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US Air Force SOF Fitness Program


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Hi all,
not sure if this is the right place for this or if it's not appropriate, but here's a general fitness program I've found and wanted to share. It's from AFSOC (Air Force Special Ops Command) with the goal of getting candidates for CCT/SOWT/PJ selection physically fit to meet SOF fitness standards. I find that it's easy to become oversaturated with conflicting fitness advice and "be all and end all strategies" when researching on the internet, and it's helpful to have a useful, general fitness program and just commit to it.

It seems a bit "old school" in that there's little to no weight training (and no rucking unfortunately), but if you want to improve muscular endurance/strength, core strength, get your run times down (and improve your swimming) you may find it useful. I'm on week 4 out of 25 and I've made some decent gains in push-ups/pull-ups/run times so far and my overall endurance and strength seems to have improved dramatically.

In my experience, this program should work for those wishing to excel physically in BMQ, DP1 etc (and beyond).

Lots of body weight stuff there, which is nice, but no rucking and no weights? Not sure how you propose to prepare the body for additional loads on it.

Expect to have to lift heavy stuff. To have to carry heavy stuff. To have to drag heavy stuff. Expect to have to do all these things while wearing kit and while really tired. Your body will not rise to the occasion- it will sink to the level of its training.

Get some good compound lifts in there. Squats, deadlifts, bench press, military press...  And other supporting weight work to build up the muscles needed to do those movements. You don't have to be very strong to survive basic. But being stronger will help it suck less. Potentially a lot less at some key times. It also makes you more resilient to career-derailing injuries.
I definitely agree about the usefulness of weightlifting, especially compound moves, and have found that increased strength has helped me significantly. This program could be used, then, by someone who is already quite strong (maybe someone with a background in football or powerlifting) and needs to focus for a time on calisthenics and core work, and running. It could also work as a form of "general physical preparedness" program for those who are relatively new to weightlifting. I've substituted the swimming workouts for rucking, farmers carry, etc, although I already have a decent base of strength for those tasks.

Yes, I do agree that there is no reason NOT to lift weights, and that the benefits outweigh the negatives (and with this plan, it's possible to incorporate a few compound lifts with the bodyweight circuits, as I've found) - but bear in mind that developing bodyweight fitness is something that early commando/SOF units relied on well into the 1980s and 1990s, entirely without weightlifting. One former SAS trooper even said that at his unit, they were discouraged from lifting too much as it made them heavier and therefore slower. Now, this sort of thinking is potentially somewhat outdated, but the SAS has always been an incredibly fit, able fighting force. Some of the fittest guys I know, who have no trouble lifting 400lb bridge components or rucking long distances (45km+), are primarily into bodyweight fitness (with some supplemental lifting, usually). This plan is aimed specifically at AFSOC candidates, whose training has very specific requirements - lots of swimming, calisthenic circuits, and potentially less rucking than say, SFAS. So bear that in mind, and modify if you see fit.

I'm not proposing that this plan is perfect, nor that weightlifting is unnecessary... this plan is a (dated/flawed but potentially useful) tool for the toolbox. As I've found, the workouts seem intelligently structured and planned, and *if your goal is to progress in these areas* (and especially if you already have a good base of strength) then maybe give this plan a shot. Again, it's just a suggestion, not a be all and end all plan.