Phase 3 Special Forces Prep: Endurance, Rucking, and Swimming

Wes Kennedy

Contributor - Special Forces Workouts

Athbasca, Canada

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 nine-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 3, Day 1

50 minute EMOM

  • 1-10: 4 heavy close grip bench press
  • 11-20: 4 tough strict HSPU (adjust deficit to challenge accordingly)
  • 21-30: 15 seconds backward sandbag drag - hard and heavy but sustainable
  • 31-40: 5 tough power cleans
  • 41-50: sprint 100m @ 90% effort - tough but sustainable


30 minute swim @ Z1 pace

Accumulate 3 minutes in moderate intervals of treading water with a 20lb brick



  • For the close grip bench press, place your hands approximately 16" apart.
  • HSPU: do these against a wall


Day 2

20 minute AMRAP @ 85% effort

  • 50 double unders
  • 200m run
  • 40 push ups
  • 15 pull ups
  • 15 back extensions


3 hour ruck with 75lbs on gravel road while carrying a 10lb sledge hammer at the low ready



  • moderate pace for ruck march
  • steady pace throughout on AMRAP



Day 3

A: back squat @ 2,2,2,2, resting 20 seconds between clusters, rest 2:30 between rounds x 3
B: Pendlay rows x 8-10, rest 2 minutes x 3
C1: AMRAP wide grip pull ups: do one fewer than your max, rest 20 seconds x 4
C2: straight arm lat pull downs x 8-10, rest 2:00 x 4
D: 10-16 windshield wipers, rest :90 x 3
3 rounds for time woth 20lb vest:
15 burpees
15 95lb thrusters



  • re-rack the bar between back squat clusters
  • Pendlay rows: no hips or back swing involved. Pull each rep from the ground to the sternum then lower back down over two seconds
  • no "chinnin" on the pull-ups, head neutral


Day 4

Run 12min @90% effort
Walk 10min
x 3


30min swim @ Z1 pace
40min bike @ Z1 pace
40min jog @ Z1 pace
40min ruck walk woth 40lb pack @ Z1 pace



  • AM workout is tough but sustainable
  • PM workout, leave the ego at the door


Day 5

A: front-racked barbell walking lunges x 14-16, rest 2:30 x 3
16min EMOM

  • odd - 50sec step ups with a 20-30lb weighted vest
  • even- 15-20 hand release push ups with the weighted vest

Rest 8min
12min AMRAP

  • 3 hang power clean 135#
  • 3 deadlift 135#
  • 3 24" box jumps
  • 6 hang power clean 135#
  • 6 deadlift 135#
  • 6 24" box jumps
  • 9...
  • 9....
  • 9....
  • 12...
  • 12...
  • ............

Walk 12min easy pace



  • 100% effort on the 12 minute AMRAP


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


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