Student Review: MVT 12 Weeks to the Rifleman Challenge Tactical Fitness Training Plan


12 Weeks to MVT Rifleman Challenge: AAR (March MVT Rifleman Challenge)

With the MVT Rifleman Challenge coming up in September and with Max posting the start date of the 12 Weeks to the MVT Rifleman Challenge, I thought I would finish my AAR for this program. Everyone that has been to MVT knows that you wished you had been in better physical condition. I participated in the CCT/CP class in November of 2014. It kicked my butt. The first few days were good, but when you aren’t used to running (crawling by the end of the 6 days) up and down mountains carrying a pack, battle belt, and rifle, then it will start to take a toll on you. Then I saw Max and Hunter had created programs to help improve your “tactical” fitness. Awesome, because I had no idea what I needed to do other than running. The program has lots of features like, emails everyday to let you know what the next workout will be. You can also download the app and have it on your phone. You can also link GPS watches (see compatibility on the website) if you have one. So on with the AAR.
I’m going to tell on myself here, so that all will see how well this program works. I’m a 39 year old smoker (yes, I said it, a smoker) that hasn’t done any PT in close to 6 years. I was lazy and really didn’t care what kind of shape I was in. After completing the 6 day class, I realized (should have been a lot sooner) that I need to get my act together. So, with that being said here is what the program will do for you.

The program eases you into it, not saying it’s easy though. One word of advice here, do what the program says, run when it says run, walk when it says walk. If you are not tired when you get through, then you didn’t do it right. After a week, to get you used to running and wearing a pack, you get a 2 miler for a test, to see where you are and for comparison. I completed my first 2 miler with 35 lb Bergen (no rifle) on somewhat flat terrain in slightly less than 30 minutes. I had to walk a lot. That’s a 15 minute mile with complete exhaustion at the end. It was all I could do. The MVT Rifleman Challenge requirements were (as they have changed do to route change): Rifleman- 28 minutes and Vanguard- 23 minutes. Remember this is just a test. It gives you an idea of where you are improving. Also, the MVT Rifleman 2 miler is on hilly terrain, with 30 lb Bergen and a rifle. Remember my time as we will get back to that later.

As you progress through the program you will start TABing. Max explains this in a video. It’s basically, run downhill, shuffle on the flats, and walk (with a purpose) up hill, opening your stride and swinging your arms. The program also incorporates some weight training (you don’t need any special equipment, just something you can use for weight). This will help you with carrying your rifle, going prone to standing and back again, and with the litter carry at the Rifleman Challenge.

This is not a non-stop PT program. There are some “off” days to allow your body to recover and repair. You need these, use them. These days you incorporate some shooting and dry fires (this is also in the program).

The program talks about training zones. I didn’t use these, but will the next time through the program, as I feel they will dramatically help improve my overall physical fitness.

Near the end of the program, it tests you on the 2 miler once again. This time I completed it on semi-hilly terrain with a big set of stairs at the end. Again, I used a 35 lb Bergen with no rifle. I completed it in 25:22. That’s almost 5 minutes off my original time. I was amazed at how much I had improved. Still not where I wanted to be (I was looking for Vanguard in the fall challenge), still had plenty of time.

Well, things changed. I finished the program and was going to start it over, after a break, and be ready for the fall challenge, but was asked by fellow teammates (they also did the program) to go to the spring challenge. Not what I was ready for, but if you don’t pass you get a training weekend and get to go back again to the next challenge. You can’t beat that. Let’s go.

The first thing you do at the MVT Rifleman Challenge is the 2 miler. At least I get that out of the way quick. When I started the run, I was thinking the whole time “if this was real, then I would be running up to help my fellow teammates who are under fire. I need to get there as quickly as possible”. When I finished, I was amazed at my time, under 26 minutes (not sure of the exact time). Now you may be thinking “well that’s what you did the last test”. Well, it is totally different at MVT as you all know. Just to show that it’s not just about the run, I finished 3rd overall at the challenge. 1st place ran the 2 miler in a very impressive time of 18 minutes (was in his 50’s). I did not get the coveted :Vanguard”, but I am very happy to say that I am an “MVT Rifleman”.

Vanguard Patch

rifleman patch single
This is here to show you that it is possible; you just have to want it. It is well worth the money. Get this program. There are no excuses, only choices. I’m tired of hearing people say “I’m too old” or “I have too many injuries”. Suck it up, get off your ass and get out there. Why? BFYTW!


Note: Combat Team Tactics is a prerequisite for the MVT Rifleman Challenge, due to the need for proficiency and safety on the live fire ranges.