If you want to wear the green beret of the Army Special Forces, be warned, it takes more than the ability to do hundreds of push-ups.
As with any of the Special Operations units in the U.S. military, it takes endurance, stamina, intelligence and mental toughness to become a Ranger. The Army Rangers require their candidates to score the following prior to attending Ranger School.
The most important pre-training exercise to do prior to Ranger school is walking fast in your boots with 50 pounds of weight on your back. You will do this everyday you are at Ranger School. Running at least 5 miles, 3-4 times a week and swimming in uniform 2-3 times a week is recommended as well. Pack on 5-10 pounds of body weight prior to going so you have a little to lose when you are consuming fewer calories a day.
|Ranger PFT||Minimum Scores|
|Push-ups in 2:00||49 in 2:00|
|Sit-ups in 2:00||59|
|5 Mile run||40:00|
|16-mile hike w/65lb pack||5 hours 20 minutes|
|15-meter swim with gear||Pass/Fail|
Once selected Ranger candidates attend three separate phases of Ranger School: Fort Benning Phase, Mountain Phase, and Florida Phase.
The Benning Phase
The Benning Phase is executed in two parts and lasts for a total of 20 days. As with most Special Operations units, the first phase is very physical.
To be competitive in any of these physical tests, the future Ranger students must not strive for the minimum standards listed above, but must maximize their personal physical effort and strive for the following recommended scores:
|Ranger PFT||Recommended Scores|
|Push-ups in 2:00||80|
|Sit-ups in 2:00||80|
|Two-mile run||Sub 13:00|
|5 Mile run||35:00|
|16-mile hike w/65lb pack||4-5 hours|
|15-meter swim with gear||Pass/Fail|
The second part of First Phase has obstacle courses and long ruck (full gear) marches as a major part of the physical fitness requirements. However, the fundamentals of patrolling and small unit tactics are the focus of this part of the Benning Phase. These graded field exercises include ambush and reconnaissance patrols, close quarters combat, airborne operations, and air assault operations. The Ranger student must then demonstrate his expertise through a series of cadre and student-led tactical patrol operations.
The Second Phase, or Mountain Phase lasts 20 days and nights and teaches students to operate in small units while sustaining themselves and their subordinates in the adverse conditions of the mountains. The rugged terrain, hunger, and sleep deprivation are the biggest causes of emotional stress that students encounter. Students will eat, sleep and operate in these conditions for 3 weeks, usually eating no more than 1-2 MREs a day (Meals Ready to Eat).
The Third Phase, or Florida Phase, teaches small boat operations, ship to shore operations, stream-crossing techniques, and skills needed to survive and operate in a jungle and swamp environment. This phase lasts 16 days and nights and tests the patrolling and leadership techniques of every Ranger.
Ranger School is a grueling school due to the long hours of walking with your gear, sleeping in the field and eating 1-2 meals less a day than normal. Many students lose 20-30 pounds in the 56 day school. But the school teaches the Ranger he can overcome insurmountable challenges while under simulated combat conditions. Ranger school has honed the professional skills and techniques necessary to conduct small unit operations. And of course, he can wear the well-deserved Ranger Tab on his shoulder.
For more information, check out the workouts at Military.com's Fitness eBook Store. With any download you buy you get over 40 hours of training personally designed for future students of the group AND access to Stew Smith (the author) for any answers to your training questions!
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Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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