The Tactical Strength Challenge, StrongFirst's opportunity to provide a challenge and “test” of our training, takes place twice a year. The TSC brings together competitors from around the world who showcased their best effort in three events: the max deadlift deadlift, the max dead hang pull-ups and a five-minute kettlebell snatch test for maximum reps. In May, we are organizing the community edition of the TSC. It is by design less competitive than the October edition but still a fun challenge for seasoned athletes and a great entry point for newer ones.
The TSC is unique in that it does not fit well with any specific body type. Big guys will crush the deadlift but suffer on the pull-ups, lighter competitors will accumulate a lot of pull-ups but suffer from the deadlift (and / or max snatch). This inherent challenge is what makes TSC such a unique event to train and participate in. Equally important is the opportunity to experience the best of what the StrongFirst community has to offer. Every year, the venues hosting the TSC are filled with people cheering each other on for greater physical feats.
Given the variety of abilities required to ensure a good performance on competition day, training for this event is not taken lightly. Athletes train for months to prepare and when the COVID-19 lockdowns with their social distancing requirements and the closure of gyms around the world were put in place, StrongFirst faced as many logistical challenges as the athletes were physically. How do you continue to support the many competitors who plan to test their mettle as the lockdown prevents almost every path necessary for success?
A necessary pivot: from live to virtual
From there was born the idea of putting online the 2020 “Community” TSC edition. Virtual hosting came with inevitable challenges, but there was no way to let the dedicated athletes down. We would find a way to go on and let them take it out!
For many of those who participated, the mental challenge of playing at maximum capacity with no one to cheer was a big hurdle. Just like the teammates cheering you on during your snatch test on test day at an SFG level, I can help you cross the finish line, having people cheering you on during maximum effort at TSC definitely sets you up. pumps for success.
The equipment available was also a challenge, but many of our athletes were up to the task and those who had the equipment to stay on course with their training stayed on track. And StrongFirst instructors from all corners of the map were happy to offer remote programming to keep our community strong.
Aside from the necessary equipment, the biggest challenge for many people was maintaining a regular workout schedule when they weren't going to the gym. Routine is a powerful force in our psyche and such a drastic departure from a cohesive training program can wreak havoc on our state of mind and therefore kill motivation via a ripple effect. Competition always demands a strong mindset, and this has never been more evident than in our current situation.
Part of the TSC Spring Edition is a charitable opportunity linked to the event. For this event, we spotlighted StrongFirst Certified Instructor David Knuth who lost his leg earlier this year due to cancer. In a truly StrongFirst gesture, many participants competed in his honor. Their performances helped raise funds that will help David purchase a prosthetic leg. This will allow him to resume practicing more of his regular strength skills and resume his career as a law enforcement officer. We extend a huge thank you to everyone who made an effort for this extra rep or donated to help our friend and colleague in strength. If you would like to donate or get more information on David's story, you can read more about him here.
Abbe Somerhalder, SFG I, shares his TSC experience below:
“In early February, I told my (colleague) instructor Jackie Michaels, SFG I, that I wasn't going to let self-isolation get in the way of my goals. I said I would do whatever she recommended to train for the TSC but admit I didn't imagine myself ripping myself off in my basement while making sure my music was low enough to don't wake anyone up. Without the necessary equipment to deadlift at home, my training focused on snatches and pull-ups and was the perfect opportunity to mount the old touch of rock climbing that I was pestering my husband. Although our gym community was separated, we remained connected and encouraged each other through texts, video chat, and posting photos of our daily workouts to our Facebook group. My training weeks consisted of two days of pull-ups, three days of pull-ups, and lots of yoga to free me from sitting in front of a computer much more than I was used to. Jackie had me go through a pull-up program from StrongFirst certified team leader, Maggie Burrows, who stirred the load using slow negatives, bodyweight sets, and weighted pull-ups. In addition to training, an important part of my progress in pullup was related to the reduction in my body fat percentage. Ryan Toshner, StrongFirst Certified Senior Instructor, says, "If you want to improve your pull-ups, lose ten pounds." On May 9th, I was 22 pounds lighter than for the fall 2019 TSC (where I only had two reps) and I proved him right by getting nine pull-ups, a huge PR for me!
Ray Vazquez, SFG I, used a completely different pullup routine to achieve a new personal best:
“At TSC last spring, I did 23 pull-ups. I really wanted to get closer to this 30 pullup mark, and having always heard great things about the Fighter pullup StrongFirst community program, I decided to give it a try. I started the program just seven weeks away from TSC. I trained five days a week, then rested for two days. The first week I did 12-10-8-6-4 everyday. The following week I started with two more reps (14-12-10-8-6) and added two reps each day as the schedule suggests (second day was 14-12-10-8 -8). I continued this program for six weeks, ending the last week with 20-20-18-16-14. The following week was just two weeks before TSC so I moved on to just three days of training, resting one day between sessions. The first set of pull-ups on the first day of this week consisted of 22. The last week before the TSC I did a set of pull-ups at about what looked like 80% of my max reps: 20 pull-ups. I rested from the pull-ups the rest of the week. Saturday, the day of the event, I felt strong and ready to go. I ended up with 29 pull-ups, a new PR.
Given the circumstances surrounding this particular challenge, we believe that each participant deserves to be recognized for their personal records and efforts. Check the names of the competitors and the corresponding scores in our leaderboard. The best male and female participants in the Pre-Comp division will receive free entry to the Competition edition next October. Thank you to all hosts and participants - we are delighted to meet up for the next challenge!
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Coming up with your perfect bodybuilding workout program and diet to match can seem like quite the process. You have to plan how many days a week you’re going to workout, what exercises you will include in your program, how long your rest periods will be, how many reps you should perform for each exercise, and on and on it goes.
Many individuals do tend to feel slightly overwhelmed with the amount of information available out there as to what works ’best’, and therefore take more time than they should to even get going.
You always must remember that half the battle is just getting started, so avoid going into too many details that are just going to hold you up from playing the game.
The sooner you can get into the gym and start actually pushing the weights, the sooner you will start building bourrinage and seeing your body transform into your ideal physique.
That said, you obviously do need to make sure you are following some sound strategies so that the workouts you are doing will help you build muscle. If you pay heed to these rules, chances are you are going to be on the way to success as long as you also are sure that the nutrition part of the equation is included as well.
The first bodybuilding tip that will make the solo biggest difference on your rate of muscle gain is whether you are able to consecutively add more weight to the bar.
It’s not going to matter how many fancy principles you use, if you aren’t increasing the sheer amount you are lifting over a few months of time, you aren’t building muscle as quickly as you should be.
The number one priority of any bourrinage gaining bodybuilding workout program should be lifting heavier and heavier weights.
When you get ’stuck’ and aren’t able to bump the weight up higher, that’s when you start tinkering with other strategies such as drop sets, supersets, etc., as a means to help increase the body’s potential, so that in a few more weeks, you can bump it up to the next weight level.
All those fancy protocols will definitely have an advantage down the road once you’ve attained a level of morphologie you’re satisfied with, but until that point, you should use them intermittently when you’re unable to lift heavier.
The deuxième bodybuilding tip to pay attention to is the rule on failure. Some people believe that lifting to failure each and every single set is the best way to build muscle. They think that in order to get a bourrinage to grow, you have to fully exhaust it.
While it is true that you have to push the muscles past their comfort level in order to see progress, you can run into a number of problems when you’re lifting to failure each and every set.
The first major provenant is central nervous system fatigue. Workout programs designed to go to failure each and every time will be very draining on the CNS.
After a few weeks of such a program, it’s highly likely that you’ll find the CNS is so exhausted that you can’t even lift the weight you used to for the required number of reps little own increase it upwards.
The deuxième problem with going to failure is that if you do this on the first exercise out in the workout, you’re not going to have much for a deuxième, third, and fourth exercise after that.
Since you should be doing at least a couple of different exercises in each workout you do, this becomes very difficult to accomplish.
Instead, aim to go one to two reps bermuda of failure. This will still get you pushing your body and working at the intensity level needed to build force, but it won’t completely destroy you so that you have to end that workout prematurely and take a day or two off just to recoup.