T Nation

Special Forces Training

First off, thanks for the great forum, ive been reading for weeks.

But I am still a little confused about what to do for my exact situation. Long story short, I will be trying out for US Army Special Forces(I know army guys, a little more to it than this, just want to make it easier for everyone)

Main goals my training needs to achieve-and what I currently do.

Currently- Twice a week I will ruck(heavy ass backpack) with about 75lbs at a 13:00 mile pace for about 8-14 Miles. Also run/sprint twice a week

Usually in the gym, I do 3 days a week, general arms/back/shoulders/chest deal. Most of my work is 2-3sets of 4-6 reps, as heavy as I can go.
I dont do legs, becuase between running, basketball (15hours a week), and rucking, I was told that would be enough. Is it true that doing leg stuff will hurt my run times? I’d like to keep in the 6min/mile range.
Ive got a 36" vertical, but have “chicken legs” and can only squat 135. DL 185. But leg press 7 plates on each side for reps. (When ive tried, like I said, I cut the legs out)

Im doing the Anabolic Diet-My current stats 5’10 175 bout 16-18% BF. I get plenty of protien and take all the neccesary sups. I also sleep about 10hrs a night.

I think my program is working somewhat well, just always trying to find a better way. Should I change the program to help muscular endurance? What would you reccomend? In the end Special Forces is a mental challenge, and I WILL prevail, I just would like to give myself the best chance at standing out and avoiding injury. Thanks fellas, Matt

How old are you? Are you in the Army now? Do you play basketball for fun or are you still in high school?

Yes, SF tryouts is a mental thing, but any physical weak links will be exposed - that is, injured. Your 135 squat indicates something could be wrong (tightness/imbalance/improper muscle recruitment), or maybe you just haven’t worked it enough.

Also, are you swimming? I think you’ll have to pass some decently tough water survival tests, and there’s a strong chance you’d go to SCUBA school at some point.

21 y/o, not in Army yet, but signed as 18x. And I can swim decently and am scuba certified, but need to work more into my training.

If I had to guess on the low squat/DL/Bench(205) it seems to be a mind to muscle coordination issue. Im bigger than a lot of poorly conditioned guys that lift much more than me.

You have a 36" vertical but can only squat 135. You run extremely long distances. I just don’t understand how you have the fast twitch muscle fibers and strength to do this since most of your training is slow twitch.

36", wow.

What is your build? How have you worked out in the past? How was your vertical jump measured?

I only know Air Force requirements for special forces so I’ll feed you with those and go from there.


a lot.

Special forces isn’t just running, and a lot of people forget about that. They test your water confidence as well as your ability to swim long distances. My reccomendation? Get your scuba cert.

Also, I don’t know how you practice your situps right now but you need to do them with your fingers locked behind your head. You need to have your legs bent at 90 degrees, and touch your elbows to your knees when you go up, and go back down flat. You should be able to get 100 in under 2 minutes.

For pushups, you should be able to get 120 in under 2 minues. Lifting really helps with these, but be sure to practice pushups at least 3 times per week. Sometimes I use dumbells to hold onto and that makes them a little rougher, and helps my stability. Also, practice a forward leaning rest for around 3 to 5 minutes at least twice a week.

Pullups are really the easiest of the calesthetics. They only expect roughly 15 from you, and lifting heavy makes this a pretty easy task, provided you don’t weigh 250 lbs.

Running with a pack is a good idea, but be sure you don’t go too extreme. You will be running a lot, but it’s possible to run too much and it can hinder your ability to gain muscle. Run ~5 miles 2 or 3 times a week in a pack and boots and you will be fine.

Then just lift heavy and eat right.

Everything here was meant towards passing the PFT, not necessarily your few months of training.

Oops I just realized you had your scuba cert. Disregard that, but keep working on your swimming.


Do you squat 135 max or for reps? And 185 deadlift? I weigh 120 and I just tested my max at 205. This was after my regular deadlifts for shits and giggles after only about 2 months of actual lifting.

You seem very cardiovascularly healthy, but I’m just not able to add up anything that gives you a 135 squat and 185 deadlift. You should focus on some more strength for your legs and not just endurance. Stronger your legs are the less effort it takes to perform actions the more endurance you have.

Thanks for the responses guys

The vertical was measured standing and measuring finger tip hieght, that jumping and attacing a velcro pad as high as possible.

My squat and DL listed are what I reap, not max-Ive only been at those lifts a couple weeks, but still seems REALLY weak for a guy my size.

Abs are strong, I can do 30 decline situps while holding a 45lb plate, and well over 80 without.

Pushups are in the 50 ish range, aceing the APFT is not as important in SF as being able to walk 20miles with 100lb at a 12:30 pace.

So back to the questions, will heavy leg work hurt my run times and agility?

Has anybody seen a training regiment more geared towards what I am doing?

Thanks again

I’m geared towards what you’re doing, and no lifting legs won’t hurt your run times and agility. If anything, it will help.

Since I’m in the AF, we only run 1.5 miles for our basic PFT. Lifting legs just for the past 1.5 months has got me 30 seoncds on my previous best time. Then again, that may not be just from doing legs. I also have ran in more races, which might have helped as well. Just wear compression shorts when you run when your legs start getting bigger.

I went to SFAS and was a 24 day nonselect(yeah it sucks). Here’s my advice. Ruck through the woods and work on land nav. It will build up your feet and calve muscles and believe me your gonna need it. Land Nav is really important so work on it every chance you get (thats what got me).

Best advice for any training: Take care of your feet. Get used to where your “hotspots” are, and be sure to apply some extra moleskin to them. All that rucking will wear your feet out really fast.

Land nav. Lots of it. Get so you can carry about a 75lbs ruck for hours at a time cross country.
The only swim you will have to do is a swim test in BDU’s and boots.
Most people who don’t make it don’t make it because they quit. They second guess themselves and doubt themselves until they just quit. Go all out in every event and just don’t quit.


Also, as an 18X, you will go through basic training and infantry training, and airborne school at Ft. Benning first. After you get to Ft. Bragg you will go through an SFAS prep class. You have a long ways to go before training for SFAS.


I would say you need to train the shit out of your hamstrings and your back. You will then be able to better take the pounding you will recieve. Lots and lots of rows and lots and lots of ghr’s, natural or machine one legged deads. Look up an article by CT called the painful 7.

You should try to actually be unbalanced in your hammies and scapular area because of all of the pullups and pushups and rucking you will do, those will actually work the opposite muscles so your body won’t break down. Make sense? Be prepared in other words to fight the imbalance by being imbalanced in the opposite.

Sean is exactly right. The nav. part can get a lot of guys. You need to know where you are and to get where you are going in a hurry. Dude you still have basic training. One of our SGTs tried out for Delta Force and he was in awe of the individuals trying out.

My SGT was had the build of Rambo and didn’t make it. You have to be very intelligent. What is good about you is you have a goal. That’s saying more than most kids these days.

Just started crossfit today, seems like what I need.

[quote]dragula wrote:
Just started crossfit today, seems like what I need.[/quote]

If you are going to do crossfit, I’d search for a SF/SEAL/Pararescue prep workout instead. If you can max out your PT test before basic, life will be a whole lot easier for you.

And swim like they suggest. Good workout, and who knows when you’ll wind up in the water, planned or unplanned.

Oh yeah, and don’t go overboard with that ruck right away. Work on speed first (long and quick strides) and add weight and distance sensibly.