USAF CCT/PJ/SR Selection Training Plan


  • Intense, 9-Week training program specifically designed to prepare athletes for the USAF Combat Control, Pararescue, and Combat Rescue Officer selections
  • Focused USAF Initial Fitness Test (IFT) training and improvement
  • Includes Ruck Running, Heavy Rucking, and Pool PFT
  • This training plan is one of the 250+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.


This sport-specific 9-week program is specifically designed to prepare athletes for the US Air Force Combat Controller, Pararescue, Special Reconnaissance Selection Course. The plan is designed to be completed the 9 weeks directly prior to your course start week.

This is Version 2 of the plan, updated in April 2022.


CAUTION: This is a very intense, 5-day a week, often 2x/day training program with high levels of volume and stress. Be safe and smart about your training as you work through the program and don’t be afraid to cut down sessions, or if necessary take an extra rest day if needed.



This program follows a general format and gets progressively harder each week, until Week 9, when the training tapers down. Don’t skip ahead!! The plan is designed to build upon itself. If you have to miss a training day, start up back where you left off.

This is a 5 day/week training program with many 2-a-Day training sessions.
To successfully complete this program you’ll need to make training for selection a priority during your work day.

Ruck and Swim Intensive
This plan is “sport specific” to the specific fitness demands you’ll face at selection – specifically lots of running, swimming and treading water, bodyweight calisthenics, and rucking. You’ll swim up to 3 days/week, Ruck 3 days/week and Run or Ruck Run 3 days/week. It also includes high levels of training volume – like you’ll face at selection.

Weeks 3, 5, and 7 have long, Saturday “mini-events.” These events extend in duration from 4-8 hours and include swimming, treading, body weight cals, Rucking, etc.

The plan includes 5 specific assessments, and follow-on progressions. You’ll take these assessments multiple times over the 9 weeks:

  1. USAF Initial Fitness Test (IFT)
  2. Pool PFT – 1500m Fin using UDT/Combat Side Stroke, Max Air Squats (1 min), Max Flutter Kicks (2 min)
  3. 10 Mile Heavy Ruck for Time – 60# Ruck, 10lb Rubber Rifle, Full Cammies/Boots, Helmet
  4. 5 Mile Ruck Run for Time – 45# Ruck, 10lb Rubber Rifle, Full Cammies/Boots, Helmet
  5. 6 Mile Run for Time, shorts and t-shirt



The training plan includes scaled paces for your runs, ruck and swims. These paces are based on your assessment results from the five assessments listed above. You’ll take these assessments 3 times throughout the plan. Use your latest assessment results for the subsequent training sessions.

We use interval training to train your run, rucking, and swimming fitness. The interval distances are shorter, and pace faster than your latest assessment pace. Use the MTI Running Calculator to find your interval pace for the 3-mile and 6-mile run.



Heavy Ruck – Full cammies, boots, 10 pound rubber rifle or sledge hammer, 60# ruck plus water
Ruck Run – Full cammies, boots, 10 pound rubber rifle or sledge hammer, 45# ruck, plus water
6-Mile Run, 3 mile Run and their interval repeats – Shorts, t-shirt, sneakers
Surface Swim – swim goggles, swim suit
Fin Swim – Fins, Scuba Mask, T-Shirt, Swim Suit
Hypoxic Swim Intervals – T-Shirt, Swim Suit, swim goggles
Water Tread – T-Shirt, Swim Suit, swim goggles
Mini-Event Swims – T-Shirt, Swim Suit, swim goggles



  • Swimming pool, swimming goggles, scuba mask, fins.
  • Waterproof Stop Watch with repeating countdown timer (Timex 100-Lap Ironman is best)
  • 60# Sandbag
  • ALICE Ruck or same ruck you will use at selection, 45-60# of filler,
  • 10# Rubber Rifle (No rifle? Use a 10 lb sledge hammer)
  • 10-pound swim brick
  • IBA – Individual Body Armor or 25# Weight Vest



What if I have less then 9 weeks before I start the Selection Course?
Still start at the beginning of this training plan. Don’t skip ahead.

What if I can’t handle the training volume at first?
Building stamina and resilience is a key training goal of this plan, and physical and mental stamina is also key to completing the Selection course. If you can’t handle the training volume at first, it’s better to cut training sessions short, rather than take unscheduled rest days.

What if I can’t make the prescribed reps for the bodyweight exercises, or the prescribed interval times for the rucks, runs or swims?
Do your best, and be sure to do the total number of rounds, even if you can’t make the reps or the time. Don’t quit.

How do you count reps for Sandbag Getups, Flutter Kicks and Step ups?
Sandbag Getups – The prescribed rep count is total reps, so 50x Sandbag Getups at 60# sandbag = 50x total reps, 25x each shoulder.

Flutter Kicks – This is a four count exercise. Starting position is lying flat on the back with the feet and head approximately 6 inches off the ground. Hands are under the buttocks, fists are clenched to support the lower back. Count one; raise the left leg to a 45-degree angle, keeping the right leg stationary. Count two; raise the right leg off the ground to a 45 degree angle while, at the same time, moving the left leg to the starting position. Counts three and four are repetitions of the same movements. Legs must be locked, with toes pointing away from the body.

Step Ups – The prescribed rep count is total reps, so 1,000x step ups = 1,000 total, or 500x per leg.

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/Swim 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:


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

- This plan does not require a weightroom, but does require the following equipment to complete....
- Swimming pool, swimming goggles, scuba mask, fins
- Waterproof Stop Watch with repeating countdown timer (Timex 100-lap Ironman is recommended)
- 60# Sandbag
- Ruck (ALICE), 45-60# of filler, 10# Rubber Rifle or 10 lb sledge hammer)
- 10-pound swim brick
- Pair of 45# Dumbbells (used for core and grip work)
- Individual Body Armor (IBA) or 25# Weightvest.

Also, the training time required to devote to complete the time is extensive. During the train up, training for selection needs to be a priority during your work day.

Sample Training


Below is the first two weeks of training sessions from this training plan:



Obj: Assessment USAF PAST

Warm up:
3 Rounds
50M Swim
8x Push-Ups
10x Sit-Ups
Instep Stretch


(1) Underwater Swim
25m Underwater Swim
Rest 3 Min
25m Underwater Swim

Rest 10 min

(2) 500m Surface swim for time in swimsuit and goggles

Rest 30 Minutes

(3) Run 3 miles for time - shorts/running shoes

Rest 10 min

(4) Max Pull ups in 1 min
Rest 3 min

(5) Max Sit ups in 2 min
Rest 3 min

(6) Max Push ups in 1 min





Obj: Ruck Run Assessment


(1) 5 Mile Ruck Run for Time

Load: 45#, 10 lb Rubber Rifle




Rest Day



Obj: Assessments

Warm up:
4 Rounds
Swim 25m
10x Air Squats
8x Push ups
8x Sit ups



Uniform - Swimsuit + T-Shirt

(1) 1,500m Fin Swim for time (shorts, t-shirt, mask fins)

Rest 5 minutes

(2) 1 min Max Reps Air Squats

Rest 3 Minutes

(3) 2 Min Max Reps Flutter Kicks




Obj: Assessment

Warm up:
3 Rounds
200m Run
10x Air Squat
Instep Stretch


(1) Run 6 Miles for Time (shorts, running shoes)




Obj: Heavy Ruck Assessment


(1) 10 Mile Heavy Ruck for Time

Load - 60#, full Cammies, boots, helmet, 10 lb Rubber Rifle or M4





Obj: PAST Work


(1) 5 Rounds Pull ups
30% of your Max Reps Scored on SESSION 1 Every 60 Seconds,
then... 1 Round, Max Reps Pull-ups in 60 seconds

(2) 5 Rounds Situps
30% of your Max Reps Scored on SESSION 1 Every 60 Seconds,
then... 1 Round, Max Reps in 60 Seconds

(2) 5 Rounds Push-ups
30% of your Max Reps Scored on SESSION 1 Every 60 Seconds,
then... 1 Round, Max Reps in 60 Seconds

(3) 4 Rounds
Run 800m at Interval Pace based on SESSION 1 3-mile Run Time
Rest 2 Minutes between runs

CLICK HERE for the MTI Running Calculator


Obj: Heavy Ruck Work


(1) 3 Rounds
2 Mile Ruck at Interval Pace based on SESSION 6 Heavy Ruck time.
Rest 5 Minutes between Rucks





Warm Up:
200m freestyle, easy pace


(1) 2 Rounds
250m Swim at Interval based on SESSION 1 500m Swim Time
Rest 2 minutes

(2) 2 Rounds
500m Fin Swim interval Pace based on your SESSION 4 1500m time
Rest 3 minutes

(3) 5 Rounds
Air Squats
30% of your Max Reps Scored for SESSION 4 Every 60 Seconds,
1 Round, Max Reps Pull-ups in 60 seconds

(4) 5 Rounds
Flutter Kicks
30% of your Max Reps Scored for SESSION 4 Every 60 Seconds, then...
1 Round, Max Reps in 60 Seconds


Obj: 6 Mile Run Work


(1) 2 Rounds
2 Mile Run at Interval Pace based on SESSION 5, 6 Mile time

CLICK HERE for the MTI Running Calculator




Obj: Core, Work Capacity


(1) 60x Sandbag Getups @ 60# Sandbag

(2) 4 Rounds
300m Shuttle every 2:30

(3) 4 Rounds
60 sec Farmer Carry @ 45#
20/20 Standing Founder
20/20 Low Back Lunge
20/20 Kneeling Founder

(4) 3 Rounds
Instep Stretch Hip Flexor Stretch
Lat + Pec


Obj: Ruck Run Work


(1) 3 Rounds
Ruck Run 1 Mile at Interval Pace based on SESSION 2 finish time.

Load: 45#, 10 lb Rubber Rifle



Obj: Swim Work Cap

Warm Up:

100m stroke of choice

50m arms only

50m legs only (kick board)

100m freestyle

(1) 50m freestyle Hypoxic


-1x50m @ 1 breath every 2


-1x50m @ 1 breath every 4


-1x50m @ 1 breath every 6


-1x50m @ 1 breath every 8


-1x50m @ 1 breath every 10


Rest 30 Seconds between


(2) 4 rounds

25m underwater swim

Freestyle Sprint back to start

Rest 60 Seconds between rounds

(3) Tread work:

3 rounds:

30 seconds treading water, followed by 15 seconds with left hand out of the water, followed by 15  seconds right hand out of the water, then immediately ..

(4) Tread water for 10

minutes - hands in water



Obj: Work Capacity

Warm up:

3 Rounds

Run 200m

10x Air Squats

10x Push ups

10x Situps

Instep Stretch


(1) 8 Rounds

5x Walking Lunge with 60# Sandbag Across Shoulders

5x Sandbag Burpees

Walk/Run 100m with 45# dumbbells in farmer carry

30 Seconds Rest

(2) 4 Rounds

25x Flutter Kicks

Hip Flexor Stretch



Rest Day

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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.



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

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?


I wanted to send along my gratitude for the programming and assistance you provided over the past few months. Last week I went through a USAF Special Tactics Officer Selection. The week was full of grueling workouts and leadership challenges. Your CCT/PJ/CRO Selection plan left me more than prepared to handle it all.

Each of the focus areas (ruck run, heavy ruck, swim work cap, PAST, etc.) was spot on for what we saw at selection. The workouts provided a meaningful and objective challenge each day, with logical progression towards improvement. I've used other selection workouts with success, but none of them matched the logical layout and sensible progressions for your workouts. All of this is to say that I was extremely successful at selection and was picked up. I couldn't be happier with my Mountain Tactical Institute experience and will be returning to the site for tune up training as I get ready to hit the pipeline.

Can recommend some changes as someone who followed your program exactly and then went to selection? First, put STO in the title! It works perfectly for those of us trying to become STO's as I'm sure it works for CRO hopefuls too. Personally, I was weak in my sit ups to begin with. Overall the PAST preparation was great, but I wish there was more of it. The once a week focus on calisthenics might not be enough for people needing work on their muscular endurance. I might suggest throwing in an extra day or workout for calisthenics. Overall the plan is great. These were minor things that I altered or fixed on my own, but might help another hopeful in the future.

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