T Nation

The Tactical Life


This looks like a great program for troops or anyone in law enforcement. What I see lacking in both these groups is conditioning. Everyone wants to lift weights, but no one wants to get the heart rate above 130.


Thought for the day:


President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, 'a date which will live in infamy" Because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was later judged in the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime


2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded.

For those wishing to learn the sacrifices of Americans during WW2, this an excellent source:

The Greatest Generation is a book by journalist Tom Brokaw that profiles those who grew up in the United States during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight in World War II, as well as those whose productivity within the war’s home front made a decisive material contribution to the war effort.

Brokaw profiles those who came of age during World War II in the US, stemming from his attendance at the D-Day 40th anniversary celebrations. In the book, Brokaw wrote,it is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced. He argued that these men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the right thing to do.


On a personal note: Each September a small town in Western Tennessee, ( Linden), has a WW2 reenactment where the small town is transformed into a WW2 European village and the towns residents hold a parade with period vehicles, a mock battles, authentic weapons and uniforms, and a ceremony to honor those vets still living. Check out Linden, Tennessee on You Tube.

IMHO: It was the greatest generation. I really believe if the Chinese Navy sailed into Manhattan, Americans would pick up their cell phones for selfies instead of a rifle.


I do agree with you, to a point. On the officer side of the military it’s a lot of cardio/runner/endurance fanatics that I tend to encounter when it comes to introducing the value of good strength training.


Oh yes, I’m familiar with the running and cycling fanatics in the officer ranks.

I was talking more on the lines of metcon work.

Sometimes I have the opportunity to lead all ranks PT. This is when I like the break out things like The Murph (a modified version to get it approved). Runners and weightlifters always complain about it. The more advanced they are in their corner, the more bitching there is.


Our only organized physical training in my unit (mostly consisting of senior NCOs and officers) is a monthly formation run that our colonel leads and a team sports day we do. Mostly we do physical training on our own.


Motivational Monday

Those who beat their swords into ploughshares end up ploughing for those who kept their swords.

Benjamin Franklin.



My grandfather, along with a lot of classmates, left a prestigious university and joined the army when WW2 broke out. He saw a lot of combat as he was a navigator on a bomber. He came back home, used the GI Bill to go to graduate school at Harvard, went on with his life and never really talked about the war. I’ve known a lot of old timers, unfortunately they’re all gone now, who you never would have guessed were legit bad asses. I think that’s why it might have been the greatest generation. They had a strong sense of what was expected from a man and citizen and found a way to just get things done.


If both iron heads and cardio fiends are complaining, you must be on the right tack.


You are so damn right. All my respect to your Grandfather: warrior, patriot, and a man to be respected.


Thought for the day:

It is so shocking to find out how many people do not believe that they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult.”
Frank Herbert, Dune

It also appears the French riot police have learned the value of a Spartan shield:




Thought for the day: What the hell is conditioning?


I have always thought that conditioning comes down to: can you do the job? Whether that is rucking 5 days living on crap MRE’s, pulling a 12 hour shift on the street, monitoring a wiretap for 24 hours, pulling a 10 hour SWAT containment in 100 degree heat, or a single mother working 3 jobs to pay for here child’s food. You do what has to be done.

Another view:


The formation of general strength, maximal strength and so on is a simple process of overloading the muscles. In response to that stimulus, they get bigger and stronger. That has several benefits for people, especially athletes. But strength, if not properly integrated, is worthless. That integration falls along two lines. First is neurological skill. Second is endurance. To understand the issue, let’s use a military example. Let’s say we have a very strong and technically perfect Roman Centurion. This centurion is big, strong and cannot be beaten in battle, except for one big problem. Strong as he is, he can only apply that strength and perfect technical skill once before he completely falls apart. This is a terrible thing because a battle requires him to perform at that level for hours under unfavorable conditions. What he lacks is what we call “conditioning;” and now we find ourselves at that place where we must define what this form of conditioning is in this context.

Conditioning is specific or non-specific physical training that toughens the tissues and improves the physiological capacity of the energy systems to fuel high quality (skill) work for the desired duration. Want that even shorter? It’s energy system development training and it must be performed for both general and specific physical preparation. Conditioning in the professional realm is extremely specific. It is specific to the energy system, movement patterns, muscle groups, individual muscles, general and specific skills, team positions, and so on. I use no less than twenty-five (25) types of conditioning in order to ensure the right adaptation is being stimulated.

Now let’s talk about some of the demon spawn fitness industry lies that have been born of this term. The first one if “metabolic conditioning” (METCON). This is by far one of the dumbest things the fitness world has dreamed up. Not content with their complete misuse of the word “cardio” and “conditioning,” they decided they needed to sex it up and call it “Metabolic Conditioning.” There’s a huge flaw with that. The fact is that everything we do and eat is metabolic conditioning. Metabolic means of or related to metabolism and metabolism is simply the sum of the physiological processes that utilize energy. The human body is either becoming more efficient at using energy or more efficient at storing energy. Sitting in a chair all day is just as much metabolic conditioning as is specific physical training or a specific diet. In this case, all “they” did was come up with a sexy sounding new nonsensical name to justify smoking the living daylights out of you at the end of a workout. What’s the truth here? METCON is nothing more than intensive glycolytic work performed to exhaustion, which is and always has been a very stupid idea.

Then there is the old term that is still always thrown around: “Cardio.” This term is also not understood at all. When performed properly it actually is a great form of general conditioning; specifically, intensive aerobic conditioning, which is of immense value. The problem is that nobody in the fitness industry knows what that is. Because of this, what passes for cardio is both appalling and decidedly NOT an improvement in one’s cardiovascular capacity. Just the opposite actually. The same goes for the 99.9% who think anything that makes you sweat hard and get so out of breath you collapse is “conditioning.” It’s not.

How about an example or two of what conditioning actually is?

we’re talking about running, anything that is considered to be interval training is conditioning; specifically conditioning you to run faster. You are conditioning the tissue durability and energy system efficiency at a specific higher than normal power output in the locomotor/gait pattern of running. The interval method is a volume building overload method used to convince the body that adaptation needs to happen.

A general fitness example is running for 20-30min in your endurance heart rate zone. This improves cardiovascular capacity and health while accumulating much needed locomotor workload.

A specific resistance training example is performing 50 repetition sets with 40% 1RM to develop local motor endurance.

We all love that soul crushing work for some reason. The last word is that conditioning is extremely important so do it right the first time. If you’re going to puke your guts out it would be nice to also improve your performance and physique because that sort of punishment for no gain is just stupid.


Thought for the day:


December 13 recognizes the birth of the National Guard.
A component of the United States Army, the National Guard is primarily composed of citizen soldiers who hold down full-time, civilian jobs, attend school or as is often the case, both. At the same time, they are available to provide support and protection for the states’ civilians or to be called for military operations for the country.
Each U.S. state, District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the territories of Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands maintain both an Army National Guard and an Air National Guard.


Thought for the day (2): Situational awareness is not some idle concept:

1) The first passerby was walking and texting, phone in one hand, bag in the other. She would have been in no position to defend herself.

2) The victim either wasn’t paying attention or didn’t think the homeless man’s furtive movement was a threat.

_Key takeaways: 1) A lot of CCW people that think they will shoot their way out of every situation. They are wrong, you may not have time to draw your firearm and if you do manage to get rounds off, the threat may not stop immediately. _

) Everyone needs basic unarmed defensive skills. Simply being able to step offline of the attack may have helped this victim.

3_) Situational awareness: dont text/ talk on the phone (even with bluetooth) while walking. Contrary to popular belief, human beings cannot effectively multitask. Continually scan and assess your surroundings; take notice if someone adjusts or moves as you approach/ pass by._

4) Don’t let strangers step into your personal space. You are within your rights to tell people to stop advancing on you. If they keep coming, you know something is wrong.

5)Body language: walk with a purpose, head up and alert. Be in shape. Look like a predator instead of prey.

Its impossible to be 100% alert at all times, but do the best you can to make it a habit.


I don’t doubt that those with the weakest skill set, also have the lowest situational awareness. Virtually lacking in fight or flight.

We obey natural desires such as hunger, sex, et al. This is more than the lack of a warrior mindset, it is an absence of self preservation.

Why has this seemingly disappeared?


That sounds like something a Deer Hunter might say during the rut.


But the buck is obeying the instinct of perpetuating his lineage, not facebooking or playing candy crush…


Maybe, and I’m just throwing this out there, it’s because historically the job of preserving the group/tribe was the job of those who we would call warriors (men). Women, children, the elderly, sick, weak, etc., didn’t need to worry about protecting themselves.


My point (perhaps poorly articulated) is that it is shocking to see the ones who need to be wary, are so self absorbed that they don’t seem to be aware of any danger.

My wife and l saw 2 such women off of the downtown area of Vegas. I was dumb enough to wander into a dicey area isolated from the tourist area, but wise enough to move well away from a bunch of hooligans up ahead. Then we see these 2 grannies ambling right toward them. We cut them off, but l felt very threatened with no weapon, no backup, and herding a flock of female sheep.

A wakeup call for me that ended up okay, but a wakeup call nevertheless.


I recall Rob Shaul, founder of various fitness programs geared toward outdoor professionals (under the auspices of Mountain Athlete), military personnel (Military Athlete), and other tactical athletes (Law Enforcement and Fire and Rescue Athlete) stated that all of the above professions deal with something called ‘the burden of constant fitness’.

As I just signed out on leave today for Christmas I thought about some programming designs to address the above so I’m not living at the gym and pounding pavement, able to enjoy various activities with family and friends, and not coming back to my unit a disgusting fatbody, to quote the late R. Lee Ermey.

I used guidelines from this article from the fine folks at Strongfirst.com (linked here) to effectively use the trio of kettlebells kept at my parents’ house, layered with some roadwork as well as some boxing and jiu jitsu lessons (aforementioned hobbies) to keep in good physical condition on leave and maximize time with family and friends. One has to be balanced after all.


An interesting conditioning session I tacked onto a basic lifting session that entailed power cleans and pullups as the main movements:

For five minutes continuously I picked up and carried a trap bar loaded with more weight as the time ran, completing as many rounds on a 24.4 meter back and forth course as possible. I got inspired to do that based on the often trained task of casualty evacuation. If I’m having to lift a wounded teammate and get him or her to cover, the above was a way to build the general conditioning for the task.