Tactical Strength Challenge Spring 2015 Results

So the official results of the StrongFirst Tactical Strength Challenge have been confirmed, and it turns out that I placed 17th in the Novice Division out of 156 competitors, just outside of the top 10th percentile. A few notes and observations about the competition:

  • Competitors in the novice division performed snatches with a 20 kg kettlebell; the open division, 24 kg; and the elite division, 32 kg. Additionally, pull-ups in the elite division were performed with 10 kg of added weight.
  • Technique quality was strictly enforced for the pull-ups. Chin had to clear the bar, elbows had to be locked out at the bottom with a pause in between each repetition. 
  • The greatest number of pull-ups achieved in my division was 26; the heaviest deadlift was 550 lbs by someone at 200 lbs body weight.
  • Many competitors in the novice division were only able to achieve single digit pull-ups; there were several that weren't able to perform any at all.
  • The man who placed second in the novice division was 165 lbs, deadlifted 405 lbs, performed 23 pull-ups, and 151 snatches--at 47 years of age. Super impressive in a field where the average age appears to be in the mid 30's. 
  • My deadlift PR up until this event was 390 lbs. I was able to pull 390 on my first attempt, 405 on my second and set a new personal best for myself at 415 lbs.

Overall I am pleased with my results and had a great time competing. It was pretty cool to think that hundreds of people were competing in real time with me all across the country (or at least people within my time zone). Participants also competed from France, Italy, England, Israel, Czech Republic, South Korea, South Africa, New Zealand and Ireland!


It would be interesting to perform a statistical analysis on the competition data to observe the variance in each exercise across all divisions. Having such figures could give information about which exercise will give you the most "bang for your buck" in terms of improving your overall ranking.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of the ranking system. Your rank in each individual event is summed up to produce an overall ranking number, and the lowest score wins. For example, placing first in each event would yield a perfect score of 3 and an overall rank of #1. If the placement of competitors depends on how they rank relative to each other. then I think the field should be more standardized to control for the most glaring disparity--body weight. 

It can be argued that the diversity of exercises controls for any unfair advantages for competitors of different body weight. For example high-performing, heavy deadlifters won't be able to do as many pull-ups as their lighter counterparts. But again, the variance in each category plays a huge role in how this affects the overall rankings. Can you say for certain that the advantage that a 150 pound competitor has in doing pull-ups is statistically enough to compete with someone who weights 200 pounds but can deadlift 100 pounds more? How does that play into the overall rankings and in what direction does that bias the field?


Anyway, a simple suggestion for improvement is to simply re-categorize the competitors into ranking by body weight. It levels the playing field for competitors without changing the foundation of the TSC nor any of the exercises. I'll still be competing in the second TSC of the year this fall and will be looking to improve all my numbers, especially my snatches. Would love to make the top 10 someday!