Q&A 7.8.16



Just finished my 2nd assessment from the 1/25/16 to 2/22/16 “Fluid cycle”.  I started this program after the Body Weight foundation, which i used for recovery from back surgery.  Now 10 months post op.

3 RM Max Walking lunge start = 55, after 75 = 36% improvement
3 RM Max 1 – Arm Bench Press start = 55, after 75 = 36% improv3ment
Max rep strict pull up start = 12, after 17 = 41% improvement
40 foot shuttle:  start = 60, after = 67 = 11 % improvement

For reference I’m 54, 6’2″, 235.

Your programming is working!  Great stuff.  Thank you!



Hey Rob!

I hope you’re well and the summer in Jackson has been great! Ive been having a blast on the rock road trip but I still miss the Tetons everyday…can’t help but love those mountains.

I just left California and am headed towards Colorado but wanted to share some photos from our ascent up Half Domes NorthWest face via the Regular Route. This is a North American Classic 50 Ascent and has seen few ascents since pitch 11-13 fell off the cliff last summer! I can’t explain how happy I was to walk onto the summit after working my way up this 2200′ 23 pitch technical climb. I couldn’t have made this dream a reality without the hard work I put in and the training I received at Mtn Athlete. I can’t thank you all enough!

Enjoy and feel free to share any of these photos!

All the best and stay in touch.


Just wanted to reach and say thanks again for putting out such a solid product. Your programs have never failed to help me meet my fitness goals while in the Marine Corps.

I had reached out to you a few months back in regards to the USMC PFT plan and what I needed to do in order to incorporate the barbell movements while still keeping the integrity of the plan. I took your advice and worked in the barbell during the first week of the program but thats when I saw the email about your Helena Dumbbell program for download. I was immediatley intrigued by the program and decided to run that concurrently with the PFT plan. The way I did it was to incorporate all the pull-up and core work from the PFT plan and moved it all to the Helena plan and I would keep all the running from the PFT plan in the evenings making almost everyday 2-a-days. This allowed me to keep the strength element I wanted while also focusing on running. By the end of the 6 weeks I was in awesome shape and dropped 47 secs off my run time from the previous year. It was the fastest time I had run for a PFT since I was in book camp and allowed me to obtain a 289 PFT score at 34 years old. There’s nothing better than putting these young kids to shame after 16 years in the Corps. Again, thanks for such a solid product and you’ve definitlely got a lifelong customer!



I’m a current cadet at the Royal Military College of Australia (Duntroon) and am curious as to whether you have any experience recommending suitable programs for people in my position. If you have some knowledge about the way RMC-A works, I’m currently heading into II Class (second semester) in 2 weeks. In particular, I need to maintain high scores in push-ups, sit-ups, 1.5 mile run and pull-ups in order to score high in the basic fitness assessment, but I also need to have the ability to ruck 35-40KG for weeks at a time. The biggest constraint on top of this is that there are large chunks of the course where I am very time-poor, i.e. my classes will end at 10pm and start at 0730 the next morning. I should still be able to find time more often than not to go to the gym during the day, even if it’s during lunch-break, but I won’t have the time to sink hours into training sessions. What do you recommend?

For context, to get an A grade for my fitness assessment, I require 65 push-ups, 100 feet-held situps (very easy, require 0 training), <9 minutes in the run, and 18 pull-ups. By the end of this year I will be expected to ruck 38KG for 10km in 100-110 minutes.


I don’t have a perfect plan for you, but do have one that’s close.

The Air Assault Training Plan includes specific programming the APFT plus pullups (max push ups, max situps, max pull ups, 2 mile run) and a 6-mile Ruck Run assessment – which is just about 10k.

You’ll need to make a couple changes:

– Complete a 1.5 mile run instead of the 2-mile run, and use our Run Interval Calculator to determine your follow-on intervals: http://mtntactical.com/exercises/running-calculator/

– Complete the ruck assessment at your 38kg rather than the prescribed 40# in the plan, and do 10km instead of 6 miles. Use our Ruck Interval Calculator for the follow on interval progressions: http://mtntactical.com/exercises/ruck-interval-calculator/

Time? The bodyweight exercise portions of the sessions will take around 40-minutes, but the running and rucking parts and entire sessions will take longer. You’ll need to be efficient with your training, do 2-a-days, and split sessions between days as best you can.

Link: http://mtntactical.com/shop/air-assault-school-training-plan/

– Rob



There appears to be a difference in the way Reserve RQS units assess people trying to join their unit. Rather than giving them the standard 1.5 mile and 500m swim test, etc., which is done to qualify for attending indoc, they ask candidates to complete a longer PAST with minimum standards, which is/are:

– 3 mile run (Sub 21:00)
– Max pull-ups in 2 mins. (Min. 10)
– Max sit-ups in 2 mins. (Min 65)
– Max push-ups in 2 mins. (Min 60)
– 4 x 25m underwater (2:30 interval)
-1500m freestyle swim (Sub 34:00)

My understanding from guys on the shadowspear forum is that this longer PAST is the standard test given to operators attached to any PJ unit.

Which plan do you recommend?


I don’t have a perfect plan for you..

I’d recommend the PAST Plan, and run 3 miles instead of 1.5. Use 1 mile intervals and our Running Calculator (http://mtntactical.com/exercises/running-calculator/). for your follow on intervals. Do 3x 1-mile repeats..

Do a 1500m swim vice 500m. Do 500m repeats and swim them at a pace 20% faster than your assessment pace. Do 3x 500m repeats.

Everything should be the same.

We’ll start work on developing a CCT-specific PAST Plan.

– Rob



I was looking into your AMGA Ski Guide Training Course. I was wondering how the skinning on the treadmill works?

Don’t over think it –

– Put on your skis, boots and skins. Incline the treadmill and start skinning. Expect funny looks.
– We’ve done this to great affect with pro ski-mo racers.
– Poles? Our treadmill wasn’t wide enough to use poles – so the athletes held on to the handles, or their poles statically.
– If your treadmill is wide enough, use your poles. If not, it’s okay.

– Rob



A colleague recommended your training programmes to me but I’d like to ask your advice. I am starting to prepare for a military parachute selection course which consists of a number of different elements:

Tabbing (rucking) 10 and 20 miles
Quick runs
Stretcher carries
Log runs
Assault course
Multiple hill runs and reps

I’m looking for a programme that will help with my core, legs and upper body. I’d be grateful for your advice as to the best programme to choose. Many thanks.

I’d recommend the Air Assault Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/air-assault-school-training-plan/

This plan includes assessments and follow-on progressions based on your initial assessment results. Assessment include push ups, sit ups, pull ups, 2 mile run, 6 mile Ruck and 12 mile Ruck.

It also includes work capacity smoke sessions, rope climbs and sandbag work.

For the rucks in the plan, you’ll want to use the load you’ll face at your course.

Good luck!

– Rob



I am currently getting some guys in my police department started on the LE On Ramp program to transition them into LE Athlete. Due to hectic and unpredictable schedules, some guys may only get a few sessions in at any given week. I know you’ve said that in LE Athlete you skip the missed session and move on to the next session. Should the same pattern be followed win the the on ramp program? Also, can the on ramp program be repeated if an officer needs to work at that level for a longer period? Thank you for your time, and look forward to hearing from you.


Don’t skip sessions in the OnRamp plan. Rather, if you have to miss a day, don’t skip the session you missed. Rather, start back where you left off when able to train again.

– Rob



Thanks for what you do.  I have done a few of your programs and I love them.  I struggled for years post college track to find workouts that were challenging, made sense and were enjoyable.  I am part of the strange set of people who will work really hard if it is on paper but don’t find the best motivation without a plan.

I am currently doing the Big Mountain V2.  I will be heading into the Winds at the end of the month and know I will be in good shape and prepared for the trip.

I have signed up to do the American Birkenbeiner this upcoming February and was wondering what plan you would suggest I go with.  I see there are a few skiing ones and some marathon ones.  Do you have anything for Cross Country Skiing?  Should I marry two plans together and see what happens?

Thanks for all you do, being able to hit the weights and the trails makes me a better athlete, pastor, husband and father. 


I’ve been asked before but haven’t developed a nordic skiing plan as of yet.

In general, however, it would be an endurance plan, with the “mode” of nordic skiing.

For the Birkie, from my stuiff, I’d recommend the 50-Mile Ultra Training Plan. Where the plan says “run” – you ski. (http://mtntactical.com/shop/50-mile-ultra-plan/)

This plan would send you to the Birkie a little over prepared – but the 50K Birkie should be no problem.

The point is, to go long, you need to train long – in the mode of the event. This means bunches of nordic skiing for distance before the race.

– Rob



I’ve used your Ruck Based Selection Program to prep for Ranger School in the past, and am about to repeat the packet to prepare for SFAS.

The copy that I have is dated 2010; I feel like it’s probably changed quite a bit since then, but I’ve always wondered about the Session 1 workouts. The ones from Week 2-6 that start with a warm up followed by the gut check 15-1 reverse ladder, and end with a 3 mile run.

How much time should there be in between the “gut check” and the 3 mile run? My initial instinct is “immediate,” but then again, I know how ridiculously wiped I am after the 15-1. Would it be beneficial to recover for 10-15 min, or is it designed as an immediately following event?


FYI – we’re on version 5 of the RBSTP – and it’s changed dramatically.

Yes – take 10 minutes to rest before the run.

– Rob


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