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Thomas C. Miller, CSCS 4/30/2013 12:26:13 PM
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 6:58 PM
Joined: 4/30/2013
Posts: 1

First let me start with my background. I have 5 years of experience working in D1 and D2 athletics, currently a high school S&C coach writing programs and coaching for 19 different teams in the Minneapolis area. I have 10 years in the Minnesota Army National Guard, currently a Cavalry Troop Commander. My question for the group is this:


What does everyone do for programming for the TSAC community? I've paged through and read the majority of the TSAC journal and when it comes to programming a lot of what I've read is regenerated crossfit workouts. Not saying crossfit is not a way but is it the way? How do TSAC-F lay out periodization models? Linear, block, conjugated? How do you address ALL the different needs of a tactical athlete?


Since I am starting a discussion on programming I will start with the view from my turret. I believe as S&C coaches dealing with a tactical community we not only need to work on aerobic base (PT test) but also the anaerobic base, especially the lactic/anaerobic threshold. I believe there is a strength quality that needs to be addressed, more than with a crossfit workout; but not as much as a strongman or powerlifting workout. I believe a well-rounded tactical athlete is a lot like a decathlete, good at a lot of different qualities but not too heavily weighted in just one of these qualities. To accomplish this I believe a block model works best, utilizing residual training effects not to become deficient in any certain quality. Dedicating time to qualities such as: VO2 threshold, lactatic threshold, Max strength, and strength endurance. Periodizing these blocks over 6 months to a year trying to mimic their ARFOGEN plan as much as possible and "peaking" for major training events and PT tests.


I look forward to hearing your responses!


Tommy Miller M.Ed, CSCS, USAW


Stafford Gosser, CSCS, TSAC-F 10/9/2012 9:43:38 PM
Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 2:46 PM
Joined: 10/9/2012
Posts: 1


Cpt. Miller,


You pose an excellent question. Let me start by saying I too have military experience as an Infantryman in the Kansas Army Guard. I think this has allowed me to objectively construct and fulfill a needs analysis as opposed to someone without prior service (many of qualities you have identified). With that being said I believe the optimal combination of these qualities as it pertains to the tactical athlete is going to be derived from a program based on Non-Linear Periodization. Non-Linear periodization is specific to the tactical population since they don't have an offseason and are required to perform optimally year round. It is based on the size principle which allows for focus on multiple aspects of fitness in the same week by stimulating different motor units on successive days allowing for adequate rest between workouts that utilize the same motor unit pool. For example Mon-Max strength Tues.-Light power Weds-HIIT Thurs-Strength End. Fri- Heavy power Sat&Sun off/optional recovery run. First let me point out that there are two power days, this is fully development the entire spectrum of power P=FxV. The maximal velocity component being emphasized on the light days and the maximal force component being emphasized on the heavy days. Next as you mentioned there needs to be a balance between aerobic and anaerobic endurance. One way to accomplish this would be to perform HIIT or high intensity interval training. HIIT training although traditionally considered to be anaerobically focused actually has a profound impact on aerobic endurance as well. Optimal work to rest ratios help to accomplish this with short dist. 50-400m 3:1 to 5:1 and 400-1600m 1:1. When considering performance for the pt test 2 mile it would be prudent to additionally complete a threshold run once per week (if you have an aerobic base) starting with 2.5-3miles at 70-85% VO2. There are a few other things to consider as well but I feel I am getting long winded with this post. If you would like to follow up I work at an Army Wellness Center and will provide you with my work email (you should look into taking advantage of some of the resources the Army AWC's offer accurate bodyfat testing, metabolic testing, VO2 testing etc not only for you but for your soldiers as well *IT'S FREE!!). I also have some example programs drawn up that you are more than welcome to take a look at (a caveat here I have been training using these guidelines for the better part of 3 years so I can also attest to the programs effectiveness). I can be reached at the following email: 



 Stafford Gosser, C.S.C.S., TSAC-F



MR Chris Sheffield, TSAC-F 10/12/2012 10:54:31 AM
Posted: Thursday, June 5, 2014 6:00 PM
Joined: 10/12/2012
Posts: 6


CPT Miller, 

                My first recommendation is to make your program Mission Essential Task List driven.  Also, what I am going to say next is not palatable but true:  Don’t worry about the APFT (at least not too much).  The APFT tells you only one thing a Commander needs to know:  Do my Soldiers acknowledge there is a standard expected of them?  That is all.  You may have read recently that 3ID is working on a Work Sample test.  I agree in principle with this, but expect if one is approved to be watered down.  So, that was the advocacy now for the advisement. 

                You are a Troop Commander (I’m guessing Mech/Stryker) and your Troopers likely conduct Infil/Exfil while mounted, then dismount, perform actions on the objective, link up with their tactical vehicles and maneuver to the next objective.  At first glance the main metabolic and movement demand is aerobic endurance.  However, when they are in contact they will need linear acceleration, deceleration, change of direction, and rotational power generation while under a load carriage.  Further, they will repeatedly perform these tasks until complete.  Consequently, I recommend the following assessments: 

1.) 15km Tactical Foot March in full mission configuration.  When in doubt, go “Air Assault” standard (35# plus Warfighter kit in 3:00:00). 

2.) U.S.M.C. Combat Fitness Test.  It’s good enough to get an idea of combat relevant strength, power, and anaerobic endurance for actions on the objective. 

3.) ASSUMES A PERFECT WORLD:  Conduct Tactical Foot March (with water, supplementation in route authorized and at Troopers discretion) then immediately qualify with personally assigned weapon.  This simulates the most basic Soldier task; get there and hold it.  Apply appropriate rest break (hydrate and fuel) then execute U.S.M.C. Combat Fitness Test.  Immediately following this conduct Close Quarters Marksmanship (standard determined by You).  Why not do a Movement to Contact Range?  Great question, but it does not allow for individual assessment.  Obviously this is logistically intensive and likely to hurt some feelings. 

                Once you have these assessments you can move forward.  No assessment; no plan.  I do not recommend you employ Physical Readiness Training.  The team that put that together did a great job but they were given a flawed mission.  The mission was to achieve a standardized and scalable response to achieving consistent pass rates of the APFT with a significant reduction in incidence of musculoskeletal injuries.  They succeeded at their mission, but again the APFT is useless for your purposes as a Maneuver Commander. 

                Sir, you are steel on target about ARFORGEN.  Thus, I have these general recommendations for your planning.  During Reset, focus on general functional movements, hypertrophy, postural stability and maximal (or top end speed).  This can be implemented with minimal logistical support.  Assess movement through Functional Movement Screen (FMS).  The FMS can be executed by any NCO who can is willing to watch a one hour video, has a basic knowledge of carpentry and 7/8” spade bit for a drill.  I just built three units for $88 at Home Depot.  Clean up any movement issues, especially their running form as the cumulative impacts of heel striking will tear them apart.  The drills are simple and use whatever fits your needs.  Exercises can be bodyweight intensity and you can add disadvantaged leverage to keep it challenging.  In short, take a look at Ryan Massimo’s work with USMC HITT.  Combat HITT will suit your needs.  Don’t have suspension trainers?  Build them; better yet, delegate authority to NCOs to build them.  If you need specs don’t hesitate to message me back reference this.  I can build 5 units for under $100 dollars and are rated to support 350#.  Do not spend the entire reset here; 21 – 28 days should be enough.  Use the rest of the quarter/cycle to introduce you Troopers to barbell based exercises.  They have to produce and resist force; the best way to do this is with external loads.  Remember sir:  Strength is quality which we draw all others from. 

               Train/Ready keep focus on mechanical stress as they should get plenty of metabolic stress during training.  Granted, you guys are NG/Reserve Component and therefore will have a lower level of readiness.  Make sure you NCOs are enforcing standards.  If guys are fat at this stage hold NCOs accountable for this.  When in doubt, a well earned Chapter Packet will get someone’s attention.  Explosive strength and triple extension pattern have a place here as well as linear acceleration/deceleration and mission specific speed.  On that last bit, keep it focused on sport drills; Battle Drill 1 and Table 8 will take care of the Energy System Development.  Toward the end of this Phase make sure they can effectively produce force/power rotationally.  Why?  Combatives.  Employ Hand Grenade.  That key word at the start of Battle Drill 6:  “ENTER” (i.e. manual breaching).  They should safely be able to move under full kit.  Reassess their METL based fitness; if this is good your APFT scores are likely good as well. 

                Available Phase should be thought almost as an In-Season phase.  This will be a little different for you as you will likely have a Mobilization Phase during this time.  Maintain the movement and adaptations you have built up to this point.  They will get enough metabolic stress during training and I recommend investing heavily in high intensity, low volume load work. 

                Bottom line, sir:  Focus on METL.  Focus on movements and adaptations to support Critical Tasks/Warrior Tasks which enable METL accomplishment.  Don’t get hung up on logistics and “exercises;” if you achieve the movement pattern and adaptation you cannot go wrong.  Understand the “why.”  Last, I cannot say this enough; make sure you have NCOs that are competent and passionate about training their Troopers for War.  Without NCOs your plan is just paper. 



You need anything else, get on the net, sir. 




Chris Sheffield, M.S., TSAC-F, USAW-1, USATF-1