Every week we’ll answer a few questions on video. The rest are printed below.
I implemented your advice and recommendations as soon as you wrote me back in mid-November of last year. Since implementation we have seen great results. It’s a solid program and I personalized it in a packet setup for the Soldier to take and have something that is For them and they have responded well.
Some people wouldn’t worry about the audience we see here as it really is that 5% that was not able to pass the APFT at the end of basic training. Some are going to make great Soldiers they just needed some assistance in getting there physically. Naturally most of them were the ones that did not play sports in school, did not go outside as much or have a balance diet provided for them from their parents. But they come here and they learn. We teach them the basics of performance nutrition, introduce them to the Army Wellness Center which does Body fat testing (BODPOD), VO2 testing, flexibility, and strength testing, and the basic principles of fitness that I’ve learned from the Gym Jones Seminars I’ve attended and the knowledge I’ve taken from your articles and programs that I’ve purchased. A great mentor to me, CSM Devens, once told me “don’t forget where you came from and when the time comes that you work with our regular Army forces always seek out that rear Warrior that catches your eye that you know will fit well in SOF and encourage him (or her) to try, … if you believe in them that may very well be all they need… let them know, “The only failure in life, is the failure to try.” I’ve taken that to heart. He did that for me and this is my way of paying it forward.
My time here at this Unit is up and I will be moving on. I head to Ranger School on the 19th of February and once I return I will clear and PCS to Fort Bragg to attend SFQC. Your programs have more than set me up for success. My replacement came in a few weeks ago and he is a solid NCO and will carry the program here well, maybe better than I have.
I’ll be seeing you in Wyoming in the next few years. I’ve told you before my plan has always been to do my time in the Army and when the time comes I want to open my own gym. Mark Twight, Rob MacDonald, and yourself are the coaches that I am seeking to learn from.
Thanks again to you, your team, and your gym for taking the time to help us out down here. I’ve attached a copy of the packet I hand out to the Soldiers. It won’t look like a lot after dealing with all the athletes you’ve had and the programs you’ve written but for these kids walking the line of having a future or going home it’s their life. On the last page I reference you and your website. Regardless, pass or fail, they can take this packet home and look up the programs you have to offer. If they pass they can take the knowledge to their future units. Hopefully this in turn will help spread the word of your gym and programs. Athleticism and fitness in the military is slowly drifting away and we need to reverse it.
I had a question about your Falcon Training Plan. I’m currently training at a gym that has a full weight room, but doesn’t have a track. I was wondering if the run intervals of this program could be done on a treadmill? If the intervals are longer, I would think that a treadmill would be fine. If the program calls for several sprints at shorter distances though, I don’t know how well that would work.
If you don’t think I could do that workout in my current gym, I would welcome any recommendations on a plan you think would work better with my set up. There is a possibility I will be going to FLETC in the next month or two, and I would like to improve my strength and running so I can hit the ground running when I get there. Thanks for your help.
The Run/Bodyweight work can be done at a high school track. This is where we did them. You can also do them on a treadmill, but you’d much more enjoy a track.
These are 1 mile intervals, so another option is just to use your car or a gps watch to measure a mile on a road, and run your repeats there.
I am a strength coach and former Olympic lifter who is finding himself at a crossroads. I am still in love with all aspects of the training experience but I am finding that the years are catching up a bit. I can lift and train with the best of them but I pay the price in my joints for days after. I’m 44 and after I read your article on SF45 programming I am beyond curious to see what the trainings would be about. I’m not much for flying in blind but feel that this could be a positive path for me to venture. Is it possible for you to provide a bit more info about the program or maybe a small sample so I can get a better feel of the programming prior to subscription.
I thank you for your time and hopefully my knees will also.
I’m still finding my feet with this programming – but in general here’s what I’m thinking:
The 45+ Athlete…
- Has a little more time to train. Can do 2-a-days with AM endurance and PM gym work
- Could use a decrease in overall bodyweight to save joints – loss of fat and muscle mass
- Relative strength is important, not max effort strength. We know who we are and gym numbers aren’t needed to make us feel good about ourselves.
- Don’t enjoy gym training as much
- Increased emphasis on endurance, both for transferable fitness, but also outside training and the mental break it provides
- Joints are hurting – so a decrease on light weight (but loaded), high volume squatting and other movements
- Strength Training is important, but moderate to high intensity, moderate to low volume. (6×4, 8×3, etc)
- Even an increased emphasis on core strength work – This is one area we can really push
- Bodyweight movements for upper body are important – push ups, pull ups, rope climbs, etc.
- Shorter gym-sessions, 45 min/max
Here are a week of sessions from December:
Obj: Endurance/CORE Strength, 2-a-Day
(1) Run 60 Minutes, Moderate Pace (Moderate = comfortable but not easy)
(1) 10 Rounds
- 20x Swing @ 16/24kg
- 10x Weighted Situps @ 35/45#
Increase the run intensity today from Easy to Moderate. Also – we bump up the swings in loading and reps, and add a significant core with the weighted situps. Between the swings and situps, it’s great extension/flexion core balance.
(1) 10 Rounds
- 20x Swing @ 16/24kg
- 10x EO’s
(2) 8 Rounds
- 3x Bench Press – increase load each round until 3x is hard, but doable
- 3x Weighted Pull Ups – increase load each round until 3x is hard, but doable.
Today’s 200x swings were easier than yesterdays.
Part (2) – aim to be at your “hard but doable” loading by round 4, and use that load “across” rounds 4-8. I worked up to 200# in bench, and 25# for the pull ups.
Weighted pull ups is easy if you just put a dumbbell and plates in an old back pack.
Obj: Endurance/Strength, 2-a-Day
(1) Run 60 Minutes, Moderate Pace
(1) 10 Rounds
- 20x Swing @ 16/24kg
- 10x GHD Situps
(2) 6 Rounds
- 5x Walking Lunges – increase load each round until 5x is hard, but doable
- 5/10x Dips – increase load each round until 5/10x is hard but doable
- Lat + Pec Stretch
I worked up to 45# dumbbells on part (2)’s lunges, and 25# for the 10x Dips. My knees were really stiff going in and I had to spend some time after the swings to warm them up – before loading for lunges.
Obj: Endurance/Strength, 2-a-Day
(1) Run 60 Minutes, Moderate Pace
(1) 10 Rounds
- 20x Swing @ 16/24kg
- 5x Windmills
(2) 6 Rounds
- 3x Power Clean + Push Press – increase load each round until 3x is hard, but doable
- Rope Climb
- Pigeon Stretch
Run 60 Minutes, Easy Pace
I was just wondering what program would be the best for me. At 18 years old I’m currently sitting at 6’1 170 pounds, so quite skinny. I’m very athletic when it comes to endurance like running, swimming and so on, I just lack in strength and size. My goals in life are joining the military, I leave in the next couple of months approximately 4. What training program would you say would best suit me to gain a good base/foundation yet develop all of the attributes to being the best possible tactical athlete?
Thank you in advance Ive heard great things about you and your programs.
Start with the Bodyweight Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-training-program-i/
Follow it up with the Hypertrophy Plan for Skinny Guys: http://mtntactical.com/shop/hypertrophy-program-for-skinny-guys/ and do this plan concurrently with you’re own running or our Running Improvement Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/run-improvement-plan/
—REPLY—Thank you for the reply I really appreciate it. Out of all the programs on the internet some ranging up in the 200 dollars a month for online training you’re the first guy to reply to a question I’ve had. That definitely reflects back in a positive way to both myself and your company.
Hope to find you well! I would like your advice on which programs to purchase. A few years back I trained with your programs and your help with great success, so now I do not hesitate to train with the best. Here is my story, as compacted as I can:
- I had a right knee injury exactly 2 years ago (feb 2013). After a lot of struggle and therapies, in November 2013 the doctor decided to operate to remove a “plica”.
- After the therapy, which was a bad one, in Feb 2014 I got injured on the same knee, in the internal part, because the quads were not strong.
I did a lot of weight training for 4 months from march 2014 – July 2014 with a physical therapist. I did got better, but was ‘t cured cured.
I stopped weight training from July to November, went to see a doctor in Miami and told me that everything was well but that my quads were extremely tense. I started stretched and quads exercises at home in November 2014.
Now, I started doing mountain bike but not hiking yet. I would love to keep biking on weekends and I do not stop. I see that some programs are for resting on weekends. What do you think of me doing the bodyweight program? Is it good for strength?
The Bodyweight Training Program on the Mountain Athlete side would be a great place to start: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-training-program/
This is a 5 day/week plan – so do the plan in order, but be sure to rest on Fridays or it will hurt your weekend performance. You’re going to be pretty sore at the start!
This is bodyweight, but it’s no joke. – Great strength training and a good bridge to weightroom work.
Just got back from NTC and saw all the new sessions. Whats the difference between SSD, SF45, and operator sessions?
SSD – These are our general fitness sessions for primarily recreational athletes and mountain athletes who aren’t training sport-specifically for a specific sport season.
SF45 – General fitness for athletes 45-55 years old.
Operator Sessions – Day to day programming for military special forces, high achieving line unit guys, and LE SWAT members.
I just signed up for the programs. Only for one month as of now but reading some of the workouts and other programs I have a feeling that I am going to joining for a lot longer.
- What if I don’t have some of the equipment that is needed to preform some of the workouts?
Example: sleds, sand bags things like that. The gym that I work out is the office gym. And it has most of what is needed but not everything and I can bring some of this equipment to the office(no place to store it and not allowed.
- Where do you recommend that I start? I was was looking through the workouts and came across this date and 8.6.14 LE Athlete Fitness Assessment LE Athlete. Should I start from here or just pick and place where a session is just starting and move forward or does it really matter. Or should start any were. And move forward from that date.
Again it looks like it is going tough but a great ride looking forward to starting.
1) We can suggest substitutions for most exercises (sprints for sled push, as an example), but sometimes you’ll need to get resourceful – i.e. build your own sandbag. We have athletes around the world carry personal sandbags into gyms to train.
2) Yes – start with the 8.6.14 Session and work forward from there.
I am newly acquainted with your site, thanks to my brother who is in the CRO program. I am military police for the USAF, and I was looking into transitioning at some point to an SOF career field in the Air Force, Army or Navy. I was specifically looking into your 3 day, in person courses. There is a disclaimer in there that says that these programs are specifically for active duty military. I am a reserve member and may switch to the national guard if I go SF in the Army. Would this qualify as “Active Duty”? Some training schools (ie- Magpul Dynamics) only require you to be currently in the military, regardless if you are in a reserve or guard component. I was wondering if that was the same with you folks. We all go thru the same training and are in the same danger down range, but I needed to find out what your specific policy was.
Reserve and Guard would qualify. Thanks for brining it up – We’ll get the site changed.
I am familiar with your nutritional guidance given with your programming. Could you provide us with a “sample day” of nutrition just so we have a platform of sorts on how we can fill our macronutrients? Thank you.
This is a fairly typical day for me:
Breakfast: 4x scambled eggs with a little hard cheese and chopped avocado, 2 pieces of Bacon
After Training: Whey Protein Shake
Lunch: 1 Apple, 4 oz of hard salami, couple slices of sharp cheddar
Snack: 1x Apple with almond butter
Dinner: T-Bone steak, green salad with oil and vinegar, baked sweet potato
Finished 5 weeks of the Ranger program before I went to pre-ranger. Passed everything at pre-ranger except push ups. I did 50, which is Ranger school standard, but I have to do 57 at pre-ranger to get recommended for school. I take another RPFT in 3 weeks. What should I do to improve push ups and maintain everything else?
Repeat weeks 4, 5 and 6 of the Ranger School Plan, and add in the push up progression, based on your most recent RPFT score. Add the push up progression to Monday – so you’ll do them Mon, Wed and Fri. Do the push up progression first thing Monday.
I’m working through one of your programs now, and I had two questions.
The first is on hinge lifts: I’m having trouble maintaining my grip on some of the higher weight sets. Is it okay to fully rest the weight on the ground in between reps in a set? Or should I go lighter weight for the time being?
Second, what are your thoughts on rucking on a treadmill? We’ve had quite a lot of snow here on the East Coast. Is it a better alternative than trudging slowly through the snow?
Hinge Lifts? Try alternating your grip – one hand palm facing forward, one hand palm facing backward. Also – you can drop the weight from the top of the lift each rep. Many do that.
Treadmill rucking – boring as hell but you can do it.
I have about one year before I can tryout for a specialized unit. The initial assessment is close to a week long, moving constantly with a plate carrier, ballistic helmet, and rifle. Moving logs, rucking, and just general smoke sessions with little to no sleep and little caloric intake. I have purchased, and worked through a few of your plans. My goal was to do the following before I go. As of right now, I’m in decent shape now but want every physical advantage I can have. I have worked through your body-weight plan, Devgru, and some of the CAG plan. I have purchased: body-weight, 369 work capacity, sandbag/weight vest/dumbbell training plan, Devgru, HRT plan, 357 Strength, 4 week running improvement, and 1st SFOD plan.
Its seems like a little bit of over-training, but I’m going to be smart about it. My plan was to do the following order: Body-weight again, 357 strength and 4 week run improvement alternating days (strength one day, run the next and cut the running out of the strength plan), sandbag, 369, Body-weight plan again (this time with plate carrier, full hydration pack and helmet), 1st SFOD-D, HRT, and then Devgru plan.
I would take a five to seven days off between plans, limit rucking to no more than 10 miles (time constants and injury prevention), and on most days I would not do two a days due, again to time restrains unfortunately. Any advise on the order of these plans or advise in general? Thanks in advance, and love the stuff you put out….obviously.
I’m not sure I like the way you pile on the selection plans (SFOD-D, HRT and DEVGRU) at the end – too much. Each of these is full on. I’d recommend spreading them out, and doing the one most specific to your selection at the end, right before selection. For example, this could be an alternate order:
- 4-Week Run alone (nice unload)
- 4-Week Run alone (unload)
I cannot enlist and take a PST for 3 months because I had prk surgery. What should I do over the next 3 months to maximize my scores?
I’d recommend our US Navy PST Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/us-navy-pst-training-plan/
This is a 6-week Plan. Go through it twice.
I’m training using the SFOD-D Training Plan, but have a question about one of the exercises. One of the exercises involves a circuit:
“(1) 4 rounds, every 60 sec. 30% of max reps push ups, then immediately max reps push ups in 60 sec.”
Does that mean a full 60s rest between each set? Or you start a round every 60s and your rest time is based on how quickly your can do the 30%.
Every set starts when the second hand hits “12”. Faster you finish your 30% reps, the more rest you’ll get before the next round begins.
- 25# Dumbbells – men, 15# dumbbells – women.
- 80# Sandbag – Men, 60# – women
- 16-19” Box, bench, stool or whatever for step ups
- Watch with second hand or countdown timer (Timex Ironman is best)Here’s the link to the plan: http://
strongswiftdurable.com/shop/ afghanistan-pre-deployment- training-plan/
I recently purchased the Endurance training Cycle to use as a “prep” course for the ruck based selection program, I used it with great results, now I found myself forward in a staff billet and was not confident I could roll right back in to the 8 week program.
Long story short I was wondering if you had any dietary recommendations to sync with my current, or both programs.
I am 34 years old (back in 09 you sent me the Afghan prep course) I’m 72″ tall and weigh between 230-237 depending on the day of the week. I have been straight leg CONVENTIONAL Marine Corps Infantry for 14ish years. My assessments from the 1st week of the endurance cycle were as follows; 6 mile run = 43:20, max pulls = 16 (very, very strict), 3 mile ruck at 60lbs w/body armor and carbine = 42:10, and 230lbs bench= 15. I drink on weekends, and smoke red Marlboros.
I rarely use supplements, however I intent to take ON Amino Energy, and ON protein during the 8 week program. Save stopping smoking and drinking, is there any macro nutrient guidance? I have access to a really clean chow hall with veggies and fruit chicken ect. I will not be able to purchase anything further to drill down into micro considerations.
Thank you for your time and knowledge.
6 Days a Week: Eat lean meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and drink water. Don’t eat carbs (bread, spuds, rice) or sugar.
1 Day a Week: Cheat like a mother! Beer, pizza, ice cream – you name it! We’ve found you can’t eat clean over the long term without cheating. We’ve also found the longer you stick to this diet, the less you’ll “cheat” on your cheat days, and the more cheating will hurt you – i.e. stomach ache, gas, etc.
I am about to commission into the Marine Corps in May. I just received orders to TBS in June. I have been considering subscribing to one of your training plans, and was wondering if you had any recommendations to any of your training plans. I have been looking at possibly doing the Recon challenge or Best Ranger competition plans. I’ll list my strength stats below if that would help you.
- Max Squat: 365
- Max Bench: 245
- Max Dead-lift: 455
- 3 Mile Run: 17:45
Thanks for your time and hope to hear from you soon.
I am currently going through your on ramp plan. I am currently deployed and we are not allowed to run on our compound. I’ve found a place for the sprints but can’t do the endurance day. The only other tool I have in regards to cardio is a jump rope. Would you recommend this an alternative and is there a factor for scaling? Keeping up endurance is very important to me even with my current constraints.
Are to climb the 8000m peaks in differing styles, including single push ascents. I’ve two 8000m summits under my belt climbing solo and without supplemental O2 but I feel that my training isn’t anywhere near where it could be. Looking forward I want to increase the challenge with single push ascents and more technical climbing. And I feel there are huge gains to be had in a more targeted and structured training program.
Given your travel, I’d hate for you to subscribe to the Operator Sessions but not be able to use them. I’d recommend Valor next: http://
I hope you don’t mind my question but I heard that for Military you used to offer the APFT improvement for free is this still the case?
Secondly, how adaptable is the Army PT plan because I’m now a reservist so I don’t have the privilege of conducting PT in the am anymore, and my now civilian job keeps be traveling quite often. Will I need access to a full gym in order to benefit from the plan?
My goal isn’t just to workout to pass the APFT, its to be an overall effective and efficient military athlete who can all ace his PT test at any time. So any plan you recommend is what I’m going to gear my training towards.
I’ve always felt that my squat form was decent, though it could certainly be better. I exhibit some low back rounding when deep in the hole, but my knees track well over and outside of my feet. I do find my self rotating my feet outward under heavier weight. To improve my squat form I plan to focus on my hips and hamstrings.
Today however was a bit discouraging though not all that surprising. I have always struggled with the overhead squat. Mostly with staying on my heels, and getting low like I can with a back or front squat. I also struggle with hand placement. I’m never quite sure where to place them and I’m afraid that I tend to go too wide in order to feel stable under load, increasing weight, and catching a snatch.
Hand placement came up with the assessment and warmup. Specifically, when performing the OHS progression, to get in the full squat position with arms lowered, outside of my thighs and pvc across my shins requires hand placement significantly wider than the 90 degree elbow with pvc on head hand position.
All this is to say, I struggled with the OHS form and OHS progression and I want to get better. Also, I want to say thanks for increasing the amount of mobility in the sessions since I last subscribed.