Original Strength For The Tactical Athlete – Book Review

It’s always funny to think about how you came across something new.

Years ago, Jason Ferruggia introduced me to deadlift world record holder Andy Bolton. And Bolton introduced me to Pavel Tsatsouline through their co-authored book, Deadlift Dynamite.

At least, I think that’s how it happened.

Through Pavel’s work, I came across legendary strength coach Dan John. And after reading Pavel and Dan’s co-authored book, Easy Strength, I became a convert.

Every idea and method of theirs that I tried worked. I threw away everything I thought I knew about lifting weights. I quit beating myself up every workout and became a much better athlete.

For years now I have followed Pavel and Dan John. Their books, blogs, videos, and workshops have changed my life.

So when they say something works, I listen.

A while back, Dan John wrote that he starts every day with his Original Strength RESETS. He described rocking and rolling on the ground and how it helps with his mobility. I didn’t know what he was talking about at the time, but I had to find out.

It didn’t take long before I was crawling, rocking, and rolling all over the place, too.

Original Strength (OS) is a system developed by Tim Anderson and Geoff Neupert. It consists of five main “RESETS”. These RESETS, when practiced regularly, help restore and maintain movement and mobility.

The main Original Strength book, Pressing RESET, was one of my favorite reads from 2018 and is a great resource for getting started with OS.

Since incorporating OS in my life, my views on training, recovery, and mobility have changed. It’s so simple. But it works.

Because I believe in the OS system, I was excited to dive into Original Strength for the Tactical Athlete.

Original Strength for the Tactical Athlete by Chad Faulkner and Tim Anderson

From the beginning, the authors make it clear that this book is not intended to stand on its own. Original Strength for the Tactical Athlete is a companion book to Pressing RESET.

Pressing RESET provides a much more detailed overview of the entire OS system. This book simply shows how a tactical athlete can incorporate the OS system into their training.

If you want the “why” and “how”, check out Pressing RESET. If you just want to be told what to do, Original Strength for the Tactical Athlete is fine.

The authors define a tactical athlete as “a person who trains for physical and mental skill, stamina, and strength in order to handle complex situations in non-permissive and stressful environments.” And it’s clear that their preferred audience is gun-carrying professionals. I would argue, however, that this book can help people beyond the military and police worlds.

This is a short book. Less than one hundred pages, actually. But sometimes that’s a good thing. In the words of the great Kevin Malone, “why waste time say lot word when few word do trick?“.

Where Pressing Reset dedicates an entire chapter to each of the five OS RESETS, OS for the Tactical Athlete covers them all in a few short pages.

But, for most people, this is enough.

The movements are simple. And for those interested in learning more, there are other resources available.

While I would have loved more sample workouts or flows, the authors don’t waste the reader’s time. They say what they need to say with a lot of pictures and not so many words.

Why write lot word when few word do trick?

Highlights from Original Strength for the Tactical Athlete

The most valuable section of this book may be the chapter titled “Do You Need OS?”. In this section, we’re provided with a three-part baseline test.

This is a valuable tool.

The test, in summary, is as follows:

Can you crawl with your knees off the ground and head up, breathing only through your nose, for three minutes?

Are you able to walk 50 yards while holding 1/3 your bodyweight three inches in front of your chest?

How long can you balance in a push-up position with one arm and one leg off the ground?

Now, can you do all of these without warming up?

This simple test provides us with a way to “check-in” on our mobility, balance, and general athleticism.

An equally valuable section of the book is the “RESET Flows” chapter. Here we’re given a few small RESET workouts that can help in specific circumstances. For example, there is a RESET Flow to do after you’ve been sitting for a long time. And another to do as a warm-up before a physical fitness test.

These flows are very simple. Don’t expect anything fancy. The flows are a nice addition to the book, though, and, while I wish there were more, the four or five provided are useful.

What you should expect from Original Strength for the Tactical Athlete

With less than one hundred pages and a lot of pictures, this is a very short read. If you’re looking for something to keep you occupied during a cross country flight, this isn’t it.

But if you want a basic understanding of how to apply the OS RESETS into your “Tactical Athlete” training plan, you’ll get a lot of good ideas from this book.

I am not in the military, nor do I own a gun. I ruck and compete in obstacle course racing, though, and got plenty of good ideas from this book. Specifically the RESET Flows and “Do You Need OS?” test.

Testing myself with the “Do You Need OS” baseline test on a regular basis seems like a good idea.

Original Strength for the Tactical Athlete is not a complete workout program. But it provides good information on how to stay healthy, move well, and get the most from your training. All good things.