Tactical Fitness: PST Training and BUD/S Fitness

Tactical Fitness: BUD/S log carry

Stew, I have a question about preparing for BUD/S after you pass the PST and get your contract.  I contracted SEAL back earlier this year on my first PST.  My PST scores are Swim 500yds - 9:00/pushups - 90/situps - 85/pullups - 20/ Run 1.5 mile - 9:20-9:45.

I have recently switched my training over to focusing on BUD/S specific training – building endurance, running mileage, and swimming with fins. However, my PST scores are not improving because I have not been doing PST focused training. Do you think I should continue to do BUD/S specific training, or is it more important to blow the PST out of the water? You are doing fine with the PST scores. As long as your PST scores do not start to get worse, you are fine with those numbers. Remember – the PST gets you to BUD/S. Mastering everything else (below) will get you through BUD/S. Sure you could be faster in the 1.5 mile run, but getting faster in the 4 mile timed run is more important.

Swimming 500yds should be the warmup for every swim workout, then put on the SCUBA fins and build up your ankle, leg, and hip strength by swimming 1-2 miles with fins.

It is also a good idea to prepare for the rucking (40-50lbs) fast walk and shuffle run on the beach if there’s one near you. This will help prepare you for carrying weight on your head and shoulders too (log PT and boat carries).

It is not a bad idea to do some lifting to prepare for the boats and logs if you do not have much lifting experience. Lighter weights with more reps of Deadlifts, hang cleans, farmer walks, and push-presses are great exercises to add to a full-body workout day 1-2 times a week.  Mix in your high rep PT exercises too – pullups, pushups, situps, flutterkicks, dips, and rope climbs every other day as well. This likely help push your PST numbers at the same time.

My opinion: you need to prepare mostly for the running, rucking, swimming, and high rep calisthenics more than anything. Spend most of your time moving your body instead of in a weight room.

There are many things you can fail at BUDS, BUT DO NOT practice any of the dangerous exercises or tests without Navy instructors teaching you (50m underwater swimming, drown-proofing, etc). You will have time to learn these at Pre-BUD/S as well as time to practice at BUD/S.

But in a nutshell, here are some of the tasks you’ll need to pass:

  • Timed 4 mile runs each week
  • Timed 2 mile ocean swims with fins each week 
  • O courses each week
  • Log PT, boat carries (Not helping the boat crew lift is cheating!)
  • 50m u/w swim 
  • Drown proofing 
  • Life saving
  • U/W knot tying
  • SCUBA diving tests 
  • Pool comp 
  • Dive medicine tests 
  • Dive physics tests
  • Land navigation
  • Weapons tests
  • Demo tests
  • Shooting tests 

And there are many other events and tests.

Remember: you will be taught how to perform on all of them during BUD/S.

Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).  There are also over 800 articles on Military.com Fitness Forum focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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