Air Force PJ Workout – Pararescue Training

The Air Force PJ’s are known as the Pararescuemen.  If your butt is in a jam—these are the guys that come through hell and high water to fish you out.

Training for the PJ’s is one of the toughest water survival camps in the world.  You must be very fluent in the water for hours on end on a daily basis.

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Pararescuemen (also known as PJs) are United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Air Combat Command (ACC) operators tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments.

These special operations units are also used to support NASA missions and have been used to recover astronauts after water landings .

Check out this list of dry land and swim workouts to help you get ready for the challenge of the Air Force PJ workout.

Air Force PJ Entrance Test
Swim 20m underwater (pass / fail)
Swim 500m – within 16:00 (sidestroke or freestyle) (sub 9:00)
1.5 mile run – within 10:30 (sub 9:00)
Pull-ups – 8 (20+)
Flutter kicks – 50 in 2:00 (100)
Sit-ups – 50 in 2:00 (100)
Pushups – 50 in 2:00 (100)


As Many Rounds as Possible (AMRAP) in 20 minutes
Run 400 meters
12 pull-ups
12 burpees
12 sandbag overhead press
Post number of rounds in comments

PJ Workout Tip: Spend at least 2 workouts or more in the pool each. Being comfortable in the water and under stress will make or break you in PJ training.
Question: What is a good book that I can read and learn more about Air Force PJ’s?

Answer: Check out the book None Braver: U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen in the War on Terrorism. This book has received many good reviews and is considered a go to book for this group.

Question: Do you have tips about becoming joining the USAF Combat Control Team?

Answer: Yes. Check out this article—3 Training Tips for USAF CCT.

Lowa Zephyr Mid TF Hiking Boot @


“G.I. Jane ”
100 burpee pull-ups for time
post time to comments

PJ Workout tip: Learn to hold your breath underwater and complete easy task like knot tying and mask retrieval. Over the next few weeks increase task and time underwater. Only perform task with a swim buddy. Never swim alone.


100 pushups
100 sit ups
100 air squats
100 burpees
100 walking lunges
run 1 mile
post time to comments

PJ workout Tip: learn to tread water and swim in full uniform. Always perform with a swim buddy. Never alone. Swimming in uniform provides extra weight and drag and will simulate a more real life/training situation.

Question: What is an all around shoe that I can use for CCT air force?

Answer: A good pair of running shoes for CCT training would be this list of shoes.

PJ WORKOUT #4 (Swim)

Run to pool
Swim 1000 meters sidestroke with fins for beginners
1500 meters with fins intermediate swimmer
2000 meters with fins for advanced swimmer
Swim on back with feet no hands for 5O meters x 2.
Pool drills. Never do swim drills alone. Always with a swim buddy.
Tread water with hands out of water
Three attempts
Note times for each attempt and put in log book
Swim underwater for distance
3 attempts
Do not push off side of pool
Log distances
Run back to your barracks or base

Question: Were you required to swim 1000 meters in uniform in Navy SEAL training?

Answer: No, we usually swam in dive trunks and a t shirt with life vest. When we were in the SEAL Teams then yes; on occasion we would dive in full BDU’s which helped to protect from jelly fish.

Question: Can you give me suggestions on what boots I should get to train in?

Answer: Yes; we have a list in this article about special forces boots.


Run to pool
Swim 1000 meters sidestroke for beginners
1500 intermediate swimmer
2000 meters for advanced swimmer

Task #2: Put on long pants and boots and swim 50 meters (beginner) 75 meters (intermediate) 100 meters (advanced). Never swim alone in this drill. Make sure lifeguard on duty and buddy on side of pool with throw rope if needed.

Task #3: Pool drills

Throw items into deep end and retrieve by breath hold diving
Note items picked up and distance and depth
Increase distance apart over next workouts as your skills increase
Try to fill your mask with water and then retrieve items on bottom
Log scores and times
Run back to your barracks or base.

PJ Workout Tip: Many of us don’t live near the ocean or have access to a good pool. Find a local pond and swim for distance. It can be uncormfortable, but that is the point.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable in different water sources. Only perform with a swim buddy. Never alone.

Question: Do pj’s swim more in training?

Answer: Yes; Pararescueman swim a lot in training.

Question: Where can I find out more info on the Air Force PJ’s?

Answer: Check out the USAF website about becoming a PJ.

Check out the Cressi Dive Mask and Supernova Dry Snorkel Combo HERE


Always have a lifeguard on duty and swim buddy in pool next to you. No exceptions.
10 lap by 25m underwater with 45 sec rest.
2 minute rest
10 lap by 25m underwater, free style back with 1 min rest
2 minute rest
25 meters underwater, take goggles off (bottom of pool while still under water) and do 5 bobs. On 5th bob grab goggles with teeth and do 5 more. surface for 6 sec and swim 25m underwater back. (repeat 5 times with 1:30 min rest)
5 min rest (very relaxed)
50m underwater. If your not there yet, then anything more than a 25m
500m freestyle sub 9min

This is a great workout to build up water confidence. If you cannot do full distances then do partials. If you cannot swim underwater yet then swim on top of the water. Adapt, improvise, overcome.

Check out this article: Top 10 Special Forces Gear and Equipment

For another workout, check out this one: Special Forces Swim workout #1

Question: What kind of fins do PJ’s use?

Answer: They use Rocket swim fins.

Question: What is the best BDU pants to swim in?

Answer: Just swim in regular issued BDU pants.


For time
1 mile run
100 pull-ups
200 push-ups
300 squats
1 mile run

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it. Post time to comments.

Find a way to work in swimming for this workout—instead of running, swim 1000 meters. Again, if you add swimming, make sure you train with a buddy. Murph is a tough workout and you can become fatigued easily.

Check out this article: Murph Workout Tips.


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