A common mistake people make prior to selection is failing to put their bodies through a ‘mini selection.’ The SAID principle, (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands), says we get better at exactly what we practice. This means we want to put your body through training as close in nature to the actual selection as possible.

With Special Ops, we can’t practice exactly what you’ll be tested on, because you never know going in, BUT, based on a variety of open-source selection documentaries – we can make some assumptions about what to expect. We can assume: 

  1. There will be a large amount of work volume;
  2. You will be sleep deprived;
  3. You will have some sort of swimming event, particularly for water-based units, such as Navy SEAL, clearance divers, combat divers, search and rescue, MARSOC and PJs;
  4. You will have to complete a large amount of running or rucking;
  5. You will have to complete events stimulating the physical demands of the job, including moving odd objects, hand-to-hand combat, climbing ladders, direct-action attacks across terrain, etc.
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If we make these assumptions about selection, which are easy enough to make if we watch the variety of open-source selection documentaries, then we can begin to put together some training that will simulate these events.

Here’s an example of day three of a 3-day mini-selection we put our Special Operations candidates through:

  • 0300 – 20min AMRAP: 5 Strict Pronated Pull-Ups, 10 HR Push-Ups, 15 Squats
  • 0830 – 30min AMRAP Open Water Swim 25m x 2, Tread Water 10# Brick 30sec, In and Out of Water onto dock x 5, 25 Sit-Ups on Dock
  • 1300 – Run 5km to Gym with 15# Bag; THEN A: 10min EMOM 8 Burpees to 6” Target, B: 10min EMOM 40sec FLR on Rings, C: 10min EMOM 10 Wall-Balls 20#/10ft, D: 10min EMOM 7 Mid Thigh Hang Power Clean 115# E: 5min AMRAP Man Makers 25#/hand; THEN Run 5km Home with 15# Bag
  • 1700 – 20min AMRAP 6-Point Burpees
  • 2100 – 8km Ruck March with 80#

Now, we don’t want your training to look this way consistently; however, at some point during training, it’s important to put athletes through these types of ‘mini selections’ to prepare them for the actual event.

Before putting your body through a three-day ‘mini’ like this, you need to ensure you’ve got an intelligent training plan, have developed good structural balance, are physically and mentally strong and have familiarity and competency with the types of movements you’ll see in selection.  We usually put candidates through a mini-selection about a month prior to selection.

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