

If you are interested, I would love to talk more with you about setting up a good, realistic plan, timeframes, personal experience around swimming vs running, and most importantly, scheduling and equipment availability.

Hope to talk soon, thank you!


I’m not sure you need a custom plan as much as some direction. Start with our BUD/s Plan V2: http://mtntactical.com/shop/buds-training-program/

We just updated this training plan and it deploys our best theory.

I’m not sure scheduling will be an issue for you. It includes 2-a-days – which you may need to combine into one long session, or spread out over 2 days. It also includes long Saturday “mini-events” – which you should be able to do. It’s been a long time, but in my Academy days I often trained 2x/day or up to 3 hours between end of class and evening chow.

If scheduling does become an issue, you can cut sessions down as necessary. The bigger idea is to bring some structure and direction to your training.

I could build you a custom plan, but it will be expensive, and will likely be based on the theory behind this plan anyway – but could adjust for your scheduling.



Background:  I am an Army Infantry Officer and I have been using your plans and programs on and off for about two years with a lot of success.  I am currently located on a base with minimal crossfit-type equipment (one power rack on the base, no bumper plates, lots of machine equipment).  My short-term goal (next month/two months) is injury recovery.  My long-term goal (September/October) is to pass SFAS.  Here are my issues:

  1. I have an ankle injury (Achilles tendonitis) that goes back several months.  I’ve tried ice and rest, I’ve tried to work around the injury with your single-leg injury plan, and I’ve even tried dry needling.  What is the fastest way back to health for this injury?
  2. I need to prep for SFAS.  I have your pre-SFAS packet, but I can’t do a lot of the exercises and workouts because we have extremely limited equipment on this base.  If I just execute your two bodyweight training plans and your ruck improvement plan and then repeat, will I be able to achieve similar results?
  3. Any other advice you can give me would be great.



1) I’m not sure. I’m not a PT or a doctor. I’m sorry.

2) No … loading makes a difference, but the most important plan in the packet is the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan (last plan in the packet) and I specifically designed this to not need a weightroom. You could skip ahead to it, and then repeat it when you’re back in garrison and before SFAS.

3) Be resourceful with the machine equipment. Do leg press instead of back squats, machine press instead of bench press – equipment is never an excuse. You can get strong with machines too. Use common sense and train the muscles the barbell would.



I’ve gone through a few of your different training programs, including, but not limited to, in season endurance, out of season endurance, bodyweight 1 and now, I just started the Falcon training plan (which is great so far).

I was flipping through Falcon, and I have a few questions.  A few years ago, I obliterated my elbow in a mountain biking accident, which prohibits me from full flexion (e.g. I cannot bend my elbow all the way in, it stops at about 65%).  This has created some difficulties for me, especially in hang cleans and front squats.  Previously, you noted that it was okay for me to substitute back squats for front squats. However, when it comes to things like Craig Specials, what do I substitute?  Anytime I do a clean, it puts a lot of stress on my shoulder, because my elbow won’t bend in.

Thanks for your help, and keep crushing it.



Couple options:

(1) Do 1-armed (good arm) with a kettlebell or dumbbell

(2) Do loaded squat jumps (bar in back squat position). Keep the rep count same as prescribed, but don’t load the barbell beyond 95#. Just jump higher!!



I have found you short training clips and tips to be very helpful in regards to my own regiment. As I have been training for ski season I began to use the “eccentric” routine involving lunges. I was wondering if you could offer advice on a great stretching routine as well to complement these exercises? I ask because I am concerned about not stretching enough and hurting myself right when I need it the most. And as we know the people who train this hard are more susceptible to injuries than those who don’t, when not attending to other areas.


I’m hardly a stretching expert and certainly not a big advocate of stretching. Our training sessions do include mobility and other durability exercises – but the focus is on strength and conditioning.

Leg blasters will hammer your quads and can quickly lead to a strength imbalance with the back side of the leg – hamstrings. We always include plenty of hamstring/posterior chain work during our dryland ski cycles. You should too.

You’re probably sore. Leg blasters will do that – and stretching won’t help. It’ll get better.



I’m a 24-year-old female in the Coast Guard, training to be a Rescue Swimmer. I noticed you graduated from the US Coast Guard Academy, so I think you may be fairly familiar with the intensity and athleticism of the school? It will be similar to the level required at the Navy Diving or Air Force Pararescue school.

Anyway, I am considering purchasing one or two of your programs in the very near future. I am anticipating an A-school class convene date of March 15th, 2015. I like your approach and I’ve “sampled” a few of your sessions with a friend who follows your training plans consistently. He swears by your work and has seen significant results. I’m looking for some advice and suggestions before I make my decision, though.

Here are the minimum standards for the PT Test. I’d like to be able to reach these with ease, at the drop of a hat. (Actually, I believe the standards are lower for the first 3 months, but I figure it is better to set the bar higher from the beginning).

  • Pushups : 50 unbroken, in 2 min —-> My most significant weakness/ biggest concern. I can eek out 40-45, but not consistently.
  • Situps: 60, in 2 min.—–> not too tough, but core seems to be foundational, all of the time.
  • Pull-Ups: 5 —-> I can make it to 6, well rested. I’d like to be at 10-15, chest-to-bar.
  • Chin-Ups: 5 —-> I’d also like to be able knock-out 10-15.
  • 1.5 mile run (<12 min)—-> My forte. I recently ran an 8:56, but this is a far cry from what I used to be able to do. I’ll keep runnin’!
  • 500yd swim (<12 min)—–> I grew up a competitive swimmer. I swim under 7:00min regularly.
  • Finning, treading with a brick, gear swims, etc :  not part of the test, but huge elements of school.

My question: which plan or combination of plans would you recommend for me? I’ve got about 3 months. I was thinking the Bodyweight one first, and then perhaps moving to the 8-week BUDS training plan. With the BUDS plan, I’d probably leave out the some of the sandbag stuff/ rucking/ boot-running, instead focusing on more swimming and running. What do you think?

Most of my current training has been on my own, with the exception of joining a Crossfit Gym in November. I’ve done quite a bit individually, but I’d like some streamlining, guidance, and precision at this point. The Crossfit Gym is great too, but never quite feels like “enough,” you know?


I’d recommend our BUD/s V2 Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/buds-training-program/), with a couple modifications.

  • – Add Chin Ups to the Session 1 Assessment, and follow the same progressions as the other exercises.
  • – Since you’re confident in the 1.5 mile run, stick with the 4 mile run Assessment in Session 1.
  • – Drop the ruck from the Session 3 Assessment. Just do a 6 mile run.
  • – Use a 40# sandbag instead of a 60# sandbag – where the 60# is prescribed.
  • Plan is no joke. Good luck!

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