Maximize Performance; Q&A with Team ST Coach Shawn – AF Special Warfare

Maximize Performance; Q&A with Team ST Coach Shawn

Sanderson Performance’s Coach Shawn; founder of Team ST, sits down with to talk workouts and maximizing performance.

1)    What were your primary goals when developing Team ST?

When developing Team ST I first looked at what the requirements to graduate selection are and why so many applicants were unable to make it. I then compared that against my own experience and what I thought were the limiting factors that made selection more difficult. In the end it came to one of two things:

1- Mindset, most guys that didn’t make it decided, at some point, that this job wasn’t for them and they quit. The fact of the matter is, they were right, and there is nothing I can do or say to anyone that will change their perspective when they are confronted with that level of stress, other than take it in a little at a time and eventually you’ll be done.

2- Injury, those that did not quit, either washed out due to an acute injury, or developed a sustained injury from overtraining that lead to a failure to train (FTT). This is typically not due to a lack of fitness. Everyone that made it to this point successfully completed the PAST, some of them actually already met or exceeded grad standards before they even started. How is this possible? They trained to the test, in a low threat environment, and never built the foundation to survive the 10 weeks leading up to the test. Skipping crucial elements leads to failure. This is what drove my primary goals, which are:

–  Attack limiting factors that cause trainees to fail

–  Build a foundation in athleticism that will translate to efficient movement, both biomechanically and neurologically

– Build resiliency and reduce risk of injury from the volume achieved during selection

– Provide a “team like” setting for candidates to start holding each other and themselves accountable, because NO ONE graduates on their own.


2) The market is flooded with free and premiere workout programs.  How is Team ST programming unique and why have athletes chosen Team ST over the competition?

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for; there are some decent free programs and some great premier programs. However, what I have found is that the majority of “pre-selection” programs are limited to a 6-12 week canned training plan and are composed of high volume work similar to what the candidate will see at selection. This sounds like it makes perfect sense; however, the issue arises when the athlete hits a plateau or sustains an overtraining injury and falls behind in their fitness levels. Even worse, if this is the only training they do prior to showing up at selection, they typically already have an ailment that is bothering them or they are to a point where 10 more weeks of high volume training will break them, literally. Additionally, there typically isn’t any kind of team atmosphere with these unless guys have a local network and they are able to run the same programs together.

Team ST solves these problems by providing programming specifically designed to build a foundation that will aid them in withstanding the rigors of selection.  Additionally, the programming is constantly changing in order to prevent plateaus or regressions in performance. Finally, Team ST is truly a worldwide “team.” We have members from all over the world who are sharing their performance on the team leaderboard, discussing nutrition protocols and recovery techniques, and asking whatever questions they can think of regarding the team or training concepts. All of this is happening within the training app. The feedback that I have received so far, is that guys are feeling stronger, healthier and are having less complaints of chronic pain than when they were following other programs.


3) Who is Team ST designed for?  Is Team ST tailored for the athlete preparing for the PAST or for the athlete attempting to meet selection grad standards?

Team ST is designed far anyone who wants to maximize there performance and increase there chances of surviving selection. We typically conduct the PAST  (or the operators PT test for phase 2 candidates) through the various training cycles. We won’t test the grad standards here as they aren’t applicable to building the athletes capabilities. If you have a strong foundation, you will keep up with the progression just fine throughout selection. Because of this, I can say with confidence, that an athlete who conducts consistent training with Team ST for at least 20-24 weeks will have a significant advantage physiologically than someone who simply builds up to a 6 mile run, 4K meter swim and high rep body weight calisthenics. As I stated earlier, I have seen guys enter with grad standard numbers and not graduate due to their inability to maintain the grind for 10 weeks.


4) When athletes are signing up, how do you send them their workouts for each day?

When an athlete signs up they will be prompted to create a TrainHeroic account and to download the TrainHeroic app to their smartphone or tablet. All workouts will be published to the Team calendar. When an athlete opens the app it will automatically take them to the current day’s workout. When the athlete clicks “start session” he will be asked some basic questions to assess readiness/recovery from the last workout, the app will then take them to the first segment of the day’s workout. Every training session includes a complete warm-up and cool down to ensure maximum preparation/recovery. Within the app the athletes receive clear instructions for each day combined with demo videos for the movements/exercises. Additionally, the athletes can input their numbers (reps, weights, times, etc) in order to track performance and better guide progression. It is in this app where the team feed can be found. This is where guys discuss Team ST programming specific topics.


5) What are the typical gains athletes are seeing from your workouts?

Measurable gains have been seen in all of the primary lifts. In the last 3 months several athletes have added over 100#’s to their squat and deadlift, many have doubled or even tripled their pull-up numbers. Additionally, sprint times are getting generally faster (these are tougher to objectively measure do to the constantly varied distances that I throw at them). The improvement on the sprints, while simultaneously getting stronger is going to be a huge key to their success. They are building “go” muscles, not “show” muscles. This type of hypertrophy will help in two ways: one it will ensure they aren’t carrying any excessive dead weight; and two, it will help provide shock absorption when they run/ruck that will help take some of the trauma away from the bones, tendons and ligaments, hopefully, preventing shin splints and other related injuries.


6) Do athletes have free access to you and other athletes on the Team?

Yes, once they are members, they have access to the team feed on the training app where they can communicate with either myself or each other, fostering the “team” mentality. Additionally, I monitor the forums and participate regularly.


7) What feedback have you received from your current athletes training in Team ST?

The general consensus is they just “feel” better. Having that confidence in your abilities can go along way when truly challenged. Team ST athletes will push to failure in such a way that it creates a very specific adaptation that can only make them better. The program is designed to induce a reset as soon as they are physiologically spent. This aids with constant progression and prevents overtraining while simultaneously allowing them to experience failure in micro doses, thus building confidence and capability.


8) If guys are interested in Team ST but are unsure about signing up for a year of workouts or may be leaving for indoc in 3 to 6 months, is there an option for them?

Absolutely, if you are a year or more out from selection, then signing up for the year will ensure you have maximized your potential as an athlete (and saved a few bucks compared to the monthly rate). However, if you’re still hesitant or you just don’t have that kind of time, you can always sign up for the monthly membership and cancel it at any time.  If you still think you need something a little more specialized and don’t want to join the team, you can always hit me up at and I will write you a custom program; however, this route is much more expensive and probably not necessary in most cases.