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.


Welcome to the Special Forces Training Program! 

Make sure you read through to the bottom before commencing training.



Week 12

Day 1

A: build to a 3RM back squat
B: build to a 3RM press
Perform 20min of Z1 work, you choose the modality


- little to no pause between reps for the 3RM tests, but  2-3 seconds is okay


Day 2

"90min run w/40# ruck for best possible time
10min Z1 swim


- warm up appropriately for 90min ruck


Day 3

Find your 200m max dumbbell farmer's carry
A: build to a 3RM touch-and-go deadlift, rest as needed
400m sprint for best possible time


- moderate walk pace for farmer's carry, no running
- rest as needed between attempts
- sprint should empty the tank


Day 4


5 rounds for time:

  • row 350m
  • 12 burpee pull ups
  • 8 wall walks


- dig deep and empty the tank
- note your strategy going into the event, what changed, and what you would have done differently in the end


Day 5

60min hike: easy pace


- Spend the hike thinking about the next three months of the program. What you need to do in terms of your mental game and personal attributes to be ready for selection?
- Make sure your nutrition and sleep are dialed in for the last three month cycle. We will be doing a mini-selection in six to eight weeks that will last two to four days.


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 9 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.