The Most Difficult Military Training in the World, Ranked

Choose the military training you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Jul 17, 2024 06:31
The challenge and intensity of military training programs vary significantly around the globe, making them a subject of keen interest and debate. Gauging which training is the most demanding is not only about physical endurance but also about mental toughness and emotional resilience. This information is not just of interest for potential recruits but serves as a measure of military prestige and capability. Through this site, you have the power to cast your vote and affect the live ranking of the world's toughest military trainings. Your input helps provide a clearer picture of public perception and respect towards these rigorous programs. Every vote is a nod to the intense preparation that soldiers undergo in serving their nations.

What Is the Most Difficult Military Training in the World?

  1. 1
    Navy SEALs Training

    Navy SEALs Training

    The United States Navy's Sea, Air, and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, undergo one of the most rigorous military training programs in the world, known as BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL).
    • Duration: Approximately 24 weeks of Basic Training, followed by Parachute Jump School and SEAL Qualification Training.
    • Notable Phase: Hell Week, a grueling 5-and-a-half day stretch with minimal sleep.
  2. 2
    Russian Spetsnaz Training

    Russian Spetsnaz Training

    The training for Russia's Special Operations Forces, known as Spetsnaz, involves intense physical and psychological preparation, including martial arts and survival skills.
    • Unique Aspect: Trainees undergo training in extreme conditions, including cold weather warfare and survival.
    • Notable Technique: Systema, a Russian martial art taught to operatives.
  3. 3

    British SAS Selection

    The selection process for the United Kingdom's Special Air Service (SAS) is among the toughest in the world, designed to test physical endurance as well as mental resilience.
    • Duration: Selection lasts around six months, with a high drop-out rate.
    • Notable Test: The Fan Dance, a grueling 24 km march over Pen y Fan, the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons.
  4. 4

    Norwegian Navy Frogman Corps

    The training for the Norwegian Navy Frogman Corps, known as Marinejegerkommandoen, is extremely demanding, focusing on maritime special operations, cold-weather survival, and long-range reconnaissance.
    • Selection: Candidates face a rigorous selection process, including the infamous 'Hell Week'.
    • Training Environment: Operates in the harsh conditions of the Arctic Circle.
  5. 5
    US Army Ranger School

    US Army Ranger School

    The US Army Ranger School is a demanding 61-day course designed to push soldiers to their physical and mental limits, focusing on leadership and small unit tactics under harsh conditions.
    • Phases: Includes Benning, Mountain, and Florida phases, each with unique challenges.
    • Notable Test: The Darby Queen, a challenging obstacle course.
  6. 6
    French Foreign Legion Basic Training

    French Foreign Legion Basic Training

    The French Foreign Legion's basic training is an extremely challenging 15-week course held in the rugged terrain of the Pyrenees Mountains, focusing on physical fitness, discipline, and camaraderie.
    • Unique Feature: Recruits from around the world with no need to speak French upon entry.
    • Final Test: The Képi Blanc March, a 50 km march that must be completed in a full combat load.
  7. 7

    Israeli Sayeret Matkal

    The General Staff Reconnaissance Unit of the Israel Defense Forces, known as Sayeret Matkal, is renowned for its rigorous selection and training process, focusing on intelligence gathering and counter-terrorism.
    • Selection: Candidates undergo a demanding selection phase, including the notorious 'Gibbush' week.
    • Training Focus: Emphasis on navigation, marksmanship, and survival skills.
  8. 8
    German Kampfschwimmer

    German Kampfschwimmer

    The Kampfschwimmer are the German Navy's elite frogmen and commando unit, undergoing one of the most challenging military training programs in Europe, including long-distance swims and underwater demolition.
    • Selection Rate: Approximately 10-20% of candidates successfully complete the training.
    • Key Focus: Underwater operations, including navigation and explosives training.
  9. 9

    Australian SASR Selection Course

    The selection course for the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) is an intensive and physically demanding process designed to identify individuals with high levels of endurance and mental toughness.
    • Duration: 21 days of grueling physical and psychological tests.
    • Notable Challenge: The 'Long March', a 20-hour endurance march carrying a heavy pack.
  10. 10
    South Korean UDT/SEALs

    South Korean UDT/SEALs

    The Republic of Korea Navy Special Warfare Flotilla, also known as the UDT/SEALs, undergoes a training regimen known for its intensity, with an emphasis on physical conditioning, combat diving, and cold weather survival.
    • Notable Phase: The 'Hell Week' is designed to push candidates to their physical and mental limits.
    • Training Emphasis: Specializes in maritime counter-terrorism and unconventional warfare.

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult military training in the world. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or training is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 44 votes
  • 10 ranked items

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A participant may cast an up or down vote for each training once every 24 hours. The rank of each training is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

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More about the Most Difficult Military Training in the World

Navy SEALs Training
Rank #1 for the most difficult military training in the world: Navy SEALs Training (Source)
Military training is essential for preparing soldiers to face the harsh realities of combat. Around the world, different countries have developed rigorous programs to ensure their forces are ready for any challenge. These programs push recruits to their physical and mental limits, forging them into elite warriors.

The first phase of training usually focuses on physical conditioning. Recruits must build strength, endurance, and agility. They run long distances, carry heavy loads, and perform countless push-ups and sit-ups. The goal is to create soldiers who can endure the physical strain of battle.

Mental toughness is equally important. Trainees face sleep deprivation, stress, and high-pressure situations. They must learn to make quick decisions under duress. Instructors often use intense scenarios to test their resolve and resilience. This helps prepare them for the unpredictable nature of combat.

Survival skills are another key component. Recruits learn to live off the land, navigate difficult terrain, and find food and water. They practice evasion techniques to avoid capture and learn how to survive if they do get caught. This training ensures they can operate independently in hostile environments.

Teamwork is crucial in military operations. Training programs emphasize the importance of working together. Recruits participate in exercises that require coordination and communication. They learn to trust their fellow soldiers and rely on each other to complete missions.

Specialized skills are also part of the training. Depending on their role, soldiers might learn to handle explosives, operate advanced technology, or conduct reconnaissance missions. These skills are vital for the diverse tasks they may face in the field.

The final phase often involves simulated combat scenarios. Recruits put all their training to the test in realistic environments. They navigate urban settings, engage in mock battles, and practice tactical maneuvers. This helps them apply their skills in situations that mimic real combat.

Graduating from such a program is a significant achievement. It signifies that a soldier has the physical and mental fortitude to handle the demands of military service. Those who complete the training join an elite group, ready to serve and protect.

The intensity of these programs is not just about creating strong soldiers. It is also about instilling discipline, loyalty, and a sense of duty. Recruits learn the importance of following orders and maintaining high standards. This discipline is essential for maintaining order and effectiveness in military operations.

While the specifics of these training programs vary, the core principles remain the same. Physical fitness, mental toughness, survival skills, teamwork, specialized training, and realistic simulations are the foundation of elite military training. These elements combine to produce soldiers who are ready to face the toughest challenges.

In conclusion, the most difficult military training programs in the world are designed to push recruits to their limits. They aim to create soldiers who are not only physically strong but also mentally resilient and highly skilled. Through intense physical conditioning, mental challenges, survival training, teamwork exercises, specialized skills, and realistic simulations, these programs prepare soldiers for the demanding realities of military service. Those who complete such training emerge as elite warriors, ready to take on any mission with confidence and determination.

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