When it comes to sheer strength and physical abilities, it’s clear that Spartan athletes and Air Force Special Warfare Operators are cut from the same cloth. The amount of training and fine-tuning that both groups go through is almost unimaginable to the average person, which is what makes them that much more impressive.
To become the extremely athletic humans that they are, both groups train in a wide range of conditions and climates, doing everything they can to prepare their bodies for whatever’s next. Whether that means deployment in a remote region or the most intense Spartan event of the year, they’re ready.
More specifically, Special Warfare Operators never really know what terrain they’re dropping into, which is why they have to be well-versed in parachuting, rock climbing, and swimming. Because when their life (or the life of a fellow service member) is on the line, they need to perform to the best of their abilities without hesitation. Similarly, Spartan events have curveballs of their own, so the athletes need to stay on their toes and know that there will always be unknown factors they need to account for.
Similar Exercises and Mindsets
Obviously, raw strength and physical abilities are extremely important, but any real athlete knows that it takes way more than muscle to earn a spot on the podium. It takes mental readiness and determination to reach the highest level of athletic performance. Both Special Warfare Operators and Spartan athletes can attest that the mind is a powerful thing when it comes to pushing your body to its limits and beyond.
“Training for Special Warfare takes physical prowess, but — more importantly — it takes mental fortitude," SSgt Kerr, Special Warfare Airman, says. "There are multiple training events throughout the pipeline and advanced skills training that are designed to stress the mind more than the body.
"For example, there are unknown time and unknown distance events that push the students past their limits to perform at their best, not knowing when it’s going to end. Individuals that thrive in that environment are much more likely to succeed.”
Completing the Special Warfare Operational Fitness Test
Staying in peak physical condition is a full-time job for Special Warfare Operators. Even after completing the rigorous Special Warfare training pipeline, all Operators must then complete the Special Warfare Operational Fitness Test, which consists of:
- 3-mile ruck march with the ruck weighing over 60 pounds
- Standing long jump
- Pro agility run
- Trap bar deadlift
- Farmer’s carry for 100 yards
- Shuttle run for 300 yards
- 1,500-meter fin swim