Q&A 3/20/15

Questions include: how to train for vertical ultra runs in flat land, maintaining 1RM strength standards, USAFA prep programs, starting running after an injury, and more…


First off, major kudos on the way you run your company. Anyone who is willing to take the time to answer their customers specific questions, week to week, stands head and shoulders above any other fitness group. Secondly, your 3-30 work capacity cycle is excellent, and borderline diabolical….well played.

Cutting to the chase, I’m considering an HCL that just got scheduled in my area, but I have never done a heavy before. Needless to say I will need to be more than just ready for a heavy, and was looking for plan recommendations. After my current training cycle, I will have 19 weeks to train for the event (not including a de load the week of the event). Obviously some of these will be impeded by summer vacations and the like, but I will still be able to train some (sandbags and rucks) while gone. What looked good to me (like it matters) was either cycling fortitude-valor-fortitude or doing GR selection plan followed by ruck based selection.

Secondary question: is there a ballpark Operator Ugly or UBRR score that would be a decent go/no-go marker for taking  on this event? (Male, 25yo, 175lb)


Goruck HCL? – We don’t have a plan for this specific event, from what we do have, I’d recommend the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-program/.

This plan will have the volume to prepare you. Complete it the 8 weeks directly before your event. I’d cycle Fortitude (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/) and Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/) prior and not bother with the GR Selection plan.

Operator Ugly/UBRR – neither of these assessments are rucking based – and the HCL is. Going in to the Ruck Plan, I’d like you to have a “good” store on Operator Ugly, which based on your bodyweight is 140+ (http://mtntactical.com/inside-strong-swift-durable/frequently-asked-questions/#ou).


I am running my first ultra, it’s called the Knee Knacker in Vancouver BC. It has 16,000 vertical feet of elevation change. The race is in early July. Do you have a plan that would help me? Since I live in the prairies do you have any suggestion on how to train for the vertical?

You guys do great work.


Couple Options –

Our Ultra Pre-Season Training Plan includes leg blasters, calve work, etc. to help prepare you for uphill climbing: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ultra-running-preseason-training-program/

If you already have a running plan, another option is to complete the Peak Bagger Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/peak-bagger-training-plan/) alongside your running. Spread these sessions out – 2-3x/week over the course of your training and drop the pack weight for the step ups to 25#.


Hope all’s well in Jackson… worst winter ever here in the PNW!

Question for you. Once an athlete has worked up to the 1RM strength standards that you list on the site, what’s a good “Maintenance Plan” from that point forward. Like a lot of mountain / endurance athletes, I don’t want to get heavier and don’t want to keep banging away at heavy squats and dead lifts once I can hit my standards. But I also don’t want to slide backwards and lose the work that was done. Curious to hear your thoughts.


In theory, once you have done the upfront work to train a fitness attribute, you only need to train it 1/2 as much to maintain it.

I’m not sure this works in reality.

Understand our focus is outside performance, not inside gym numbers. Strength is a key to outside performance, but for many mountain sports, it’s role is as much durability as performance.

A good example of this is our freeskiers. At the end of the summer work, prior to beginning their focused dryland work, my skiers are weightroom-strong. We’ve hammered squats, box squats, heavy lunges, etc.

Beginning with the dryland cycle, my skiers move away from the barbell and begin to train sport-specifically for skiing. The dryland cycle is intense (quadzilla complexes….) and their strength and fitness coming into the cycle helps them survive it.

But, their barbell strength begins a slow decline. This continues over the course of the ski season, where they still train 1-2x/week, but the focus is core and a little leg work.

What I tell them is instead of “losing” their gym-based strength, instead they are “using” it over the course of the season. I want them to arrive at the beginning of the season strong and durable, able to kick out their skiing rust quick and ski hard for days in a row. But during the season, I let their actual skiing keep them “skiing strong.”

Same for you. Go into your serious spring/summer mountain sports strong, and “use” that strength over the course of the season. You’ll lose gym-based strength, which would be an issue if you were a crossfit athlete or powerlifter – but not as much an issue for a mountain athlete.

When you get back to the gym next fall, you’ll be weak, but your strength will come back fast.


My current unit is talking about sending me to RSLC (Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leader Course). What program would you suggest to best prepare myself for the course? Preferably something with minimal equipment.


I’d recommend the Army OCS Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/army-ocs-training-plan/


Do you work with any Nordic skiers?


Sorry, no. We’ve worked with randonee racers, but not strict nordic skiers.

If we did work with Nordic skiers, we’d likely apply our endurance theory for their sport specific work, and the same strength work we do with our other endurance athletes – ultra runners and randonee racers.

The Mountain Bodyweight Plan is a good place to start strength work in the off season for athletes not familiar with the weight room: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-training-program/


I have purchased the BRC prep course and unfortunately I do not have access to an O course.  What would you suggest as a replacement for the O course?


I don’t have a good replacement – primarily because the O-Course is such a skill driven event. Perhaps a Rope climb, 300m shuttle, then another rope climb.


I have been taking training more serious since OCT 2014. I have noticed great improvements but weak on the core . I want to improve all around fitness, Mobility Durability, Endurance and Strength. My pull-ups are better but still suck. My running is ok but to me sucks. I watched your video and wondered if there is something specific you have built for the Chest to the legs. I would like to be SF strong without all the bulk.

I just turned 50 y/o with some injuries that are annoying. I had Back surgery in 1993 and its has caused me some challenges. I have looked through your site and I am not sure exactly which route to take. I can swim well. I need to improve my running, Lose some more pounds and tone up even more. I am not afraid of real hard work but I feel I need to stabilize my core due to my back surgery and the wear and tear over time. Any suggestions would guidance would be helpful. Thanks


I’d recommend starting with our Bodyweight Training Plan I (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-training-program-i/).

Don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” – this plan is no joke. Do the training sessions in order, but start just 3 days a week until the soreness subsides some. The leg blasters are especially intense. Don’t be afraid to cut down rounds, esp. at first.

The best thing I can do for you is get you stronger. Start here


I have a PT test coming up in about five weeks and a timed four mile run with my CG, who is also my senior rater in about six weeks. I have been totally focusing on strength for quite sometime and doing some heavy weighted conditioning.

I have torn cartilage in my hips which has caused me some pain and I used that as an excuse to reduce/eliminate running. Which program would you recommend, the APFT plan or the run improvement? I have never scored less than 100 on my push ups and sit ups for 24 years.


If the PT test is important, don’t risk it (push ups/sit ups) and do the APFT Training Plan.

This will work for the APFT’s 2-Mile run, and will help for your 4-mile run, but isn’t best for the 4 mile. This is where you’ll have to judge for yourself concerning your injury.

Without the injury I’d tell you to also do a 4-mile assessment and run hard 1.5 mile repeats, as well as a longer 5-6 mile slow run each week.

This is where you’ll have to judge. Is scoring better on the 4-mile worth the pain/potential further injury to your hip? Or is it best to keep to the short intervals in the APFT plan and just do your best on the 4-mile?

I’d probably advise stick to the APFT plan running prescription.


I was supposed to ship out for the Marines in May on a Recon contract but I recently discovered that I need surgery on my feet due to oversized bones causing pain when I walk. While I’m laid out, I want to continue my training. I won’t be able to put weight on my feet but that doesn’t mean I can’t do other things. I’m open to anything. I want to train during my recovery, which is at MAX 3 months. I can’t start swimming until around week 8 and can’t run until I’m fully recovered. I really need your help. I’ve used your programs in the past and I love them. You know your stuff.


If I was you I’d spend my time getting jacked!!! – upper body and core.

I’d recommend combining the upper body work in the Hypertrophy Plan for Skinny Guys (http://mtntactical.com/shop/hypertrophy-program-for-skinny-guys/) with body weight-only core strength work: http://mtntactical.com/shop/core-strength-bodyweight-only/.

Train upper body Mon, Wed, Friday, and core every day! If you’re careful, you should be able to bench, do incline benches, chin ups (or lat pull downs) …. be resourceful.

Not sure what to tell you about cardio until you can swim…. watch your diet.

Good luck.


To begin I would like to thank you for your excellent programming. A bit of background before getting to my questions:

I am a 30 yr old male athlete and member of a SOF unit. After years of bouncing around doing various programs I landed on military athlete and am a convert! I have shifted my pt to follow a more periodized system, as you recommend. I am currently on week 5 of the RAT 6 program and seeing great results. I am not training for anything in particular, aside from being able to perform in my job. In my off hours I rock and ice climb.

My question is on future programming, basically a check on my future plans. In general I would like to move through a strength cycle, work capacity cycle, and endurance cycle, repeating indefinitely. I have the rat 6 program for strength, and have also purchased the busy operator program for work capacity. I am considering purchasing the valour program for my endurance cycle. My plan would be to complete each cycle, take a week of complete rest between each, and then repeat. So my questions are:

  1. Does the order make sense? Ie strength first, followed by work capacity, followed by endurance, then repeating.
  2. Does my choice of programs make sense? Ie rat 6 for strength, busy operator for work capacity, and valour for endurance.

Any advice, changes, or recommendations are greatly appreciated.


After you finish Rat 6, move to Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/)

Then Fortitude (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/)

Valor trains work capacity and running/rucking movement over ground (think hard intervals).

Fortitude trains strength and running/rucking endurance (think longer distances, moderate paces).

Both Valor and Fortitude are the latest evolution of my programming theory for SOF guys. Our cutting edge theory is always exercised in the Operator Sessions subscription. Both Fortitude and Valor were Operator Sessions cycles we did last Summer and Fall.


I’m 42 years old at 230#.  Was Very active running(5miles 3 x week) and crossfit 2x per week….BUT got caught up in life and kids and haven’t done anything in 7 months. I’m in federal law enforcement (a US Marine too).  I was thinking the Bodyweight 1 and/or Patrol Officer. What are your thoughts ?

My buddy who is also law enforcement here in NY recommended your programming. Thanks


If you’re fooling yourself about your current level of fitness, it may be best to start with the OnRamp Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/on-ramp-training-program/)

If you’re think you’re ready to jump in, do the Patrol Officer Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/patrol-officer-training-plan/)

I am helping a friend with getting in shape (we are both Navy Master-At-Arms), so we started on the Onramp program for Law Enforcement, and were planning on movie on to the SWAT/SRT Kickstart Program after. So we did the first day of On-Ramp, and he could only do half the rounds of the session (5’s instead of 10’s). He was pushing himself too. At one point, I stopped to check his pulse, and it was rapid (Im a former EMT), and he was pale and clamy. What do you suggest? Start the first week and do half rounds and build up to full rounds? Please advise.


Couple Options –

Cut OnRamp Plan reps in half, and see how he does. If he still struggles … consider our Army Bootcamp Plan for guys who score between 100 and 200 on the APFT: http://mtntactical.com/shop/army-bct-100-199-training-plan/

It’s nearly the lowest level plan we have.


I was looking to start a subscription and pretty much doing the SF45. I’m a 54 yo pretty out of shape male. Can I start with the SF45 or should I use the “on ramp” program first?


Start with the On Ramp Training Plan for LE: http://mtntactical.com/shop/on-ramp-training-program/


I know your not going to have an exact plan since I’ve read through all of them and my goals are completely all over the place here but I’m gonna just shoot for your opinion here. any help would be very much appreciated.

I’m coming to the end of your USAD PAST training program, and while i’m not exactly training for that event i found it was similar to a test that i plan on taking for my police departments dive team and i wanted to gauge my abilities. The test I need to take involves pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, a fast 1 mile run, 500m swim and 25 m underwater swim, 20 min water tread with 3 min hands out of water and also a weight belt swim.

Now this test would be probably a year or possibly more away, so after I’m done with the plan I’m currently doing I would like to incorporate some strength training (operator ugly style lifts most likely) but i would also like to at least maintain if not increase my PT ability, work on pushups sit-ups etc. in addition work on the swimming since that is most definitely a weak point.

But here’s the kicker, I’m also big into backpacking short 3-5 night trips in the northeast here, (only 3000-6000) ft elevation, but real steep rocky ascents. with incorporation of hunting in there as well. I’ve never done any of your mountain athlete programs but i am interested in that as well.

This is what i was planning on doing as a routine:

  • maybe 3 days of strength/pt. so deadlift, front squat or bench with some pullups, pushups and situps, and then something fun like sandbag work or sprints
  • the other 2 days a week work on swimming stuff. possibly chip away at the swimming only plan you guys haveand then somewhere in there maybe 2 days a week throw in a bunch of step ups with load and maybe some rucks(which usually get done anyway with the pup just out of enjoyment) to focus on the hiking aspect.

As you can see I’m all over the place here, but i bet I’m not alone. Id love to be able to just follow the LE athlete sessions, but this future PT test is screwing that up. In addition to that my passion is being in the woods so doing mountain athlete sessions would put a smile on my face but be less transferrable to my job

If you have any suggestions, changes, to what i plan on doing then I’m here with open ears. I hope you do since i prefer to follow things on paper, holds me accountable and gives motivation.


Your general programming approach is fairly solid. The gym stuff will help with your LE job – be sure to work in sprinting.

Swimming work – okay to maintain, but not sure if you’ll be able to improve much.

What you’re missing is bodyweight work (push ups, etc) and focused running work.

What I recommend is your fitness focus now should be current job-focused – lifting/sprints – 3 days/week. Swim or run once a week. Do Step Ups and leg blasters once/week.

As you get closer to your dive team selection, get sport-specific with your training for that test. Find out all you can on the selection – is it just the PT test results? If so, the USAF PAST Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/usaf-past-training-plan/) is a good fit. If there’s more involved – intense water confidence, bodyweight smokers, etc., consider the BUD/s V2 Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/buds-training-program/) directly before your selection.

Just checking out some Exum footage and found your link. With Ice climbing season ending here on the East coast, looking forward to the up coming SUP race season.  I saw your kayak program.  Would it be possible to work with you on a SUP program?

I just picked up sponsorship from DeanSUP and look to due the East cost circuit this summer

Anyway – rambling now….

BTW – I’m 50 🙂 not that it matters also looking to train w/ my daughter who will also be racing this summer


Thanks for reaching out – quick answer is I can’t help you with a SUP-specific plan at this time. I’ve just got too much programming work on my plate.

From what we do have, I would say that the Kayak/Paddling Pre-Season Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/kayakpaddling-pre-season-training-program/) includes lots of upper body pushing and pulling strength, and focused isometric and rotational core work – which I’m thinking would transfer well to SUP.

The plan also includes hard on-water paddling sprint intervals… – I’m guessing you’ll be paddling soon – so you could also do these.


I am a Captain in the US Army currently serving in Afghanistan. I wanted to do a few things differently on this deployment as far as exercise/fitness and I wanted to try one of your workout plans.

I have spent the last two deployments mostly lifting to gain weight/size because in high school/college and I was a competitive runner/swimmer. I want to go forward focusing on functional fitness. I am 6 foot 205 and would like to be a fast and strong 185-190. I have an old swimming injury that flares up in my shoulder occasionally and I don’t really feel like simply lifting to get big anymore.

In my off time I spend a lot of time hunting. Upland birds, backcountry archery elk hunting, spot and stalk deer/turkey. I spend a lot of time with a pack walking up and down mountains and steep terrain.

I want to go home in November ready for hunting season and at a more comfortable bodyweight.

I was looking at some of your workout plans cycles all of them look great. Only concern I have is maybe getting used to some of the lifts/exercises.

Any recommendations on a place to start or a few good plans I could put together? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


A great place to start our stuff would be Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/).

Valor represents some of our most recent programming, includes some solid strength work, but is focused on movement over ground (running/rucking speed), and work capacity.

Prior to coming home, I’d recommend the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/big-game-hunting-training-program/) – I’m a backcountry hunter also and designed this plan for guys like you.

Stay safe.


I am on week 5 of the 6 week On-Ramp Training program.  If I must confess, I allowed myself to get fat and out of shape, and I’m using the On-Ramp to correct that.

My question is what program would you recommend as the next step?  I’m interested in the Military Athlete Strength Packet, but I’m not sure if it will be too much too soon.


As a Military Athlete you have to do a dance between strength, work capacity, stamina and endurance. In general, the place to start is strength. The OnRamp program includes strength and work capacity.

Next, I’d recommend keeping with this – strength and work cap, via the 357 Strength Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/357-strength/

This is an intense plan, but you can “scale” it with extra days off if needed.


I have written to you in the past and used your programs, SFAS, Ranger School Prep, APFT etc.. as I approach 51 this year and seem to be sporadic or all over the place with my training I find myself looking for good programing which I am not getting with current CF programming.

Since I am still in the Military (Guard) as an Infantryman and need to be able to ruck, run and fight. I wanted to get your feedback. Searching the SSD site I saw the link below talk about SF45.. sounds great but can’t find it anywhere..


Is this something new or not yet developed?


There are 2 ways to do our stuff –

1) Buy individual training plans

2) Subscribe to the website for $29/month and do daily sessions. We have several ongoing daily session programs and an Athlete Subscription gets you access to all of these.

  1. a) Operator Sessions – my day to day programming for SOF guys, high performing line unit Military Athletes, and full time LE SWAT
  2. b) SSD – General Fitness Training for recreational athletes or others who want to use professional program design for their day to day fitness
  3. c) LE Officer Sessions – our day to day training for law enforcement patrol officers and detectives.
  4. d) SF45 – day to day training sessions for athletes 45-55 years old. These are what I do.

In the future we’ll hopefully be developing day to day training for Fire/Rescue Athletes, and hopefully, further divide up the Operator Sessions into different categories – Maritime (SEALs),

I haven’t developed a stand alone training plan for SF45 yet ….. so this programming is only available via a subscription (http://mtntactical.com/shop/master-subscription-plan/).

I have a GRH coming up in May and I’d like to purchase your 6 week plan but I have a few questions. My first is if I normally run 2/3 mile runs in the morning 2 to 3 times a week is it ok to continue during your plan? I also CrossFit 4 times a week, is there still a way I can keep up with this on your plan as well?


The Goruck Heavy Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/goruck-heavy-training-plan/) is no joke. I don’t recommend any doubling up. Do the first 2-3 weeks of the plan as prescribed, then decide if you want to add any training.


First let me say thank you for all your hard work in programing these workouts for those of us that don’t have the time or knowledge base. That being said I need some guidance on where to go with my training for the next 3-4 months. I will be entering the Army National Guard and will attend boot camp around the end of June or early July time frame then the accelerated state OCS for 8wks in January.

As for background on myself I am 39, 5’9 195lbs at approximately 15% BF. I know I need to drop 10-15lbs so that I can move better. Over the past 6 months I have done purely strength training with no cardio at all. In fact I haven’t run in over a year and that was 20lbs ago. I feel my strength numbers are satisfactory and are as follows Bench = 315 1rm, Squat = 405 1rm, Fr Squat 285 1rm, Pull Up = 18 dead hang strict, Dead Lift = 380 5rm, Over Head Press = 185 1rm, C&J = 225. I would like to retain as much strength as possible working up to going and was wondering what combination of plans you would recommend?

My first thought was to lower the volume on my current lifting program and just add an older work capacity plan I bought from you and the 4wk running improvement plan although. However, since those are not synchronized plans I feel like I might not get the best out of it and may do too much too quick. Then I looked at some of your newer additions such as either Fortitude, Valor, or Falcon for 6-7 weeks as options, to be followed by the Army OCS package leading into boot camp. Right now I was leaning toward the Falcon followed by the OCS plan. Your feedback would be much appreciated.


Don’t get caught up in your strength numbers. Strength is key for performance, but perhaps most important for durability. Going into your sport-specific training and course (OCS) strong will simply give you a head start and keep you more durable. Know however, you’ll lose strength while your running, bodyweight exercise and other fitness improves.

I tell athletes they don’t necessarily “lose” strength as much as “use” it over the course of their course/season/deployment. Post OCS you can get back in the gym to build it back up again. It will come back fast.

Now your approach is solid. First Falcon (http://mtntactical.com/shop/falcon-training-plan/) followed by the Army OCS Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/army-ocs-training-plan/).


As always, your programs and operator sessions enable me to stay ready for anything I do within the military.  I am about 8 weeks away from starting CDQC for the second time.  Made it through the first two weeks no problem, but did not get through the “one-man” test this past week without passing out.  I’ve lost overall strength and mobility from the past two weeks…lots of 5-6 mile runs, long surface swims (finning) up to 3k, flutter kicks, treading, and breath-holding pool tasks/stress events.  I’m thinking of doing Ultimate Meathead now for both the mental break and to regain some strength and mass, then diving into Fortitude (adding some finning, treading, and breath-holding on top of that) until I return to the course–need to hammer the hip flexors.  Would you recommend I do something different?

Thanks again for what you do.  I was really intrigued when you guys did some pool training yourselves recently.  I think you guys are on to something!  Look forward to seeing if you do some follow on stuff.


I’d recommend you take a week off – total rest, then start training sport-specifically for the course. I’m still building a CDQC training plan – but the BUD/s V2 Training Plan would be a good choice: http://mtntactical.com/shop/buds-training-program/

Replace the rucking and ruck running in the plan with regular runs.

I understand you’ve lost overall strength and mass – but you don’t need it for school. Goal now isn’t overall fitness, but training sport-specifically so you can be as prepared as possible for school. The BUD/s V2 Plan has plenty of swimming, treading, finning, etc. The more comfortable in the water I can make you, the better.


I loved fortitude.  Do you have a training plan that includes barbell snatches?  If not, anything else like fortitude?


We moved away from the Snatch a couple years ago – too many of the athletes I work with had shoulder mobility issues with the exercise – and since we’re only interested in outside-the-gym performance, I cut it from my exercise menu. My favorite total body barbell exercise is the Craig Special.

Back to you – you can substitute the Snatch for any of the total body barbell exercises in any of our strength circuits. Also – my favorite exercise which includes the snatch is called “The Exercise” – which is a hang squat snatch plus an overhead squat.

If you want to do a full plan and include the snatch, I’d recommend Big 24. “The Exercise” used to be one of the 3 total body exercises in Big 24 – and it worked well.

Now I’d recommend Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/) which is how we followed Fortitude here. You can substitute the Snatch in for any of the strength sessions exercises.


I’ve got a niece who just got accepted to USAFA and she asked me if I have any good workout recommendations.  I’m following your Operator Sessions and want to get her on a good prep program.  Having graduated from USNA, I think the best thing for her to focus on leading up to BCT is running, being as the most noticeable physical fitness downfall for females is dropping out of runs.  It also looks like their physical fitness test includes some upper body in pullups and pushups along with core in situps.  I saw the CFA Academy program, but I think that would have been good for her application process, but not necessarily for BCT.  I’m thinking more along the lines of the Body Weight I and II programs, but wanted to see what you recommend.  She is reporting there on June 25th and I’d like to get her on something as soon as possible so she can take advantage of as many training days prior to reporting, as possible, thanks.


I’d recommend Bodyweight I and II in conjunction with the Running Improvement Plan. She could do the plans together – either run in the afternoons, or alternate sessions – bodyweight Monday, Run Tuesday, bodyweight Wednesday, etc.


First I would like to say I am a huge fan of your plans.  I was first introduced with my last unit when we did the Afghan Pre-Deployment plan prior to our deployment and I’ve been a believer ever since.  I’m recently coming off of an injury and looking to start running again.  Interested in your Running Improvement Plan but not sure if it may be too much/too fast.  Do you have any recommendations for getting back into the grove again?


I don’t know the extent of your injury and am not a doctor so I can’t comment as to if the Running Improvement plan is appropriate for you (http://mtntactical.com/shop/run-improvement-plan/).

The plan is built around a 5-mile timed assessment – so you’ll need to be able to run 5 miles, safely, to begin the plan.

We do have a training plan specifically for athletes who are coming off a leg injury, – the Leg Injury Post-Rehab Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/post-rehab-leg-injury-training-plan-ssd/) This plan is designed to help bridge the gap between physical therapy and full on training.


I am currently doing the four week ruck improvement plan. I was wondering what, if any impact the program will have on run times? I tried researching this, however have had mixed answers. Have you seen increases/decreases over the tenure of the program?

Thank you for your attention.


We haven’t studied on this, but in general, if you went into it running fit, it won’t improve your run times. I would expect a decrease.

In general, the best way to improve running is to run.


I am currently waiting to ship out on an 18X contract (Special Forces) in June and have just begun the 8 week selection-based rucking program this past Monday. I love the way the programming is designed and really feel as though this is one of the best things to help me find success physically during the coming months Selection.

Having said that, I am writing to you to ask for a recommendation on a Program I can purchase from the site to incorporate into additional PT once I get down to OSUT (Basic Training and AIT) and airborne. The consensus from guys that have been through the pipeline is that additional PT is a MUST during those 4 months or so before arriving to the pre-Selection course and SFAS itself.

A few guys that I am shipping with and I talked about designing some basic PT programs to incorporate into our schedules – however – we understand that there are two main complications with this goal:

  1. There is no way to predict how much time we will have available each day to PT.
  2. There is no way to predict what sort of equipment resources will be accessible to us.

I thought if we could design a handful of basic workouts before hand that can be mended depending on both of those factors, we could eliminate any wasted time mulling around over what to do and get straight into it.

Given how fond I am of your program right now, I thought pulling some programming from other plans on your site would be a good place to start.


I would recommend doing the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-program/) directly prior to Basic. You’re going to lose some of that fitness between BCT and your schools, but not all of it.

Programming during your course work …. this is tricky and I’d encourage you not to think of specific training sessions, but fitness attributes. If they’ve got you running and doing bunches of push ups and situps, you don’t need those in your own PT – focus on strength and rucking. If they’ve got you rucking lots, use your own PT to run and do the bodyweight work. Pull from the sessions in the Ruck Plan. At a minimum, maintain being able to ruck 12 miles at a clipping pace.


I have a quick question for you. I am scheduled to have a PFO closure (small catheter closure of hole in heart)and have been told by the cardiologist to not do “heavy” weights for a few months.  (Good to go with cardio and low weight/high rep)  I am unsure what “heavy” would be, but he mentioned it could increase thoracic pressure through the lifts or by valsalva (my research).

I have used your programs with good success and wanted to get your thoughts on programming. With the above “restrictions” in mind, what are your thoughts on your body weight program?  From reviews and comments on your site it is no joke, but would it increase thoracic pressure as it is body weight?  I also plan to be more cognizant of breathing to make sure I do not hold my breath.  I don’t think I do.  Do you have a high rep/low weight program?  Lastly, I plan to start back with the On Ramp Program once cleared to get after it.


Understand I’m not a doctor and have never dealt with an athlete recovering from PFO – so I’m not sure the bodyweight plan is appropriate for you. It will make you breath hard, and does include plenty of core work – which could increase thoracic pressure.

We do have a hypertrophy training plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/hypertrophy-program-for-skinny-guys/) – with sets that have a minimum of 8 reps. But this includes squatting movements – so if you were smart, and didn’t push the loading, it might work.

Perhaps best would be to pull out of the gym for a while and do the Running Improvement Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/?s=running+improvement

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