How To: Be a Navy SEAL

Be a Navy SEAL

There's no doubt about it—the most elite military force in the United States is hands down, the Navy SEALs. They can operate at sea, in the air and on land, and their ability to conduct missions underwater separates them from most other military units in the world.

They've fought in World War II, Vietnam, Granada, Afghanistan and Iraq, but have gained some serious hype in recent years thanks to SEAL Team Six, aka DEVGRU, aka NSWDG, who saved Captain Richard Phillips from Somali Pirates in 2009, and most recently, rid the world of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

They make it look easy. But it's far from easy. The training is the most vigorous and harsh out of all the U.S. forces. Over 1,000 potential SEALs apply each year. Only 200-250 actually succeed.

SEAL trainees performing pullups in Coronado, California

Applicants need to overcome 2 months of rigorous orientation training, 6 months of grueling BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training), and 28 weeks of exhausting SQL (SEAL Qualification Training). That's a total of 15 months before assignment to a SEAL Team. Do you think you can make it that far?


Then, it's time to start prepping.

The average Navy SEAL carries about 75 pounds worth of gear on missions. If a fellow SEAL goes down, that can quickly turn into 250 pounds. Try carrying that much weight over a ten-foot high wall. Core strength is important. In the video below, Navy SEAL Instructor Lt. DeCoster and Dave Castro take you through a core strength workout.

The training routine consists of 5 overhead squats, 10 glute and hams developer sit-ups, and 10 glute and hams developer back extensions. Do as many sets as you can accomplish in 20 minutes. Obviously, you'll need to be at the gym for this workout.

Next up—training with rope. The SEALs use the most advanced weapons systems in the world, but a simple rope is key to getting them where they need to go. That means you better be able to climb and descend one with ease. Below, Navy SEAL Instructor Steve Otten takes you through the routine needed to master the rope.

The training routine consists of a rope climb, 30 push-ups, and 50 air squats. Do 5 rounds of these exercises and keep track of your time. The goal is to do all 5 rounds as quickly as you can. If you don't have a rope to climb, you can substitute 15 pull-ups instead.

Now we come to the third routine, dealing with total body strength. Raw power may be needed more on the ball field, but it's just as important on the battlefield. You never know when you'll need that raw power to push you up out of a sand dune carrying a 30-pound machine gun. Below, three simple exercises for improving your total body strength.

This training workout consists of three lifts—squat, shoulder press, and dead lift. For each exercise, do 5 sets of 5 repetitions, resting properly in between each set. Increase your weight after each set.

SEAL trainees crawl down the surf line in High Intensity Wet testing where they're taught to follow commands.

Now, these workouts are very basic, but definitely needed for Navy SEAL preparation. At least, for passing the easier parts of the orientation training. Now, in order to pass the whole PST (Physical Screening Test) and succeed at BUD/S, you need to go a little further. Check out the 11-page Physical Training Guide below to get all of the workouts you'll need to become a Navy SEAL.

For more information, visit the Navy SEALs website. They have all of the details you'll need there. Why? Because they want you to succeed. They need good SEALs.

SEAL trainees doing pushups prior to Drown Proof Testing.
SEAL trainees during the Drown Proofing Test, where they must untie their bound feet and hands to swim to safety.

Good luck.

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