Tactical Fitness: Training for PJ or SEAL? Three Years to Prepare

Tactical Fitness: SEAL applicants

Hello Mr. Smith,

First of all, thank you for these workout articles and books, they have been great. I am about a week away from finishing the 90 day workout plan. Originally I had interest in becoming a SEAL but I have given it some thought and I do have some interest in becoming a PJ after learning about combat medics.  I don't plan on joining one of them until 2018 when I graduate from college. What would you recommend would be the next steps I should do to get in shape for the SEALS or PJ's? I have three years, so I'll do whatever it takes to be as prepared as possible.

Thank you.

There is nothing wrong with changing your mind and giving yourself options on how you want to serve your country.  I went from Marine to pilot to SEAL during the 3-4 years I had before going into training. Your mind may change again, but you can still prepare for either of those at the same time as they are very similar with their training and testing programs.

First – take the Air Force PJ PAST  which consists of 25m underwater and 500m swims, 1.5 mile run, and  pushups, situps, and pullups. Check here for standards and more tips.

The SEAL PST is the same test, just arranged differently so the SEAL or PJ fitness programs will work for you to master this test. See the Navy SEAL PST here.

See how you do on the PAST, and start working on reaching the passing and better-than-passing standards in each event as this will be your entrance exam. If you are scoring under the minimum standards, you have some time to prepare, so work on your weaknesses and make your strengths stronger. Here are the current events and minimums (and recommended scores in parenthesis) for the PAST. 

NOTE: These are not AF recommended scores, these are scores that in my opinion put you in a better place to be fully prepared and competitive with the best students during the rigors of PJ Training.

  • 2 x 25 m sub surface swim no time limit
  • 500m swim 10:07 or less (sub 9 min) – Take swim lessons if above 11 minutes or cannot finish the 500m
  • 30 min rest 
  • 1.5 mile run 9:47 or less (sub 9 min) – Work on your running pace and endurance if above 10 minutes on the run.  See running goal pace workouts.
  • 10 min rest 
  • 10 pull ups min (20) – The only way to get better at the PT exercises is practice every OTHER day.  See PT Progression Training Ideas
  • 2 min rest 
  • 54 sit ups min (100 )
  • 2 min rest 
  • 52 push ups min (100)

While still in pre-training and college mode, consider taking a SCUBA class and an EMT class as PJs are the ultimate combat medics, and swimming and SCUBA is a big part of the job. You will find out whether or not you enjoy the water and learning about emergency medicine long before joining the military.   

Good luck and enjoy the fitness and training journey.

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