Phase 2 Special Forces Prep: Strength, Skill Work, Aerobic Power
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.
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 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:
Click on any phase to download that 12-week portion of the program.
- 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.
Sample Programming: Phase 2, Week 1
Side planks on elbow w/ 12 leg lifts - 3 sets per side
A: Deadlift clusters 22.214.171.124; rest 3min x 3; rest 10seconds b/t
B1: Weighted pull up @ 32X1 x 4-6; rest 60sec x 4
B2: AMRAP straight arm lat pull downs 55lbs; rest 2min x 4
C: Cable pull throughs @ 31X3 x 9-11; rest 60sec x 4
odd - 50m sandbag drag backward - hard and heavy
even - 20 wall ball 20#/10ft
Jog 11min cool down
- Shoulder blades back and down on farmer's carry
- Stay true to tempo
- Straight arm lat pull down, done from standing position with arms straight out in front, press downs to thighs, FEEL your lats
60 minutes easy ruck walk on gravel road 40#
Swim 100m in pool @ 90% effort
Swim 200m in pool @ 90% effort
AMSAP tread water w/ 20# Brick; 1 attempt
- Dig deep when treading water with brick, go as long as possible
- Ruck walk: leave your ego at the door, keep it at an easy pace; it will pick up over time; don't burn yourself out now
Clam shells 3 sets of 10 each side
A: Build to a tough complex of 6 heavy back squats + 1 push press from the back; rest as needed
B: Seated behind the neck press @ 30X1 x 8-10; rest 2:30 x 3
C: Good mornings @ 31X1 x 10-12; rest 2min x 3
D1: Trap-3 Raise @ 3011 x 10-12; rest 45sec b/t arms x 3/arm
D2: Tabata sit ups 20sec on/10sec off x 3; rest 45sec x 3
odd - 10 BB front rack walking lunges @ 135#
even - 15 wall ball 20#/10ft
odd - row 12cals
even - 5 wall walks
2min AMRAP @ 80-90% effort
3min AMRAP @ 80-90% effort
4 Strict pull ups
Run 10m, 20m, 30m, 40m, 50m (there and back)
4min AMRAP @ 80-90% effort
5 Burpee pull ups
10 Box jump step-downs 24"
- General, dynamic, and specific warm up - touch on all the modalities when doing the specific warm up
30min easy swim
Warm up: 3 sets of 10 scapular push ups
A1: Standing press @ 31X1 x 6-8; rest 20sec x 3
A2: 45sec FLR on rings; rest 2min x 3
B1: 12 ring rows w/ 20# Vest; rest 20sec
B2: row 500m hard; rest 2min x 3
C: deadbug level 4 x 3411 x 8-10/side; rest 90sec x 3
20 Burpees AFAP
Row 300m HARD