Work Capacity Snapshot and Observations of a Regional SWAT Team


In May of 2024 MTI was invited to an engagement with a Regional SWAT Team.  This opportunity provided a venue to have one-on-one discussions with Tactical Athletes, expose them to the “Efficient Strength” methodology, conduct a Tactical Athlete Work Capacity Assessment,  and gain further insight into the operational demands and challenges these tactical athletes encounter.  

Brief Overview of Regional SWAT Program

A SWAT team is a specialized tactical unit that is provides support to law enforcement operations in that area. Regional SWAT teams conduct a wide range of high-risk operations, such as:

  • Executing high-risk arrest and search warrants
  • Counterterrorism/narcotic operations
  • Protecting high-profile individuals
  • Managing crisis situations (barricaded subjects/active shooters)

An important aspect to note is that being a member of a regional SWAT team is a collateral duty, meaning that on top of their primary duties (working violent crime investigations, narcotics, etc.)  , they must be able to function as a direct action arm on a moment’s notice within their particular region. 


Given their lifestyle, one of the most important observations gleaned from our interaction was the extreme necessity to maintain an efficient lifestyle. Some of the issues they encounter weekly, if not daily, are:

Unpredictable schedule resulting in limited access to workout facilities

  • Due to the inherent nature of their work (criminals don’t have hours of operation), Law Enforcement professionals, and even more so SWAT members, are unable to maintain a consistent schedule. They are up late at night, early in the morning, and often around the clock when circumstances warrant. This plays a toll on their sleep patterns and ability to maintain a persistent physical fitness training schedule.

Long duration in cars traveling to conduct operations/ training 

  • The most efficient and effective way for an SWAT team members to get from point A to point B is via their work rig.  Almost a second home on wheels.  Not due to homelike accommodations but because their rig is their way to transport all their gear.  Commercial flights are cumbersome due to the need to immediately “go” and the lack of transportation on the back end of the flight.  A lot of locations regional airports do not have a wide range of flight options.  They get the call and move out.

Understanding these challenges, we utilized an “Efficient Strength” workout before conducting MTI’s Tactical Athlete Work Capacity Assessment to establish a comparative baseline for potential future engagements. Training and assessment below:

Warm Up:

3 Rounds

Bronc Complex @ 45/65#

8x Hand Release Push Ups

Instep Stretch

Lat + Pec Stretch


(1) 5 Round Grind …

3x Power Clean – increase load each Round until 3x is hard, but doable

5x Kneeling Curl to Press – increase load each Round until 5x is hard, but doable

5x Kettlebell/Dumbbell Front Squat – – increase load each Round until 5x is hard, but doable

5x Pull Ups

Work Capacity:

Tactical Athlete Work Capacity Assessment

  • 3 Minutes 25m shuttle sprints for reps – with a drop to prone at each end
  • Rest 1 minute
  • 3 Minutes 25m shuttle sprints for reps – with a drop to prone at each end
  • Rest 1 minute
  • 3 Minutes 25m shuttle sprints for reps – with a drop to prone at each end

1x Rep = 1x 25m length, so a round trip = 2x Reps. Only full lengths count. The athlete starts on the ground prone and must drop to the ground prone at each turnaround.

Tally the total reps for each round. A sum of reps from all 3 rounds is the athlete’s final score.

Chassis Integrity:

8x Good Mornings @45lbs

8x Kettlebell Swing @ 20 kg

8x Hinge Lift @ 95lbs

MTI Tactical Athlete Work Capacity Assessment – Scoring

Results & Discussion

Overall, the Work Capacity assessment averaged a score of 51 from the nine assessed individuals, resulting in a score of GOOD.  Compared to other work capacity tests we have conducted with SWAT team members, the results are within .2 of each other. 

Of note, the top score (62), also the youngest member, recently came off training for a selection program.  Unclear if this is his baseline fitness level or results from his recent training cycle.  

The age range among the SWAT Operators was 20 years, with the youngest member being 29 years old and the most seasoned member being 49 years old.  With this range of age, the significance of strength and movement quality varied.  Younger athletes were more apt to use heavier weights than older athletes.  Overall, the movement quality was mixed.  Among the team was college to former pro level athletes as well as recreational mountain athletes.   With the power clean being the most complex movement, it was visible that most operators have had experience with it, but not to an advanced level.

Due to this spur-of-the-moment opportunity, we couldn’t conduct additional testing, such as MTI’s Relative Strength Assessment or MTI’s SWAT/SRT Fitness Assessment. These tests are best performed with an athlete’s prior knowledge.  

Questions? Email

Subscribe to MTI's Newsletter - BETA