The Tactical Strength Challenge
The Tactical Strength Challenge (TSC) is a strength competition
consisting of three events:
- A three-attempt powerlifting deadlift
- Pullups for max reps
- Kettlebell snatches for max reps in a 5:00 time period
The winner is determined by the combined score in the three events, based on percentages
of the TSC References Scores. The highest combined score wins. In the event of a deadlift
tie, the lighter competitor places higher. In the event of a pullup tie, the heavier competitor
places higher. In the event of a snatch tie, the tie stands. In the event of an overall tie (two
or more lifters get same combined score), the tie stands.
Event 1: The deadlift
The purpose of the TSC is to test absolute strength (deadlift),
bodyweight-relative strength (pullups), and cardiovascular endurance
(kettlebell snatches). The three events test a unique trade-off between these
abilities. Heavier participants have an advantage in the deadlift, lighter
participants have an advantage in pullups. The kettlebell snatch tests all
participants more or less equally.
The TSC does not charge an entry fee. (Optional
fund-raising for charitable purposes is allowed as long as it's
strictly optional.) There is no organization to join and
therefore no membership fee. No uniform or gear is required.
Just show up and lift.
Classes of Competition
There are seven classes of competition.
Men's Open Division and Men's Masters Division - a max deadlift, bodyweight pullups, and snatches with a 24kg kettlebell.
Men's Elite Division - a max deadlift, pullups with 10kg of added
weight (22 lbs), and snatches with a 32kg kettlebell.
Men's Novice Division - a max deadlift, bodyweight pullups,
and snatches with a 16kg kettlebell.
Division - a max deadlift, bodyweight pullups, and snatches with a 16kg
Women's Elite Division - a max deadlift, pullups with 5kg of added weight
(11 lbs), and snatches with a 20kg kettlebell.
Division - a max deadlift, bodyweight pullups, and snatches with a 12kg
There are no weight classes, since the different events variously
favor heavier or lighter competitors by design.
Event 2: Pullups (shown here weighted, see
rules for weight)
The original TSC was developed by
Pavel Tsatsouline. We have made a
couple of changes from the original competition. In the original, the events
included one-legged squats ("pistols") done with a kettlebell. The new TSC
substitutes the deadlift, which is simpler and more user-friendly. Also in the
original, kettlebell snatches were done with only one switch of the arm
allowed, and were not timed. We have changed the rules to allow multiple
switches and imposed a 5:00 time limit. These changes make snatches less
technical and a harder test of cardiovascular fitness.
The 10kg (22 lbs) used for pullups in the Men's Elite Division
comes from an old standard used by some Soviet special forces units
(Spetznatz). This standard specified that candidates would be able to do 18
strict pullups with 10kg of added gear.
Event 3: Kettlebell snatches (see rules
for kettlebell sizes)