USMC Combat Fitness Test (CFT) Training Plan


  • 4-week plan, 5 days/week
  • Sharp focus on upper body muscular endurance, stamina, agility, and anaerobic capacity
  • Includes simulated MANUF assessments
  • This training plan is one of the 250+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.


Four-week program designed specifically to help applicants achieve the highest possible score on each portion of the USMC CFT:

This program is designed for athletes who would like to focus their attention for the 4 weeks prior to taking the USMC CFT.

Overall, this program has a sharp focus on improving your upper body muscular endurance, stamina, agility, and anaerobic capacity.



This program follows a general format and gets progressively harder each week.  Training is designed in a Monday – Friday format, 5 days on, 2 days off.  If  you are unable to follow this format, that is fine.  Simply do the workouts on the available days of the week without skipping workouts. 

This program is best completed at a facility with a track and open field, preferably with a pull-up station nearby (not required).  For the field training portions of the program you will need approximately 25 yards of open space.

Due to the complexity of the USMC CFT MANUF event we think it is impractical to require you to set-up and complete the entire MANUF multiple times throughout training.  Instead we have designed a simplified MANUF assessment which we have substituted and will use to progress your training.  The simplified course allows you to train for each event in the MANUF without the burden of a complicated set-up.  We call it the Devil Dog Assessment

While the Devil Dog Assessment tests all the same physical aspects as the actual MANUF event, we still recommend that you complete at least one trial run of the USMC CFT MANUF course prior to your test.  Being familiar with the actual MANUF course will all you to better transfer the skills you gain during this training plan.

Your training for the USMC CFT will be divided into the three separate components: (1) MTC, (2) AL and (3) MANUF. 

(1) Training for the MTC will consist primarily of speed endurance runs of 220 yard and 440 yards.

(2) Training for the AL will consist primarily of upper body strength and upper body strength endurance events.

(3) Training for the MANUF will consist primarily of sprints, agility drills, high crawls, modified high crawls, dragging objects, carrying objects and body weight exercises. 

Note: We will not train for the grenade toss portion of the MANUF event.  If an athlete wishes to train for this event they will need to prepare on their own.    




  • On the first and third Monday you will complete our modified USMC CFT assessment (MTC, AL and Devil Dog).
  • On the second and forth Monday you will train for the 880 yard MTC event by doing 440 yard sprints.
  • Every Monday will include a strength training circuit focused on improving the 30# AL event.
  • Every Monday will also include a short core strength circuit to finish the session.


  • Training will consist mostly of three 5 to 10 minute work capacity circuits to simulate the MANUF event.
  • The circuits will always take place on a 25 yard course – just like the Devil Dog Assessment. 
  • Exercises will include: sprints, high crawls, modified high crawls, SC drag, SC Carry and weighted shuttles.
  • Every Tuesday will conclude with durability training for your shoulders.


  • Training will begin with a strength/strength endurance circuit to help prepare you for the AL event.  The exercises in the circuit are the 30# Ammo Can lift (or Dumbbells lift), pull-ups and sit-ups.
  • Training will also include 220 yard sprints.  To progress these runs we will decrease rest each week.


  • Training will begin with a strength endurance circuit of Ammo Can lifts.  The circuit will get progressively longer throughout the training cycle.
  • Thursday’s training will focus on the 30 minute Work Capacity event.  The circuit is designed to mimic the demands of the MANUF event.  The interval for the circuit will decrease each week.
  • Every Thursdays will conclude with durability training for your shoulders.


  • Training will be focused on developing the necessary stamina and endurance to allow you to perform an event at a high level, recover and perform a subsequent event.
  • Training will include two over-distance runs of 1.5 miles separated by a Work Capacity circuit.
  • Rest between the events will be kept at 3:00 to simulate the break between events on the actual USMC CFT (which is no more than 5:00).




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:



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

In order to complete this program, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • (1) Training partner of similar height and weight (alternatives: training dummy or 80# sandbag)

  • (2) Timepiece or stopwatch

  • (3) PT shirt, shorts and shoes

  • (4) Marine Pattern (MARPAT) utility uniform or other service utility uniform and boots

  • (5) 2x 5.56mm ammunition cans weighing 30# (a combination of sand and water can be added to reach the required weight)

  • 2x 30# dumbbells can be substituted if necessary

  • (6) Cones, pylons, utility flags, sand bags or other visible markers

  • (7) Tape measure of at least 100 feet (or another way of measuring a 25 yard course)

  • (8) Pull-Up Bar

  • (9) Course or track of known distances (220 yards, 440 yards and 880 yards)

We strongly recommend you train in your MARPAT utility uniform whenever possible as this will be the uniform you wear during the CFT. Your MARPAT blouse can be removed during strength training to simulate the conditions during the AL event.

However, since you will be running the MTC and MANUF events in full uniform we recommend you simulate this condition whenever possible. At a minimum we recommend you complete all running and work capacity events in your boots.

Sample Training


OBJ: Work Capacity


3 Rounds

  • 5x 30# Ammo Can Press
  • 5x Lunges
  • 10x Sit-Ups
  • 10x Air Squats
  • Lat+Pec Stretch
  • Instep Stretch
  • Training

(1) 6 Rounds

6x 25 yard shuttles
Rest 90 sec.

**Rest 3 min.**

(2) 6 Rounds

4x 25 yard shuttles
Rest 90 sec.

Do 100 yards as:

  • 12.5 yard High Crawl
  • 12.5 yard Mod High Crawl
  • 12.5 yard SC Drag
  • 67.5 yard SC Carry

**Rest 3 min.**

(3) 6 Rounds

6 x 25 yard shuttles w/ 30# Ammo Cans or 30# DB
Rest 90 sec.

(4) 4 Rounds

5x Shoulder Scarecrow
Hip Flexor + Pigeon



OBJ: Run / Stamina


Run 400m (1 lap), then…
3 Rounds

  • 10x Air Squats
  • 5x Push-Ups
  • 5x Lunges
  • Lat+Pec
  • Instep+Pigeon


(1) Run 1.5 mile as fast as possible

**Rest 3 min.**

(2) 10 Rounds, For Time

6x 30# Ammo Can Press
6x 30# Ammo Can Thruster
3x Pull-Ups

**Rest 3 min.**

(3) Run 1.5 mile as fast as possible

**Rest 3 min.**

(4) 4 Rounds 
60 sec. Front Bridge
12x Sit-Ups
12x EOs
12x Face Down Back Extension


(1)1.5 mile: ___:___ (m:ss)

(2) 10 Rds: ___:___ (m:ss)

(3)1.5 mile: ___:___ (m:ss)

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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 drop you a note of thanks for your USMC CFT program.

I thought my last CFT was last year, but I pulled my retirement and have a few more left to go. I went through the CFT prep course 2+ times this summer and fall and on Friday ran my best CFT ever. I not only maxed each event but had plenty left in the tank.

I'm 49 years old and I have plenty of aches and injuries. Your programming helps me work through those issues and gives me the confidence to improve.

Thank you.


I’ve been in the Marine Corps for almost six years now and just ran my sixth CFT. The first five years, my scores ranged from 255 to 273, and I always felt like I had plateaued. I’ve never been the “linebacker” build, never super quick on sprints and never been great at high intensity exercises.

I got the subscription to Mountain Tactical in September and immediately started the CFT training plan to get ready. I only completed three out of the four weeks of training due to some scheduling conflicts with an upcoming procedure. After only doing three out of four weeks of the CFT training plan, I’m happy to share that I ran a 291 CFT today.

The programming was spot on and prepared me very well for the CFT. I’m glad I decided to get the subscription and can’t wait to start the next program and see what results I can get.


I’m 43 and haven’t run the CFT for the last two years due to injuries. I’ve purchased your CFT plan and executed the program for the last 8 weeks. I scored a 290 last Friday!


I want to thank you for what you do. I'm 45 and an active duty Marine. I took my CFT today and scored a 291.

I've used a couple of your plans and I really appreciate your approach. I told the young guys that I may not be as fast or reliable as I was 20 years ago, but I feel a lot better every day. I also enjoy your blog posts and outlook.

Anyway, I don't want to take up much of your time, but want to say again, thanks.
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