How We Prepare Our Soldiers: The IDF’s Most Difficult Fitness Test

The IDF’s elite soldiers spend many months in training before they are ready for combat. They must learn sharpshooting, urban warfare tactics, fitness, mental composure in the field and more.

To fulfill this goal, dozens of combat soldiers and officers gathered last week for a fitness instructor course. The purpose of the course was to ensure that IDF fitness instructors can hold themselves to the highest physical and mental standards that the IDF expects from exceptional combat soldiers.

IDF combat soldiers climbing the wall at the obstacle courseOnly hours into the course, the soldiers were sent into the sea on an exercise simulating the rescue of a soldier from water. By week two, the soldiers started to train others, study physiology lessons and participate in a physiotherapy workshop. Small details were important: The soldiers learned how to select the best sports shoes for different physical activities.

After many days of hard work, the soldiers arrived at the course’s final phase. It is the IDF’s most exhausting physical exam — the dune, or as course veterans call it, “the natural disaster”. In the background, course instructors played a dubstep rhythm and sent the soldiers up the dune. There was no time for anybody to complain that they were already exhausted from a 10 km jog on the beach.

Once the soldiers reached the top of the dune — much harder than it looks from afar — they realized that they were not done. Waiting for them was yet another obstacle route composed of ladders, climbing walls and endless stretches of sand to crawl in.

Finally, the soldiers got to rest. Proud graduates of the fitness instructors course, they will return to their original bases and instruct new recruits how to get in the best shape of their lives.

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