Q&A 12/23/14


Questions include: how to build ankle durability,  stretching clarification, scaling prescribed weights, plans for losing mass before SF selection, and more…


I’m an infantry officer in the National Guard. With the intention of trying out for Army Special Forces. I’m currently on Week 8 of the RAT 6 training program, but coming up in February I am taking an APFT to compete for becoming platoon leader of my battalion’s scout platoon leading snipers and the like.

Is there a way I can stay on track, while focusing on the APFT? I need to score in the 300+ range (I’m about a 270 APFT right now). Would doing the APFT training plan concurrently with the upcoming Body Armor/Sand Bag workouts be too much in your opinion?

The APFT is the focus for the short-term, and getting this Scout Platoon Leader position is key in getting into the Special Forces for experience, and since budgets are tight in the National Guard, finally getting sent to Ranger School, which is another stepping stone for getting into SF.

(Side note: I’ve purchased your APFT program & 38 Week SF Prep plan, and am a huge fan and seen substantial improvements)


It won’t hurt you to spend the 6 weeks before your scout platoon tryout completing the APFT plan. You could perhaps do 1-2x of the Sandbag/Weightvest/Dumbbell Training sessions/week – but only if you were able to still make your prescribed reps and running times in the APFT Plan. It’s no joke.



What was your favorite program to create so far? Also which program has been the most successful for your clients? Any new Selection Programs in the works for 2015? Thanks for everything you do and Happy Holidays!


1) On the military side, the selection programs with swimming (USAF CCT/PJ/CRO, BUD/s, USMC MARSOC, Basic Recon). That added element is really interesting and for guys completing the plan, super challenging, demanding and engaging. On the mountain side, the expedition focused plans like the Expedition Mixed/Ice Climbing Training Program.

2) DEA FAST, USAF TACP, US Forest Service Smoke Jumper, as well as some foreign military selection plans such as Aussie SASR and Canadian JTF2.



I’m doing the operator sessions and was wondering when we’re going to test out again on Operator Ugly? I’m going to start training for OCS soon but wanted to wait and test out again on OU if it was going to be soon.


We test a couple times a year and just did so earlier this month or late November, – so it will be a while for the lab rats. You’ll have to do it without us!

Good luck in OCS.



I am going to be attending Phase II selection for CRO on March 22nd.  I have a very specific set of goals and was wondering if we could discuss a training program to best prepare me for selection?  I take my training very seriously and want to make sure I do everything right so that I am fully prepared.


I’d recommend the USAF CCT/PJ/CRO Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/usaf-cctpjcro-selection-training-plan/

You’ll need a little modification because the new CRO PT Test is different than the PAST

On Session 1 and for the remainder PAST assessments in the plan, replace the 1.5 mile run with the 3 mile run, and the 500m Swim, with the 1,500m Fin. My plan includes a 1,500m fin assessment, but not as part of the PAST. You’ll need to make that change, but can follow the progressions as prescribed.

I couldn’t find the ruck assessment distance, but this plan includes a 10- mile Heavy Ruck assessment – which should be good. You didn’t mention rucking in your note – don’t overlook it. It says “ruck” – but you should ruck run as much as possible.

If you purchase this plan let me know as I’ll need to send you the interval table for the 3 mile.



I noticed in your latest Q&A you mentioned you weren’t a big proponent of stretching. I was wondering why this is and what you recommend in terms of a warmup and cool down for guys following your operator sessions and also goal specific packets. I typically stretch for about 10 minutes or so post workout, even though I hate doing it. I notice if I don’t I usually feel very sore and “beat up” in general. Do you think stretching plays am integral part in proactively fending off injuries and staying mobile and healthy in the long run? Just interested to get your take on it in general. Thanks as always!


Does stretching help you stay mobile? Absolutely.

Does stretching help you stay healthy? Only to the extent that staying mobile keeps you healthy. In other words, mobility does not necessarily equal durability.

Best anecdotal example I have is yoga instructors. We’ve had several yoga instructors train with our lab rats, none lasted long. They all suffered some type of little injury – usually hips. They had exceptional mobility as you could imagine. But were weak. Very weak.

Here’s my durability equation:

Durability = 80% relative strength (especially legs/core) + 10% Mobility + 10% Stabilizer Strength (rotator cuff, glute medias)

Back to you. If stretching makes you feel better, keep doing it.



I’m a senior in high school and also in the DEP with the Air Force trying to get SERE specialist as my AFSC. I’m going to start the Ruck Based Selection plan starting January 1st but I had a question about the weights. I have about 2 years experience lifting weights and I’m familiar with all your exercises but I dont normally go as heavy as some of the weights prescribed. Should I do as prescribed or scale the workouts to my level?


Do the program as prescribed but use a 60# sandbag and 40# ruck.



I looked over the Q&A you have posted on your site (dated 2013 – 11 – 04) and you recommend the SFOD-D training plan. I’ve also seen other sites recommend your GORUCK Heavy training plan. I’m planning to do the Heavy in NYC on May 22 this year. Which plan would you recommend?


You may have found an old Q&A before we built our GoRuck Plans.

I’d recommend the GORUCK Heavy Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/goruck-heavy-training-plan/



I’ve been all over the web and am convinced that your program is my very best chance to succeed at SFAS this coming year.  I thank you for extending such excellent products to those in need of such advice.  My question is this: which program should I choose?

I have about 45 pushups, weak situps (I am a lanky motherf*cker), and a good run.  I can do about 15 pullups.  I haven’t yet signed my contract, and am willing to spend up for a full packet if need be.

Based on your experience with operators, would you suggest I ace the APFT and just jump into enlistment?  I want to lay a good base of rucking before I go, but am not sure your ruck-based selection program will get my APFT score up to 300+.


The Ruck Based Selection Training Plan includes focused APFT Work, as well as extensive running, rucking, work capacity, etch. It’s full on.

Since you haven’t signed a contract yet, I’d recommend you start with it …. In addition to giving you a great taste of the fitness demands, it’ll help get your head right.

Plan link: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-plan/



I’m an Australian soldier currently training for the SAS (got the Delta program for this). I’ve recently rolled (sprained?) my R ankle whilst out field, and this has occurred periodically over my military career, for both ankles.

I understand you recommend Dot and 4 square drills for ankle strengthening. How often do you think I should perform these exercises, and do you have any other recommendations for increasing the durability of the ankle region.

I know you program the DOT drill into the Delta program, but I’m still some time out from starting that. I’m hoping to find something that I can do on a regular basis (at least weekly) to strengthen and maintain durability.

Thank you for your time.


Things to try:

1) Definitely the Dot Drill, I’d recommend doing it for every day’s warm up.

2) Also, for my FreeSki Team this year we purchased and used wobble boards like this one (http://www.amazon.com/GoFit-Ultimate-Wobble-Board-Adjustable/dp/B001RIW42G/ref=cm_lmf_tit_1). I had them stand on it one-footed, for time – 30 seconds – after they mastered that, I had them touch the board to the ground on all four points (front, back, side, side) during the 30 seconds.

3) While at your desk, trace the ABC’s with each foot – this is a simple way to strengthen your ankles.

4) Ruck/Ruck Run – awesome training.



I am currently forward deployed but have been using my off time to train quite often. My intentions are to attend SF selection upon arriving home and I plan on using your SF Ruck based Selection Program to prep for that. The last two months I have been using your operator sessions to maintain/improve my current physical readiness. One of the things I would like to accomplish is downsizing my frame before getting into my prep for selection, I actually gained around five pounds while doing operator sessions and also dropped my bodyfat, which is great if I wanted to go to the beach but I don’t intend on being on the beach much this summer. I’m currently 5’11 245lbs and would like to be around 220lbs, I just want to limit the amount of relative strength lost during the drop, which plan would transition best in to the SF Ruck Based Selection Prep, being that I am most focused on my endurance at this time with minimal strength lost. I was leaning toward Valor or Fortitude.


I’d recommend Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

The Ruck Based Selection Training Plan should also cut some of your mass.



I just purchased the Big 24 program today.  I had a couple questions. I’m starting it tomorrow.  For warm up rounds and then the different circuits, how much rest between rounds?  Also, if an exercise like back squats, what does “@65/95#” mean exactly?  Thank you for your time.


Every warm up and circuit has a mobility or durability exercise. This exercise is your “working rest” – aim to finish the session in 60 minutes. If it’s taking 75, you’re milking your working rest. Shorten it up.

65/95 – first number is female loading – 65#. Second is male loading – 95#.

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