T Nation

Navy SEAL Prep Advice


Not sure if this is where this should go, but I this is the best fit I could find.

I’m 18 years old, 6’7, 260 pounds, played 4 years of high school football, pretty strong with the barbell. Something I’m seriously considering right now is joining the Navy with a SEAL contract. In order to do that, I need to get a lot better at running and calisthenics. My goals are:
100 pushups
100 situps
20 pullups
4 miles in under 30 minutes
Drop down to like 210-220

Does anyone have any kind of advice or a program to follow to reach those goals? I love killing it in the gym but I really don’t know how to train for this. Specifics would be helpful beyond just “do pushups” (every day?, how many sets?, to failure? etc.). I’d really appreciate if you guys could help me out with this.

Thank you.


Out of respect for T-nation, I will not post the training website, so, Google up “Mark Divine” and check out his books, on line bookstore, and advise. You did not list any swim times, having access to pool, lake, pond, or ocean is critical. If you have the money, explore his “Pre-Buds” week. Good Luck.


I understand the focus on running and calisthenics, but honestly those are just the door in. Without totally neglecting the bodyweight and endurance work, consider improving your durability, relative strength, and work capacity. BUD/s will beat you into the ground, and your ability to recover and remain injury free will be key.

Also, remember that no amount of physical prowess will ensure success at BUD/s. I would consider doing some reading and soul searching to ensure that being a SEAL is what you really want. If there is any doubt in your mind, it will be magnified exponentially when you are cold, wet and sandy. Good luck.


Thank you, I’ll take a look at Divine. I also plan on speaking to a recruiter in more depth to explore my options further and really decide if this is the path I want to take.


Pure truth. I would really consider Mr. Carlson’s advise on doing your research and engaging in some deep soul searching. Again, not trying to discourage you, just want you to be realistic about your future.


Exactly. Again, I’m still in the early stages of the process and have only spoken briefly to a recruiter. This isn’t a decision I’m making lightly as statistically I’m more likely to end up chipping paint in the middle of the Pacific than becoming a SEAL. That said, if I decide to do this, I know I’ll do everything I possibly can to avoid wondering what might have been.


kid down the street from me was highly fit when he tried the seal program,he said physically it was easy for him
his mind quit on him last day of hell week {note:he could have lied bout why he quit}
from what i understand people drop physically early, mentally later

you can google documentry videos like surviving the cut or special operations training
their are several on seal training


If you are interested in doing some reading I would recommend:

On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
On Combat by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
The Heart and the Fist by Eric Greitins
Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield
The Warrior Ethos by Stephen Pressfield
The Mission, the Men, and Me by Pete Blaber

Again, good luck to you.


can not get link to work
buds class 234
some posted the documentary as a six part series


Just wanted to re-emphasize this. You’re a big boy. Tall and heavy. Dropping some fat will go a long way towards improving everything else - the bodyweight drills, run, swim. I’d also double-check the waist measurement standards. I think it’s 39 inches max, so that’d be something to shoot for.

Where do you currently stand with each of these?


Currently I’m at
40 pushups
60 situps
5 pullups
40 min. 4 mile
I also agree with the weight thing. My goal is to get down to around 210 hopefully, Marcus Luttrell was 6’5 230 and he said he really wished he could have gone in smaller because he struggled with things like the O’ course.


Exactly. Again, I’m still in the early stages of the process and have only spoken briefly to a recruiter. This isn’t a decision I’m making lightly as statistically I’m more likely to end up chipping paint in the middle of the Pacific than becoming a SEAL. That said, if I decide to do this, I know I’ll do everything I possibly can to avoid wondering what might have been.

Be very careful when speaking to recruiters. Some truly are the top of the military and some are glorified car salesmen. They have quotas. Every week they have some guy that walks in and says he wants to be a SEAL. Like the others have said, do your research.


I’m not a SEAL, but am Special Forces and was on a combat dive team. I would recommend focusing on building a cardio base to get your run times (and also weight down). Go easy on yourself with the running for now… avoid injuries. For example you could run two miles then follow up with 40-60 minutes on elliptical or stair climber. At least for combat dive school you have to swim 5k in open water in 90 minutes and run ten miles at a time… so building the capacity for long duration cardio is important (and you don’t want to be exhausted when you finish). I would keep your long run at 4 or 5 miles and total weekly miles around 10 for now. Do most of your cardio low impact… as you get fitter and lighter you can increase the running, but do it gradually. Read ready to run by the supple leopard guy. Low intensity steady state is important, going balls out on everything is not good

I love being in the gym and tnation is awesome (I created a new account to reply to this, but I’ve been reading for the last 12 years and have spent over $10k on biotest products during that time). You need focus on your priorities now though. I’ve been doing a full body workout every third day (front squats, weighted pull-ups, incline bench, rows, push press, and deadlifts sometimes - and bis and tris of course) The rest of my training is cardio and calisthenics. I came from the opposite background as you, cross country runner etc, so I’m guessing you are probably stronger than I’ve ever been (I’m 5’11 and 190 on was on the bigger side of my ODA). I’d love to focus just on lifting, but being ready for the job comes first. I would try to maintain most of you strength with something along those lines (its about tradeoffs though, and you may loose some strength to get down to 7minute miles for distance)

So to summarize, I’d recommend full body strength every 2 or 3 days. You can do an easy cardio workout the same day. A longer run once a week, and one or two shorter runs (5 miles, 2 miles, 2 miles), then lots of moderate long duration cardio. Do sets of pushups throughout the day, you could start with 15 at a time, when that gets easy increase to 17, 20, 25, etc)

Also read “leadership and training for the fight” by paul howe. Don’t let the statistics discourage you; a lot of things are within your control. Get comfortable in the water.

If you have more questions let me know… but this is what I’d recommend for a starting point. Please don’t go on twenty mile runs with a cinderblock etc.

Edited to correct - 3km open water swim in 90 minutes


That sounds good. Is it alright to do low impact cardio every day?


Yeah I might take a day off a week… depends on how much time you have available for training and recovery. Make sure if you do low impact cardio every day, most of it is low intensity… I would try to keep your heart rate between 140 and 160. I would only do two “hard effort” cardio events a week (I usually keep mine to under 30 minutes, either a three or four mile run, or max steps on a stairmaster in 20-30 minutes). The rest should feel pretty relaxed. Biking and swimming are good options too if you don’t want to spend hours on cardio machines. Track the distance you run and the amount of time doing other cardio a week as well.

I used to train hard everyday thinking that I could avoid “junk” miles/time, but it hurts recovery overall, leads to injury. I actually improved faster when I just added long slow distance - it just seemed counter-intuitive that running 8:45-9:30 min miles when I could run 7:00 min miles would help me improve. I can’t explain the science behind it off the top of my head, but between “Ready to Run” and “You, only faster” by Greg McMillan they lay it out well.

For diet I would just try to cut as much junk as you can, but make sure you are eating enough to support your training. If you are actually fat, then I’d watch the diet a little closer. I love Surge Recovery and use it after lifting and some hard cardio events. MAG10 sometimes as well. I would take fish oil and maybe glucosaime.

I use a lot of other Biotest products regularly and would usually discontinue use a week or so before a school or training event where I wouldn’t be allowed to use them. At 19 though, you’re probably better off saving your money and buying quality running shoes, Jet Fins, booties, and a mask, and an alice pack and some boots and smart wool socks eventually.

A lot of this is mental, and most of the SOF guys I know are not incredible athletes. It takes a lot of dedication, but to keep it in perspective 7 minute miles would get laughed at a high school girls track meet… You (most guys) are probably physically capable of meeting the standards with dedicated training; effort and mental toughness is usually the discriminator.


March 9, 2016 7:30 am PST
Location: 32.714N 117.174W
Atmospheric Pressure: 30.04 in (1017.3 mb)
Water Temperature: 64.2°F (17.9°C)

buds school water temp date time


Levine is making money marketing his version of CF to older dude SEAL wannabes and it’s not going to prepare you for the specific tasks you’ll need to crush to get a SEAL Challenge Contract. First and foremost you need to be training for the 1.5 mile run, push ups and sit ups. Your focus is not kipping, wall balls and all that crap. Do a search there are numerous sites that exist specifically for BUDS prep including a web site by NSW themselves.


Anything you would specifically recommend? The BUD/S Warning Order is what comes up the most, does that seem fairly effective? The guy above seemed to know a good deal about training for this sort of thing, is there anything you disagree with there?


i put the link for the U.S. navy official seal web site which has alot of information you could use includeing the seal mentorship program but that post was removed
i found it
google seal training


Has a lot changed since I enlisted? The only thing I had to crush was the ASVAB.
Dude ( desertfox) getting in shape is never a waste of time, but don’t go too far without taking the asvab to ensure that you can get an m.o.s. that you can use on the teams. If you don’t play that right, chipping paint in the middle of the pacific is a very real possibility.