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The Navy Seal Workout

Every summer when I was living in southern California, I would do the Navy Seal training program when the ocean got warm enough to swim. This involved running, swimming, pushups, pull-ups, dips and sit-ups only. I was always amazed to see the transformation that would take place, and that I actually was stronger when I switched back over to weight training. It made me a believer that weights may not be necessary to build power, strength and speed. This can be used as a conditioning program for any sport.

The Navy Seals physical screening test is as follows:

Physical Screening Test Minimum Average Optimum
Swim 500 yard breast stroke or side stroke 12:30 10:00 9:30
Push-ups in two-minutes 42 79 100
Sit-ups in two-minutes 50 79 100
Pull-ups no time limit 06 11 25
Run 1.5 miles 11:00 10:20 09:30

These are the numbers to try and hit. Here is a 6 week protocol to help you get there. In a 25 meter pool, 500 yards would be 9 laps. In a 25 yard pool, it would be 10 laps. If you need to take breaks in-between laps, rest no longer than 90 seconds. Choose reps for each exercise that you can do 5 rounds and 3 rounds of without failing. For pushups, sit-ups and dips, aim for the same number on all 5 or 3 sets. Add 1-2 reps each week. Structure the pull-up sets in a pyramid i.e. 10, 8, 6, 4, 2. and add 1-2 reps on each one per week. To see how to structure the pull-ups, check out this article. To see how to really increase the volume of your pull-ups, check out my personal workout.

If you are limited on space and equipment, I have always used the doorway pull-up bar and stationary dip stand.

Monday (TEST 2 minute rest between exercises)

500 yard breast stroke or side stroke swim for time
Push-ups in two minutes
Sit-ups in two minutes
Total number of Pull-ups
Running 1.5 miles

500 yard swim side stroke

5 Rounds
5 sets Pushups
5 sets Sit-ups
5 sets Chin-ups

Running 2 miles

500 yard swim breast stroke

3 Rounds
3 sets Pushups
3 sets Sit-ups
3 sets Pull-ups
3 sets Dips

Running 1.5 miles


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