FAST TRANSIENTSTHE TACTICAL TANGENTS BULLETIN
THE “TACTICAL” ATHLETE: MEANT FOR FIGHTING!
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not any sort of athlete. But at various times in my life I’ve tried to step up my game so I could at least pretend to keep up with those I’d otherwise consider to be studs, and I’ve picked up some lessons along the way. Here are two important fitness concepts you should include in your training:
Strength versus Power. Just about every fitness guru falls into one of two pull-up camps: Those who “kip,” i.e., kicking and swinging your way to the top, and those who think that’s cheating—preferring a more strict and isolated pull-up. Crossfit justifies kipping by discussing two main points. The first is that kipping fits into the Power equation: Work/Time. That is to say, you can complete more work, in less time. The second point is that kipping better represents functional movements; If you were to jump a wall, for example, you’d incorporate the rest of your body however you could. Jumping a wall and doing a pull-up are different, so let’s not to get wrapped up in that—just do both! The benefits of strict pull-ups serve their purpose, and it’s a good landmark if you are trying to measure raw strength. And kipping serves its purpose in terms of developing power, which is brings us to metabolic conditioning.
In aerobic conditions (“with oxygen”), the mitochondria in your cells use oxygen to breakdown what would otherwise become lactic acid. That process yields around 13 times more energy than when oxygen isn’t available (anaerobic). As oxygen availability decreases, we get less energy and more lactic acid (requiring more rest/recovery). Your heart and the number of mitochondria in your cells are variable factors in transporting and using oxygen in this process. Long, slow “endurance” runs might be aerobic in nature, because of the relatively low demand on your body and your ability to transport oxygen in time to keep up. Increased demands—like those requiring strength and speed—turn anaerobic for a period of time and require your body to pay a debt to recover. We need to incorporate this time/recovery component, because in a race or a fight we might have to sustain that strength demand for a period of time. Developing power and endurance are crucial to performance.
The takeaway is that if your job requires strength, speed, power, and endurance, you have to work the whole spectrum of fitness. Wandering around the gym leisurely doing “sets of reps,” an hour of “cardio,” and splitting your “back and bis” from your “chest and tris” is fine if you’re trying to look good naked—but if your mission dictates performance, you need to condition yourself accordingly.
Mike is a full-time police officer and tactical medic. He currently works as a K9 handler, SWAT team member, and Police Trainer. Mike started Tactical Tangents as part of his fundamental purpose to save lives. His goal is to enhance the survival of police officers and concerned citizens by helping them become better, smarter, faster, and more efficient. His opinions are for informational purposes only and do not reflect those of his employer or any other government agency.
The Doctor Tang episode is one of our favorites so far. Dr. Tang is a surgeon and trauma director at the U of A Medical Center. Available now!
We also have an interview coming up with Craig Douglas, founder of Shivworks. He’ll talk to us about his training philosophies, edged weapons, and fighting in close-quarters.
Subscribe for new episodes on the 1st and 15th each month. www.tacticaltangents.com/podcast
LOOKING FOR AN OPTIC?