By MyBaseGuide Staff Member
The Best Ranger Competition is a grueling, two-person team challenge to determine which set of service members are the toughest of the tough in the Armed Forces. Since 1988, it’s been a test of skill, determination, and grit for Army members looking to prove themselves. There have been many changes and evolutions of the Best Ranger Competition since its inception, including the inclusion of the entirety of the Armed Forces, but one thing remains constant: If you’re going to win, you have to be prepared.

Want To Win the Best Ranger Competition? Follow These Tips!

The Best Ranger Competition, also known by its more formal title as the David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition, is held each year at Georgia’s Fort Benning Army post. Any active military members who are Ranger Qualified can compete in the competition, provided you have a second team member willing to join you on the tough task. Why is it so tough? Well, the competition takes place over 62 hours, during which time service members are tested on their marksmanship, physical fitness, which includes marching and running, and tons of other elements that are necessary to be a great Army Ranger. Though the exact layout of the Best Ranger Competition changes each year, you can be certain that it will never get any easier. That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips to help any service member who’s looking to prepare for the U.S. Army Best Ranger Competition!

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1. Review Past Components of the Competition

The exact skills for each year’s competition are kept a secret until each two-person team is on the starting line. However, the following skills have been commonly tested at previous Best Ranger competitions:
  • Army Physical Fitness Test
  • Bayonet Course
  • Canoeing
  • Employing Hand Grenades
  • Employing Mines
  • Foot Marching
  • Knot Tying
  • Land Navigation
  • Prusik Climbing
  • Range Estimation
  • Spot Jumping
  • Swimming
  • Weapon Qualification
  • Weapons Assembly
When creating your training schedule, look at the core components needed to be successful in each of the above aspects of the competition and train for them. It’s better to be prepared for all of them and only need a few rather than not be ready for any of them at all.

2. Create a Weekly Training Schedule (& Stick With it)

We recommend that you train for a minimum of four months before the Best Ranger Competition. One thing that past Best Ranger Competition winners have in common is months upon months of hardcore training – no quitting allowed. Break up your training schedule into weekly chunks to make it more manageable, and make sure you include a variety of activities in each day’s training so you don’t completely wear yourself and your muscles out on one task too early. As you move forward through your training, keep your basic strategy the same. Instead of mixing up your activities, increase the time/distance of individual activities each week to better your endurance and stamina. Mountain Tactical Institute has a great basic training plan you can use to get started on your goal of winning it all!

3. Relax Your Training Two Weeks Before the Competition

You don’t want to be completely worn out on the day that you’re supposed to be kicking serious butt in the competition. We’re not saying that you need to completely stop training (definitely DON’T do that), but you should take a step back regarding the intensity, time, and distance of your training one to two weeks before the competition is supposed to happen. Doing this will allow your body the necessary time to heal and be in peak shape for winning the Best Ranger Competition.

4. Don’t Ignore Your Diet

Many people participating in the Best Ranger Competition look to professionals for the perfect training diet that will help them win. Set up an appointment with a dietitian or nutritionist to get personalized plans that will put your body and mind in peak condition to dominate the competition. If you’re not able to set something up with a professional, stick to the basics. Drink a TON of water, don’t eat junk food, and try to keep your meals as natural as possible. You’re gonna want to stay away from the frozen, pre-packaged, processed foods – no matter how good they taste.

5. Choose Your Coach Wisely

Rocky Balboa would have never won without Mickey, his dedicated and hardworking coach. You’re not going to be successful if you don’t have a coach who’s willing to put in the work and bring out the best in you. Your coach can work to develop a training plan while you focus more on getting your mind and body in peak shape. Your coach should be someone who knows you and your limits well and who is well-versed in the ins and outs of the Best Ranger Competition. Choose wisely!

Best Ranger Competition Prizes

If you manage to overcome the dozens of other hardworking teams at the Best Ranger Competition, congrats! You’re now ready to (not so) humbly accept your prize. As the official provider of the Army’s sidearms, SIG SAUER provided two trophy pistols to the winners of 2021’s Best Ranger Competition, a prize which is expected to be offered for the foreseeable future. The pistols were a pair of identical M17s with a black AXG metal grip, a curved gold trigger, and several engravings that read “Best Ranger Competition,” “Winner 2021,” and “Rangers Lead the Way,” which is the Ranger motto. In addition to trophies for the top spot, there are also individual awards for the different categories of the year’s competition. In 2022, the winners of the competition, Captains Joshua Corson and Tymothy Boyle, dominated and took two individual team awards; they won for best ruck march time and top shooting score, each of which earned them a separate trophy. The only other team award given at the 2022 competition was for overall land and navigation scores, which was won by the team that placed 15th in the competition. You can watch the Best Ranger Competition on TV through Amazon Prime, and it’s often streamed live on YouTube. You shouldn’t spend all your time watching TV during training, but reviewing past versions of the Best Ranger Competition is the perfect way to do some recon to prepare for your own run!

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Image: U.S. Army Capt. Shawn Gardner



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