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By George Demetriou

In an article from the National Tactical Officers Organization's publication, The Edge, the author, Brian L. Springer, a member of the National Strength and Conditioning's Tactical Strength and Conditioning's Division,  speaks of functional fitness for Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) officers and hits on the necessary points for optimizing performance and making routines task specific.

The article is well written, and while attempting to stay generic in regard to methods, does actually refer to "CrossFit" by name.  There is a description of what CrossFit is and what is good about it.  For the "con" about CrossFit the author states, "

While functional training has

maintained a strong presence as an “alternative”

method of training for over a decade, it

has yet to withstand the test of time. There

is not yet a sizeable study population that

has kept up this type of high intensity training

from decade to decade into old age.

There are arguments that the extreme variability

of training technique, while avoiding

overuse injury, may leave participants more

susceptible to acute injury. Anecdotally, the

high intensity of functional training workouts

may lead even highly fit individuals to

the development of rhabdomyolysis, a potentially

life-threatening condition resulting

from extensive damage to muscle tissue.

The author is quite correct, but let's take a look at this.  First, to the best of my knowledge there is no information available based on long term study ('the test of time") for what method of exercise is best for SWAT operators.  Perhaps it would be best to take a look at the results CrossFit has achieved since their existence, see who is using CrossFit and compare it to the alternatives.  At least for now, CrossFit seems to be working quite well.  If 20 years from now I turn out to be wrong I promise to apologize and write about why I was wrong.  For now though there is nothing better for SWAT operators and many others looking for general physical preparedness.

Although the "alternative" methods of functional fitness have been around "for over a decade" the NSCA didn't think of jumping on board until 2007 as CrossFit was expanding to over 400 affiliates worldwide.  Funny how that happened.

Personally, I wear the "Rhabdo" tag like a badge of honor.  Yes, a handful of people have gotten rhabdomyolysis, but the overwhelming majority never have.  We also have a better understanding of it now and how to avoid it.  It's not difficult.  It amuses me when those who train others to go into harm's way call CrossFit "dangerous".  Sorry, but you can't make everything completely safe and prepare for the rigors of taking down the most violent of society.  Not that you can't, but you shouldn't.  I prefer to have the operators push themselves hard in training so they perform as flawlessly as possible in real life.  Call me crazy.  Here's a little fact to consider:  There are currently numerous SWAT officers using the CrossFit method that are better prepared than those not using it AND they were never injured during a workout AND never suffered from "rhabdo".  Honest!

The author mentions another company by name, but not on purpose.  He uses the words "tactical athlete" in the article which of course is the name of Jeff Martone's company.  Jeff has spent years in the law enforcement training community formerly as an instructor at DARC (Direct Action Resource Center) in Arkansas, and as a kettlebell instructor for other organizations as well as his own company.  Besides providing the Kettlebell Certification course for CrossFit Jeff has presented kettlebell classes at law enforcement training conferences such as ASLET's (American Society For Law Enforcement Trainers).  Jeff is one of the first people on the planet to offer kettlebell instructional DVDs.

Jeff Martone has established his reputation as an excellent trainer and has established the name of his company long before those who are suddenly using the "tactical athlete" name as if it were their idea.  You figure if they're going to use the name of Jeff's company as it were their special monikor for members of the military and law enforcement community, they would at least give Martone a mention.  Call me crazy a second time!

I appreciate what those from the emergency medical field such as Doug Kleiner and Brian L. Springer do for the law enforcement community.  I really do.  I'm also glad that CrossFit and Jeff Martone are around to give Kleiner and Springer ideas and names to provide to the members of the law enforcement community that they train.  It'd be nice, not to mention professional, if they'd give Jeff Martone a mention when they use the name of his training company in their articles.

That's not much to ask for.


Fitness Training For the Tactical operator: Sorting through the Options by Brian L. Springer

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