EDITOR’S NOTE: Special Forces workouts are written by Wes Kennedy. Wes developed his passion for fitness during his eight years in the Canadian Forces. He spent the last five of those eight years as a Special Forces Operator, which required him to develop into a mentally tough and physically robust individual.


Welcome to the Special Forces Training Program! 

Make sure you read through to the bottom before commencing training.


Week 8

Day 1

Warm up:
- Side plank on elbow with 11 leg lifts x 3/side
A1: back squat @ 31X1 x 7-9, rest 60sec x 3
A2: press @ 21X1 x 7-9, rest 60sec x 3
B: push press x; rest 10sec between clusters, rest 3min x 3
C: standing Pallof press x 11-13, rest 70sec x 3 - hold the extended position for 4 seconds each rep
7min AMRAP @ 90% effort
20 four-count flutter kicks
5 man-makers with 30lb DBs
10 medicine ball cleans


Breaking Muscle Shop

- push press preferably done on blocks
- keep rib cage and pelvis aligned during pallof press, maintain athletic positoin
- 7min AMRAP is there to teach you that you always have something left in the tank, try to hit this shortly after finishing the Pallof press 


Day 2

15min swim @ 70% effort
30min bike @ 70% effort
30min run @ 70% effort
40min run with 40# ruck in fatgiues


Run 500m @ 80-90% effort
Walk 2:30
x 5
Rest 8min
8min AMRAP @ 80-90% effort
10 Clapping push ups
10 ring rows
10 stiff-legged deadlifts 135#
10 no-push-up burpee broad jumps
Rest 3min
Hollow holds 20sec, rest 30sec x 3


- AM workout done at sustainable pace


Day 3

Warm up:
- 3 sets of side leg raises from all fours, 12 forward and 12 backwards per side
A1: prowler push 60m hard and heavy, rest 60sec x 4
A2: hang power cleans x 7-9, rest 90sec x 4
B: deadlifts x, rest 10sec between clusters, rest 3min x 3
C: single-arm standing DB bent-over rows @ 31X2 x 7-9, rest 60sec between arms x 3/arm
10sec airdyne or sprint @ 95-98%, rest 1:50 x 4


40min airdyne @ Z1 pace
- every 5min complete 1 rope climb 20ft OR if you can complete 2 strict ring muscle ups


- Airdyne sprints: tough but not all out, if it makes you sick you're going a little bit too hard, if you think it's not at all hard because it's only  10 seconds then work harder


Day 4

11min EMOM
odd - 16 box jump step downs 24"
even 180ft farmer's carry 80lbs/hand
Rest 6min
11min EMOM
odd- row 12 cals
even- 80 foot dummy drag

2 hour ruck with 70#'s on gravel road while carrying a 10# sledge hammer at the low ready position with both hands
12min swim with ruck as flotation device @ 70% effort


- Ruck walk done at 5-6km/hr pace
- Moderate swim with ruck, learn to pack it so it floats


Day 5

Warm up:
- 3 sets of 12 clam shells each side
A1: stiff-legged deadlifts @ 30X2 x 7-9, rest 45sec x 4
A2: weighted ring dips @ 31X2 x 5-7, rest 45sec x 4
B: RFESS @ 3010 x 9-11, rest 60sec between legs x 3/leg
C1: 20-30 KB thrusters 7lbs/hand, rest 60sec x 3
C2: 20-30 burpees, rest 60sec x 3
D: band pull-aparts @ 3032 x 9-11, rest 70sec x 3
Row 12min


Cool down


- Do body weight only dips if necessary
- Stay true to tempo on RFESS


Who is this program for?

  • Military members preparing for a Special Forces selection phase
  • Anybody who wants to train like a Special Forces Operator


How does this program work?

This will be a 9 month program designed to prepare military members for Special Forces selection.  The term Special Forces is used broadly and does not necessarily mean U.S. Army Green Beret.


This program will not contain the exceptionally large volume of swimming or rucking that might be required for a SEAL or SAS selection phase, although both modalities will be included.


The program will be broken down into 3 phases, creating a logical and  progressive plan that will have the tactical athlete peaking at the end.  Each phase has a focus, but all pieces will be blended together appropriately throughout:


Phase 1:  Structural Balance / Absolute Strength / Aerobic Base

Phase 2: Strength and Power Capacity / Volume Building / Skill Work / Aerobic Power

Phase 3: Muscular Endurance / Anaerobic Training / Toughness Training / Rucking / Swimming


Where can I find more information and ask questions?

I will post notes at the bottom of each workout that will go into more detail. I will also post links to videos whenever possible. I am constantly adding videos to my Vimeo and YouTube pages that break down various movements in great detail.


If you have more questions, you can head over to the Breaking Muscle Forum, and I will get back to you as soon as possible with an answer. For a detailed explanation of how to read the workouts, warm up properly, and get the most out of this training plan, check out the Special Forces Workouts FAQ.


Why should I use this program?

Whether you are looking to increase your chances of passing Special Forces selection, or you simply want to train at this level, this program follows an intelligent progression over nine months that incorporates injury-proofing, strength, stamina, toughness training, and event specific modalities such as swimming and rucksack marching. It is written based on my experience as an ex-Special Forces soldier turned coach.


What equipment do I need?

Mondays and Thursdays will generally be strength specific days that you can perform at most gyms. Tuesdays and Fridays may require equipment typically found at a CrossFit-type gym. Saturdays will often include things such as boxing, swimming, biking, and running outside.


Record your results!

The only way to make this program better over time is if you give us your results. So comment in the forums with your age/weight/height/gender/results.