T Nation

Training for SAS(R) Selection Success

I grew up shy, small and for the most part out of shape. I was never anything of an athlete I remember the sports days running with all my heart, speed and stamina and still coming in the middle of the pack. So I just gave up, piled on the pounds, played World of Warcraft and missed out on most of my teens.

As the age of 20 got nearer and I’d finished school and decided not to go onto University I’d been lifting for about 6 months and I’d made good, solid progress.

A little more than half a year later though I’d got a job, girlfriend and got pulled into the typical English lifestyle of work, get paid, drink to get laid. Lifting went out of the window and as time went on I started smoking more and more.

Thankfully I gave that shit up last year and in total I smoked for around a year and a half. I’ve now been lifting again for almost a year. It would of been a year and a half but I learned some lessons about my own physiology and benching with a barbell. Rotator cuffs didn’t like that much and it put me out for 6 months in terms of any overhead lifting.

After losing my job over a year ago I’ve struggled to find work and also I’ve struggled to find true meaning in my life. Like I said I grew up mostly a recluse and I regret that a lot. I know life is meant to be lived and sitting around with little money and nothing to do hardly counts as correcting those mistakes.

I decided to undertake selection for SAS® or Reserves. The SAS for any of you who don’t know are the Special Air Service. Considered by many to be the most elite force in the British army. Some would say the world.

What is great about the reserves is that you don’t need any previous military experience and while that could be detrimental in this case it’s highly unlikely. The SAS don’t shout, order or hand hold you in any way. If you fail, it’s down to you and that resonates with me a lot.

Being in the reserves also means you are part-time and I can focus on other areas of my life. I can tell you that the training is exactly the same as it is for a normal SAS recruit attempting selection.

Selection itself is a gruelling set of weekends where you are expected to trek larger and larger distances with ever increasing loads of weight in your pack. You’ll be expected to do all of this at night, with nothing but a map and compass to guide you. All of this first stage of selection is held in the Welsh Brecon Beacons and across terrain that is ankle breaking stuff and of course at night this becomes even more difficult.

Eventually stage 1 of selection ends with a 40mile trek with a total of 65lbs on your back, not including your weapon, food supplies etc. This has to be completed within 24 hours.

Out of an intake of 125 candidates, the selection process will weed out all but 10.

I’m not kidding you when I say people have died during selection of sudden heart attacks and many people simply give up. Or are RTU’d (Returned to unit) as they fail to make the ever increasing distances in the time given.

They also have a variety of PT (Physical Training) exercises which mostly consist of farmers walks, chin ups and so on.

Stage 2 and 3 of selection are just as hard but by this point, much less mentally demanding and physically demanding. Not to say it wont be extremely hard!

I have given myself a year to get in shape for this. So I should begin the selection this time next year. If I’m not ready I can postpone till Sep '14. You only get one shot so I need to be confident.

For me this means getting in the best shape of my life and getting into an incredible strong place mentally. The majority of my cardiovascular training is going to have to be until I want to give up because I need to train myself to keep going that extra bit more.

There are a variety of reasons that I want to do this. I want to do and see things other people never will, to be considered among the best in terms of mental strength and of course it’s going to be a massive challenge physically. Facing fears and mental limitations is of course a good reason for any man to do something.

I really thrive off of that stuff.

Any advice would be much appreciated, wish me luck!

Just kidding man. Good luck!

My advice is to see how you like the British Army first. It is quite the culture shock yet you are going from zero to 60 (60 being the SAS). One step at a time…

Good luck, and watch out for the moongrass!

Why don’t you aim for a 50m target first before trying to shoot 500m in high wind yknow?

Join the infantry and see if the army life is for you, because there are slews of guys who were dreaming about being SF soldiers and then found out the infantry isn’t a cake walk.

The UK and Australia both have the same problem with their direct entry schemes for SF: they are dumping a lot of money into a program that produces maybe a few soldiers every year. Most of the successful applicants in SF come from infantry backgrounds because A) they’ve already been through hard graft and B) they’re coming in with skillsets that carry over.

Shit why not join the commandos first if you want to be SF?

I drifted around for a few years after high school then joined up and did 9 years (full time). Best thing I did. So I’m seeing where you are coming from.
That said; the SASR are NOT after an unemployed guy struggling to find true meaning in his life.
The regular infantry, on the other hand, ARE looking for young fit guys and can turn you into the kind of person the SAS are after.
So think about enlisting, it solves most of your problems in one hit.

Try the Royal marines, very hard basic training, if you can handle that then you can go for the SBS

SBS is pretty badass too, though I had no idea you could do the reserves for SAS… seems like alot of money t drop in training someone that is not even in full time…

You should seriously considering doing Crossfit. It would be perfect for this sort of stuff.

[quote]Lolkema wrote:

What is great about the reserves is that you don’t need any previous military experience and while that could be detrimental in this case it’s highly unlikely. The SAS don’t shout, order or hand hold you in any way. If you fail, it’s down to you and that resonates with me a lot.
[/quote]

Bear Grylls qualified for the SAS by the same method (according to his autobiography).

I live half way up one of the mountains where they do all the testing. When I ride my bike I often see all the vans parked in the car park.

If you go for it feel free to pop in for a hot cup of tea and a sit by the radiator.

Not after 11pm though :slight_smile:

Good luck.

I would strongly recommend taking up climbing of some sort, as it made all the obstacle courses, packing, etc, a complete cake-walk for me.


“what color is the boathouse at Hereford?”

[quote]lemony2j wrote:
Good luck, and watch out for the moongrass![/quote]
Yessir!

[quote]Aussie Davo wrote:
Join the infantry and see if the army life is for you, because there are slews of guys who were dreaming about being SF soldiers and then found out the infantry isn’t a cake walk.

Shit why not join the commandos first if you want to be SF?[/quote]

I heard that the main difference is in units such as infantry, marines etc you get shouted at constantly, made to do senseless things just to break you.

From what I’ve gathered in the SAS it isn’t like that, being made to walk across all terrains at night serves the purpose of being able to operate undetected. So long as something makes rational sense to me I have no problem doing it.

I’d struggle to make it through normal training if everything seemed senseless other than trying to break you, turn you into a product and send you out to afghan. The SAS want individuals and I’d rather stay that way.

If you have a different experience in normal military I’m all ears!

[quote]Just_Matt wrote:
I drifted around for a few years after high school then joined up and did 9 years (full time). Best thing I did. So I’m seeing where you are coming from.
That said; the SASR are NOT after an unemployed guy struggling to find true meaning in his life.
The regular infantry, on the other hand, ARE looking for young fit guys and can turn you into the kind of person the SAS are after.
So think about enlisting, it solves most of your problems in one hit.[/quote]

That sounds amazing! 9 years, you must be one tough son of a gun! I’d love to hear any advice you may have!

Totally understand though that it sounds as though I’m just grasping for straws in the dark. I intend to get a job this year and continue with training. I want to prove to myself I can do it!

I’ll think about infantry since a lot of guys on here seem to think it best. What I said to Davo is my main reason for not going that route first!

[quote]FarmerBrett wrote:

Bear Grylls qualified for the SAS by the same method (according to his autobiography).

I live half way up one of the mountains where they do all the testing. When I ride my bike I often see all the vans parked in the car park.

If you go for it feel free to pop in for a hot cup of tea and a sit by the radiator.

Not after 11pm though :slight_smile:

Good luck.[/quote]

Thanks man!

I’ll have to grab the book :slight_smile: Love his TV stuff!

[quote]thethirdruffian wrote:
I would strongly recommend taking up climbing of some sort, as it made all the obstacle courses, packing, etc, a complete cake-walk for me.[/quote]

I’ve been looking to get into climbing for a while. This will make it a larger priority! Cheers!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O52MQnOdDOI That’s my job. I get to shadow several infantry, EOD and special warfare groups. I missed SWCC by 3 points on my mechanical comprehension score so I might try to reclass and go that route in 2 or more years.

I believe a good percentage of successful applicants are ex paras. Would that be something you would be looking into also?

[quote]law8 wrote:
I believe a good percentage of successful applicants are ex paras. Would that be something you would be looking into also? [/quote]

If I decided to hold off, I’d probably go for paras > SAS rather than marines then into SBS

[quote]Lolkema wrote:

So long as something makes rational sense to me I have no problem doing it.

[/quote]

DUDE. You really should reconsider this philosophy before you jump into this…Even if one is SF, there will almost never be explanation of the rationale of orders, especially during training. Questioning one’s CO is a BAD IDEA. I hope you do well, though. I’m interested to see what SAS® training is like.

If you don’t like to be shouted at (especially if that is a major concern), you might want to think very hard before joining the military.

[quote]masonator wrote:

DUDE. You really should reconsider this philosophy before you jump into this…Even if one is SF, there will almost never be explanation of the rationale of orders, especially during training. Questioning one’s CO is a BAD IDEA. I hope you do well, though. I’m interested to see what SAS® training is like.[/quote]

[quote]comus3 wrote:
If you don’t like to be shouted at (especially if that is a major concern), you might want to think very hard before joining the military.[/quote]

Thanks guys, I really appreciate the advice.

Like I said before one of my main reasons for going SF route is because SAS is notoriously hands-off. No shouting and simply a this is what you need to get done, do it, if you don’t you fail.

I realise no explanations will be given but most of it is common sense from what I’ve read about training. For example moving around through tough terrain, at night during training is simply because they like to move undetected.

I’m sure there will be certain things that don’t make sense but I can deal with that some of the time.

Not sure what it’s like once training is completed but I’m taking things one step at a time.