As you are preparing to get ready for Selection, we post our daily Physical Preparation workouts which should help you prepare for the get you as ready as you can be when you begin your journey into one of the US’ Special Operations units. We always push the distance running, rucking and building upper body strength because at least one of those three elements will be involved in just about every major training event you’ll experience.

But on occasion, it is a good idea to change up your workouts to vary things a bit. And we’ve also posted an occasional workout designed to increase your speed. And when I’ve posted those, I’ve gotten emails asking why am I pushing the importance of endurance events constantly and then wanting the candidates to increase their short-area speed? It is a good, legitimate question and I’ll give you the best answer that I know. Through experience, I’ve found that the sprints and speed work that we work into our PT prep really helps out with your distance running and the explosion that you’ll gain from these workouts will definitely help with those rucking muscles.

I’ve looked into what some of the college and NFL teams use to help their players build up their speed. And it will come in handy. Much of the plays that you see on the field mimic what you’ll experience at times. A very fast dash of a short duration, wearing a lot of kit. If you’re ever in a serious situation, you’ll probably have to move short distances with all of your gear on to move from Point A to Point B very quickly.  And there may come a time when you’ll have to sprint into a dangerous situation to grab a wounded buddy and his gear and get him out of harm’s way.

Speed Doesn’t Just Happen: When training for speed an important thing to remember is that speed and agility just don’t happen. Very few people are natural speed merchants. I was more akin to the tortoise. So, for the vast majority of troops or in their case, players, it is something that has to be developed and done correctly to get marked improvements in your times. I never really understood the correct way of training for it until coming across it somewhat by accident.

It wasn’t until I had been in the military for several years when I came across some football players preparing themselves for the fall season, working out on their own with a strength and conditioning coach. Not wanting to interrupt their training workout, I spoke with the coach after they were done, who explained that the benefits of what he was teaching the football players would also be quite beneficial to us in Special Operations.

The keys, he said for developing speed was just two main things to focus on. Stride Rate and Stride Length. Stride Rate is simply the speed that you put your arms and legs through a sprint sequence. Stride Length is the amount of ground you cover between each stride. Combined, once these keys are mastered is the increase in speed.

Here is a sample workout to try, do this occasionally, and you’ll probably notice an increase in your short area speed, but also it should benefit your long-distance running and with the rucking.


High Knees:
Sets: 2
Duration: 20 sec. At the start of the exercise run as fast as you can in place by bringing your knees the same height as your hips, while keeping them pointing straight ahead. Don’t let your heels do not touch the ground and your hands should stay close by your sides when moving down. This exercise builds your core and leg muscles and will develop your strength and endurance.

Sets: 2
Duration: 20 reps: Stand with your feet facing forward and shoulder width apart. Squat down by keeping your head up, pushing your butt back and lowering your hips. Correct form is when your butt is as low as your knees, the shoulders are slightly forward and you can maintain a slow, controlled motion going down and an explode into coming up.

Duration: 20 yards
Sets:  2
With one foot forward and one back, work on getting a burst out of this stance, driving through the hips, then sprinting to the 20-yard mark.

Weighted Sled Pushes:

Distance: 20 yards up and back

If you don’t have access to a sled, carry your partner for 20 yards using the Fireman’s Carry.

Stair Sprints and Strength:

Special Operations Forces Selection PT Preparation 9.27.2017

Read Next: Special Operations Forces Selection PT Preparation 9.27.2017

Set 1: Run up the stairs of a set of bleachers, run back down the stairs, do 10 pushups.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

Set 2: Run up the stairs, run back down the stairs, do 10 pushups.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

Set 3: Run up the stairs, run back down the stairs, do 8 squats.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

Set 4: Run up the stairs, come back down the stairs, do 8 squats.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

Set 5: Run up the stairs, come back down the stairs, do 10 burpees.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

Set 6: Run up the stairs, come back down the stairs, do 10 burpees.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

The key for running sprints is high intensity, low volume. Until you get your body used to running sprints, it is probably not smart to go out there and try to do a bucket of them at once with minimal rest.

Try doing a series of wind sprints at about 75-80 percent of your maximum effort to 30 yards. Then gradually increase to 40, 50 and so on until you get to 80 yards. Sprint to the yard marker and then walk back to the start line, taking your time to catch your wind. The key is to build up your endurance for these, and it will be a bit different than the regular distance running that we’re all used to in the military.

At the end of the sprints, you should feel energized, not exhausted. It will help in your overall fitness plan to prepare for Selection and will most definitely help in your distance running and rucking.  “No Days Off!” DOL

Photo US Army

Originally published on Special