Navy SEAL Workout: Swimming

by Pool Builders on 08-29-2013 in Articles

Members of the US Navy SEALs are some of the most skilled, versatile and esteemed military personnel. Their training is talked of in hushed, reverent tones and makes for one of the hardest workouts a human can handle. Alright, so maybe your goal isn't to join the military. But, that doesn't mean that you can't train like you're on active duty.

The basic physical screening test to become a Navy SEAL consists of a 500-yard swim that must be done at at least a 12:30 pace. The average SEAL candidate swims the 500 yards in about 10 minutes, while an excellent testing score would be around a 9:30. So to simply pass the basic requirements, you have to be in good enough shape to swim a consistent 37 second 25-yard lap. Not so simple to do when you can only swim the breaststroke, or worse, the doggy paddle.

This 100 yard pyramid workout will help you work up to an ideal 500 yard time. Each 100 yard segment should be swam at a 1:30 − 2:00 minute pace, depending on your current training level. This short, yet effective workout, will provide you with a cardio boost and help you train for any kind of competition that requires, well, breathing.

Workout #1: 100 yard Pyramid

Swim 100 yards (remember to keep a solid, steady pace), Rest for 20 seconds

Swim 100 yards, Rest for 20 seconds

Swim 100 yards, Rest for 30 seconds

Swim 100 yards, Rest for 30 seconds

Swim 100 yards, Rest for 45 seconds

Swim 100 yards at a full out sprint pace

Workout #2: Fin Training

Navy SEAL workouts often include swim fins. In fact, up to 99% of a SEALs' ops related course will be done with fins. So it only makes sense to throw in a few fin drills. Unlike training with compact fins, like those for swim training, the Navy actually uses SCUBA fins for most of their training and missions. This is because longer fins help swimmers maneuver and propel through rougher open waters. The longer lever of a SCUBA fin will make it difficult to maintain a quick kicking tempo up, but don't concern yourself with kicking quickly at this point. The fins will provide plenty of muscle-building resistance even at a slower pace. Try the next set with a pair of long-bladed fins.

Fins will allow you to swim longer distances without tiring as quickly. For this advanced workout, try to swim for up to an hour with fins on. Your goal is to swim a mile, in either a pool or open water. If swimming in open water, make sure to take all safety precautions necessary to stay visible to boaters and surfers.

Swim for one mile or one hour, which ever comes first, with fins at a steady pace. For reference, one mile is approximately 64 laps in a 25-yard pool.

In just about every Navy SEAL inspired movie, a group of soldiers is depicted treading water during training. Treading water is an important skill for SEALs to master because their operations might require them to do so for extended periods of time in open waters. It also provides an intense cardio workout. Make sure you remain in a fully vertical position with your head above water for the following set.

Workout #3: Treading Water

This 20 minute workout is easy enough for any level athlete to accomplish.

Tread water for 5 minutes, using both upper and lower body

Tread water for 3 minutes, only using the lower body

Tread water for 1 minute with full body movement

Tread water for 2 minutes, only using the lower body

Tread water for 1 minute with full body movement

Tread water for 3 minutes at a 'sprint' speed. Focus on using powerful movements and pushing your body up and out of the water.

Tread water for 5 minutes using the full body.

These simple, yet highly effective, Navy SEAL workouts will get you into peak soldier shape... even if the closest you plan on getting to the Navy is the Military Channel.

Remember: Focus on the gain, not on the pain.

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