Developing physical capability standards that are predictive of success on special forces selection courses

Andrew P. Hunt, Robin M. Orr, Daniel C. Billing

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32 Citations (Scopus)
395 Downloads (Pure)


This study aimed to develop minimum standards for physical capability assessments (vertical jump, sit and reach, push-ups, seven-stage sit-ups, heaves, agility, 20-m shuttle run, loaded 5-km pack march, and 400-m swim) that candidates must pass before they can commence Australian Army Special Forces (SF) selection courses. Soldiers (Part A: n = 104; Part B: n = 92) completed the physical capability assessments before commencing a SF selection course. At the beginning of these selection courses, participants attempted two barrier assessments (3.2-km battle run and 20-km march). Statistical analysis revealed several physical capability assessments were associated with performance on the barrier assessments and selection course outcome (Part A); however, these statistical models were unable to correctly classify all candidates as likely to pass or fail the selection course. Alternatively, manual analysis identified a combination of physical capability standards that correctly classified 14% to 18% of candidates likely to fail, without excluding any candidates able to pass (Part A). The standards were applied and refined through Part B and included completing the 5-km pack march in ≤45:45 minutes: seconds, achieving ≥level five on the sit-up test, or completing ≥66 push-ups. Implementation of these standards may reduce attrition rates and enhance the efficiency of the SF recruitment process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-624
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


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