Tactical Fitness: Preparing for Army Special Forces Selection

Tactical Fitness: Army Special Forces

Preparing for any Special Ops Selection program can take many months of specific training as well as a lifetime of physical activity (sports, manual labor, outdoor hobbies). There are many skills you should practice on your own prior to attending boot camp if you are a civilian, as bootcamp is not designed to prepare you for the rigors of a Spec Ops Selection. So to say you have to get into really good shape is an understatement. Here is a great question from a hard working Spec Ops candidate preparing for Army SF:

I'm training for SFAS and wanted some input on where I should focus my training. I currently focus heavily on cardio running between 30-35 miles a week. My two mile time is well under 10.30. I also cross train when possible on the bike or in the pool. As far as weight training goes, I do the basic push-ups, sit-ups and lifting when I have access to the equipment.

My goals is a perfect score of 300. In regards to assessment and selection, what other exercises should I incorporate into my schedule? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.


I have to say, your running is off-the-chart fast, and your base running per week is spot on. Keep that up.  But you may want to consider adding in rucking a few times a week.

Before you do, make sure you lower back is strong enough to handle rucking.

Add in some lower back exercises:

Start with Lower Back Plan, or mix in some weight lifting exercises like dead lifts, hang cleans, and push presses for strong back and shoulder muscles to prepare for rucking and log pt. Another option, if you lack equipment, is to make a log or "sand baby."  See related link (Sand-baby Murph) and workout to help you simulate log PT and weighted running and shuffling.

If you have not rucked, check out this related Rucking Article that will help you define your pace. You may want to start off with 20-25lbs in a back pack and build up to 40-50# over the course of a few months. Same goes for mileage. Ruck 2-3 miles at first, and work on your pace. You will eventually have to walk really fast or shuffle jog with a ruck. If you can get 4 miles in 35-40 minutes, you will be in good stead with the front runners in the SFAS class.

Finally – work on your land navigation skills. If you are not familiar with using a compass, take a course, ask a few Eagle Scouts, do some online research. There is plenty of information out there for to help you improve your map and compass abilities.

You have the cardio base to crush SFAS, but passing comes down to more than running and PT. Being a good team player is critical as well as having a strong enough core to handle rucking, log PT, injured man drills, and other weighted events.

Keep up the great work.

Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).  There are also over 800 articles on Military.com Fitness Forum focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness

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