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Green Beret Physical Fitness Training

author image Caroline Thompson
Caroline Thompson is a professional photojournalist who has been working for print and online publications since 1999. Her work has appeared in the "Sacramento Bee," "People Magazine," "Newsweek" and other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in photojournalism from California State University at Hayward and a personal trainer certification from the university's Health and Fitness Institute.
Green Beret Physical Fitness Training
A man is doing a pull up. Photo Credit golero/iStock/Getty Images

One group of U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers is the Green Berets. They are an elite Army combat arms organization special operations unit. The Green Berets are a military force for high-priority operational military targets. Established in 1952, Green Beret forces provide rapid responses in unique situations around the globe. Green Berets must be in peak physical condition and meet all Special Forces fitness requirements. Green Beret basic combat training is a 10-week program that covers a variety of combat situations and intense physical training.


The Army Green Beret soldiers are put through a rigorous physical fitness training program that is based on four components; cardio, strength and endurance, flexibility and body composition. The program addresses the body as whole and is designed to be a balanced physical fitness program. Soldiers are expected to run two miles in less than 14 minutes, do 100 sit-ups in less than 2 minutes and 100 pushups in less than two minutes. Soldiers will perform pull-ups for 2 minutes and swim for a pre-determined distance. These are the basic fitness tests that show if a soldier is physically fit enough for duty. Green Beret fitness training programs use a variety of obstacle courses, PT runs and other methods to prepare the soldier to pass the fitness exam.

Special Operations Preparation Course

Green Beret basic combat training is divided into various fitness-training sections, which build upon each other. The Special Operations Preparation Course, or SOPC, is a 30-day course at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The SOPC is designed to prepare soldiers for the Special Forces Assessment/Assignment and Selection tests. Fitness training focuses on running, building muscular strength through lifting weights, swimming, performing pushups, pullups and situps. Soldiers will navigate obstacle courses, learn land navigation techniques and participate in "ruck marches," marches where the soldier is dropped off away from base with only his rucksack. At the end of the course, the soldier must pass the basic fitness exam to progress to the Special Forces Assessment and Selection, SFAS.

Special Forces Assessment and Selection

The Special Forces Assessment and Selection, or SFAS, is a 24-day training program that focuses on survival skills. This is a physical training course, but it also requires intelligence, agility and resourcefulness to complete successfully. The SFAS is a grueling fitness course that has an extremely high washout rate. The fitness training is broken into two phases. In the first phase, soldiers practice extended runs, perform pushups, situps, pullups, run complex obstacle courses, participate in more ruck marches and land navigation exercises. In the second phase, the soldier participates in many of the same workouts, but this time with a focus on building teamwork and leadership skills.

Special Forces Qualification Course

After completing the SFAS course, the soldier continues on to the Special Forces Qualification Course, also called the SFQC or Q Course. The soldier must pass the Q Course to become a Green Beret. The Q Course training is five phases of non-stop physical, survival and combat training exercises. The training can last anywhere from six months to one year. Q Course daily training starts very early in the morning and lasts late into the evening. It is physically and mentally fatiguing and requires focus and discipline for success. Various types of extreme physical exercise are performed each day, such as extended runs with boots and packs, pushups, pullups, situps, survival scenarios and more ruck marches.

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