T Nation

Sustainable Long Term Special Forces Prep?


Hey guys, this is just purely to satisfy my curiosity, especially since I’ve been interested in the military from young. I’m applying for the army, but that’s not what I’ll be discussing in this post.

  • SF workouts are scattered across the net and majority of them seem to only cater for a short/average period of time of training for selection. Not many seem to give a long term, or sustainable approach toward preparing for selection, or even remaining in unit for that matter.

For any aspiring SF/SAS candidates or are currently/ex serving or even anyone with insight, if you could go back in time (a decent amount of time, maybe 3-5 years) before selection to change, improve or redo your training plans, how would you do it?



Note: I’m not in the military, but look into the Tactical Barbell books, sounds like what you’re after. TB1 is the strength book and TB2 is conditioning. The program is excellent and is designed for military personnel/LEO’s/fighters/anyone who needs to balance strength with endurance and conditioning. You can buy just the conditioning book and run any strength program you want with it, or just the strength book with any conditioning/endurance you want (stuff from Ross Enamait will fit well), but together they fit very well.


My pick would be overall performance coupled with loaded carries, prowler work etc. centered around weighed bodyweight movements. In SF your performance demands are centered around being able to maneuver, climb and do stuff in combat gear so running with a weighed vest and stuff like that are bound to help.

It’s also easier to have long term progress in the program if it’s structured like that.


Yep, thoughts exactly. How would you define overall performance though?

Sounds interesting, I’ll definitely check them out.


Athleticism in general. Endurance, speed, body control etc.


My understanding of SASR puts it pretty close to the mission sets and physical demands of USSF, so here’s my general thoughts on the matter: The end result of all military fitness training need to be accomplishing the mission, and there is a lot that goes into that. I stole these phases/categories from Nate Morrison (RIKR Performance) and added my own thoughts explaining the overall picture.

Deep -> Long -> Moderate -> Short -> Close

Deep is getting to the target area. This could be walking in with pack animals, driving in on trucks, etc. This is about being as efficient as possible for a long duration (days). The actual load on you is low, but just walking for miles, or bouncing around in a truck for days takes its toll.

Long is movement in the vicinity, probably carrying a few days of sustainment load on your back. The tactical situation doesn’t allow for vehicles/pack animals. This could include mountaineering, snowshoeing, distance swimming, or just plain rucking. Again, this is about being efficient, but now you are carrying a load for up to a few days.

Moderate is movement in and around the target area. Probably working with a lighter weight as your sustainment load is cached somewhere, but moving quickly. Again, efficiency is key.

Short is movement at the target area. Here is where your sprinting, bounding walls, buddy carries, prowler work, etc comes into play.

Close is hand to hand, mechanically breaching doors, etc. This is maximal strength time.

So how do you train each phase? Plan out long term blocks of training that focus on one aspect at a time, with maintenance for the others. Doing everything at once will not work. For strength, as an example, do an 8 week cycle of 5/3/1 and make Sunday your Long/Moderate maintenance day. Don’t try to set records here, just do enough to maintain. Or do a ruck cycle and hit your basic lifts 2-3 times a week. Push, pull, squat, deadlift. This isn’t the time to work on bringing up lagging rear-delt-rhomboid-longhead-connector-tendons or whatever the latest tip on the front page is about.

So what do you do within each cycle? I like to pick and choose. Say it’s a ruck cycle, I’ll use the ruck portion from a selection prep plan. Or you’re going to work distance running, take an 8 week half marathon training plan. Or put in 8 solid weeks in a pool. The options are limitless.

Sorry that rambles so much, my preworkout is kicking in.


Wow that’s some crazy preworkout you got there haha.

Interesting concept, definitely looks like it’s sustainable if done right, thanks for the detailed insight voodoo, appreciate it! :smile:


Yeah check out Alphas logs especially the insert/extract training(not for the faint hearted!)…

Wont talk about his military service but very helpful about training for selection if you ask him questions in his current log.

Also putting out some great content on his youtube channel…