I have been using TF Commando for about 6 weeks, though I have been a serious KB athlete for years. Just to set a good foundation (since these movements are novel to me), I decided to start for a month of Mission 1- Recruit. What’s the progression after that? Would it be Mission 1- Grunt, or Mission 2-Recruit? Seems like staying within the same mission, but going up a level, allows one to benefit from the increasing complexity of the drills from one level to the next. Changing Missions seems to change to fairly different movements.
There are two ways to do it, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
The first way to do it is just like you described – go through mission 1 at recruit level, then followed immediately by mission one at grunt level, and then finally mission one at commando level – and only then move onto mission 2. The advantage of doing it this way is that you’ll benefit from the increased exercise sophistication from month to month. In other words, you’ll get to employ and practice more advanced skills each month that will have a greater cumulative training effect. So, you may get a better total training adaptation in the short term from increasing your level of exercise sophistication from month to month (assuming all the other pertinent training variables are accounted for). That all sounds great, but there is always a downside, and in this case it would be that you run a much greater risk of over-training due to predominantly using the same movement patterns for three months straight. Over-training comes with many risks, of course, and so this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The other method, that is recommended and outlined in the TACFIT Commando materials, is to progress from mission to mission at the same level of sophistication. So, the progression would be like this…
1st cycle (1st month): Mission 1, recruit level
2nd cycle: Mission 2, recruit level
3rd cycle: Mission 3, recruit level
4th cycle: Mission 1, grunt level
5th cycle: Mission 2, grunt level
6th cycle: Mission 3, grunt level
7th cycle: Mission 1, commando level
8th cycle: Mission 2, commando level
9th cycle: Mission 3, commando level
That is the long-term solution and is by-far the superior training method, and the one that I would recommend to 99% of trainees – and not just for health/safety/injury prevention reasons.
I think what worries some people about NOT increasing the exercise sophistication from month to month is that they feel they’ll be short-changing themselves in terms of results. But the truth is that the level of exercise sophistication is less important than the other training variables. From a conditioning standpoint, it’s more important to maintain proper movement technique, hit your intended effort/exertion goal, and keep pain to a minimum. There’s no reason to think that TACFIT Commando will somehow only be challenging enough at the higher levels. Even advanced athletes will find a hefty challenge in all the recruit-level exercises. The reason being that in TACFIT Commando, you are given the keys to understanding and regulating your level of intensity. So, you can crank on the effort regardless of the exercise and reap the conditioning benefits accordingly.
Don’t believe me? Give me one minute of your complete compliance and a simple exercise like the pushup and I’ll show you exactly what I mean!
Ultimately, your choice depends on your long-term goals. If you’re going to stick with this program for less than 3 months, then I’d say it may be worth sticking with one cycle and increasing the exercise sophistication each 28-day cycle. Just know that you risk the chance of over-training and over-specializing in those specific movement patterns (note: that means going OVERKILL on your prehab joint mobility and compensatory yoga – on ALL training days). On the other hand, if you plan on following this program for longer than 3 months, then I would definitely recommend going through each mission at recruit level, and then restart the first mission at grunt level after the third cycle. That’s almost a no-brainer to me, but it’s your call.
Note: if you can maintain your technique, regulate your intensity, and avoid pain, then technically you can and should use the highest level of exercise sophistication possible because you’ll get more total benefit. Of course, if you decide to go this route, then proceed with caution!