Can You Complete a Navy SEALs Workout Routine? (2023)

You may have heard of the Navy SEALs—the United States Navy Sea, Air and Land—and the rigorous training which, of course, is hard and isn't for everyone. Their job needs are extremely demanding, both mentally and physically, in order to complete missions overseas, including counter-terrorism and special operations. They are, in a nutshell, the most elite warriors. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that an intense workout routine is essential to develop physical and mental toughness.

Although it is among the most difficult physical trainings in the world, there are variations you can implement to see results fast. This workout program has been used by the Navy SEALs to get their new recruits ready to pass their final exam. It includes a Category I (a beginner's workout for those who are currently inactive) and a Category II routine (designed for those who are currently active).

Before starting the SEALworkout, you may want to see if you can pass the Army Physical Fitness and Combat Readiness Tests. This is a very intense routine and may not be suitable for all physical levels and abilities, so use your best judgment.

Category I Workout Routine

The goal of Category I is to work up to 16 miles per week of running. Then—and only then—you can continue on to the Category II exercise. Category I is a 9-week buildup program.

Running Schedule

  • Weeks 1 and 2: 2 miles per day, 8:30 pace, Monday, Wednesday and Friday (6 miles total for the week)
  • Week 3: No running as there is a high risk of stress fractures
  • Week 4: 3 miles per day, Monday, Wednesday and Friday (9 miles total for the week)
  • Week 5 and 6: Monday 2 miles, Tuesday 3 miles, Thursday 4 miles, Friday 2 miles (11 miles total for the week)
  • Weeks 7, 8, and 9: Monday 4 miles, Tuesday 4 miles, Thursday 5 miles, Friday 3 miles(16 miles total for the week)

Physical Training Schedule

Perform the following exercises on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Week 1

  • Pushups: 4 sets of 15 repetitions (reps)
  • Situps: 4 sets of 20 reps
  • Pull-ups: 3 sets of 3 reps

Week 2

  • Pushups: 5 sets of 20 reps
  • Situps:5 sets of 20 reps
  • Pull-ups:3 sets of 3 reps

Weeks 3 and 4

  • Pushups: 5 sets of 25 reps
  • Situps:5 sets of 25 reps
  • Pull-ups: 3 sets of 4 reps

Weeks 5 and 6

  • Pushups: 6 sets of 25 reps
  • Situps: 6 sets of 25 reps
  • Pull-ups: 2 sets of 8 reps

Weeks 7 and 8

  • Pushups: 6 sets of 30 reps
  • Situps: 6 sets of 30 reps
  • Pull-ups: 2 sets of 10 reps

Week 9

  • Pushups: 6 sets of 30 reps
  • Situps: 6 sets of 30 reps
  • Pull-ups: 3 sets of 10 reps

For best results, alternate exercises. Do a set of pushups, then a set of situps, followed by a set of pull-ups, immediately with no rest. Then progress again with the next sets of each exercise.

Beginners Guide to Sets, Repetitions, and Rest Intervals

Swimming Schedule

Sidestroke with no fins four to five days a week.

  • Weeks 1 and 2: Swim continuously for 15 minutes
  • Weeks 3 and 4: Swim continuously for 20 minutes
  • Weeks 5 and 6: Swim continuously for 25 minutes
  • Weeks 7 and 8: Swim continuously for 30 minutes
  • Week 9: Swim continuously for 35 minutes

If you have no access to a pool, ride a bicycle for twice as long as you would swim. If you do have access to a pool, swim every day available. Swim four to five days a week for 200 meters in one session as your initial workup goal. Also, you want to develop your sidestroke on both the left and the right side. Try to swim 50 meters in one minute or less.

Swimming Workouts That Build Strength

Category II Workout Routine (Advanced Level)

The Navy SEAL Category II workout routine is a more intense workout designed for those who have been involved with a routine physical fitness training program or those who have completed the requirements of Category I workout routine.Do not attempt this workout unless you can complete week 9 of Category I workout.

Running Schedule

Run the stated number of miles Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

  • Weeks 1 and 2: (3/5/4/5/2) miles (19 miles per week)
  • Weeks 3 and 4: (4/5/6/4/3) miles (22 miles per week)
  • Week 5: (5/5/6/4/4) miles (24 miles per week)
  • Week 6: (5/6/6/6/4) miles (27 miles per week)
  • Week 7: (6/6/6/6/6) miles (30 miles per week)

For weeks 8 and 9 and beyond, it is not necessary to increase the distance of the runs; work on the speed of your 6-mile runs and try to get them down to 7:30 per mile or lower. If you wish to increase the distance of your runs, do it gradually—no more than 1 mile per day increase for every week beyond week 9.

Physical Training Schedule

Complete the following sets and reps Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Weeks 1 and 2

  • Pushups: 6 sets of 30 reps
  • Situps: 6 sets of 35 reps
  • Pull-ups: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Dips: 3 sets of 20 reps

Weeks 3 and 4

  • Pushups: 10 sets of 20 reps
  • Situps: 10 sets of 25 reps
  • Pull-ups: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Dips: 10 sets of 15 reps

Week 5

  • Pushups: 15 sets of 20 reps
  • Situps: 15 sets of 25 reps
  • Pull-ups: 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Dips: 15 sets of 15 reps

Week 6

  • Pushups: 20 sets of 20 reps
  • Situps: 20 sets of 25 reps
  • Pull-ups: 5 sets of 12 reps
  • Dips: 20 sets of 15 reps

These workouts are designed for long-distance muscle endurance. Muscle fatigue will gradually take a longer time to develop doing high repetition workouts. For best results, alternate exercises each set, in order to rest that muscle group for a short time.

Pyramid Workouts

After you have reached your Category I and II standards, you can do a pyramid workout with any exercise to vary your workout. The object is to slowly build up to a goal, then build back down to the beginning of the workout.

For instance, pull-ups, situps, pushups, and dips can be alternated as in the above workouts, but this time choose a number to be your goal and build up to that number. Each number counts as a set. Work your way up and down the pyramid.

For example, if your goal is 5 reps, the number of reps you would do for each exercise would be:

  • Pull-ups: 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1
  • Pushups: 2,4,6,8,10,8,6,4,2 (two times the number of pull-ups)
  • Situps: 3,6,9,12,15,12,9,6,3 (three times the number of pull-ups)
  • Dips: Same as pushups

Swimming Workouts

Swim four to five days per week.

  • Weeks 1 and 2: Swim continuously for 35 minutes.
  • Weeks 3 and 4: Swim continuously for 45 minutes with fins.
  • Week 5: Swim continuously for 60 minutes with fins.
  • Week 6: Swim continuously for 75 minutes with fins.

At first, to reduce initial stress on your foot muscles when starting with fins, alternate swimming 1000 meters with fins and 1000 meters without them. Your goal should be to swim 50 meters in 45 seconds or less.

Stretching and Physical Training

Stretching is a basic, yet effective way to improve your performance, and Navy SEALs are
aware of this. Since Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are devoted to physical training, make sure to include a solid stretching routine on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday as a part of your weekly workout. Here is a recommended stretching routine.

  • Start at the top and go to the bottom. Stretch every muscle inyour body from
    the neck to the calves, concentrating on your thighs, hamstrings, chest, back,
    and shoulders.
  • Stretch to tightness, not to pain, and hold each stretch for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Do not bounce. Use your breath to breathe through the stretch. Do not bounce, but rather try to let the muscles loosen as you hold the stretch.

You can also implement stretching for 15 minutes before a workout, after warming up, or after working out, if you’re short on your weekly schedule.

For more details about the Navy SEAL workouts and other guidelines, visit their website.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a typical NAVY Seal workout?

    A typical Navy SEAL workout requires a combination of high
    intensity intervals, as well as swimming, running, and strength routines. Their fitness test has a minimum of set standards, which include running, swimming, pushups, curl-ups, and pull-ups.

  • How many hours per day do Navy SEALs train?

    When we say it’s an extremely rigorous workout, we’re not kidding: Navy SEALs train up to 20 hours a day, while keeping their sleep to just under 4 hours.

  • Do Navy SEALs workout with weights?

    Not necessarily. While some Navy SEALs might include heavy weight lifting in their personal routines, when training as a group, they tend to use body-weight exercises.

1 Source

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. The Naval Special Warfare Assessment Team (NSWAT). Seal SWCC Physical Training Guide. March 4, 2020.

By Elizabeth Quinn, MS
Elizabeth Quinn is an exercise physiologist, sports medicine writer, and fitness consultant for corporate wellness and rehabilitation clinics.

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