The 2015-2016 Holiday-Season-Absolutely-No-Dieting-Allowed Ranger School Prep Workout!

Chris-CartoonMy youngest brother is hoping to go to Ranger School sometime early next year. Ranger School is a wonderful, magical place full of interesting people and fun activities. It is also one of the U. S. Army’s premier weight-loss programs, and since Matthew doesn’t have a whole lot of weight to lose, this is a program to get him ready for the rigorous and physically demanding course, while taking full advantage of all the caloric intake the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations have to offer.

To that end, the diet plan is very simple. Eat it.

That’s it. Just eat it, especially if it has meat in it, doubly-especially if it has bacon in it. The ideal meal in this phase is a bacon-wrapped deep-fried mincemeat pie washed down with bacon flavored eggnog with fruitcake for desert. Also, sleep. Minimum of eight-hours per night, but ten would be better for recovery (unless you are me, in which case you would continue to eschew sleep from your life).

rest dayThe workout plan is also relatively simple, and will concentrate on building bulk and endurance. It is completely body-weight based and requires no equipment except a pull-up bar and a rucksack. It is also a total body plan. There is no chest day, leg day, back day, arm day, none of that crap. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Instead, each day will focus on a different athletic attribute as follows.

  • Monday: Strength
  • Tuesday: Explosiveness
  • Wednesday: Work Capacity (Bwahahahaha!)
  • Thursday: Running
  • Friday: Muscular Strength and Endurance
  • Saturday: Ruck March

It is a six week plan, starting on the 30th of November and running to the 9th of January. It is six-days-a-week, with only one non-Sunday off (Christmas).

Monday, Nov 30: Strength day uses the highest tension variation of each Big 6 progression that you can handle for a set of 5 – 10. If you can’t do five at that level, drop down a level. If you can do more than 10, go up a level.

  • Alternate Squats and Pushups for 3 x 7
  • Alternate Pullups and Handstand pushups for 3 X 7
  • Alternate Leg Raises and Back Bridges for 3 x 7
  • Rest up to 2 min between sets, concentrate on generating total body tension and using perfect form.

Tuesday, Dec 1: Explosiveness means moving your body as fast as you can for a very short burst. We do very short sets (no more than 3) but more of them. The standard is 6 sets of 3 with up to 5 min of rest between each set, but that just takes too long so instead I do a round robin, going from pushups, to box jumps, to plyo pullups, to RBBJ’s, for one set of each, then starting over on my second set of each. In this way I only need to do about 30 – 60 sec of rest between sets and it saves time.

  • Clapping pushups for 6 x 3
  • Box jumps or high jumps for 6 x 3
  • Plyo-pullups for 6 x 3 (it’s like a pullup, except you pull yourself as high as you can and try to clap your hands at the top before you come back down).
  • Reverse-Burpee with broad jump for 6 x 3
  • When the above four are complete, 8 x 50 meter sprints.

Wednesday, Dec 2: Work Capacity is an interesting concept. We can think of strength as the ability to move as much weight as you can. We can think of power as the ability to move weight as fast as you can. We can think of endurance as the ability to move weight as long as you can.

Work capacity is the ability to move as much weight as you can, as fast as you can, for as long as you can. Not even going to lie, Wednesday is the worst day of the week.

Wednesday’s workout consists of six Tabatas. One Tabata consists of 8 rounds or activity, in which you go 100% as hard as you can for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. It lasts four minutes. You can rest as long as you like between Tabatas, but I like to keep it below 2 min. Tabata timers are readily available as smartphone apps or on the internet.

  • Tabata squats (if you can do 5 pistols in 20 seconds, then Tabata pistols, alternating legs)
  • Tabata pullups
  • Tabata pushups
  • Tabata sprints
  • Tabata reverse burpees
  • Tabata box jumps or high jumps.

Thursday, Dec 3: Run 3 miles for time.

Friday, Dec 4: 6 x 60’s. Perform 60 reps of each of the Big 6, at a level where you can do sets of at least 10. If you are up to one-limb variations, then you only have to do 30 each side. Mix-and-match, do all of one exercise at once or alternate as you please to get through all 360 repetitions.

  • 60 x Squats
  • 60 x pullups
  • 60 x handstand pushups
  • 60 x pushups
  • 60 x Leg Raises
  • 60 x Back Bridges

Saturday, Dec 4: Ruckmarch 2 miles @ 45 Lbs. Target <10 min mile.

 Week 2: A Leg Up

Monday, Dec 7: Strength Day. Let’s set the tone for the rest of the week, by warming up those legs a little. Again, we will be using a movement level tough enough so that you can only do 5 – 10 reps per set. After each work set prescribed below you will do one set of 5 pistols on each leg. If you can easily do seven or more pistols, increase the difficulty by holding a kettlebell or other weight on your working side during the pistol squat.

Get ready to build some tree trunks!

  • After each work set, 5 pistols on each leg (optional with weight)
  • One warmup/2 work sets of close hand/one-armed pushups.
  • One warmup/2 work sets of regular/archer pullups.
  • One warmup/2 work sets of pike/handstand pushups.
  • One warmup/2 work sets of hanging leg raises/dragon flags.
  • One warmup/2 work sets of shoulder bridge/back bridges.

Yes, that does work out to 50 pistols each leg. Feel the testosterone flowing through you!

Tuesday, Dec 8: Explosive movement. Get a box that you can just barely jump, or just do high jumps as high as you possibly can (this is not as objective as a box). You are going to do a set of three after every set of the following.

  • Clapping pushups, 3 X 3, alternate with 3 X 3 Box jumps/High jumps
  • Muscle Ups, 3 X 3, alternate with 3 X 3 Box jumps/High jumps
  • Hanging Leg Raises (toes to bar), 3 X 3, alternate with 3 X 3 Box jumps/High jumps

Wednesday, Dec 9: For work capacity day we are going to give the legs a rest. Your workout is:

10 Rounds for time of:

  • 10 pushups (optional with feet elevated)
  • 6 pullups
  • 5 Hanging leg raises
  • 2 muscle-ups

Thursday, Dec 10: Looks like legs are back on the menu, boys!

4 Mile Ruckmarch, target is 12:00 min/mile @ 50lbs dry.

Friday, Dec 11: Do 25 muscle ups. Every time you re-grip the bar, do 30 secs of L-sit and 30 secs of back bridge. If you cannot do it all in muscle ups, substitute 2 pullups and 2 Pseudo planche pushups for each rep you can’t do.

Saturday, Dec 12: For this one you will need a quarter mile track or loop, and the mile pace that you ran on the three miler last week. Take that mile pace, and cut it by 10% (e.g. if you were running a 7:00 min/mile, your target is now a 6:18 min/mile). Divide that by 4, and that is now your quarter mile repeat target pace, (e.g. 6:18/4 equals 1:34.5 min/quarter mile).

  • Easy 2 – 5 min warmup jog
  • 8 X quarter mile repeats @ your target pace. Rest approximately same as repeat target time.
  • 2 – 5 min warm down jog and stretch.
  • Eat Bacon.

 Week 3: Now That We’re Warmed Up

This week we are going to be continuing on in much the same vein as before, with a little less emphasis on the legs compared to last week. That being said, the run and ruckmarch events will be getting longer and more strenuous.

Monday, Dec 14: Three work sets of each exercise is plenty, but if you feel the need you may do a warmup set each beforehand.

  • Begin with:
    • 8 x Hanging Leg Raise, 6 count pace.
    • 8 x Back Bridge with 4 count hold.
  • Then alternate as needed to achieve the following:
    • Deep handstand pushups, hands elevated, head to floor, 24 reps.
    • Wrist hold pullups, dead hang to chin over bar to dead hang, 12 reps each side.
  • Then perform:
    • 8 x Dragon Flags, 4 count pace
    • 8 x Back Bridge, 4 count hold
  • Alternate as needed to achieve the following:
    • Pistols x 12 Each side
    • Archer or One-Armed Pushups x 12 Each side
  • Finish with:
    • Dragon Flag hold at horizontal for 30 sec.
    • Back Bridge and Hold for 30 sec.

Tuesday, Dec 15: Perform this outside on a flat turf. After each set of three, pop up and dash 50 meters as fast as you can.

  • 6 sets of 3 clapping pushups + 50 meter dash
  • 6 sets of 3 plyo pullps + 50 meter dash
  • 6 sets of 3 Reverse Burpee High Jumps + 50 meter dash.

Or you can sub out with at least four hours of skiing.

Wednesday, Dec 16: Tabatas again. Have fun!

  • Tabata Pistols (Right Leg only, assist w arm as needed)
  • Tabata Pullups
  • Tabata Pistols (Left Leg only, assist w arm as needed)
  • Tabata Pushups
  • Tabata hanging leg raises
  • Tabata plank

Thursday, Dec 17: 5 mile run for time.

Friday, Dec 18: 6 x 60’s. Perform 60 reps of each of the Big 6, at a level where you can do sets of at least 10. If you are up to one-limb variations, then you only have to do 30 each side. Mix-and-match, do all of one exercise at once or alternate as you please to get through all 360 repetitions.

  • 60 x Squats
  • 60 x pullups
  • 60 x handstand pushups
  • 60 x pushups
  • 60 x Leg Raises
  • 60 x Back Bridges

Saturday, Dec 19: Ruckmarch, 6 miles at 55 Lbs, 12:30 minute mile target pace (75 min total).

 Week 4: AKA the week in which we have an extra rest day. Enjoy.

Since Christmas is on Friday, Friday will be a rest day. We will not be doing a workout that day. Instead, maintain a little perpective, get some rest, enjoy time with family, eat food…

And psych yourself up for Saturday,Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Just kidding. Saturday is pretty chill.

Monday, December 21:

  • Alternate:
    • Pseudo-planche pushups for 3 x 10
    • Pistol Squats for 3 x 10 ON EACH LEG.
  • Alternate as needed:
    • Handstand Pushups w elevated hands x 30
    • Wrist hold pullups x 15 Each Side.
  • Alternate
    • Dragon Flags 3 x 10
    • Back Bridge 3 x 10


Tuesday, December 22:

  • Pistol Box Jumps (at least 8 inches) 6 x 3.
  • Muscle Ups or plyo-pullups 6 x 3
  • Reverse Burpee Broad Jumps 6 x 3
  • Clapping Pushups 6 x 3
  • 100 m sprint x 6

Wednesday, December 23: Ruckmarch, 8 Miles with 60 Lbs Dry. Target pace 13:00/Mil. (1 hr. 24 min).

Thursday, December 24: Today we are going to mix things up with a short (30 minute) crossfit WOD:


  • 5 Pullups
  • 10 Pushups
  • 15 Squats
  • Every minute on the minute for 30 minutes

Friday, December 25: Day of Rest! Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 26: Sprints! Divide your average one mile split time from last week’s 5 mile run by 2. That is your average half-mile pace. Then reduce by 10%. That is your target split time.

(E.g. 5 miles in 40 min = 8 min/mile = 4 min/0.5 mile average half mile pace. Target half mile pace = 3 min 36 sec).

  • 5 – 10 minute warmup jog.
  • 6 x Half Mile Intervals at target pace.
  • Rest for same amount of time as target interval.
  • After all 6 intervals, perform 2 x 100 meter sprints for every interval not brought in at target pace.

Week 5. Let’s Tighten This Up a Bit:

If you’re like me, this diet program has been very effective. I’ve put on a good solid 7 pounds. By “solid” I mean that it is consistently 7 pounds, not a fluctuation in water weight. In terms of actual composition I doubt it is particularly solid at all. So this week we are going to go hard with some strength and work capacity training to tame that jiggleypoof a little.

Monday, Dec 28: This is a Pullup and Pistol Squat extravaganza. Have fun!

  • Perform:
    • 30 Handstand Pushups
    • 15 One armed pushups each arm
    • 30 Hanging Leg Raises
    • 30 Back Bridges
  • Every time you pause to rest or regrip, rest for a minute or two, and insert a set of 3 wrist-hold pullups each side, and a set of 5 pistols each side.

Tuesday, Dec 29: Five Mile Run for Time.

Wednesday, Dec 30: Tabatas are back! Oh Joy. Rapture.

  • Tabata:
    • Right leg pistols
    • Pullups
    • Left Leg Pullups
    • Pushups
    • Air Squats
    • Planks
    • Alternating Lunges
    • Supine Leg Raises

Thursday, Dec 31: 10 Mile Ruck March with 60 Lb ruck, target 14:00/Mile (2:20 total).

Friday, Jan 1: The B/RB Challenge!

  • Alternate 100 burpees and 100 reverse burpees for time.

Saturday, Jan 2: Easy Day today. Just do 100 pullups. That’s it. Then you’re done for the weekend. You’re welcome.

  • Perform
    • 100 Pullups.


Week 6: The Final Stretch.

Welcome to the final week of this Ranger School Prep Program. This is the final stretch and it’s going to be pretty stiff, but we’ll get through it and then we’ll be done, and you can go do Ranger School to relax.

Monday, January 4: Each movement should be the hardest variation that you can manage for a set of five:

  • Alternate:
    • One-Armed Pushups 4 sets of 5 each arm.
    • Pistol Squats 4 sets of 5 each leg.
  • Alternate:
    • Wrist Hold Pullups, 4 sets of 5 each arm
    • Hands Elevated Handstand Pushups, 4 sets of 5 each arm
  • Alternate:
    • Dragon Flag and hold for 4 sets of 5
    • Back bridge and hold for 4 sets of 5


Tuesday, January 5: Perform:

  • Clapping Pushups – 6 sets of 3
  • Broad Jumps – 6 sets of 3
  • Plyo Pullups – 6 sets of 3
  • Reverse Burpees with Box Jumps or High jumps – 6 sets of 3
  • 6 sets of 50 meter sprints


Wednesday, January 6:

  • 5 Rounds for Time of:
    • 20 Pullups
    • 30 Pushups
    • 40 Supine leg raises
    • 50 Squats

Thursday, January 7:

12 x 400 meter Sprints.

Friday, January 8:

  • 60 pullups
  • 60 pseudo planche pushups

Saturday, January 9: 12 Mile Ruck March. 14:00 min/mile With 60 Lb Ruck (1:48 time total).