Are You a SEAL Firebreather? How do you measure up?
by Brad McLeod, SEAL grinder PT, CrossFit level 1 certified trainer
Firebreather: The word conjures up images of the ability to control a potent heated substance. In the fitness world it defines the hard core athlete performing at the highest level with any given exercise. Chiseled athletes hammering out bodyweight exercises like a piston and hurling heavy weights overhead with ease before sprinting 400 meters to the finish. One who breathes fires.
Many experts believe that the Navy SEAL’s training to be the hardest military training program in the world. These guys go through absolute hell in their training and emerge mentally and physically tough as fence nails. SEAL’s are known to be absolute masters of the bodyweight exercises but can run as fast as a cheetah and swim long distances with ease. How do you think that you measure up? Do you have the potential to be a SEAL firebreather? Do you even have enough to get a boot in the door at BUD/S? Take the test below and see where you land. Good luck.
Pullups (dead hang) – Any SEAL worth his salt will be able to clock off a dozen pullups anytime anywhere on anything.
Beginner Tadpole: 1 – 5 reps
Intermediate: 6 – 12
BUD/S Ready Advanced: 12 – 20
SEAL Firebreather: 20
If your at the beginner level try to do negatives by putting your chin above the bar and slowly lowering yourself down. If you want to get better at pull-up workouts you need to put in the time and work hard. Jumping pullups and ring rows are also alternatives. BUD/S candidates and SEAL firebreathers do weighted pullups with a vest or dumbells.
Pushups – SEAL’s do thousands and thousands of pushups during their super tough training at BUD/S and continue on as a core part of their training in the Teams.
Beginner Tadpole: 20 pushups in 1 minute
Intermediate: 30 pushups in 1 minute
BUD/S Ready Advanced: 40 pushups in 1 minute
SEAL Firebreather: 50 pushups in 1 minute
If your just starting out try to do pushups on a bench and work your way down to the ground. Try not to use your knees as you want to improve your core. BUD/S ready athletes will want to use a Best Selling” rel=”nofollow”>weighted vest and Tabata drills to improve pushups. SEAL firebreather do pushups in the surf zone for hours on end with a smile on their face (facing out to sea).
Situps – Without a strong core you are weak. Simple as that. SEAL’s are known for legendary core strength and a set of Arnold like abs.
Beginner Tadpole: 20 situps in 1 minute
Intermediate: 30 situps in 1 minute
BUD/S ready advanced athlete: 40 situps in 1 minute
SEAL firebreather: 50 situps in 1 minute
Beginner athletes should try to do 25 situps with good form unbroken then rest and try again. Use a weight as your strength increases. BUD/S ready athletes should work on Tabata intervals (20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds) of situps. SEAL firebreathers do situps with a Best Selling” rel=”nofollow”>weighted vest on soaking wet with an Instructor spraying a waterhose in their face.
Air squats: Without strong legs and the ability to haul a load long distances your worthless in Special Operations.
Beginner Tadpole: 20 squats in 1 minute
Intermediate: 30 squats in 1 minute
Advanced: 40 squats in 1 minute
SEAL firebreather: 50 squats in 1 minute
Beginner athletes should try to do 25 squats with good form unbroken then rest and try again. BUD/S ready athletes should work on Tabata intervals (20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds) of air squats. SEAL firebreathers run a mile down the beach and do 300 air squats then swim a mile in the open ocean then do 200 pushups then run back a mile – all as a warmup in the am before morning chow.
Run 5k – if you can’t run fast and long distance then you can forget about being a SEAL. Fast running is part of who you are. You cannot escape it.
Beginner Tadpole: 30 min
intermediate: 25 min
BUD/S ready athlete: 21 min
SEAL firebreather: 18:30
To get better at the 5k begin running short distance (0.5 to 1 mile). Enter a local 1 mile race for fun. Work your way up in distances but dont overtrain. Run stadiums, stairs in tall buildings and do sprints at the track. Mix it up and have fun. Have a goal to enter a local 5k road race, a trail run or really go all out and work your way up to doing the Tough Mudder or Spartan Race.
Fran (21-15-9) 95 lb thrusters and pullups for time
A benchmark CrossFit workout that is a staple of any firebreather.
Beginner Tadpole: 10 minutes plus
Intermediate: 8 minutes plus
BUD/S ready advanced athlete: 6 minutes plus
SEAL firebreather: 5 minutes and under
Beginner athletes should try to do Fran unbroken (not putting the bar down on the ground and doing all pullups without coming down off the bar) by doing lighter weight thrusters and jumping pullups. As your times get better increase weight. 100 pullups for time is a great exercise to help you decrease your pullups time.
(Three rounds for time:Run 400 meters-
1 1/2 pood Kettlebell X 21 swings (or 55 pound dumbbell swing)
A benchmark kettlebell workout from CrossFit that is a staple of any firebreather.
Beginner Tadpole: 18 minutes plus
Intermediate: 14 minutes plus
BUD/S ready advanced athlete: 10 minutes plus
SEAL firebreather: 9 minutes and under
If your a beginner try to do Helen unbroken with a lower weight on the kettlebells and jumping pullups for your fastest time. Then slowly bring up the weight and work on kipping pullups. Advanced athletes should try to do the workout with a weighted vest to improve their time when they go “live” without a vest.
Angie: A benchmark CrossFit workout that is a staple of any firebreather. 100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 air squats for time.
Beginner Tadp0le: 30 min. Plus
Intermediate: 25 min. Plus
BUD/S ready advanced athlete: 20 min.
SEAL Firebreather: sub 20 minute moving towards 15 minute
Murph: A benchmark CrossFit workout that is a staple of any firebreather.
Beginner Tadpole: 1.5 hour plus
Intermediate: 1 hr 15 min
BUD/S ready advanced athlete: under 1 hour
SEAL firebreather: under 45 min
If your a beginner looking to improve on Murph then start out with running 4 miles 3 times a week. Wear the weighted vest during your workouts at the gym and focus on doing 100 pullups, 100 pushups and 10 air squats as fast as you can. Advanced athletes should try to wear the weighted vest on Murph to get the full experience and push yourself to your limits.
Brad McLeod is a former Navy SEAL and now a CrossFit certified level 1 trainer. He has trained hundreds of athletes to push past their weaknesses and plateaus to shed their former skin and become new and better athletes.
If you have questions or want to inquire about coaching you can reach him at [email protected] or check out the website at www.sealgrinderpt.com
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