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Tactical Fitness Ideas: Why Think and Exercise?

Tactical Fitness: Pullups testing.

Stew, I recently heard you talk about adding thinking games into your workouts. What do you mean? How is that helpful to me being a better SWAT operator? John

Being able to think while stressed is a trait all tactical operators (military, special ops, police, fire, EMS) all need to be able to do their jobs. I have been experimenting with workouts over the years and realized that training the brain to think while physically tired /​ stressed can help you when life or death situations occur. This can be a simple pyramid workout where you have to do math during your workout or more advanced workouts where you have to get creative and think your way through them. Of course, you also need the required tactical training to help perform your job, but when things are not stressful in “real life” you can simulate it in training and even your workouts.

For instance: Here is a simple calisthenic pyramid that requires little or no equipment and can be done on a field with a set of monkey bars or pullup bars. Calisthenics also can be a “gym free” workout routine and successful mix upper body (push /​ pull) with legs, abs, and fullbody movements – for instance:

PT pyramid Pullup /​ Burpee pyramid:

Do 1 pullup — Run 20yd – do 1 burpee – run 20yds back to pullup bar
Do 2 pullups – run 20 yds – do 2 burpees – run 20yds back to pullup bar
Continue until you fail…however – every FIVE sets you have to change your method of moving to /​ from pullup bar /​ burpee area. For sets 6–10 add in lunges, fireman carries (with partner), farmer walks with heavy DB or KB or sand bag, bear crawls, low crawls, etc…
Once you reach set 10 – repeat in reverse order changing the method of to/​from every set. There are many options of travel to and from your pullup area — so get creative and see what you can develop when the glycogen levels are low and the brain wants to stop working optimally.

This workout tires you physically but still requires you to think creatively and cognitively (math /​ numbers). Why is this important? Well in the Tactical Ops world where you are tired, hungry and stressed out – having the ability to still think is a skill that can be enhanced by adding these type of events to your day.

Why Burpee? You can also do this with 8 Count Pushups – The “Burpee” and 8 count pushup are fullbody calisthenics exercises made popular recently. They are tough and work everything just about: chest, shoulders, triceps, hips, thigh, calves, core. This is actually a very old exercise done on football /​ soccer fields for decades now brought to the gym floor. We used to call them “Green Bays” or “whistle drill” on the football field in the 80’s.

You can get creative and add other exercises especially when travelling to and from the pullup /​ burpee area. Does your brain work when tired? Give this one a try or check out the standards PT Pyramid (pullups x 1, pushups x 2, situps x 5).

Related Topics

Tactical Fitness Pushups and Pullups

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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.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness