Ugh, I know, this guy is talking about workouts again? But after being totally engrossed in the beret flap with Special Forces, it is good to get back to what we’re all for in the first place …right? So for those of you who are aspiring members of the Special Operations community,  you have to be in the best shape of your lives because you’ll be tested like you’ve never been before.

And you have a tremendous advantage over us old guys, (FOGs) who didn’t have the internet at their fingertips and be able to tap into the benefit of so much great information that is out there these days. Now you can find some great trainers in the military or sports world out there and show you what works for them thru the benefit of their experience.

Having worked for a time at Selection, we’d see the guys who were very well prepared and we’d see guys who were woefully unprepared. Nowadays there isn’t any excuse not to be in the very best shape of your life. Even still, the course will put a hurt on you…that is what it was designed for.

When tasked with the writing for the Selection physical training preparation and the articles to help the prospective candidates get ready for the present day courses here at the side of I delved deep into the internet and wanted to tap into the information that is out there, to give you the best shot at passing the courses.

First a caveat, I’ve said this numerous times before but it bears repeating. I’m no exercise physiologist or personal trainer. So, I will be the last person to say, that my way is the end all/ be all. But I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t after more than a decade in Special Forces and have worked out at Selection. While some things have changed, the basic course hasn’t. If anything, it has gotten better, with better instructors and a better system of evaluating candidates. But by all means, check around and do your due diligence.

So after all of that intro, let’s talk about core strength for the tactical athlete, and Special Operations troops are in fact superior athletes in a way. Not in the sense of football and baseball, hockey or soccer players but they have a unique skillset all of their own. Core strength is many times misrepresented as just your abs and obliques, “the beach muscles” as they’re collectively known as. But it is much more. It also contains your lower back muscles, hip flexors, glutes and the muscles that run up your spine. (My personal trainer would be proud….yes I do pay attention). Your core along with your legs is what drives the train so to speak. When you run or more importantly carry a rucksack, your core and legs will determine the amount of force that you can generate. So your core is the foundation that everything generates from. It is this foundation that allows you to generate the power and explosion while rucking, the change of direction and agility in running and more.

Leigh Crews, from the American Council on Exercise, says training your core will also improve your overall balance. Balance not only requires equilibrium, but also good stability of the core muscles and the joints, particularly the hip, knee, and ankle…

So here are some exercises that will help build up and strengthen your core.