Tactical Barbell Program: For Strength and Stamina [Spreadsheets & Review]

by Nader Qudimat
Updated June 22, 2023
Powerlifting and strength
Experience Level
Linear periodization
6, 12 weeks
Made for busy professionals (first responders, etc.)
Effective and simple training
6 different programs to choose from
Not the most effective program for strength and mass development

Bottom Line

The Tactical Barbell program is designed for people who want operational strength. 

For example, law enforcement, military, firefighters, and other first responders may appreciate this program for its ability to increase functional strength. 

If you want to make the most out of this program then it's recommended to check out the Tactical Barbell book on Amazon which can be found here

For how to save spreadsheet instructions, click here. 

The Tactical Barbell program includes 6 templates that you can choose from. 

It includes the grey man, fighter, gladiator, mass, Zulu, and operator programs in the same spreadsheet. 

Check out the book on Amazon explaining this strength program as it'll help you make the most out of it. 

However, if you're not in the tactical field (like law enforcement special ops, military, etc.) and want to put on more size, then check out the other program, the Tactical Barbell Mass Protocol.

The below program is still effective for hypertrophy. 

f you're in the market for a strength and conditioning program that's flexible, adaptable, and designed for the long haul, you've come to the right place.

In this post, we'll delve deep into the Tactical Barbell Program, exploring its various components, user experiences, and the results you can expect.

The Tactical Barbell Program

The Tactical Barbell Program is a flexible, adaptable strength and conditioning program designed for individuals in physically demanding professions, such as the military, law enforcement, and first responders. It offers multiple templates to cater to different fitness goals and schedules.

What is Tactical Barbell?

The Tactical Barbell Program is more than just a workout routine; it's a comprehensive strength and conditioning system.

Designed with the unique demands of tactical athletes, this program aims to build strength, endurance, and physical resilience.

Whether you're a soldier, a police officer, a firefighter, or just someone looking for a challenging and effective fitness program, Tactical Barbell has something to offer.

The Different Tactical Barbell Programs

The Tactical Barbell system is not a one-size-fits-all program.

It offers several different templates, each designed with specific goals in mind.

These include the Operator, Zulu, Fighter, Gladiator, Mass, and Grey Man programs.

Each program varies in frequency, intensity, and volume, allowing you to choose the one that best aligns with your fitness goals and lifestyle.

User Experience and Results

To give you a real-world perspective on the Tactical Barbell Program, let's look at a user's experience shared on Reddit.

One user followed the Operator template for three cycles, totaling 18 weeks.

Despite losing a small amount of lean mass, the user reported significant strength gains, with increases in bench press, back squat, and push press.

The user also noted that the individual training sessions were longer than expected, primarily due to the high intensity of the workouts and the need for adequate rest between sets.

Pros and Cons of the Tactical Barbell Program

Like any fitness program, Tactical Barbell has its strengths and potential drawbacks.

On the plus side, the program's flexibility and adaptability are often praised.

Users appreciate the ability to choose a template that fits their goals and schedule, and the focus on long-term, sustainable progress is a major selling point.

However, some users have noted that high-intensity workouts can be time-consuming, and the program may not be ideal for those looking to maximize muscle mass.

Spreadsheet Access 

NOTE: Please make a copy by clicking File > Make  (requesting edit access is incorrect). For how to save spreadsheet instructions, click here. 

(Read above first) Spreadsheet

Tactical Barbell Program Overview

The tactical barbell program contains 6 templates that are similar to each other. 

All of them have 3-week periods where volume is reduced and intensity is increased then resetting on week 4 with higher intensity on week 1, then reduces volume and intensity for 3 weeks then peaks on week 6.

It's fairly straightforward and effective.

Here's a quick overview of the Tactical Barbell program:


This is a strength program that uses 3 workouts per week with a day off in-between.

Benchpress and squat are done 3 times per week, with weighted pull-ups performed twice a week and deadlifts once a week. 

Training is done between 70-90% of the 1 rep max range, with reps ranging from 1 to 5.

Test your 1 rep max every 6-12 weeks. 


This is similar to Operator except it uses 4 days per week with 2 different workouts that alternate each session.

The main lifts are performed twice a week, meaning it has more deadlifting and overhead pressing than Operator but less benching and squatting. 

The sets and reps are similar to Operator if the "I/A" option. is picked.

If you want less volume, go with the standard configuration but the intensity remains the same as Operator.


Using 2 days per week, the Fighter template focuses on the 4 main compound lifts; squats, benchpress, deadlifts, and overhead press. 

It uses 3 to 5 sets of 3 reps of your 1 rep max on all lifts, so don't underestimate this program.

If you are limited on time and need something short and sweet, then the Fighter template is a solid pick. 


This is the next best thing to Fighter but instead of 2 days per week, it uses 3 days per week with the same workouts. 


Mass is like Gladiator but focuses on high reps with 4 sets of 6 reps and it doesn't go up to 95% on week 6. It uses 4 sets of triples at 90% of your 1 rep max on the final week.  

Grey Man

The Grey Man is a 12-week program that has less volume than the other programs and features 3 workout sessions per week. 

Tactical Barbell: 1 Rep Max vs Training Max

Tactical Barbell Program was designed for using a training max of 90% of your true 1 rep max.

The book recommends this.

If you're new to the Tactical Barbell Program then it's a good idea to use a training max. 

Programs like 5/3/1 and GZCL are proven to work and they use a training max.

If you want to successfully run this program continuously throughout the year, then you'll want to use a training max as you won't be able to sustain your training max of 90% every 3 weeks.

On the "entry tab", you'll have the option to pick either training max or true max.

Tactical Barbell Spreadsheets

You can find the spreadsheet for this program here:

Tactical Barbell Program Spreadsheets

You can also find the discussion for this program on their forum

Make sure you save this spreadsheet so you can edit it and use it for yourself. 

Tactical Barbell Video and Reviews

It's nice being able to know that this program works. 

Ben Mayz ran the Operator and Zulu for a while and said that it helped break his PR's on his 1RM lifts

He noted the downside being that the workout sessions can stretch out to 90 minutes as compound lifts need longer rest periods between sets.

Check out the video below on another user of this program:

Tactical Barbell Program Variations

The Tactical Barbell program is not a one-size-fits-all program.

It includes six different templates that you can choose from based on your specific goals and needs.

These templates include the Grey Man, Fighter, Gladiator, Mass, Zulu, and Operator programs.

Each of these templates has unique features and focuses on different aspects of fitness.

For instance, the Operator template is a strength program that uses three workouts per week, while the Zulu template is similar to Operator but uses four days per week with two different workouts that alternate each session.

The Fighter template, on the other hand, focuses on the four main compound lifts and uses only two days per week.

Tactical Barbell Program for Hypertrophy

While the Tactical Barbell program is primarily designed for strength and conditioning, it can also be effective for hypertrophy.

The Mass template, for example, focuses on high reps with four sets of six reps and doesn't go up to 95% on week 6.

It uses four sets of triples at 90% of your one rep max on the final week.

This template can be a good choice for those who want to put on more size.

Tactical Barbell Program and Diet

Your diet plays a crucial role in the results you can achieve with the Tactical Barbell program.

It's important to maintain a balanced diet that provides you with the necessary nutrients to fuel your workouts and recover effectively.

Consuming a sufficient amount of protein is particularly important for muscle growth and recovery.

Tactical Barbell Program and Rest

Rest is an essential part of the Tactical Barbell program.

The program includes rest days between workout days to allow your body to recover and adapt to the training stimulus.

Moreover, the program also emphasizes the importance of getting enough sleep, as sleep is a key time for muscle recovery and growth.

Tactical Barbell Program and Alcohol

Alcohol can have a negative impact on your fitness progress.

It can interfere with muscle recovery and growth, and it can also lead to dehydration and poor sleep quality.

Therefore, it's recommended to limit your alcohol consumption while following the Tactical Barbell program.

Tactical Barbell Program and Supplements

While supplements are not a requirement for the Tactical Barbell program, they can potentially enhance your performance and recovery.

For instance, creatine can help increase your strength and power output, while protein powder can help ensure you're getting enough protein to support muscle growth and recovery.

Tactical Barbell Program and Time Commitment

The Tactical Barbell program requires a significant time commitment.

The individual training sessions can be rather long, especially for the Operator and Zulu templates.

However, the program is designed to be flexible and can be adjusted to fit your schedule.

Tactical Barbell Program and Plateauing

After a certain period of following the Tactical Barbell program, you may start to experience a plateau in your progress.

This is a common occurrence in any training program and is a sign that your body has adapted to the current training stimulus.

When this happens, it might be time to change up your program or increase the intensity or volume of your workouts.

Tactical Barbell Program and Conditioning

In addition to strength training, the Tactical Barbell program also includes a conditioning component.

This can help improve your cardiovascular fitness and endurance, which are important for overall health and performance.


  1. What is the Tactical Barbell Program? The Tactical Barbell Program is a complete strength training program designed to combine the two most important aspects of fitness that are often considered to be mutually exclusive: strength and conditioning.

  2. What is the training philosophy of the Tactical Barbell Program? The program is based on the philosophy that every athlete can train to become a maximal athlete with elite strength levels and the physical conditioning of a marathon runner.

  3. What results can you expect with a Tactical Barbell Program? The program is developed to help you become a tactical athlete. You can expect increased strength, improved conditioning, fat loss, and a boost in confidence.

  4. What is a Tactical Strength Challenge? A tactical strength challenge or TSC is a strength-building competition that was developed by Pavel Tsatsouline in 2002 to test an athlete's strength in real-life situations.

  5. How do you train for a Tactical Strength Challenge? The best way to train for a challenge like the TSC is to start by training for the kettlebell snatch, followed by the maximal pull-ups training, and finally, the deadlifts.

  6. What does Tactical Athlete mean? A tactical athlete is someone who's able to strike a balance between strength and conditioning. They are strong, functional, and at their peak performance at all times.

  7. What is Tactical Fitness? Tactical Fitness is the new buzzword in fitness circles. It's pretty much what a tactical athlete is and is considered a prerequisite if you are involved in any physically demanding job.

  8. What is Tactical Strength? Tactical strength is the kind of strength you need to perform activities without breaking a sweat. It's a blend of endurance, power, stamina, and flexibility.

  9. Is maintaining a Tactical Barbell Spreadsheet helpful? Yes. Be it TB1 or TB2, you will have to test your maxes every two blocks to ensure that you are using submaximal loading. The spreadsheet takes guesswork out of it.

  10. Can I ask for help in the Tactical Barbell Forum? Absolutely. The Tactical Barbell forum is one of the best places to share your training logs, analyze and critique your custom programs, as well as seek help.

Bottom Line: Get Faster, Stronger, and Bigger with The Tactical Barbell Program

The Tactical Barbell Program is a comprehensive strength and conditioning system designed for individuals in physically demanding professions.

It offers multiple templates, allowing for flexibility and adaptability based on individual fitness goals and schedules.

While the high-intensity workouts can be time-consuming, users report significant strength gains and appreciate the program's focus on long-term, sustainable progress.

This program offers a flexible and adaptable approach to strength and conditioning.

While it may not be the best fit for everyone, it's an excellent option for those in physically demanding professions or anyone looking for a challenging and effective fitness program.

Remember, the best workout program is the one you can stick to consistently.

by Nader Qudimat

Forged by iron and cold steel, I'm Nader, a mid-30s natural bodybuilder. Once a 100lb skinny guy, I've transformed into a 200lb muscular athlete with over 15 years of lifting experience. Today, I leverage my transformation and extensive experience to guide countless individuals on their fitness journeys.

Click here to check out my 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

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