|Getting ready for Army Special Forces Assessment and
Selection (SFAS), the first step to attending the Special Forces
Qualification Course, requires commitment and a near life time of
preparation. I recently spoke to a Special Forces operator and we discussed
the top ten things a SF candidate needs to know before they take the SFAS
challenge. He spoke of many different elements you should focus on during
your training preparation. Here is the Top Ten List:
1 — Have a
solid running base: You will not only run everywhere you go but you
will be running with a back pack and fast. Shin splints, knee tendonitis,
and foot problems occur in those who do not have a running base of at
least 25–30 miles per week. Prepare your legs and your lungs by putting
in the time — and the miles. Run distance and run it fast. The runs are not
very long, no more than 10–12 miles at the very most, but we moved out. My
SF buddy mentioned, “One day we took off and I recorded we were running a
6:10/min mile”. He continued, “I am not sure if this is still the case but
if guys want to be successful I would suggest they get out and do some
intervals in addition to their longer runs.”
2 — Leg endurance and muscle stamina: Two things will
give out on you if you are not prepared — your lungs and your legs. Mix in
both a lung and leg workout with
running and leg PT. Run at timed run
pace for 1/2 mile — rest with 20 squats and 20 lunges. Repeat up to 5–6
times or build up to it over time depending on a logical progression. Try
a few 1/4 mile lunge walks in your training to prepare for a lunge walk
around your training area.
3 — Strong Lower Back: Carrying around back packs, logs,
and performing injured man drills, you need to have a strong back. Exercises
like dead lift, hang clean, farmer walks, fire man carries, and body drags
will prepare your lower back for lifting weight and walking with it. Be
prepared to stand up all day — not even sit down at all. Also see
a calisthenics based back plan to build upon.
4 — Land Navigation: Much of SFAS and the Q course is
getting from point A to point B in the quickest amount of time as possible.
Know how to read a map and use a compass.
5. Ruck running: SFAS is all about time and moving to
your points quickly. You need to be able to move out when you are in a time
crunch or are stuck in a draw. To prepare, put 45lbs in your ruck and move 4
miles as fast as you can. A good goal is to get 4 miles in under 35 minutes.
If you can cover that distance during SFAS it’s a game changer. See
6. Shoulder PT: During SFAS you will have log and rifle
PT. This isn’t everyday but a very extraneous event that gets a lot of guys
to quit. I would recommend doing a lot of push presses, snatches and light
weight military presses to get ready. The weight isn’t heavy, just very
repetitive. Learn to work under the log as a team and it helps. Especially
if you all can do a push-press at the same time. Really muscle bounds guys
could get the weight up no problem but got smoked really quickly into these
events. Also see -
7. Swim: Swimming is a passable event in the course.
Besides being a great non-impact aerobic activity, the survival swim with
all your gear on is tough and quite a shock if you have never tried it
before. You have to be able to swim 50 meters in a pool with boots and a
uniform. If you are a weak swimmer, get to the pool and do some laps. This
was one event that snuck in and got a few people because they did not
incorporate it into their workout plan.
8. Attitude: You can be the fastest and the strongest
and crush the course physically, BUT if you have an attitude and not a team
player, you will not be selected to go to the Q Course. Help your
classmates when you can and stay in RECEIVE mode when learning a skill from
9. High rep, crossfit like training- The biggest reason
I say this is they are now doing mostly crossfit workouts in the course.
Morning PT incorporates kettle bells, bar bells, pull-ups etc. So if you
have a little bit of a crossfit background you will be able to keep up
during PT. Use CF workouts as a warm-up. You still need to put in the time
with running, rucking, and more rucking and running.
Upper Body Round Robin Prep- This
is a fun new fitness test the Spec Ops World is testing: This is becoming
the new SF PT test. My SF buddy mentioned. “I just completed my first one a
few months ago during my E8 development course. It hasn’t become a go/no-go
event, yet, but it’s being heavily considered as the new standard and is
already in use by some of the teams.” CIF companies are already using it as
their must pass event. As you can see it’s a big test and is taken all at
once. So you have to have some serious chest strength to knock it out and be
able to ace a 5 mile timed run.
Take these recommendations seriously. My SF buddies from
Tactical are serious operators and are still operating with
the reserve SF units and other NGOs. I’d like to thank them for the
recommendations. For you future Spec Ops warriors I wish you the best of
luck and would like to remind you to keep working hard to prepare for the
first step of a career in the Spec Ops world.