The entry testing for admission to the various military special forces like the British and Australian SAS and the Navy SEALS and Deltas (presumably) is rigorous and demanding. Functional fitness for these special forces roles requires physical strength and endurance, plus an extraordinary level of psychic ability as well. This article provides an overview of the physical fitness and training requirements and standards that you should target in order to be ready for selection testing for these military forces.
You should request information from the units themselves to avail yourself of the most relevant fitness and entry qualifications for your application. This article can only be a summary of broad principles and practices.
Below is a range of fitness standards that should prepare you for elite special forces selection physical challenges. Many applicants will be fitter than this, and you would be wasting your time if you are not close to these abilities, although different forces have different emphases.
The strategy is to be fit enough so that you don’t fail the physical challenges. Save your energy for the psychological and mental challenges that are estimated by some as 60 percent of the selection process.
The recent Australian documentary SAS: The Search for Warriors, took us inside Australian SASR selection testing of 130 men (less than 20 percent made it through).
One of the first tasks was a pack walk of 20 kilometers (about 12 miles) with nearly 30 kilograms (about 66 pounds) of pack and equipment in under 3 hours 15 minutes. This needs to be done at around 6.5-7 kilometers an hour walking/jogging pace to be comfortably under the time limit. This should not be too difficult a task for a fit young soldier or fit applicant soldier. Those who dropped out at this stage were not physically prepared.
Target these aerobic / endurance standards:
Beep, multi-stage or shuttle test. Level 14
Three kilometer run: 11.5 minutes
Five kilometer run: 20 minutes
Ten kilometer run: 42 minutes
Twenty kilometer run: 88 minutes
Run a marathon (42.2 kms): 3 hours 15 minutes. Or Olympic distance triathlon in 2 hours 30 mins
Swim two kilometers in 40 minutes.
Walk 40 kilometers with 20 kilogram pack in 7 hours
Aim for these strength/endurance standards:
Pushups, full body: 80
Situps, standard military: 100
Pullups (to proper hang and chin standard): 12