Introducing the Beginning of the SOF Prep Cycle
On 12 March 2012, ShadowSpear will begin its first basic SOF preparation program to help those aspiring to take on an SOF selection. The program covers the physical fundamentals of selection and participants will be assessed several times during the 13 week cycle. It is highly recommended that you read the below information prior to beginning the cycle.
The first week of the cycle will consist solely of a basic PT assessment. Monday through Friday will be the same assessment and we ask that you take it two times over the course of the week, aiming to achieve the best results possible.
It is important that you record your workouts and results to monitor your progress. You can either print out trackers via the following links or create your own excel sheet:
This particular program focuses on improving pushups, situps, pullups, running, swimming, and rucking. While not all selection processes incorporate much swimming or rucking, they are core SOF abilities that are vital in order to be successful in selection and an SOF unit. For example, while there are a few SOF units that focus on water skills, almost all require some form of water test to determine level of comfort and ability to survive in the water. Real world combat is unpredictable, and to be physically well-rounded means everything. While swimming and rucking can be excellent workouts, they can also be quite challenging when goals are involved. Many people ask how they can build mental toughness before selection. Swimming and rucking are just two examples of exercises that can re-program your brain by building discipline and the foundation of the "never quit" attitude.
This program begins at an easy level and gradually becomes difficult. For the sake of this program, you should stick to the following guidelines:
Warmups: It is imperative that you warm up before you workout. Be sure you stretch and get your blood flowing 10-20 minutes prior to beginning the workout. Stretching directly after your workout is also important. It will help to reduce injury during the workout and reduce soreness the following days.
Push ups: You should practice doing them by keeping your back straight, going all the way up, and past the plane as you go down (tapping your chest on the ground is ideal).
Sit ups: Be sure to go all the way up, but on the way down touch your shoulder blades to the ground.
Pull ups: Your chin should go clearly above the bar. Whether your hands face in or out, it is up to you or what your selection assessment may dictate. If you can knock out 20 pull ups, then it really doesn't matter how you do them, because they will require the same amount of work. You might one day be in an urban environment as part of an SOF unit, which may require you to reach up and pull your body through a window (palms away trains for situations like this). If the pull ups at the beginning are too easy for you, do your pull ups with weight. If you are weak in this area, it is recommended you do negative pullups. Simply step off a chair on to the bar and SLOWLY let your body hang. You need to be proficient at pull ups to make it through any selection.
Running: Running with music tends to help people overcome weariness and improve their motivation, but keep in mind that you won't be running with an iPod in selection. It doesn't hurt to train with it, but we recommend you don't run to music all the time, especially on the assessment days. Train as you fight. Try and avoid concrete sidewalks as a running surface. Earth is by far the best, followed by tar.
Swimming: We already stressed the importance of being a good swimmer, so lets not beat a dead horse. Obviously, not everyone will have access to a pool, so you may substitute swim days with non-impact cardio (bike, elliptical, etc). Nothing will substitute swimming, so it is highly recommended you swim as much as possible. Look for a local community recreation center or gym to make it happen. Not a swimmer? Can't swim? If that is the case, you really need to learn. Being a special operator means adapting and overcoming anything at any time.
If the work out of the day calls for a 30 minute swim and you are a poor swimmer, you have three options: 1) look silly doggy paddling in the shallow end, 2) sign up for swim lessons, or 3) be a quitter. You will not make it to the SOF world if you have chosen option number 3. If you are planning to attend BUD/S, then you have no choice but to be a strong swimmer. We all started somewhere; some later than others. Focus on building up the number of laps you can do without stopping and increase your pace. You should learn how to do the combat sidestroke (google is your friend), as well as freestyle. After this first prep phase, we will get into more advanced workouts to increase your abilities in the water. It will cover the anaerobic/breath holding work, but with supervision due to the level of risk involved.
Rucking: Road marching sucks, plain and simple. You will ruck a lot in many units with heavy packs at rapid paces. Not only will this cycle set the foundation for you, but you will learn tricks along the way that will aid in selection (such as opening your stride, knowing your pace, and dealing with issues like blisters). You may want to purchase a cheap Army issued alice pack from an Army-Navy store (or online), or use a more comfortable pack capable of holding 45 lbs for 12 miles.
The weekends in the 13 week cycle are considered off day's. If you missed a workout during the week, use one of these days as a make up day.
Supplements, with the exception of protein, are highly discouraged. You would be surprised, but many supplements will cause issues you wouldn't even imagine. For example, products like creatine have occasionally caused shin problems, making running and rucking very painful. Remember, the only supplements you will have in selection is the issued meals.
We look forward to seeing how you evolve, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.