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:


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.


Week 4

Day 1

50min EMOM

  • 1-10: 5 heavy push press
  • 11-20: heavy Pendlay rows
  • 21-30: 10 sandbag over shoulder cleans with an 80lb sandbag
  • 31-40: 8 moderate deadlifts
  • 41-50: 50m sprint @100%


35min swim @ Z1 pace
Accumulate 3:30 treading water with a 20lb brick, moderate intervals 


Day 2

25min AMRAP @ 85% effort

  • 10 sandbag squats, left shoulder, 80lbs
  • 25 double unders
  • 10 sandbag squats, right shoulder, 80lbs
  • run 200m
  • 10 sandbag push press


3:30:00 ruck with 75lbs on gravel road while carrying a 10lb sledge hammer at the low ready
position with both hands



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


Day 3

A: Back Squat @ 1,1,1,1,1, rest 20 seconds between clusters, rest 2:30 between rounds, X3
B: Pendlay eows x 7-9, rest 2 minutes, X4
C1: AMRAP wide grip pull ups (-1), rest 20 seconds, X4
C2: straight arm lat pull downs X7-9, rest 2 minutes, X4
D: 12-18 windshield wipers, rest 90 seconds, X3
3 rounds for time with a 20lb vest

  • 2 minutes continuous 18" step ups with a 20lb DB in each hand
  • 2 minutes AMRAP double unders
  • 2 minutes rowing



  • 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 13min @90% effort
Walk 10min
x 3


30min swim @ Z1 pace
45min bike @ Z1 pace
45min jog @ Z1 pace
45min ruck walk with 40lbs @ 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 - 50 seconds step ups with 20-30lb weighted vest
  • even- 15-20 hand release push ups with the same weighted vest

Rest 8min
12min AMRAP

3 hang power cleans @135lbs

3 deadlifts @135lbs

3 24" box jumps

6 hang power cleans @135lbs

6 deadlifts @135lbs

6 24" box jumps

9 hang power cleans @135lbs

9 deadlifts @135lbs

9 24" box jumps

12 hang power cleans @135lbs

12 deadlifts @135lbs

12 24" box jumps


Walk 12min easy pace