Phase 1 Special Forces Prep: Structural Balance, Strength, Aerobic Base

Wes Kennedy

Contributor - Special Forces Workouts

Military Fitness, CrossFit

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 six 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 two phases, each with a different focus:

 

 

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.

Week 1, Day 1

A: Deadlift @ 41X1 x 6-7; rest 3min x 3
B: RFESS @ 3010 x 12-15; rest 60sec b/t legs x 3/leg
C: Seated DB Press @ 3010 x 10-12; rest 2:30 x 3
D: Dead Bugs @ 1511 x 10/leg; rest 2min x 3
+
Walk 10min

 

Day 2

Bike 30sec @ 90% effort Bike 30sec @ 50% effort x 10
+

Row 30sec @ 90% effort Row 30sec @ 50% effort x 10

 

Notes:

  • Distance should be +/- 1-2 metres each set

 

Day 3

A: High Bar Back Squat @ 32X1 x 6-7; rest 3min x 3 B: DB Step-Ups Alternating x 10-12/leg; rest 2min x 3 C: Wtd Pull-Up @ 21X1 x 6-7; rest 3min x 3
D: AMSAP Sorensen Hold; rest 2min x 3

+
Bike 5min easy

 

Notes:

  • Use a weight belt for weighted pull-ups and point toes and legs to form a strong hollow position.
  • Sorensen hold done either on GHD machine or strapped down to bench at calves and hamstrings with cargo straps, hip bones slightly off the pad.

 

Day 4

AM:
60min Bike @ Z1 pace

PM:
10min AMRAP @ 85% effot 20 Walking Lunges
Run 200m
20 HR Push-Ups
+
Walk 10min
+
10min AMRAP @ 85% effort 20 Situps
Row 250m
20 BW Squats

 

Notes:

  • A good rule of thumb for Z1 pace is a HR between 120-135 bpm, this should be based on feel over time.
  • Ensure shoulders don't rotate forward on hand release push-ups
  • Military standard sit-ups

 

Day 5

  • Swim 10min @ Z1 pace
  • Bike 20min @ Z1 pace
  • Run 20min @ Z1 pace

 

Notes:

  • A good rule of thumb for Z1 pace is a HR between 120-135 bpm, this should be based on feel over time.

 

Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.

 

 

Week 2, Day 1

A: Deadlift @ 41X1 x 5-6; rest 3min x 3

B: RFESS @ 3010 x 10-12; rest 60sec b/t legs x 3/leg
C: Incline DB Press @ 31X1 x 8-10; rest 2:30 x 3

D: Front Plank - Arms Straight; accumulate 5min +Row 5min easy

 

Notes:

  • RFESS
  • Ensure that you maintain a neutral spine for front plank by squeezing glutes, thighs, and bracing abdominals

 

Day 2

Run 30sec @ 90% effort Run 30sec @ 50% effort x8
+

Airdyne 30sec @ 90% effort Airdyne 30sec @ 50% effort x8
+

30sec WallBalls 30sec Rest
x6

 

Notes:

  • Distance should be +/- 1-2 seconds eac set
  • Wall-balls are 20# and 10ft target for men, and 14# and 9ft target for women

 

Day 3

A: High Bar Back Squat @ 32X1 x 5-6; rest 3min x 3

B: DB Step-Ups Alternating x 9-11/leg; rest 2min x 3

C: Wtd Pull-Up @ 21X1 x 5-6; rest 3min x 3
D: AMSAP Sorensen Hold; rest 2min x 3

+
Bike 10min easy

 

Notes:

  • Use a weight belt for weighted pull-ups and point toes and legs to form a strong hollow position
  • Sorensen hold done either on GHD machine or strapped down to bench at calves and hamstrings with cargo straps, hip bones slightly off the pad

 

Day 4

AM

30min swim @ easy pace

Every 2 lenghts swim to bottom of pool and up x 2

Tread water 5minutes

 

PM:

10min AMRAP @ 85% effot 16 Sit-Ups

8 Burpees

40 Single Skips

+

Walk 10min

+

10min AMRAP @ 85% effort 5 Strict Pull-Ups

10 Medicine Balls Slams 300m Row

 

Notes:

  • A good rule of thumb for Z1 pace is a HR between 120-135 bpm, this should be based on feel over time
  • Sit-ups

 

Day 5

Swim 15min @ Z1 pace

Bike 25min @ Z1 pace

Run 25min @ Z1 pace

 

Notes:

  • A good rule of thumb for Z1 pace is a HR between 120-135 bpm, this should be based on feel over time.

 

Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.

 

 

Week 3, Day 1

A: Deadlift @ 41X1 x 4-5; rest 3min x 4

B: RFESS @ 3010 x 8-10; rest 60sec b/t legs x 3/leg
C: Incline DB Press @ 31X1 x 6-8; rest 2:30 x 4

D: FLR on Rings; Accumulate 3min +
Row 5min easy

 

Notes:

  • RFESS
  • Ensure that you maintain a neutral spine for FLR by squeezing glutes, thighs, and bracing abdominals

 

Day 2

Run 30sec @ 90% effort Run 30sec @ 50% effort x6
+

Airdyne 30sec @ 90% effort Airdyne 30sec @ 50% effort x6
+

30sec WallBalls 30sec Rest
x6
+

Row 30sec @ 90% effort Row 30sec @ 50% effort x6

 

Notes:

  • Distance should be +/- 1-2 seconds each set

Wall-balls are 20# and 10ft target for men, and 14# and 9ft target for women

 

Day 3

A: High Bar Back Squat @ 32X1 x 4-5; rest 3min x 4

B: DB Step-Ups Alternating x 8-10/leg; rest 2min x 3

C: Wtd Pull-Up @ 21X1 x 4-5; rest 3min x 4
D: AMSAP Sorensen Hold; rest 2min x 3

+
Bike 12min easy

 

Notes:

  • Use a weight belt for weighted pull-ups and point toes and legs to form a strong hollow position
  • Sorensen hold done either on GHD machine or strapped down to bench at calves and hamstrings with cargo straps, hip bones slightly off the pad

 

Day 4

AM
30min swim @ easy pace
Every 2 lengths, 6 muscle ups on side of pool
Tread water 6minutes

 

PM:
11min AMRAP @ 85% effot
Run 400m
50m Bear Crawl
50m Walking Lunges w/ dowel overhead +
Walk 10min
+
11min AMRAP @ 85% effort
5 Strict Pull-Ups
10 HR Push-Ups
15 Squats
20 cals rowing
25 Single Skips

 

Notes:

  • A good rule of thumb for Z1 pace is a HR between 120-135 bpm, this should be based on feel over time
  • Sit-ups

 

Day 5

  • Run 30min @ Z1 pace
  • Bike 30min @ Z1 pace
  • Swim 10min@ Z1 pace
  • Tread Water in place 10min

 

Notes:

  • A good rule of thumb for Z1 pace is a HR between 120-135 bpm, this should be based on feel over time

 

Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.

 

 

Week 4, Day 1

A: Deadlift @ 41X1 x 3-4; rest 3min x 4

B: RFESS @ 3010 x 6-8; rest 60sec b/t legs x 4/leg
C: Incline DB Press @ 31X1 x 4-6; rest 2:30 x 4

D: FLR on Rings; Accumulate 4min +
Row 8min easy

 

Day 2

3 Rounds: Row 150m Rest 30sec +

13 Rounds:
8 Wall-Balls
12 Walking Lunges Rest 30sec

 

Notes:

  • Goal is same time each set of row, and same time for each set of wall-ball/lunges

 

Day 3

A: High Bar Back Squat @ 32X1 x 3-4; rest 3min x 4

B: DB Step-Ups Alternating x 6-8/leg; rest 2min x 4

C: Wtd Pull-Up @ 21X1 x 3-4; rest 3min x 4

D: Back Extensions @ 40X1 x 8-10; rest 90sec x 3 +

Walk 10min easy

 

Notes:

  • Use a weight belt for weighted pull-ups and point toes and legs to form a strong hollow position
  • DB step-ups: drive through heel and engage glutes each rep

 

Day 4

AM
30min Bike @ easy pace

PM:
Swim Hard 10min Tread Water 5min Rest 5min
x2

 

Notes:

  • Aim for same pace both sets
  • Focus on big belly breaths during the 5minutes of rest

 

Day 5

Swim 20min@ Z1 pace

Bike 40min @ Z1 pace

Run 35min @ Z1 pace

 

Notes:

  • A good rule of thumb for Z1 pace is a HR between 120-135 bpm, this should be based on feel over time

 

Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.

 

 

Week 5, Day 1

A: Deadlift @ 41X1 x 2-3; rest 3min x 4

B: RFESS @ 3010 x 4-6; rest 60sec b/t legs x 4/leg
C: Incline DB Press @ 31X1 x 3-5; rest 2:30 x 4

D: FLR on Rings; Accumulate 5min +
Row 10min easy

 

Notes:

  • RFESS
  • Ensure that you maintain a neutral spine for FLR by squeezing glutes, thighs, and bracing abdominals

 

Day 2

Row 30sec @ 90%

Walk 30sec
x 30

 

Notes:

  • Goal is same time each set
  • Stay tall in the rower
  • Ensure the handle passes the knees before they bend
  • For more information on how to row properly, check out the Concept 2 rower site:

 

Day 3

A: High Bar Back Squat @ 32X1 x 2-3; rest 3min x 4

B: DB Step-Ups Alternating x 4-6/leg; rest 2min x 4

C: Wtd Pull-Up @ 21X1 x 2-3; rest 3min x 4
D: Back Extensions @ 40X1 x 8-10; rest 90sec x 4 +

Walk 15min easy

 

Notes:

  • Use a weight belt for weighted pull-ups and point toes and legs to form a strong hollow position
  • DB step-ups: drive through heel and engage glutes each rep

 

Day 4

AM
30min swim @ easy pace. Every 5min Tread Water for 30sec

 

PM
10min AMRAP @ 90% effort AD 0.3 miles
12 Burpees
100m Farmer's Carry Heavy Walk 10min
x2

 

Notes:

  • Aim for same pace both sets
  • Focus on breathing during 10minutes of walking
  • Keep shoulders blades back and down during farmer's walks and eyes ahead. Small, wide steps.
  • Ensure that you're landing on the heels of your feet rather than your toes when you're jumping from the push-up to the squat position in the burpee.

 

Day 5

Swim 25min@ Z1 pace

Bike 45min @ Z1 pace

Run 40min @ Z1 pace +

Perform 60 Walking Lunges with perfect form

 

Notes:

  • A good rule of thumb for Z1 pace is a HR between 120-135 bpm, this should be based on feel over time

 

Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.

 

 

Week 6, Day 1

Build to a 1RM Deadlift; rest as needed b/t sets
+
Find your 8RM RFESS @ 3010; rest as

needed between sets; note score for both legs
+
AMSAP Sorensen Hold; 1 attempt

 

Notes:

  • 1RM stands for 1 rep max, the most weight you can do for one repetition
  • For more information on how to build to a 1RM

 

 

Day 2

Test:
Row 5km for best possible time

 

Notes:

  • Try and start off a bit slower than you would like, and then pick up the pace each kilometre. aim for a negative 1km split

 

Day 3

Build to a 1RM High Bar Back Squat; rest as needed between sets
+
Build to a 1RM Wtd Pull-Up

 

Notes:

  • 1RM stands for 1 rep max, the most weight you can do for one repetition
  • For more information on how to build to a 1RM

 

Day 4

Swim 25m @ 90% Rest 30sec
x8
+

Walk 10min
+
Run 30sec @ 90% Rest 30sec
x8

 

Notes:

  • Times per set should be +/- 1-2 seconds each set

 

Day 5

AM:
TEST: 400m Swim for time

 

PM:
TEST: 10km run for time

 

Notes:

  • Allow a minimum of 6 hours between the end of the AM workout and the beginning of the warmup for the PM workout

 

Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.

 

 

Week 7, Day 1

A1: Front Squat @ 31X1 x 5-6; rest 2min x 3
A2: Standing DB Press @ 30X2 x 6-7; rest 2min x 3
B: SLRDL @ 31X1 x 10-12; rest 90sec b/t legs x 3/leg
C1: Side Bridge L 90sec; rest 90sec x 3
C2: Side Bridge R 90sec; rest 90sec x 3
D: Powell Raise @ 3010 x 10-12; rest 60sec b/t arms x 3/arm

 

Notes:

  • SLRDL: Single Leg Romanian Deadlift. This is done w/ 1 dumbell in each hand, reach down as far as you can while maintaining a neutral spine and retracted shoulder blades
  • Side Bridge
  • TRMXD -Powell Raise
  • Front Squat

 

Day 2

15min AMRAP @ 90% effort Run 400m
15 Burpees
Walk 15min

15min AMRAP @ 90% effort Run 400m
15 Wall-Balls

 

Notes:

  • Goal is a steady pace throughout. Score should be the same for the first and second half of each set

 

Day 3

A1: Thruster x 7-8; rest 2min x 3
A2: Bent Over BB Row @ 41X2 x 7-8; rest 2min x 3

B: Tall Kneeling Pallof Press @ 1511 x 10-12; rest 2

C: Band Pull Aparts @ 3113 x 10-12; rest 2min x 3 +10min Step Ups 18" w/ 30# vest

 

Notes:

  • Anytime that you hit the top of the rep range, you must go up in weight on the next set
  • Step-ups should be done at a continuous pace

 

Day 4

Run 350m

Walk 1minute x 10

 

Notes:

  • Goal is same hard pace each set. Each set should be within 1-2 seconds of one another.

 

Day 5

AM:
40min Bike @ Z1 pace

40min Jog @ Z1 pace

 

PM:
20min Swim @ Z1 pace
Every 100m tread water for 15 seconds w/ 10lb brick

 

Notes:

  • A good rule of thumb for Z1 pace is to maintain a HR between 120-135bpm

 

Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.

 

 

Week 8, Day 1

A1: Front Squat @ 31X1 x 4-5; rest 2min x 3
A2: Standing DB Press @ 30X2 x 5-6; rest 2min x 3
B: SLRDL @ 31X1 x 9-11; rest 90sec b/t legs x 3/leg
C1: Side Bridge L 100sec; rest 90sec x 3
C2: Side Bridge R 100sec; rest 90sec x 3
D: Powell Raise @ 3010 x 9-11; rest 60sec b/t arms x 3/arm

 

Notes:

  • SLRDL: Single Leg Romanian Deadlift. This is done w/ 1 dumbell in each hand, reach down as far as you can while maintaining a neutral spine and retracted shoulder blades
  • Side Bridge

 

Day 2

50 Push-Ups

Run 2km @ 80% effort
100 Perfect Squats
Run 2km @ 80% effort
30 Strict Pull-Ups
Run 2km @ 80% effort
150 Sit-Ups
Run 2km @ 80% effort
80 Perfect Standing Lunges

 

Notes:

  • Goal is to maintian exact same pace for each 2km run, and to perforem all movements with perfect form, adjust your pacing and breaking up sets accordingly

 

Day 3

A1: Thruster x 6-7; rest 2min x 3
A2: Bent Over BB Row @ 41X2 x 6-7; rest 2min x 3

B: Alternating Front Rack Barbell Step-Ups 18" x 6-8/l

C: Tall Kneeling Pallof Press @ 1511 x 12-15; rest 2

D: Band Pull Aparts @ 3113 x 12-15; rest 2min x 3

 

Notes:

  • BB Step-Ups
  • Anytime you hit the top of the rep range on a given set, you MUST go up in weight on the next set

 

Day 4

Run 400m

Walk 1 minute x 10

 

Notes:

  • Goal is same hard pace each set.
  • Each set should be within 1-2 seconds of each other

 

Day 5

AM:
50min Bike @ Z1 pace 50min Jog @ Z1 pace

 

PM:
20min swim @ Z1 pace
Every 100m swim to the bottom of the deep end, and back up x 2

 

Notes:

  • A good rule of thumb for Z1 pace is to maintain a HR between 120-135bpm.

 

Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.

 

 

Week 9, Day 1

A1: Front Squat @ 31X1 x 3-4; rest 2min x 4
A2: Standing DB Press @ 30X2 x 4-5; rest 2min x 3
B: SLRDL @ 31X1 x 8-10; rest 90sec b/t legs x 4/leg
C1: Side Bridge L 110sec; rest 90sec x 3
C2: Side Bridge R 110sec; rest 90sec x 3
D: Powell Raise @ 3010 x 7-9; rest 60sec b/t arms x 3/arm

 

Notes:

  • SLRDL: Single Leg Romanian Deadlift. This is done w/ 1 dumbell in each hand, reach down as far as you can while maintaining a neutral spine and retracted shoulder blades
  • Side Bridge

 

Day 2

15min AMRAP @ 90% effort
5 Forward Rolls
10 Burpee Broad Jumps
10 Walking Lunges w/ 25# DB Overhead 10 Walking Lunges w/ 25# DB verhead L Run 200m

Rest 12min x2

 

Notes:

  • Goal is same rounds/reps for each set
  • Jump as far as you can on each burpee

 

Day 3

A1: Push Press x 5-6; rest 2min x 3
A2: Bent Over BB Row @ 41X2 x 5-6; rest 2min x 3

B: Alternating Front Rack Barbell Step-Ups 18" x 5-7/l

C: Tall Kneeling Pallof Press @ 1511 x 15-18; rest 2 + 25 TGU 1.5 pd for time/ must be done with perfect form

 

Notes:

  • Anytime that you hit the top of the rep range, you must go up in weight on the next set
  • Step-ups should be done at a continuous pace

 

Day 4

Run 3min

Hard Walk 3min
x6

 

Day 5

AM:
60min Bike @ Z1 pace 60min Jog @ Z1 pace

 

PM:
25min swim @ Z1 pace

Every 100m swim to the bottom of the deep end, and back up x 2

 

Notes:

  • A good rule of thumb for Z1 pace is to maintain a HR between 120-135bpm.

 

Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.

 

 

Week 10, Day 1

A1: Front Squat @ 31X1 x 2-3; rest 2min x 4
A2: Standing DB Press @ 30X2 x 3-4; rest 2min x 4
B: SLRDL @ 31X1 x 8-10; rest 90sec b/t legs x 4/leg
C1: Side Bridge L 70sec; rest 90sec x 4
C2: Side Bridge R 70sec; rest 90sec x 4
D: Powell Raise @ 3010 x 6-8; rest 60sec b/t arms x 3/arm

 

Notes:

  • SLRDL: Single Leg Romanian Deadlift. This is done w/ 1 dumbell in each hand, reach down as far as you can while maintaining a neutral spine and retracted shoulder blades
  • Side Bridge

 

Day 2

Swim 400m Hard
50 Standing Lunges
50 Pushups
Tread Water 1min w/ 20# Brick Rest 10min
x2

 

Notes:

  • Goal is same rounds/reps for each set

 

Day 3

A1: Push Press x 4-5; rest 2min x 3
A2: Bent Over BB Row @ 41X2 x 4-5; rest 2min x 3

B: Alternating Front Rack Barbell Step-Ups 18" x 4-6/l

C: Tall Kneeling Pallof Press @ 1511 x 10-12; rest 2 +100 Hand Release Push-Ups for time

 

Notes:

  • Anytime that you hit the top of the rep range, you must go up in weight on the next set
  • Step-ups should be done at a continuous pace

 

Day 4

Run 4 min

Hard Walk 4 min
x6

 

Day 5

AM:
70min Bike @ Z1 pace

70min Jog @ Z1 pace

 

PM:
30min swim @ Z1 pace
Every 100m swim to the bottom of the deep end, and back up x 2

 

Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.

 

 

Week 11, Day 1

A1: Build to a tough 2rep Front Squat
A2: Build to a 3RM DB Press
B: SLRDL @ 31X1 x 6-8; rest 90sec b/t legs x 3/leg
C1: Side Bridge L 100-120sec; rest 2min x 2
C2: Side Bridge R 100-120sec; rest 2min x 2
D: Powell Raise @ 3010 x 4-6; rest 60sec b/t arms x 3/arm

 

Notes:

  • SLRDL: Single Leg Romanian Deadlift. This is done w/ 1 dumbell in each hand, reach down as far as you can while maintaining a neutral spine and retracted shoulder blades
  • Side Bridge

 

Day 2

8 Rounds:
6 Heavy Deadlifts
50m Farmer's Carry Heavy Row 500m
Walk 4min

 

Day 3

A1: Build to a tough 2rep Push Press
A2: Build to a tough 2rep Wtd Pull-Up
B: Walking BB Lunges x 6-8/leg; rest 2:30 x 3
C: Tall Kneeling Pallof Press @ 1511 x 8-10; rest 2mi +
Run 2km @ Z1 pace

 

Day 4

Run 5km @ 85% effort

Walk 10min
Run 5km @ 85% effort

 

Day 5

AM:
35min Swim @ Z1 pace

10min Tread Water

35min Bike @ Z1 pace

35min Jog @ Z1 pace

 

Notes:

  • A good rule of thumb for Z1 pace is to maintain a HR between 120-135bpm.

 

Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.

 

 

Week 12, Day 1

Build to a 1RM Front Squat; rest as needed +
Build to a 1RM Press; rest as needed
+

AMSAP Side Bridge L; 1 attempt; rest 3min AMSAP Side Bridge R; 1 attempt

 

Day 2

10km Run for best possible time

 

Day 3

Build to a 1RM Push Press; rest as needed
+
Build to an 8RM RFESS @ 3010; rest as needed

 

Day 4

Run 30sec @ 90% effort

Walk 30sec
x 15

 

Day 5

5 Rounds for best possible time:

12 Wall Walks
12 Burpee Pull-Ups
Run 200m

 

Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.

 

 

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