Phase 3 Special Forces Prep: Endurance, Rucking, and Swimming

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 nine-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 2, Day 1

50min EMOM

  • 1-10: 3 Heavy CGBP
  • 11-20: 3-4 tough strict HSPU
  • 21-30: 12 second sled push
  • 31-40: 4 tough thrusters
  • 41-50: 15sec row sprint @ 90% effort


25min swim @ Z1 pace
Accumulate 2:30 treading water with a 20# brick, moderate intervals



  • For the close grip bench press, place your hands approximately 16" apart.
  • HSPU: do these against a wall
  • Sled push: keep your arms straight
  • Thruster weight should be tough but sustainable, go less than you think and you can increase as you go, rather than go too heavy and drop weight

Day 2

20min AMRAP @ 85% effort

  • 10 clapping push ups
  • 10 GHD sit ups
  • 10 30" box jumps
  • 100m bear crawl
  • 10 ski jumps over erg


2:30:00 ruck with 75lbs on gravel road while carrying a 10# sledge hammer at the low ready
position with both hands



  • moderate pace for ruck march
  • steady pace throughout on AMRAP



Day 3

A: Back Squat @; rest 20sec b/t clusters; rest 2:30 x 3
B: Pendlay Rows x 9-11; rest 2min x 3
C1: AMRAP Wide Grip Pull-Ups (-1); rest 20sec x 3
C2: Straight Arm Lat Pull Downs x 9-11; rest 2min x 3
D: Accumulate 2minutes in the Hanging L-Sit position
3 Rounds for time
8 Wall Walks
8 TGU 1.5pd



  • re-rack the bar between back squat clusters
  • Pendlay rows: no hips or back swing involved. Pull each rep from the ground to the sternum then lower back down over two seconds
  • no "chinnin" on the pull-ups, head neutral


Day 4

Run 11min @90% effort
Walk 10min
x 3


30min swim @ Z1 pace
35min bike @ Z1 pace
35min jog @ Z1 pace
35min ruck walk with 40lbs @ Z1 pace


- AM workout is tough but sustainable
- PM workout, leave the ego at the door


Day 5

A: Front-racked barbell walking lunges x 12-14, rest 2:30 x 3
14min EMOM

  • odd - 50sec step ups with 20-30lb weighted vest
  • even- 15-20 hand release push ups with the same weighted vest

Rest 8min
12min EMOM

  • odd- 7 Burpee pull ups
  • even- 15 goblet squats with a 100lb DB

Walk 11min easy pace



  • For the goblet squats, stay as upright as possible and keep the DB tight into your chest.


Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.


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