Q&A 3.4.16

Erin completes the sandbag cleans in part (2).


    I know you probably hear this all the time, and these emails probably get exhausting, but I felt it was important to let you know that your FR training plans have literally changed my life.

    Being a female firefighter has so many challenges (and I love them all) but being fit for the job, while still maintaining my fertility and general femininity, is certainly the biggest one. Your plans, in just 3 months, have increased my strength/endurance to the point where I am comfortable with the job; and I plan to keep improving.

    One of the Captains on my crew is a personal trainer and had purchased your plans back in 2012. I plan to purchase any new FR programs you release. I truly cannot believe my fitness has improved this much in such a short time and I am so thankful to both him, and you, for enabling my progress.

    It has been a lifelong struggle but I’m finally at a point where I feel strong. Thank you, thank you, thank you,

– L



Thanks for taking my question. I’m active Army.

My question is which program to choose.  I am currently relatively strong but out of shape.  My work capacity is also pretty low.

1 Rep Max: squat 405, bench 360, standing overhead press 215, deadlift 515

2 mile run time: 15.30-16.30 minutes

5 mile: I would really struggle to complete this and would likely have to take long breaks of walking to get it done.

I am wanting to get my cardio and work capacity up and I don’t mind strength not being the main focus.

I already have the endurance program from a few years back but I am not wanting to work for that long of distance at the moment.

Again, thank you for taking my question!


I’d recommend Valor: http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/

– Rob



I’m retraining for Pararescue, and I had a question about the training plan. specifically where could I incorporate specific water confidence drills into this plan. I find the plan to be very useful in creating a strong healthy athlete to begin INDOC, but I don’t see any of the water confidence drills incorporated into the packet. I understand that there’s only so many hours in a day and overtaxing the participant would be counterproductive to training. I simply would like a suggestion of where I could incorporate those tasks.


The Hypoxic swims and 25m underwater repeats will help train the key component of water confidence …. getting comfortable in water under air stress – both which have transferred effectively to the water confidence drills.

Safety is a major concern with practicing the actual water confidence drills – esp. in a deep pool, and you shouldn’t do it on your own. Guys pass out all the time at selection, and have to be revived by the cadre.

The tasks themselves aren’t difficult. What makes them difficult is the fear of drowning.

What will help, in addition to the stuff in our plan, is dryland breathold practice. Professional freedivers and spear fisherman have used these effectively to increase underwater time and we’ve likewise had great success.

Instead of adding more in-water work, I’d recommend a dryland breathold protocol, 2-4x/week. There are several iphone apps which have built in progressions. Here are some suggestions: https://www.deeperblue.com/iphone-apps-for-freedivers/

– Rob



I’m looking for assistance with my training and I’m very intrigued by the various programs/plans that you offer. Though I’m having a hard time picking which one would be the best fit. Do you offer custom trailing programs on a monthly or some frequency basis for non-local clients?

I have provided some background info: up till about 3 years ago I was very active and pursued a variety of different  activities (climbing, 1/2  ironman racing, long distance cycling, and technical scuba dive) and for a 5 years + was on a  peroidized training program for my tri training which was year around. I tore my longus tendon running and had foot reconstruction surgery at the same time. The recovery took almost a year and then I had two kids which really derailed me. I have gotten past all of that have new climbing and fitness goals. I want to increase my overall fitness now, improve my rock climbing for the summer and then prepare for an alpine trailing course that I’m taking in Sept of this year. My focus is training for the mountains over next number of years and want to start to build a solid foundation to enable me to reach my climbing goals. My midterm focus is climbing an alpine route in Alaska in 3-4 years.

I’m not sure what would be the best course of action and any information would be appreciated.


What I’d recommend first is a focused, general fitness training plan, followed by an Alpine Climbing training plan May-early June to prepare you for the coming climbing season.

To start, I’d recommend the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-foundation-training-plan/. This is a 6 week, 6 day-week training plan which is no joke, and is a great way to jumpstart your fitness.

Follow it up with the Alpine Climbing Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/alpine-rock-climb-training-program/

This plan requires a rock gym – as it includes climbing specific fitness. It will also build your legs, lungs and core for steep loaded approaches.

You can purchase the plans at the link above. As well, both are available with a subscription to the website which includes 50+ training plans, as well as access to our daily Mountain Base training sessions.

– Rob



Hi Rob, I’m interested in the training plans you have listed. I’m a wildland firefighter and a coworker and I were thinking about starting one of the 6 week fire fitness plans at the end of March. I’ve been traveling a lot over the last couple of months and haven’t been consistent in workouts or running and am feeling quite out of shape. I’m interested in starting the fat loss plan, what does it mean “included in subscription”? Also I would have about 4 weeks to work on that plan prior to starting another one with my coworker-do you see that as a problem? We’re trying to start at the end of March in order to coincide with the beginning of our crew’s group fitness, so not a lot of wiggle room there. Ok, thanks.


There are a two ways to complete our programming.

First – purchase an individual training plan.

Second, subscribe the website – which gives you access to our daily training programming, as well as 50+ training plans. Click this link to see which plans are included: http://info.strongswiftdurable.com/new-subscription-with-plans

You’ll see both the Fat Loss plan and the Wildland Firefighter Plans are included.

The Wildland plan is no joke – so yes, you’ll want to jumpstart your fitness now.




I have just recently purchased your Wildland Firefighter’s preseason program.  The questions I have for now are:

What are the rest times between rounds, if any?  I looked at the overview, but couldn’t find anything.

Also, no cardio for now outside of program, such as running?

I am older and I have been at this job for a while, looking for more appropriate training to get ready, so I modify weights some, is that ok? 

I was confused on the number of reps for the walking lunges by watching the video, is it completion of both legs = rep?  I keep thinking from video each leg twice=rep?

Thank you so much and have a great day!


1)Time Between Rounds?

Generally none – most circuits have some type of working rest – for example in session 1, the 30 second farmers carry is your “working rest” between step up efforts.

2) Extra running?

Depends somewhat on your incoming fitness. If you are recovering well, adding in 2-3 easy distance runs/week is okay.

3) Weight modification?

This is a slippery slope. There is no special, slower moving, less dangerous wildfire category for older wildland firefighters. Older firefighters don’t lug around lighter packs or lighter saws. The mountains and the fires don’t care, right? I believe if you’re going to be a wildland firefighter, you should prepare appropriately regardless of sex, age, etc. If you want to be on the tip of the spear, it’s on your own professionalism to be physically prepared for it. Older athletes may take longer to recover between training sessions – so if you’re struggling, perhaps work in a Wednesday rest day and spread out the cycle, but you should still complete the sessions as prescribed.

4) Walking Lunges?

2x Walking Lunges = 2x each leg, 4x total.

– Rob



Each year, Ranger Challenge teams from the 2nd Northeast Brigade of Army ROTC compete at Fort Dix, New Jersey.  This past year, my team did not place nearly close to where we wanted to–and a lot of it can be attributed to physical fitness. As a result, I wanted to reach out to you to see which training package and you recommended.

The competition itself is rucking intensive, strength intensive, and most importantly endurance is paramount.

Thank you and I look forward to speaking with you further.


Based upon what I can learn about the Ranger Challenge, I’d recommend our Air Assault School Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/air-assault-school-training-plan/

This plan include focused APFT work and extensive rucking and endurance.

Good luck.

– Rob



I am active duty Air Force. I have been reviewing the Strong, Swift, Durable website and am contemplating becoming a member. I am currently on a journey of regaining my fitness and attending TACP training late this year, 2016 or early 2017. I have seen the training plans for TACP as well as many others that could help me reach my goal. I do have a few questions for you. First off, the website states that once joining for $29 a month, 30+ plans will be available to follow. Would I be able to view the whole plan or only one day at a time? Second, in terms of fitness, my current state is gradually increasing. I have recently recovered from a back injury sustained while rucking. My running is fairly poor at 9 minutes per mile. After becoming a member are there any specific plans you recommend to regain my fitness levels? Sorry for the long email, I want to be thorough before committing to the membership. Your response is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.


Q: First off, the website states that once joining for $29 a month, 30+ plans will be available to follow. Would I be able to view the whole plan or only one day at a time?

A: You can see one day on the screen at one time, but you can move forward and back within the plan to see the entire thing. So, one click to see Session 1, another click to see Session 2, another to see Session 3, etc.

Q: My running is fairly poor at 9 minutes per mile. After becoming a member are there any specific plans you recommend to regain my fitness levels?

A: Running Improvement Training Plan.

Note also, you don’t need to subscribe to see individual training plans. You can also purchase plans individually. Subscribing gets you access to our daily programming, as well as 50+ sport specific training plans.

– Rob



I was revisiting the selection of programs that you provide and noticed that most programs are no longer PDF downloads (at least that I could see).

My first question is, since I already purchased a program (Rucking Improvement), do I have access to the online content (which may not be the same as what I originally purchased)?

Second question:  While I can think of plenty of reasons on why you would want all of your content held online, do you mind tell me why?  I am just curious (and I didn’t find the answer in any of your blogs).

Third Question:  Do you have intentions on developing programming to support CQC practitioners.  I am not sure what the functional requirements would be to support this, as I have never seen an agreed upon standardized list of fitness requirements ISO CQC, but this is a regular topic in self defense/CQC/sport combat communities.  I would gladly assist as you need if you were to start into developing a program on this topic While I was in uniform, I received instruction in MACP, MCMAP, and Kelly McMann’s CQC methods at the Crucible; I know there are other combative schools/method that individual units use — Preparation for these type of schools could be what you base your programming off of…).   


1) Yes – email lindsay@mtntactical.com with your receipt for the .pdf and she’ll get you online access.

2) Piracy and updates. Several of our plans were uploaded to the web and monitoring this became a maintenance nightmare. Updates – now we can update plans online as our theory evolves, and guys like you don’t have to purchase a new version.

3) CQC – I’m not sure I’m following that acronym, but if it’s combatives fitness, no plans right now. Several have asked me how to train outside of MMA and BJJ classes/training, and my recommendations have revolved around max effort strength and long, slow endurance – given the work capacity and other sport-specific elements of MMA training itself.  To get specific, I’d need to get a better understanding of the schools and combatives fitness demands.

– Rob



I am currently and active duty military officer in the SOF training pipeline. I have used your programs in the past in preparation for ranger school, selection and daily training. If possible, I would like to get involved with your Military Tactical Institute. Unfortunatley I was not able to participate in any of your recent courses at Ft Bragg due to training, though I hope that you continue these types of events in the future. I also used your Afghan train up program with my infantry platoon prior to deploying to RC East in Afghanistan and had great success with Operator Ugly as a training benchmark while deployed. I am interested in learning more about fitness and specifically contributing to military tactical movement in mountainous terrain. If there is any way that I can contribute to your research please let me know. Thank you very much for your help and what you do for military athletes. Your training fills a huge gap in preparation for the demands of deployment.


We’re currently developing a platform where individuals, unit leaders and coaches can participate in our ongoing research as lab rats, or actually run their own research. We’re calling the platform, Research Wolf – and hope to have the beta version out mid-May or so.

We hope to return to Bragg for a course next Fall some time.

– Rob


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