Wanted to send you another quick note and thank you for the recommendations and advice over the past year. As you know, I have completed several of your ope plans (Humility, Sandbag/Weightvest/Dumbbell) and recently used the Pre-Deployment plan to prepare for a week-long backpack-style archery elk hunt in the Rockies. Long story short, I was able to connect on a 5×5 bull on the last day of the hunt, with an hour of daylight left. As you know, just covering ground in Rocky Mountain “elk country” is hard work — but doing that for 6 days straight and then spending the 7th day packing out an elk? That is quite a bit of demand. I credit your plans for giving me the physical ability, durability, and mental toughness to make it through a long week, hunt hard right up until the end, and then still have something left in the tank to get an elk out of the backcountry. I killed the bull about 5 miles and 2,500 vertical feet up from the truck, so doing two round trips of that with a weighted pack made for a long day. (Thankfully I had a great hunting partner and a few pack goats to share the load with!) The Pre-Deployment plan prepared me for the climbing, as well as the weighted descent, and improved my core stability to bear the heavy pack.
I just wanted to reach out to you about your Backcountry Big Game Hunting Program. I’m just coming off of a three week backpack trip in the Mackenzie Mountains in the Northwest Territories and I used your program to prepare for it. There’s no question in my mind that it more than paid off. I’d say that almost without exception, I was the only one not physically damaged in some way when we came out of the mountains. I think that endurance performance goes without saying, but the thing I noticed above all else was my durability. I mean we took some serious punishment and places where my body had previously failed me held up without the slightest problem. Seriously, well done on this and everything you guys do.
I love your philosophy, your simplicity and the sincerity towards your athletes.
I have a series of athletically challenging events in the Spring and I’m hoping you might be able to offer some assistance in deciding how to schedule my programming around them. I’m currently in reasonable shape — I completed my second GoRuck Tough on Saturday and was one of the stronger members of the group. I did your Heavy training plan leading up to the event with some scaled back ruck volume and a few days of indoor climbing scattered around.
These are the events:
- 3/31/17 – GoRuck Tough
- 4/1/17 – GoRuck Light
- 4/2/17 – GoRuck Scavenger
- 4/22/17 – GoRuck ‘Expedition’ Tough (done in wilderness of Tennessee)
- 5/26/17 – GoRuck Heavy
- 7/8/17 – Full ascent of Rainier
My highest priority is Rainier. Second highest is successfully completing the Heavy. I’m having a hard time figuring out how to involve rest days/weeks in the mix while still completing your programmed routines. Any advice on where I could cut corners?
What would you recommend for the winter months leading up to the first event at the end of March? I live in Southern California and would like to be climbing and mountain biking mostly.
Thanks, and sorry if this is an ambiguous request. I’m blown away by the amount of fantastic programming that you’ve created and want to make sure I can get around to trying a lot of it.
In general, the closer you get to your event/season, the more sport-specific your training needs to be.
So, start with your events and work backward.
This means complete the Go-Ruck Challenge Training Plan (http://strongswiftdurable.com/shop/goruck-challenge-training-plan/) the 6 weeks before your 3/31/17 event.
Maintain in the short weeks between your first 3 events, then after your “Scavenger” start the GoRuck Heavy training plan (http://strongswiftdurable.com/shop/goruck-heavy-training-plan/) around 4/5/17 in prep for your heavy event on 5/26. Use the Tennessee event as one of your long weekend mini-events in the plan.
8 weeks before Rainier, complete the Rainier Training Plan (http://strongswiftdurable.com/shop/rainier-training-plan/).
Between now and mid-Feb when you begin the first GoRuck Plan, best would be to subscribe and to complete the daily Operator Sessions, or purchase and complete the “Greek Hero” plans individually beginning with Hector (http://strongswiftdurable.com/shop/operator-hector/), and followed by Apollo, Achilles and Perseus. Your Go-Ruck events are “tactical” in nature and this base programming would best prepare you.
This doesn’t align with your wish to climb and surf this winter. Another option would be to subscribe and follow the Mountain Base sessions, which do include climbing programming. You could also do this with individual plans. Start with the greek heroine plans, – Helen (http://strongswiftdurable.com/shop/mountain-base-helen/).
Finally – I’d recommend you consider changing your events from artificial adventure (organized – goruck, spartan races, tough mudders, etc.) to dyi, real, adventure. April is a great time in the desert of the American Southwest. A 10-day backpacking trip through of the Escalante National Monument would be an incredible experience. Or spend your time splitting a backpacking trip with 4-5 days in Moab mountain bike day tripping, and while you’re down there, throw in a rim to rim one day of the grand canyon.
Nothing against the organized events, but 5 in a row – I’m thinking the uniqueness of the experience will wear out.
My name is Leeor Young and a friend recommended your website to me for the cpat training. I’m actually taking the cpat in 6 weeks. I looked at your sample of the training and its a little hard to read. I don’t know if each round is one day or split in 5 or what some of the workouts are from the unfamiliar names. My question is if I buy the program will it explain the workouts better to understand them or is it confusing like the sample one?
Don’t let the language of the training sessions scare you off. The terminology may be new to you, but overall the stuff isn’t that complicated. The first couple sessions will take some time but in a week you’ll have it figured out.
Unfamiliar exercises are here: http://strongswiftdurable.com/category/exercises/
And I’m usually available to answer questions.
I am really impressed with your workout programs. I’ve used Valor to great success as I trained for multiple GORUCK challenges. My question is actually about my wife. She has just started exercising, with her main goal of weight loss of at least 25 lbs. Currently she is walking/rucking 30 min to 1 hr 6 days a week and incorporating some sandbag exercises after the walks. Our garage is our gym with rucks, sandbags and a TRX system. Running is uncomfortable right now for her so that isn’t an option currently. What program do you suggest she begin with to help her with our limited equipment and her weight loss goals?
Fat Loss Training Plan: http://strongswiftdurable.com/shop/fat-loss-training-program/
First, thanks for providing a series of great workout resources over the years. I have purchased your APFT, 357/Rat 6 strength plans, and Bodyweight training plans with great results during my past deployments. I recently purchased V5 of your ruck plan and look forward to using it as I prepare for SFAS in May 2017.
How do you recommend training for SFAS events while outside the plan’s 8 week window? I am currently deployed with access to a full gym, CrossFit gym, and ruck sack.
Thanks again for providing great programs.
1) Subscribe and follow the daily Operator Sessions
2) Complete the plans in the Ruck Based Selection Training Packet: http://strongswiftdurable.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-packet/
I’m interested in trying one of your plans but I’m not sure which one would work best for me. I currently lift and do some metcons on MWF and try to swim TTh. I’m 5’9 and have injured both shoulders in the past trying Crossfit stuff alongside college kids (I work at Boston College), I’m smarter now, but I still like to incorporate some WODs into my workouts. I make up my own workouts but it’s hard to keep things interesting and track progress.
I like the SSD philosophy, and leaning towards the 357 plan. Any suggestions?
In general, I recommend older athletes (post 45) train strength in the gym, and endurance outside – avoiding some of the intense, gym-based work cap stuff.
My recommendation for you would be Big 24 Strength: http://strongswiftdurable.com/shop/big-24-strength-training-program-v3/
This plan includes some shuttles – which you can avoid and just focus on the strength work.
If you’re stubborn old guy like me, and like the gym-based work cap stuff, 357 Strength (http://strongswiftdurable.com/shop/357-strength/) has been one of our most successful plan. It’s still a strength plan, but complements the strength work with complementary gym-based work cap efforts at the end of the sessions.
It is still unclear on how you get your interval times. Or maybe i’m just stupid.
The swim chart i understand, but my question is how you calculate the interval pace.
From the looks of the swim table it looks like you take the time from
your 500m swim, cut it in half, then take off 50 seconds and then you get your interval pace.
There has to be a formula or something to get the pace for the interval. If not a table will do. If you have one for the 12 mile hike please send it.
Ill just run my intervals faster like you said.
In general, the intervals are run at shorter distance, but faster pace then your assessment distance/pace.
How much faster? It depends and has evolved as we’ve worked over the years and seen what was and was not doable with us, our labrats, and athletes like you.
We generally begin the process at a distance 1/3 the assessment distance and a pace 20% faster than the assessment pace. This is where we start … then based on the plan, what’s easy in terms of distance for the athlete to measure, and if we/our athletes are able to make the intervals, we start massaging from there.
Overall, we hope to push pace by improving your speed over ground, and endurance/stamina with the long rucks/mini events in the plan.
Over the years we’ve moved online with our intervals via our calculators. These are easier for us to evolve/change as we learn more – and we’ve tweaked them multiple times. We don’t have a calculator yet for swimming.
Understand the intervals are supposed to push you. Ideally the first time you run 6 rounds of intervals, you’ll make the first 2 comfortably, second two with more effort, barely make the 5th, and come up just short of the 6th.
However, by the 3rd or 4th time you complete the intervals, you’ll make all of them … then you re-assess, hopefully assessment time improves, and the whole process starts again.
There is a lot more going on in selection/course plans – like the USMC Basic Recon Course plans you’re working through, however, than increasing your speed over ground or speed in the water. The mid-cycle assessment weeks are generally “unload” and the total volume of the plan is continually increasing. If I’m able to get you faster, and greatly increase your work capacity and stamina over the cycle, hopefully I’m setting you up for success at selection.
The other part is the mental part. Every day of selection/course plans takes a mental push … especially training on your own – the two-a days, long training time commitment, loss of a weekend day, having to get all your stuff together to follow the plan as prescribed …… lots of work.
Following the plan as prescribed, not taking a day off, and attacking each session takes substantial commitment and mental discipline. Along the way hopefully the athlete will also solidify why he/she is going to selection/course in the first place and they will carry this physical and mental strength into the test ahead.
We understand physical preparedness and selection-based fitness is a substantial part of selection success. But it’s not the most important part. Selection cadre have many stories of super fit guys and super athletic guys who don’t make it or don’t get selected. And they have stories of relatively unfit guys/un-athletic guys who make it, simply because they refuse to quit.
Hope this helps and good luck at your course.
I’m a NYC firefighter with a general fitness level, I’ve followed your programming but have not done the mountain athlete stuff. Myself and some guys at work are looking at doing a rainier summit attempt next August. I saw you have a Rainier plan to complete just prior but could you set me up with a work up to follow starting ASAP. I figure the training will carry over into my professional career and help me there.
Best would be to start our Mountain Base sessions – which include focused mountain endurance (running, uphill climbing). You can get to these cycles via a subscription or by purchasing a plan individually. The place to start would be Helen (http://mtntactical.com/shop/mountain-base-helen/).
Another option would be to purchase the Rainier plan, do it now.
Move back into general fitness, or better, our Fire/Rescue programming for several months, then repeat Rainier right before your trip.
I am looking at getting my strength up before dropping in on the Operator Sessions.
My current numbers are:
225 Bench, 185 Front Squat, 145 Strict Overhead Press, 135 Clean (still working on form) and 285 Deadlift.
I am in ROTC and looking to be combat arms after I graduate. With this in mind I want to build up my strength some more before dropping into the Operator Sessions. I also need to keep up my cardio so I will look to add a couple 3-5 mile runs and a day of intervals in order to stay fit for my APFT. Which do you think would be best: Big 24 or RAT 6 for building my strength before dropping into the operator sessions?
I’d recommend Big 24: http://mtntactical.com/shop/big-24-strength-training-program-v3/
You’ll run shuttle sprints weekly during this plan.
On the daily operator subscription is there a dated WOD that carries on directly after the sample week?
If you subscribe, start the Operator Sessions at the beginning of the most recent cycle.
I am a ski patroller and was just about to start getting into dryland training for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, a tear in one of the tendons in my wrist is going to require surgical repair. I am going to be done with recovery by ski season, but in the meantime I’m concerned about how to train without using one of my upper extremities. A lot of the weighted lower body exercises are out, and I’m particularly concerned about keeping my upper body strong. Any thoughts?
Thanks for all the great work, I’ve really enjoyed using your programs to get in shape for skiing and climbing.
I’d recommend you jump into the Dryland Ski Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/dryland-ski-training-program/) and make modifications around your wrist. For example, wear a 30# pack for the quadzilla complexes, do 1-arm weighted situps, 1-arm dumbbell bench presses, etc. This plan is lower body focused, and with a little creativity and resourcefulness you can still train your upper body and mid-section.
A lesser option would be the Training Program for Athletes Suffering Arm Injury (http://mtntactical.com/shop/training-program-for-athlete-suffering-arm-injury/). Hundreds of athletes – especially on the tactical side, have used this program to stay in shape while an arm injury heals. It’s not a rehab plan for your wrist, but rather trains the rest of your body around your injury. It’s no joke.
I’m currently training for the APFT with some tremendous success with the program that I’m currently using. I’m curious if using the Big 24 lift program or the Rat Strength program could be beneficial to me in any way. I know that they don’t test your Bench Press or Squat within the APFT so it doesn’t necessarily matter; however, for my ego’s sake I want to try and make improvements in complex movements while also keeping my pushup/situp/run scores as high as possible. Could I pair my current program with one of the strength programs and do this? I appreciate your time sir.
Of the two plans, I’d recommend starting with Big 24.
Combining Big 24 and your APFT training? It depends upon how focused you are on improving your APFT score and when you take your next APFT. To max your APFT score, do that plan in isolation.
If you do combine plans, don’t do 2-a-days. I’d recommend Day 1 APFT, Day 2 Big 24, Day 3 APFT, Day 4 Big 24, Day 5 APFT, Days 6-7 Rest.
I am currently looking to begin using your programming to train. I am 20 yoa, 5’11”, and keep around 200lbs BW nowadays. I’ve been using kettlebells and some barbell work as my main means of physical training for the past couple of years. After doing a SOFlete WoD for 9/11, I got my butt kicked and I’ve decided to change my training focus.
I’ve looked at your website for some time, but am unsure of where to begin. I performed a rather modified Operator Ugly yesterday and the scores are below.
Bench Press @ 185lbs – 9
Back Squat @ 205lbs – 9 (Could have done more, but saved myself for the Deadlift event)
1min Deadlift @ 225lbs – 21
4x 1min 25m Shuttle Sprints – 34 lengths
Pull Ups @ 18lbs – 9
5min Snatch Test @ 53lbs – 70 reps (35/35)
So, roughly 117 points with the snatches, and 82 without them.
I’m looking to acquire a 25lbs weighted vest soon and am definitely looking forward to purchasing a sandbag from SSD.
As for injuries, my left knee has this tendency to dislocate under certain circumstances. It’s been healed and had surgery on it. I can run and lift on it with no problems.
With all of this said, I am looking to become a not-so-typical missionary. Go out to different countries, and offer intelligence/security services as well as primary education and any other services I can to those who need it. I am hoping to be as prepared as possible, physically, with that. I have been programming myself as of late, but came across the quote, “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” And now I look to your guidance for programming.
I am thinking about the Rookie Training Packet (push ups, sit ups aren’t all that great) and build from there into the Virtue Series then the Greek Hero. And recycle the Virtue and Greek Hero series until I begin working. I am still finishing my degree, so it won’t be for another 2+ years before I begin the missionary stuff.
My goals are in line with what you have for relative strength, and how you define the necessities for tactical/military athletes.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Skip the Rookie Packet and start with the Virtue Series – Humility first.
I emailed you a few months ago concerning fitness. I was diagnosed with pericarditis and couldn’t work out for 4 months and now I’m clear. I’m looking to go Ranger school next Oct and was looking for a packet that I could follow to help me progress. I’m not quite a couch potato but I definitely need to rebuild my base. Q1. Is it even possible to be in shape for Ranger school next building from the ground up like I am healthily? Q2 what packets would you recommend if it is possible?
Q1: 12 months is plenty of time.
Q2: Start with the Virtue series of plans – the Virtue Packet (http://mtntactical.com/shop/virtue-series-packet/).
The packet starts with “Humility” – which is bodyweight focused.
I have used your site for a long time and found your programs to be very helpful, you are appreciated.
Im asking you to consult me so I can physically prepare for an ACL surgery, possibly stretching and strength routine you strongly suggest.
I can’t help with the stretching part – I’m not sure it’s important – but in general, I recommend athletes go into surgery as strong as possible.
From our stuff, I’d recommend you start with the Single Limb Strength Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/single-limb-strength-training-plan/