What are the sport requirements to join the French Foreign Legion?

4 mins read
Legionnaire doing pull-ups

If you want to join the French Foreign Legion, first you have to pass the sport test. In this article I will try to describe you each of them in detail.

The “welcome to the French Foreign Legion” pull-ups.

When you arrive, you have to face your first challenge: the pull-ups. This is the first selection net. Do not get me wrong, this is not yet part of the selection. If you cannot overcome this challenge you need to go straight home without even starting with the selection process.

Officially, you only have to do 4 pull-ups but it depends on the caporal-chef’s mood how many you really have to accomplish. He asked me to do six and when I started the 7th he stopped me (with 4 he wouldn’t sent me away). It’s important to be ready for this test because if you don’t pass you can go back home with the first flight.

The cooper test

This part of the evaluation is going to be in Aubagne, but you have to pass the medical tests before. (If you are interested you can read about my experience in Aubagne here.)

The point of the test is to run as far as possible within 12 minutes. It sounds simple, but you have to be prepared. I knew that I’ll have to run as much as I can, but I didn’t take it seriously enough and I almost failed.

I did 2600 meters and I was the last one in the group who could continue with the IQ test after a quick shower.

The Luc-Leger test

The same day, you are doing a Luc-leger test. The test involves running continuously between two points that are 20 m apart from side to side. As the test proceeds, the interval between each successive beep decreases, forcing the athletes to increase their speed over the course of the test until it is impossible to keep in sync with the recording (or, on extremely rare occasions, until the athlete completes the test).

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If the person being tested does not make the next interval, the most recent level they completed is their final score.

Usually, the interval of beeps is calculated as requiring a speed at the start of 8.5 km/h, increasing by 0.5 km/h with each level thereafter. The progression from one level to the next is signaled by 3 quick beeps. The highest level attained before failing to keep up is recorded as the score for that test.


I tried to correct my weak result on cooper, so I gave everything I had on Luc-Leger. The problem was that I didn’t know that we’ll pass directly to the pull-ups right after.

My only luck was that my family name doesn’t start with an “A”. So I had a few minutes of break while I was standing in the queue. Otherwise I would probably have failed.

As I said before, you have to do 4 correct pull-ups at least during this evaluation. There is no magic for the preparation. If you can’t do any pull-up and your Body Mass Index (BMI) is over 25, it means that you have to lose some weight and train more.

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    • It’s not extremely hard, but you need to concentrate. You can easily train via the Legion Training app which offers the possibility to resolve similar problems in restricted time.

  1. Interesting stuff. The Legion has come a long way since I did my 5 years ages ago, does Indochine ring a bell?

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