The admission tests to the various military special forces such as the 1st RPIMA, the 13th RDP, or even the marine commandos are rigorous and demanding. Functional fitness for these special forces roles requires physical strength and endurance, as well as an extraordinary level of mental ability.
This article provides an overview of the fitness and training requirements and standards that you should aim for in order to be ready for these special forces selection tests.
You should seek information from the units themselves in order to avail yourself of the most relevant physical fitness and admission qualifications for your application. This article can only be a summary of the main principles and practices.
Commando vs Army - What's the difference?
As the name suggests, the difference between commando and army is that commando is a small combat force specially trained to carry out rapid destructive raids against enemy held areas while army is a large military force highly organized, dealing primarily with land operations (rather than air or naval operations).
Commandos are, as defined by NATO, are military units specifically trained, educated and trained to carry out a range of particular missions, ranging from "special operations" in conventional conflict to those in warfare. unconventional.
General qualifications and other requirements
High-level combat forces such as the marine commandos, or the OPS droppers of the 13th RDP for example, and various others, are known for their exceptional physical level.
However, special forces, which often operate in small groups or alone over great distances on foot, and from the sea or the air, often need strong skills and psychological profiles to succeed.
Physical fitness standards
Below is a series of fitness standards that should prepare you for the physical challenges of Special Forces selection.
Many candidates will be in better shape than this, and you'd be wasting your time if you're not close to these abilities, although different strengths have different priorities. The strategy is to be fit enough not to fail the physical tests. Save your energy for the psychological and mental challenges which are estimated to be 60% of the selection process.
The documentary "Special Forces: The ruthless selection of marine commandos", made us discover the selection tests of marine commandos.
One of the most common tasks during commando selections being the marches. Over sometimes very long distances, and very often with a heavy load to carry (musette, weapon...).
In addition, an additional constraint being the time barriers often imposed. You have to do this at a pace of about 6.5 to 7 kilometers per hour of walking/jogging to be comfortably under the time limit.
Target these aerobic/endurance standards:
- Luc Léger - Level 11-12
- A three kilometer run: 11.5 minutes
- A five-kilometre run: 20 minutes
- A ten kilometer race: 42 minutes
- A twenty kilometer run: 88 minutes
- Marathon (42.2 km): 3 hours 15 minutes (or Olympic distance triathlon: 2 hours 30 minutes)
- Swim two kilometers: 40 minutes
- Walk 40 kilometers with a 20 kilo bag: 7 hours
Aim for these strength/endurance standards:
- Push-ups: 80
- Standard military sit-ups: 100
- Pull-ups (per suspension and chin standard): 12-15
This list has been compiled based on our experience and many years of experience in trekking and hiking with full packs, as well as marathon, triathlon and weight training.
If you can achieve the fitness standards above, you should have excellent upper and lower body strength and endurance, as well as good aerobic condition.
The question of whether you meet the psychological requirements must also be asked: lack of sleep and food, etc. Many will fail at this level, as we saw in the report cited above.
One of the reasons for including a full marathon in this workout is the experience of severe fatigue that comes with three or more hours of high-level physical exertion without rest.
Even so, your ability to run this distance well may be limited by muscle fiber type; sprint and power fibers are less suitable for these long-duration activities.
This could be a limiting factor for successful Special Forces selection or training. But don't be discouraged; fast fiber types can be trained to endure, and speed is always useful. Stick with it.
Training with weights
Dividing your training between endurance activities and strength training will be a challenge as each type tends to develop specialized physiology and biochemistry.
You will need to make the best possible compromises to be competent in both areas. Too much bulk and underdeveloped aerobic capacity will slow you down for demanding endurance activities like long peloton walks; and a lack of upper body muscle and strength will limit your ability to cope with rope climbing, swimming and general upper body strengthening work, including carrying heavy bags and equipment .
Lower body : Running, especially hill climbing and fast intervals, will give you good leg strength. You can supplement this activity with regular leg curl and weight lifting training, which will also build core and lower back strength.
Upper body : You need to develop the back muscles, especially the lats, the shoulder muscles (deltoids) and the trapezius muscles at the top of the shoulders. Naturally, you can't ignore the arm muscles - the biceps and triceps in the front and back of your upper arms.
The main message here is not to skimp on the preparation for these demanding selection tests. On other sites, you can see examples of three-month workout plans designed to get you in shape, but three months isn't enough if you're starting from scratch.
In my opinion, it takes at least 6 months and ideally 12 months of preparation, training regularly in order to develop the changes in the biochemistry and physiology of the body that represent better aerobic and muscular condition.