Kayak/Paddling Pre-Season Training Program


  • 6 weeks, 4 days/week
  • Designed specifically to bring you into early season kayaking at top fitness
  • Trains both on the water and in the gym
  • This training plan is one of the 250+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.


This 6-Week, 4 day/week Sport-Specific pre-season training program is for kayakers, canoeists and other river athletes. It is designed to be completed directly before the paddling season.



(1) Develop the strength, power, and strength endurance of your upper body and core. Upper body pressing and pulling strength, power and strength endurance are the primary drivers of paddling performance. This training program hammers your upper body and midsection.
(2) Train your paddling-specific work capacity/energy system (lungs and heart). Your lungs and heart are the drivers behind your paddling muscles. We train these sport-specifically through hard paddling intervals on the water.
(3) Increase your overall strength and mental fitness so you are more durable. We understand the danger of kayaking and the other paddling sports. In our experience, stronger athletes are simply harder to injure. Mentally fit athletes never give up.

Note: The Tuesday and Thursday work capacity training is this plan has you paddling in water. Here in Wyoming we paddled against the flow of the Snake River – in snowy/icy March! You can also complete these intervals in a lake.



  • Monday – Sport-specific, Gym-Based Power/Strength Endurance
  • Tuesday – Work Capacity Training (Water)
  • Wednesday – Sport-specific, Gym-Based Power/Strength Endurance
  • Thursday – Work Capacity Training (Water)



  • Fully equipped weightroom (any commercial gym will work)
  • Open water for the paddling intervals – river, lake, pond, etc.
  • Drysuit if it’s cold.
  • Stopwatch with interval timer



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.

What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.

Can I see sample training? 
Yes. Click the “Sample Training” tab to see an 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.

How do I record my assessment Results?
Notebook and pencil.

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 (any commercial gym will work)

  • Open water for the paddling intervals - river, lake, pond, etc.

  • Drysuit if it's cold.

  • Stopwatch with interval timer


Sample Training


Obj: Assessment

Warm up:
3 Rounds
10x Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press @ 15#/25#
10x Renegade Rows at 15#/25#
10x Russian Twists @ 15#/25#
5x Dislocates
Instep Stretch

(1) Max reps Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press @ 20#/35# in 90 sec.

Rest 3-5 minutes

(2) Max Reps Renegade Rows with 20#/35# in 90 sec

Rest 3-5 Minutes

(3) Max Reps Dumbbell Russian Twists w/ 20#/35# in 90 sec.

(4) 5 Rounds for Time
8x Front Squats - 45#/75#
Run 400m

(5) 3 Rounds
Hip Flexor + Pigeon
Foam Roll Low Back/Quads
5x Dislocates
5x Teacups

Obj: Work Capacity

4 Rounds
2 min easy paddle
10x Jump Squats

(1) 10 Rounds
40 sec Sprint
20 sec Rest

(2) 7 Rounds
120 sec Hard paddle w/ roll
30 sec Rest

Obj: Strength Endurance

Instep Stretch

(1) 5 Rounds, every 60 sec
35% of Max Reps Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press

(2) 1 Round
Max Reps Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press @ 20#/35# in 60 sec.

Rest 3-5 minutes

(3) 5 Rounds, every 60 sec.
35% of Max Reps Renegade Rows

(4) 1 Round
Max Reps Renegade Rows @ 20#/35# in 60 sec.

Rest 3-5 Minutes

(5) 6 Rounds, every 60 sec
35% of Max Reps Russian Twists w/ 20#/35#

(6) 1 Round
Max Reps Russian Twists w/ 20#/35# in 60 sec.

(7) 3 rounds
Hip Flexor + Pigeon Stretch
Foam Roll Low Back/Quads
5x Shoulder Dislocates
5x Y + L - 2.5#

Obj: Work Capacity

10 min. easy paddle

(1) As Many Rounds as possible in 30 minutes of:
2x River traverse laps  (approx 7 min)
100m Kayak portage (run!)

(2) 4 Rounds
20 sec Standing Founder
10x Poor Man’s Leg Curl
20 sec Kneeling Founder
10x Face Down Back Extension

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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.

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.

Email: rob@mtntactical.com


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 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



Rob, just finished the full program, plus an additional week. I won't be back on the water for another week but I'm stoked on the gains/improvements I've seen over the past seven weeks. I look forward to paddling and seeing what differences I notice between my power/endurance in April and now. Thanks again for the work you and your staff do, and your advice on the modifications. Another awesome MTI program under my belt, and another happy customer.
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