Weighted pack training has been a part of MTNTOUGH’s programs since our inception. Originally specialized for backcountry hunters, our heavy pack workouts simulate what a hunter will experience in the woods, building critical back and leg strength to prepare hunters to carry heavy loads over long periods of time in rugged terrain. Now, we are bringing the same concept to military workouts with the MTNTOUGH Military Pack Test.
The MTNTOUGH Military Pack Test (M.M.P.T.) is the first military workout of its kind. MTNTOUGH Trainer Jimmy Alsobrook Jr. jokes that the idea for the new workout came from outer space.
“When I first started thinking about it, I was at home watching a video on astronauts,” Alsobrook explains. “They were talking about how fast the body adapts to being in space, losing muscle mass and bone density at zero gravity. My idea was to do the opposite to build strength for physical and mental toughness, adapting a heavy pack to a military workout plan.”
Alsobrook had also been researching traditional farmer carries and their benefits for the body. By adding a weighted pack to traditional exercises like the farmer carry and condensing them into one ultra-intense workout, the M.M.P.T. elicits a supercharged response from the body to over-prepare it for the rigors of military training, including ruck marches, the Army Combat Fitness Test, and just about any kind of combat training.
Military training is as rigorous as it gets, placing constant stress on the body. The Military Pack Test over-prepares your body and teaches you how to be economical in your movement. Its beauty is in its simplicity and scalability. Here’s how it works:
- Begin by running a mile and a half.
- Put on the weighted pack and carry two dumbbells on a one-mile walk. Eventually, your grip will start to fail. If you set the dumbbells down, do 20 lunges away and then 20 lunges back. Pick the dumbbells up again and continue until you’ve walked the full mile.
- Take the pack off and run another mile and a half.
The progressive program can be done over 10 weeks or condensed into five weeks. Once you find your first maximum pack and dumbbell weights, you can begin advancing through five levels:
- Level 1: 140 pounds TOTAL weight
- Level 2: 160 pounds TOTAL weight
- Level 3: 180 pounds TOTAL weight
- Level 4: 200 pounds TOTAL weight
- Level 5: 220+ pounds TOTAL weight
The key is finding your limits and then progressively working up through the levels to find your sweet spot. To ensure you are getting the most out of your weight, we established a minimum dumbbell weight of 40 pounds apiece and a maximum pack weight of 100 pounds. Start by picking the right weight so you’re dropping the dumbbells about 10 to 15 times, which means you’ll be doing 400 to 600 lunges. Stay with the weight you choose and try to bring your dumbbell drops down or slightly reduce the dumbbell weight until you’re getting about 13 drops. Once you reduce your drops to 10, you’re ready for the next level.
Alsobrook says the benefits of the new full body military workout are significant and realized throughout the entire body.
“It’s full-body activation. Every muscle in the body has to work. You’re using muscles you never would’ve used otherwise. It will build resilience and prepare you for any kind of load. It’s one of the hardest, most mentally challenging workouts we’ve ever done. If you really want to push yourself with a low risk of injury, this is your workout. Plus, you can do it in a relatively small space.”
Like every MTNTOUGH workout, we have been testing the M.M.P.T. in the Lab, putting our athletes through the ringer week after week. From military elite to former NFL players, crossfitters, ultra runners and everywhere in between, we’ve never seen our athletes this smoked by a workout.
“It will humble anyone,” Alsobrook says. “I don’t care who you are. I challenge anybody to do this. It should be a part of everyone’s workout. We started seeing major results right away and knew we had something special. It’s really creating a fire in our athletes. At first, guys think it’s just awful. Then, by the time they’re on week three, they’re addicted. This workout is giving everyone who does it results like we’ve never seen before.”
Former Navy SEAL Alex Fichtler says the M.M.P.T. will have an immediate and complete impact for military training.
“This is going to be huge,” Fichtler explains. “The constant physical demands and the mental aspect of this workout set it apart. It’s a true full-body workout and bakes in many of the aspects of what a military operator will experience. You don’t have the opportunity to quit in a combat situation, and the pack test prepares you to maintain consistent performance and to keep battling through pain and fatigue. It translates really well into the demands of combat training.”
MTNTOUGH’s Aidan Quigley is an Army ROTC Cadet and is preparing for Advanced Camp at Fort Knox in 2023. He’s been part of the M.M.P.T. testing and says it will be his go-to training tool.
“It puts you straight into the pain cave,” Quigley says. “At first, you hit a point where you’re absolutely done, but you have to keep going. There’s nothing like it in any of the available military workout programs. I think it’s going to be a gamechanger for people looking for a boot camp workout to physically prepare for Army basic training.”
Quigley completed his first workout in an hour and 33 minutes using 55-pound dumbbells and a 60-pound pack, burning 1,388 calories with an average heart rate of 160. He advanced to Level 2 and completed it at an hour and 16 minutes with 45-pound dumbbells and a 90-pound pack.
“After my first workout, everything in my body was done. I wanted to die. I drank two gallons of water the next day. But then on the second workout, something clicked. I was faster, felt better, and wanted to do it again. It does something to your mentality. There’s no way to escape or cheat unless you just quit. Because of that, the adaptation and progression are really fast.”
MTNTOUGH Founder Dustin Diefendorfer has been blown away by the results everyone is seeing, and he’s particularly proud to offer the new program to the military.
“I’m really proud of this workout and everybody on the team who helped to create and test it,” Diefendorfer explains. “It’s all about solving problems for our community. We originally created our weighted pack training program for hunters who were complaining about sore hips and traps, especially after carrying out a kill. This should be a mandatory workout for backcountry hunters, but we really built it for the military. We’re honored to be able to bring this to our servicemen and women, and we know it’s going to be a phenomenal program for them.”
The complete program also features a regimented military workout routine to round out the test. Find the new M.M.P.T. and other workouts like it in the MTNTOUGH+ app.