How to Train for Boats on Head at BUD/S

We get this question at least once a month at SGPT so we wanted to take the time to sit down and answer it.

Question: “Coach, how do I get ready for BUDS training and carrying a boat on my head? Steve”

Answer: That is a good question Steve.

Check out these tips to help you beef up your body and mind to get ready for a real @ss kicking drill.

First off know that this drill sucks no matter what so I am not sure that you will ever be fully ready for it.

I don’t think anyone ever said “Well carrying that boat sure was easy”.

TIP #1:
Get Strong
Start by rucking (backpacking) with a 20 lb pack.

If you have access to a beach that is good and if not get out on a local trail.

If you are in the city hike to the local park and take the stairs in a few building to go up a few floors and back down.

Slowly build your way up with more weight and throw in some gear if you have it.

Video footage of boats on head at BUDS

Check out the Freak Frogman Workout Ebook HERE:

TIP #2:
Shoulder weight

Put a sand bag or a log on your shoulder.

Try 15 to 20 lbs for starters.

Carry that for a few miles in the sand or on the trail.

Now pick up that 20 plus pound ruck and carry both of them.

When the shoulder weight gets too much put in on the other shoulder.

When it gets too heavy then drop it down into the sand and do 10 pushups with your hand on top of the sand bag.

TIP #3:
Basic Lifts.

You need to be performing the squat, dead lift, bench press and shoulder press to build your base.

You need to build strength so that you can carry the boat.

You can do all of these lifts with a barbell but we also recommend using heavy sand bags and odd objects like a smooth rock.

TIP #4:
Muscle.
It does not hurt to have some extra muscle for this drill (and also Log PT).

We are not saying you need to have bulging biceps and bodybuilding competition ready.

What we are saying is that having lean muscle and the ability to perform “work” is critical to being functional fit for carrying a load.

A good workout is this.

WORKOUT #1
Sandbag press
Every minute on the minute for 20 minutes
Odd minutes – 7 sand bag press over head (1/4 of your bodyweight).
Even minutes – 20 air squats

TIP #5:
Tough Feet
Have your feet in really good condition before you get to BUDS. If your feet don’t stay in good shape then it does not matter how much you can carry on your head.

The trainees are issued Bates Tropical Durashock Boots. I would go ahead and get a pair of those and be rucking/hiking long distance every week.

Add a thin silk liner sock inside of a thicker Smartwool sock. Put body-glide or equivalent on your feet before you ruck.

Do this now so that you can get your feet ready for the long haul.

Question: What do you recommend to put on your feet and toes to keep them from blistering?

Answer: We like Trail Toes: Phenomenal Ultra-Extreme, Anti-Friction Foot.

Just put a little bit of this cream in between your toes and on the bottom of your feet and you will be good to go for a long hike.

I also use a pair of thin silk liners over that cream. Then I put on a thicker sock for the best protection.

Question: Where can I find out more info about joining the Navy and possibly becoming a frogman?

Answer: Check out the Navy SEAL recruiting website here:

Related Articles:
Top 10 Training Tips for Navy SEAL BUDS training