Physical fitness and selection are one in the same. I wrote before about the mental component, maybe the most important. It’s still nothing without a base. The base is physical fitness.
Let me demystify selection. Because it’s similar to joining a sports team. Except this team is both all-encompassing and niche at the same time. It’s good and bad for you. I’m going to use colorful and maybe gratuitous language in the sentence after this one. But it’s key to making it in the military. Don’t be a pussy.
Don’t do it – just don’t. Whatever fear you got – use it to your advantage. Even if you’ve got your tail between your legs – if you continue to take steps forward, no one will question it. I was terrified the first time I did a static airborne jump. It miserable and a relief when the chute opened. When you’re selected, you’ll be relieved.
But, it is going suck. You won’t be walking right for a little while. My feet were badly infected. I think I took antibiotics at the end. Because I still don’t know what they were and I went on to become an 18D. You don’t leave anything on the field, it’ll be a blur, but it’ll be worth it.
Here are the basics. If you’re fat – STOP – and wait for the next cycle, you aren’t going to make it. You must be physically toned and able to efficiently burn fat over long distance endurance efforts. That’s the heart of selection. The first step to doing so – is actually being thin and conducting long range and durability testing movements.
PT Test: 270 – 300. Preferably scoring a 290+ can be your initial personal gate to begin focusing on longer distance and ruck running. The two miles needs to begin sounding more like a sprint than a grueling ordeal.
Rucking: Base 12 miles at 15:00 pace with 45 lbs. That’s the slowest you can afford to be, and that ought to be a comfortable pace. There’s a lot of different ways to go about this. But, if you can manage to get your stride, walking to hover between a 14:30 – 14:45 then, you’re on the right track and that’s a safe space. Rucking is the most complicated and often ill-prepared aspect of selection. Much more to follow on selection and how to improve your ability to carry weight and cover distance.
Pull-ups: Ability to do 12 pull-ups outright ought to shield you from the fatigue and possible soreness you’ll be suffering by the time you do pull-ups at Selection. If you can do 20 from a hang then maintain it. Ensure your pull-ups are strict in form – the instructors are going to be watching. Best way to train is to do ‘L’ pull ups, where you bring or try to bring your legs in front to form an ‘L’ with your body. If you can’t do it – bring your knees up.
Push ups and Sit ups: Virtually at anytime you need to be able to knock out 100 push ups and sit ups. If I said do them now, you ought to be able to do them, even if you sacrifice form. Make it part of your routine. Then, on test day we’ll have some wiggle room when the nerves kick in and your body is trying to manage all this on little sleep at 5:00 in the morning.
Running: Must be able to run two miles at a 7:45 pace. Beyond two miles the goal ought to be an 8:00 minute mile. But, the reality is you don’t have to – but, you can’t be slow ~9:00 minutes miles either. As a preparation metric – 5 miles in 40 minutes will make you safe from falling out of consideration from the beginning. There will be a longer run, though. But take some assurance that the standard pace won’t be as strict – but you can’t suddenly morph into a meathead who can’t traverse distance. Selection is all about covering terrain and distance.
Featured image courtesy of US Army