Ice/Mixed Climbing Preseason Training Program


• 6 weeks, 4 days/week
• Ice climbing tool intensive sessions that develop strength and endurance
• Designed to bring you into the early ice climb season already fit for mixed climbing trips.
• This training plan is one of the 182+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.


This 6-week training program is designed to prepare athletes sport specifically for the ice/mixed climbing season.  It assumes your climbs will have relatively short approaches.

The program trains your 4 days/week (Mon-Thursday) for a total of 24x training sessions and is designed to be completed directly before your first ice/mixed climbing trip. It can also be used during the season to increase/maintain your between-trip ice climbing fitness.

Program Goals
– Train your “sport specific” ice/mixed climbing grip, core and calve strength, work capacity and stamina.
– Build your “Mountain Fitness” – legs, lungs, core, and overall work capacity for approaches and long mountain days.

How is this program different than your Expedition Ice/Mixed Climbing Program?
This program is designed to prepare athletes for ice/mixes routes with short approaches – day trips. The Expedition plan is designed to prepare athletes for long, multi-day trips in Alaska, the Canadian Rockies, etc.

Required Equipment

The program is designed to be completed with minimal training equipment:

Sandbag - Men will need a 60# sandbag, women a 40# sandbag. You can make your own sandbag out of a duffle bag and fill with wood pellets, sand, mulch made from ground up tires, etc. We also sell sandbags at our website.

Dumbbells - Men will need two pairs of dumbbells, 25# and 35#. Women will also need two pairs of dumbbells, 15# and 25#.

Bench/Box/Stool for Step ups - You’ll be doing thousands of step ups during this program and will need a 16-18 inch box, stool, bench, tire or something to do step ups on. Our step up benches are 17 inches high.

25-Pound Backpack - you’ll do the step ups loaded with a 25-pound pack. Use rocks, dumbbells, or whatever for weight.

Pull up bar - You’ll need a pull up bar for pull ups and chin ups.

System Boards - We train your sport specific grip strength by having you hang and do intervals using your ice tools on a system board. The minimum sized system board you’ll need is a 4x8 sheet of plywood set at a 25 degree angle. You can use common rock climbing holds with your tools, and also hardware such as old door hinges, door bolt brackets, eye bolts, etc. We use both.

While one 4x8 sheet of plywood is the minimum you’ll need to complete this program, space and cost allowing, we’d recommend you build at least 2 system boards - one at 25-degrees, and one at 45 degrees.

Sample Training

SESSION 13 (Monday)
Obj: Ice Climbing Stamina/Strength, Base Fitness Core

Warm up:
5 Rounds
6x Figure 4's (total)
10x Goblet Squats @ 25#
Instep Stretch

(1) 5 Rounds
5 min 25-Degree Board
1 minute Rest

(2)  4 Rounds
30-Foot Dumbbell Crawl (15-25#)
30/30 Side Bridge
10x EO's
10x Face Down Back Ext

(3) 10 Rounds
30 Second Dead Hang
15 Second Rest

SESSION 14 (Tuesday)
Obj: Ice Climbing Work Cap/Strength, Base Fitness Work Cap

Warm up:
4 Rounds

1 minute 25-Degree Board
10x Push ups
10x Situps
Lat + Pec Stretch

(1) 5 Rounds
2:30 45-Degree Board, Constant Movement
1 minute Rest

(2)  10 Rounds
30 Second 40-Foot Shuttle Sprint
30 Second Rest

******* Rest 3 Minutes

(3) 5 Rounds
20 Second Dumbbell Swing @ 25/35#
20 Second Burpees
20 Second Rest

(4) 5 Rounds on 25-Degree Board
25 Second Right Arm Lock off
30 Second Rest
25 Second Left Arm Lock off
30 Second Rest

(5) 3 Rounds
20 Sec Calve Raise
10 Sec Rest in up position
20 Sec Calve Raise
10 Sec Rest in up position
5/8x Pull ups

SESSION 15 (Wednesday)
Obj: Ice Climbing Stamina/Strength, Base Fitness Core

Warm up:
5 Rounds
6x Figure 4's (total)
10x Goblet Squats @ 25#
Instep Stretch


(1) 5 Rounds
5 min 25-Degree Board
1 minute Rest

(2)  4 Rounds
6x Sandbag Getup @ 40/60#
60 Second Front Bridge
10x Slashers (15/25#)
5x Kneeling Keg Lift with sandbag (40/60#)

(3) 10 Rounds
30 Second Dead Hang
15 Second Rest
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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.


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.

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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.

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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
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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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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.

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This Plan is one of 200+ plans included in the Athlete’s Subscription.