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SEALs training requires a base level of strength before you enter BUD/S.
Handout/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Although most military training - especially for an elite force like the Navy SEALs - focuses on body-weight exercises, calisthenics and cardio-vascular conditioning, the SEALs also recommend a robust weight-training program to potential recruits. The idea is to prepare them for the arduous ordeal of training. Navy SEALs weight training routines are designed for potential recruits to use months in advance of basic underwater demolition/Seal, or BUD/S, training. The program focuses on efficient compound exercises that get the most from each target muscle in basic, fluid motions.
Consider the SEALs Goals
The purpose of preparing for SEALs training is to develop the necessary strength, flexibility, agility and cardiovascular conditioning necessary to pass BUD/S and become a SEAL. While the official physical screening tests will document how many pushups, situps and pullups you can do, most of your time in Phase 1 of BUD/S will be spent performing tough physically demanding tasks that require the ability of your muscles to move more than just your own body weight. You need sufficient strength in your upper and lower body, as well as your core.
Plan Your Regimen
For SEALs preparation, schedule a split-body routine, in which you work the upper body in a single session, then the lower body in a single session. Perform two sessions of each every week leading up to your pre-BUD/S orientation. The key to weight training for SEALs preparation is quick, efficient sets through exercises that target large muscle groups. Focus each session on a core of about eight simple to perform exercises, and do each one in quick succession. Limit rest periods in between exercises as much as possible. Do no more than two sets of any exercise, and cap each set to no more than 12 repetitions.
Focus on the Upper Body
Upper-body exercises should focus on developing functional strength - not mass - in the shoulders, back and chest. The exercises aren't regimented, and should be switched out every four to six weeks to allow consistent progress. For the shoulders, focus on the military press, the seated shoulder dumbbell press, lateral raises and front raises. For the chest, bench presses using all three bench angles - flat, declined and inclined - should be paired with chest flyes and cable draws. For the back, focus on lat pulldowns, bent-over rows and seated rows. For the biceps, alternate between standing and seated curls using both dumbbells and barbells, as well as dumbbell hammer curls.
Target the Lower Body
The lower body sessions need to develop functional strength in the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the calves, the gluteal muscles and the lower back. Many of the exercises that target the lower body engage most - and sometimes all - of these muscle groups, providing you an efficient yet thorough workout. Begin with deadlifts and back squats. As you progress, vary the types of deadlifts between standard, stiff-leg and sumo. Incorporate leg presses, weighted calf raises, leg curls and extensions into each session of the lower body routine.