Navy SEALs are required to maintain peak fitness levels at all times. In order to be an asset in the field vs a liability they must constantly train. Many times they don’t have the luxury of a fitness center or gym. This means they have to get creative.
One of the most famous Navy SEAL workouts of all time is called “Body Armor” it was developed by Michael Murphy who as killed in action during Operation Red Wing made famous by Marcus Luttrell’s book “Lone Survivor”.
The more widely known name of this intense workout is “Murph” and it a CrossFit Hero Workout of the Day.
Body Armor, AKA “Murph”
To Be Completed with a Weight Vest or Plate Carrier
1 Mile Run
100 Pull-ups (Strict if you are a true badass!)
300 Air Squats
1 Mile Run
Optimal time for this workout is under 40:00 Min. Average Time: 60 Min
Typical workouts are composed of calisthenics, stretching and yoga poses and last at least an hour. Then the Frogmen walk over to do pull ups and a few sets of dips.
Then they jog to the beach (up and over the dunes) and then a 30 minute to one hour run or swim.
SEALs train for long endurance but still must be able to remain strong and move their equipment and bodies long distance for speed.
Check out this excerpt from a recent interview with Brad McLeod, Navy SEAL
“How a Real Navy S.E.A.L works out Daily“
Brad: We did a ton of bodyweight exercises but supplemented with weights when possible. During a typical week on base I would ride my bike to the ST-4 compound. We would have a SEALgrinderPT bodyweight workout for 45 minutes and then go for a 3 mile run. At lunch I would lift weights or we had a tall rope that I would climb.
I would ride my bike home in the afternoon and add extra miles. Other mornings in the week had more grinder PT, an ocean swim, obstacle course and longer run (10 miles) on Friday. We realy mixed it up with variety and worked hard on being able to move our bodies quickly over short and long distances.
When out to sea, I did grinder PT bodyweight workouts on the back fan tail of the ship and ran stairs and around the helicopter launch pad. The pullup bar was the ships railing on the deck above. I made do with what I had in tight spaces. We had a bench press but it was tough to lift heavy weights with a moving ship rolling and rocking in the ocean. I would still give it a go and got in some killer workouts.
We have daily bodyweight workouts posted up daily on our website www.sealgrinderpt.com. These are workouts like I did on the ship so you can do them anywhere. So if you want to train like a Team Guy this will give you something to try out and help your Special Forces Workouts.
We like The Finishing School: Earning the Navy SEAL Trident by Dick Couch.
This is a great book to get you started on your journey towards BUDS or if you just want to read more about what it takes to create an elite warrior.
You will still have to go out and do the hard work.
The biggest key to the workouts is to have endurance and durability. There are a lot of athletes out there that are strong – or can do a 10 minute CrossFit WOD. But imagine carrying a rucksack and gear for miles, rappelling down a cliff, swimming 3 miles and then assaulting the enemy during a rainstorm? You have to be built for the long haul. So typical, SEALs workouts are longer and loaded to the gills with endurance.
Work on building your legs and hip flexors. Biking, running and swimming long distance are great activities. Doing box jumps and plyometric work are also great exercises. Stay away from any machine or heavy weights as this is not good at all for our purposes.
When you go to BUD/S (or any Special Forces) training – you will never touch a barbell.
If you need a weight use a sand bag or ruck (military backpack) loaded with sand or gear.
Flip tires, pull a sled, push a prowler if you must – but go easy on the barbell. Again – don’t touch a machine (Nautilus, etc.) as you are wasting your time.
That all comes from a guy who spent 11 months in BUD/S and trained the wrong way on my first attempt. Again, machines in the gym are a waste of your time.
Exercise Workouts List – Try these and post your score in comments.
WOD (Workout of the Day) #1 Murph
1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 push ups
300 air squats
1 mile run
wear 20 lb weight vest if you have it.
If training for SEALFIT Kokoro wear 20 lb ruck.
Beginner to advanced athletes can partition wod
20 rounds of..
5 pull ups
then 1 mile run to finish
Want to read the rest of the exclusive SGPT article and tips?
Sign up here ($1 first month) and enjoy access to hundreds of articles, interviews and insider tips.
Equipment List for Workouts
We get asked all the time about what gear is needed to begin training. To tell you the truth – you don’t need much gear as SEALs make do with what they have. Imagine training on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. You will not have access to great gear so sometimes you have to make your own and improvise.
I like to use an exercise mat for doing ab and core workouts. Even if your on a ship – you can find a place to run – so a good pair of CrossFit style workout/running shoes is nice to have.
If you’re training for BUD/S or Special Forces then we highly recommend you get a good pair of boots like the Bates 922 boot (these boots are worn at BUD/S). Slowly break in your boots and use them for ruck marches and flutter kicks.
If your going to try the workout “Murph” you should work your way up to a 20 lb weight vest. Go ahead and get a good weight vest. You may spend a few extra dollars but cheap weight vest tear apart easily under a load – so you get what you pay for.
If I had BUD/S training to do all over again I would invest in a pair of wood gym rings.
The gym rings are versatile and you can do pull ups, ring dips and ring pushups with them.
They are portable and you can take them with you in your ruck to the playground or beach for a workout.
Another piece of gear I like are using kettlebell as they are portable and really help you build up your core.
Any good garage gym should have a set of pull up bars and you can also do toe to bars, and set up your gym rings to hang from them.
A note – The BUD/S pullup bars are 2 inches thick, and this is a game changer.
In the video there is not really any way to train for the wet cold and mud other than going out and getting in it.
Check out the book Breaking BUD/S: How Regular Guys Can Become Navy SEALs.
It gives a good look at what happens in BUDS and how you can train to make it through and succeed.
Question: “What happens if you get kicked out of Navy SEAL training?”.
You will be sent to the fleet (Navy ship) and serve out the rest of your tour chipping paint and washing dishes and maybe using some skills you learned along the way.
Question: Do SEAL workouts build muscle?
Answer: You will build some muscle but more than likely you will lean out and get more cut or ripped. If you want to build more muscle you will be better off doing a bodybuilding type workout. Most SEALs are not overly muscled up as this gets in the way when you are swimming and carrying a ruck sack on a mission. The average Team Guy is 5 ft 9 inches and 170 lbs and lean. They can easily touch their hand far behind their neck and shoulder blade (they are flexible and not muscle bound).
Question: What does it mean when you hear the term “Navy SEAL PT Workout”? PT means physical training.
Question: What is a Team Guys favorite workout?
Answer: That is a no brainer. After hanging out at the bar – either a grinder PT and run or doing the Murph WOD..
Where do the SEALs go through initial training? BUDS is located in Coronado, CA.
Do navy seals only do bodyweight exercises? Most of the time they do.
Q: Hello Coach brad,
My name is Brantley Williams and I was previously a Marine Corps dep but got out. I am currently in college studying to be a firefighter. I am 21 years old I am a physically active person, I have been all my life. I’m planning on once I get my associates degree to enlist into the Navy to become a SEAL. I have several work outs I do but was wondering what work outs you would suggest. I was also wondering if you have any advice with preparing for Bud/s.
Talk to you again soon
Brantley, check out the collection of exercises above. If you have any questions post up a comment or email me personally [email protected]
What is the hardest workout that you did at BUD/S? Definitely log pt. I thought my shoulder was going to fall off or that I was going to die or both. I will say that one Friday afternoon we did a “Circus” and did drills for multiple hours and it sucked bad.
About the Author:
Brad McLeod knows first hand about mental toughness after being kicked out of a top tier Spec Ops training unit. He failed out of BUD/S the first time after failing a math test (made it through Hell Week and Dive Pool Comp). He came back a year later and graduated and served as an operator at ST-4.
Today Brad is one of the most sought after mental conditioning coaches in the world having recently returned from Ireland, Southern California, Pennsylvania and parts unknown in north Florida. SEALgrinderPT audios and Ebooks have been downloaded in 20 different countries around the globe. Contact Brad [email protected]
ANSWER: Yes; we use Athletic Greens in our shakes. It’s got tons of great nutrition—vitamins and minerals. Plus it mixes up easy in shakes.