The Tactical Strength Challenge (TSC) is a staple for kettlebell practitioners and fitness enthusiasts around the world. Twice a year the TSC is held to showcase an individual’s overall strength, muscular endurance, and conditioning with the following 3 exercises:


  • 1 rep max on the Deadlift (3 attempts)
  • Max pull-ups (strict)
  • Max kettlebell snatches in 5 min.


There are hundreds of exercises so why were these three selected for the TSC? The answer lies in their functionality (or carry over into every day life or sports).


  1. Max strength output: The deadlift. It’s simple. Pick something up and put it down. We do this every day. In this case you have 3 attempts to pick up the heaviest amount of weight possible. It’s a great way to test your body’s highest strength level to include your grip, legs, and back strength. Nearly every sport involves these muscles. In most cases, the stronger you are the better athlete you become. This is far better measure of maximal strength than the meathead “What’s your bench?” test of strength.

Deadlift 1_9


  1. Muscular endurance (upper body): Strict, dead hang pull-ups (no kipping!) with a pronated grip (palms facing forward). Having the physical strength to perform pull-ups repeatedly showcases your upper body’s pulling strength. Now, you probably aren’t hanging off of a cliff on a daily basis and need the strength to pull yourself to safety. However, if you can perform strict pull-ups you more than likely are 1) stronger than most people 2) have a healthier body and 3) look better than your neighbor.



  1. Heart and Lung capacity (aka conditioning): Performing as many kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes is like sprinting a mile. Before you realize it your heart rate is through the roof and your lungs are on fire. Consider that most men use a 53lb kettlebell and most women use a 35lb kettlebell and you can see why it can become a very daunting activity for 5 minutes. Every rep must be perfect to count towards your total. Having the heart and lung capacity, as well as mental focus, to perform this task perfectly for 5 minutes demonstrates your incredible ability to endure prolonged, intense activity.



Want to give it a try? Register HERE and select a location close to you. You have 8 weeks to prepare. Need help? Try following THIS training program to get you ready. Don’t worry the program is broken down to the beginner level and up to elite competitors.



About Josh Jarmin

Originally from Washington, D.C. (NOVA) Josh moved to Atlanta to be a Middle School history teacher after graduating from James Madison University. He joined the Marine Corps infantry as a reservist and served in Iraq honorably. Josh then turned his attention to personal training after his tour in order to help others reach their health/fitness goals. At one point he was 275lbs and 28% body fat. Now he's 195lbs and 13.5% body fat. Josh worked for several fitness facilities in Atlanta and developed a loyal following of trainees. He's created a training program of his own personal design and has established himself as one of the top kettlebell and body movement experts in the Atlanta area. Josh is currently the Co-Owner and Director of Fitness at Blueprint Fitness.

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