Q&A & KUDOS 11-26-14


Snowboard specific programs, getting in shape for fire season, progressing from bodyweight plans while still using limited equipment, clarifications on what we mean by rucking, and more:


I really enjoy what your folks programming has offered and have used numerous programs to gain my strength back after recovering from a hernia surgery this past year.  I was surprised how fast the SWAT/SRT kickstart program boosted my fitness in just 3 weeks.  Please keep up the good work and I hope to spread the word of what you folks do as this is invaluable.


This morning I completed the Monday LE Fitness assessment. I increased Front Squat & Bench Press by 50%, Russian Twist by 70%, Box Jumps by 30%, and decreased 15 seconds from the 300 m shuttle.  I will admit, I could worthlessly (in terms of functionality) do kipping  pull ups all day long and was admittedly disqualified because I could not do a strict pull up.  I went ahead with your program and progressed using negatives. I was able to accomplish TWO strict chin ups.  Strict chin ups have been a frustration of mine for some time but your program made me work on them.  I will continue to do so to run that “two” into the ground.  Thank you for offering this free resource.  My partners on my next house clearing, search, or late night home visit on the bad side of town will be grateful for it as well, should I ever need to haul them or myself out of a bad situation. I have done your operator sessions and am going to do your SSD Crossfit program. I always come back to your work and respect the research and sweat you and your lab rats put into what you do, all with a genuine focus on functionality for our specific professions. –L (female LEO)



First, your programming is tremendous. I have followed it for over  3 years. I used it to prepare for deployment, then after being severely wounded, I used it to recover (scaled weight and intensity).

Now I am a Major with different priorities but i still use your schedule every day and am fully recovered. You don’t know this but I credit your heavy lower body training as helping save my life. The muscles in my legs and ass absorbed a tremendous impact from the shrapnel and heavy weight lifting built great resiliency.

So, I was inspired by your question: What are we missing? I always see TRX Bands and although I am familiar with the exercises, I would be certainly happy to see your perspective on TRX and how to best incorporate into a comprehensive program. I hope my question helps you develop progressive and hard training. I also want to celebrate your ability to create an accepting environment where immigrants can funnel through New Athletes.


Thanks for the great note and so glad you’ve successfully recovered.  Glad your “combat chassis” acted as armor.

I honestly haven’t messed around with TRX and/or ring/suspension training much but will consider it.



I’ve been looking at your site for awhile and think it might be time to join up. I’m not sure what the best plan for me is though.

I am a cop by profession but spend most of my free time hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, skiing, etc. My son and I have also gotten into Adventure Racing. We completed two last summer and are looking to do 3-5 next summer, along with a possible climb of Shasta (we did Whitney 2 years ago and Grand Teton last year).

I have been doing Crossfit inspired workouts (not real Crossfit, just some of the concepts) with a heavy focus on body strength exercises and endurance. That being said, I’m looking for better focused workouts and upping my game. Looking to ramp up after the new year when my schedule will change and be more conducive to your program. Additionally, my son will join me. We do most of this stuff together, but he is also a burgeoning football player who’s looking to put on some size and speed.

I’m 42, 5/11 and 198 lbs. He’s 14, 5/11, 160lbs. We have a reasonable well appointed home gym and are willing to add equipment as necessary.

I hope you can help and look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.


I’d recommend you step away from bodyweight and endurance and straight into some intense strength training. You’ll have plenty of time in the Spring to get back to endurance work before the summer Adventure Race season starts.

We’ve worked with local prep athletes for over 5 years now and have just started publishing some of our work. I think a great plan for you and your son to do together in the dark day’s of January would be Maximus: http://mtntactical.com/shop/maximus-strength-power-training-plan/

This is an awesome plan which deploys some sophisticated programming, but not too sophisticated. It’s simple, but hard. You’ll really enjoy pushing each other through it.



I would like to start off by saying thank for your programming. I went through rescue swimmer school a while ago and I graduated in the top three of my class. I have the opportunity now to go to through Navy EOD. The school requires a lot of water training.

My unit returned from a military exercise recently and during that time I lost strength and speed. I need to be faster in the water and stronger. I’m currently doing two-a-days; running, swimming and 531. When I’m 6 weeks out I’m going to go on your BUDS program. The date of my school is uncertain as of right now, but I would estimate four months from now. What would your recommend coach? Thanks in advance for your advice.



The BUD/s plan will work. Another to consider is the USAF CCT/PJ/CRO Training Plan which also has a strong swimming/running component: http://mtntactical.com/shop/usaf-cctpjcro-selection-training-plan/



I hope all is well.  I was reading one of the Q&A’s in reference to over training and recovery and you had mentioned that recovery was an issue as you get older.  At 46, I hear and feel you!  I wanted to see when you are planning to come out with the “over 45” programming you had mentioned.  I believe that was the name.

What programming would you recommend for me.  I am a LEO and 46.  I am interested in strength and work capacity.  I have done some of your LEO programming and think its great, but I feel as though I “over train” at times.  Could you do a more modified such as 2 on 1 off to give a little more time to recover?  Maybe the SSD programming?  Any ideas to assist recovery?

Also, the body weight plan seems good.  Less “stress” on the joints.  Thoughts on that for a break from weights. I appreciate the site and the info.  Great stuff.



I’m currently designing the 45+ programming. We’re calling is Strength and Fitness 45, or SF45. Am not sure if I’ll start with a subscription or a training plan. Hope to have something out in December.

For you now – I’d recommend the LE Officer sessions, but 3 days/week, Mon, Tues, Thursday. You could step away from the gym and do the Bodyweight Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-i-training-program/), but don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” – it’s intense. I’d recommend the same training schedule.



I really like your page and training advice. I was wondering if you have any plans to produce a dry land snowboarding program?



Our pro snowboarders train alongside our pro skiers here. I’ve found the fitness demands – low body eccentric strength, strength endurance, leg lactate tolerance – are super similar. I’d recommend our Dryland Ski Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/dryland-ski-training-program/



I am recovering from a pretty serious back injury (L1 Fracture). I will soon begin physical therapy and I am looking for a fitness program to provide structure to my rehab. I was wondering if you could send a sample day or two from 8-week lower back fitness program. I would like to get an idea of what movements are included and what equipment is required.

Background:  I am in the Army and have been crossfitting since 2008. My injury is healed but my back is still really weak because I had hardware supporting me for about 6 months. I hope that is enough info.   Thanks.



The Lower Back Fitness Plan link on the store includes several training sessions. See here: http://mtntactical.com/shop/8-week-lower-back-fitness-training-program/

But I’m thinking you’d want to start with our Core Strength Bodyweight Only Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/core-strength-bodyweight-only/



Thanks for your great site(s)! I am an avid hiker/ and backpacker who may very likely be working as a wildland firefighter this upcoming fire season and/or on the backcountry trails in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. I am of pretty slender build (my arms are very skinny, but pretty defined), with a little pudge around my belly, hips, and back. I have done two rounds of the Beach body program P90X and two rounds of Body Beast (currently on the second round) in attempt to build some mass. I also run two to three miles or ruck (with 90 plus lbs.) three times per week in addition to this program. I am a six foot, currently 182lb male. Given these factors, which plan or (plans) do you suggest I use to reach peak performance in time for the upcoming fire season?



I’d like to see you stronger, and right now recommend you start with one of our strength plans, specifically Rat 6 Strength: http://mtntactical.com/shop/rat-6-strength/. You’re endurance will suffer some, but you’ve got time to build it back up.

Follow it up with Fortitude – which combines strength with military-style endurance (running/rucking). Wildland firefighters have many of the same fitness demands as soldiers: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

Directly prior to the season, complete our Wildland Firefighter Pre-Season Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/wildland-firefighter-pre-season-training-plan/



My partner and I are just finishing up the backcountry ski plan of yours, we’re planning to hit the slopes hard this winter and are planning a big ski trip to Canada in the spring. We’d like to be in tip-top shape and are wondering what plan we should hit next (post backcountry) to maintain our strength and still allow us to ski hard on the weekends? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.



We built the In-Season Ski Maintenance Plan specifically for cases like yours: http://mtntactical.com/shop/in-season-ski-maintenance-training-program/



I am in Navy ROTC at University of Idaho and was recently tasked with scheduling and organizing workouts for the battalion 2 times a week. I was looking at the plans you offer and was wondering which one you would suggest purchasing to use as a baseline for the workouts we would be doing. Our ultimate goal is to not only improve PRT scores (pushups, situps, 1/2 mile run) from the previous semester but to instill lifelong habits of physical training.

There are 67 members of the battalion and we are currently limited by weather to workout inside until the spring. Because we are inside, we have access to stadium stairs and an indoor track area. The equipment we have access to is minimal: pullup bars, ammo cans, jump ropes, and tires. There is a wide range of strength, for some this is the first time they have ever been tasked to workout.



A great place to start would be our Bodyweight Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-i-training-program/

Don’t be fooled by “bodyweight” – this plan is no joke. You’ll not want to skip around in the training sessions – but follow them in order when you train.



I’m in basic training for the British Army just now, on week 8 out of 26 and we’re now allowed to go to the gym ourselves in our free time on evenings. We have 3 scheduled PT sessions a week, usually 2 Tabs (rucks) and circuits or a 6 mile run and circuits and I’m just wondering what I could do on top of this, if I should do anything at all? It’s a fully functional gym with all the equipment needed and I’ll have 2-3 hours spare time most days of the week.

Cheers for all the help and programs, they helped me get here in the first place!



The only gym work I’d want you to do is strength. Keep it simple, but fun. Ultimate Meathead Cycle: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ultimate-meathead-cycle/



Which plans do you suggest from your site to be progressive after Bodyweight I, but still with body weight exercises, not a full gym?



Couple options to avoid the gym but still progress beyond bodyweight:

1) Sandbag/Weightvest/Dumbbell Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/sandbagweight-vestdumbbell-training-plan/

2) Military Athlete Endurance Training Cycle: http://mtntactical.com/shop/military-athlete-endurance-training-cycle/

3) Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/afghanistan-pre-deployment-training-plan/



Continued thanks for the programming. 357 Strength kicked my butt. The shoulder durability/mobility stuff definitely helped with the amount of pressing/overhead work/snatches. I’m about to start the SWAT Kickstart and there is interest from other guys on the team. Question – some guys have had previous shoulder injuries that limit their ability to do overhead work. Do you have any recommendations for substitutions? I know that’s a very broad question, but any help is appreciated. Thinking perhaps to have them use light DBs for the movements if possible.



The SWAT/SRT Kickstart Plan (https://mtntactical.com/shop/swatsrt-kickstart-training-program/) focuses on bench press and power curls for pure upper body movements, but it does include some olympic and total body exercises which take the barbell overhead. What you can do is just skip the overhead movement – for example, if the session calls for 2x Mutant Makers, you can just do 2x Squat Cleans, etc.



Huge fan of MA and everything you have done.  Halfway through the Rookie Packet and it has been great for me to get back into shape. Two quick questions

1) What is the biggest change with V.5 of the APFT Plan? I have V.3 and wanted to know if its necessary to get the new one?

2) About to head into the Endurance Cycle and wanted to clarify about rucking. Unless specified to run, rucking is walking under prescribed load at a certain pace or as fast as you can.

Thanks again for everything you are doing!



1) We’re continuing to evolve and improve our programming. When we develop and test new/better theory we’ll update the training plans accordingly. The latest version of the APFT plan reflects this process. Do you need to purchase it? No. V3 is a great plan too.

2) No. We ruck run. Some guys can’t ruck run far, and for them I recommend ruck running 2 minutes, walking 1 minute, etc. until they can run the entire distance.



I am looking for a recommendation on which training plan(s) to purchase.  I am hoping that you can point me in the right direction.  Here is my background and objectives.


I have done some gym lifting, mostly on my own, but not consistently for over a year. I’ve spent the last year dropping 25 lbs (now at 180 from an all time high of 240 in 2010) and completed my first marathon on Nov 1 at a 5:00:48 pace. Also in June 2014 I completed a GORUCK Challenge.


To build strength and endurance in a goal to complete a GORUCK Heavy in May 2015.

I am looking for a good strength building plan that will end with me completing your GORUCK Heavy plan prior to May 1. Could you recommend a series of plans for this?



I’d recommend starting with the Bodyweight I Training Plan: https://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-i-training-program/.

Then these training plans in order:

– 369 Work Capacity: https://mtntactical.com/shop/369-work-capacity-cycle/

– Fortitude: https://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

– Valor: https://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/

– Goruck Heavy Training Plan: https://mtntactical.com/shop/goruck-heavy-training-plan/



I am a Police Officer in the U.K on the equivalent of the American SWAT team. I have been looking for a functional fitness programme and came across your site.

I am wanting to do the SWAT/SRT training programme and wondered if this could be used year round. If not what is the best programme to use year round whilst cycling with the SWAT/SRT programme.

I am looking to increase strength, aerobic capacity and endurance whilst adding a small amount of mass.



For year round programming, subscribe to the website and follow the LE Officer Sessions. These are our day to day programming for LE Athletes.

You could if you wanted cycle in the SWAT/SRT Kickstart Training Plan.



I was hoping you could elaborate more on what is included in the Trainers & Coaches Subscription.  Does that include access to the Operator Sessions as well?  I’ve been extremely interested in learning more about the methods you teach so I can incorporate that knowledge when designing programs and training my clients. I really have come to love your stuff. Keep up the great work.



When we brought all the programs together under Strong Swift Durable, we also combined the subscriptions, so users can see the daily sessions for all our programming.

The Coach/Trainers subscription doesn’t give you access to anything more than a regular user. Rather, it is designed for professional coaches/trainers, like you, who use our programming for their paying clients. It’s an honor system.



I work as a Captain in the Fire Service and am approaching 47 years old. Here at our dept. we have several “certified trainers” and I have the advantage of having any one of them help me with a program. On the side I run Ultra-Marathons. I just ran my last one a couple of weeks ago for the season. I have had some limited success for my age in the area. I am not a superstar but would like to continue as long as possible. The races let me plan great trips for my family.  I plan on taking some time off of running and doing some duck hunting. This year I had more back issues than usual (none during running). I have a “spondy” in L4. Maybe some facet synovitis. I also have been told I have week gluteus medius. (No ass at all disease). Anyway, I’ve seen a few of your videos and was wondering about a plan that I could do during the off season that would help me stay fit and healthy/prepared for the running season. I would like to run a little this winter but only if and when I feel like it. During the running season I mainly run as work and family doesn’t allow for much other training than to get my miles in. Here at work I have to  exercise for an hour in the morning. When I run here it is mainly around the block. The majority of my running is in the hills. If this is something you could help me out with would you let me know? I can make up my own plan or ask the guys here; but would rather only work towards my end goal of remaining healthy and fit for the future.



Best thing I can do for you during the off season is get you stronger. I’d recommend our Off Season Strength Training Plan for Endurance Athletes: http://mtntactical.com/shop/off-season-strength-for-endurance-athletes/

I built this plan specifically for ultra runners and other endurance athletes. You can do a little running on the side.

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