This Workout Targets Specific Events to Enhance Your Special Ops Training

There are two ways a person should prepare themselves for the physical challenges of military service, especially if considering any of the competitive special operations programs. The elements of fitness must be developed (strength/power, speed/agility, endurance/muscle stamina, flexibility/mobility, grip, etc.), and you must prepare for specific events — depending on your branch of service — as well .

Take today’s workout, for example. This workout is a mix of many of the above elements of fitness, as well as creative ways to train for specific events:

Four-mile run on the beach — Every week at SEAL training, there is a four-mile timed run on the beach for six months. You have to get good at this event. Running is one of those endurance exercises you need to master. For longer runs, shoot for a seven-minute mile pace; for shorter timed runs, aim for a six-minute mile pace to be competitive.

After the run, grab a sandbag or weight of 40-50 pounds and simulate boat carries and log PT events:

400-meter walking lunges with a sandbag (chest carry position) — If you have never lunged 400 meters, don’t try it with a 40- to 50-pound sandbag. Build up to it and try 100-200 meters without weight the first few times added on your leg days. You will one day be required to lunge for great distances holding a log to your chest with five or six other classmates.

400-meter run with sandbag — Run with the sandbag multiple methods. You will do four types of carry with both logs and boats: a shoulder carry, chest carry, handle carry (farmer walk) and head carry. Learn how to build your neck muscles safely for carrying weight on your head.

400-meter bear crawl — Other activities you will often do are bear and low crawls. Both are difficult and require some specific practice time, as you will find you work many different core muscles that could be undeveloped. You can add these to the upper-or lower-body day training splits.

400-meter run with sandbag again — Repeat the sandbag run between the bear crawl and the fireman carry.

400-meter fireman carry — Personnel carries (injured man drills) will be another specific event you must master — not only how to carry someone over your shoulder, but also how to be carried. Both are difficult. Many will say they would rather do the carrying than be carried. Practice both with someone who weighs within 5-10 pounds of you, if possible.

2,000-meter swim with fins or two-mile ruck — Depending on the branch of service or your weakness, go for a ruck or swim for 30 minutes. Focus on a steady cooldown pace, then call it a day. If you have the time and ability, do the ruck and the swim.

When I talk to students who recently graduated from various special ops programs, they all say the same things:

  1. Work on your fitness test skills to crush it, even on a bad day.
  2. Make sure your training is not just related to fitness tests, as you need to practice longer runs, swims with fins and rucking, and prepare the legs and back for harder load-bearing activities (logs, boats, people carry).
  3. You must assess yourself to find weaknesses, then work on that weakness relentlessly until it is no longer a gut check-level weakness. Maintain your current strengths.
  4. Don’t forget swimming and treading technique training. It is not all endurance and strength training. Practice these aquatic events until you cannot get it wrong.
  5. Learn about recovery. Master it to get through the tough weeks at selection. Eat, drink and sleep as best you can every day.

Enjoy the training. Build up to this particular workout if you are starting your special ops prep journey.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to [email protected].

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