Pre-military training


First Timer
Hey everyone,
this is my first post on the forum. I just finished Pavel’s interview with joe rogan and I’m extremely interested in learning more and adapting my training. I saw that Pavel
has taught marines training styles and that’s the branch i’ll be going into through an officer program. I plan to branch infantry or field artillery and looking towards joining the raiders later down the line. I’m currently 20 years old, male, 5’11’’, guessing somewhere between 12-16% body fat, and about 180 pounds. I was an endurance athlete in high school (cross country, swimming, track, some basketball) and played a couple years of club water polo at school but that’s finished. I’m currently just weightlifting with a standard body building split and routine, and doing 30-45 minutes of cardio a day that’s either a cycling class, a distance run, sprints, or basketball. Prepping for the military, i’m joining a mma gym this week to begin to learn martial arts. I would like a training program that can incorporate and improve my cardio, weight lifting, and allow me to do mma. There’s so much information on this website and I just don’t know where to begin to formulate a program for myself.


Triple-Digit Post Count
Al Ciampa is the resident expert on this. Id read some of his threads and check out his website. Sorry dont know it off hand.

Spartan Agoge

Still New to StrongFirst Forum
I would do some 3x5 for the big 3(squat 2/week, bench 2/week, deadlift 1/week), and "grease the groove" for bodyweight exercises, if I were you.

For cardio, 2/week sprinting or hiit, and 1/week jogging.

I think something like this would make stronger, improve your endurance, and allow you to do your sport, without messing the recovery.
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Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I think for all military, training should be segregated into preparatory and operational. I think operators have a different set of requirements and constraints than at schools and selections.

Schools and selections are physically demanding in a different way than operations. Strength will equate to durability and aerobic conditioning will equate to recoverability.

I think the powerlifts and assistance lifts are where the majority of preparatory training should focus to build the most durable tactical athlete. I think kettlebells are better suited to operational athletes. S&S makes a great warm-up for powerlift training days.

Rucking can be hard on feet, hips, and low back and I would probably spend a decent amount of my aerobic time with a pack on. Other aerobic training I would try to have be low impact like swimming or rowing instead of running. Any running I would probably have no more than once per week and it would be 1-3 min intervals with a plate carrier on. Plate carrier compress the chest different than a pack.


More than 5000 posts

Nice post from @Bro Mo There is a difference between selection and operational life.

The more you get close to the selection, the more specific the training has to be. For instance, if the test calls for x sit ups, then do sit ups the weeks before. Otherwise, more general training such as StrongFirst programmes are great for preparation.

Once admitted, maintenance is another story (westside barbell, tactical barbell, etc...)

Kind regards,


Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I didn't mean specificity for a PFT. I mean the frequency, volume, and intensity of training during schools and selection is higher and should be developed. It would be like training to not only do a PFT but then do it again in the afternoon, and then again the next day. Schools often train the mind by breaking the body. They take the body to failure, and often. The ability to keep taking those punches needs to be trained with its own appreciation.


More than 2500 posts
For the most part I agree with @Bro Mo , we both had long careers in the Navy in different fields. Your training for completing basic training in my opinion needs to be basic, GPP. Since you are looking at the Army I would suggest rucking alternated with running on different days. S&S would serve well as well as a steady diet of push ups and pull ups. You'll need to pay attention to lower body injuries as your rucking and running times increase.

After basic there's time to add in heavier weight training if that's your thing.


More than 500 posts
Read the Tactical Barbell books. It's all in there. The bonus is that their approach doesn't only apply to military/LEO, but that is how it's all frame and discussed.
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More than 500 posts
Read the Tactical Barbell books. It's all in there. The bonus is that their approach doesn't apply to military/LEO, but that is how it's all framed.
Yes, TB is a great read and the templates are awesome. Very clear structured and yet flexible.
However, personally I would disregard the sample sessions in TB conditioning and use Strongfirst ballistic protocols instead (S&S, later A+A or Q&D). But then again I am just a desk worker and cannot speak for military/LEO.

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Unintentionally, after trial, error, and modification, my training looks a lot like Tactical Barbell. If I had more time to train and do 2/days again, it would look like Matt Wenning's Tactical Manual or Alex Viada's Hybrid Athlete. Those two are able to do a lot of volume without injuring. Mountain Tactical is good but now that I'm older, Rob's programs usually injure me somehow. Jeff Nichols programs at Performance First are good too but similarly injure me now.


More than 500 posts
I tried TB Operator last winter, and despite losing the plot somewhat toward the end, made good strength progress. TB and Easy Strength have been what I've been looking for for years, a way to get stronger without beating myself up. Both programs leave me plenty of time, energy, and recovery for my primary pursuits outdoors.

This year I'm running TB Fighter Bangkok variation for Jan-Mar. Two days a week of max strength work on SQ, BP, PU, DL and one day for strength endurance work. The SE sessions will vary month to month, based on KB/BW stuff, maybe a sandbag. Maybe I'll finally build my gada.

The TB conditioning stuff is beyond me, but I need MTB specific conditioning anyway. But for someone who wants into the world of military and LEO, everything is explained that way. Who it's for, why it works, how to program it. The personal anecdote of the value of low intensity aerobic base building is fantastic and complements nicely the explanations in The Uphill Athlete.
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