GORUCK Challenge Training Plan


  • 5-Week, 5x day/week Training Plan specifically for the GORUCK Challenge Event
  • Rucking focus, but also trains strength, work capacity, durability and mental fitness
  • Don’t use this plan for GORUCK Heavy or Selection events – we have specific plans for these
  • Requires full weightroom for strength work, as well as a ruck and sandbag
  • This training plan is one of the 250+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.


5-Week, progressive, sport-specific training plan designed to prepare participants for the GORUCK Challenge.

The main fitness demand of the GORUCK Challenge is rucking, 20-25 miles with load. Additional fitness demands include lifting an carrying heavy, odd objects, extended calisthenics, and overall fitness/endurance for a 12-14 hour event.

Ideally, you will train Saturday, take Sunday off, train Monday through Thursday, and take Friday off.



– Build Rucking Performance/Endurance – The best way to improving rucking performance is to ruck. During this program you’ll ruck 3 days/week, and at the top of the cycle, will ruck 16 miles in one session, and 30 miles in a week.

– Build Work Capacity – GORUCK Challenges are more than long rucks. You’ll be tasked with multiple team events which will test your overall work capacity. This program includes multi-modal and odd-object work capacity events to prepare you.

– Build Overall Strength – You’ll move some iron in the weightroom as part of this program. The focus is on your leg/hip/core and upper body strength. Strong athletes perform better and are more durable.

– Build Core Strength – Rucking under load and the team events will especially stress your midsection. This program hammers core strength 5 days a week. You’ll come to love/hate sandbag getups and other core exercises.

– Build Mental Fitness – Saturday training sessions are long, hard grinders which combine distance rucking with multi-modal, work capacity events. Your Saturday training will most closely resemble what you’ll face at the GORUCK Challenge and build/test both your physical and mental fitness.



  • Fully equipped weightroom. The gym-based parts of this program require access to and the equipment in any commercial gym.
  • Sandbag. Men will need a 60-pound sandbag, Women will need a 40-pound sandbag.
  • Ruck or Back Pack. Ideally you’ll use the same Ruck to train with that you’ll use during the GORUCK Challenge. You will also need to load it with the same weight you’ll carry during the challenge.
  • Pedometer/GPS – You’re going to be rucking a lot during this program, and will need to know distance and pace. Unless you drive or bike the route ahead of time, a Pedometer or simple GPS unit will help you greatly and allow you to vary your rucking courses during the training program.


What if I miss a day?
Begin where you left off when you return to training. This program is progressed – each session builds upon the prior session – so don’t skip a session or skip around. Follow the training sessions in order, regardless.

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 see sample training? 
Yes. Click the “Sample Training” tab to see one entire week of programming.

How do I access the plan?
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.

Can I print out sessions to take to the gym?
Yes – you can print a week of programming at a time.

More Questions? Email: coach@mtntactical.com


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.

Required Equipment

  • Fully equipped weightroom. The gym-based parts of this program require access to and the equipment in any commercial gym.

  • Sandbag. Men will need a 60-pound sandbag, Women will need a 40-pound sandbag.

  • Ruck or Back Pack. Ideally you’ll use the same Ruck to train with that you’ll use during the GORUCK Challenge. You will also need to load it with the same weight you’ll carry during the challenge.

  • Pedometer/GPS - You’re going to be rucking a lot during this program, and will need to know distance and pace. Unless you drive or bike the route ahead of time, a Pedometer or simple GPS unit will help you greatly and allow you to vary your rucking courses during the training program.

Sample Training

SESSION 1 - Saturday
Obj: Ruck Fitness

Ruck 8 miles, @ minimum, 15 min/mile pace, with
Pack Loaded at Challenge Load - Choose varied,
hilly terrain, if possible

SESSION 2 - Monday
Obj: Strength/Core

Warm up:
3 Rounds
20x Squats
15x Situps
10x Push ups
Instep Stretch

(1) 6 Rounds
5x Back Squat - increase load until 5x is hard, but
8x Seated Dumbbell Military Press - increase load
each round until 8x is hard, but doable
Pigeon Stretch

(2) 5 Rounds
300m Shuttle every 2 min, 30 seconds (2:30)

(3) 3 Rounds
15/15/15 Low Back Complex
15/15 Low Back Lunge
15/15 Kneeling Founder
10x Face Down Back Extensions
10x Weighted Situps at 25# Plate

(4) Foam roll lower back and legs/hip flexors

SESSION 3 - Tuesday
Obj: Ruck, Core

(1) 10 minute Sandbag Getup (M-60#, W-40#)

(2) Ruck 4 miles, @ 15 min/mile pace, with Pack Loaded at Challenge Load, - Choose varied, hilly terrain, if possible


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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.


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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.


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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.

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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.


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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.

Email: rob@mtntactical.com


Do you have any reviews or testimonials from athletes who have used your Athlete’s Subscription
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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.

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You can log in through our →Website  or Mobile App →IOS and Android.

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No. But you can print the programming, by week, from your browser. You access individual training plans online via a username and password.

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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?

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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 coach@mtntactical.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?
Email rob@mtntactical.com



Quick kudos on the GoRuck Challenge train up. I started with an adequate fitness level but had not trained endurance in over a year. This was my first experience with GoRuck so preparation was important to me. Your ruck progressions were excellent! I was squared away and able to relax and enjoy, rather than suffer through it. I also found the mini-events, during the hottest month of the year, to be a great way to dial in my event nutrition and hydration. Great work as always! - J


  Wanted to take a quick second to send a thank you your way for your advice and programming that allowed me to accomplish a major goal of mine.  I completed the GORUCK HTL a few weeks back and I owe a lot of credit to you for helping me to prepare physically and mentally to take on this challenge.  Your programming enabled me to succeed during the PT test and continue through the physical aspects of the three events.  Across the board your programming made me feel strong throughout and also, I feel, made me more injury resistant.  Additionally, I think the nature of your training made me stronger mentally and allowed me to push through some of the darker times when I was tired, sore, and being asked to shoulder weight once again.  I would argue that your program not only allowed me to succeed in this, but it also made me a better and stronger team member and it is my hope that my level of preparedness helped me to be someone that enabled others to push beyond their perceived limits.  I say all that to say thank you for helping me to achieve this goal of mine and for helping me to be a stronger more capable team member able to contribute to the teams success. - M


Greetings Rob!

Several weeks ago I purchased your GoRuck training program and put it to use. Your training program was well worth the money and was essentially an investment in me and my fitness. The five week plan had prepared me for the challange so well I had the energy and strenght to encourage/assit others who were not as ready to meet the physical demands. At the end of the 8 1/2 day I still had plenty of strenght, stamina and endurance left making the challange extremely enjoyable, so much so I have already signed up for another one. Thank you for taking the time to create this plan.

- C.

Rob -
Another quick note to let you know that the 5 Week GoRuck Program worked perfectly. My buddy and I followed the program from 5 weeks out and had no troubles with strength, conditioning or endurance at any point during our event. In fact we were a few of the strongest at the end and finished knowing that we had fitness to spare. That's not bad for a couple of older desk jockeys. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions and producing a program geared towards such a fun event.
Keep up the great work!
"I wanted to thank you for your 5 week Goruck Training plan. I just did the Goruck Challenge 10/27/12. Class 300, and I can tell you that your plan not only helped me physically but mentally also. When I first recieved the plan and started looking through the workouts and how they progressed I thought to myself " no freakin way !", but when I actually did them I realized how much I was capable of and it changed my outlook on the challenge itself. After your workouts I was more motivated and excited to do the challenge because I knew I could do it. Your plan helped me focus on the task at hand and not dread the whole ordeal. I'm 43 and have had knee and back injuries that caused some concern but I believe your plan also kept me injury free because of all the core and leg work. You were right I actually started to love the sandbag getups, what an awesome exercise ! I am going to continue following with Military athlete's programs because they work ! Thanks again." -M.


Hey Rob,

I completed my GORUCK Challenge this past weekend. I’d like to send a big thanks to you and your team because your training program was the primary reason I was physically prepared for the event. I was able to perform at a high level for the entirety of the event. While I think it would be a bit arrogant and probably wrong to say I was one of the strongest; I certainly was not one of the weakest. I was able to enjoy the event.

Below I’ve added feedback specific to the five stated goals of the program. If you’re interested please keep reading, if not, no worries.

Stated program goals

Build Rucking Performance/Endurance – I wholeheartedly agree with the first statement: The best way to improving rucking performance is to ruck. I was very intimidated by Session 1 (8mi @ 15min/mi) and I suffered through it. However, within a couple of weeks an 8mi ruck at 15min/mi was an enjoyable way to spend two hours. The amount of time spent under a weighted ruck really, really helped during the event.  By the time the event happened carrying a 50# ruck was like carrying an empty ruck. I was so comfortable and used to the weight it didn’t slow me down at all.  In retrospect I felt over prepared in the rucking domain (which is not a bad thing at all!).
Build Work Capacity – This really helped during the multiple smoke sessions; especially for the 3 hour smoke session at the end. There was never a point in the event where I was close to out of breath.
Build Overall Strength – I definitely had the leg strength. Legs were never a limiting factor. In this particular event we spent many hours carrying multiple logs as a team.  I spent nearly the entire time under a log, which really exposed one weakness in me. My shoulders got smoked. They are still a little sore.  More on this later.
Build Core Strength – You were right I simultaneously love & hate sandbag getups. It’s a miserable ten minutes but dammit it’s an effective ten minutes. Through almost the entire event my core felt strong. It was only at the end when one of the cadre decided to destroy everyone’s core did my core finally fail.  Awesome work on the core stuff.
Build Mental Fitness – I did this whole program by myself so during the event to suffer in a group of people felt like paradise. That said, it did help to have those long Saturday events. It was helpful to see how my body reacted to that type of effort for so many hours.

Things I wished I had done

These are things I didn’t address or address well enough during training. Keep in mind this is just one man’s opinion after one specific instance of an event.

More time rucking with extra weight on my shoulders at a slower pace.  Only in very short bursts did we move at 15min/mi or better. The majority of the time we were much slower than that because we were loaded down with logs or buddy carries. It would have been helpful to do multiple 2mi rucks at 17-20min/mi with the ruck and the sandbag. More vertical shoulder pressing movements. I think this would have helped the log and odd item carries we had to do and the log press PT we had to do multiple times. Basically my shoulders needed more work.

Thanks again for the programs and for answering all my emails. I really appreciate it.


I completed a GORUCK Tough event after completing your GORUCK Challenge plan and the plan certainly did it's job.  Firstly, the rucking was never an issue and my core never felt fatigued.  The sandbag get-ups and low back complex forged a tough chassis that never failed me.  Secondly, the Monday and Wednesday strength and work capacity session did there job, no single "smoker" during the event put me out for more than a minute or two and even on hour ten my recovery was quick.  Finally, the Saturday mini events were also spot on, after the final and longest of them all I knew exactly what to expect for the event.

During the whole GORUCK I felt like I had energy on reserve, enough so that I felt that my individual performance exceeded my expectations but I was also able to continuously contribute to the team and motivate individuals when things got tough.  Thank you for the plan, it is perfect.
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