Q&As 5/14/15

2015-03-19 17.50.51
Questions include Preparing for ITC, Programs for Technical Mountain Search and Rescue, BUD/s V2 Training While Short on Time, Training for SFAS, When to Start the Wildland Fire Pre-Season Program, Preventing Injury as a Skinny Guy, Changes to the Hypertrophy Program for Women, and more…


Just wanted to say thanks.  I was using your program to train for RASP 2.  I had appendicitis early last month; however, I believe that I was in great shape and that contributed to my decreased healing time.  I healed up, continued on with your program and just graduated RASP 2 last week (6 weeks after having surgery for appendicitis).  I attribute my success to your programs.  Thanks again.


Just a quick follow up to your video. (Link to Video HERE)
Since I’ve been training using the form shown in your video here’s my results:
Before video: averaging 15-16 minute mile.
After video: progressed from a 14-15 minute mile on flat ground within a week or two of the video, now after a month or so of training average a 13-14 minute/ mile on relatively flat (very mild rolling) terrain. Able to do some short intervals 12-13 minute/ mile (which amazes the heck out of me 🙂
The key difference is that  before: 
a.  I was too upright instead of the forward lean
b. legs bent too deeply so I was making too long strides.
c. long strides meant slower turnover in pace. 
The form you show and I use are the same basic principles of “chi” walking: try to get the center of mass in front of the center of gravity so you feeling like you a falling forward. 
I use an army medium ruck with a dumbbell in the radio pocket. I’m probably hitting the 120 steps per minute pace, which I believe is the army standard. It’s a much faster pace/ cadence than I was doing before. 
Thanks again. Good luck on your ruck research!


It was a great success! Thanks for the stellar plan. The legs were ready for the challenge, in the end the muscles around my lungs is what slowed me down. Never-the-less, a buckle was earned and that was the goal. Thanks again! On to new goals.

I just have to say…I love the programming man! I tried Military Athlete a few years ago and loved it, but changed to Crossfit Football for different goals.  I work in the adult day care system up in Alaska, and completely agree with your program’s philosophy, and love the periodized training. I just came across this LE program, and started at the beginning of this hybrid cycle. I’m seeing results already. Can’t wait to see what the future brings. Kudos to you and whoever else is involved




To start, thank you so much for the programming and guidance you provide, especially to those of us with the “constant burden of fitness”–it’s done great things for me in the past.

I was recently selected for MARSOC (again, largely a credit to your programming) and am set to start ITC in July. With this comes the demand to take what I had at A&S to the next level with the addition of increased demands in the areas of strength, and even size. At 5’10” and 165 Lb., I’ve always been a rabbit and a hard-gainer. Here’s what I’m working with right now:

3-mile run: 17:20

Deadlift: #350

Front Squat: #245

Back Squat: #275

12-mile ruck (60# plus rifle): 2:20

Bench: #200

Squat Clean: #245

Snatch: #155

Strict Press: #155

300 meter cammie swim: 8:00

Up to this point, I’ve been picking and choosing various strength/work capacity and hybrid cycles from both your SSD and Operator Sessions. However, I’m looking to see what plans or program you recommend to increase strength with some hypertrophy to meet the level of demand I’m going into, without losing the aerobic base I’ll need over the next year of training.




I’d recommend exclusively following the Operator Sessions. The intent of  Fluid Periodization is the train all these attributes – strength, work capacity, endurance, stamina, durability, simultaneously, but with cyclic emphasis.



I am 23 years and I am an aspiring police officer/sheriff deputy.  First a little about myself, I currently do quite a bit of powerlifting type of training (3×5,5×5,Wendler 531, etc.) and I am currently improving my endurance with the Couch to 5K program and do plan to advance at some point from there. I also am 5’11 and weigh around 250lbs and my goal is to lose about 50 of that to become leaner, stronger, etc.  Anyways, I am curious what a good program would be to choose from on your page?  I have explored some of the Law Enforcement programs such as the Free Cooper Test download, and read a few of the samples of some of the other LEO programs you offer.  I have also explored some of the bodyweight programs on your page, as well. I am curious what you may recommend to use to help reach career, fitness, etc.goals.  Diet wise, I have been slowly following your 6 days of heavy protein, veggies, fruit, etc and 1 cheat day which I found works really well.  I am just curious about a plan that might be worth to start with and go from there.  If you would be able to answer any of these questions, it would be truly appreciated.



I’d recommend you start our stuff with the On Ramp Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/on-ramp-training-program/

and follow it up with the Patrol Officer Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/patrol-officer-training-plan/

Good luck!



When you get a free cycle, curious as to which plan you think would

benefit someone in technical (climbing and rope system work) mountain

search and rescue teams (long sessions carrying 30-40# packs up/down

mountains on/off trail)?  Was leaning towards your smoke jumper or wild

land fire fighter plans.  Thoughts?



Neither Smokejumper nor Wildland Firefighter includes climbing training.

I’d recommend the Alpine Climbing Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/alpine-rock-climb-training-program/

This plan will hammer your legs and lungs for hiking, and also tune up climbing fitness and technique.



I have used your APFT plan before and was very pleased. Back when I was stationed at Fort Carson I ran the Pikes Peak Assent. Since then I have relocated to the East Coast. I have registered for the Assent again for this year. I am in decent running shape, that being I can go out and typically run a 10 miler or 1/2 marathon at about an 8:30 or 9 min pace without issue. What I am lacking is the altitude training this time around. I was wondering if you had a particular program you would recommend from your site that would assist me in preparing for the Accent? I have plenty of trails that I can access where I live and even some 4,000 foot mountains nearby to get some steeper terrain. Any recommendations you can make would be appreciated.



We don’t have a perfect plan for this event.

From what we do have, I’d recommend Peak Bagger Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/peak-bagger-training-plan/) with the following changes:

– Replace the second day of leg blasters with a 2-4 hour run in the trails near you.

– Also, add a round of the timed step-up work to each session with step ups it (so, 3 rounds, become 4).

– Where the plan says “ruck” just do a regular run at the prescribed distance and intensity.



I recently purchased your BUD/s V2 training plan.  I have been selected for an OCS billet and was initially set to ship for training late July, giving me the full 8 weeks for the training.  But my orders changed last night and now I ship in mid June, giving me about 5 weeks.  My question for you was how should I go about implementing the training plan while only having 5 weeks?  I was thinking I would start at week 3 vs week 1 (but obviously do the assessment before hand) then complete the training before I ship.  I would appreciate any advice that you have for me.




No – start at Week 1, but skip ahead to the final week of the plan before you ship – it’s a taper.



A friend of mine pointed me in your direction…I’m a former Marine grunt considering reenlisting into the Army and

trying out for SF. I’ve got a general idea of what I need to do to

prepare and be competitive and competent but I was wondering if you

had a particular training routine that is geared towards SFAS.



Many have use our SFAS Training Packet, and/or our Ruck Based Selection Training Plan successfully for SFAS.

Use the packet if your beginning several months out from selection: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-packet/

The packet finished with the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan. If you chose not to use the packet, I’d still recommend  the SFAS Training Plan the 8 weeks directly before selection: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-program/



Thank you so much! Today I will be completing Rat 6 Strength. My completion was delayed a week or two due to a stomach bug. My greatest improvement was on my bench press and hinge lift.

Bench Press: Starting: 135 lbs. Ending: 160 lbs.

Hinge Lift: Starting: 160 Ending: 215

Military Press: Starting: 95 Ending: 99

Power Squat: Starting 110 Ending: 100

Power Clean: Starting: 110 Ending: 115

Front Squat: Starting: 160 Ending: 200

The lifts that required upper body strength, particularly the Military Press proved somewhat problematic due to a torn labrum in my left shoulder, which I’ve had for two years now. I suspect this also prevented me from progressing further in most, if not all of my other lifts. (I am going to re-consider having surgical repair for this shoulder issue come the end of fire season.) Nonetheless, I made gains, mostly all-around. I believe my Power Squat went down due to my “acting a ‘numbskull'” and going into a slight calorie defecit towards the final three weeks of the plan. (I let vanity get the best of me.)

Moving on to Fortitude, I noticed it calls for some heavy bench pressing, and given my shoulder issue, how should I work around it? Follow the women’s weight suggestions, or perhaps find a manageable weight in between the recommended men’s and women’s weight?

Also, my official start date with the forest service wildland fire handcrew is June 1st, leaving me about a month before I start partaking in their morning hour of physical training. Given that, should I do part of Fortitude and then jump into the Wildland Fire Pre-season plan and get as much of it done as possible, or continue with the plan laid out, and complete Fortitude, and start on Wild Fire Pre-Season in addition to morning handcrew workouts? I am not sure what kind of physical training we will be doing for this hour long sessions. It sounds like it varies. From what I’ve heard it changes from month to month. For instance, I was told that one month the crew did P90X.

Again, thank you so much for your time. You are an invaluable resource to my training.



Thanks for the feedback on Rat 6. Some guys just struggle with the upper body strength stuff, especially guys who have a long endurance background.

Moving on – go right to the Wildland Firefighter Preseason Training Plan now: http://mtntactical.com/shop/wildland-firefighter-pre-season-training-plan/.

This plan is designed to be completed directly before the season.

Good luck and be safe this season.



Good Morning Rob, I’ve heard from a lot of my LT’s that if I email that you

can give a lot of help so here I am. I’m a Infantryman from the 101st, and I have hit a slump with working out. I have a LA Fitness membership because that is what the Army gave me and I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend. My ultimate goal is to get in Delta shape and tryout after recruiting but currently can’t afford it so i’ll have to wait to buy that program. But what I’m wondering is if you do have anything that is reasonable that you recommend for getting out of this workout slump and get me back on track and keep raising my PT score? I run a 13:34 2-mile, I stay around 38 on my 5-mile time my pushups are around 78 2-min and sit-ups 81 2-min. I don’t have the ability to workout with anyone but I have plenty of running and rucking space on the roads here. Thank you for any help you can give me and helping reach my goal of Delta in the next 2.5 Years.



I’d recommend Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

You can do the barbell strength training in the plan at LA Fitness and run/ruck outside.



First of all, thank you for this incredible web site. I’m a cadet at West Point and am trying to decide which fitness plan to adopt so I have a few questions. I will give you some back ground information before I ask my questions.


Height: 5’10”

Weight:147-152 (Ectomorph, skinny guy obviously)

I compete in the Sandhurst Competition every year. This year we had a terrible squad leader that really got us all injured. We slept about 5.5 hours a night and did 2-a-days. I had combatives, and judo classes most of the year so most of those days were 3-a-days. I currently have an injured ankle tendon that prevents me from running. I’ll get back into running in about 2 weeks hopefully. I’ve had a minor interior knee ligament tear. I have lower back pain, knee pain, hip flexor pain (when trying to squat too deep and during intense exertion from running), and lower calf pain. I have knee valgus when standing, jumping and landing, but not when I squat. I break 90 when squatting but get butt-wink if I go lower. Next is a list of my physical abilities.

Exercise, personal best, current best, ultimate goal.

Pullups, 18,16, 20

Army Chest to Ground (Airborne) Pushups in 2:00, 65,65,100

Army Situps in 2:00, 105, 85, 110

2mile, 11:58,12:50,11:30

Back Squat 1RM, 295, 225, 310

Overhead Press, 115,115, 155

Bench 165,165, 195

Deadlift 235,225,310

IOCT 2:31,2:35,2:25

Front Squat, 235,195,310

12 mile ruck w/35# 2:40,?,2:00

As you can see I used to be in better shape than I am now. Injuries, terrible workouts that were mandatory, overtraining, and lack of sleep have really killed my fitness.

My questions are:

How do I adhere to the workout plans if I cannot keep up with them?

Should I scale? How?

What workout plan do you suggest? Sandhurst (I will be the Squad Leader of a Sandhurst Team next year), Valor, Fortitude, or APFT prep?

I have an APFT and an IOCT (indoor obstacle course test) coming up in the fall.

How do I not get injured as a skinny guy? My cardio and running used to make up for my lack of strength but since the cardio has faded, now everything just sucks. My ultimate goals are to lift 125% to 200% of my body weight in big compound lifts, to have great relative strength, and to be the cream of the crop for muscular endurance and running/rucking based events in the military. Above all I need resiliency, quick recovery time, and defense against injury!

I am looking to branch Infantry, graduate Ranger School, and hopefully SFAS (Special Forces Assessment and Selection).

I am really looking forward to hearing back from you! Thanks for your time and expertise.


Q: How do I adhere to the workout plans if I cannot keep up with them?

A: Not sure exactly what you’re asking here because you’re not referring to a specific plan. Many of our plans automatically scale to the incoming fitness of the individual athlete, so it’s not an issue.  What could be an issue for you is the extra physical stuff you’re doing – combatives, judo, etc. – which could lead to over training. If you’re not making the progressions, take extra days off.

Q: Should I scale? How?

A: See above, unless you have a specific plan question.

Q: What workout plan do you suggest? Sandhurst (I will be the Squad Leader of a Sandhurst Team next year), Valor, Fortitude, or APFT prep?

A: Of these you suggest, Fortitude – which focuses on strength and endurance. But I’d rather have you do a focused strength plan to start, specifically Rat 6: http://mtntactical.com/shop/rat-6-strength/. You and your Sandhurst Team should complete the Sandhurst Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/?s=sandhurst) the 8 weeks directly before next year’s competition.

Q: How do I not get injured as a skinny guy?

A: Get stronger. Strength is the key to durability. Here are my strength standards for military athletes:


LIFT                                        MEN               WOMEN

Front Squat                             1.5x BW     1.0x BW

Dead Lift                                 2.0x BW       1.5x BW

Bench Press                           1.5x BW      1.0x BW

Push Press                             1.1x BW       .7x BW

Squat Clean                          1.25x BW      1.0x BW

Squat Clean+ Push Press    1.1x BW        .7xBW


First off thank you for all you do and your dedication to bettering people’s fitness and goals.

I have a few questions. A little background, I am an Active Duty Corpsman training for the SARC pipeline which is virtually the same as Marine RECON pipeline with minor differences. So far my plan is to start with the Navy PST program until I pick up a contract and then move into the Run improvement program, swim improvement program, and one of the strength programs.

My question is: How should I set up my training splits for that? Running and swimming in one day 4 days a week isn’t too much but when you add one of the strength programs in as well I may be looking at overuse. I don’t know, what do you think?

As I get closer to leaving for the pipeline, I will begin the Basic RECON course prep guide. The only 2 issues are I do not have access to a Marine Corps O-course and I will be doing shift work so 2 long sessions a day might not be feasible because I will be doing 12 on and 12 off. What are your thoughts?



Combining Run Improvement/Swim improvement and a strength plan.

I’d start with Run/Swim day, then strength day, then run/swim day, strength day, etc. See how you recover and if you are able to make the run/swim plan progressions. If so, keep doing it. If not, Add in a rest day every 4th day and see if that helps.

O-Course Sub: 3 Rounds for Time

6x 25m Shuttles

6x Burpees

6x Pull ups

Do this effort for each round of the O-Course.

2-a-Days – Do your best. I’d recommend training before work, then right after – and see if you can handle that sched.



I’ve recently purchased SSD Big 24 Strength Programme online. I’m originally from Ireland,living in the UK. I’m a Royal Navy Reservist who’s about to go in full-time with Royal Marine Commandos (RN). There’s plenty of push-ups and pull-ups on Big 24(and these would be strengths for me per se), which will cover the strength endurance components of the testing I’m about to take next month,but I’d like to canvass you with respect to what amount of cardio I could do in addition to the scheduled 300m shuttles,and still safely complete Big 24 without overreaching myself.

I have a 3 miler(5km) the first 1.5miles is squadded and ran at approx 12:30,the return 1.5mile is best effort,and I’m shooting for around 9:00-9:15.



You can add additional running to the plan – do 2-a-days. I’d suggest the 4-Week Running Improvement Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/run-improvement-plan/

Lift in the am, run in the pm.



I recently purchased one of your sandbags and figured I would come straight to the source for filler.

If I am looking to achieve the 80lbs prescribed for most sandbag workouts is rubber mulch or wood pellets more effective as a bag filler?  Also do you have a rough idea of how many bags of rubber mulch would get me to 80 lbs since they do not go by weight?


Rubber Mulch is better – the pellets eventually ground down and get dusty – and have to be replaced. We use pellets – can’t get mulch here – so I’m not sure the number of bags. I’m sorry.


Again I appreciate all the training insights you and your programming offer. The article “training advise for a young tactical athlete” became mandatory reading for my new batch of troops who rolled in.

Two quick questions:

1) i’m moving to an area that doesn’t have a good training facility “Crossfit style gym” and the nearest facilities are all the typical “goodlife style gyms” I find these zap my enthusiasm honestly and while I should just get over it, I was thinking about trying your bodyweight training for a couple months, if I attend the conventional gym it will be using the 357 Strength program, which has been a blast! Recommendation?

2) I’m looking at including some rucking twice or three times a week as a two-a-day. This isn’t for anything specific, just my job doesn’t use this skill as much. I was wondering if you had some benchmarks or training recommendations, other than my instinctive but 60# on my back and a hammer in my hands walk quickly for an hour. Next time walk faster OR further.



1) Go ahead and give yourself a break from the barbell and hit the Bodyweight Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/bodyweight-training-program-i/). It’s no joke.

2) Rucking programming – We’ve build a Rucking Improvement Training Plan ( you can do in conjunction with the bodyweight plan. It will give you focus for rucking. http://mtntactical.com/shop/4-week-ruck-improvement-program/, or you can save some money and focus on increasing mileage, but ruck running the whole time at 45#. Start at 4 miles, 2x/week and increase .5 miles each week. At the end you’ll ruck run 7 miles.Question

I have used the Alpine Training Program and have also purchased the Peak Bagger Plan.  I have found that as I get older (mid 50s), I need more time for rest & recovery.  I am trying to develop an 8-10 week program using a combination of the two, while incorporating mountain/road biking and whitewater kayaking.  My thoughts are to use loaded step ups 2/week, (one day for grinding out increasing numbers and one day of interval type step ups),  1-2 days of strength training, and use the biking for additional aerobic work.  Due to knee issues, running is not possible.  Kayaking would be used mainly as a recovery activity.  I find most of the time, I need 2 days a week to recover, more or less, depending on the work.  Work is to keep me in condition for summer/fall alpine climbing, as well as biking and kayaking.  Thoughts?


Generally, my focus for the year is:

April – July/August – climbing, mountain biking, kayaking

August – November – mountain bike/kayak

December – March – Ice Climb/Ski


I’d rather have you use the climbing-specific training (climbing gym) in the Alpine Rock Climbing Training Program (http://mtntactical.com/shop/alpine-rock-climb-training-program/) at least one time a week. Use the leg blaster sessions in the Peak Bagger Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/peak-bagger-training-plan/) one time/week, and do step ups 1x time/week.

Biking transfers to uphill hiking fairly well.



I recently learned of SSD from a fellow soldier. Today I ordered the SSD for Crossfitters and have a quick question.

I don’t have a bench for bench presses. What would be the best substitute, shoulder press or floor press?



Floor press. http://mtntactical.com/exercises/mnt106-kettlebell-floor-press/

5x Bench Press = 5x Kettlebell Floor Press – which = 5x reps each arm.



My military instructor suggested your site so I thought I’d check it out.  I’m currently in the military and am preparing for Officer Training School.  Not gonna lie…I have not been working out.  In fact, I gained 15 lbs in the past 3 months and I say it’s primarily due to my diet.  I’m looking into changing my diet, but I do want to increase the speed of my run and get stronger (push-ups and sit-ups).  When I take my fitness test (Air Force), I do well — I can max out my sit-ups, mediocre on push-ups, and average on my run (not the best).  Do you think the AF Fitness Test program that you offer will be good for me?  My current 1.5-mile run time is 13 minues.  I only do the max on my sit-ups which is 45 (would like to do 54, but I’m pretty rusty I think) and about 30 on my push-ups.  The form on my push-ups is not very good.  I would say I probably would not be able to attain the minimum push-up score if they really want to be strict with our push-ups.  What do you think will work for me?  Do I really need a gym for the AF PT program?



Yes – begin with the USAF PFT Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/us-air-force-pft-training-program/.

This plan is focused on the PFT events – push ups, sit ups, run, but also includes some basic strength work, so it requires a gym with barbells, plates, etc.

Eighty percent of body fat is diet related. Clean up your diet and you shed fat. Here are our nutritional guidelines:

Here’s our Nutritional Guidelines:

6 Days a Week: Eat lean meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and drink water. Don’t eat carbs (bread, spuds, rice) or sugar.

1 Day a Week: Cheat like a mother! Beer, pizza, ice cream – you name it! We’ve found you can’t eat clean over the long term without cheating. We’ve also found the longer you stick to this diet, the less you’ll “cheat” on your cheat days, and the more cheating will hurt you – i.e. stomach ache, gas, etc.



I’m looking for some guidance on what plans/membership options I should look at, essentially where should I take my fitness in the next ~9 months.  Here are the factors I’m taking into consideration:

Future: I’m looking at Fall 2016 for SFOD selection.  I’ve looked at the details on your page and I know it says 9.5 months from selection is the time to start.  I also know that I will probably get burned out or injured if I start now.

Current: I have some time to shape my own fitness plans, at least more than I have in past jobs.  I’m not in a tactical job at the moment so it’s less important for me to ruck/operate now if I can make gains that will pay off in future training for selection.  I’ve also been working through some knee problems that have required a lot of rest.  I’m coming back from them, but trying to be a lot more careful this time.  I guess the wear is finally turning into some tear and I’m realizing I can’t just beat up my body forever (but a few more years are ok….I still have goals).

Past: (Only for the point of painting a picture of experience levels in training). I’ve done mostly endurance stuff and it’s also my natural strength.  I have never been super strong, but more than enough to get by.  I’ve completed some ultra marathons and longer bike races along with some core Army gates: RASP, Ranger, life in the 75th, multiple deployments to Afghanistan.

Hopefully you can weigh in on where I should consider going with my training through the early parts of this winter.

Thanks for your help and all the great stuff you’ve put on the site.



Durability is key for you right now – to keep you in the operational game and also get you through selection next fall.

I’m somewhat of a contrarian when it comes to durability. I strongly believe durability begins with strength. Here is my durability equation:

Durability = 80% Strength + 10% Mobility + 10% Stabilizer Strength (hips/shoulders)

In terms of strength, I don’t want to turn you into a power lifter. You need to still be able to move. Our focus is on relative strength, or strength per bodyweight.

Given where you are in your career, and your natural endurance talent, I’d kick you off with a solid, strength plan with a strong combat chassis focus – specifically Big 24 (http://mtntactical.com/shop/big-24-strength-training-program-v3/).

Then follow it up with a hybrid plan which includes strength work, as well as running/rucking – I’d recommend Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/



I am planning on attending a Special Forces Readiness Evaluation with one of

the National Guard Special Forces Groups in late September. It is

essentially a 3-day “mini-selection” intended to determine whether or not

you are fit to train with the group and ultimately attend SFAS. I will be in

the field for 3 weeks in August, which will cause a disruption in training

for this at a rather inopportune time. Anyway, I just wanted to see what you

think about my training plan from here to September.

Currently, I am following the busy operator plan combined with the ruck

improvement. I have mixed up the sessions in the busy operator to keep the

focus on strength throughout b/c I had taken some time off strength training

prior to starting and because the ruck improvement program should keep my

endurance and work capacity up. I will finish this on 22 May.

From there, I will have 11 weeks of training time, 3 weeks in the field for

AT, and then another 3 weeks training time before the evaluation. What do

you recommend during that time?

I’d like to complete the SFAS plan in the 8 weeks leading up to AT, get what

workouts I can in during field time, then do whatever you might recommend

during the 3 weeks prior to the evaluation.

Any input you have is appreciated.

Additionally, I have an older version of the SFAS program (2010) that was

given to me by an old squad leader. How much has the program changed since

then? Would it be worth purchasing the newer version?



Yes, complete the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan the 8 weeks prior to AT.

After AT, repeat the last three weeks of the plan prior to your selection.

We update our plans periodically as our programming evolves/improves and we learn more. But you don’t need to purchase the latest version. Several have used the version you have successfully for SFAS.



I’m experiencing some soreness deep in the shoulder socket after doing my sets of push presses, any suggestions. Any exercises that I can perform to shore up my shoulders to make them more injury proof?



Can’t help you with your shoulder diagnosis.

In terms of durability, I really like the Shoulder Blaster: http://mtntactical.com/exercises/shoulder-blaster/

Do 2-3x at the end of each session with a minute or so rest between.



I just got done with the Hypertrophy program for skinny guys and put on about 15 lbs.  I really like the programing.  I am set to start the Rat 6 in a couple weeks and wanted to know your recommendation for running while on the plan?  I want to still maintain my speed on the 1.5-3 mile runs.  How much do you recommend to run while on the Rat 6?  Thanks for the help.


We often have guys complete our Running Improvement plan while doing Rat 6. The running plan works up to 8 miles, and includes a couple assessments and intervals. We recommend guys lift before running.

Plan links:

Rat 6: http://mtntactical.com/shop/rat-6-strength/

Running Improvement Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/run-improvement-plan/




I’m looking at tackling the Army’s Mountain Warfare Course and in preparation are looking to follow your Afghan Prep with its emphasis on legs and lungs.  Am I on the right track or way off?  Please advise.

Thank you for keeping the tip of the spear sharp!


The Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training Plan is perfect for your course: http://mtntactical.com/shop/afghanistan-pre-deployment-training-plan/


I’m a 25 year old ex-competitive athlete (Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics). My physical therapist recommended your site to me and I’ve done a few of the programs and am loving it! I have a few questions.

Im doing the hypertrophy program (for skinny guys) — a few years ago I did 5/3/1 the powerlifting program and had great strength and size gains, so wanted to try this one out (my PT doesn’t want me programming myself because I tend to over do it). Are there any specific changes you would make for women doing the program? I’m coming off a year of shoulder injuries so I usually scale back the upper body stuff (ie do assisted pullups and dips etc) but in terms of programming in general, is there anything you’d change for women? Especially because I’m a week in and can hardly move because I’m so sore!

And also — do I still need to eat as much as you recommend for the program? I tend to gain muscle pretty easily but I’m one week in and am SORE beyond all measure.

After this program im going to be in school full time over the summer. I was wondering what program you’d recommend to maintain strength/maybe progress a little, but perhaps have more work capacity? I have a park by my apartment and I love getting outside and doing the work capacity stuff there since its been nice out (I use textbooks for weights if I have to — sad I know!) and I think shorter intense workouts with maybe 1-2 gym days a week is gonna work better for my schedule (nursing school + part time job = little free time). But I wasn’t sure which route to take after. I did big 24 before this one and loved it so was considering doing that again, but would be open for other suggestions!

Anyways, love the various programs, and I look forward to hearing from you!


No changes for women, however, it’s okay to take a extra day’s rest between sessions if needed. The Hypertrophy Plan is no joke (http://mtntactical.com/shop/hypertrophy-program-for-skinny-guys/).

Eating? – This is up to you. Most doing the plan are looking for mass gain.

I’d recommend Valor next: http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/, with one modification. Use 25# for your ruck weight.




I was going through the shop and I’m not sure which one of the training plans to get. I’m training for the Army ROTC Ranger School Prep Team. They’re pretty selective and the training models Ranger School; it’s 7 weeks with assessments at the end. Their run standards are a little harder than Ranger School and they’re all studs at the Army PFT. The assessment entails of smoke sessions every morning with rucking, lots of running and lots of body weight smoke sessions, including Animal PT (Bear crawls, crab walks for ungodly distances). I wasn’t sure which plan to get because I’m not only looking to try out for this, but to also develop a good overall fitness/endurance – I’m max’ing my army PFT, except for the run which I’m getting a 13:40 2 mile run. With all this, I wanted to know what you’d recommend? Also, I have a lot of time (~9 months) to train.

I was looking at the Ranger School, RASP, SFOD (D), Run Plan and Rucking Selection based program plans. Please let me know what you think.


I’d recommend the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-program/

Good luck! It would be awesome to have Ranger out of the way when you get commissioned.




My question is about shoes and your workouts. I’ve recently started getting into more Oly lifts and was considering buying weightlifting shoes-usually I just wear minimalist shoes but I was wondering what you shoes you use or recommend for your workouts? I’m wondering because I still follow your programming and wondering if buying weightlifting shoes are a worthwhile investment. Thanks in advance!



Absolutely weightlifting shoes are worth the money. We love ours.

I personally wear the cheaper Adidas Powerlift 2.0s and bought ’em at rogue fitness: http://www.roguefitness.com/shoes/weightlifting-shoes?icid=carousel




Thank you for taking the time in putting outstanding material for the tactical athlete, SSD is the next level in strength and conditioning. Recently read the le-athlete article about short in time strength workout, great template for program design. I have some questions. First, how useful is the Leg Blaster For leathlete? Second,Can it be done as the primary leg exercise? And third, how a short on time work capacity session would look like? I was thinking along the lines of 300m shuttle sprints. Any input would be of great use.


Leg Blasters (http://mtntactical.com/exercises/mnt110-leg-blaster/) – are a great leg strength exercise, super transferable for LE guys, especially those with little time/equipment to train. Start with leg blasters, then progress to a pair of 25# dumbbells and do the Quadzilla Complex (http://mtntactical.com/exercises/mnt2705-quadzilla-complex/).

Work Capacity – 10 minutes minimum, either one 10 minute hit (like 4x 300m shuttles every 2:30) or two 5 minute efforts, with a short break in between. In a 45 minute session, you can get in a warm up, up to 20 minute work cap event, and core work to finish.




Seeking some advice from you and your crew regarding improvement on weighted pull ups.  This is part of my SWAT PFT with a 25 lb vest.

I am older (44) and typically squeak out 20 P/U for my USMC PFT.  This has translated to 8-12 weighted pull ups for me.

I realize the only way to get good at weighted pull ups is to do weighted pull ups, but was wondering if you have a weight scheme I should follow.  Would you recommend any advice on frequency training for weighted and non weighted pull ups to avoid over training; implementing non weighted pull ups or any other secondary (grip/back) related exercises which would contribute to improvement.

Also interested in any running advice to improve the 800M run (for the USMC CFT and for SWAT tactical obstacle course).  I am at about a 3:15 with sneakers.  I am about 5-6 weeks out.

Appreciate you website and programs.  Completed Body weight I & II and enjoyed the break off of weights.




You can follow the pull up progression in the USMC PFT Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/usmc-pft-plan/) – but just do the assessment with your 25# vest. We’ve done this before to good success.

800m – We haven’t designed and tested a 800m focused training plan, so I don’t have anything specific for you. The USMC Plan also includes 60m, 400m and 800m repeats based on your 3 mile time. It would be a place to start.

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