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Tactical Fitness: Balancing Lifts and Calisthenics

Tactical Fitness: Lifting a barbell

Every branch of the military, as well as most law enforcement agencies, get people to prepare for fitness tests with 1.5, 2, and 3 mile timed runs. Being able to master these events only makes sense if you want to get into and stay in these careers. Here is a question from a soon-to-be Army veteran seeking to master the FBI Fitness Test:

Stew, I am preparing myself for my next challenge after military service (Army Infantry).  I am taking the FBI Phase 2 fitness test shortly after I resign my commission.  I am more of a lifter than a runner these days.  I am not worried about failing, I just want to crush it. Any advice?

I have learned over the years that if you want to be optimal (working at your best) at certain events, you have to focus on those events. It is easy to focus on the elements of the PT Test:  calisthenics, sprint, 1.5 mile timed run, and get great at all of them.  But when you add heavy lifts into the mix during your workouts, you will experience two things:  lack of running power and a lower 1 rep max (1RM).  These two do not mix very well.  Sure you can do both and be okay at both, but if your goal is to be very good or great at either, cycle them and focus on specifics for 6-8 weeks.

This is why I always recommend having cycles of strength and power with a minor cardio balance and a cycle of hard running and higher repetition calisthenics. See Periodization Article for more details.  Arrange the cycles to fit your schedule and life requirements as needed.

Here are some other tips for the FBI Fitness Test.  Get used to this test by practicing sprinting during your workouts. You will be surprised at how much the difficult sprint will take away from pushups and the 1.5 mile run.

A good way to do that is to mix in your PT with 300m sprints as in the Need For Speed Workout article.

Enjoy the cycle! Thanks for serving and choice to continue to serve this nation.

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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