The definition of "grinder" is the concrete-asphalt area at BUD/S where the students do their calisthenics workouts. It is surrounded by pullup bars, dip bars and the instructors, training officer, and commanding officer's offices. You have the constant feeling of always being watched while you are on the "grinder." So, put out hard, count loud, and cheer your class through the workout or you will wind up doing the workout "wet and sandy" or spend an hour in the leaning rest!
The Grinder PT Workout has been developed out of a concern for those future BUD/S candidates who may not be as prepared for SEAL training as they thought they were. Many members of the StewSmith.com PT Club as well as readers of the Complete Guide to Navy SEAL fitness have stated that they felt like they were in great shape when they arrived to BUD/s, but some were not prepared for the verbal harassment and mind games of the instructors. Statistics kept since the beginning of SEAL training say that most of the people who quit BUD/S do so in the first 3-4 weeks. This program is designed around those first 3-4 weeks with many events of mental and physical challenges. This is not a workout that I would recommend to do often. In fact, it is so challenging that is may be best done only once and kept as a reminder and reference guide to the certain mental challenges you will face prior to Hell Week. My BUD/S class (182) had over 120 people start in the first week and lost over 40 prior to Hellweek and about 20 in Hellweek.
In fact, if you are not ready for such a challenge, there is a Phase 1 Navy SEAL workout, as well as a Navy SEAL Phase 2 and 3 prior to doing this Phase 4 Grinder PT workout. In fact, The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness is a good program to complete prior to Phase 4 - GrinderPT - The Key to Mental / Physical Toughness ebook.
To give you an idea of what type of mindset you should have prior to arriving at BUD/S is the goal of this program. For instance, I have always stated that you should go to BUD/s with the mentality of competing to win every event such as the runs, swims, o-courses, but at the same time be a cheerleader to those behind you and cheer them onto finishing. You should not go to BUD/s with the mentality of just surviving and striving for the minimum standards. Too many people quit BUD/s by achieving the minimum scores listed on the BUD/s Physical Fitness Test criteria. The minimums and the recommended scores are below:
- Swim 500 Yards - Maximum time allowed is 12 minutes, 30 seconds -- but to be competitive, you should swim the distance in at least 8 to 9 minutes, utilizing only the side or breast stroke.
- Max Push-ups - Minimum number is 42 in 2 minutes, but you should shoot for at least 100 for an average score.
- Max Sit-ups - Minimum number is 52 in 2 minutes, but you should strive for at least 90 to 100 in 2 minutes for an average score.
- Max Pull-ups - Minimum is eight with no time limit, but you cannot touch the ground or let go of the bar. You should be able to do 15 to 20 to be competitive.
- 1.5-Mile Run - Wearing boots and pants, the maximum time allowed for this one is 11 minutes, 30 seconds, but you should be able to cover the distance in 9 minutes to be competitive.
If you shoot for these minimums - you are destined to go to BUDS and just TRY to survive each event of the day. In fact, you only have a 6% chance of graduating with these PT scores. If your peak is the bare minimum that mentality will wear on you quickly and you will most likely quit or become injured from overuse injuries.
Once again - you should go to BUD/S with high standards for yourself and COMPETE for the best scores of the class in several events. Do not go to BUD/S thinking you are just wanting to survive the training! You have to be more aggressive than that AND NOT let the mind games and verbal harassment of the instructors affect you negatively. You can only succeed by channeling any negative feedback from the instructors and turn it into a positive, self-fueling energy. You should think that nothing anyone will say will make you doubt yourself or your abilities. If you can do the above recommended standards you are more than half way to graduating. The next portion is internal drive and determination coupled with the understanding that you know you will be talked to negatively by instructors at times and driven to discomfort most of the time.
Related Navy Special Operations Articles:
- Navy SEAL Fitness Preparation
- How to Prepare for BUD/S
- Getting Fit for SEAL Training
- The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness
- Joining Naval Special Operations
- Navy SEAL Fitness Test
- All Navy Special Operations Fitness
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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