• From the Field with Tyler Christiansen
    Tyler Christiansen, CSCS,*D, USAW, RSCC, is a veteran soldier currently working as a Human Performance Specialist with the U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group. Christiansen has worked with tactical athletes in the Special Forces community, as a TSAC Coordinator at the NSCA, and as an Exercise Physiologist at the Army Physical Fitness Research Institute. Christiansen has also worked with sport athletes at the collegiate and pro levels.
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  • From the Field BannerFrom the Field | Tyler ChristiansenTyler Christiansen, CSCS,*D, USAW, RSCCTyler Christiansen is a veteran soldier currently working as a Human Performance Specialist with the U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group. Christiansen has worked with various tactical athletes as a Human Performance Specialist for Athletes’ Performance in the Special Operations Forces community, as the Tactical Strength and Conditioning (TSAC) Coordinator at the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), as an Exercise Physiologist at the Army Physical Fitness Research Institute, and as a contractor in Baghdad, Iraq. Additionally, he has worked with sport athletes at Iowa State University, Illinois State University, and the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball (MLB) organization. 

    1. What Tactical population do you currently work with?
    The 7th Group Army Special Forces (Airborne).

    2. How did you get started in the TSAC (Tactical Strength and Conditioning) field?
    I was an Army National Guard infantry soldier for roughly seven years. During college, I also interned as a strength and conditioning coach with Iowa State and Illinois State University. After graduation, I did contract work in Iraq where I ran a gym and trained the soldiers like they were athletes. After returning home, I got involved with the TSAC Program as an intern and later as a TSAC Coordinator at the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) World Headquarters.

    3. What resources do you utilize for continuing education? Are there any sources you would recommend staying away from?
    I am a strong advocate of conferences (e.g., NSCA National Conference/TSAC Conference). Additionally, I try to go and train with mentors (Loren Landow and Shawn Myszka recently) to learn more about their system for a week, instead of going to an hour presentation.

    I think you can typically learn what to do or not to do from anyone/anything. The coach just needs to know and/or be able to justify why it is in their system. Justification does not include crushing ones soul physically every day because a website/magazine had a workout listed or you saw it once.

    4. If you where hiring someone in your field, what would you look for?
    a. Experience
    b. Ability to teach large groups or individuals
    c. Education and an effort to continue to learn
    d. Certification
    e. Flexibility in coaching style to meet the team/individual
    f. Ability to bring out the “it” factor in the athletes
    g. Passion

    5. Please describe the regular duties included in your position?
    a. Adapt workouts/programs in a unpredictable environment to cater to tactical job duties (pre or post)
    b. Teach daily introduction education series
    c. Teach advanced education series for deployment
    d. Continual education of self (e.g., read articles, blogs, books, research)
    e. Coach athletes that vary in training age and chronological age

    6. What are the two most important things you have learned; that you wish you knew when you were starting your career?
    a. Educated tactical athletes upfront
    b. Give the tactical athlete 80% of what they need and 20% of what they want until full trust is given to write programming
    c. I realize it only asks for two, but I would also read up on the upper and lower cross syndrome and Vladimir Issurin’s book, “Block Periodization

    7. What recommendations would you give someone who is looking to start a career in TSAC?
    a. Get involved, even though it may have to be volunteer status at first
    b. Earn trust
    c. Show results (test)
    d. Learn about the tactical setting
    8. What do you believe are the top three physical requirements for this population that must be addressed in a proper TSAC program?
    a. Strength (including core)
    b. Power (including how to properly produce force in the proper direct/range of motion/less time)
    c. Energy system development (depending on tactical athlete)

    9. What steps do you go through when writing a program for the population you work with?
    a. Injury needs
    b. Fundamental movement needs
    c. Performance goals
    d. Tentative availability to workout
    e. Select appropriate exercises based on above info that are well balanced (upper and lower, push and pull, energy systems, etc.) that are using a concurrent approach and suited for the tactical athlete’s training age and chronological age
    f. A small sampling of what the athlete enjoys

    10. What are some critical factors in getting tactical athletes to buy into a strength and conditioning program?
    a. Results
    b. Show them you care
    c. Help them feel better and move better
    d. Be consistent
    e. Hold them accountable (movement quality and effort)
    f. Find their driving “it” factor (i.e., what motivates them)
  • Disclaimer: The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) encourages the exchange of diverse opinions. The ideas, comments, and materials presented herein do not necessarily reflect the NSCA’s official position on an issue. The NSCA assumes no responsibility for any statements made by authors, whether as fact, opinion, or otherwise. 
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