Q&As 6/04/2015

2014-07-23 10.02.32

Questions include the Difference Between Fortitude and Valor, Rucking in Hot Climates,The Difference Between DEVGRU, SFOD-D, and CCT/PJ/CRO Training Packets, Best Plan to Begin Ruck Training, Bodyweight Training, Preparing for the Grand Traverse and more…


I’ve been following your website for a while, I’ve done the Pre-Afghan program  prior  to my last two tours of Afghanistan.  The second tour I went down with the flu a couple of weeks out from deploying and due to the tempo and acclimatising I  finished the remaining three weeks of the program over the first 6 weeks of the deployment.
The final three weeks  I dropped a bit of weight as a result but that was pretty standard given the heat and change of diet from the previous times I’d been over there.

I thought I’d throw you an email with what I found/modified in no particular order.

I was the team gunner on the last tour, full combat load came in at 43-45 kg including  the gun, a 7.62 Mk48 that came in at just over 11kg with a 200 rd belt on it.

Once I was on deck I completed the final three weeks worth of sessions in full combat load, step ups with the gun slung around my front which was a bastard at times, (all of the time) the shuttles, the rucks, SBGUs and the Leg Blasters (without gun). The additional load made things a bit slower but given the conditions, I figured I’d just put up with the queer looks from the guys pumping the standard weights in the gym whilst I was doing step ups in a corner with full kit on…

The  lower body work of Big 24 really complemented what had already been built on with the leg blasters and step ups.

I maintained the SBGU from the afghan program  as my standard warm up for the Big 24 sessions along with the barbell complex.
but mate once we were out on the deck, the conditioning and the leg work from the Pre-Afghan program paid for it’s self.

I think the most satisfying moment was over taking my 2nd-in- command wearing half the load  heading up to an OP on a gradient that was more like a sand dune. The legs didn’t feel like my own, It was like two fucking pistons going nuts and it felt fucking good.

The big 24 was a bit of a relief after the Afghan program not having to strap everything on to train and doing the SBGUs without the rig on I felt like a feather and hammered through them. I know you guys are all over your cycles but it was a bit of an education  of my own body in  recognising how the conditioning work from the Pre-Afghan program complemented the strength work of Big 24. I Whilst on Big 24 I maintained the strength endurance piece by ten rounds of ‘snakebite’, the basic upper body work that any one and everyone does at our unit. In its simplest form 5 x dead hang pull ups, 10 x dips, 15 x pushups. All sort of variations fall out of it but I was going for back to back sets before I needed the rest than gradually bringing the rest down to 1 minute from two. toward the end of the tour I was hitting 7 back to backs of the above and the minute rest. They’re wasn’t so much a split over a week due to ops, it was just pick up where you left off once you were back in camp.

So in closing, the two programs back to back complemented really well, and I’ve sort of fallen in love with Sand Bag Get Ups!


I’ve been following the ruck-based selection packet. The bodyweight and run program have already created amazing results.

I am now starting on the RAT 6 + ruck program and it’s clear that I need to work on my strength!

A few technical issues/questions…

I can’t squat clean at all. I don’t see the real value in working on my wrist and shoulder mobility and technique. Is there something else I could do or is it acceptable to cut it out?

I follow intermittent fasting and logistically can only manage to work out once per day. Can I alternate the RAT 6 / ruck program days effectively and just drag the program out longer?

I’ve looked through older Q&A’s and couldn’t find an ideal weight for someone who’s 6ft1″, what would you have in mind?


Squat Clean? Substitute the Back Squat and do the Hinge lift for the 3rd exercise that day.

Alternate Rat 6/Ruck Days? Yes.

6’1″ Bodyweight? – 190-200 pounds.


Do you have a sample session available for the in-season strength plan for endurance athletes? Just trying to see what time of time commitment each session will take.


Sessions 1-3 Below. Sessions are designed to last 60 minutes and require a fully equipped weight room.

– Rob


Warm Up:

15x Turkish Getups – 30x total (M-20#, W-10#)


(1) 6 Rounds

3x Walking Lunges holding Dumbbells – increase load each round until 3x is hard, but doable, then immediately …

1x Jumping Lunge each leg (be explosive!)

Instep Plus Stretch

(2) 6 Rounds

5x Bench Press – increase load rapidly each round until 5x is hard, but doable

3/5x Chinups (palms facing you – women do 3x reps)

Hip Flexor + Pigeon Stretch

(3) 4 Rounds

10x Weighted Situps @ 25#

60 Sec Front Bridge

5x Standing Russian Twist (M-barbell + 15#, W-empty barbell)

10x Slasher (M-16kg, W-12kg)

(4) 3 Rounds

3x Shoulder Sweep Complex

15x Hamstring Hell



Warm Up:

4 Rounds

10x Air Squats

5/10x Push ups (lower number for women)

10x Situps

Instep Plus Stretch


(1) 9 Rounds

2x Back Squat – increase load rapidly until 2x is hard, but doable, then immediately …

2x Broad Jump

5x Y+L, unloaded

(2) 6 Rounds

5x Kettelbell Floor Press – increase load rapidly until 5x is hard, but doable

3/5x Pull up (Palms away – lower number for women)

3/3/3 Toe Touch Complex

(3) 4 Rounds

20/20 Standing Founder

20/20 Low Back Lunge

20/20 Kneeling Founder

10x Face Down Back Ext

(4) 2 Rounds

30 Second Jane Fonda

5x Nordic Hamstring



Warm Up:

4 Rounds

Dumbbell Complex (M-20# Dumbbells, W-10# Dumbbells)

Instep Plus Stretch


(1) 6 Rounds

3x Front Squat – increase load rapidly until 3x is hard, but doable, then immediately

1x Box Jump at 20-30 Inches

Lat + Pec Stretch

(2) 6 Rounds

4x Scotty Bob (M-25#, W-15#)

5x Horizontal Pull ups

3x Squat to Stand

(3) 4 Rounds

5x Kneeling Plate Halfmoon (M-25#, W-15#)

10x GHD Back Extensions (face down back extensions if no GHD)

10x Kneeling Keg Lift (M-16kg, W-12kg)

15x Poor Man’s Reverse Hyper

(4) 3 Rounds

30x Shoulder Hand Job @ 2.5#

10x Kettlbell/Dumbbell Hinge Lift (M-20#, W-15#)


I hope this e-mail finds you well. I really enjoy SSD’s training programs. I am currently doing the Goruck Heavy Training Program, and have noticed immediate gains.

I write today regarding the Valor and Fortitude Training Porgrams. Specifically, could you please explain to me the difference between the two.


Fortitude: http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/

– Longer, moderate paced ruck runs and running

– Gym work is heavy, low volume, heavy strength work

Valor: http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/

– High intensity, short, running and rucking intervals based on assessments

– Some gym-based strength work, but mostly multi-modal gym based work capacity efforts

If you have a choice, I’d recommend Fortitude, followed by Valor. We used Fortitude to lay the base (esp. running and ruck running) for Valor.


Long story short: I just got selected at MARSOC A&S and I will be attending ITC in early August. I am definitely interested in one of your training plans, but due to the somewhat condensed timeline I’m not sure which to go with.

I’m about 6’2″, 230. Avid crossfitter, Extremely strong at ruck’s, run about a 295 marine corps PFT, but I’m most worried about swimming. I’m not bad – just very average.

Would you recommend one of the SEAL/DEVGRU plans, or something different? Thanks.


Congrats on A&S!

ITC …. I’d recommend the MARSOC A&S Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/marsoc-as-training-plan/) but skip the Saturday mini-events.

This plan will cover you for the PFT, O-Course, Rucking, Running and swimming at ITC.


Hello from Canada, I am actually a Mountie going for a specialized section…..I am required to be able to do the following minimums:

1.5 miles under 10:30 min/sec

40 continuous push-ups

40 sit-up in under a min

10 dead hang pull-ups

Bench press body weight

Run 3 miles under 24 min

Run 10 km under 50 min

Looking at your programs SSD looks right for me…..I have 46 weeks until course starts. This course is very physical, no rucks but long days under weight (soft & hard body armour, helmet etc) would you recommend the SSD or LE or Military athlete?


I’d recommend starting now with the DEA FAST Selection Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/dea-fast-selection-training-plan/). It includes an assessment and progressions for push ups, sit ups, pull ups, 2-mile run (you could boost to 3 mile), 6 mile run, as well as multi-modal work capacity efforts and long weekend mini-events which will prepare you for the long days at selection.

The DEA FAST selection seems very close to the selection you’re facing in 10 months or so and doing this 9-week plan now will give you a great assessment of where you are now, and will help get your head right for the selection.

Following the DEA FAST Plan I’d recommend you subscribe to the website and follow the LE Officer Training Sessions until 9-weeks out from your selection start date.

Then I recommend you cancel your subscription (you can cx at any time) and re-do the DEA FAST Selection Training Plan directly before selection.

You’ll need to make a few modifications to the FAST plan to coincide with your selection:

– Instead of rucking with 45 pounds, do the prescribed assessments and intervals in Kit, with your rifle but without helmet.

– Skip the swimming assessment and all the pool work.

If you’re facing a national selection, pls send more details and perhaps we can design a selection-specific training plan just for it.


As a dedicated follower of your programming for a long time and someone who appreciates the wealth of knowledge you and your team bring to the table, I wanted to ask your advice on a task asked of me.  I was recently asked by my command to develop a 15 week workout program for the Fitness Enhancement Program due to the extreme number of PRT failures for this cycle in the Navy.  Often I find that it is much more BCA failures than actual PRT test failures, so weight loss is the major goal of the programming.  As a CFL at my command and someone who has always made fitness a priority with an extensive background(Division 1 hockey/Crossfit/BUD/S dud), I find it difficult to develop a program at times for those with lack of motivation and less than desirable nutritional values, especially when Body Composition is the major culprit in the failures.  Our command only requires those on FEP to attend 3 x 1 hour long sessions a week, but offers 5 sessions a week(M-F).  I would love to hear your thoughts on how you would structure a program (ie: exercises/format/cycles) for a 15 week program with sailors with very limited knowledge of a weightroom and limited equipment.  Thank you very much for your time.  I really appreciate all you do for the fitness world.


Weight loss is hard because you can’t control what your athletes eat and it’s hard to outwork a shitty diet.

I’m in the process of designing a “Bodyweight Foundations” training program, which is assessment based – so it will scale to your individual athletes – and includes progressive distance running work and sprints for work capacity. It would work well for your athletes. I’d hoped to get that plan done this week, but ….. just have too much going on.

So what I’d recommend now is the US Navy PST Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/us-navy-pst-training-plan/) – which is also assessment based, and includes running intervals based on an assessment. This means it automatically scales to the incoming fitness of the athlete. The plan also includes swimming – which you could skip if you don’t have access to a pool.

Nutrition … our nutritional guidelines are pretty solid, and people who cut carbs regularly lose 5-15 pounds fairly rapidly. The nice thing about our guidelines is there are not caloric restrictions – so your athletes don’t need to walk around hungry – and it includes a cheat day. More here: http://mtntactical.com/inside-strong-swift-durable/frequently-asked-questions/#nutrition


I’m curious to learn about your bodyweight programs. I’ve been using Fitstar app for 4 months and enjoy it. I’m 45 y.o.old and my goal is to be in good, all around shape.  Which bodyweight program do you recommend? BW Training I, BW Training II, or BW Training Program?


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


I’m planning an attempt to do the Grand Traverse in the Tetons in late August, taking 3 days. I used the Peak Bagger program successfully in the past for climbing the Grand. Do you suggest that again or would the Big Mountain program be better given the extended duration and bigger overall vertical gain?


No – stick with the Peak Bagger Training Plan: http://mtntactical.com/shop/peak-bagger-training-plan/

This is a great prescription for splitting up the traverse over 3 days.

A few years ago one of my guides drug me up the Cathedral Traverse in a day – which was a great experience – but in hindsight we were pushing the whole time, and didn’t get a chance to relax, and absorb the majesty of the place. I’m nearly 47 now, and until the last couple of years, if I was in the mountains, I was going fast.

But now I like taking my time, and not pushing so much.


I’ve been following Mountain Athlete from a distance for a while now, and I’m really stoked about all the work you’re doing to push training knowledge for mountain sports.

I’m a reasonably strong rock climber (5.11 sport/5.10 trad onsight) with alpine goals.  The long term goal is Denali via the Cassin (2-3 years away), and the short term is a trip to Chamonix in August, looking at some big classics (Jorasses Traverse and possibly Walker Spur).  I also love to run.

My main weaknesses are lower body strength and general fatigue resistance, and I’m debating between something like your Big Mountain plan, or one of the SSD plans.  I would want to keep some supplemental fingerboard work (self-programmed) in the mix, as well as at least maintain my running volume (minimum of 9 miles/day 4x days/week, with a pack, as my commutes to and from work).  Weekend cragging would be nice too, but I’ll be focused on long routes for the summer, not new difficulty.

  1. which plan would you recommend?

  1. am I nuts for wanting to do supplemental work?


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

This plan is “Mountain Chassis” intensive – legs/lungs/core, as well, it will bring some focus and direction to your climbing training – which will push your ability there also.

You’re running may interfere at first – take extra days off if necessary for recovery – but you should be able to do both.


I’m working through your SFAS Ruck Based Selection training making fantastic gains in times strength and overall mental fitness and bone/joint strength. It’s kicking my tail and I’m exhausted but it’s definitely worth it. Unfortunately I’ve moved from a very mild climate but very hilly terrain (60-80 degreesand high humidity) to a very hot climate more on the coast (constantly upper 80s and 90s) It’s a much flatter course for rucking and running but the heat and dehydration have taken their toll. My times are significantly slower and it takes so much more out of me. I’ve tried to stay hydrated drinking at least 2 quarts of water a day but I can’t keep up. Are there any ways to acclimate to heat or do I just need to continue shoving down the water?


You should eventually acclimate. I had a similar experience and it took me a couple weeks – kind of like altitude.

One thing you can do is use electrolytes in your running/rucking water or drink gatorade or something similar. Adding to the water will give you calories and replace the salt your losing through sweat, and ward off sweat.


I’m asking about the running improvement plan and its schedule formatting specifically.

Up until about a month ago, I’ve been able to do two a days (I.e. KB program in the morning and running improvement in the afternoon).  Two things have affected this since then, work/family time, and effectiveness of the workouts as I’ve been slacking or rushing through them because of the first reason.

Question: If I decided to give full effort and focus to one workout a day, but still wanted to maintain that balance I was getting with my running while working strength and/or work cap, would it still be effective to alternate the plans every other day?  (Example: Monday, Wednesday, Friday I do the KB sessions and Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I do the run improve sessions.) I’d continue to do them in order as prescribed, but I’m also wondering if this will mess with the gains and/or effectiveness of each individual plans as they are formatted?

*note: running isn’t my strength and I’m required to pass APFT twice a year, no issues passing, but I need that running focus to keep me from falling off too much.


Alternating session days is fine. It seems you have no choice anyway!

Don’t over think this.

In general – we don’t get more fit by training. We get more fit by resting and recovering after training so our body can build and catch up.

You should be good.


I just booked a cancellation hunt in British Columbia for later in August. This gives me about 12 weeks to train – I’m planning on doing your ‘Pre-Deployment’ program again in a  back-to-back timeframe.

This hunt involves horseback riding… and LOTS of it… now I don’t really have too much experiences with horses, but I want to make sure I can do everything possible to adequately prepare myself. Do you have any suggestions on exercises, stretches, etc that might help in this department???


Horseback? Only thing I can offer is what I learned working on my uncle’s ranch in Kemmerer, WY back when I was 12-13 years old …. we wouldn’t ride for “fun” – the only time we’d go out was fall round up, or to chase down missing cattle. This meant 8-12 hours on the horse, minimum, like 2-3x/summer. No gentle “onramp”…. This routine was terrible for everyone – including the horses who were lazy in the pasture 99 percent of the time, then had to go work all day. Worse was when we’d get the job done and turn back for home. Friggin’ horses would trot the whole way. Trotting is the worse!!! Beats you completely to death.

My hips were fine but the older guys would be stiff. I’d add in the Frog Stretch to your daily routine. Not sure what you can do about chaffing on the inside of your legs and ass …. I’d definitely take along some baby powder. Getting your stirrups adjusted right so you can stand in rhythm with the horse – esp. if there’s any trotting, This will save you big time. This involves a little calf work – but you should be fine there.

Finally, ensure every time you ride you lock your back out in full extension mode – like you’re doing a hinge lift or low back complex. Slouch and you’ll be crippled for a couple days via low back soreness. I only did this once …

Wish I could offer more. I pretty much avoid horses now due to the scarring during my youth.


How would I work the Gorilla Complex into a body weight plan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ5dJ0x_58E


Work at the end of the session on Monday and Thursday.


I was wondering if you and your company had any programs geared toward joining the French foreign legion and their specific fitness regime. Any response would be good, your all’s programs have done me wonders in the past and was simply wondering.


I couldn’t find much information on the Foreign Legion’s basic training. From what I did find, I’d recommend the Army OCS Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/army-ocs-training-plan/) as likely the most appropriate way to prepare.


I have a question regarding 2 second cadence push ups.

I am required to do as many as possible for the Australian Special Forces Entry Test for Commandos. SASR are required to do the same.

What is a good training regime to pump out as many as I can on assessment day which is in late August this year.


I don’t have the perfect plan for this, but one which is close is the USMC OCS Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/marine-corps-ocs-training-plan/).

You’ll want to do all the rucking in the plan with a 28kg ruck. As well, do all the running in the plan with your 8kg ruck, and a 8 or 10 pound sledge hammer to simulate the rifle.

The plan does include push ups and pull ups (heaves). For your purposes, during the assessments and follow-on progressions, use the same cadence you’ll face during the test. Cadence is much harder.


I love the programming and have recently returned to using Mountain Athlete after some time following other programming. I am a firefighter/paramedic. Currently, I am using Military athlete due to the strength and endurance focus that I feel transfers over to the job well. My question today is, if you are currently working toward a programming model for Fire/Rescue athlete? We also as some others that noted in some of the Fire/Rescue articles have a wellness and fitness assessment to not only maintain fitness standards, but keep a check on heart disease and other potential physical threats to our line firefighters. Thank you again for the programming and any info you can send along regarding the Fire/Rescue athlete.


We are working toward a programming model for Fire/Rescue athletes. Issues I’m working through now are scheduling training around typical work schedules, deciding on whether it’s worth it to schedule training during non-work days, and identifying the general focus of the programming.

One of the things I’ve learned is guys like you do lots of paramedicing … compared to fire fighting and rescue. My initial programming thoughts include bomber core and upper body strength, strong legs, and shorter work capacity and endurance (sprints, 3-mile run, etc.) It’s interesting you’re finding transfer from the endurance work in the Operator Session to your job. I wouldn’t have predicted that.

I hope to create 4-6, 8-12 week Blocks of training and get them up on the website this summer for guys to work through.


Is there any significant differences between the DEVGRU, SFOD-D, and CCT/PJ/CRO Training Packets?


Absolutely. These plans are built specifically to the fitness demands of the individual events. So they differ in emphasis and execution as much as the individual selections. SFOD-D (http://mtntactical.com/shop/sfod-d-delta-selection-course-training-plan/) is running and rucking intensive, with no swimming.

The USAF CCT/PJ/CRO Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/usaf-cctpjcro-selection-training-plan/) emphasizes PAST improvement, includes running and rucking and bodyweight “smokers,” and extensive swimming, water treading, etc.

DEVGRU (http://mtntactical.com/shop/devgru-selection-training-plan/) emphasizes specific preparation for the NSWDG Screening Test and the Legacy Test, mini events, and a little swimming.


I’m enlisting in the Army to be a 75th Ranger Infantryman. What would be the best “beginner to over prepared” training progression that I can put together from your programs that is the cheapest option while maintaining the highest quality? I was thinking of just buying the 9.5 month SFOD-D Training Packet because I ship in June of 2016 so I have plenty of time. What’s your advice on this?


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


I recently completed an Ironman on May 16th. In training for it, i lost about 10 pounds. I wasn’t heavy even before the weight loss. This October is the pre-BUDs screening test for officer candidates. I am going to purchase the BUDs v2 plan and follow that 8 weeks prior. However, I was wondering what would be the best way to put on strength and get comfortable under a ruck for the three months that I have before I start the BUDs program. Thank you.


When you begin eating, and cut back your endurance, my sense is your weight will return.

What I’d recommend is you begin with Fortitude (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/). This plan brings together rucking, running and heavy strength training – a great place to start both strength training and rucking.


I am currently training to apply for a usmc ocs ground contract. The pft score I submit is a huge factor.  I just found your programs, specifically the 6-week usmc pft program. The program seems to be exactly what I need, I only wish I had found it earlier. I submit in mid July so I will have time to finish one cycle of the program.

 My question to you- supposing I do not get picked up on the July board, the next board is November. My only weakness as far as a perfect pft score is the run. I can do 30 pull-ups and over the 100 sit ups easily. The only issue I’m having is getting the 3 mile run below 20 minutes. I think part of this is that I have always been weak/inconsistent with lifting legs. If I don’t get picked up would you recommend doing one of your strength programs with more running for a month or two before doing the Pft-specific plan or just do that plan over and over until November?


In general, the best way to improve running is to run. Will there be some transfer from leg strength training? – Yes, but not if it interferes with your focused run training.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. See how you do in July, and email back when you find out. Think positive!


first of all I would like to say that the SSD website is amazing. I’ve been keeping an eye on it for a while now and I’d really like to start training like you labrats do. I’ve been doing different stuff in the last couple of years (a bit of lifting, a bit of boxing and yoseikan budo and a bit of CrossFit recently), but I never felt a true sense of accomplishment and concrete improvements in my overall fitness goals. I’m not a professional athlete, neither in the military, and although that’s something I’d love to do but can’t now due to citizenship issues (I’m an Italian guy currently living and working in the United Kingdom), I do recognize the burden of fitness as something critical to every sane person in this world. I like to train and I really want to improve my fitness level, possibly employing the approach and the techniques that you and your team developed at Strong Swift Durable, that’s why I’m sending you this mail:

1) first off: I’d like to gain some mass and strenght while retaining and possibly improving my stamina and endurance levels. I’ve not been training regularly and at my best in the last months, so would you recommend me to purchase and follow the On-ramp plan to get again into proper shape?

2) after the completion of the On-ramp plan, what would be the best thing to do? I’m not shipping for any kind of military training, school or selection (at least for now). Should I subscribe to the Operator Sessions or pick other plans like Hypertrophy, Core Strenght etc.? (I only have access to a commercial gym for now, so no slegdehammer, no sandbags and functional equipment except pull up bars and kettlebells)

Whatever the answer, I look forward to hearing from you. And still kudos for your work.


1) Start with the Military OnRamp Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/on-ramp-training-plan/). This plan will lay a good foundation, and add some structure and focus to your training.

2) Next, do Fortitude (http://mtntactical.com/shop/fortitude/)

After Fortitude, I’d recommend a subscription to the Operator Sessions.


I have a quick question for you. I just found out that I have an APFT in about 12 weeks. I just took a diagnostic test and ran 2 miles in 15:30. I’m looking to cut two minutes off of that so I can max out the run time for my age group.

1.) I just started Fortitude (I love it) should I finish it and then go into the APFT plan; or should I finish Fortitude and go into the Army OCS plan, I have both. Right after the APFT I’m heading into a NCO academy.

I’m curious to see what you would recommend. The OCS plan looks like it has much more aggressive interval paces than the APFT plan.

2.) Do you think asking for two minutes off of my run time is possible in six weeks, or should I stop Fortitude and go into one of those plans for 12 weeks?

3.) I also have Valor which I was planning on doing after Fortitude, would it help if I jumped into that now for the next 5-6 weeks then roll into the APFT or OCS plan? I’m thinking maybe the work capacity in it, as well as the run intervals may be helpful leading into the APFT or OCS plan.

Rob, like everyone else that writes in…I’d like to thank you and your team for everything you do. I’m enjoying the new website and the deep dive you guys are doing. The app that’s on iTunes is sweet by the way. I knew it was your work right away.


1). Quit Fortitude and go to the Army OCS Plan – it has specific APFT work for your run.

2) See above …. I’m not sure if six weeks is enough, so don’t risk it.

3) See above.


Bought one of your sandbags off the website from military athlete. I just wanted to know when putting material inside, whether mulch or wood stove pellets, should I use a liner bag first or is it alright to put the material straight in?


We put wood pellets straight in  …. and they get dusty after a while and we have to replace them. If you use rubber mulch – you may not have that issue.


I am currently using your SOFD-D training packet, I am finishing up the RAT 6 strength program right now and I had a few questions. I had a back and shoulder injury before I started this and I am training to go back to work as a private security contractor so my 1 RM numbers or cardio are not where they were before my injury.

       I was wondering about the percentage that you are using in this plan, as my numbers get higher I am finding it harder and harder to hit the rx reps. I also had to switch the plan a little from 2 days heavy sqts and presses and then an easy day to a 1 day hard and 1 day easy. So mon wed and fri are lifting days and tues and thurs are easy days.  This helped my recovery 100% and made it a little easier to hit the reps. Is this OK or was there a very specific reason why it is 2 days hard 1 day easy? Should I just have decreased my % of my 1RM?

        I also hear you talk about what weight you like to see people at, I am 6’2” 36yrs old  and 258lbs I know I need to lose about 30 lbs to be under my authorized 15% bf for my job but should I be lighter? I was not able to train for almost a year because of my surgery but when I did come back I used your low back program and while I had to adjust it a little because of my shoulder it helped me out a lot. I feel like 100% right now with little pain at all. Thank you for these programs and continue to do great things in the future.


Rat 6 – the percentages are listed, so I’m not following that question. The reps are hard – and actually the more training age you have (longer you’ve been training) the harder the prescribed reps are to get. Try to keep the percentages and it’s okay to take an extra rest day or do the schedule as you propose.

Height/Weight – at 6’2″, I’d like to see you around 215. That’s close to 45 pounds. Imagine how much better you’ll move!!


I’ve been doing some research on the SSD site and wanted to ask a couple questions about using your SFAS plan with a slightly inconsistent work/travel schedule.

First off, love the site – great descriptions, great Q&A resources. Thank you!

Two questions:

  1.       My job requires travel in 2-4 days stints about once a month along with 10-12 hour work days once every two weeks that impact sleep/training schedule. This combined with occasional camping/hiking trips/goruck events would prevent following the SFAS packet exactly, what is the best way to accommodate for interruptions in the training schedule? What could I do if I have time to train but no gym access or no weight/ruck equipment on a business trip?
  2.       I have 7 months until enlistment, and the SFAS packet is for 9 months of training. Is it possible to adjust the packet plan for a 7 month timeline, with enough flexibility for the random business trip thrown in every few weeks?

Note: that’s 7-8 months until Basic/OSUT, so selection wouldn’t be for another 4-6 months after that. I don’t know how much extra training time would be available during training. See below for my background info.

Goal: enlist in the Army as an 18x in January 2016, (SFAS est. around summer 2016). Peak fitness before basic – I feel like I’m about 40% of the way there, need a lot of improvement.


Tall skinny guy with no significant athletic background until 4 years ago lived in high rockies Colorado, did casual amount of hiking, then 2 years ago did first marathon, then got into goruck events, crossfit last year.

Have stayed “casually” in some kind of shape with crossfit, hiking, and goruck events, no specific training plan.

Age 27

H: 6’5

W: 182

Example stats from the past two months in the gym:

2 rep max:

Bench 190

Deadlift 305

Back squat 220

Overhead squat 135

Squat clean 185

APFT score 5/5/15:

PU 44

SU 62

2 mile run 13:43

GORUCK Heavy 2/23/15

12 mi. ruck 40# 2h32m


Elbow/shoulder: When doing military pushups (hands under shoulders), right elbow will start to click. Usually doesn’t do anything but make the noise, however last time I tried doing a “push up contest” with friends doing 300+ reps in one day the clicking eventually started to cause pain.

Knees: Usually OK but steep enough hike with ruck will make them hurt (6,000 ft. downhill for 6 miles w/30# ruck hurt pretty bad last month, I was obviously undertrained for that one. Mt. San Antionio near LA.)

Thanks again, I look forward to hearing back and purchasing the right plan!


1) I can’t provide a specific travel/work accommodation detail for your training for every situation you’ll face. For every plan in the SFAS Packet (http://mtntactical.com/shop/ruck-based-selection-training-packet/) you’ll want to conduct the sessions in order. Each plan individually is progressive, and the plans themselves build upon one another.

My first answer is to be resourceful. Travel – …. aim to find a gym to train at that has the necessary equipment. If that’s just not working, purchase and complete a session from the Stuck in a Motel Training Plan (http://mtntactical.com/shop/stuck-in-a-motel-training-plan/) as a place holder session, then start back where you left off when you return home.

Note – if your serious, 10-12 hour work days are no excuse for not training.

2) Two options, start at the beginning of the packet, then skip ahead to the Ruck-Based Selection Training Plan directly before basic, or …. start ahead in the packet a couple months. Whatever path you chose, complete the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan as your final plan before basic.

Neither of us is sure of your training time/schedule between Basic/OSUT and selection. Which is why I want you do the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan before basic. It will prepare you mentally, if nothing else. Then, if you do get time to train before SFAS, repeat this plan.

Your fitness – At 6’5″ you’re light …. I’d like to see you at like 220/225 pounds. But ….. now isn’t the time to start putting on mass. What you’ll struggle with is the upper body stuff – push ups, etc. Trust the programming and eat, eat, eat. Eat clean, but eat. I’d recommend you supplement your diet with 3x whey protein shakes/day.


Quick background: I came across your operator sessions a while back when I was active duty in the Marine Corps as an 0331. My only wish was that I came across them BEFORE I was done deploying.

I EAS’d and continued going strong and then I just kind of fell off the wagon one day. I’ve been back in the gym, going strong, for the better part of 2 months. I’m doing a 4 day split that consists of pretty much compound exercises and nothing else. I’ve been making gains but there is one major problem…It is boring as can possibly be and I’m not really gaining functional strength, in my opinion.

I’m not training for anything specifically, but I like training like an athlete. I might dabble in some tough mudders when I get in better shape. I love olympic lifting and I love feeling like I got my ass kicked when I leave the gym.

Anyways man, I don’t want to write a book here. What program would you recommend for me? My gym is very well equipped so there shouldn’t be any issues there. I appreciate your time, Rob.


I’d recommend starting our stuff with Valor (http://mtntactical.com/shop/valor/).

Understand it isn’t Oly-lifting dominant, but I think you’ll like the structure, intensity, and variety – plus it will get you outside the gym running and rucking.

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