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Fall Transition - Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization Series

Stew smith

Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization Cycle (Fall Cycle in Stock)

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Though we focus on all the elements of fitness, we are also not building marathon runners, competitive swimmers, or world class power lifters. We are taking current strengths and maintaining them to a degree and focus on building weaknesses to handle the wide variety of challenges that is tactical selection programs. A full year of training is ideal to develop all the elements of fitness as typically everyone has a weakness that they need to make better AND some strengths they need to also maintain. The year is broken up into seasons (4 x 12 to 13-week cycles). The cycles can be shifted to the left or right a month or so depending on your needs and climate in your region:

Fall – Transition from Summer Cals / Cardio into Lifting / Running Stabilizes then Reduced – Weights Slowly Introduced.

Winter – Lift Cycle focused on Hypertrophy then Strength / Power with Calisthenics and Cardio in a maintenance phase.

Spring – Transition from Winter Lift Cycle into a progression Cals / Cardio cycle with running and higher repetitions increasing each week.

Summer – High Volume Calisthenics and Cardio Cycle for peak level endurance and muscle stamina.

Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization: 
The Fall Transition Fully Explained

This book focuses solely on our most recent Fall transition phase. The transition from a high repetitions calisthenics and high mileage running phase is a reverse progression. The reduction of mileage and reps occur throughout the weeks as you focus on shorter and faster runs, and heavier repetitions of calisthenics using some weights, sandbags, weight vests, TRX, and other tools to make calisthenics more difficult.

Running Miles:  THIS WORKOUT Program (FALL): Running Starts at 25 miles per week and regresses down to 20 miles per week in the first six weeks with a focus on running speed (6-7 min mile pace). We maintain a 20-25 miles per week running base for 6 weeks, then drop again toward the end of the cycle to be in the 15-20 miles per week miles per week for the lifting cycle that starts toward the Winter months. Running can be adjusted 5-10 miles per week (up/down) as needed for abilities with optional nonimpact cardio given each day. 

The Winter months will drop the miles to the 10-15 miles per week zone purely as a cardio base maintenance. You can do these runs at goal pace intervals or steady state aerobic base maintenance. The goal in these months is to build strength, durability, and put on some mass if needed.

Rucking Miles – If you need more rucking miles, replace some of the running miles with more rucking. There will be opportunities to do 8-10 mile rucks if you prefer or split in half with run / ruck.

Lifts and Calisthenics Mix - We call the Fall transitions the 50-50 Split as the balance between calisthenics and cardio and the added lifts per week develop into about a 50% split. Then the progression into heavier lifting and less total mileage will peak during the following Winter Lift Cycle.

Fall:  October – Nov – December:  Sometimes, we will start the Fall Transition a few weeks or even a month early as it depends on how we are feeling with our high level of calisthenics and cardio from the peak Summer Cycle. The Fall Transition is like the 50-50 Spring phase just in reverse. We lift more /​drop the high reps – increase weight for strength /​ power. Running volume tapers into sprints / short runs and more non-​​impact cool down cardio after lift workouts. Consider Rucking and more swimming with scuba fins in the winter climates for cardio workouts. Obviously, if going Army or USMC – add rucking. If going Navy SEAL / SWCC / Diver, add in more swimming and swimming with fins. Both activities are great post-leg day lift workout cardio options. If you do not need to swim, replace some of the swim workouts with a ruck, extra run, or easy non-impact cardio session if you need to take it easy on the joints for a day. The Fall 50-50 cycle is fun and the decrease in mileage / increase in speed will yield results in the weight room as well.

Breaking Up the Running Volume Year-Round Cycles

We never stop running nor doing calisthenics, we just use them differently. They make great warmups and cooldowns when in a maintenance phase. When not training specifically for high volume as in the Spring / Summer Cycles. The Fall – Winter cycles see a regression of total volume in the focus of running endurance and muscle stamina. We do this for two reasons – joint health and a change in focus on speed, agility, and strength / power. This is done with a reduction in miles but an increase in speed and pace for shorter timed runs and faster events (sprints / obstacle course training etc). However, for those needing extra cardio, you can add in some more non-impact options in secondary workouts.

Here is the overview of the year. As you can see the running progression is flatlined through the late Fall and Winter months to focus on gaining mass and strength but maintaining shorter run paces and speed. The Spring is where the weights start to reduce but the running miles start to progress until it peaks in the late Summer / early Fall months.

Coming Soon (before end of 2022): The other seasons of the Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization Series: Winter Lift Cycle, Spring Progression, and Summer Peak 

Who Needs This? 

If you are preparing for the advanced fitness levels within our nation's special ops world, this is an advanced level workout that will do just that. From Navy PST or the Air Force IFT/OFT as well as other Combat Fitness Tests in our military to selection programs across our military, you need to try this method of training. This will help you not only get TO the training (Phase 1 of tactical fitness), but prepare yourself to get THROUGH the training (Phase 2 of tactical fitness) Also, if you are preparing for special ops training pipelines where all the elements of fitness (strength, power, speed, agility, endurance, muscle stamina, flexibility, mobility, grip) need to be highly developed, try 3-4 months of block periodization and maintain your strengths while building up your weaknesses.

Other Tactical Fitness Programs Specific to Your Goals

The Specific Military / Special Ops Physical Fitness Workouts 

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT
Navy SWCC Workout

Army PFT Workout (Prep For Rucking, OPAT, ACFT)
Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout
Army Air Assault School Workout
Army Airborne Workout


Advanced Running Program - Special Ops Supplement Plan
USMC OCS / TBS Workout


The Combat Conditioning Workout
Air Force PJ / CCT Workout  Battlefield Airman Prep Course
The UBRR Upper Body Round Robin Workout / Spec Ops version


The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer / Navy SAR Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Boot Camp Workout


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Workouts

The FBI Academy Workout  |   FBI Workout Vol 2  
The DEA Workout
The FLETC Workout - Ace the PEB
The PFT Bible: Pushups, Sit-ups, 1.5 Mile Run
The Fire Fighter Workout - Ace the CPAT


Online Coaching Options

Online PT CLUB - Weekly Workouts created personally for you.

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The dashboard below has the links to all the information, archives, videos, and links to workouts, podcasts, live Q and A lessons. 

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