First things first. How does Pavel Tsatsouline define Tactical Strength?

“Tactical refers to small scale military or law enforcement operations.

Strength is defined as one’s ability to exert force under given conditions.

Tactical strength is the ability to perform the combat skills requiring great strength explosively and efficiently in the conditions defined by the mission.

Broadly speaking it is the strength to move rapidly in full kit (running, individual movement technique or IMT, negotiating obstacles), handle heavy weapons, carry the wounded, win in CQB, etc. The ‘mission specific conditions’ include but are not limited to the terrain, the climate, the method of insertion, etc.

One of variables is fatigue. In the law enforcement the fatigue is usually anaerobic. In the military the operator may experience many types of fatigue: anaerobic, aerobic, sleep deprivation, hunger, general fatigue from being in the field for an extended period of time, etc.”

About The Tactical Strength Challenge

The Tactical Strength Challenge (TSC) is a strength competition consisting of three events:

  • A three-attempt powerlifting deadlift
  • Pullups for max reps
  • Kettlebell snatches for max reps in a 5:00 time period

Pictured above: Event 3: Kettlebell snatches

The winner is determined by combined placement in the three events. For example, if Lifter A finishes third in the deadlift, fifth in pullups, and second in snatches, his score is 10 (3+5+2). The lowest combined score wins. In the event of a deadlift tie, the lighter competitor places higher. In the event of a pullup tie, the heavier competitor places higher. In the event of a snatch tie, the tie stands. In the event of an overall tie (two or more lifters get same combined score), the tie stands.

Purpose of the TSC

The purpose of the TSC is to test absolute strength (deadlift), bodyweight-relative strength (pullups), and cardiovascular endurance (kettlebell snatches). The three events test a unique trade-off between these abilities. Heavier participants have an advantage in the deadlift, lighter participants have an advantage in pullups. The kettlebell snatch tests all participants more or less equally.

Thanks to Luke Allison for conducting the interview and ofcourse a huge thanks to Tom Phillips for allowing us to pick his brain. Hope you enjoy the audio mp3 interview!

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