Hell Week. The Navy SEAL Workout

Welcome to Hell Week our adapted version of the Navy SEAL’s physical conditioning programme. Designed to push you to your limits!!

Click below to skip the introduction and go straight to the workouts!

Introduction

The United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Teams, more commonly known as Navy SEALs, are the primary special operations force of the United States Navy.  They originated from commando groups of World War II such as the elite Amphibious Scouts and Raiders.  These groups undertook sabotage and reconnaissance missions. They were instrumental in Operation TORCH (the allied invasion of North Africa) where they reconnoitred prospective landing beaches for assault forces under cover of darkness.  The raiders also conducted pre-assault operations at Normandy several weeks before D-Day, 6 June 1944.

Hell Week. Navy SEAL's workout. Endurance training.
SEAL teams. Operating in all environments.

Todays Navy SEAL’s typically conduct military actions that are beyond the capability of conventional military forces. They are superbly trained in all environments and indeed receive their name from the environments they are required to operate in (sea, air, and land).  However, they are more recognised for undertaking maritime Special Operations such as small-unit amphibious military operations originating from water sources such as rivers or coastlines.  Navy SEALS have since WWII operated in many theatres of warfare including Grenada, Vietnam, Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

BUDS Training

A SEAL’s training is extremely demanding, both mentally and physically, and produces the world’s best maritime warriors.

Navy SEAL Candidates must attend and graduate from a gruelling 24-week course known as Basic Underwater Demolition aka ‘BUDS’, a basic parachutist course and the 26 week SEAL qualification program.  BUDS training is broken down into three phases that provide the Navy SEALS with the physical and combat skills essential for their role.  It is this period that will also help them develop a will of iron.

In the later second and third phases of ‘BUDS’ SEAL’s cover combat skills such as diving, SCUBA skills, combat diving, land navigation, small-unit tactics, explosives, and weapons training.  However, before they get anywhere near combat training a Navy SEAL candidate must survive the first phase – Basic Physical Conditioning.

The first phase of BUDS is nine weeks in length. It involves continued physical conditioning using running, swimming, and bodyweight exercises that become more intense as weeks go by.

Physical and Psychological Conditioning

The fourth week of basic conditioning is known as Hell Week. This is when the recruit will train for five days and five nights solid with an approximate total of four hours of sleep! Hell Week begins at sundown on Sunday and ends at the end of Friday. During this time, trainees face continuous physical training and psychological testing from their instructors.  This is to prepare them for the unexpected, adverse conditions and hardships found in war zones in which they may operate throughout their careers.

Hell Week. Calisthenics. Buds training. Muscular endurance exercises.
None stop exercises. Less than 4 hrs of sleep during the entire week! What's not to like?

During Hell Week the Navy SEAL candidates are assigned a team (or boat crew).  Throughout each of the five days, each boat crew will be subjected to physical and mental trials designed to make or break them.  These trials involve carrying their boat heavy inflatable rubber boats over their heads, timed exercises, drill sprints, and crawling through mud.  The trials are rotational and continuous, one exercise ends, another begins immediately.  Expectedly the largest number of trainees drops out during Hell Week.

The Workouts

Hell Month. Navy SEAL's. Functional fitness. Strength. Hypertrophy. Endurance. Running. Swimming.Total Body Conditioning. Full body workouts.

Objectives

  • BUDS instructors goals are to enable their Navy SEAL graduates to obtain peak physical fitness.  Essentially they want them combat-ready and to be able to run, jump and lift more effectively and efficiently.  These will also be our goals also, peak functional fitness.  To achieve these aims we shall be looking at developing speed, agility, muscular endurance and explosive power.
  • For the average working GI Joe or Jane with time restraints and commitments, there is no way we could get the level of training in.  Indeed, Navy SEAL candidates are a breed apart physically and mentally.  The average person would undoubtedly break undertaking the type of physical training they are required to do.  However, that does not mean we should not look to them for inspiration and push ourselves. Therefore the purpose of this post is in creating a ‘BUDS-lite’ course with a ‘Hell Week’ at the end of each.

The Programme

  • Featured below are two BUDS-‘lite’ programmes.
  • Each programme is five weeks long.
  • Every week includes 5 days of training, with 2 days of rest.
  • Each day is broken down into three training components.

1. A morning run and resistance training and callisthenics workout

2. Callisthenics type bodyweight exercises to be undertaken throughout the working day.

3. Evening swimming ‘drown-proofing’ sessions.

  • The fifth week of each programme will be Hell Week, where you are required to push yourself as hard as you can!
  • Be brutal, go hard or go home!

BUDS-Lite Programme 1

‘The Grinder’ - Morning Conditioning 1

Morning Run

The first part of morning conditioning is a steady state morning run.  The weekly total distances will be gradually increased. For the first few weeks, the distance is the same, but in later weeks the distance changes so do check.

Cardio training. Navy SEALS workout.
New recruits putting the miles in.

Week 1:

  • 2 miles per day.  3 days per week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday (Total weekly miles = 6).

Week 2:

  • 2 miles per day.  3 days per week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday (Total weekly miles = 6).

Week 3:

  • 3 miles per day.  3 days per week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday (Total weekly miles = 9).

Week 4:

  • Monday 2 miles. Tuesday 3 miles.  Thursday 4 miles.  Friday 2 miles. (Total weekly miles = 11).

Hell Week:

  • Monday 4 miles. Tuesday 4 miles. Thursday 5 miles.  Friday 3 miles. (Total weekly miles = 16).

Run the stated number of miles Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Morning Strength and Conditioning

Listed below is the daily resistance and bodyweight programme for the next 5 weeks.  Aim to work with 70-75% of your 1rpm.  Add weight gradually as the week’s progress, find your own level and work with it.  Try to add more reps as the weeks go on, for example, add 1 extra rep per week to each exercise.  For Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday do not go too heavy, since we are targeting muscular endurance.  There is a lot to go through in the weeks that follow so pace yourself!

Monday

  1. Superset: a). Sprints (at least 20 yards) then b). 10 x burpees.  2-minutes rest.
  2. Chin-ups – 3 x12.  1-minute rest between each set.
  3. Barbell Chest Press – 3 x 12.  1-minute rest between each set.
  4. Barbell Military Press – 3 x 12.  1-minute rest between each set.
  5. Back Hyperextension – 3 x 12. 1-minute rest between each set.
  6. Superset: Weighted abdominal crunches using a barbell plate 3 x 12 then 1-minute planks with alternating shoulder taps. 30 seconds rest between each set.
  7. Superset: In and out abdominals and reverse crunches – 3 x 12.  1-minute rest between each set.
  8. 2-mile steady-state jog.
Functional fitness. Hiit workout. Muscular endurance. High intensity interval training. Calisthenics. Resistance Training.

Tuesday

  1. Barbell Clean and Press – 3 x 10. 1-minute rest.
  2. Superset: Sandbag shouldering and explosive push-ups – 3 x 10 each exercise. 1-minute rest.
  3. Superset: TRX Chest Press and TRX Back Rows x 12 each. 1-minute rest.
  4. Superset: Weighted Lunges and Box Jumps – 4 x 20 lunges (10 lunges each leg) for lunges, 4 x 10 for box jumps. 30 secs rest.
  5. Superset: TRX Pendulums and TRX Buzzsaw planks – 45 seconds work for each x3 rounds. 1-minute rest.
  6. Sprint Intervals: a total of 8 sprints (at least 25yds) with one-minute recovery jogs.
Functional fitness. Hiit workout. Muscular endurance. High intensity interval training. Calisthenics. Resistance Training.

Wednesday

  1. Barbell or Hex Bar Deadlifts – 4 x 12. 2-minutes rest.
  2. Superset: Zercher Squats and Straight-leg Deadlifts – 4 x 10 for each exercise. 2-minutes rest between rounds.
  3. Wide Grip Pull-ups – 3 x 5/8/10/12/15 (as many as you can do with correct form. Aim high!). 2-minutes rest.
  4. Triple-Set Dumbbell Chest Press: 45 degrees incline x6 reps, 30 degrees incline x 6 reps and flat bench x 6 reps.  (Total 18 reps x 4 sets).  1-minute rest.
  5. Superset: Sandbag push up and drag through. Step ups using resistance (dumbbells/kettlebells) – 4 x 12 each. 1-minute rest.
  6. Superset: Scissor kicks and leg raises –  x 60 – 30 kicks each leg (scissors) 3 x 12 leg raises.
  7. Hanging knee raises – 3 x 20 – 1-minute rest.
  8. 2 mile jog steady state.

Thursday

  1. Barbell Military Press –  4 x 10. 1-minute rest.
  2. Giant set: Dumbbell shoulder raises. Targeting anterior deltoids to the sides, rear deltoids and overhead press – 3 x 8 reps of each.  No rest between individual exercises. 1-minute rest on finishing a set.
  3. Barbell Back Squat – 4 x 10. 1-minute rest.
  4. Superset: Fast BW calf raises and Weighted calf raises – (4 x 20 – Bodyweight/4 x 10 weighted). 1 minutes rest.
  5. Triple set:  Barbell curl variations. Inner, middle and outer grips – 4 x 10/15 each. No rest between curl variations. 1-minute rest on completion of all three variations.
  6. TRX Bulgarian Split squat – 4 x 10 each leg. 30 seconds rest.
  7. Superset: Sandbag/Dumbbell triceps extension behind the head and parallel bar triceps dip – 4 x 10/15 each. 1-minute rest.
  8. Superset: TRX Pendulum swings and TRX oblique pendulums crunch – 4 x 10 reps each. NB: oblique crunches left and right count as ‘1 rep’.  1-minute rest.
  9. Superset: Sled Pull and Farmers walk with heavy Dumbbells/Kettlebells – 4 x  lengths Sled Pull. 2 x lengths with farmers walk.
Functional fitness. Hiit workout. Muscular endurance. High intensity interval training. Calisthenics. Resistance Training.
Functional fitness. Hiit workout. Muscular endurance. High intensity interval training. Calisthenics. Resistance Training.

Friday

Perform 3-5 rounds. Keep the rest to around 1-2 minutes total between each round.

  1. Superset: Push Ups – x 20 reps and Bodyweight Squats – x 20 reps.
  2. Superset: Pull-ups – x 10 reps and Walking Lunges x 10 reps each leg.
  3. Triceps or Parallel bar dips – x 10 reps.
  4. Short sprints. Shuttle runs. Varied lengths. x 4 rounds
  5. Superset: Weighted abdominal crunches – x 20 reps and Planks x 1-minute.
  6. Superset: Burpees and Mountain Climbers – x 15 reps of each. 30 seconds rest between sets.
Functional fitness. Hiit workout. Muscular endurance. High intensity interval training. Calisthenics. Resistance Training.

On finishing the above exercises undertake a 2-mile steady state jog.

Daily Physical Training (PT) - 1

Recruits undergoing BUDS physical conditioning.

Physical Training (PT) - Daily Goals

These are exercises that you have to squeeze in somewhere throughout your working day! Undertake them all at once on your lunch break or throw them in every hour on the hour.  It does not matter, just make sure you get them done! Like the other sections of the programme, they increase in intensity as the week go on.

Week 1:

  • Pushups: 4 x 15 reps.
  • Sit-ups: 4 x 20 reps.
  • Pull-ups: 3 x 3 reps

Week 2:

  • Pushups:  5 x 20 reps.
  • Sit-ups: 5 x 20 reps.
  • Pull-ups: 3 x 3 reps.

Week 3:

  • Pushups:  5 x 25 reps.
  • Sit-ups:   5 x 25 reps.
  • Pull-ups: 3 x 4 reps.

Week 4:

  • Pushups:  6 x 25 reps.
  • Sit-ups: 6 x 25 reps.
  • Pull-ups: 2 x 8 reps.

Hell Week

  • Pushups: 6 x 30 reps.
  • Sit-ups: 6 x 30 reps.
  • Pull-ups: 2 x 10 reps.

Perform these exercises during your workday Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Evening Swimming - Drown Proofing - 1

A pleasant morning dip in the North Pacific. Looks...quite cold.

Like the morning runs, the workload increases gradually after the first week.

Week 1:

  • Swim continuously for 15 minutes.

Week 2:

  • Swim continuously for 25 minutes.

Week 3:

  • Swim continuously for 35 minutes.

Week 4:

  • Swim continuously for 45 minutes.

Hell Week

  • Swim continuously for 60 minutes.
Swimming for fitness. Drown proofing. HIIT cardio.
A final cardio challenge at the end of your day!

NB: If you do have access to a pool, swim every day available for as long as you can or time permits.  If you have no access to a pool, ride a bicycle for twice as long as you would swim. Get that cardio in!

Enjoying the Workout? You may also want to try some of our other Warrior Workouts!!

Workouts for the Elite only – Not for the fainthearted!!

BUDS-Lite Programme 2 (Advanced)

‘The Grinder’ - Morning Conditioning 2

Morning Run

The first part of morning conditioning is a steady-state morning run.  The weekly total distances will be gradually increased. For the first few weeks, the distance is the same, but in later weeks the distance changes so do check.

Navy SEALs in training. Buds training. HIIT cardio.
Miles and miles and miles and...

Week 1:

  • (Monday 3 miles. Tuesday 5 miles. Wednesday 4 miles. Thursday 5 miles. Friday 2 miles. (Total weekly miles = 19).

Week 2:

  • (Monday 4 miles. Tuesday 5 miles. Wednesday 6 miles. Thursday 4 miles. Friday 3 miles. (Total weekly miles = 22).

Week 3:

  • (Monday 5 miles. Tuesday 5 miles. Wednesday 6 miles. Thursday 4 miles. Friday 4 miles. (Total weekly miles = 24).

Week 4:

  • (Monday 5 miles. Tuesday 6 miles. Wednesday 6 miles. Thursday 6 miles. Friday 4 miles. (Total weekly miles = 27).

Hell Week

  • (Monday 6 miles. Tuesday 6 miles. Wednesday 6 miles. Thursday 6 miles. Friday 6 miles. (Total weekly miles = 30).

Morning Strength and Conditioning

Listed below is the daily resistance and bodyweight programme for the next 5 weeks.  Aim to work with 70-75% of your 1rpm.  Add weight gradually as the week’s progress, find your own level and work with it.  Try to add more reps as the weeks go on, for example, add 1 extra rep per week to each exercise.  Do not go too heavy, we are targeting muscular endurance.  There is a lot to go through in the weeks that follow so pace yourself!

Monday

  1. Sprints (at least 25 yards) – 8 x rounds. 2 minutes rest.
  2. Dumbbell ‘Man-makers – AMRAP 1-minute rounds x 4 1-minute rest.
  3. Pull-ups – 3 x 8/12.  1-minute rest between each set.
  4. Superset: TRX Chest Press Variations – 10 x Chest Press then 10 x ‘Clock’ Press. 10 reps of each x4 rounds. 1-minute rest.
  5. Superset: Incline and Decline pushups – 3 x 10 reps of each. 2-minutes rest.
  6. Sandbag Back Rows – 3 x 10/15.  1-minute rest.
  7. Burpees – 3 x 12.  1-minute rest.
  8. Bear crawl with Sandbag drag -x 20 yards x4 rounds.
  9. Scissor kicks (x 60 reps – 30 kicks each leg) and reverse crunches (x 15 reps) x 4 rounds.
  10. 2 mile jog steady state.
Functional fitness. Hiit workout. Muscular endurance. High intensity interval training. Calisthenics. Resistance Training.

Tuesday

  1. Sandbag Jump Squats or Box Jumps – 4 x 10. 30 secs rest between rounds.
  2. Superset: Tyre flips x AMRAP 1 minute. Tyre Carries x 25 yards. 4 x rounds. 1-minute rest.
  3. Superset: Sandbag Lunge with rotation – 10 reps each leg. Sandbag get-ups 5 x reps each side. 4 x rounds. 1-minute rest.
  4. Dumbbell or Kettlebell Flat Bench Press – 3 x 10. 3min rest. (Use a heavier weight to challenge your Strength – approx 80-85 1RPM).
  5. Superset: Battleropes ‘waves’ for 30 seconds. Explosive push-ups – 3 x 10. x4 rounds.
  6. Shoulder tap Plank – x 1 minute. x4 rounds.
  7. Side planks Left and Right – 4 x 45 seconds each side.
  8. Sprint Intervals: a total of 8 sprints with 1-minute rests.
Functional fitness. Hiit workout. Muscular endurance. High intensity interval training. Calisthenics. Resistance Training.

Wednesday

  1. Barbell Back Squat – 4 x 10/15 reps. 2 minutes rest.
  2. Superset: Machine single Leg Presses. Lunge jumps – 4 x 10 reps. (10 reps each leg for the presses). 2 minutes rest.
  3. Superset: Romanian Deadlift and Squat holds – 4 x 10 reps deadlifts/45 seconds for squat holds.  2 minutes rest.
  4. Wide grip pull ups – 3 x 10/15. 1-minute rest.
  5. Row variation. (Sandbag, Inverted, Dumbbell or TRX) 4 x 10 reps. 2 minutes rest.
  6. Superset: Dumbbell chest press – 12 reps. Using a 45-degree incline on the bench.  6 heavy-weight reps. 6 light-weight reps. Wide pushups immediately afterwards x 10 reps (2 minutes rest).
  7. Superset: TRX Mountain climbers and TRX pike – 4 x 45 seconds rounds for each exercise. 1-minute rest.
  8. Superset: Hanging leg raises – 3 x 15-20.  Crocodile Walks x45 seconds. x 4 rounds for each exercise. 1-minute rest.
  9. 2 mile jog steady state.
Functional fitness. Hiit workout. Muscular endurance. High intensity interval training. Calisthenics. Resistance Training.

Thursday

  1. Machine Lat Pulldowns – 4 x 10/15. 1 minutes rest.
  2. Dumbbell/kettlebell ‘Arnold’ shoulder press – 4×10/15. 1 minutes rest.
  3. Superset: TRX Pistol Squats and TRX Bulgarian Split Squats – 4 x 10 each leg per exercise. 30 seconds rest.
  4. Superset: Chin-ups – 4 x 8 reps. Triceps Push ups – 4 x 10 reps. 2-minutes rest.
  5. Superset: Sandbag shouldering (1-minute AMRAP) and Sandbag Frog jumps to one side of the room. Jog back with a sandbag on your shoulder. Start again. No rest. x 4 rounds.
  6. Kettlebell Side Lunges – 4 x 10 reps each leg. 1 minutes rest.
  7. Superset: Bear crawls (20 yards) and Medicine Ball slams x 15 reps. 4 x rounds. 1 minutes rest.
  8. Alternate Sled Push and Farmers walk with heavy Dumbbells/Kettlebells – 40 yards each. 4 x rounds. No rest.
Functional fitness. Hiit workout. Muscular endurance. High intensity interval training. Calisthenics. Resistance Training.

Friday

  1. Superset: Pushups – x 20 reps and Bodyweight Squats x 20 reps.
  2. Superset: Chin-ups x 10 reps and walking lunges x 10 reps each leg.
  3. Bodyweight triceps extension – x 10 reps.
  4. Short sprints. Shuttle runs. Varied lengths. x 4 rounds
  5. Superset: Weighted abdominal crunches – x 20 reps and weighted planks x 1 minutes.
  6. Superset: Burpees and Mountain Climbers – x 15 reps of each. 30 seconds rest between sets.

Perform 3-5 rounds. Keep the rest to around 1-2 minutes total between each round.

Functional fitness. Hiit workout. Muscular endurance. High intensity interval training. Calisthenics. Resistance Training.

Daily Physical Training (PT) - 2

These are exercises that you have to squeeze in somewhere throughout your working day! Undertake them all at once on your lunch break or throw them in every hour on the hour.  It does not matter, just make sure you get them done! Like the other sections of the programme, they increase in intensity as the week go on.

Calisthenics. Buds training. Muscular endurance exercises.
Yup! It's that time again!

Week 1:

  • Pushups: 5 x 20 reps.
  • Sit-ups: 5 x 25 reps.
  • Bodyweight Squats: 5 x 20 reps.
  • Triceps Dips: 5 x 15 reps.

Week 2:

  • Pushups: 6 x 20 reps.
  • Sit-ups: 6 x 25 reps.
  • Bodyweight Squats: 6 x 20 reps.
  • Triceps Dips: 6 x 15 reps.

Week 3:

  • Pushups: 7 x 20 reps.
  • Sit-ups: 7 x 25 reps.
  • BW Squats: 7 x 20 reps
  • Triceps Dips: 7 x 15 reps.

Week 4:

  • Pushups: 8 x 20 reps.
  • Sit-ups: 8 x 25 reps.
  • Bodyweight Squats: 8 x 20 reps.
  • Triceps Dips: 8 x 15 reps.

Hell Week:

  • Pushups: 10 x 20 reps.
  • Sit-ups: 10 x 25 reps.
  • Bodyweight Squats: 10 x 20 reps.
  • Triceps Dips: 10 x 15 reps.

Perform these exercises during your workday Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

Evening Swimming - Drown Proofing - 2

Like the morning runs, the workload increases gradually after the first week.

Relax! Our Buds-Lite programme is not this harsh!! Just need you to swim. Lots and lots!

Week 1:

  • Swim continuously for 30 minutes.

Week 2:

  • Swim continuously for 40 minutes.

Week 3:

  • Swim continuously for 50 minutes.

Week 4:

  • Swim continuously for 60 minutes.

Hell-Week:

  • Swim continuously for 70 minutes.
Swimming for fitness. Drown proofing. HIIT cardio.
As I said, you just need to swim...lots and lots!!

NB: If you do have access to a pool, swim every day available.  If you have no access to a pool, ride a bicycle for twice as long as you would swim. Get that cardio in!

Post Training

Throughout the programme, remember to warm up and cool down properly. Ensure your calorie intake is sufficient to provide you with adequate fuel levels (yes you will have to eat more! Get the proteins, good fats, essential nutrients and recovery carbohydrates in!! Also, remember to rehydrate and drink water throughout the day!

A Final note - Ringing the Bell!

Throughout Hell Week, BUDS instructors continually remind candidates that they can “Drop-On-Request” (DOR) any time they feel they can’t go on by simply ringing a shiny brass bell that hangs prominently within the camp for all to see.  Work hard and push through this! Don’t ring that bell!!

Don't do it!!

What's that? You didn't Ring the Bell?

Did you make it to the end of the programme?

Workout Complete!!

Congratulations! You have passed our BUDS-Lite training programme! Maybe you are ready for the real thing??

Could you meet the Navy SEAL Physical Screening Test standards?

NB: To qualify for a contract, a prospective candidate must meet the minimum requirements below.

Navy SEAL Fitness Test Breakdown

Swim 500 Yards

  • The maximum time allowed is 12 minutes, 30 seconds (aim to swim the distance in at least 8 to 9 minutes). (Rest 10 minutes.)

Push-ups

  • Minimum number is 42 in 2 minutes, however, aim for at least 100 for an average score. Perform as many push-ups out as fast as you can. Use proper form (no half-push ups or they won’t be counted. (Rest 2 minutes, then move on to the next exercise.)

Sit-ups

  • The minimum number is 52 in 2 minutes, aim for at least 100 in 2 minutes for an average score.  (Rest 2 minutes.)

Pull-ups

  • The minimum is eight pull-ups with no time limit (NB: you cannot touch the ground or let go of the bar).  Aim to do 15 to 20. (Rest 10 minutes).

1.5-mile run

  • (Wearing boots and pants) The maximum time allowed for this one is 11 minutes, 30 seconds, aim for 9 to 10 minutes to be competitive.

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