The four training plans contained within this packet details 29 weeks (approx. 7 months) of training in preparation for your backcountry big game hunting trip. Start the plan exactly 29 weeks before your first day of the hunt.
This is Version 2 of this Packet, updated in December 2019.
Each of the plans in this packet was built from the ground up to progressively prepare you for your Backcountry Big Game Hunting Trip. Specifically, this programming is designed to prepare you physically for the fitness demands of a 7-14 day, self-supported backcountry big game hunting trip in the mountainous terrain of the Rocky Mountain West, Canada, Alaska, New Zealand, etc.
Over the course of the packet, the plans build in volume and intensity, finishing with the intense, high volume, 8-week, 6 day/week including two-a-days in the final plan, the Backcountry Hunting Preseason Training Plan you’ll complete directly before your trip.
BACKCOUNTRY HUNTING FITNESS DEMANDS
1) Mountain Endurance: Legs and Lungs for uphill hiking under load
Mountain endurance is the primary and dominant fitness demand of backcountry big game hunting. Backcountry big game hunters carry their weapon and camp on their back. Some establish spike camps, and day trip from there. Others carry their camp with them at all times and often camp high on mountain ridges. Pack weights range from ultra-light 30 pounds to 60 pounds. Often travel is off trail, and it always includes vertical gain and vertical loss and can involve 4-12 mile days.
The fitness demands of this “Mountain Endurance” involve leg and mid-section strength, and mode-specific aerobic conditioning (lungs). The program builds your uphill hiking under load fitness and stamina using Step Ups, Rucking and, unloaded running, and extended weekend “mini-events” (in the final plan in the packet) which combine all three. You’ll train mountain endurance 3-4 days/week during the programming in this packet.
2) Eccentric Leg Strength for Downhill Hiking Under Load
Hiking downhill under load is significantly more intense on an athlete’s leg musculature than hiking uphill. Downhill movement demands “eccentric” leg strength as gravity tries to force the athlete into the mountain and he/she must absorb this impact with each downhill step. If backcountry hunters have not trained specifically for this fitness demand, early trip downhill hikes can result in extreme leg soreness and negatively impact the trip. The programming in this packet deploys general lower body strength training and focused leg eccentric strength training to prepare your legs for the downhills during your hunt.
3) Load Carriage Strength and Endurance for the Pack Out
The work really begins when the animal is down. Often loads for the pack out can reach beyond 100 pounds and distances extend past 5 miles. The plans in this packet include heavy rucking, which progresses in both distance and load as you work through the programming. The best way to train to carry a heavy packout is to ruck with a heavy pack.
4) Chassis Integrity: Functional Mid-Section Strength and Strength Endurance
Loaded movement, and long, heavy rucks demand functional mid-section strength and strength endurance. On top of the loaded step ups and heavy rucks you’ll complete, this training plan deploys MTI’s Chassis Integrity mid-section strength programming methodology via extended mid-section strength training circuits with target total mid-section strength, rotational strength, anti-rotational strength, and extension/low back strength. No one trains midsection strength like MTI, you’ll you’ll get several doses a week of our Chassis Integrity programming as you work through the plans in this packet.
5) Mountain Stamina: Fitness for long days, and multiple long days over a multi-day trip
Stamina and mental fitness are a key characteristic of successful backcountry hunting trips. This is the physical and mental fitness to not only go long and hard for one day, but to do this multiple days in a row. The final plan in this packet trains Mountain Stamina by causing you to train 6 days/week, multiple 2-a-days, and long weekend “mini-events” extending past 3 hours. This approach and methodology has proven successful with MTI’s sport-specific military selection plans used successfully for special forces selection by soldiers and Marines over the past decade. It’s important to understand Mountain Stamina is not only physical, but mental as well. This training plan is not only designed to build your sport-specific Mountain fitness, but also your mental fitness. You will be pushed.
PLANS AND SCHEDULE
The four plans in this packet were built from the ground up and organized so that each plan builds your backcountry hunting-specific fitness for the next.
This training packet is designed for athletes with a reasonable level of fitness. If you are unfit, overweight or deconditioned, please email email@example.com to discuss options prior to beginning the plans in this packet.
The 4 plans, in the order you’ll complete them are listed below.
1-7 Backcountry Hunting Base
8-14 Backcountry Hunting Build 1
15-21 Backcountry Hunting Build 2
22-29 Backcountry Hunting Preseason Training Plan
The first three plans in the packet, Base, Build 1 and Build 2, are all 7-week, 5 day/week training plans, with week 7 in each being an unload/taper week. The final plan, the Backcountry Hunting Preseason Training Plan is an 8-week, 6 day/week training plan which includes two-a-days and long weekend mini-events.
See the chart below for more plan details:
The price for this packet of plans represents a 20% savings over the combined price of the individual plans.
How do I access the packet?
Access is online, via username and password. You can log in either through our website or through our app (Mtn Tactical Fitness) available for IOS and Android.
Do you get all the training at once?
Yes. With purchase, you can see every plan and every training session.
How many times per week are you training? How long is each session?
For most of the training plans, 5 days/week. Most sessions are 60 minutes long, but some of the endurance sessions and sessions in the final plan can extend for 2-3 hours.
How do I know if I’m fit enough to start this training?
This programming is designed to address the fitness demands of a backcountry big game hunt in the Western US or Alaska …. not the individual hunter. However, the programming is “progressive” in the sense it gets harder as you work through the plans in the packet. Will you be able to do it? We recommend clicking the “Sample Training” tab for the first plan, Bodyweight Foundation, and trying those sessions. If you survive, you’re ready.
What Equipment is Needed?
Two of the plans, Backcountry Hunting Base and the Backcountry Big Game Preseason Training Plan are limited equipment training plans requiring a pull up bar, pair of dumbbells, sandbag, step up bench and backpack and load. Build 1 and 2 require a fully equipped weight room. Click on the individual plan links above, and then the “required equipment” tab for specifics.
What’s the difference between this product, the “Backcountry Big Game Training Packet” and the “Backcountry Hunting Preseason Training Plan”?
The “packet” is a set of 4 training plans, 7 months of training, and concludes with the program. The Plan is just one plan, 8 weeks long, is the final plan in the packet, and designed to be completed the 8 weeks directly before your hunt.
Do I need the packet, or should I just purchase the final program?
It depends upon how fit you are and how well prepared you want to be, and how much time you have before your hunt. In terms of fitness, refer to the chart above and especially the endurance column to see the demands of each individual plan. For more detail you can click the individual plan link, and then the “sample training” tab to see the entire first week of programming for each plan.
I live in the Mid-West, East Coast, South or somewhere else where it’s low elevation and flat as a plate. Will this packet prepare me for mountain travel?
Yes … as best we can… the kicker is elevation. The packet includes focused “mountain endurance” training for uphill movement, eccentric strength training for the downhills, core strength endurance, movement under load, etc. However, there is no magic bullet way to prepare you for the effects of elevation. Best we can do is get you as sport-specifically fit as possible when you arrive. It will take a few days for you to adjust to the thinner air in the mountains.
What if I have more than 29 weeks to prepare for my hunt?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for programming suggestions before beginning the plans in this packet.
What if I have less than 29 weeks to prepare for my hunt?
In general, we recommend all athletes begin with the first plan in the packet, Backcountry Hunting Base, and then skip ahead as your timeline dictates to complete the as much of the packet as possible before your hunt. Regardless of your timeline, however, you want to complete the last plan in the packet, the Backcountry Hunting Preseason Training Plan the 8 weeks directly before your hunt. We’re happy to help with a specific recommendation. Please email email@example.com.
Does purchasing this packet mean I’m guaranteed to get my elk?
If it were only that easy. But, if you purchase this packet, complete the programming as prescribed, go on your hunt, and find you were not physically prepared, we’ll refund you, no questions asked.
In what order should I complete the plans?
Complete the plans in the order below
- Backcountry Hunting Base
- Backcountry Hunting Build 1
- Backcountry Hunting Build 2
- Backcountry Hunting Preseason Training Plan
Can I see sample training?
Yes – click on each individual training plan above, then click the “Sample Training” tab at the plan product page to see sample training.
Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE. The Run/Ruck Calculator is listed as an exercise.
What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.
Can I print out sessions to take to the gym?
Yes – you can print a week of programming at a time.
More questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Before beginning any exercise program, consult with your physician to ensure that you are in proper health. Physical training contains inherent risks including, but not limited to, muscle strains, tears, physical and bodily injury up to and including death. This training program is not meant to provide medical advice; you should obtain medical advice from your private health care practitioner. If you are unable to assume these risks then you should not engage in this training program. No liability is assumed by Mountain Tactical Institute, Inc, its owners or employees, and you train at your own risk. Mountain Tactical Institute makes no warranty, express or implied, of any kind in connection with this training program.
1) Mission Direct
Gym numbers mean nothing. All that matters is mission performance.
To this end, MTI’s fitness solutions and programming are not boxed in by convention, tradition, orthodoxy, public opinion or any other artificial constraint driven by inside or outside forces.
We begin with the raw fitness demands of the mission and build a fitness solution which directly prepares the athlete for those demands.
2) Fitness Solutions Built from the Ground Up
MTI’s programming is not “re-tread” bodybuilding, football, CrossFit, kettlebell, strength or general fitness programming. We’ve built our fitness programming for mountain and tactical athletes from the ground up.
The Fluid Periodization methodology we deploy to concurrently train multiple fitness attributes is completely original and has continued to evolve and improve over the years.
Our mid-section training methodology, Chassis Integrity, is also original, as is our endurance programming, 7 strength training progressions, tactical agility, and work capacity programming.
Our mountain sports pre-season training plans, tactical PFT, selection, school, course, and fitness improvement training plans across military, LE and Fire Rescue are MTI-developed, tested and athlete-proven.
Over the years hundreds of athletes and coaches have taken our advanced programming and unit fitness leader programming courses and MTI is widely recognized within the mountain and tactical professions and fitness media as a thought leader in fitness programming for military and tactical athletes.
3) The MTI Method
→ Research: MTI begins program design with extensive research of the fitness demands of the mission, sport or event, identifies the exercises and progressions which sport-specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the training plan.
→ Deploy & Assess: We deploy the training plan “Lab Rats” at our Wyoming facility. Training session and cycle issues are identified and fixed as we work through the training plan. Post cycle we assess the programming’s effectiveness and efficiency. We keep the stuff that works, and fix or toss the stuff that doesn’t.
→ Publish & Assess Again: Plan is published for purchase as an individual training plan and made available to our subscribers. Feedback/results are assessed.
→ Iterate: We take what we learn from lab rats and athletes, re-visit, update and improve already published training plans. Several of our individual training plans are on their 4th or 5th version.
4) Mission-Direct Research
MTI exists to “Improve Mountain and Tactical Athletes mission performance and keep them safe.” To that end, we have developed a unique research methodology aimed at identifying real world areas of improvement and identifying immediately deployable mission-direct solutions. Click HERE to learn more about MTI’s Mission-Direct Research methodology, and Here to read about just few of our research efforts.
5) Field Proven
Our stuff works. Weekly we receive unsolicited reviews of our programming and testimonials to its effectiveness.
6) Programming Breadth
MTI’s library of 200+ sport-specific fitness plans for mountain and tactical athletes is unmatched. Resources range from specific programming for tactical special forces selections, to specific plans for climbing Rainier and Denali, to general fitness solutions such as running improvement, to post-rehab from injury.
Over the past decade, MTI has partnered with hundreds of athletes throughout their individual mountain and tactical careers, and provided fitness solutions as they face new mountain objectives, tactical schools, selections, PFTs and deployments, and came back from injury.
7) Worldwide Influence
Our work is not limited to US Athletes.
We’ve developed selection-specific training plans for Canadian, UK, Australian and German Special Forces Selections and worked with individual military personnel from Scandinavia, South, and Central America.
Canadian, Australian, UK and western European law enforcement and fire/rescue athletes have used MTI programming for mission-direct fitness.
On the mountain side, Alpinists from Japan to Slovakia have consulted with MTI and used MTI’s programming to prepare for mountain objectives.
8) Mission Performance beyond Fitness
MTI’s exists is to improve Mission Performance for mountain and tactical athletes and keep them safe.
This focus on “mission direct” solutions, enhancements and improvements drives our work and research and extends beyond fitness solutions to include training, leadership, gear, team culture, and safety.
Fitness is just one area of our work.
Our non-fitness research has included tactical cultures, combat uniforms, and gore-tex performance, and effect of stress on marksmanship.
Our work on defining what it means to be a Quiet Professional has had penetrating influence and driven healthy conversations with both mountain and tactical professionals.
9) Direct, Honest, Clear Answers
Since 2007 we’ve taken and answered dozens of questions weekly from mountain and tactical athletes. We’ve saved these individual Q&A’s and now thousands are archived on our site.
We’re not salesmen, and our answers are noted for their directness, honesty, and clarity. Our stuff isn’t for everyone. If we can help, we’ll let you know. If we can’t, we’ll let you know that, too.
– Rob Shaul, Founder
All of the Above is Backed Up By Our Promise: Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.
Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.
By Rob Shaul
I received notes frequently from athletes hesitant to purchase a subscription or training plans asking me to sell them on why they should make the purchase.
While I understand the question, I’m not a salesman – so I can’t put a hard sale on anyone for our programming.
I can tell them the process we go through to design our programming.
We begin with extensive research on the fitness demands of the event, identify the exercises and progressions which sport specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the plan.
Then we test the cycle on ourselves and our lab rats here in Wyoming. We document, note what works and doesn’t work, re-assess, and make changes and modifications.
Then we publish the programming in the form of one of our plans or as part of our subscription daily training sessions for tactical and mountain athletes.
We don’t stop there – our daily programming is the “tip of the spear” for our programming evolution. We use these sessions to learn and make continuous improvement.
As we learn more and improve, we go back, and update the sport-specific training plans on the website. For example, we’re currently on Version 5 of our Ruck Based Selection Training Plan and Version 3 of our Dryland Ski Training Plan and Version 4 of our Big Game Back Country Hunting Training Plan.
We understand our programing isn’t cheap, but we believe it’s a great value. The $79 for the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan, and $39 for the Dryland Ski Training Plan reflect the, research, work, innovative theory, iteration, testing and feedback we’ve put in and received to make these plans effective.
All that matters for us is outside performance, and we feel strongly that Our Stuff Works in the real world.
Here’s our guarantee:
1) Individual Training Plan Purchase:
If you purchase an individual training plan, follow it as prescribed before your season/event/pft/selection, and if you don’t feel you were physically ready for your season/event/pft/selection, and/or didn’t see dramatic improvements in your early season performance, we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.
2) Athlete’s Subscription
If you purchase an Athletes’ Subscription, follow the training sessions as prescribed, and are not satisfied with the quality of the programming, notify us within 30 days of purchase, and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.
Do you have any reviews or testimonials from athletes who have used your Athlete’s Subscription
Yes. Click HERE.
Is it true you guarantee your stuff works?
Yes. If you purchase an Athletes’ Subscription, follow the training sessions as prescribed, and are not satisfied with the quality of the programming, notify us within 30 days of purchase, and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.
How is MTI programming different than CrossFit?
This is a common question. Read our answer HERE.
You have a lot of competitors. Why should I choose MTI?
MTI is driven to improve mountain and tactical athletes’ mission performance and keep them safe. This emphasis and focus on mission performance sets us apart. Read about more that sets us apart HERE.
If I purchase a plan or subscription, how do I access the programming?
All of our plans are online, accessible via username and password.
You can log in through our →Website or Mobile App →IOS and Android.
Do you have downloadable .pdf’s of the training plans?
No. But you can print the programming, by week, from your browser. You access individual training plans online via a username and password.
Do you have a mobile app?
Yes, we do. Available for IOS and Android.
What is the difference between purchasing an individual training plan, packet of plans or an Athlete’s Subscription?
- Plan – Like purchasing the DVD of the first Star Wars movie. You own it forever, including any updates we make to the plan.
- Packet – Like purchasing the DVD’s of all the Star Wars movies. You own them forever, including any updates we make to the plans.
- Athlete’s Subscription – Like subscribing to Netflix. You get access to all 200+ plan in our library, but lose access if you unsubscribe.
If I purchase an Athletes Subscription Can I cancel on my own, anytime?
Do I have to contact MTI to cancel or can I do it myself?
You can do it yourself. Instructions HERE.
If I purchase a subscription and have questions about where to start or what plans(s) to use for my goals, will you help?
Yes. We answer dozens of training questions from athletes weekly. Email email@example.com.
If you add new plans or update existing plans after I subscribe will I have access to them?
Yes. We are continuously adding training plans and packets (2-5/month) and updating plans. With your subscription you’ll have access to all new plans, new courses and plan updates.
What Equipment is Required?
Click the “Required Equipment” tab to find out what equipment is required for the specific plan you are interested in.
Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE. The Run and Ruck Calculators are listed as exercises.
What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.
Can I see sample training?
Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming. You are encouraged to do it before purchasing.
What if I have more questions?
"This fall I spent 2.5 months in the mountains and backcountry hunting Dall Sheep, caribou, mountain goats, moose and Stone Sheep. As a hunter and camera operator, my pack would routinely weigh 60 lbs, with a day pack of 40 lbs or more. We would do 20 km days, up to 60 km with light packs (overnight sprints) and up to 4500’ (1400 m) of elevation in a single day (60 lb pack). A third of a caribou and camera gear is north of 100 lb. Hunting days could run from 5:00 am to 1 am on occasion, but we were always up before the sun. I started the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Packet with Humility. I completed over 90% of the workouts, though sadly was unable to do all of the “mini-events” found in the Backcountry Big Game Training Plan. I began the program in good shape and had been completing weekly rucks with 60-80 lbs (two hours) since January of this year. As the mountain hunting season comes to a close, I have some observations about the results of my training:
- I never had sore shoulders or chassis from carrying the weight.
- I never had sore legs, even after the hardest days.
- I felt 100% capable of doing what was needed.
- My upper body was sufficiently strong to meet all challenges
- My weight didn’t drop during training (I could work on my diet a bit).
My 30-minute step-up results went from 815 (July 15) to 824 (September 26). I would associate much of the modest increase to determination and technique, so it does not indicate a substantial fitness improvement. My weight would have been about five lb heavier in September. In summary, if anyone wants to be capable in the mountains, this program will get them there. The only aspect of my fitness I will change for next season is related to my anaerobic threshold and my ability to push into a higher gear and go harder. As long as it was a slow grind, I was capable. When the time came to push up steeper country, the wheels would more or less fall off and I would be left working at a higher than I thought I should need to (heart rate of 170, for example). The elevated heart rates compromised my ability to think and film, and in steep goat terrain, this can be a liability."