If you're interested in serving in the military's special forces, you're in for quite a test of your endurance and strength -- and that's before the training starts. Even if joining special forces isn't the goal, you'll still get in the best shape of your life when you adopt a special forces training exercise routine. It's ultra-challenging and will push your body to be all it can be...and maybe a little more. There are many different special forces connected with the various branches of the U.S. military, each with its own requirements. However, this program should get you in shape for most of them.
Physical training, known simply as "PT" in the military, is basic calisthenic exercises but on a increased, military, level. Doing daily PT, or at the least every other day, will get your muscles in shape and condition you to be able to perform the 100 situps and 100 pushups in two minutes that is required specifically of candidates of the Green Beret segment of special forces. Military.com recommends a PT routine comprised of 75 to 100 pull-ups, 200 to 300 pushups and 200 to 300 situps. Perform this routine four or five times a week and add in about 100 crunches for a little variety two or three times a week. You can spread those hundreds of repetitions out over about 10 sets each, but do them as supersets, moving from one exercise to the next with no break in between and going through the sequence over and over until you've completed the total required number of reps.
Since all special forces have to be ready to run fast and run far at any given moment, your exercise routine should aim to get you in shape to complete a 2-mile run in about 12 to 14 minutes. An effective way to incorporate running into your special forces training routine is to run 3 to 5 miles four or five times a week, pounding it out at your top speed.
According to Fred J. Pushies in his book "U.S. Army Special Forces," special forces don't only have to be accomplished swimmers, they also have to be able to swim while wearing full battle dress uniforms including their boots. Don't swim alone if you're going to give swimming in BDU a shot. Special forces training only calls for one swim out of three each week to include wearing camouflage and boots; one of the other two swimming days should include swimming with fins and all three days you should plan to swim between 1000 to 2000 meters.
Marches are a basic part of any military training, special forces included. Miltary fitness trainer and former Navy SEAL Stew Smith says that marches -- known as rucking -- are completed while wearing a 45-pound backpack and marching at a swift pace over bumpy and irregular ground. Oh yeah, and you'll be wearing fatigues, boots and a helmet and most likely be carrying a weapon, too. To prepare yourself to do this -- or at least to get in good enough condition to do it -- you'll want to follow a routine that incorporates running, calisthenics and biking or swimming. It's an effective way to get you ready to ruck by combining several special forces exercises. Four or five times week you'll want to run a mile, bike or swim at your fastest pace for five minutes, perform 30 squats, 40 lunges -- 20 on each leg -- and 30 calf raises on each leg.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.