scottI recently reviewed a training regimen developed by two long-time trainers, Scott Sonnon and Ryan Murdock. Both guys are award-winning martial arts masters and from the looks of them have plenty of experiences in the military too.

TACFIT Commando: Hardcore Tactical Fitness Secrets of the Special Ops is their effort to introduce their unique trainings style to a broader audience. It’s not for the faint of heart though—this looks like some serious training that demands lots of guts and stamina. Let’s take a closer look and see what it’s all about.

The TACFIT Commando approach focuses on developing functional fitness, not just the “beach muscles.” Functional fitness develops the entire body and places a strong emphasis on developing your core. When you are “functionally fit” the body’s systems work together in harmony to produce really superior results. And that’s exactly the way that Scott and Ryan present TACFI—each element of the program is designed to work synergistically with the other elements. The TACFIT Commando routine is presented as a series of “missions” that together comprise the entire program.

The first part of the book describes the four elements that are integral to the TACFIT Commando program: High Intensity Fat-Burning Circuits; Complex Skills that promote “neurological sophistication;” Real Tactical Applications; and Injury-Proofing and Active Recovery. These elements are essentially TACFIT Commando’s foundation.

The TACFIT Commando program is cycled using a 7 x 4 training protocol. This approach helps you to avoid plateaus and keeps the gains coming. There are three different variables at the heart of the 7 x 4 training protocol: Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE); Rate of Perceived Discomfort (RPD); and Rate of Perceived Technique (RPT). These are ranked as “No,” “Low,” “Moderate” or “High.”

The TACFIT Commando workout schedule varies each day beginning with a no intensity day, followed by a low intensity day, followed by a moderate intensity day, which is then followed by a high intensity day every seven days. This pattern is follow for four weeks, which makes up the 7 x 4 training protocol. The perceptions of intensity are of course subjective because what is intense for one person can be a walk in the park for someone else. As you progress and your stamina improves, then your perceptions of intensity will change. So because your perception of what constitutes moderate intensity versus high intensity will change as you move through the program, you are constantly progressing.

tacfitchickThe exercises are performed using a modified version of the Tabata method. If you’re not familiar with the Tabata method, it’s a series of short periods of very high intensity followed by short periods of lower intensity. The TACFIT commando method involves 20 seconds of very high intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle gets repeated eight times for a total of four minutes. Each day of the “mission,” the training follows this pattern with six different exercises. When you’ve finished all 8 rounds, you rest for 1 minute, then move on to the next exercise. Yeah, that sounds easy on paper but just try and you’ll feel differently, trust me.

The book lays out the entire program for you. Everything you need to know is right here. Every seven day period follows the same pattern of no intensity through high intensity. The book provides you with an incredible variety of exercises to perform—you won’t get bored. The exercise descriptions are clear and easy to follow and include pictures so you can easily learn to perform the movements. The authors include some great charts that provide some very useful information about heart rate, intensity and complexity.

Most of the exercises presented in the book are body weight exercises but nonetheless, for the bodybuilder there is a lot of value to be found here. For example, TACFIT Commando can be something that you work into your regular bodybuilding training routine to mix things up and keep your body from hitting a plateau. Another good strategy would be to take the basic concept of TACFIT Commando and swap out the body weight exercises with free weight or dumbbell movements—just make sure you’re careful with how much weight you use so you don’t knock yourself or someone else unconscious. So even for the bodybuilder whose primary goal is to size and strength, there is a lot to be gained from the TACFIT Commando program.

In any case, TACFIT Commando is built on a foundation of sound knowledge and practiced principles that produce results. So if you’re looking for something to really challenge yourself, you ought to definitely be checking out TACFIT Commando.

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