Rat 6 Strength


  • 8 weeks, 5 days/week
  • Strength (neuromuscular) focus, with short, intense work capacity sessions to maintain conditioning
  • Focused around six strength lifts based on 1RMs
  • This training plan is one of the 182+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.


The primary focus of this 8-Week Training Plan is increased strength, but it also includes short, intense, work capacity efforts, as well as a high emphasis on core strength, mobility, and durability – hallmarks of MTI programming.

This design program is based on a super successful strength training cycle we first deployed with our tactical lab rats in 2013. In the years since we’ve deployed Rat 6 progression multiple times in our programming for mountain and tactical athletes.

You will train 5 days/week for a total of 40 training sessions. The intention is that Monday through Friday are training days. Saturday and Sunday are rest days.

This is the third version of this plan, update Spring, 2017.



This is a percentage of 1RM-based strength training program build around the following 6x Strength Exercises:

  • Bench Press
  • Front Squat
  • Military Press
  • Squat Clean
  • Hinge Lift or Box Squat
  • Power Clean



  • Monday Strength
  • Tuesday Strength
  • Wednesday Short Work Capacity and Core
  • Thursday Strength
  • Friday Short Work Capacity and Core



How long should the training sessions take?
Around 60 minutes. Some of these sessions will run short – around 45 minutes. Some may take up to 75 minutes.

How Should I Work up to my 1 Repetition Maximum?

Bench Press, Military Press, Front Squat, Hinge Lift or Box Squat – After the warm up, load up the barbell with a weight you can lift 5x. Then add weight, and complete 3x reps. Then add weight and start doing singles, adding weight rapidly until you reach your 1 Rep Max (1RM). Record your 1RM.

Squat Clean and Power Clean – After the warm up, load up the barbell with a weight you can lift 3x. Then add weight, and complete 2x reps. Then add weight and start doing singles, adding weight rapidly until you reach your 1 Rep Max (1RM). Record your 1RM.

Use Common Sense – Be smart and safe while working up to your 1RM. Don’t risk injury. Be smart and safe. And don’t linger – you need to complete each session in 45-60 minutes.

How long should I rest between Rounds and Circuits?
The strength circuits (Monday/Tuesday/Thursday) each include a stretch or durability exercise. Consider the stretch or mobility exercise your rest between rounds. There is no more rest between circuits more then what is required to change equipment and load barbells. Understand the strength circuits are not mini CrossFit-like WODs. Work briskly, not frantically.

Wednesday and Friday’s training sessions include Core Circuits. Don’t sprint through these. Work briskly, not frantically.

What if I can’t keep up the Monday to Friday Training Schedule?
If for any reason you cannot keep this Monday-Friday training schedule, do not skip a training session. Rather, complete all the training sessions in succession. Whatever the schedule, always take two days a week, ideally together, as total rest.

Why are there two numbers listed for the exercises with assigned loads?
The lower weight is the prescribed weight for women, and the higher is for men.

Are loads given for both Kettlebells and Dumbbells?
Yes, for example, “5x Swings at 20kg/45#” means 5x Swings with a 20kg kettlebell or 45# dumbbell.

What if I don’t have access to kettlebells or dumbbells?
Don’t worry about it – they can be used interchangeably. The plan calls for dumbbells – here is a conversion for kettlebells:

Kettlebell / Dumbbell

8kg / 15#
12kg / 25#
16kg / 35#
20kg / 45#
24kg / 55#

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 the entire first 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

Required Equipment

This training program can be completed in a commercial gym, with basic free weight equipment, but it is much easier to complete the program using Olympic weight lifting equipment, especially rubber bumper plates for the Squat Clean and Power Clean exercises.

If you are working in a commercial gym without access to a lifting platform and bumper plates, you can still complete this program by making the following exercise substitutions:

  • Substitute Hang Squat Clean for the Squat Clean

  • Substitute Hang Power Clean for the Power Clean

Sample Training

Below is Week 1 from this Training Plan:



Obj: 1RM Assessment

Warm Up:

3 Rounds

  • Barbell Complex @ 45/65#
  • Instep Stretch
  • Lat + Pec Stretch


(1) Work up to 1RM Power Clean

(2) Work up to 1RM Bench Press

(3) Work up to 1RM Front Squat



Total Rest



Obj: 1RM Assessment

Warm Up:

3 Rounds

  • Barbell Complex @ 45/65#
  • Instep Stretch
  • Lat + Pec Stretch


(1) Work up to 1RM Squat Clean

(2) Work up to 1RM Military Press

(3) Work up to 1RM Hinge Lift or Box Squat



Total Rest



Obj: Work Cap/Core

Warm up:

5 Rounds

  • 8x Box Jump @ 20"
  • 8x Push ups
  • 8x Sit-ups
  • Instep


(1) 6 Rounds

  • 8x 40-foot Shuttle sprints every 60 seconds

(2) 4 Rounds

  • 10x Weighted Sit-ups @ 35/45#
  • 10x EO's
  • 10x Face Down Back Extension
  • 5x Seated Russian Twist @ 25#

(3) 4 Rounds

  • 5/10x Dips or 3/6x Ring Dips
  • 10x 2-Legged Poor Man's Leg Curl
  • 60 second Farmers Carry @ 35/55# dumbbells.
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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


BLUF: Your programming is definitely working for me!

I want to give you a little context so you understand why I am so pleased with the programming. I am an active duty Marine Corps officer stationed overseas. Before that, I was an enlisted infantry Marine. An 0311, rifleman. I say this so you know that I am no stranger to PT, the weight room, and overall general fitness. However, a couple of months ago, I started to feel like I was in a rut, and I was about to be on a ship for awhile. So I signed up for MTI and, naturally, started with the Shipboard program for my time at sea. With Shipboard, I maintained bodyweight, but leaned out considerably until I arguably hit the best shape of my life.

But here is the real reason I am writing: the gains that I have seen in the first half of RAT 6 are unbelievable. I just finished the Week 5 1RM Assessment, and I am thoroughly impressed. I am only giving these numbers to give you a clear picture of the noticeable improvement.

  Week 1 Week 5
Power Clean 245 255
Bench Press 355 360
Front Squat 295 335
Squat Clean 255 265
Military Press 205 205
Box Squat 405 475

I have never seen these types of number shifts in just 3 working weeks. So thank you for the programming that you are doing. I contribute a lot of this improvement to the great Combat Chassis that we built during the Shipboard program.

Great stuff, really, thank you.



Kudos to RAT 6, its given me a great boost in strength, overall performance, and confidence in moving heavy weight. All my lifts increased. Ill send you my final numbers once finished. I am very happy I have a year subscription to Military Athlete. Wishing you well from Iraq. Thanks.



Coach, I wanted to say nice job on Hypertrophy & Rat 6.
Started the two right after SFAS, at 150lbs. Ate everything during Hypertrophy, finished it at 165-168 depending on time of day. Ate clean, but lots of carbs through rice. Did a 1 week deload, then started Rat 6. Weights are before-after
Bench 245-275
Strict Press 135-165
Power Clean 200-225
Clean & Jerk 200-245
Front Squat 220-295
Deadlift 315-375
*I replaced squat clean with full c/j, and hinge lift with full deads.
Current weight is about 175, below 10% body fat.
Planning on doing valor again next then restarting the 3 over again in order.

Thanks again coach!




You and I have spoken on multiple occasions about different events(GORUCK Challenges), SFAS prep and just over all training. I've even trained briefly at your affiliate in Colorado Springs last year before deploying. I am not special operations (far from it) but wanted to reach out and tell you the impact your programming has had on my team.

My team consists of a 39 year old, 34 year old and myself, 28. I've been lifting off and on since I was 14 due to high school football. I found Crossfit in my early 20's and later MA and have dabbled in it and other training methods. My co-workers on the other hand have never lifted in their lives outside of the extreme basics and even that was some what of a challenge in the beginning. The men I work with are both 6'1" like myself but one weighed(when we started) 134lbs soaking wet with rocks in his pockets and the other 155lbs. I've always been between 200-215lbs depending on my eating habits that month.

We started Rat6 back in May. Both of them could barely bench 115lbs and squat 135lbs. I won't get into all or the lift numbers but I wanted to tell you it's max week and these are the results.

39 year old-165#
Starting bench: 125#
Starting Squat: 135#
Post RAT6 Bench: 190#
Post RAT6 Squat: 235#

34 year old-160#
Starting bench:105#
Starting squat:135#
Post RAT6 bench :195#
Post RAT6 squat: 250#

28 year old-205#
Starting bench: 245
Starting squat: 385
RAT6 bench: 275
RAT6 squat: 405(for two, dropped 410)

Needless to say your programming works! We're starting the next phase of the strength packet soon and are excited to see where we go next!

As always thanks for all the help,



Rob -I felt so weak after getting back from selections it was scary. After four weeks of Rat 6 I've put back on 30+lbs on almost all the six lifts. And I don't feel completely lethargic during the day. The work capacity/core days are a nice change of pace and keep your cardio in check. The hinge lift took a few weeks to get used to but it definitely helped my squat by incorporating the posterior muscles more efficiently.

Bottom line is this program is the shit.

Here's my 1RM improvements. Week 1 to week 5:

Power clean: 205, 255#
Bench press: 275, 315#
Front squat: 205, 245#
Squat clean: 195, 245#
Strict press: 145, 165#
Hinge lift: 355, 405#

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