Get Fit for SEAL Training

Getting Fit For Seal Training

A young man about to go to college emailed me with some specific questions about preparing for SEAL training as well as other special forces in our military. Seems he is trying to figure out his future and what service is right for him. That is a tough decision, but if done with some self-realization you can make a wise choice for your personality. 

For me, I always have loved the ocean. I guess growing up in Florida helped me realize that, so Navy made a lot of sense to me. And most Navy bases are very close to a nice beach! That was a big draw too. The option to choose SEAL Teams was really a no-brainer too. I grew up in or near the water (swamp, lake, river, ocean) hunting and fishing, played several sports in high school so I thought that the active outdoor lifestyle of being a SEAL appealed to me the most. And continuing to be apart of a team was a must for me.

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For you and others like you, you should look at the last ten years of your life and ask yourself:

1) Did I swim, SCUBA dive, surf and become comfortable in the water - even at night? 2) Did I enjoy running, and back-packing in the woods and mountains?

3) Did I play sports and understand what it means to be a part of a team?

4) Were sports like football, wrestling, track, swimming, lacrosse, and soccer challenging physically and mentally?

5) Did I learn to play with pain and understand the difference between being hurt and being injured?

6) Did I workout nearly everyday and feel like you cheated yourself when you skip a workout?

If you can answer yes to these types of introspective questions, then you might be right for SEALs / EOD and other Special Forces like Army SF, or Marine RECON, or Air Force PJ.

Below are the young man\'s questions concerning his future choices:

1. What sports should I partake in to keep up my level of fitness before I attend BUD/S?  

I would recommend Swimming, running track, wrestling, then again any contact sport will do. Seals come from all types of backgrounds. One is not better than the other, but it helps to understand teamwork and playing with pain / discomfort. No matter what you do, you should always run, swim, and pt several times a week...

2. Will Mini-BUD/S help me to prepare for BUD/S?

Yes - it will make you find out if you want to do it that is for sure. It is a good test. Right now there is no mini-BUD/S for ROTC students due to the seal training command ramping up to increase the number of seals in the navy. The instructors are busy during this time of war. But, check out the SEAL Training Adventures website for another option that many ROTC / USNA mids are doing. It is operated by former seal Don Mann.

3. Can weight lifting help with my training?

Not really necessary - there are no weights at BUD/S. Read the article "No Weights at Bootcamp."

However if you insist, weights can help balance out your training with shoulder workouts and other upper body gripping exercises. Rope climbing is better for grip though .Or towel pullups. I do recommend adding some weights to break up the monotony of training. See the "Weights and Pt Workouts" article.

4. I'd like to be a SEAL sniper, is there thing I could do to prepare myself for that?

Practice shooting or take a shooting course...otherewise do not sweat it until you have graduated from special forces training. You are getting ahead of yourself. Get through training first.

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Related Navy Special Operations Articles:

- Navy SEAL Fitness Test - Navy SEAL Fitness Preparation - Joining Naval Special Operations - The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness - How to Prepare for BUD/S - Top Things to Know Before BUD/S - Navy SWCC Fitness Training - All Navy Special Operations Fitness

Many of my favorite PT programs to train can be found at the following links:

- Pull-ups / Flexed Arm Hang - Pushups and Sit-ups - Running - Swimming - Prepare for Ruck Marches

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 Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

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