Special Forces Selection Preparation Plan

mikhael

Level 7 Valued Member
Brothers and Sisters in Strenght, I would like to ask you about how would you structure your plan if you have a couple of months to reach the following requirements:
  • Swim 100m in less than 2:30
  • Run 3k in less than 13:40
  • Shuttle run 10x10 m in less than 30 seconds
  • Pull-up more than 18 reps
  • Push-up more than 70 reps
  • Sit-ups in 2 minutes more than 70 reps
  • Burpees in 1 minute more than 30 reps
  • Row 500m in less than 1:30
  • Wall Ball Squat in 1 minute more than 40 reps
  • Broad Jump over 1.9m
  • Dips more than 20 reps
Those exercises are similar and require the same motion like the broad jump and wall ball squat. The thing is how to fit them into the weekly regime. It would be great to have in mind daily S&S practice, and keep SF rules and ideas (if possible).

Woulde be awesome to see your answers regarding the topic.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
In what format do they all have to be done? With rest between? In a certain order? Is there a benefit to exceeding the minimum requirement?

I would do an assessment first, and if there were some that were easily met, I would not train them except maybe some light practice in warm-up for a training session. I would train the ones that specifically need improvement.
 

mikhael

Level 7 Valued Member
@Anna C From the list 8 are picked and tested. No specific order, no information regarding rest between each but I assume short period will be allowed.
 

godjira1

Level 5 Valued Member
20+ years ago my OCS buddy was a non com SF guy (ranger-qualified, the works). I was always in awe of him because it seemed like OCS was an absolute cakewalk for him, and it probably was.

While SF principles are good and all, you will need some specific training/qualities as well. I would suggest you try out all of them and see how far you are along and train for the ones that you have a gap specifically. It will be hard to ace a broad jump by doing a 3k run for example, and vice versa.

You will need a giant gas tank as well so my suggestion is build up your running endurance and rucking expertise over terrain (with navigation at the same time).

Some of the criteria you listed seem super easy by even normal standards (3k in 13:40, 2min situps>70, broadjump >1.9m) while others are obviously much harder.
 

Bunn

Level 5 Valued Member
If you only have a couple of months and you are not there yet, it will be incredibly difficult to get there. With that said, ruck, run and swim in order to get the endurance as high as you can get it. Get strong in the main modalities of push, pull, squat. If you can pull all of that together, you may just have enough to get it done.
 

WhatWouldHulkDo

Level 6 Valued Member
Looking at that list, and thinking about myself... I think my only hope would be to lose 30% of my bodyweight. 😅

Aside from needing a big gas tank, as others have referenced, looks to me like you'd want really high relative push/pull/squat strength. So, lot's of long, easy running, maybe two days a week working those movements heavy - maybe weighted dips, weighted pullups, front squat? - and whatever you can do to push your weight down while you do it.

Maybe two days a week of "sprinting" practice - fast run, swim or row. But as practice - work on the skill of going fast, not trying to burn out.

Just my ideas, I'm not a trainer.
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
@Anna C From the list 8 are picked and tested. No specific order, no information regarding rest between each but I assume short period will be allowed.
Do your instructors know your skill set and will they have the time to give you a different set of 8 compared to others in testing class?
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
Brothers and Sisters in Strenght, I would like to ask you about how would you structure your plan if you have a couple of months to reach the following requirements:
  • Swim 100m in less than 2:30
  • Run 3k in less than 13:40
  • Shuttle run 10x10 m in less than 30 seconds
  • Pull-up more than 18 reps
  • Push-up more than 70 reps
  • Sit-ups in 2 minutes more than 70 reps
  • Burpees in 1 minute more than 30 reps
  • Row 500m in less than 1:30
  • Wall Ball Squat in 1 minute more than 40 reps
  • Broad Jump over 1.9m
  • Dips more than 20 reps
Those exercises are similar and require the same motion like the broad jump and wall ball squat. The thing is how to fit them into the weekly regime. It would be great to have in mind daily S&S practice, and keep SF rules and ideas (if possible).

Woulde be awesome to see your answers regarding the topic.
If I had 8 weeks to smoke those 11 skills, my training would not come from a book. My training would come from the 11 tests.
 

Bro Mo

Level 6 Valued Member
None of those events being long duration, I would do circuits 3-4x per week of weighted variations doing only 3-5 reps at a time of each movement to keep power high rotating through antagonistic movements to rest muscle groups and get the gas tank that way instead of LISS of any kind.

Perhaps do one day of higher rep strength endurance circuits and the rest as low rep power endurance circuits. Build volume through total number of rounds or duration.

You could start with longer rest between sets to stay more anti glycolytic at the beginning for more aerobic base and then reduce rest closer to the event a few weeks out to train more glycolyticly.

You don't have to do every movement every day either. You could also do multiple circuits in a session with only a few movements at a time. Do the bodyweight ones at the pool unless you have a pool with equipment available.
 

mikhael

Level 7 Valued Member
Thank you @Anna C @godjira1 @Bunn @WhatWouldHulkDo @Don Fairbanks @Bro Mo for your tips and advices, and I would like to apologize you for not providing full information about my current training and numbers in each event. Let me write that now:
  • Swim: not measured (due to the covid situation I wasn't able to go to a swimming pool)
  • Run: 3k time not measured, though I'm running and working on it
  • Shuttle run: not measured
  • Pull-up: 10 reps
  • Push-up: about 35-40 reps
  • Sit-ups: about 60-70 reps
  • Burpees: about 20 reps
  • Row: not measured , situatuin similar to swimming issue
  • Wall Ball Squat: not measured
  • Broad Jump: not measured
  • Dips: around 10 reps
My current weekly regime includes:
  • S&S practiced daily
  • Running 3x; from short distance like today's 5k to longer runs 16+ km
  • Rucking 1x
  • Calisthenics: Pull-ups, Push-ups, ABS, Burpees.
When it comes to time for preparation there are about 40 weeks.

@godjira1 you have right, I should have start from checking all of the requirements to see where I am and on which event I should focus more. Unfortunately the covid situation made lot of things impossible to accomplish.

@Bunn I'm building endurance like you wrote, by running and rucking, and trying to figure out how to structure the rest. I have more than 9 months and it will not be easy to meet all of the requirements, but I hope to get as close as possible.

@WhatWouldHulkDo I like long runs, even more than short fast distances, but the latter are needed too. So maybe at least one session within a week will be focused on speed. I'm thinking about focusing on Push/Pull/Squat scheme but I will avoid burning.

Do your instructors know your skill set and will they have the time to give you a different set of 8 compared to others in testing class?
Event if they know it prior to the day of tests, candidates don't, and on a test day everyone would have to complete the same 8 exercises.

If I had 8 weeks to smoke those 11 skills, my training would not come from a book. My training would come from the 11 tests.
You have right, and I'm not going to a gym and do Bench Presses or Biceps Curls. Rather I'm going to focus on those movements that are helpful, such as pushups, pullups, squats.

@Bro Mo I would like to structure my regime around principles you have wrote above. I do not know what weight should I use but I think that up to 20lbs should be good. How many sets would you recommend for movements? I understand that
anti glycolytic at the beginning for more aerobic base
is the key, and I have to admit that the idea is closer to my heart rather than burning and going all-out at every workout.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
I would like to ask you about how would you structure your plan if you have a couple of months to reach the following requirements:
When it comes to time for preparation there are about 40 weeks.
I have more than 9 months and it will not be easy to meet all of the requirements, but I hope to get as close as possible.
First post said you have a couple of months... that's 8 weeks.... but then you said 9 months, 40 weeks. Big difference in available options then! Longer is better.

  • S&S practiced daily
  • Running 3x; from short distance like today's 5k to longer runs 16+ km
  • Rucking 1x
  • Calisthenics: Pull-ups, Push-ups, ABS, Burpees.
I would go for more running, with 80% of it being at an easy pace (MAF HR; 180-age plus adjustments). The bigger engine you build there, the more it will support your other training. You can build this slowly or spend a few dedicated weeks (4-8) on it where it is the primary thing.

I would also build more strength. This will make the other tasks more sub-maximal. Do you have a barbell and rack available? Do a strength program for 8 weeks and let that be the primary thing for that training block.

S&S is a good daily training if you need general fitness, but I'm not sure it's going to sufficiently drive you towards your specific goals. At the same time, it does have a training cost. So I'd reconsider that and maybe just come back to it sometimes for a check-in.

The way you structure the calisthenics is important, but I'm not an expert there so I'll leave it to others to suggest. In any case, I'd leave that for the second half of your prep time, after you've increased your aerobic base and strength base.
 

mikhael

Level 7 Valued Member
@Anna C Yes you are right, I used incorrect word "couple". Sorry for that. I'm counting to March 2021, but the exact date of the tests is unknown at the moment.
You were asking about barbel and rack, unfortunately I do not have such, but I'm able to lift 125-135 kg if I grap all kettlebells and a short bart I have at home. I might try to go to a gym but there are limits of users performing workout at the same time. So, for instance, tomorrow I will make it, and the next day I will not.
When it comes to S&S I'm closer to achieving Timless Simple, so I would like to keep the practice, moreofer I really like it and it takes me less than 20 mikes.
 

Bro Mo

Level 6 Valued Member
Given the events and logistics, my training would look something like this to consolidate training facilities and equipment availability:

Day 1 (M):
10 Rounds
10m Sprint
5x Push-Ups
5x Sit-up

Day 2 (H):
Squat 3/5
Bench Press 5/5
then
10 Rounds
5x Burpee
3x Pull-Up
5x Sit-Up

Day 3 (L):
20-60min Easy Ruck/Run

Day 4 (H)
Squat 3/5
Bench Press 5/5
then
10 Rounds
5x Row Pulls
3x Dip
3x Wall Ball
3x Pull-Up

Day 5 (L):
20-60min Easy Ruck/Run

Day 6 (M):
10 Rounds
25m Swim Sprint
5x Sit-Up
5x Push-Up

Day 7 (L):
Off

If the logistics allow, you could do half the number of circuits and do two or three different ones of them instead. If you started each movement every minute, the circuits would be 30-40 minutes and heart rate should stay somewhere in aerobic zone.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
When it comes to S&S I'm closer to achieving Timless Simple, so I would like to keep the practice, moreofer I really like it and it takes me less than 20 mikes.
Just consider... it is not only the time it takes. It is also the opportunity cost of the recovery that is then not available for more targeted training towards your goals.

One other way to think about it, and I don't know the answer as I can't see or assess you... Do you need a slightly fitter version of "you" in order to perform as you need; maybe just a slight increase here or there? Or do you need to transform to a different (perhaps bigger, leaner, more muscular, tougher, etc.) version of "you" in order to be the physical specimen that can crush this test? If the answer to the second question is yes, then the work should focus on developing those physical qualities that make you the new "you".... THEN train for the test.

Generally speaking, as I said earlier, I would focus on aerobic development with MAF rucks and runs, and strength development with barbell training or the next best alternative, each for 6-8 week blocks, then the specific calisthenics later as the test gets closer.
 

Bro Mo

Level 6 Valued Member
Just consider... it is not only the time it takes. It is also the opportunity cost of the recovery that is then not available for more targeted training towards your goals.

One other way to think about it, and I don't know the answer as I can't see or assess you... Do you need a slightly fitter version of "you" in order to perform as you need; maybe just a slight increase here or there? Or do you need to transform to a different (perhaps bigger, leaner, more muscular, tougher, etc.) version of "you" in order to be the physical specimen that can crush this test? If the answer to the second question is yes, then the work should focus on developing those physical qualities that make you the new "you".... THEN train for the test.

Generally speaking, as I said earlier, I would focus on aerobic development with MAF rucks and runs, and strength development with barbell training or the next best alternative, each for 6-8 week blocks, then the specific calisthenics later as the test gets closer.
Given 8 months, periodizing like @Anna C recommended with a few weeks of hypertrophy, followed by strength, followed by power endurance would be the best. Something like the Juggernaut Method would be good if you can access a barbell.
 

mikhael

Level 7 Valued Member
Sounds good, but what about Power?
Considering hypertrophy, how many reps and sets should be followed in only BW exercises?
 

Bro Mo

Level 6 Valued Member
Conventional wisdom is that 8-12 reps near failure in the 70-75% range is best for hypertrophy. However, there are studies using clusters of 5s at 65-75% with shorter rest that achieved similar hypertrophy while concurrently improving power and strength. The takeaway I got from it was that hypertrophy is more a result of density than exhaustion.

For hypertrophy with bodyweight only, I would try to weight the movement to get it in that 8-12 max rep range and do sets on the minute. I think total weekly volume in the 100-200 rep range is probably a decent place to start. 10 sets of 5 OTM with an 8-12 RM load. Without additional load, just use a variation of the movement muscle group(s) to try and stay in that range, i.e., dips instead of push-ups.

In that same vein, similar to HIRT for Hypertrophy, pair the bodyweight movements with a higher rep ballistic or longer duration conditioning movement. Alternatively, the 10/2 Q&D timing would probably have similar effect. There are a few options, 6 in one, half dozen in the other. Overall, you need to produce some lactic acid to stimulate growth hormone and it can be produced in various ways, some just more controlled than others.
 

mikhael

Level 7 Valued Member
@Bro Mo I think I would need a little bit more details, especially with the sentence:
10 sets of 5 OTM with an 8-12 RM load.
10 sets of 5 reps? performed "on the minute"? Or 10 sets of 8-12 reps?
I'm sorry, English isn't my native language thus sometimes I might need a bit more simpler information.


@Anna C I'm not shredded, but I'm not fat either. For the last few months I was working on reducing body fat and lost about 6 kg. My current weight is 86, and even I feel much better there are still kgs that need to be dropped.
 

mikhael

Level 7 Valued Member
@Bro Mo I read the article and the program presented looks good to me. I think I'll go this way when it comes to building muscles, but I'll substitute Presses with Power Push-ups, and on the other days I'll focus on Pull-ups. What do you think about such combination:
  • Q&D + Running x3 a week
  • Pull-ups + Burpees also x3 a week on alternate days
 
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Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
@Anna C I'm not shredded, but I'm not fat either. For the last few months I was working on reducing body fat and lost about 6 kg. My current weight is 86, and even I feel much better there are still kgs that need to be dropped.
Losing excess body fat will help with any of those tasks where you have to move your bodyweight. No need to do it fast though. If you focus hard on clean eating and increase your overall training volume, it will probably happen naturally.

What about lean mass? Do you think you need more muscle? Muscle tissue does the work of all these tasks, after all... But it is also weight that has to be carried when you have to move your bodyweight, just like fat.

Usually if you train for what you need, your body will build the muscle it needs eventually, as it adapts to the work. But sometimes it helps to go more directly for that result (specifically build the muscle with hypertrophy-focused training), then use what you've built as you train more specific tasks.
 
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