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

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 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 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




  • 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




  • 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



  • 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

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


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



  • 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



  • 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.


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