Q&A 1/23/15


Questions include: how to train for Denali, sandbag maintenance, substitution for sled drags, okay to double up on operator sessions and UMC plan, movement prep prior to warm-up, and more…
Mil APC-24


I am following the Pre Season training plan for ultra runners, which I bought 1 or 2 years ago. Great stuff!

I notice that you transitioned from leg blasters to quadzillas to train your skiers to endure the eccentric load of their sport. Since I had unsatisfactory results this fall because my quads were trashed due to downhill running in the second half of races, I was wondering if you transitioned to quadzillas in your ultrarunning training plans as well. I had two questions for you:

  1.  Should I change leg blasters for quadzillas in your program? Do the latter would be better to prepare my quads to the downhill sufferfest of mountain ultras?
  2. How many reps and which load would compare to a mini or a full leg blaster?

Quadzilla Complexes are just a more intense version of the leg blaster.

I haven’t transitioned to Quadzillas in the running plans. Right now I’m not sure there’s a need. Leg blasters are pretty friggin’ intense and likely plenty for ultra runners.


1) Did you do the leg blaster progression? If not, do it. If so, and you still had soreness issues from running downhill, try quadzillas.

2) If you try quadzillas, start at 6 rounds of 3 reps. Do each progression 3 times, and work up to 6 rounds of 6 reps.

I’m 21 years old and an avid skier/mountaineer etc. out of Boulder Colorado. I am wondering if you/Mountain Athlete could help me with a strength/conditioning program for Denali/general ski mountaineering. I CrossFit and Olympic lift for conditioning, along with plenty of backcountry skiing and mountaineering, and I’m looking for something to supplement/improve my current programming. Let me know if we can work something out.

Further, as I lifelong skier and climber, and an avid gym rat & lifter, the approach and theory behind Mountain Athlete appeals to me. I have a CrossFit level 1 and Olympic weightlifting certification, and would like to put my knowledge to use, and to expand on it. I am curious to what opportunities Mountain Athlete can offer a young, motivated, exercise and outdoor enthusiast myself – in terms of education and employment.

Couple Options.

Denali – Big Mountain Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/big-mountain-training-program/
Skimo – Backcountry Ski Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/backcountry-ski-training-program/

Work with us – from time to time we offer mentorships which we advertise through the website an at the National Strength and Conditioning Association. In general, candidates need a MS in Exercise Science or Kinesiology, a CSCS through the NSCA, and college weightroom experience to be competitive. I’d encourage you to work in those directions, beginning with the CSCS if you don’t have it already.

Had heard about Mountain Athletics a while back and have checked the web site every now and then without taking advantage of programs. But, recovering from an injury, it was time to try something different and I came upon The North Face app that appears to have been designed by you. I’m just finishing my 3rd week of that with I think 3 or 4 weeks to go. And obviously, I don’t use the weight suggested in the program or shown in the videos but do complete the exercises and have been gradually increasing my weight.

Some background then a question or two:
I’m 67 years old (going on 42!!), healthy and fit (although I’ve been struggling through injury recovery to my calf and Achilles since mid summer last year), former age group athlete (running and triathlons), work out regularly with the exceptions of job related meetings that interfere and occasional trips out of town, skier and mountain runner (although I’m now living in Iowa of all places with no altitude and minor hills – living here on a relatively long-term temporary contract project), haven’t been running due to ongoing issues with calf and Achilles (although I completed the 3rd run in the North Face program with minimal discomfort in the Achilles after), have tried Cross Fit in the past but had a significant injury to my calves (again!!! Both of them at that time, and I have shoulder issues occasionally which limited the workouts I could complete), have climbed in the past (mostly in the Tetons) but never lead climbing or anything super technical, currently work out at a small neighborhood Anytime Fitness gym.

So – I’m used to being fit, want to regain that level of fitness where I feel I can go out and try anything whenever I want, want to feel and look good, will be making annual ski trips while living in Iowa until I can get back to the mountains, would like to get back to being able to run distances (no need to be fast anymore). One additional point is that my real passion is photography and the niche I want to pursue, even at my age, might lead to extended assignments where I would also need a certain fitness level to make sure I’m able to trek distances, work in extreme situations and schlep a fair amount of gear.

After all that …….. is there a sequence of Strong Swift Durable programs you might recommend for me? I did see that you may have programs for folks over 45 but what about over 65 – although don’t feel that and people tell me I don’t look it. I also need to recognize space and equipment limitations at the gym where I work out (for instance the 40 foot sprints and lunges and the 30 foot all 4 dumbell pulls have to be done in an aisle between weight machines or in the studio that’s only 30 feet in total length and I have to turn around to finish an exercise – which is ok, I can adapt). And, I’ve never considered myself strong and even on the North Face program, I’m starting out with less weight but working upwards slowly but surely on a weekly basis.

Hope this rambling makes sense and isn’t too confusing. Any program and sequence suggestions would be appreciated. If there’s a recommended program or series of programs, I intend to finish the North Face program then proceed from there.

I’m not sure any of our current programming, as prescribed, would be appropriate for someone 65+ – I just don’t have enough experience working with athletes in your age range.

From what I do have, I’d recommend you begin with the Army BCT 100-200 Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/army-bct-100-199-training-plan/

This plan’s focus on bodyweight work, and short distance running is one of our more gentle plans. You’ll need to take the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) before starting and use your results to work through the plan. This way the plan will “scale” to your incoming level of fitness.

The APFT has 3 events: Max push ups in 2 minutes, Max situps in 2 minutes and a 2-mile run for time.

Work through this plan, and we’ll go on from there.

I was wondering what the difference was between the barbell horizontal row was and just barbell row? I tried to find a video on it and couldn’t. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Sorry – no difference.

Can you folks recommend any fitness/workout tracker apps? I’m looking for something that I can throw your daily workouts into, then be able to log what weights I’m hitting.

Great programming by the way. I’ve been a long time subscriber.

I can’t. I don’t use one.

No reason – I just don’t.

Just wanted yalls feedback on my scores and any suggestions. I just started the 2 week stamina cycle(12-1-14) on the operator sessions. Thank you.
Front squat (185)- 25
Bench Press (185)- 12
Deadlift (225) 60 sec- 23
25m sprints- 56
Pull ups- 24
Sandbag get ups (80)- 47
3 mile plate carrier run- 26:04

OU is scored using your bodyweight. See here and scroll down for your scoring standards: http://mtntactical.com/military-athlete-articles/operator-ugly-fitness-test/

Looking at your scores – a couple things stand out.

• You’re upper/lower strength is imbalanced. In a balanced athlete, the front squat and bench press reps would be the same or close.
• You didn’t measure out the 25m length for the sprints. Use 82 feet. Your number is high.
• Okay job on the sandbag getups for the first time out of the slot. Lot’s of room for improvement here – you should aim for 70+ reps.

I have the Mountain Athlete for Crossfitters plan I downloaded back in late 2013 that I was going to use again but just saw the Strong Swift Durable for Crossfitters plan on your new site. Is that a new plan or just same plan that’s been rebranded? If it’s different, how different is it?

I updated this plan *http://mtntactical.com/shop/ssd-for-crossfitters/) last August and it’s significantly different then our past one. It includes assessed and progressed strength work in the first 3 weeks, and an assessed and progressed running program. It reflects more evolved programming. It’s not re-branded.

Should you purchase it? If you’re just after general fitness, and you already have the old plan, no. Re-do the old plan, or better yet, try one of our plans that might take you into a new mode – swimming or rucking. A great plan to consider for rucking, running and gym-based work capacity is Valor: http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/

A great plan which involved awesome pool work is BUD/s V1: http://mtntactical.com/shop/buds-v1-training-program-2011/

I am a second year Air Force cadet at Texas Tech University. Myself and my workout partner have decided to try out your CCT/PJ/CRO packet in order to better prepare ourselves for CRO (and possibly STO or ALO) selection in the future.

While we are both moderately physically fit (coming off of the break has set us back a little bit), I have never been as strong a swimmer as my workout partner, or as many others who will be going through selection with me. I do have a very busy schedule that will only be even busier with our daily workouts, but noticed that swimming is stated to only take 2/3 days a week. Are there any extra swimming lessons, or basic swimming technique/form exercises that you would recommend I do concurrently with this workout plan in order to improve faster? And if so, when would be the best days for me to do so, so as to not hinder the CCT/PJ/CRO plan?

You don’t want to double up with this plan. It’s no joke.

I’d recommend you stick with the swimming in the plan. Do it once through and let it work it’s magic on your swimming performance. Then, based on where you’re at, get more swimming in after.

I discovered you guys through an online article which mentioned you.

I’m a 37-year-old father of two up in BC, Canada with some fitness – More cardio/triathlon background. My kids are young so fitness/training have been patchy these last few years but I’m finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m very interested in a program I could do from home which focuses around strength training through minimalism/basics with some cardio/interval conditioning. I’ve done calisthenics and free weights, but no barbell yet…although I’m very interested in it as a long term part of my life. I’ve got kettlebells, a rowing machine, heavy punch bag, pull up bar, space to move around in – and I’m very motivated.

I’m wondering if you guys would be able to put together a program for me for this coming spring? If this is possible could we maybe talk by phone for a few minutes?…I’m not a huge fan of email and would be happy to call you.

Happy to talk to you but won’t design an individual program for you yet. We do this from time to time, but generally for unique events – for example I designed a long train up for a team currently climbing Fitz Roy.

For others, like you, I generally need to see you work through a couple of our existing plans before I’d consider it. I’m sorry.

From our stuff, I’d recommend a couple for you to start:

1) Bodyweight Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-i-training-program/
You’ve said you’ve done bodyweight stuff before – but I’d encourage you to consider this plan. It’s a great introduction to our programming approach, and is no joke.

2) 8-Week Kettlebell Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/8-week-kettlebell-training-program/
First 4-weeks strength. Second 4 Work capacity. Great stuff.

First off. Great work outs. I was a seal fit patron for a while. I feel like I’m in pretty good shape… But damn. Those were just illogical workouts.

Not that you’re aren’t any easier!

I like how your seem more purpose driven and segmented every six weeks or so. You also have great videos and stretches incorporated.


I’ve made an 80 lbs sandbag. It has a coupe small holes. What tape do you all use to patch em up? How do you maintain em?

I’m trying to shift this golds gym a bit from how it operates–without having to join an over priced and pretentious crossfit box.

Any advice I am more than ready to receive.

My first sandbags were made from old army duffle bags like yours, but they had so many maintenance issues and we broke so many we designed our own and started making them ourselves – and have then on the website store.

What I would do with the old army duffles was cut off the shoulder straps, and use gorilla tape for holes, until it got out of hand. Then I’d have to get a new one.

Great and practical site. I really see myself leaning on the site for guidance and training programs.
I’ve already purchased the GR Heavy program for a HCLS I’m doing in March. I’ll be 45, and if I complete the HCLS injury free, I will sign up for the Aug 20GR Selection, and have a Spartan Ultra-Beast one month later. What would you recommend for:
1: the 13 weeks leading up to GR Pre-selection. Ideally it maintains distance rucking, but also starts mountain training for Sept.
2: the 4 weeks between Selection and Ultra-Beast. Rest and recovery are top priority, but gradual increasing workouts to sharpen up for the mountain run are ideal.

My rough training outline
March 13: GR HCLS…purchased GR Heavy program
13 weeks: Best plan to “off season” prepare for BOTH for GR Selection, and the mountainous Killington Ultra-Beast?
June 19: GR Pre-Selection
– will purchase 8 wk GR Selection program
Aug 20: GR Selection.
…balancing recovery with some prep.
Sept 20: spartan Ultra-Beast

One event at a time. The GR Selections are no joke, and I’m not sure there is a general “standard” or a number of candidates the cadre let graduate. So …. I wouldn’t recommend cross training for both this event and anything else. Focus on it.

I’m no obstacle course expert, but I understand the spartan events have a significant running focus. I’m thinking you’re going to want to take a week’s rest after the goruck event – so that gives you a couple weeks to run before you start tapering into the event. Not much time.

We do have a Spartan Sprint plan you could help use to program for this (http://mtntactical.com/shop/spartan-sprint-race-training-plan/), or our running improvement plan, or simply some running/sprints/bodyweight work on your own.

I wish I could offer more.

I’ve been following your training for a few years now. It’s awesome and hands down the best I’ve come across. Currently I’m in training for the 2015 Boston Marathon. The thing is, I miss the Operator Sessions, and I’m trying to find a way to work them back into my regimen without over-taxing myself. I considered the Meathead Marathon plan, but I already started a plan back in December and that’s going well. My questions are where in the all the published Operator Sessions do you think I should jump in (strength/work capacity/etc cycle), and given that they run 4 days on, 3 days off, do you think I would benefit from doing the sessions on a Mon-Wed-Fri schedule?

Thanks for your time and attention to this matter. I look forward to getting your feedback.

I’m not sure the Operator Sessions are a good choice because of the intensity. If you do want to use them to double up with your running, I’d recommend using the strength only sessions from a past strength cycle, at most 2-3 days/week.

But there is a better choice – In-Season Strength Plan for Endurance Athletes: http://mtntactical.com/shop/in-season-strength-training-plan-for-endurance-athletes/

Is there anything I can substitute for sled drags? They’re just not practical at my gym, sadly. Thanks.

Do 6x Jingle Jangles instead: http://mtntactical.com/exercises/mnt168-jingle-jangles/

I recently made the decision to go Special Forces and join the training team for the SF group in my state. In doing so also recently finished the APFT improvement program because to get on the training team you must meet 80% in each event for the 17-21 year old age group. My run has always been my biggest issue but over the course of the last 18+ months of doing the operator sessions I have never felt better fitness wise, and my run had improved up until I suffered a setback last summer with a fracture in my foot. But anyways…after completing the APFT program my pushups and situps are beyond where I want them but my run time is only 14;50. I seem to do best in the shorter intervals 800m or less, but obviously I need to hold a faster pace for longer distance. I test March 10 for the training team, and if accepted would then move on to your SFAS selection packet. What should I do for my run and also avoid over training and injury? I am currently 29 years old, 6’1″, 215lbs roughly 9% body fat and my diet is decent, though I admit it could always be better. I want to be somewhere in the mid-high 13’s for my 2 mile time by March but also have a good overall fitness level and of course good pushups and situps for the test. Thank you in advance.

Easiest would be to repeat the running assessment and progressions in the APFT Plan.

Another option would be to get the Running Improvement Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/run-improvement-plan/

Finally – you’re weight is about right, but understand for the APFT events, loosing even 5# will make a positive difference in all the events.

I wanted to write an ask for your advice on what program might be most beneficial to follow. I’m in the Marine Corps and am a Recon candidate and am currently in MART (Marines Awaiting Recon Training). This is a conditioning phase for guys going into BRC. We PT everyday for 1-2 hours however, I am looking for that little extra & variety. I like the idea of purchasing the USMC Basic RECON Course Training Plan, however the problem I am encountering is that I’ll only have 4-5 days a week to train, wont have time to do the 2-A-Day sessions (except for the weekends), and will only be able to get to the pool during the weekends. I was curious if you would still recommend that BRC prep plan and just following it as best as possible, or if there might be a different plan you would recommend. I appreciate your feedback.

The USCM Basic Recon Course Plan is full on – you certainly couldn’t double up with your required PT. A couple things to consider ….

First, understand you become more fit not by training, but by resting from training. It might be best to continue with your current PT and have faith that the guys designing it are setting you up for success. BRC is more than just fitness – and you could put your attention to the professional/leadership/tactical and other areas which will be tested.

If you’re determined to add stuff, I’d encourage you to be brutally honest about your fitness strengths and weaknesses, and use your extra time to focus on the weaknesses. We have specific plans for running, swimming and rucking improvement, as well as bodyweight and other stuff. You could pick and chose from my BRC plan, or design extra work on your own.

The goal here is to address your need/want to go the extra mile, but do it in a focused way, and not overtrain.

I just started the plan and I’m loving it. I have a question about the session that details 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 For time of the following exercises: Sandbag squat clean, Dumbbell push press, 40 foot shuttle sprints, seated Russian twists, and burpees.

The way I understand it is I do 10 reps of the cleans, followed by 10x push press, then 10 sprints, 10 twists, and 10 burpees. Next round is 9 of each exercise, then 8, and so on. Is that correct?

Also, what constitutes 1 rep for the 40 foot shuttle sprint? I couldn’t find it listed on your website.

You’re understanding it right.

1x 40-foot shuttle = 1x length. So a down/back round trip would be 2x reps.

I will be finishing up week 2 on the BORSTAR program in the next few days. I have the two-day PFT in about 10 days. The first day consists of the full PFT, including swimming. The second day is a field assessment, which I’m assuming is a pass/fail unloaded long distance litter carry and whatever else they can throw in. Do you think I should continue onto week 3 the program, or strictly focus on the PFT work for the time being? On the PFT that I took on week 1 of the program, I passed everything including the swim. Only two things that were close was the run and the sit-ups. I’m sitting around 11 minutes on the 1.5 mile. Cut off is 11:30.

Even after the PFT, I will still be about seven weeks out from the academy, which will be perfect amount of time to finish up the program, if I pass everything and get selected to go. Just want to make sure my scores are as high as possible because there is a large group of applicants trying out and only a small percentage will get selected to attend the academy in the end of March.

I understand you guys are most likely slammed all the time so I really appreciate your time answering my questions regarding training. Thank you, Sir!

Definitely focus on the PFT events now and return to the program after.

Good luck!

I’m an internet member of StrongSwiftDurable. Love the program. Really helped me while BC skiing JH in December. Is there a good sub for rowing machine? I’ve got a cable weight machine (a zuma); wondering if there’s a way to rig things up. Thanks!

Not sure that would work. Stationary bike would likely be best.

I have been selected to go to Marine OCS this summer (first week of July). I want to be in the best physical shape I have ever been in in my life to maximize my chances of graduating. I am currently on a run program to improve my run time, but as far as strength and endurance goes I am unsure what to do.

Do you have any program recommendations for me to purchase and follow as I slowly train towards July 6th?

We’ve built a training plan specifically for Marine OCS here: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ocs-usmc-training-plan/

This plan is designed to be completed directly before OCS, but you could run through it now, roll into our daily sessions after, then repeat it directly before reporting.

I subscribed to Military Athlete in the second half of last year and am extremely grateful to have done so. My training and performance have improved significantly and I have my focus and drive back.

I’ve just finished your SFOD-D 10 week selection training plan with a view to being loaded on the next course but have had a medical deferral due to hearing damage. Although I’m frustrated, the plan itself has pushed me into excellent shape and I’m keen to keep it up whilst I wait for the next course.

I’m following the Operator sessions as prescribed and have bought your Ultimate Meathead Cycle with the intent of completing the Operator sessions in the morning and following the Meathead Cycle in the evenings on non-strength days.

Would you say this is too much?

Yes. Too much – chose one or the other, UMC or the Operator Sessions.

I am going to start RASP PREP program I purchased from you. I’m looking at going at RASP in beginning of April, but I will begin my training while I am still deployed. Is there any substitute for the swim stuff since I have no access to a pool?

Not anything I can think of that will transfer to swimming – for variety, I’d recommend a rower.

I am starting the APFT plan this week and was looking to substitute the running for rucking. I am doing the program for general fitness and not training for a PT test. If you approve of the idea, what kind of weight and distance would you recommend?

Use 35# and follow the same distances prescribed in the training plan.

My cousin wants to join the military. He is 17 and wants to be an Army Ranger. The thing is that he is out of shape. Very out of shape, especially in regards to upper body strength. The rest of his physical attributes aren’t so good either, He won’t make it past basic training, much less RASP. I personally couldn’t recommend anything for him as tactical fitness is not my forte, so I’m turning to you. He’s planning on enlisting within the next two years. What course of action do you recommend? What series of plans would you prescribe that could help him reach the fitness level needed to enter and succeed in the Regiment? He has at least a year to prepare. Thank you.

I’m not sure our stuff is appropriate for him, but one option would be to have him take the APFT, and get his score, then buy the appropriate Army Bootcamp plan based on his score.

If he scored under 100: http://mtntactical.com/shop/army-bct-under-100-plan/
If he scores 100-200: http://mtntactical.com/shop/army-bct-100-199-training-plan/
If he scores 200+: http://mtntactical.com/shop/army-bct-200-training-plan/

I have talked with you before and have used many of your training plans. Followed military athlete for several years, as well as completing the the ruck based selection, and Afghan prep. Loved everything. I will be 48 in a couple of months and no longer hit the wods like I used to. just can’t recover from it.

On another note I was a D1 college basketball player and had a 46inch vert. Yes measured with a max vert of 51. I am being retired, forcibly, from losing my right eye. My explosiveness carried me through many crazy operations and opened eyes of all those around me. It wasn’t just jumping. I still want to stay strong, extremely explosive, and android work capacity. I am not into long distance stuff. I still hang around a sub 11.30 1 1/2 mile and can hit sub 14 2 miler. So those days of pounding from running and rucking are over. I still strap on a 25-35lb ruck on Saturdays and walk my farm lines, up and down hills, just for sheer enjoyment. So I am not sure where or what to approach on your site.

Lastly, I work with high school athletes. Specifically boys basketball. I have thought about trying out your in season basketball for females and just altering the load for the boys. Your thoughts. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication to those who serve.

You – I’d recommend a subscription to the website and for you to follow the SF45 programming. SF45 stands for Strength and Fitness 45 and is designed for athletes 45-55 years old. It’s not intense perhaps enough for you, but I’m almost 47, and do it.

Boys Basketball – the in-season plan is perfect. Adjust loads and you’ll see gains.

In advance I’d like to say thanks for all the work that you do I know myself and many others are grateful for everything that you do. I just had a few questions on how I should go about my training and I would appreciate your advice on the matter. I’m going to enlist into the army with an 18x contract (SF contract) the goal being to become a Green Beret, However the minimum age requirement for an 18x contract is 20 years old and I just turned 19 this past December. My goal is to prepare as much as I can mentally and physically within this next year until my enlistment I’ve started accumulating tons of resources on training and different procedures from former QPs on how to go about preparing. But I eventually stumbled across your great site and saw that many military athletes have had success with your programs specifically the Rucking-Based Selection (SFAS) Training Plan which is exactly what I’m looking for. I’ve found older training plans used by former Green Berets’ although your program seems to have the most vocal praise so I wanted to get your opinion on which program I should be on the Rucking-Based Selection (SFAS) Training Plan or the Rucking-Based Selection (SFAS) Training Packet as I have almost more than a year to train up. I very much appreciate any input that you may be able to give me and again thank you for putting these military programs together.

I’d recommend the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-packet/).

The Ruck Based Selection Training Plan is no joke, and you need a high level of strength and fitness to complete it. The packet will cover all the bases.
I want to begin that I love your programs. You have created a niche that allows focus as well as intensity, especially for military personal. But, I do have one question, that I have looked for an answer on your website but with no results. Do you recommend a particular movement prep prior to your warm-ups or is it self-prescribed?

I appreciate the feedback.

There’s no movement prep or any other warm up besides what’s prescribed. My theory and approach differs from Athlete’s Performance/EXOS in this.

In general, our warm ups are fairly vigorous. Two reasons – in the real thing, there is no “warm up” period. Second, I’ve found the movement prep approach does not adequately prepare athletes for our training sessions.

I’ve completed the Bodyweight program with excellent results, and I’m wondering what you recommend next. MARSOC’s A&S is a year away.

Secondly, do you mind if I share the plans with friends or would you prefer I purchase additional copies?

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

Sharing Plans – I’d request you’d respect copyright.

Love your workout so far! I’m doing the ice/mixed preseason 6 week program and was wondering, for the 40ft shuttle (session 6), do I break it down into increments of 5ft?

Set up two cones, 40 feet apart and get a repeating countdown timer set at 50 seconds.

On “Go” do 3x Burpees the immediately 4x 40-foot shuttles.

Each 40-foot length counts as 1x rep, so 4x shuttles = 2 round trips.

The faster you finish the more rest you get before the 50 second interval runs out and you start all over again.

I’m currently using your Weight Vest, DB, Sandbag workout and I was wondering if there is a substitute for 10 EO’s that would fit in there. I don’t know if it’s a coordination issue, a problem with the surface (too much or not enough friction) or what. Any ideas or should I just do them anyway? I just feel like I’m not getting the stimulus that I should with them.

You’re not unusual. Everyone sucks at EO’s at first – I went in a circle. You’ll figure it out. Everyone does – and it’s a phenomenal core exercise.

I would like to try one of your programs but not sure what would be best for me to start with.

I’m 49, Male, Former athlete and now out of shape (5’9″ 170lbs) due to a series of shoulder operations with the end result being having a right shoulder replacement a year ago. I have access to a great gym and track.

I have a lot of things that I still want to accomplish that requires me to be in great shape so motivation isn’t a problem.

I’m assuming your shoulder is good to go. If so, a great place to start would be our On Ramp Training Plan on the LE Side: http://mtntactical.com/shop/on-ramp-training-program/


First off I would like to say my military buddies speak highly of your programs and it was a pleasure to see you guys added a LEO section. I am currently in the police academy and while i am a seasoned vet for training for the military, deployments and speciality schools I attend, I am a complete rookie on the LEO fitness side of things. So I am unsure with what program to look into or act upon since you have a variety of LEO programs. Like i said i am still in the Academy and will be a rookie on the streets soon, but would like to start gearing my fitness towards this new endeavor so i won’t have to worry about that aspect out there. And after B4 school that i recently came back from i won’t have to worry about training for a specific military school or deployment for quite some time. So it would be nice to utilize my open agenda training wise to jumpstart the LEO side of things.
Thanks for your time and phenomenal website and programing,

A great place to start would be the Patrol Officer Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/patrol-officer-training-plan/

A quick question and just want to say thanks for some awesome programming. I am a coach as well and know the time and commitment it takes so thank you.
This question is about recovery. I am 40 years old, doing operator sessions in conjunction with other tactile forms of training. Recovered from a rock climbing accident some years back.
I do understand I will not recover as fast as my younger peers. In regards to the operator sessions do I need more recovery than what is worked in? I also do Ashtanga yoga and swim 2-3 times per week as well.

You’re body will answer this question for you. Look for sleep issues, poor motivation, feeling run down, etc. – these are all signs of over training.

I did the Operator Sessions well into my 40’s, but everyone is different.

Also – if you’re job doesn’t require this intense of fitness, move on.

Other options include the SSD programming, LE Athlete Officer Sessions or SF45.

When are the planned rest days during your military athlete programming? I’ve never done it and just want an idea before I pull the trigger on the subscription.

Rest Days? The Operator Sessions are generally a 4 day/week or 5 day/week program – with weekends off. Also included are unload weeks and occasional rest weeks.

Sessions are predominantly 60 minutes long.

I have recently successfully completed SFAS and am looking to keep my fitness top notch for the Q. However, I will be doing SOCM first, so the train up for IUW doesn’t apply so much to me right now. And just a heads-up, they are doing away with IUW from what I hear, although I am positive that the hard gates that the Q course prep program prepares for will still be part of it. Anyway, I am really just looking to keep on improving my GPP. I am kind of just throwing a program together willy nilly (based around squatting and deadlifting). I watched your fluid periodization video, and that holistic approach to fitness is exactly what I am looking for.

I guess my questions are, do your daily operator sessions utilize the fluid periodization approach? How does the program maintain one facet while focusing on an other?

The ugly operator PT test looks awesome (and something that should really be the standard for PT test across all branches), I was thinking doing that 15 week course might be the better answer over the daily subscription option for my goals, your thoughts? Also, I think I have all the equipment needed for that program as well.

So which one would you recommend I buy? Or if there is a different one out there that you think meets the GPP goals better, I am all ears. Thanks for any advice.

P.S. I know some guys that followed your ruck based selection program; they loved it, and they all got selected as well.

Yes – the Operator Sessions deploy our Fluid Periodization approach. In the past most cycles were 3 weeks long, but for since last Fall we’ve been experimenting with 4 and 6 week cycles.

The Operator Ugly Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/operator-ugly-train-up/) would be a great introduction to our programming. Note however this is a 3-week, 15 session training plan, not a 15 week plan.

Start with the Operator Ugly training plan, then subscribe to the Operator Sessions.

I’m planning on doing a couple of GORUCK events this year and am planning my training around them, and wanted to get your feedback if possible. I have Pre-Selection coming up in late June and then a Heavy in mid-August, with a Light and Challenge in there somewhere. I hurt my elbow last Oct and between that and holidays I fell off the wagon. I am on week 4 of the MA On-Ramp program and then was thinking of doing the MA Bodyweight 1 program, taking a week off, then doing RAT 6. I’d be rucking too. That would leave me about 4 weeks before Pre-Selection. In that 4 weeks I’d do more rucking, sandbag work, etc. I’d then have 7 weeks before the Heavy, so I thought I would take a week off and then do the Heavy training plan. Thoughts?

FWIW, I’m 46, 6″, 175. Based on your writings before, I was thinking of maybe changing up the program schedule to do a Crossfit-style 3 days on/1 off leading up to Pre-Selection to work in more recovery time.

I’d recommend Fortitude (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/) after On Ramp. It trains both strength and military-specific endurance (running, rucking). To accomodate recovery, do the sessions in sequence, but take Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sunday’s off. It’ll will stretch out the plan some, which is okay.

Definitely the GoRuck Heavy Plan before that event (http://mtntactical.com/shop/goruck-heavy-training-plan/).

I’m not sure what to tell you for the pre-selection event as I’m not familiar with that.

Looking ahead, I’d really encourage you to consider shifting your outdoor adventure/challenges to real-world mountain events. The Goruck and obstacle course events are certainly physically challenging, and great tests of mental fitness and development, but you’ll hit the ceiling fast in terms of skills development. I’m thinking you may really enjoy backcountry big game hunting, or wilderness fly fishing, or ski mountaineering. These can also be great tests of preparation and fitness, yet also push outdoor skills learning and mountain awareness and truly become lifelong sports.

Regardless, good luck.

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