Do You Need Strength in BUD/S?

do you need strength in budsBarely a 24 hour period goes by that we don’t get this question from athletes “Coach, how do I train to get ready for BUDS?”.

It can be confusing as there is so much information out there and so much to decide.

Do I build strength with weights or do I go out and run today and build endurance?


Each day is a great opportunity to train so you will want to maximize your efforts to grow yourself 1% daily.

Check out these tips to help guide you on your path to get your body mentally and physically prepared for BUDS training.

Grab Your Buddies and Do a GoRuck Event @

So the question is…Do you need strength (training) to get ready for BUDS?

Yes; you need to be strong as you will be carrying objects overhead (boats) and on your shoulders (logs) on your back (scuba tanks) and on your hips (your buddy in the fireman’s carry).

So; yes – train to be strong to perform those physical task.

Tip #1
Take a mock BUD/S PST (Physical Standards Test).

PST Event Min Standards Competitive Standards
500 Yard Swim 12:30 8 Min
Pushups 50 80-100
Sit-ups 50 80-100
Pull-ups 10 15-20
1.5 Mile Run 10:30 9-10

Write your scores here ___________
*If you don’t have a pool then row. Then go find a pool.

A question we get is “What are good strength exercises for BUDS?”. The overhead press or push press with a sand bag is a great strength exercise to get you ready for log PT. We also like hiking with a weighted backpack to build up your traps, back and shoulders as you will carry many things (scuba tanks, logs, boats, your buddy) in BUDS training.

Do You Need Strength in BUDS WORKOUT #1
3 rounds for time
500 meter row
50 pushups
50 situps
10 pullups
1 mile run
post time in comments below

Tip #2
Identify your weaknesses from the PST and adjust your training so that you can improve your weakest scores to become competitive scores. Weak core? Do more ab and core type workouts. Slow on the run? Drop weight if needed, improve running form and add in sprint work. You get the picture.

Do You Need Strength in BUDS WORKOUT #2
Hollow Rock WOD
20 min AMRAP
5 burpees
10 Pullups
15 hollow rock
15 toe to bar
15 air squat

  • beginning athletes do pull ups or jumping pull ups. If cannot do toe to bar then do knee to elbows or sit-ups.

Question: What is a good book to help explain what to expect at BUDS?

We like the book Breaking BUD/S: How Regular Guys Can Become Navy SEALsas it gives a good depiction of what BUDS is like.

We recommend you read as much as you can but this is a good book to get started with.

We have heard more than one athlete remark “I did not know they were going to do that in BUDS?? I wish I would have known.”

Dont Make Mistakes – Train For BUDS Like a Successful Navy SEAL

Tip #3
Assess your athletic background. Are you a football player or weightlifter with little long distance running background? Or are you a cross country runner without much weightlifting? If your 140 lbs and run like the wind you will need to pick up some weights to build strength. If your 190 lbs and eat barbells for lunch then you will need to find a local beach for longer sand runs. This assessment is crucial for your future progress.

Do You Need Strength in BUDS WORKOUT #3
Run-Swim-Run workout
for time
2 mile run
1 mile swim
2 mile run
post time in comments

Check out How an Average Guy Made it Through BUDS Twice

Tip #4
Lifting barbells are good for strength. Picking up odd objects and moving them (work capacity) is better. Watch the videos of BUD/S training and see the types of activities you will be doing there that require strength.
Picking up your buddy and carrying him.
Picking up scuba tanks and carrying them.
Picking up boats and gear and carrying them.

Do you see a pattern here? So for training, lets pick up odd objects like sand bags, a ruck sack (back pack), a log, your buddy and carry them. You can thank me later.

Tip #4
4 rounds for time
30 pushups
40 four count flutter kicks
50 air squats
Ruck march 1 mile with a 25 lb back pack
(adjust weight according to your ability and conditioning. Do not run with pack… fast walk)

Tip #5
A good method to train strength for BUDS is to make a sand bag and use that in workouts. You can press overhead like you would in log PT. You can walk with it balancing on your head like you would with a boat during Hell Week. You can do sit ups with the sand bag and carry it for grip strength. The sand bag is very functional.

Tip #6
BUDS Sandbag workout (25 lb minimum weight)
EMOM10 (every minute on the minute for 10 minutes)
odd – 10 sandbag shoulder press
even – 10 walking lunge with bag
rest 4 minutes
put sandbag in ruck sack and march 4 miles minimum
* advanced athletes use heavier bag

Extra Bonus BUDS Workout
A great workout that you can do with your buddy whether you are going to BUDS or not is…
Run 400 meter together then 50 pushups
Buddy carry 400 meters switching off each 50 meters (or when one gets tired)
Run 400 meters together and finish with 50 pushups
have fun.

Questions from athletes in our gym.

Question: “How much weight would be good to ruck with? I haven’t done it before.”

Answer: I would start with 10 to 20lbs. and slowly work your way up. Don’t try to hike too much too quick. Don’t run with a ruck sack on. Only a fast walk or steady hike. – check out my tips on Ruck marching here – read all of the article as there are also links on preventing blisters, double socks, boots, etc.

Question: What’s your opinion on running in the sand? You will run a lot in the soft sand at BUDS. A mistake I made going into BUDS the first time is that i did not run in soft sand and I paid the price. Running in sand is very good – probably the best as less impact. But as with anything you have to get used to it – start out with short distances and get your body and legs used to running in soft sand.

Question: I go the gym 5 Times a week. Can this effect my running/swimming? Because my running is my weakest point as of now. First work on weaknesses.

Answer: You don’t have to be a fast swimmer in buds but you need to be able to run long distance in sand and over berms and endure pain for long distance. Having strong hip flexors is important. You can build your hip flexors by rucking long distance – especially in the sand and by riding a bike with clipped in pedals. Also doing flutter kicks and toe to bar exercises.

Question: How crucial is upper body strength in BUDS? I would rather be able to ruck 20 miles in hills and have good form and speed than have a 225 lb bench press. You need to be able to do pull ups and dips but leg endurance is more important.

Question: How can I train to carry the boats on my head and walk with the heavy logs? Get a 30 pound sand bag and put it on your shoulder and walk on a beach or hike on a dirt road. When you get tired with one shoulder lift the bag up and put it on your other shoulder. Do not put the bag on your head when training.

Question: I came across one of your Youtube videos the other day about how you went from lifting weights to doing hard PT in order to pass BUDs. Up to this point I’ve been focusing on lifting and eating a lot to gain mass, and some PT mixed in (occasional PST training tests). I’m in high school and still have a few years before I enlist, but would you suggest staying on this course for a little while longer or immediately start focusing on building up to those long PT sessions?

Answer: You don’t need to have mass in BUDS. You need to be a long endurance guy that is durable and can handle the daily grind. Having extra mass is like wearing a weight vest – it does very little if anything to help you get through training.

Question: Hey so I have a big problem. I think I’m addicted to lifting weights. I’m at the Naval Academy and I always use the allotted time for working out to lift in the gym, usually skipping cardio and endurance work. I never skip a day of lifting, but frequently skip my planned cardio. I know that to make it to and through BUDS I need to shift my priorities when it comes to working out. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can change my passion for lifting into the same passion for running/endurance workouts? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

Answer: Instead of weights and barbells I would use a sandbag, log and a backpack. If you take the time that you spend pumping iron you could completely change your workouts up to be more productive.

Question: Where can I find out more info on the Navy SEALs? Go to the website here:

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