EXCLUSIVE: Inside KDF intense physical training for rookies

The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) recruitment process is hailed as one of the most rigorous training programs, which tests the strength and will of recruits.

For successful recruits, they occasionally undergo a body assessment to assess physical fitness.

Physical training is an integral part of the military and its missions revolve around the fitness of soldiers when they encounter rival groups.

KDF Battalion 78 engages in a cleanup exercise in the town of Isiolo.


Those who failed the test enrolled in the remedial program for a year. It involves a commitment to prescribed nutrition and physical exercise to achieve required standards of fitness and body weight.

“The fitness and weight control program will foster a culture of physical conditioning that will ensure that personnel individually acquire and maintain the military appearance, body composition and fitness standards desired for mission readiness,” reads -on in a document seen by Kenyans.co.ke

According to the documents, men must maintain a waist circumference of less than 100 centimeters while for women, 90 centimeters.

The allowable waist-to-hip ratio for men should also be less than 0.95, while for women it should be less than 0.85.

Those enrolled in the remedial program must meet the stipulated weight limits or risk being fired from KDF if they fail to meet the minimum threshold.

Additionally, individuals enrolled in the remedial program will not be eligible for promotion, career progression courses, or deployment to foreign missions.

Going through the recruitment process is a feat in itself because it involves a lot of physical training which requires mental and physical perseverance. Coaches train recruits through intense workouts such as crawling on the floor in a technical format as well as operating firearms.

The entire training routine is divided into different sections including career development, marksmanship (which are marksmanship skills), exercise and duty, field crafting and fitness lessons.

“The skills we impart to them include both defensive and offensive to make sure we give them the ability to protect themselves from the enemy.

“We believe our soldiers, male to male and female to female, are the best,” said Colonel Meshack Kishoyian, who is among the recruiters.


KDF officers during a military operation in Laikipia in November 2021

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