After Years of Testing, the online 90-Day MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter Program is finally here.

Every sport, and hunting is no exception, requires multiple levels of training. You can go on an high altitude hunt but you’ll do better if you’ve trained your body to utilize oxygen more efficiently; you can chase down a big bull– but you’ll chase him further if you’ve trained your muscles to move over long distances; you can get a clean shot on your target but you may not hit the shot if you have not trained your mind to settle down, lower your heart rate, and steady your body; you might get a great kill…but it doesn’t do a whole lot of good if you don’t have the physical strength to carry it out; and you can go on a multi-day mountain hunt but it will be miserable if your body is not conditioned for the longer duration and steep terrain. That is what the MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter Program will give you - not just one dimension...but all of them.

Enrollment for 2018 has been sold out, the program will be available again Spring 2019.

MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter Program


A Humbling Task...

How The Program Works

The MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter program is a, 5x/week schedule, 90-day online training program that guides you through three specific phases-

Phase I: Neural recruitment
Using Phase II’s target exercises as our goal we developed a high intensity, low weight, strict form introduction phase to dig deep into the neuromuscular recruitment and prepare them for the intensity of phase II and phase III. Beginner level clients will gain substantially during this phase. Experience clients will meet a new level of intensity during this phase and learn to recruit muscles they probably are not currently recruiting fully.

Phase II: Strength
Here we build the solid foundation upon which the dynamic exercises will grow.

Phase III: Dynamic sports-specific
This phase is where we really build the machine. Having maximized neuromuscular recruitment as much as we could and having built 4 weeks of intense strength we now transition to a high intensity, super-set format with dynamic and ballistic movements. This is where we really hammer in on those skills (agility, body control, symmetry (and asymmetry), mental toughness, endurance, confidence, and power) directly related to and necessary for elite level performance in their specific event.


A New Type Of Online Training Program

“I have ran a marathon, tried crossfit, and everything in between… I wouldn't say that those things don't work, but they don't work the way MTNTOUGH does.”

I train for hunting in the mountains. Not only out west, but back here in NW Pennsylvania where I am from as well.

Training has been a part of my life since high school, but these days, hunting is what keeps me motivated to wake up at 5am and get to it. Every year, I do usually one trip out west, for a 7-10 day, Elk or Mule Deer, backcountry, bivy style hunt. And back home I hunt our big woods whitetails very hard. When most people think of whitetail hunting, they don't think of it being physical, but when you hunt mobile, in the mountains we have here, it is a grind!

I have tried all kinds of training. I have ran a marathon, tried crossfit, and everything in between.

I wouldn't say that those things don't work, but they don't work the way MTNTOUGH does.

This program has really changed how I look at my training. It is about more than hunting now. It has made me realize what I am physically capable of, and how to mentally push through any struggle. It has positively impacted my entire life.

I have always had a weak core, which lead to a lot of lower back strains and injuries. I will be honest, that issue is totally gone at the moment. I feel strong. I don't bend over to pick something up and think about how I am going to do it. I just do it. I know this will help me tremendously in the mountains!

My legs are stronger. My core is stronger. My stamina and recovery is stronger. I have put on upper body muscle that is unlike anything I have done before. And I don't mean size and bulk. Lean muscle. I think that I "look strong" which is a good feeling.

The largest difference is without question my mental strength. I feel unstoppable after these workouts. And I mean that in all aspects of life. I am more positive, outgoing, and a better husband and father because of it. I know this new mental toughness will be a huge help this fall.

I will without question recommend this to anyone who asks. I can't tell you the number of people at the gym that take notice to how hard I am working. It's intriguing. I have already made a few posts on social media about the program. And that is something I don't usually do, but I am a believer!

I would tell people that doing this program will absolutely make you stronger, faster, and most importantly mentally tough. BUT, you better be willing to work your ass off. It's no joke. And maybe to make their wife happy, buy a separate laundry basket for their workout clothes, because you are going to write a new definition for the word "sweat"! But all joking aside, MtnTough just works. Period. - Kelly McGraw

Why Cardio Isn’t Enough For the Backcountry

So many guys that come to work with us have similar stories to Thomas.  

He wrote us last week:

“I'm going to be 100% honest.  Originally I signed up for the MTNTOUGH pack workout for the sole purpose of trying to win the SG pack. When I got the workout I didn't really think much of it, I've been running pretty religiously since December around 25-35km a week and figured I was getting in decent shape.  

Well I decided to give to workout a go last night.....that was a shocker.  I'm laying in bed right now wondering how I'm going to get out of it and take care of my daughter today.  Not to get too graphic but everything from my nipples down is sore!

I quickly realized after the second set of intervals how not much I am NOT mountain ready...  

Thanks, I guess, for the wake up call...I'm really glad that August is far enough away that I can get on this program and not shame myself in the high Country.”


Whether it’s running or biking or the stairmaster, effective conditioning for the backcountry is about much more than just "cardio." Honestly, most gym workouts don't translate well at all to increased performance in the mountains.  

Once you put on a 50 pound pack and start climbing in elevation on uneven terrain with lower levels of oxygen for 10+ miles a day, your body needs so much more than cardio to be able to perform.

“A good training plan has multiple layers and multiple levels – an unbalanced training plan is like an unbalanced wheel – it will run…but it won’t run well.  And a lack of a training plan is like driving on a back country road that’s well travelled…you’ll just fall into the same rut as everybody else.”

Top 3 Questions About the MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter Program

1) When can I start the Backcountry Program?

Many of you have written in... planning a vacation, getting married, have an injury or are finishing up another workout program. No problem. That’s one of the reasons why we’re giving you lifetime access to the Backcountry Hunter program. You will get access immediately after purchase, can start at anytime and can come back to it year after year to prepare for the season.

2) What equipment do I need?

Here’s some of the equipment you will need in order to get the most out of this program. You can definitely substitute some items and we’ll try to help you with that but to get the most out of the program we recommend the following:

  • A full set of dumbbells ranging from 10 pounds to at least 80 pounds ( Don't need the larger dumbbells if you have a bench press with plates)
  • A standalone bench
  • Squat rack (you can substitute dumbbell exercises for the squat rack type work but, again, there are some limitations)
  • A barbell or trap bar and around 250 pounds of plates
  • Cardio machines (like treadmills, stationary bikes, rowers, stair masters, etc) – we recommend a variety but, again, you can substitute for these workouts and we’ll try to help you with that.
  • A cable machine
  • Leg extension machine (we have modifications for this if your gym doesn’t have one)
  • Pull up bar
  • Step ups or box jump platforms

3) What is included in the MTNTOUGH Backcountry Program?

  • 5 video-based workouts per week for 12-weeks
  • Mobile access, the MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter program is with you wherever you go, if you’re on a smartphone, tablet or desktop
  • Bonus technique videos for difficult movements and dynamic workouts
  • Access to the private MTNTOUGH community, “The Lab” where you can connect, share, and collaborate
  • Accountability from MTNTOUGH athletes, like-minded individuals that you have an open line of communication with
  • Training support from the MTNTOUGH team
  • Lifetime access

When we had guys coming to us asking for this type of Backcountry Hunter Program, they were trying to avoid the expense of working with a personal trainer, but hoping for similar results. This program was built to replicate roughly 60 sessions with a personal trainer over a 90-day period, which would have cost them around $3,000 (given the average rate of $50/hour).

You get more than just a personal trainer with the Backcountry Hunter Program, you get specialized, hunting specific training created by an experienced team. A team that includes die hard elk hunters, years of strength and conditioning experience, a former Navy SEAL, a former Army Colonel, Army Ranger and Westpoint Physical Education Instructor.

The MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter program is focused on building a balanced athlete. One that incorporates the 6 pillars of MTN TOUGH:

We have tested this program extensively on backcountry hunters, here is what they have to say...

“I have no doubt it will pay off in November when I'm hiking up a mountain and questioning whether I should keep going higher and farther -- I know my mind and body will be better prepared to answer, "Hell, yes, keep going.”

I train for hunting in the mountains of southwest Montana as well as overall fitness, strength, and injury prevention.

The old routine of a variety of lifting weights got beyond boring. I then did CrossFit for a few years and really liked it, but as a father of two young kids with a full-time job it's tough (and expensive) to drive to a gym with limited class times.

My workouts at the gym had gotten pretty stale and boring. A friend told me about how much he loved MTNTOUGH, and it sounded like an awesome program. I knew I needed to change things up, and MTNTOUGH has been the perfect program for me to take my workouts to a whole new level and make my time at the gym more productive and enjoyable.

Being able to do the MTNTOUGH program on my own has been invaluable.

This program has completely changed my approach to working out. I focus more on my legs, I get my heart rate up higher, I feel better leaving the gym, and I enjoy my time at the gym more.

I now walk into the gym with a plan and a purpose and an excitement to complete the workout and get my butt kicked by it. That change in how I go to the gym and approach my workout has been huge.

Before it was more about just getting through my workout, being bored of the same routine, and wishing I were in the mountains or somewhere outside while I was working out.

I'm stronger, and I have a new approach and mindset when I go to the gym at lunch for my workout.

I thought I was in pretty good shape, but I was getting really bored at the gym. I then started doing MTNTOUGH on my own, and it completely changed my workout routine -- both physically and mentally. I push myself so much harder now, I enjoy my workouts a hell of a lot more, I feel like I have such a better training plan, and I have no doubt it will pay off in November when I'm hiking up a mountain and questioning whether I should keep going higher and farther -- I know my mind and body will be better prepared to answer, "Hell, yes, keep going. - Matt Skoglund

You get a full 30 days to try the program and if you’re not happy, just ask for your money back.  If you’re skeptical, we understand. We’re the same way. You have to earn our trust and we want to earn yours.  That’s why we have this 30-day money back policy. We’ll earn your trust or you’ll get you money back. It’s that simple.

Community Chatter from the Pilot Testers

Course preview, sample workouts from the 90-day program

Here are 2 of the 60 workout videos included in the MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter Program.