FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Recognizing the inherent need for a program that addresses the physical demands of combat missions, three dozen Soldiers from 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) attended the Tactical Strength and Conditioning workshop on Fort Campbell Nov. 12-14.
The TSAC course specializes in training combat forces, or tactical athletes, in the same manner as professional athletes, providing students with a greater understanding of the principles of fitness and nutrition.
“When preparing for competition, professional athletes dedicate many long hours to physical preparation,” said Mark Stephenson, director of the National Strength and Conditioning Association Human Performance Center.
“What we typically see with tactical athletes is they devote much of their time to improving on operational skill, shooting and communicating and so forth, and they don’t give as much time to operational strength, conditioning and nutrition. TSAC was designed to address those needs.”
TSAC was developed in 2006 by NSCA, an organization that has provided researched-based knowledge and practical application techniques to improve athletic performance and fitness since the late 1970’s.
During the workshop with 5th SFG(A), TSAC instructors broke the training up into three days of activities, including lectures on the science and nutritional requirements involved with fitness, leading the participants through sample regimens, and designing work-outs that emphasize functional strength.
“When we say functional movements, we’re talking about actual movements you can expect to see on a real mission or in the execution of your job,” said Greg Infantolino, NSCA Human Performance Center coach. “So we’re not going to teach you how to do better bicep curls if your job involves kicking down doors and doing sprints with full kit on chasing bad guys. It just wouldn’t be helpful.”
Stephenson believes in a system where the athlete can perform for longer periods of time by training smarter, as opposed to burning out too soon.
“The military has invested millions of dollars into these operators’ training and they want their moneys worth. So for an operator to physically train hard the wrong way and get only a few years of operational time because of injury, it’s a waste,” Stephenson said. “We teach techniques so that instead of three or four years, they can stay healthy and operate for 12-15 years.”
The TSAC program was primarily designed for military, but they routinely offer their services to law enforcement and other civilian agencies, all the while making sure to tailor the workshop to their audience.
“We work with police officers, firefighters, Emergency Medical Services, as well as conventional military units and special ops,” said Stephenson, and we understand that they have different missions and different requirements, so we conform the training to their individual needs. If that involves holding the workshop for five to 10 days instead of three or doing more of something specific and less in other areas, that’s just what we’ll do.”
The TSAC instructors spend on average 15 weeks a year travelling and conducting workshops. If you or your unit is interested in scheduling a workshop, contact Mark Stephenson at email@example.com or you can view the website at http://www.nsca-lift.org/TSAC .