Latest Thinking 1.8.16

By Rob Shaul

“TAC SEPA” is an acronym for “Tactical Speed, Explosive Power and Agility.”

On the tactical side, we’re revisiting our base fitness programming theory, and felt we needed a Base Fitness fitness attribute which developed speed, power and agility for tactical athletes. We’ve previously programmed in elements of this during the military Operator Sessions and LE Officer Sessions – but until now, have not fleshed out the theory and applied it fully. We are doing so with the next cycle of the LE Officer Sessions.

Programming for mission-direct Tactical Speed, Explosive Power and Agility forces us to examine movement patterns, see what’s been done in the team sport world, how much of that is appropriate for these unique athletes, and develop an entire new programming tool, exercises, assessments and approach to better prepare our athletes.

Going in there will be three distinct TAC SEPA sessions, which we’ll rotate through over the course of the cycle, which also trains work capacity, strength, etc.

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  Some explanation and definitions:

Sprints, and Shuttles – for TAC SEPA sessions we’re not using sprints and shuttles for conditioning, but rather for speed development. Note that we’ll have athletes do this unloaded, as well as in IBA’s or weight vests.

AFSM – is an acronym for “Antagonistically Facilitated Specialised Method” and comes from strength coach Cal Dietz, as part of his triphasic training approach. Setting the geeky stuff aside, we’ll load the athletes with light weight, give them a time window, and ask them to do as many reps as possible in that time period. For example, max reps, 95# bench press in 7 seconds.

Explosive Power – Unloaded, Loaded and Complex. Unloaded = bodyweight. Loaded = relatively light weight to include barbells, weight vests, sandbags, etc. Complex = equals a combo – for example, 3x light front squats @ 135# followed by 3x Broad Jumps.

Agility – Fairly self explanatory – but one twist we’ll add is agility drills in IBA/Weight Vests.

See Clip below for an example from last week with the LE Lab Rats (of which I’m one).

2) Research Wolf
Research Wolf is our initiative to crowdsource research. Our vision is to create an easy to use intuitive platform where athletes around the world can follow and long with us and participate as “lab rats” in ongoing studies we complete here, as well as design their own studies, recruit their own lab rats, and using the Research Wolf platform, easily design the study following basic research guidelines, input data, and have it automatically statistically analyzed for results. This is a huge initiative which will likely experience growing pains as we figure it all out, but our goal is to combine the power of basic research and big data to tackle problems and find solutions. Wouldn’t it be awesome if a recreational rock climber in Slovenia could participate remotely as one of our lab rats in a finger strength study?  Wouldn’t it be awesome if a young squad leader at Fort Carson could design a study to test the effectiveness of 10 minutes of daily dry fire work on his squad’s markmanship, run the test, input the data, and convince his company commander to implement regular dry fire work across the unit? This is the vision.

3) Making Fluid Periodization more “Fluid.”
My current definition of Fluid Periodization is “training base fitness attributes such as strength, work capacity, endurance and stamina simultaneously, but with cyclic emphasis.”

Recently, I’ve stepped back and asked the question, “do we need cyclic emphasis”? If not, can we still see steady gains across these fitness attributes? Can we still apply the principles of progression within the cycle for these attributes if we don’t have cycles?

This thinking is driven by our busy, LE, special forces and mountain professional athletes. These athletes don’t regularly get a tidy 6-weeks between seasons or deployments to fit in one of our Base Fitness cycles, and because of cyclic empahsis, may not benefit from the broad performance benefits of Base fitness. 

I’m applying this approach currently to the next cycle of our Mountain Base sessions.

3) Marksmanship Research – next studies.
If you haven’t, I’d encourage you to read our write up of the trigger pull marksmanship study. The study results were statistically inconclusive in part because some of the part time Fresno SWAT team members we used as lab rats shot inconsistency. Why? They don’t get much time to train as a team, and even less with their M4’s. We suspect this isn’t unusual for part time SWAT guys.

It would be easy for us to recommend they “train more” – but not very helpful. The question for us is given their time constraints, how can we help them improve long rifle marksmanship performance?

Three studies quickly came to mind:
(1) The affect of a structured 10-minute dry fire protocol on marksmanship performance for infrequent shooters.
(2) The affect 10-minute indoor airsoft target practice on marksmanship performance.
(3) The affect of red dot sites vs. iron sites on mid-range marksmanship for infrequent shooters. Several of the SWAT team members used iron sites.

We will run “mini studies” for of these using our staff – where we can share some initial results, and “churn” the study design. After, we’ll reach out for lab rats to do bigger, more conclusive studies. If you’re interested now, pls email me. We’ll need a minimum 10 athletes for each study.

4) MTI Journal
We are developing a quarterly journal and are currently developing the submission guidelines. Our hope is to create a platform/publication for tactical and mountain athletes, as well as technical instructors and strength and conditioning coaches and other practitioners to publish research, best practices, lessons learned, etc. to share with like-minded folks in these unique communities. We hope to publish the first issue late Q1 or early in Q2, 2016.

5) June “Mind Meld”
In June we want to bring together front line mountain and tactical athletes and others for a shared programming course, and “problem storm” session here in Jackson. We want to be a resource for finding mission-direct solutions. But first, we need to make sure we understand the most pressing mission-direct problems. We envision a free, 2-3 day intense workshop of 10-20 individuals from all services and fields. More to follow – but we’ll issue focused invitations as well as call for participants to submit applications.

6) Fall Conference
Currently scheduled for the first weekend in October, we hope to build on the June Mind Meld and create a informative, exciting and through provoking conference in line with our “Mission-Direct” philosophy. We’re brainstorming topics now, but these could include mental fitness strategies deployed in both mountain and tactical settings, latest gear innovations and continuing deficits, strength and conditioning programming and research, technical training innovations and approaches, mountain and battlefield heuristics, etc. We’re not sure on the location or the name of the conference yet.

7) LE and Fire Rescue Unit Fitness Leader Course R&D
In March and April we’re scheduled to spend time working with and learning from LE officers and SWAT team members in Utah and Fire Rescue athletes in Colorado to develop Unit Fitness Leader course for both communities. We already have a successful Unit Fitness Leader course on the military side, and will use our trips to Utah and Colorado to get better understanding of the needs, constraints, and problems for LE and Fire Rescue Units in relation to unit-wide fitness programming and implementation. We’ll use what we learn to develop our LE and F/R Unit Fitness Leader course and support platform

Questions? Comments? Feedback?
Pls email me:

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