How to Conquer Ruck Marches, The MTNTOUGH Military Pack Test

Military training is as rigorous as it gets thanks to the constant stress on the body. Nestled in this broad form of train is the ruck march - which is no joke. Ruck marches push you to your limits both physically and mentally, testing endurance and fortitude. But what if there was a way to make your ruck march training even more effective and efficient? 

Enter the MTNTOUGH Military Pack Test (M.M.P.T.), a revolutionary workout program designed to supercharge your ruck march preparation and overall military readiness.

Weighted pack training has been a part of MTNTOUGH’s programs since our inception - born from our expertise in backcountry hunting fitness where our heavy pack workouts simulate a hunter's experience in the woods. This helps our mountain athletes build critical back and leg strength that can handle the brunt of heavy loads over many miles of rugged terrain.

It was only a matter of time before we tailored the same concept to military workouts. The M.M.P.T will help you crush ruck marches and thrive in military life, all while sporting that never-quit attitude.

The MTNTOUGH Difference: Mindset and Movement

MTNTOUGH is all about helping you unleash your inner beast. Our training program is specifically crafted for backcountry hunters, mountain athletes, military personnel, LEO, firefighters, and all badass athletes who crave a challenge.

With a robust range of programs, covering everything from year-round backcountry hunter fitness to physical therapy (prehab/rehab) and mental toughness courses - if it involves sharpening your mind and body, we've most likely created an effective program for it. One that keeps you motivated and values functional fitness over trendy fitness - in other words, guiding you to strength where it truly matters.

We're not just talking about physical strength here either; we're heavily invested in coaching all our athletes to greater mental toughness. This is what sets MTNTOUGH apart from the rest, giving you the tools you need to unleash your inner warrior, regardless of your fitness level.

So whether you're a fitness rookie or a professional athlete, if you're looking for workouts that push your physical and mental limits, MTNTOUGH's mix of programs and difficulties is your ticket to crushing your goals and reaching your full potential.

In this article, we'll dive into the details of the M.M.P.T. and show you how incorporating this unique workout into your training regimen can help you conquer the ruck march like never before. Ready? Then let the test begin.

The MTNTOUGH Military Pack Test

Just in case we haven't properly made this clear, the M.M.P.T. is no ordinary workout - it's the first military workout of its kind, and it's brutally effective. The mad scientist behind it all is MTNTOUGH Trainer, Jimmy Alsobrook Jr. You'll have some choice words for Jimmy during your first go at the M.M.P.T., but as you start to see and feel the progress, you'll appreciate him more and more. As for this workout, if you commit to the full program, you'll walk away with the most important tools to excel in a military career. That's more than enough reason to thank the man behind the curtain.


How the M.M.P.T. Works

The magic of the M.M.P.T. is how it overprepares your body and mind, resulting in more economical movements. Here’s how it works:

  1. Begin by running a mile and a half.
  2. 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.
  3. Take the pack off and run another mile and a half.

We told you it was simple. But don't confuse that for easy, because this beast doesn't go down without a fight - it evolves into an even more challenging version of itself.

The Evolving Challenge

The M.M.P.T. is a progressive program you can work through over 10 weeks, or condensed into five weeks. To ensure you're getting the most out of your weight, your minimum dumbbell weight is 40 pounds a piece and your maximum pack weight is 100 pounds.

Once you find your first maximum pack and dumbbell weights, you'll begin the journey of 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

We get it, this looks undoable on day 1, and if it doesn't look that way to you, report back after you give it your first shot.

Welcome back - we have something for you. It's the key to unlocking the sweet spot of the M.M.P.T. To do this, you have to find your limits. This is your bedrock to reaping the most benefit from the M.M.P.T. so you can tackle any military training in your future. Once you have this baseline, you can set clear goals that progressively push you through the levels.

The Weight of Progress

To get started, you'll need to land on the right weight. That's going to be one where you're so drained that you have to drop the dumbbells about 10-15 times throughout the one-mile walk. This translates into 400-600 lunges (thanks Jimmy).

Try to stick with the weight you choose, but keep in mind that you're trying to decrease the number of times you drop the dumbbells. If this isn't doable, slightly reduce the dumbbell weight until you're getting about 13 drops.

When you ultimately progress to the point where you only drop the dumbbells 10 or fewer times, that's your cue to increase the challenge and progress to the next level. Congratulations, it's time to start anew. you reduce your drops to 10, you’re ready for the next level.

4 Reasons the MTNTOUGH Military Pack Test Is Effective

Like every MTNTOUGH workout, countless rounds of testing are conducted in the Lab before we ever release it to the entire community. Week after week, we put athletes of all backgrounds through the wringer on this one.

From military elite to former NFL players, cross-fitters, ultra runners, and everyone in between; we have never seen our athletes this smoked by a workout. 

So then, what makes this workout so uniquely effective?

1. Inspired Simplicity

Simply put, the M.M.P.T. incorporates a heavy pack with traditional exercises, such as the farmer carry to build your strength, stamina, and mental toughness. And this otherworldly workout was inspired by outer space. Well, sort of...

“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.”

Back on earth, Jimmy also found inspiration for the M.M.P.T. from his heavy research into traditional farmer carries and their benefits for the body. They say the best ideas are often the simplest, and this element of the M.M.P.T. certainly doesn't disappoint.

By adding a weighted pack to traditional exercises like farmer carries and condensing them into one ultra-intense workout, the M.M.P.T. elicits a supercharged response from the body, ready for the rigors of military training. Whether that's ruck marches, the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), or any other combat training you can imagine.

2. High Accessibility

Finding a challenging workout or exercise and modifying it so that anyone can benefit is a mammoth task. So taking such an insanely difficult workout like the M.M.P.T. and adapting it to anyone that's called to take the test is no small feat - the adaptability and user-friendliness of this test make it shine. So no matter where you are in your military fitness, we've got your back. 

Plus, with the MTNTOUGH+ app, you'll have ample resources and support to help you tackle any challenge that comes your way, and you'll get 14 days to try it out for free. The MTNTOUGH community is reason alone to give MTNTOUGH+ a shot. The group is active and serves as a great backstop to keep your motivation and self-discipline levels fully charged.

3. Mental Toughness Required

One of the standout features of the M.M.P.T. is its focus on mental toughness. Like all our programs, you're mental resilience will be engaged and grown with as much emphasis as your physical conditioning.

Just like modifying exercises in this workout to meet your level of fitness, the same adaptability is applied to the mental components. Wherever you're at in your military career, this workout will rewire your brain to push through mental barriers, teach you how to thrive under immense pressure, and reach your full potential.

4. Full-Body Experience

One of the key differences in the M.M.P.T. is how it works with every fiber of your body. This translates into significant and measurable results, especially compared to traditional military training workouts.

Jimmy puts it like this, “It’s a 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.”

What Are Others Saying About the M.M.P.T. ?

When it comes to the effectiveness and results, don't just take our word for it - the MTNTOUGH Military Pack Test is drenched in rave reviews from military personnel, ROTC cadets, and fitness professionals alike. The highlight reel includes the program's effectiveness, unique features, and focus on mental toughness training. If you look at the reviews, here's a good idea of what you'll find:

A US Navy SEAL's Opinion

Former Navy SEAL Alex Fichtler says the M.M.P.T. will have an immediate and complete impact on 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.”

A US ARMY ROTC Cadet's Opinion

Opposite the retired Navy SEAL, ROTC cadets sing praises of the program as well. One just so happens to be MTNTOUGH's Aidan Quigley - an Army ROTC Cadet who set out for Advanced Camp at Fort Knox this year. Aiden took part in the testing of the M.M.P.T., referring to it as 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 game-changer 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 in 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.”

What the Founder of MTNTOUGH Has to Say

MTNTOUGH Founder, Dustin Diefendorfer, has been blown away by the feedback and outcomes the workout is generating. As the leader of an organization that highly values the work and sacrifice of the military, only the best will do when it comes to creating a program geared toward military professionals. Dustin's extremely pleased, to say the least.

“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 M.M.P.T. Will Humble You to Excellence

Jimmy also wears the M.M.P.T. with pride, as he should.

“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.”

We all know that making it through ruck marches requires great physical fitness, but if you aren't the type to settle for "barely making it" and instead, want to crush ruck marches, then it's time to step your training game up. Go ahead, and take the test above to get your footing, then lace up your boots and step through every level of the program.

Along the way, stop by the MTNTOUGH+ app and make use of your 14-day free trial. Even if you don't try other workouts, we want you to fuel up with the MTNTOUGH community's support.