In LEO/Mil

June 01, 2008

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For the warrior, the objective of training is to prepare for the known and the unknown. In the case of Naval Special Operations hopefuls, the first official step is passing Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. The preparation required to successfully complete this, or any of the other Special Operations Forces (SOF) training pipelines, is the subject of this article.

A picture is worth a thousand words

In the book The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday: Making Navy SEALs, photojournalist Richard Schoenberg, whose photos are featured here and in my previous Pre-SOF Training articles for the CrossFit Journal, successfully captures the magnitude of the physical and mental undertaking that is BUD/S. Those images paint the total picture that the content of this series of articles could not express in words alone. For any of you serious about preparing yourselves, or others, for such a challenge, The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday is an amazing educational, inspirational, and motivational resource. I always recommended it to my own pre-SOF trainees to help them build the "brass ring vision" that is an integral part of our program.

Tomorrow will not be easier

To get an appreciation for what it means to "prepare for the known" in pre-SOF training, let's look at a day in the life of a first-phase BUD/S student. Note that this is not an unusually hard day; it's not a day in hell week; it's simply an ordinary day at BUD/S.

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6 Comments on “A Day in the Life: Preparing for SOF Conditioning”


wrote …

As a believer in everything Crossfit I have but one gripe. Before I divulge, I will first preface my gripe. I am a 25 year old ex infantry Marine Sergeant. I have been out of the Corps for two years. I am now currently enlisting into the Army as an infantryman with being a Green Beret as my real goal and motivation in re-enlisting. My belief in the Crossfit doctrine is my strenght and weakness. I have scouered the back issues of the Crossfit journal and have found many articles related to BUDS preparation, but none specifically for Special Froces preparation. This is definately a sorry gripe, but BUDS and SFQC are quite different. I plan to continue my regular WOD's, and incorporate some Army suggested workouts, but would love to see a SF focused article. I am sure I am not alone in this sentiment as more and more Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen have come to rely on Crossfit as their fitness program of choice. I am positive that I am not alone in this and any effort to address this issue would be met with resounding enthusiasm and gratitude.


wrote …

Check out the following articles:
Pre-SOF Phase 5
The CrossFit Insurgency (about 1SFG)
and Combat Gymnastics

I think you can learn a lot from the Pre-SOF articles (even though it puts a focus on BUD/S), and like everything CrossFit don't look for specialization to a specific program. You can take everything it offers, across a wide breadth, and add events for what you are trying to accomplish.

My suggestion is to combine standard WODs and CrossFit Endurance WODs, do everything in uniform, and love your ruck. Good PT is good PT whether it is for SEALs/Rangers/PJs/SF...

I am not a Green Beret. But if my qualifications will make my suggestions carry more weight (it shouldn't matter thought) I am an Army Infantry Officer, Ranger Qualified, and have just had a soldier return from SFQC with the latest info. I learned about CrossFit while attached to 1SFG for training purposes and have been sold on it since.

The only thing I would add is plenty of Ruck and LandNav stuff. Link up with an SF recruiter on your post and they should have a prep course at a minimum during PT hours.

This doesn't help with the request for more Green Beret articles! But hopefully you have something to get you started.


wrote …


Whats a good ruck or backpack for weighted runs, Im making a 50lb sandbag and I'd like to use a decent pack for running that'll hold up. Should I go cheap or should I go all out and train on something I plan to use in the field.


replied to comment from Steven Pagoaga

Sorry this comment was meant Steven P.

Whats a good ruck or backpack for weighted runs, Im making a 50lb sandbag and I'd like to use a decent pack for running that'll hold up. Should I go cheap or should I go all out and train on something I plan to use in the field.


wrote …

Check out Chosen Solider by Dick Couch. It details the Special Forces training in depth, and from it you should be able to gather what you need. He, like the comments above, places great emphasis on the ruck, but also much on strength-Crossfit is perfect. Couch also has some great books on SEAL training, such as The Warrior Elite, and The Finishing School.


replied to comment from Thomas Maddux-Lawrence

check this link also has a guide for SFQA.

The two things that get most people are
1. The STAR course. This is a ruck, alone through a forest. 1500K and over per point. They teach you a map course again before, but most fall out. I was in 10th mtn, we had a 90% or better pass rate, due to two things, We went during the winter. (fort Bragg is a summer day compared to Fort Drum in the winter; it gets -30 degrees out a lot of the time.) and we rucked all the dang time. 5 miles a week, 10 a month, 15 a quarter, 25 a year. So learn to ruck, and do it in the forest. Get a good train pace count, use the move left then right technique. And if all else fails, Put a Big Rock down then do your clover leaf.
2. Psychological test, no way to prep for that. Your either crazy or not. In my 3.5 yrs there we had only one guy fail and it was because of that.
If you can pass Ranger school you can pass the Q. Most Ranger qualified guys who went there said it was easy compared to Ranger School. Good luck man

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