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Why Do a Winter Lift Cycle Mixed with Cals / Cardio?

Stew smith

The New Winter Lift Cycle with Specialized Block Periodization is the Answer
3:1 Strength Weeks to PST/PAST Week
Training / Testing Cycles

Have you ever thought of doing a strength cycle for three weeks then doing a deload week for a cycle of 12-16 weeks?  Many of us who used to powerlift have been doing that type of training for years. But, this model is different. Instead of a classic de-load week, let's do a week of calisthenics and cardio to maintain / even improve current PST and PAST Test scores.

This 3:1 Tactical Fitness Block Periodization Model does just that. It works to not only increase strength but improve PST / PAST scores too! You do not want to neglect your muscle stamina and endurance even when you are working on your sterngth / power, speed and agility. Because, this is tactical fitness phase 1 (getting to the training) and phase 2 (THrough the training) - you are not lifting to play another season of football or compete in a powerlifting tournament. You have to get really GOOD at everything but not particularly great at anything compared to those who compete in sports. 

As a special ops candidate I'm confident that you really want to crush the PST / PAST test and graduate selection. However, you also need to be durable enough to handle a selection program that 80% of participants do not make it through.  Most do not make it through because they were under-prepared, get injured, fail to meet the standards, or quit. 

Maybe you have experienced failure in the past with getting stronger and maintaining calisthenics and cardio (run / swim / ruck) scores. It is not easy to get GOOD AT EVERYTHING. Most people leave a weaknesses that is exposed immediately when they start training and that becomes their burden or daily gut check.  Some can handle that - most cannot. 

In fact, if you're like most people, you’re really apprehensive about changing paths of what you are doing, but ask yourself this: 

Are you seeing steady progress in all areas? 

Are you stuck at the same numbers and times of assessment events like the PST and PAST test?

Are you getting stronger and more durable to handle load bearing activity like boats, logs, rucking, fireman carry, and heavy equipment carry?

if you are getting stronger, how is your running and swimming doing?

Are you able to maintain your above average scores in one area of fitness while you work on your weaknesses?

In the end, are you seeing the results you need to see?  Check with the Assessment Tool to Get TO and THROUGH Selection?  . These are recommended scores that successful graduates typically have before they ship off the join the military / start selection. These are my recommendations not the military recruiter recommendations.  

The issue may not actually be you because this process requires a near perfect balance of strength training and calisthenics and cardio maintenance.

Here's something you may not know...

Recovery Matters - The thing that's really sabotaging your success here is too much information. Everyone has an opinion on how to train for this and that and they are not wrong, however balancing all of the elements of fitness into a single program requires a process called block periodization within my personal system of Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization. Which means, the underlying issue here is management of your recovery, de-load cycles, and a balanced approach to working on your weaknesses while maintaining  your strengths. 

However, the way to get around this is program that incorporates all of that into it:  The Increase Strength and Crush the PST / PAST Workout is here!  It is a lift cycle with PT training / testing weeks incorporated into perfect "de-load" periods that actually help you recover from strength training AND improve PST / PAST Scores - at the same time!  .

Let me share with you how you can finally do that with Increase Strength and Crush the PST / PAST Test with this winter lift / PT cycle.

If you really want to be durable enough to handle a selection program that 80% of participants do not finish, this NEW truly groundbreaking program that we personally tested this Winter, during our Winter Lift Cycle here at / Heroes of Tomorrow Program with amazing results.  Some even had Personal Records (PRs) on runs, swim, and pushups in the middle of the lift cycle. At the same time, the body weight bench, weighted pullups, and dead lift / squat numbers improved as well. 

Stop guessing and start the Fall / Winter Lift Cycle with a program that produces results IF you put in the work. 

Check out the NEW Block Periodization Cycle we did Winter of 2020-21:

Increase Strength & Crush the PST / PAST
3 Weeks Strength - 1 Week PT / Cardio Focus 
(16 weeks)


If you are about 6 months out from BUDS or another Spec Ops selection and you need some strength as well as a high PT test scores, you may find some improvements in both using the block periodization model. 

You can tell the difference between recovery needs from the lifting weeks and the PST week was an actual "recovery week". In fact, during the PT weeks, the mobility day planned in the middle of the week was not really needed. Well, at least we did not feel like we needed it. We still did it and included a really good pool skills workout after it and worked on drownproofing and conditioning. 


Buy any book or ebook and get a FREE video critique of YOU swimming or doing other exercises!

Who Is The Tactical Fitness Coach / Author Stew Smith?

 I'm the former Navy SEAL that military recruits and special ops candidates go to for books, ebooks and online coaching to prepare themselves to get to and through intense tactical assessment and selection programs and qualify for service in their chosen tactical profession.  See More at

Check out the Complete List of Training Programs (Spec Ops, Military, Police, Fire)

We Have Answers For Beginners to Advanced Spec Ops Level Training Programs (see below)



DO NOT RELY ON THE MILITARY TO GET YOU INTO SHAPE AT BASIC TRAINING.  You will get into better shape for sure during your training if you arrive in lower fitness form, but you need to arrive with a foundation of physical fitness that is specific to your future job in the military / fitness tests / training. If you show up out of shape, you could end up failing standards or injuring yourself causing longer delays or removal from training altogether. 

For You Special Candidates (Get in Shape LONG Before You Join) 

High Intermediate Military / Advanced Spec Ops
Building Programming:

Which Program is Right For Me?
It Depends...Special Ops Candidates

The Pipeline of Training Options: 

EBOOKS (Special Ops– Most of my programs tend to focus on getting TO and THROUGH a specific tactical training program.  So you may see a mix of all the seasons in some of these books, but if you are training long term, you can take advantage of Seasonal Periodization and save yourself some of the over-use, long term pains that tend to follow many of the tactical preparations - especially on the spec ops level of training. 

Start training today with workouts that focus on the specifics of getting to and through tactical profession training from firefighter, police, swat, military to special ops. We have programs to help you get TO and THROUGH training. We also have training programs to help you with training as you age in these professions (Tactical Fitness 40+ series).


Lifting Cycle Programs For Those Who Need a Strength Focus

You may have seen my Winter Lift Cycle that I discuss in the Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization article as well as have our actual lift programs we have done over the years in the following books.


It is not all just calisthenics and cardio at Stew Smith Fitness

Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, Navy SEAL Weight Training Workout, Weight Vest Workout,  Stew Smith's Fall Winter Cycle, Warrior Workout #2Maximum Fitness

These programs as well as my online coaching programs have Winter Lift Cycles in them as part of our Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization System. But, do not get these lift cycles confused with ACTUAL strength / power lifting programs, these are strength / power programs that also have a focus on cardio fitness maintenance BECAUSE you need to be good at all the elements of fitness and develop into an all-round Tactical Athlete.  

Most Recent Spring / Summer & Fall Winter Programs:
(click to read more)
Or Do You Want my REAL TIME Seasonal Periodization Training - Delivered Weekly?


Get Weekly Unpublished Workouts Tested and Evaluated by local Stew Smith Training programs. 

Stew Smith Fitness Membership – You have access to years of workouts for both beginner / intermediate and advanced / special ops levels of fitness. Each week you will receive new and unpublished workouts being tested by Navy SEAL veteran / Stew Smith CSCS and his local group of future tactical professionals in both basic training and advanced spec ops training programming. The latest videos, articles, and other programming will be part of the weekly data feed to members as well. We go through the Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization program one week at a time.

Join the Online PT CLUB:
One On One Coaching with Stew Smith

If You Need a More Personalized Approach to Fit Your Needs, Goals, Time per Day, Days per week, Facilities, Abilities, etc...Try Online Coaching

Questions?  Just email me at

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