Check out these tips as we catch up with my friend Charlie Delta (name changed as he works in government contracting) who served as a Combat Controller 2000-2007 with two tours in Iraq, one in Afghanistan, one in “Africon”.
Along with this contracting gigs, Charlie now trains athletes in fitness and climbing and knows what it takes to get you ready for Special Forces training.
Thanks Charlie for taking the time to answer a few questions for SEALgrinderPT.com
SGPT: What are a few tips you wish you knew when you first started training for Combat Controller (PJ/CCT) school?
Video PJ/CCT Indoc training
Grab Your Buddies and Train for a local nearby GORUCK Event
CD: We went through the same pipeline as PJs. I would have worked a lot on muscle endurance. More running and swimming volume with peak limit strength.
SGPT: What is a good go-to workout that you would do to help prepare for CCT?
CD: For me a constant three days a week was swim 2 miles in all types of intervals and run 3-5 miles doing the same. I was also in martial arts full time. For strength I was doing a modified Westside Barbell 3 day program.
CCT Workout #1
run or ruck or bike to pool
warm up with 100 meters of freestyle stroke
500 meters of combat swimmer stroke
cool down with 100 meters of breast stroke
50 pushups on the side of the pool
then tread water for 5 twenty second intervals (make sure a lifeguard is nearby).
Advanced can add weight or more treading intervals.
run or ruck or bike back home.
SGPT: What are some drills you can do in the pool to help with all of the water drills that CCT’s do?
CD: Treading water, holding bricks. Intervals such as 20 second sprint with 10 second rest like tabatas. If with a partner and careful underwater swims of 25-50 meters….mainly learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
SGPT: What are the main things that cause candidates to fail in CCT school?
CD: I think the main thing that most fail on is the water portion.
Drown proofing, and that sort of thing. Some come in as good swimmers and fail. It’s learning how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Swim, swim, swim, underwater, all strokes, carrying load, being under stress…..it’s all part of it.
SGPT: Is there much rucking in CCT? If so, how would you prepare for it if you were going in a few months or a year?
CD: There is but nothing like Special Forces or Ranger school…..two days a week of step ups on a box or actual himing with a 35-45 pound pack will suffice. Its mainly learning how to carry the load for a set time or distance domain.
SGPT: Any thing else you think is critical for guys to know?
CD: Mental mindset. Accepting that the only exit is in fact graduation. Learning how to “embrace the suck” finding laughter and how to smile when in a shit spot. Also dont pair up as buddies with the big muscle head know it alls…..they will be some of the first to quit.
Mark and Tico talked about it a few times, myself and old CAG buddies (I was with them my first tour in Iraq) it is literally learning to “embrace the suck”, it takes a different breed to enjoy that sort of thing, want to succeed to do what others can’t or won’t.
There is a specific reason that SOF makes up less than 1% of all military forces.
CCT workout #2
3 rounds for time
20 air squats
20 pull ups
20 box jumps or box step ups (or walking lunges both legs)
advanced can wear a weight vest
beginners use australian pull ups
Endurance component: Run, row, ruck or bike for 30 plus minutes after workout. Post results in comments below.
I have a question… I an currently 16, 5’6 and 137ish lbs. that being said, I am very lean and struggle with gaining weight.. I finish high school next school year (2018) and after that I intend on taking the AFROTC and proceeding that, CCT… I am aware that the pipeline for becoming a CCT is grueling and the dropout rate is quite high. So, as one would imagine, you’d want to be in peak physical condition, as well as having a lot of mental toughness and determination towards stated goal.. If you could suggest for me some tips on how to work towards a more physically able body for such a task, that’d be fantastic.
Answer: Check out the article above for training tips above for CCT. Eat lean protein (milk, eggs, chicken, fish) and lift weights as needed to gain weight. I would also add in some clean high quality protein with a glass of milk to help your body repair from hard workouts.
Question: Do you have any good books that you would recommend to learn more about Airforce PJ’s and CCT?
Answer: Check out the book None Braver: U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen in the War on Terrorism as it will give you a good idea on what it is like to be one of the elite warriors in today military.
Question: Coach, Brad; Do you have any more tips on how to get through the cct pipeline?
Answer: Check out the Air Force website here.