Important Alert:

It has come to our attention that many men preparing for SOF training are practicing breath holding underwater, and there have been several cases of drownings and near drownings recently.

Please do not practice breath holding without professional supervision. Read this article to learn about a recent incident.

First things first – you have to WANT to be a SEAL. Maybe you watched NAVY SEALS and thought Charlie Sheen had a cool lifestyle, or you have read every word ever printed that mentioned the SEALs (including pouring through all of CDR Richard Marcinko’s Rogue Warrior series) and this is it for you. Or you could be like a few of the students in BUD/s who just sort of ended up there because it seemed better than chipping paint on the USS Never Sail. In any event, you must first have a strong desire to become a SEAL and be willing to set out upon the journey of a lifetime. Why? Because it will seem like a lifetime until you become one of the very, very few who successfully complete BUD/S and make it to the Teams.

How Do I Prepare?

When you prepare for the initial PST to qualify for the SEAL Challenge program, remember that those are minimum passing requirements. The SEAL Ethos is to always push to expand one’s limits and capabilities to do the maximum possible. Adopt this mindset now and arrive at BUD/S as prepared as possible for your best chance at succeeding.

Former competitive swimmers and bulked-up weight lifters do not always make it through SEAL training. Smaller, wiry young men, wrestlers, those with focus, determination, desire, and ability to tolerate cold often make it through when those others may not. However, proficiency in and under water is a crucial element in SEAL operations. Here is how you can prepare:


Swim 4 – 5 times per week (sidestroke), working up to 40 minute swims without swim fins. Then alternate swim workouts with and without fins. You should try to do swim workouts with fins of over 1-hour in duration.

Please Note: Please do not practice breath holding without professional supervision. Read this article about a boy who nearly drowned.


While cross-training is beneficial, no lower-body workout will prepare your legs for the rigors of running as well as running, itself. Students who have not run enough miles or trained in boots in advance of BUD/S risk stress injuries to their legs which will send them back to the next class or out of the program. Run consistently, increase your mileage wisely, and progressively add in running in boots and soft sand.

Strength Training

Weight training is helpful to overall strength. However, you also need to do lots of repetitions of the actual exercises performed in BUD/S that use your own body weight as resistance. Develop your ability to move your own body weight by rapidly performing lots of high-quality sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups.


You will perform countless numbers of sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups in BUD/s. To increase your core strength and prepare, do bent-leg sit-ups, leg levers, and flutter kicks. Utilize proper form, (see Points of Performance), for all your pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups, or they will not count on the PST.


Ideally, you should be able to perform at least 15 good dead-hang pull-ups when you arrive. The PST Points of Performance require your arms to be fully extended with no kipping up or bicycling. Practice side grip, close grip and reverse grip to work the largest number of muscle groups.


Proper push-ups require a full-extension of the arms, a straight back, and chest coming all the way down to touch an Instructor’s fist. Push-ups that fail to meet these standards will not be counted toward the requirement on the PST.


To reduce the chance of injury, do 15-20 minutes of stretching exercises daily, both before and after workouts. Do not bounce. Concentrate on your back, chest and shoulders.