5 of the toughest military fitness tests in the world

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EEntering any branch of the armed forces is a monumental task, requiring rigorous training and peak performance. And before you can participate in any of them, you must pass military fitness tests designed to challenge your strength and endurance.

Among these assessments, there is one particularly exhausting category of assessments for special forces, which is as elitist as it gets.

The essential? Prove your endurance, speed, agility and strength in multiple events. Five different tests feature repeatedly in top military fitness test lists around the world, and they are as follows (in no particular order):

Special air services in the UK

Established in 1941, the SAS is one of the oldest special forces units in the world, and only about 15 percent of the people who take part in its fitness assessments are able to complete the eight tasks below, according to Men’s Health United Kingdom.

  • More than 45 pumps
  • Over 45 sit-ups
  • 1.5 mile run in under 9:30 minutes
  • Jump from a 10m tower into the water
  • 25m swimming in the water in uniform holding a weapon
  • 200 m swim in uniform with 5 minutes of walking in the water
  • Underwater object recovery and dive test
  • 13 km hill climb in less than 60 minutes

US Delta Force

This United States Army Special Operations Force is no joke, and candidates for the physical fitness test are also not required to pass before joining it. According to Men’s Health United Kingdom, here is the initial test.

  • 40m reverse crawl (aka crab walk) in less than 25 seconds
  • 37 sit-ups in 1 min
  • 32 push-ups in 1 min
  • A race, dodge, jump course in less than 24 seconds
  • 3 km race in less than 4:30 p.m.
  • 100m swim (complete, wetsuit included)

Para Indian Special Forces

It takes over three years to complete the Para Indian Special Forces training program, and only about one in ten recruits successfully complete it. Here is their latest fitness test.

  • 5,000 m run in less than 20 minutes
  • 14 Strict Barbell Pull-ups (FYI, “strict” means hanging fully extended with arms outstretched.)
  • 40 push-ups in less than 1 min
  • 80 sit-ups in less than 2 minutes
  • 17 x 5 meter shuttle race (an agility test in which you run continuously between different markers)

Australia Commando (Special Air Service Regiment)

Another test of “swim in your uniform” (please, again, do not do this at home), the dirt below requires weighted running and walking.

  • A minimum of 40 cadence push-ups (i.e. performed at a specific pace)
  • A minimum of 7 pull-ups in cadence
  • 3 km run in less than 16 minutes with a patrol uniform and a kit weighing 10 kg
  • Walk 6.2 miles in less than 90 minutes in patrol uniform and kit weighing 30 kg
  • 400m swim in full uniform in less than 18 minutes with 2 minutes of aquatic walking

Russia Alpha Group Spetsnaz

This is the toughest fitness assessment on the list and the only one that involves actual fights. Suffice it to say, it is not for the faint of heart.

  • 3000m (1.86 miles) run in less than 10h30
  • 100m run in less than 12.7 seconds
  • 10 10m suicide drills (sprinting back and forth to increasingly long distance markers) in less than 25 seconds
  • At least 25 pull-ups
  • At least 90 push-ups in less than 2 minutes
  • At least 90 sit-ups in less than 2 minutes
  • At least 30 tricep dips
  • Bench press 10 reps, equivalent to body weight (but not more than 100 kg)

  • 10 sets of 15 push-ups, 15 sit-ups, 15 half-burpees (from sitting to push-up plank) and 15 burpees (from sitting position)
  • Melee combat, 3 rounds of 3 minutes against a taller opponent

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