Special Forces Fitness Training

Through the years, the approach to physical training within the military has evolved to coincide with the tactical requirements of the modern-day soldier. I have outlined a typical 6-week program for a Special Forces operative. Do you have what it takes?

Military Style Training

Down through the years, the approach to physical training within the militaryhas evolved to coincide with the tactical requirements of the role of the modern day soldier. Below is a typical 6-week program for a Special Forces operative. The training program below is suitable for Army Rangers, Force Recon and the SAS. Those units are required to maintain outstanding levels of fitness and hiking massive distances carrying heavy weight is not uncommon. (Only intense workout days are listed here. Do weight training or swimming workouts on your “easy” days.)running

Week 1

Day 1 

Fitness Test:

  • Sit and Reach flexibility test
  • Push Ups: maximum in 60 seconds
  • Sit Ups: maximum in 60 seconds
  • Pull Ups: maximum in 60 seconds
  • Run: 2 miles as fast as possible

Swim: 100 meter nonstop using any stroke, without touching the side or bottom of the pool.

Forced march with 30-pound rucksack: While carrying 30 pounds in a backpack, walk 3 miles in 45 minutes on a road or 1 hour if walking cross-country. (Wear well broken-in boots with thick socks.)

Day 2

Push Ups: 3 sets of maximum in 30 seconds

Run: 3 miles at moderate 8-to-9 minute mile pace

Rope Climb or Pull-Ups: 3 sets to failure

Forced march with 30-pound rucksack: While carrying 30 pounds in a backpack, walk 5 miles in 1 hour and 15 minutes on a road or 1 hour and 40 minutes if walking cross-country.

Day 3

Forced march with 30-pound rucksack: 5 miles in 1 hour and 15 minutes (along the road) or 1 hour and 40 minutes (cross-country).

Week 2

Day 1

Forced march with 30-pound rucksack: 5 miles in 1 hour and 15 minutes (along the road) or 1 hour and 40 minutes (cross-country).

Day 2

Push-Ups: 3 sets of maximum in 35 seconds
Pull-Ups: 3 sets of maximum in 35 seconds
Sit-Ups: 3 sets of maximum in 35 seconds
Run: 5 miles at moderate 8 to 9 minute mile pace
Squats: 3 sets of 50 reps with 35 pound rucksack

Day 3

Forced march with 35-pound rucksack: 10 miles in 3 hours (along a road) or 4 hours (cross-country).soldier-exercise

Week 3

Day 1

Push-Ups: 4 sets of maximum in 40 seconds
Pull-Ups: 4 sets of maximum in 40 seconds
Sit-Ups: 4 sets of maximum in 40 seconds
Run: 4 miles at moderate to fast 7 to 8 minute mile pace
Squats: 4 sets of 50 reps with 40 pound rucksack

Day 2

Forced march with 40-pound rucksack: 12 miles in 4 hours (along a road) or 4 hours and 40 minutes (cross-country).

Day 3

Push-Ups: 4 sets of maximum in 45 seconds
Pull-Ups: 4 sets of maximum in 45 seconds
Sit-Ups: 4 sets of maximum in 45 seconds
Run: 6 miles at moderate to fast 7 to 8 minute mile pace
Squats: 4 sets of 50 reps with 40 pound rucksack

Week 4

Day 1

Forced march with a 50-pound rucksack: 14 miles in 4 hours (along a road) or 4 hours and 40 minutes (cross-country).

Day 2

Push-Ups: 4 sets of maximum in 60 seconds
Pull-Ups: 4 sets of maximum in 60 seconds
Sit-Ups: 4 sets of maximum in 60 seconds
Run: 6 miles at moderate to fast 7 to 8 minute mile pace
Squats: 4 sets of 50 reps with 50 pound rucksack

Day 3

Forced march with a 50-pound rucksack: 18 miles in 4 hours and 45 minutes (along a road) or 6 hours (cross-country).

Week 5

Day 1

Run: 3 miles at a fast 6-to-7-minute mile pace.
Swim: 500 meters Swim nonstop, using any stroke but backstroke.

Day 2

Fitness Test:

  • Sit and Reach flexibility test
  • Push-Ups: maximum in 60 seconds
  • Sit-Ups: maximum in 60 seconds
  • Pull-Ups: maximum in 60 seconds
  • Run: 2 miles as fast as possible

Day 3

Forced march with a 50-pound rucksack: 18 miles in 4 hours and 30 minutes (along a road) or 6 hours (cross-country).

Although the above program is typical of any elite Special Forces Operative around the world, the distance and weight being used are not for the untrained individual, and the word ‘elite’ cannot be emphasized enough. Never run with weight on your back; the chance of suffering an injury is huge. Always be sure to wear good boots when hiking.

So now you know what it takes physically to be as strong as a Special Forces Operative, are you brave enough to attempt the workout? Have you got what it takes? Remember, only the strong survive and to the brave and the faithful, nothing is impossible.

Navy Seals Training fitness program

Here is the physical fitness test for the Navy SEALS’ training program, known as BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEALs). Are you up to it?navy-seal-wp

Navy SEAL PST Standards

PST EventMinimum StandardsCompetitive Standards
500 Yard Swim12:308 Minutes
Pushups5080-100
Sit-ups5080-100
Pull-ups1015-20
1.5 Mile Timed Ru10:309-10 Minutes

NOTE: To qualify for a contract, a prospective candidate must meet the minimum requirements. It is recommended that you strive for the optimum fitness standards and beyond to better chances at BUD/S. Check out the official Navy SEAL PST Calculator to compare your scores and rank you with other prospective candidates.

Navy SEAL Fitness Test Breakdown

Swim 500 Yards

Maximum time allowed is 12 minutes, 30 seconds — but to be competitive, you should swim the distance in at least 8 to 9 minutes, utilizing only the Combat Swimmer Stroke, sidestroke, or breast stroke. Recommended workout and training tips: Get technique training and learn to pace yourself. Try 5 to 10 sets of 100-yard swims, working on a pace that will get you below the competitive times. (Rest 10 minutes after swimming the 500 yard test before moving on to the next exercise.)

Push-ups

Minimum number is 42 in 2 minutes, but you should shoot for at least 100 for an average score. Do not pace yourself. Push as many push-ups out as fast as you can, but do not neglect proper form or the SEAL instructor will not count them. (Rest 2 minutes, then move on to the next exercise.)pushup-military

Sit-ups

Minimum number is 52 in 2 minutes, but you should strive for at least 100 in 2 minutes for an average score. PACE yourself! Try doing 20 to 30 sit-ups in 30 seconds; that will put you within the 80-to-100-sit-ups range for 2 minutes. (Rest 2 minutes.)

Pull-ups

The minimum is eight pull-ups with no time limit, but you cannot touch the ground or let go of the bar. You should be able to do 15 to 20 to be competitive. Try a pyramid of pull-ups: work your way up from one pull-up the first set until you can no longer do any more sets, then return down the pyramid repeating in reverse order (1,2,3,4,5,6,5,4,3,2,1). (Rest 10 minutes before the last exercise of the test.)

1.5-mile run

 Wearing boots and pants, the maximum time allowed for this one is 11 minutes, 30 seconds, but you should be able to cover the distance in 9 to 10 minutes to be competitive. Pace yourself: do not start off too fast on the first lap. Shoot for a 90-seconds quarter-mile run time around a standard high school track. Repeat this pace for six to 10 sets until you no longer    have to rest in between quarter-miles.

 One of the best workouts to assist increasing your scores in the PT and run is the following:

  • 100 pull-ups in as few sets as possible Run 1/4 mile in 90 seconds in between sets of pull-ups
  • 200 pushups in as few sets as possible Run 1/4 mile in 90 seconds in between sets of push-ups
  • 300 sit-ups in as few sets as possible Run 1/4 mile in 90 seconds in between sets of sit-ups

This is a tough workout that can take 30-60 minutes to complete – if you can complete it. There is very little difference in the type of person who joins the Army Green Berets, Marine RECON, Air Force Pararescue Jumpers, or Navy SEALs. There is one main thing that all of the Special Forces units have in common: Minimum standards are ignored, and they always push themselves to their maximum physical effort.

If you shoot for these minimums — you are destined to go to BUD/S and just TRY to survive each event of the day. That mentality will wear on you quickly and you will most likely quit or become injured from lack of training / overuse injuries.

Once again — you should go to BUD/S with high standards for yourself and COMPETE for the best scores of the class in several events. Do not go to BUD/S just wanting to survive the training!! You have to be more aggressive than that AND NOT let the mind games and verbal harassment of the instructors affect you negatively. You can only succeed by channeling any negative feedback from the instructors and turn it into a positive, self-fueling energy. You should think that nothing anyone will say will make you doubt yourself or your abilities. If you can do the above recommended standards you are more than half way to graduating. The next half of success is the internal drive and determination coupled with the understanding that you know you will be driven to discomfort most of the time. Remember, the BUD/S PFT is a tough workout. As with any workout, if you know you are not up to it, do not try it. If you have doubts, consult your physician.

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