How to prepare for the Australian Army Special Forces Entry Test

How to Prepare for the Australian Army Special Forces Entry Test (SFET)


Preparing for the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) and Commando(CDO) units’ selection process is a formidable challenge. This comprehensive guide will help you train for the SFET, ensuring you are at your physical and mental peak to succeed in one of the world’s most elite military forces.

Understanding the SASR and Commando Selection Process

The selection process to join the Australian Army’s SASR or Commando Regiments is one of the most difficult in the world.

The Commando Regiments (1st and 2nd Commandos) and SASR had distinct selection processes for years. However, the Australian Special Operations Command has recently streamlined the initial stages into a single course.

The pipeline involves three stages:

The Screener, also called the SFET or Special Forces Entry Test, in February
A 21-day selection course in May
An advanced skills qualification course, known as a Reinforcement Cycle

This process is highly challenging, and only a few candidates pass through each stage.

Overview of the SFET Components

The SFET, or Special Forces Entry Test, includes several key components:

Cadence Pushups: 40 minimum, 65+ is competitive
Cadence Heaves (Pull-Ups): 7 minimum, 12+ is competitive
3.2 km run with 8 kg webbing gear and 4kg weapon shape
90-minute ruck march (aka “stomp”) with a 28 kg pack and 4 kg weapon
2-minute water treading test into a 400m swim in cams and boots

Training for Competitive Scores

Achieving competitive scores in the SFET requires surpassing the published minimum standards. Here is a breakdown of the competitive scores for each component:

Cadence Push Ups: 65+
Cadence Heaves (Pull-Ups): 12+
3.2 km Run: Under 16 minutes to pass, under 15 minutes is competitive, 14:30 is excellent
90-minute Stomp/Ruck: 12:50 min/mile (8 mins/km) pace minimum covering at least 11 km total
Two-minute tread + 400m Swim: Under 16 minutes to pass, under 13 minutes to be competitive

Hitting these scores requires an intelligent training plan and a lot of preparation.

Adequate Training Time

The most crucial factor for success in the SFET and selection course is the time dedicated to serious preparation.

The SFET is not a tryout. It’s a job interview where you demonstrate that you’ve been preparing for this role for a long time because it’s important to you and you’re a professional. Our successful SASR and Commando clients typically spend at least a year preparing for selection and, in some cases, over two years.

By doing so, they’re never concerned about passing the minimum standards, such as clearing the 16-minute cutoff of the 3.2k ruck run. Instead, they’re concerned with setting new personal records or hitting excellent performances near the top of the class.

If you’re going to selection, it’s going to be stressful. You will worry about things. But what you worry about is up to you. When it comes to the screener, your training runway determines whether you will be worried about passing or excelling.

"I got selected mate" message from successful SASR client who trained for over a year for his SFET and selection

Physical Adaptations for SFET Success

The reason for this comes down to physiology.

The physical adaptations required to put out a fast 3.2 km ruck run while loaded with webbing and a rifle or cover over 11 km in 90 minutes with 28 kg on your back depend upon a massive aerobic engine. Essentially, this is how much oxygenated blood your heart can move per beat and how well you can distribute that blood to working muscles and bring it back. If you haven’t trained to make this a physical reality, no amount of “wanting it more” can help you.

Effective Aerobic Training Strategies

Effective aerobic training doesn’t just push the ceiling of your performance. It raises the floor. Well-trained people at a given level of effort (i.e., a given heart rate) can move more blood and, thus, do more work. A pace that a haphazardly-trained candidate can only hit with an average HR of 165 might be sustainable for a well-aerobically-trained soldier at 130 bpm or less because each one of their heartbeats is more powerful. This means that any given effort is less costly and easier to recover from and opens up new performance levels at maximal effort.

This requires structural adaptations within the cardiovascular system. You’re changing the size and thickness of your heart’s ventricles and the density of the networks of tiny capillaries that manage the final delivery stage of blood to your muscles.

Just as rebuilding a house takes longer than slapping on a new coat of paint, cardiovascular remodeling takes a lot of time.

The volume of time required is in two forms:

  1. Session duration. Many (though not all) aerobic training sessions require multiple hours.
  2. Training consistency. You must stack these sessions like bricks in a wall for weeks, months, and years.

Behavioral Characteristics in Selection

If this sounds like a lot of work, it is. And that’s the point.

Operational effectiveness aside, this is a key part of selection for any special operations unit. Physical testing during the SFET reveals critical behavioral characteristics. Selection cadres seek individuals who demonstrate patience, resilience, and the willingness to endure long-term challenges to achieve their goals. And they’re happy to send home the ones who don’t fit that profile.

Strategy: Train for Selection, not just the SFET

The 3.2 km ruck run is the most common failure point in the SFET. Training should focus not only on passing this test but also on developing the broader capacities needed for the entire selection process.

Much of our discussion will revolve around how to do well on the ruck run, but you must stay focused on the big picture and the training you need to do well in selection as a whole, not just on the SFET.

Your training for the SFET run is strongly supported by your preparation for the other most difficult event (as long as you don’t cramp on the swim), the 90-minute heavy stomp/ruck. This carries over more to the demands of selection, so it’s important to train this capacity extensively.

This brings up an important caveat: Passing the SFET doesn’t matter if you break in selection.

SASR/CDO selection is a brutal course, and it’s strongly biased toward long, heavy stomps/rucks paired with food deprivation and cognitively demanding tasks. Getting injured is easy, and the long days break down nearly everyone.

While the capacities needed to do well on the 3.2 km run can be supported by effective training for selection in general, it doesn’t work the other way around. If the only thing you train for is to pass the 3.2 km run in the SFET, there’s a good chance you won’t be prepared to handle the demands of selection. Keep the goal the goal.

Run and ruck, but not (usually) at the same time

It’s critical that we not confuse the test for the training.

Ruck running necessitates proficiency in both running and rucking. These skills should be developed separately before being combined in the final months of preparation for the SFET.
The 3.2 km ruck run is a peak event where you’ll display a combination of capacities. But, there is a distinction between developing and displaying something, which rarely happens simultaneously. It’s one or the other:

We develop a skill and then display it.

We practice, then perform.

We raise the floor, then push the ceiling.

Running and rucking can be safely and effectively developed for a long time before we need to combine them, which happens in the final months of preparation before the screener in February.

Once you do combine them, your performance is determined by how well you develop them separately first. If you don’t build a solid foundation of running and rucking before you sprint off into the bushes on a ruck run, you’ll severely limit your performance and set yourself up for injuries and frustration.

This means that the majority of your training time will be focused on two goals:

  1. Become a fast runner for relatively short distances so you can run 3.2 km in under 13 minutes unweighted.
  2. Become fast and efficient under a somewhat heavy (approximately 23 kg dry) ruck so that you can move comfortably with a heart rate in zone 2 or below at a pace faster than 9:20 mins per km (15 mins/mile) on flat ground for 20 kilometers.

Once you can do both, you’ll have the foundation to combine them into a fast 3.2 ruck run and will have the more generalized aerobic abilities needed for the rest of selection.

Tailoring Training to Individual Profiles

There is no one-size-fits-all program for SFET and selection training. Each candidate requires a personalized approach to address their unique strengths and weaknesses (for more on this concept, read Average Fails Everyone).

The screener and selection require a wide range of capacities working together; each individual will have a different combination of these characteristics.

One person may have excellent strength (which generally contributes well to rucking under heavy loads after sufficient training) but weak conditioning.

One person may be good at long-distance events, but their 3.2k running pace is barely faster than their 10k running pace.

Another might be an excellent runner but get crushed under the weight of a heavy ruck.

Somebody else may be able to move well under a ruck all day but blow themselves up on faster runs like the 3.2k ruck run.

You get the idea. The same destination requires a slightly different path for each person. Everybody is trying to get into the same room, but they need their own key to unlock their particular door.

For more on individual characteristics of conditioning training, read Conditioning 101: A Guide for Special Operations Selection Training.

Because the details of any individual’s ideal program are variable, we don’t have a magical progression that accounts for every performance aspect and how it evolves over time.

Generally speaking, programs are highly divergent in the early stages (a year or more out from selection) and gradually come together and become more similar as each trainee addresses their limiting factors and builds a more well-rounded physiological profile that fits the demands of their selection course. So, how you start training for a selection will likely be more variable than how you finish once you bring everything together.

We have dedicated articles for each physiological aspect of training for the SFET and SASR/CDO selection. Rather than rewrite them all here into a 15,000-word mini-book, we will briefly summarize the key considerations and then direct you to the specific resource for each section.

This is a lot of information to process. Check out our training app if you’d rather have us do it for you.

Running Technique for the SFET

Running is a technical skill.

The biggest mistake people make when it comes to running training is thinking that all you need to improve is to go harder for longer. But without addressing your technical skill, you’ll significantly limit your progress and set yourself up for frustrating injuries like shin splints and knee issues. This is almost always avoidable and easily correctable with better running technique.

This means you have to think about running better, not just more.

The article linked below provides information on the technical aspects of running. Our app also offers a course on running technique that is available as an on-demand resource and is threaded into the early weeks of our programs.

Zone 2 running, where you constrain your intensity to a specific heart rate range to target aerobic adaptations, is a popular concept but often misguided. While we need tons of zone 2 aerobic volume to develop our aerobic capacity, very few people can run a decent pace long enough to hit the volumes needed for zone 2 development. It usually becomes a slow, joint-pounding slog. So, we prefer having our clients get their zone 2 work from rucking and spend their run training focused on technique and pacing. This produces better results in the long run and is much easier on joints.

This does not mean, however, that you should do all of your runs at maximum effort. A good deal of your running should be spent building a foundation, with some individual focus on the side of the spectrum that you need more depending on whether you’re more limited on delivery or utilization. In other words, some people benefit more from dedicated speed work than others.

Read here for a full explanation of run training and how to incorporate it into your program: Running Programming for Special Operations Selection.

Rucking Technique for the SFET

Rucking is also underappreciated as a technical skill. Like running, our training app includes a course on improving rucking technique, and our programs include lessons from that course.

The article at the bottom of this section offers advice on improving your rucking. It also includes a video with tips on improving your gait mechanics, breathing more efficiently, and taking strain off your shoulders during long stomps.

Rucking is your primary zone 2 aerobic training source for your selection/SFET prep. We outline the progression and frequency guidelines in the article below. Remember that the SASR and Commando Regiment courses are very ruck-focused, and you will sometimes spend the better part of a 24-hour period moving with a ruck on your back. You’re going to have to build up to a lot of mileage. As your training progresses, you should start doing open-ended workouts that include other specific aspects of the selection course (hello torsion bars) and have you put in 4-6 hours or more of rucking in a training session.

The goal of most of your ruck training is to move as fast as possible (under 9:20 mins/km or 15 mins/mile) with a zone 2 heart rate (we discuss identifying heart rate zones in the rucking article linked below). The better you get at this, the better your performance once you start testing ruck running toward the end of your training. Don’t rush this process. Build the foundation before you try to exploit it. Otherwise, you’re just hammering the gas pedal in a 1987 Nissan instead of building a bigger engine.

While you’ll sometimes carry a much heavier pack in selection, you don’t need to do that for most of your training. If you’re new to rucking, start with a pack weighing around 15 kg and work up to about 23 kg. You’ll build the adaptations you need at that weight without the significantly increased injury risk of a heavier pack.

In your final month or two of training (probably after your SFET), you can do a few rucks with a stupidly heavy pack between 40-45 kg to simulate what you’ll likely end up carrying at a few points during selection, but these should have a minimal role in your training and are largely for building psychological familiarity and comfort with this kind of load. Remember, the test is not the training.

Read here for a full breakdown of rucking training and how to incorporate it into your program: Rucking 101: A Guide for Special Operations Selection Training.

Strength Training for SASR/CDO Selection

SASR/CDO selection is not a powerlifting contest. Keep in mind the goal of strength training: to support everything you do in training and selection. A better deadlift only helps you to the extent that it helps you handle a loaded ruck, improve your work capacity, carry heavy stuff around to various camps, or avoid injury.

In other words, don’t optimize the wrong thing. You need to be strong enough to handle the demands of selection and support your training (weak people don’t fare well under big rucks), but fixating on becoming stronger than necessary involves inevitable tradeoffs. You only have so much time and recovery capacity, so unnecessary strength work can easily distract you from more important things. Nobody cares about your max squat if you can’t keep up on the stomps.

The amount of strength training you need will depend on your physiological profile. Depending on their limiting factors, we typically use one to three weekly strength sessions for our clients.

Read here for a full breakdown of strength training and how to incorporate it into your program: Strength Training for Special Operations Selection Prep.

The Importance of Breathing in Selection Prep

Breathing is an easily overlooked yet integral part of everything you’ll do in prep training, during your SFET, and selection. Like running and rucking, we can see major benefits from learning to do it better, not just more. How we breathe doesn’t just affect how we move oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of our lungs. It’s also a key driver of posture, how we distribute tension throughout our body, and how we regulate our stress response.

It’s especially important during SASR/CDO selection training because it plays a major role in how efficiently we move with a heavy pack and how much tension and discomfort we accumulate while doing so. It can make the difference between a relentlessly locked-down lower back and steel cables for traps or manageable, minor discomfort after a long day.

Read here for a full breakdown of breathing mechanics and how to incorporate them into your program: Breathing and Performance: Incorporating Breath Training into SOF Selection Prep.

Building Work Capacity

While pushups and heaves (pull-ups) don’t make up a huge emphasis during selection, you still need to handle the occasional beatdown and hit good numbers on the SFET.

Work capacity training should be incorporated into your program, anywhere from once to three times per week, depending on your personal limiting factors.

Read here for a full breakdown of rucking training and how to incorporate it into your program: Building Work Capacity for Special Operations Prep.

Movement and Injury Prevention

What we do only matters as much as how well we do it. The training volumes required for selection prep and the rigors of selection itself mean that minor movement issues get magnified and can quickly become career-ending injuries.

Movement work isn’t glamorous or the most fun way to chase dopamine, but it’s a crucial part of long-term training. Over the years, we’ve learned that it separates professionals from amateurs. The pros get it done because it’s part of their job. The amateurs put it off until it’s too late.

In our app, we have a movement assessment tool that walks you through a series of drills to assess your individual movement characteristics, which then provides you with a series of drills based on your results that you can integrate into your daily routine so that you can move better, recover faster, and be less prone to injury. For more targeted issues like knees or shoulders, we’ve also got a Bulletproof Joints series that will help you assess your needs and identify the most effective drills to help you move and feel better.

Learn more: Movement Capacity, Fidelity, Variability

Treading and Swimming Skills

The tread and swim during the SFET come right after the 90-minute stomp/ruck, and many people cramp up in the water. Much of this comes down to your prep training and not being so physically smashed from the day you’re running on fumes when you get into the water. The better trained you are, the better you can recover between events and the less likely you are to cramp.

Another factor is nutrition. You’ll be moving in the heat, sweating heavily, and losing a lot of electrolytes. Replacing those electrolytes, whether with ORS (sodium, magnesium, etc.) tablets, sea salt in your water bottle, or packets of LMNT or another commercial electrolyte mix (always verify with your course administrators to make sure that whatever you’re taking is approved), it’s crucial to get in some electrolytes as you go to replace what you’re losing during the day.

The final factor is technical proficiency. Swimming and treading are both heavily dependent on technical skills. You can’t out-wrestle the water. The better your technique, the less effort you’ll need, the more easily you’ll be able to compensate if you get a cramp, and the faster you’ll move through the water.

A Treading Water Guide for SOF Selection
Swimming 101: A Guide for Special Operations Selection Training

Integrating Vertical Gain into Training

Some courses, like Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) in the US, don’t involve a lot of vertical gain. You’re moving for a long time with a heavy pack but over relatively flat terrain. That’s not the case with the selection course for SASR/Commando.

For Aussie SOF candidates, building vertical gain while rucking into your training program is critical so that you’re prepared for the specific demands of your course.

Don’t worry about this initially. At first, you may spend several months working on moving with a pace under 9:20 mins/km (15 mins/mile) with a zone 2 heart rate on flat ground with a pack weighing around 23 kg. Once you can do that and sustain it for a minimum of 10 kilometers (your ultimate goal is 20 km minimum at this pace and HR), you can start integrating vertical gain into your program.

Start with 100 meters of vertical gain in your longest ruck session of the week, and keep adding in small increments of 100 meters every week as you adapt. Your target is to easily hit at least 1000 meters of vertical gain during your long ruck sessions in November or December, assuming you’ve started training early in the year.

Bringing it together: Ruck Running Progressions

With the SFET in February, you should start testing and practicing ruck running in November. Keep in mind that these progressions should be integrated into an overall program that addresses strength, movement work, recovery, mental skills, and work capacity. All the pieces matter.

We’ll give you specific progressions here, but remember the importance of individuality. These numbers are unlikely to work for you without some personalization. Adjust them to align with your performance stats, and ensure your plan targets your limiting factors.

Also, note that this is where a year or so of prep work pays off. You’ll either injure yourself or fail if you try to follow these ruck-running progressions without building the necessary foundation. If it’s November and you’re just getting started with serious preparation training, you need to delay your SFET and selection course for another year so that you have a real shot at success. Be a professional. Show up ready.

You’ll have two primary variations of ruck running sessions:
  1. Heavier ruck runs with intermittent running, where you’ve got a relatively heavy pack, and you’re working on a mix of walking and shuffling/running. These can be longer in duration. They’re more like your usual rucks mixed with shuffling.
  2. Lighter ruck runs, where you’re running for most of the workout. These will be shorter sessions. These are more like runs, with some walking mixed in if needed.

Start with one session per week, alternating between heavy and light sessions. Because you’re a smart person who has been training for a long time and still has several months before your SFET, you can gradually build volume and intensity in this specific domain and give your body plenty of time to adapt.

For the light sessions, start with around 8 kg total. You won’t need to add weight to your webbing, but after a few weeks, you can also add your rifle shape to simulate the test fully. Start without it so you’re not compromising your gait right away.

For the heavy sessions, start at around 15 kg and gradually increase the load, but don’t exceed 22 kg.

During the fast ruck run sessions, work on using negative splits for your pacing. This means you start relatively slowly and get incrementally faster as you go, finishing at your fastest run pace. It’s important to learn how to regulate and sense your pacing to hit your performance targets and avoid blowing yourself up.

Remember, by this point, you’ve spent the better part of a year training to run a slick (unweighted) 3.2k in under 13 minutes, and you can do a 20 km stomp at a pace under 9:20 mins/km for 20 kilometers. You’ve raised the floor, so now you can push the ceiling.

Here’s a sample layout:


Week One:

Fast ruck run, 1.6 km, 8 kg webbing, no rifle. Aim for negative splits, working backward from your target pace of 14:30 during the SFET run.

For example, if you run 3.2k in 13 minutes even, you run at 4:04 minutes per km. To account for the added weight of your webbing and line up with your SFET pace goal, we’ll slow your pacing by 28 seconds, so your average target pace is 4:32 mins/km for 1.6 km.

That gives you this target pacing:

First 500 meters: 4:42 mins/km
Second 500 meters: 4:32 mins/km
Final 600 meters: 4:22 mins/km

Write your pacing on sweat-proof paper taped to the back of your hand or wrist near your watch so you can easily see and remember it with your brain turned off. This will be hard, but it’s only for 1.6 km, so find your happy place and see how fast you can hurt for about seven minutes.

Each of these runs is an exercise in gathering data. All facts are friendly. You’re testing now as much as you’re training – displaying what you’ve spent the past year or so developing. Think of your results as calibrating a machine and adjusting as needed. Was your pacing too easy? Too hard? Make the necessary adjustments for your next run so you’re just at the edge of your ability but earning success.

Also, pay attention to what breaks down first. Is it mental? Physical? Breathing? Pacing? Whatever it is, identify it and work on it. This is where you start bringing all the pieces of your training together and testing them in increasingly realistic settings.

Week Two:

Slow ruck with shuffling. 16 kg, no rifle, aim for roughly 30% of your usual long ruck distance (say 6 km, assuming you’ve typically covered around 20 km on your long days).

Here, you’re working out a strategy for running and shuffling. Unlike most of your rucks, you’re not worried about your HR here. It’ll bounce up to zone 3 or higher while shuffling, but should settle back into zone 2 pretty quickly during the walking portions.

During this ruck, play with different ratios of shuffling/running to walking. Start by running 20-50 paces and then walk for 50-100 paces. Play with different combinations, and see what works out to the best average pace with the least fatigue. Over time, your goal is to get closer to a 1:1 ratio of running to walking.

Week Three:

Fast ruck run, 2.5 km, 8 kg webbing, no rifle.

Assuming that you don’t need to make adjustments based on the results of your last run, you’ll stretch out the same pacing (an average of 4:32 mins/km with negative splits) for a longer distance. Note that you’re still not running with your rifle at this point, so this load is about 4 kg less than the SFET, and you don’t have an awkward object in your hands. We’ll add this in December.

Here’s your breakdown. Like last time, write this pacing down somewhere easy to read so you can reference it with your brain turned off. At this point, start working on checking your watch less often to get a better feel for your pacing.

First 500 meters: 4:42 mins/km
Second 500 meters: 4:37 mins/km
Third 500 meters: 4:32 mins/km
Fourth 500 meters: 4:27 mins/km
Final 500 meters: 4:22 mins/km

Like before, look for data and adjust as needed. Note whether this pacing worked for you or if you need to reduce it for your next run. Think about what aspects of your performance felt most limiting, and seek out ways to develop them.

Week Four:

Slow ruck with shuffling. 16 kg, no rifle, aim for roughly 50% of your usual long ruck distance.

Here, you’re refining the strategies you experimented with during your last ruck run. See what shuffling/running to walking ratio is best for you, and keep trying to get closer to a 1-1 ratio.

Make notes of any adjustments you can make based on what you learn here, including your hydration and nutrition, footwear, breathing pattern, etc.


Week One:

Fast ruck run, 3.2 km, 8 kg webbing, no rifle.

Pacing Splits:

First 1000 meters: 4:42 mins/km
Second 1000 meters: 4:32 mins/km
Third 1000 meters: 4:22 mins/km
Final 200 meters: 4:12 mins/km

Your goal is to blow yourself up and hit the fastest pace possible on your final 200 meters. If you get this exactly right, you’ll come in at 14:26. Adjust the pacing upward if needed to hit your pacing splits. Always seek to work upward from earned success.

Next week, we’ll be adding a rifle.

Week Two:

Slow ruck with shuffling. 20 kg, no rifle, aim for roughly 50% of your usual long ruck distance.

This week, we’re bumping up weight. Keep working on pacing strategy and dialing in your nutrition/hydration, rucking technique, and kit.

Week Three:

Fast ruck run, 1.6 km, 8 kg webbing, with rifle.

This week, we’re adding the rifle. This will slow you down and be generally annoying, but we’re also starting at half the distance. Hurt fast and get it done.

Pacing breakdown:

First 500 meters: 4:42 mins/km
Second 500 meters: 4:32 mins/km
Final 600 meters: 4:22 mins/km

Week Four:

Slow ruck with shuffling. 20 kg, no rifle, aim for roughly 70% of your usual long ruck distance.

This week, we’re bumping up weight. Keep working on pacing strategy and dialing in your nutrition/hydration, rucking technique, and kit.


This month, we’ll increase your ruck running training frequency to once per week. Spend one of your weekly heavy rucks practicing shuffling/running with a weight of 24 kg.

During your final two weeks this month, do one heavy ruck with intermittent shuffling at a pack weight of 28 kg for no more than 12 km.

Week 1:

Fast ruck run, 2 km x2, 8 kg webbing, with rifle.

This week, you’ll run 4 km, divided into two segments with a 5-minute rest in between. Our goal is to extend your perception of a sustainable max effort distance so that as these progressions come together, a 3.2 km run feels more manageable.

2k Run:

First 1000 meters: 4:37 mins/km
Second 1000 meters: 4:27 mins/km

Rest 5 minutes

2k Run:

First 1000 meters: 4:37 mins/km
Second 1000 meters: 4:27 mins/km

Week 2:

Fast ruck run, 4 km, 8 kg webbing, with rifle.

This week, you’ll run 4 km at a slower average pace of 4:57 mins/km. This puts you at the same pace required to squeak under the 16-minute cutoff for the 3.2 km run. We’re working on building psychological comfort and confidence here. During this run, you’ll prove to yourself that you can meet the standard even while running an extra 800m.


First kilometer: 5:10 minutes
Second kilometer: 5:05 minutes
Third kilometer: 4:55 minutes
Fourth kilometer: 4:40 minutes

Week 3:

Fast ruck run, 2 km x2, 8 kg webbing, with rifle.

This is the same as week one. It should start to feel like familiar territory now.

2k Run:

First 1000 meters: 4:37 mins/km
Second 1000 meters: 4:27 mins/km

Rest 5 minutes

2k Run:

First 1000 meters: 4:37 mins/km
Second 1000 meters: 4:27 mins/km

Week 4:

Fast ruck run, 3.2 km, 8 kg webbing, with rifle.

This week, you’re taking the full test, aiming for a time of 14:30.

Your mental skills will be tested here as much as your physiology. If you’ve been training in the app, you’ve had around a year of daily mental skills work to help cement these skills so that they’re available under extreme fatigue. Now it’s time to test that out. Pay attention, see what shakes out under stress,  and identify where you could use reinforcement. You’re still building a machine. Figure out how to make it stronger.

For a mental model that our successful SASR candidates have used in the past, invest 18 minutes to listen to episode 25 of our podcast, Hurt Fast or Hurt Slow.

Here’s your pacing:

First 1 km: 4:40 mins/km
Second 1 km: 4:32 mins/km
Third 1 km: 4:26 mins/km
Final 200 meters: 4:25 mins/km

February – Final Preparations Before SFET

This is your deload phase for the SFET. Your goal is to reduce training stress and deeply recover while maintaining peak performances in the specific events you’ll be tested on, such as calisthenics, ruck running, and longer heavy rucks.

Your SFET will likely be around mid-to late February. People do the test in blocks, spread out over the month. Once you know your test date, you can adjust your deload schedule to coincide with it.

Your total training volume should drop to 30-50% of your baseline while keeping intensity high.

While you’re still 2-3 weeks away from the SFET, mix in short, intense runs and relatively short and easy rucks with 24-28 kg, alongside max-rep testing for cadence pushups and heaves (pull-ups).

Focus heavily on the factors that drive recovery: good sleep on a consistent schedule, lots of healthy food, minimal mental/emotional stress, and time spent with people you like. Do a lot of mobility and easy recovery work to stay limber without adding stress to your body.

During your final week, drop nearly all training stress aside from easy maintenance sessions. You’ve done the work and applied all the training stressors you need. Your final task before the SFET is to support your body’s recovery as much as possible so you can fully realize the adaptations that will result from your training.

Post-SFET Training Focus

Congratulations! You’ve passed the SFET and been approved for selection. You’ve now paid the entry stakes to participate in one of the world’s most difficult military training courses, and the SFET will feel like an easy afternoon compared to what you’re about to do.

From here, your training should focus on handling heavy rucks for long periods and carrying heavy objects around (think: work capacity).

Most of your run training should return to unweighted running, although you can include 1-2 short monthly webbing runs to maintain those specific adaptations.

Continue focusing on movement work and taking care of your body. Your training volume is very high and has been for quite some time. Injuries are common in selection, and the more time you invest in taking care of yourself now, the less likely you are to become a med drop in the course due to an injury. The movement assessment and Bulletproof Joint resources in our training app should play a regular role in your day.

Time to prove that you’re an honest dog.


Preparing for the Australian SASR and Commando selection process is a monumental task that demands dedication, discipline, and a strategic approach to training. By focusing on the key elements of the SFET, tailoring your training to your unique needs, and emphasizing long-term preparation, you can increase your chances of success. Stay committed, stay resilient, and remember that every step of preparation brings you closer to achieving your goal of joining the ranks of the elite.

Messages from successful SASR selection client who excelled at his SFET


What is the SFET?

The SFET, or Special Forces Entry Test, is a rigorous screening process for candidates aspiring to join the Australian SASR and Commando units. It includes a series of physical and mental challenges designed to test a candidate’s readiness for selection.

How tough is the Australian SASR selection process?

The Australian SASR selection process is one of the most challenging military training courses in the world. It requires candidates to demonstrate exceptional physical fitness, mental resilience, and the ability to perform under extreme conditions.

What physical standards are required for the SFET?

The SFET has specific physical standards that candidates must meet, including:

  • Cadence Pushups: 40 minimum, 65+ is competitive
  • Cadence Heaves (Pull-Ups): 7 minimum, 12+ is competitive
  • 3.2 km Run: Under 16 minutes to pass, under 15 minutes is competitive, 14:30 is excellent
  • 90-minute Stomp/Ruck: 12:50 min/mile (8 mins/km) pace minimum covering around 11 km total
  • Two-minute swim + 400m Swim: Under 16 minutes to pass, under 13 minutes to be competitive

How long should I train for the SFET?

Our successful candidates have put in a year or more of focused preparation training before attending selection. You can try to squeak by with less, and depending on your athletic background you may have a shot, but if you want a high probability of success and to be focused on excelling in the course rather than surviving, you need to treat the course with the respect that it deserves and give yourself adequate preparation time.

How can I mentally prepare for the SFET?

The mental aspect of SOF selection training is equally important as the physical, and the two are inextricably linked.

Read our book Building the Elite (available in Australia in print format or Kindle) for the most in-depth breakdown of the mental demands of selection, how they work, and how to train them.

We also have many free articles on our website, and helpful concepts on our podcast (particularly the short, earlier episodes such as episode 13, Honest Dogs).

If you want mental skills training alongside workouts as a progression of daily practices, check out our training app.

What should I eat while training for the SFET?

Nutrition plays a crucial role in SFET preparation and heavily influences the adaptations you get from training. We have a full range of nutrition resources available in our app, discuss this topic in our book, and free nutrition articles on our site.

Improving your nutrition can be difficult on your own and is often best done in partnership with a skilled coach. If you’ve hit a wall with your nutrition or don’t know where to start, consider working 1-1 with our performance health coach, Miguel Zeran.

Are there any recommended training programs for the SFET?

Yes, we have a range of specialized training programs designed for SFET and selection preparation in our coaching app and 1-1 coaching packages.

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