Training for BUDS is different than training for anything else in the world. Future BUDS students need to focus on what they will do while at BUDS and little else. So what do you do at BUDS? Without revealing any training secrets, here is what you need to focus on:
The two most important preparation items for BUDS are mental toughness (i.e., figuring out why you will complete this training – if you don’t do this, don’t bother doing anything else because you will fail) and being physically rested when you begin training.
Running. It’s not about being a marathon runner or a world-class sprinter. You need to be a strong and consistent runner with stamina and endurance. Running at BUDS is different than any other running. You will run in boots and you will do much of it in the sand. If possible, you should purchase a pair of Bates Lites and run in them now. They break in fairly quickly, but it’s great to get used to running in them. Run in the soft sand, hard packed sand and the roads. The hardest part of running is being smart about it. Take your time and increase your distance slowly (no more than 10% per week). This will keep your legs healthy. One note of caution on running; the SEAL Screen Test bears NO relation to success at BUDS. Being able to run a very fast 1.5 miles is cool, but irrelevant. If you are physically ready for BUDS, you will be able to run a decent time on 1.5 miles. – don’t waste time focusing on it. (The one exception to this is for those who are applying for Officer Programs. They are very competitive, and you will need great physical scores).
Swimming. Again, you will need to prepare for the Screen Test which is completely different than preparing for BUDS. Unlike running, being great at BUDS swimming will not necessarily translate into a great Screen Test Score. At BUDS you only swim with fins (with a couple minor exceptions). The Screen Test is without fins, and some people develop a different stroke in order to swim fast. You will have to prepare for both. All of the swimming is side stroke – an easy stroke to learn and efficient, if done correctly. Find someone who can teach you how to swim sidestroke. Swimming is mostly technique.
PT. This has to be a strength. There is no reason to go to BUDS weak in any PT category. So what are we talking about? The simple stuff. Pushups, Sit-ups, Pull-ups, Dips, Overheads (shoulders-think Log PT), Flutter kicks. You really don’t even need a gym for this. When I prepared for BUDS, I put them all together and worked up to doing more sets. Twice a week I would do my PT workout which was:
10 Overheads (45lbs Plate from right shoulder to extended arm overhead, to the left shoulder, back to overhead, return to right shoulder is 1)
40 Flutter kicks (4-count)
I started with 3 sets and eventually worked up to 10. Take 1-2 min rest between sets, but don’t rest between exercises.
The only other thing to mention on PT is you must identify your weakness and work on it. Whatever it takes- make it a strength.
All of this will get you ready for BUDS, but don’t forget you will need to qualify to get orders to BUDS first. To do so, you must pass the SEAL Screen Test.
The Screen Test consists of:
500 yard swim (no fins)
No more than 10 minute rest
2 minute maximum pushups
2 minute rest
2 minutes maximum sit-ups
2 minutes rest
Max pull-ups (no timeline)
No more than 10 minute rest
1.5 mile run (pants and boots)
Best of luck in your quest. Fully commit yourself and make it happen.