The FORCE test is a display of strength, power, endurance and athleticism in direct relation to military operations. In my time as a Fitness Instructor with the Canadian Armed Forces; the number one mistake I saw members make was obsessing over the test itself, this is unnecessary and counter-productive. Each test component represents a physical quality and there are certain movements members need to perform adequately in order to be successful. In order to not only pass but achieve the Gold level, which puts you in the top 2% of your age and gender cohort; here the exercises best suited develop those traits.
The key to lifting kit from the ground to shoulder level at high speed and efficiency is to train explosive hip extension and power endurance. The most useful exercises at your disposal are the Power Clean and Snatch and the Trap Bar Deadlift with Shrug. Both these lifts train high speed force application and transfer from the ground to the upper body, while the former two can familiarize you with specifically lifting a front-loaded object. A good marker for a solid score is the ability to efficiently Power Clean 95lbs for females (the 44lb sandbag will FEEL heavier because it's an odd object) and 135lbs for males for a set of 10 reps.
20M RUSHES AND INTERMITTENT LOADED SHUTTLE
The secret to crushing rushing is the ability to rapidly accelerate/ decelerate and change direction. Short 3 Metre Sprint Starts are an excellent way to target these skills, while a variety of cone agility or change of direction drills (such as a Sprint Repeats or T-test) will help develop the rapid 180 degree cuts. Any type of aerobic and longer duration anaerobic conditioning will build the base required for the 2-3min of high intensity endurance required fro the shuttle.
The sandbag drag is a direct expression of strength. Getting heavier by building muscle onto your frame is a start. In order to develop the hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps required for powerful hip and knee extension; Back/Front Squats and Deadlifts will give you the most bang for your buck. If you cannot perform these lifts at 1.5x your bodyweight (2x bodyweight if you weigh less than 200lbs and your goal is Gold level!) you have ample room to improve in the strength department. Some women may also have difficulty holding the bag in a cradle position; in this case select exercises to strengthen the biceps (Hammer Curls) and upper back (Face Pulls & Cable Row).
Stop preparing for the FORCE test by doing the test! Take a look are where your performance sits on the above movements and utilize exercises that will strengthen your weaknesses and make you more athletic. Incorporate strength and conditioning to show your athletic prowess and operational readiness while dominating the incentive standards and being in the top percentile of your age/gender category.
Jordan Guilford holds a degree in Exercise Science & Health Promotion and is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He spent 4 years as a Fitness Instructor for the Canadian Armed Forces and is the Fitness Director for the Canadian Ice Academy.