Tactical Fitness with Stew Smith: Getting Army Special Forces Fit

Green Berets await extraction at Fort Campbell.
Green Berets with 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) await extraction at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, on Aug. 23, 2017. (Sergeant 1st Class Iman Broady-Chin/U.S. Army photo)

Hi, Stew,

I'm a 16-year-old student, currently homeschooled, but I will most likely be graduating early with a 4.0 GPA. I'm interested in joining the Army. I'm really interested in possible opportunities with the Special Forces, specifically the 18D MOS.

My biggest concern is fitness. I've always played sports, but I was involved in a car accident last year and put on a bit of weight. Now I have a sort of bulky, broad-shoulders build. I’m wondering if you could give me some personal tips for someone my age.

After any injury, you should exhaust all of your time with a physical therapist. Make sure that you are cleared to start training again by a medical doctor and personal trainer.

In an injured state, you have to treat yourself like a beginner. Throw any workouts you were doing before the accident out and start over with a beginner program. This may be too easy for you at first, but the goal is not to jump right into smoke sessions after rehabbing an injury. The goal is to rebuild the foundation that you lost.

That goes for running, lifting, even push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups.

For Army SF, you also will have to progress in rucking, so give yourself some time and only progress 10%-15% in distance, time and weight every week for at least 4-6 weeks. Once you have built a habit of training again, you will be good to go. 

When you finish a few months of rebuilding your base, start working on the basic Army PFT (push-ups, sit-ups, two-mile run). You have to ace this to get to the training for Army SF. Check out the Army SF Workout available once you are good to go on a high-scoring physical fitness test.

Check out this link to help you get moving again:

45-Day Plan

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. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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