Getting into the US Special Forces is not easy and requires you to pass several selection programs. The first step to wearing the Army Green Beret is to pass the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course (SFAS).
To get into the Green Beret Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course (SFAS) you must meet the basic physical fitness requirements by scoring a minimum of 260 on the Army physical fitness test for the 17 to 21 age group.
If you want to do well in Special Forces workout and training you need to not settle for a minimum score and push for higher.
To really excell and be top of your class – we recommend that you work toward these goals in your Army PFT:
– Complete the 2-mile run in at least 12 to 14 minutes
– 100 sit-ups in 2 minutes.
– 100 push-ups in 2 minutes.
Accomplishing these goals will bring you close to a perfect score of 300 and increase your chances of being selected for SFAS.
Video – Special Forces Workout
A great Special Forces Workout to give you a goal and to use as a tool is the workout Murph.
Run 1 mile
100 pull ups
300 air squats
Run 1 mile
use a 20 lb vest if you have it.
We like the book Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior.
This book will give you a good account of what it is like to train and become one of these warriors. Dick Couch has several other books about Special Forces that are great.
Video – Workout – Severin
“Fat Angie Sandwich”
Prepare Your Mind.
Many soldiers fail out of the Qualification course, or “Q” course. The motivation needed to withstand the punishment of long ruck marches is enough to break any man. Candidates that finish the course tend to get past the “Temporary pain” of the physical and move towards “Embracing the Suck” on the mental side.
Here is another basic bodyweight and running exercise that I did with Brazilian SF unit when I was stationed in Puerto Rico.
run 400 meters (uphill)
21-15-9 Walking lunge/pull ups
run 400 meters
21-15-9 bear crawls/pushups
run 400 meters
A timed run is part of the selection process. Entering the Special Forces Assessment and Selection course (SFAS) is difficult in its own right. To be able to earn the privilege of trying to become a Green Beret requires a significant amount of physical training. Each candidate must be able to run two miles in under 14 minutes, and complete 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups in under two minutes each. These fitness goals eliminate a large number of candidates before they even begin the SFAS course.
Physical Training Stresses Body Weight Exercises
Pull-ups are an important part of Green Beret fitness and one that many athletes fail. Special Forces workout programs are built around strength and endurance. Their physical training (PT) does not take place in a gym, but instead outside in the elements. Their missions will not all be in perfect weather and they like to train in the same conditions they conduct missions, so you will find them outside.
Calisthenics make up most of the Special Forces Workout. They do an incredible amount of push-ups, pull-ups, body weight squats and lunges, an exercise where the person steps out with one leg as far as possible then kicks that leg back to the original position. It is important for each soldier to be able to handle their own body weight plus a ruck and equipment that may weigh 70 pounds or more. During their PT, they will go to momentary muscular failure, or the inability to do even one more repetition, over and over again.
Ruck marches build strength and endurance and are a corner stone of the Special Forces workout. Due to the nature of their missions, they will often be dropped off with all their equipment far away from the actual site of their mission. Being inserted far away from their objective allows them to be undetected by the enemy. Part of their PT involves marches with heavy rucks. The marches can be between 10 and 20 miles, and sometimes even longer. With a ruck sack weighing in excess of 60 pounds or more, these marches are a great way to build strength and endurance. The ruck march is a corner stone to build long range endurance.
Swimming builds endurance.
Special Forces never know what mode of travel a future mission may hold. Swimming is part of their endurance training, and also has practical value as well. If forced to swim during a mission, a life jacket can be inflated to hold equipment while the soldier swims with it in tow. The workout swimming may be in a pool, a river or in the ocean. Swimming several miles is great exercise and significantly adds to endurance.
Long Runs Are Common
Running is another great endurance builder.
Running is a big part of training to be a Spec Ops warrior. It builds endurance while adding to leg strength as well. While they may have runs of only a few miles at times, these are usually done at a fast pace. Longer runs of over 10 miles are also common. The workout training done by Green Berets pushes their bodies far beyond what the average person, even someone in great shape, can accomplish. Knowing they can push beyond their known physical limits and keep going is part of what truly makes Green Berets Special Forces who excel at the Special Forces Workout.
Check out this recent interview with Brad McLeod, Navy SEAL
“How a real Navy SEAL works out daily”
Brad: We did a ton of bodyweight exercises but supplemented with weights when possible. During a typical week on base I would ride my bike to the SEAL Team -4 compound. We would have a SEAL grinder PT bodyweight workout for 45 minutes and then go for a 3 mile run. At lunch I would lift weights or we had a tall rope that I would climb.
I would ride my bike home in the afternoon and add extra miles. Other mornings in the week had more grinder PT, an ocean swim, obstacle course and longer run (10 miles) on Friday. We realy mixed it up with variety and worked hard on being able to move our bodies quickly over short and long distances.
When out to sea, I did grinder PT bodyweight workouts on the back fan tail of the ship and ran stairs and around the helicopter launch pad. The pullup bar was the ships railing on the deck above. I made do with what I had in tight spaces. We had a bench press but it was tough to lift heavy weights with a moving ship rolling and rocking in the ocean. I would still give it a go and got in some killer workouts.
We have daily SEAL grinder PT bodyweight workouts posted up daily on our website, SEAL Grinder PT. These are workouts like I did on the ship so you can do them anywhere. So if you want to train like a Navy SEAL this will give you something to try out and help your Special Forces Workout.
A question we received from one of our athletes is “What is a Special Forces beginners workout I can do?”. A good workout to start out is to..
Run a mile
10 rounds of 5 pull ups / 10 pushups / 15 air squats.
each week add more running and more rounds of bodyweight reps.
Questions from SGPT Athletes
QUESTION: For the Green Beret ruck marches – how long are the hikes and how many in the Q course.
ANSWER: Lets put it this way. You need to have done a 20 mile ruck march in hilly terrain at night with 40 lbs or more before you get to the Q course. If you have not rucked multiple times you are not ready.
QUESTION: How do Special Forces workout?
ANSWER: Most all of them use bodyweight workouts and run or ruck with a ruck sack (backpack). Most Special Forces don’t have access to a fancy gym with machines unless they are on base in the States.
Question: Can you tell me how to prepare for special forces assessment and selection?
Answer: Check out the workouts listed above and use all of the tips. We are working on a 60 day workout training plan now – email us for details.
QUESTION: How hard is SF Selection?
ANSWER: It is considered one of the hardest military schools to pass. It is estimated that over 85 percent of all candidates will fail within a 12 month process.
QUESTION: Where can I learn more about Military Spec Ops?
ANSWER: Check out this link: http://www.goarmy.com/special-forces.html
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