Strength Elite’s 5 mins with Shane Irving

This interview is one that Ive wanted to do for a while. Shane has been a good friend of mine for a few years now and Im sure you guys will enjoy this as much as I did!  As a way of a quick intro…I met Shane a few years back whilst he was in Perth doing some training with his guys, we hit it off straight away, having pretty much the same view on training, life, people and whisky.  His service to this country spans 20 years, he is on his way to his earning his Masters & PHD and is one of the key stake holders in the tactical community here and abroad when it comes to Human performance. Make sure you jump over to his Instagram page and follow, plenty of great training, advice and knowledge is about to get dropped!

Name: Shane IRVING (Irvo)

Age: 44


Officer in Charge Specialist Response Group Australian Federal Police…………Currently on “Hiatus Sabbatical” whatever you want to call it this year to study full time and Launch own performance brand. Managing Director of Optimal Performance Solutions/Strength and Conditioning Coach.



I grew up in Qld, blessed upbringing in the country on the land however had access to the beach from an early age as well. I was ok at sport as a young bloke, cricket, rugby league, athletics, cross-country. I figured out I could run a bit and made State and National teams from U14 right through into my senior years U20’s. Sport was my passion and I got into Uni straight from High School and into a Bachelor of Exercise Science, where I had my first exposure to Strength and Conditioning completing my Level2 back in 1991/2. The other thing, which really caught my eye, was the Military and Law Enforcement, so I decided to do both and that pretty much has been my career for over 20years now. I spent my entire service in the Special Operations community and finished my last role at the Officer in Charge of Counter Terrorism Response for the Specialist Response Group of the AFP early this year. I am still attached to the AFP whilst I complete my Masters and onto my PhD at Bond University, Tactical Research Unit. I recently completed my NSCA CSCS and have a number of athletes and Tactical Units I am working with under my Optimal Performance Solutions banner.



Proud of the Men I have served with during my service for Australia, both domestically and internationally.


Social media: / Instagram: Optimal Performance soloutions. 


Q1. What does a normal day look like for you?


Normal day, well when I was at the unit it was into work no later than 7, Intel briefing etc by 8 and into the day finishing anywhere from 5 to 8,9,10 at night or work all night depending on the operational tempo at the time.


Now it is a little more civilized however nonetheless challenging and rewarding. I rise by 5/530, morning routine of coffee sometimes get on my Yoga mat and wake up the old chassis then prepare my mind and body for the day. Emails, and I like working early when the mind is fresh and before the phone starts ringing. I then normally get to the gym or studio dependent on what I am training that day. If strength at the gym or it maybe BJJ studio or Fight gym which I alternate every other day. Then normally some more work and study sometimes an afternoon session or work on OPS or Uni work. Then nights are quiet dinner with the girl and to bed and repeat……


Q2. Who or what has had the biggest impact on you career/life?


Too many to mention however the notables are; My mum, I lost her way to earlier she was only 54 when she passed from Cancer and I literally saw mum off and was straight on a Plane to join the fight in Iraq. Mum was a very honest calm country lady and showed me the value of a dollar, humility, patience and kindness. Others that have influenced have been colleagues and mates I have served with family and friends. A while ago I learnt that Ego was a massive inhibitor to my growth and learning so I now find myself being open minded and capturing things from all around me.

In recent times in my Strength and Conditioning development Jeremy Robinson has been a mentor and good mate working together at the SRG and with a National project we are working on. Robbo is a Strength Coach through and through lives and breaths it and practices what he preaches. A humble quiet fella that goes about his craft improving daily. A good coach and even better bloke.


Q3. What drives you to keep on pushing the limits in your physical and mental/emotional game?


At 44 I feel I am just getting started and warming up! This is probably because for the first time I can focus on my own training, education and development of the products and services that I want to. My motivation and focus is for the Specialist Law Enforcement/Military operator and first responders. I am all about giving back into this community and being the conduit between researchers, coaches and ultimately the operators. I am a big believer in leading from the front and if I get up everyday and keep striving to get stronger more resilient, develop skills and become harder to kill then surely I can assist and train others to do the same. Any one who has the mindset and the intensity and focus to face the daily grind of life and step closer everyday to their goals I am happy to be associated with and help if I can.


I have a love affair with America, the passion and drive in their Tactical elite and in general in their servicemen and woman and Law enforcement community and the Strength and Conditioning specialists that support them. Australia needs a wake up and we need to get behind our Law Enforcement and give them the resources and education they need to perform optimally to protect us all.


Q4. What in your words makes a good person/human?


Typically when mentoring training and developing the Tactical operators I have worked with over the years I tried to instill foundation traits which sees them contribute effectively to a combined Unit outcome and also be better humans for those around them.

My rule of thumb is called the VOWEL Rule, my vowel rule is;


A   ttitude

E   go

I   ntegrity

O wnership

U nderstanding

[©, Optimal Performance Solutions, 2015] Irving 2015


Attitude (two things I cannot train in you, your attitude and your experience, you own it you control it, so bring a good attitude even when you feel like shit it rubs off on every other human around you)

Ego We all got it and it runs hard through high achievers, yet we cannot evolve and will never reach our full potential if we are driven by it and shadowed by it, leave it in the carpark!

Integrity How we carry ourselves, interlinked with Attitude, be honest and true, no room for white lies and the 1%ers winners own everything!

Ownership Take responsibility for your own development, your own skills, you own goals, own your own mistakes and failings and grow. We learn more from our losses than we do from our wins!

Understanding seek knowledge understand why you are doing something don’t just follow blindly, if you understand the reasons you can place things in context and follow the goals with veracity!


[©, Optimal Performance Solutions, 2015] Irving 2015


I reckon if you follow the above chucked in with some empathy, patience, resilience, tenacity, composure and resolve and you are getting a good human!



Q5.What in your mind are two or three things you would do consistently to keep your conditioning (strength, endurance, lifting etc) up…things you think are important?


The one thing we do in the Tactical S@C is having to work regularly on all physical modalities and touch on every energy system frequently. We need to have operators that can move well, move quickly, change direction whilst under load and often do it repeatedly then execute extreme levels of strength and power at the end of all that and have the anaerobic/aerobic conditioning to underpin it all. We really have to follow a Conjugate method of training and often hard to get in any real good long periods of consistency so a preparatory phase etc, pre-season is difficult if near impossible.


So for mine keep it simple, a good consistent ability to able force through the ground, lower body strength and power, Squat variants and power conversion. Back body work pulling twice as much as pushing, posterior chain. Upper body strength power, a heavy push, unilateral and overhead if shoulders allow.


Again if possible I like my guys to be able to run and learn to accelerate and de-accelerate well and change direction. So I like them to be able to run and run hard anaerobically if not touch their anaerobic energy system every couple of days with good work output conditioning, one aerobic session which doubles as a bit of outdoors time and recovery is good as well. I am a big fan of Yoga as well, yes you hear it right, YOGA isometric holds, balance a great leveler and essential for mindset and download of all the work done. I defy any one to do a handstand or headstand and hold it and tell me they don’t need strength!


Q6. Favorite quote?


For my world,


“Game days are everyday and our opposition don’t always play by the rules, our loses will not be counted in points”


This one at the moment and I used with my athletes with good buy in;


“Greatness is a lot of small things done well, day after day, workout after workout, week after week”


which leads into my current favorite,


“I am tired of doing what I use to do, if I always do what I have always done, I will always be where I have always been”


Q7.How and why is physical preparation important to you? How has and does it impact you has a person? What are the benefits do you see?


To me and for me physical preparation is who I am and what makes me tick. The times in my life where I have struggled the most for whatever reason is when I have not been true to my own needs and realized I am a physical being and need to move and lift and sweat and toil and when doing this even if fatigued I am a better human to be around and far more productive. We all have the essence of who we are our traits and our triggers as a coach and mentor you need to understand you and balance YOU only then can you pretend to influence and adjust and improve others. I am 44 and in the last couple of years through work pressure even though I continued to train I lost some of my conditioning put on visceral fat, this was a lot due to burn out and constant stress.


So once I had the realization and awareness I went about correcting it and now step by step work out by workout week after week the strength and conditioning is improving the belt is getting smaller and the benefits are flowing on. I now have goals and a plan and training hard everyday, sometimes twice, too reach them which has unlimited benefits on me as a person and those around me.

Practice what you preach!! I have no patience for an over weight unconditioned strength and conditioning coach the biggest hypocrisy statement on the planet!


Q8. Best advice you have been given


Never hit send angry!!!…….. sit in things momentarily, best you can look from all angles, save in drafts and sleep on it, if you read it the next day and your motives are the same then back yourself, at least you have had the awareness to step in another mans shoes.