Navy SEALS are known as some of the toughest guys around, and it’s no wonder. The training alone to become a SEAL consists of demanding physical activities, like rapid-fire push-ups and pull-ups and swimming 500 yards in a matter of just a few minutes. Not just anyone qualifies to be a Navy SEAL, but if you want to train at home like these elite military professionals, you need a plan that mimics theirs. With varied strength and cardio exercises that are designed to increase endurance and muscular strength, you can get in shape SEAL-style.
Running plays a huge role in SEALs' training, and it should in your home workout as well. SEALs rely heavily on running workouts to maintain strength and endurance, such as weekly 4-mile runs. Even if your current level of fitness won’t allow you to do this type of strenuous cardio exercise, you can still add running to your routine. Try switching between long, slow, distance runs; continuous high-intensity runs; and intervals that are tailored to your fitness level. With long, slow, distance runs, keep an easy pace that allows for comfortable conversation. Increase the challenge with continuous high-intensity runs that last 15 to 20 minutes, which is adequate for someone with a low fitness level. Interval runs offer a third option, alternating high and low-intensity running. For example, start with low-intensity walking or jogging for five minutes, then switch to high-intensity running for one minute. Walk or jog two minutes to recover, then run again. Adjust the times to match your fitness level.
Navy SEALs also must be strong swimmers, and they regularly work out in the water. To replicate these workouts, hit the pool with a variety of swimming strokes and strength-based exercises. Try a sprint workout using any stroke, with five sets of 50-meter swims. Rest for 20 seconds, then do five sets of 100-meter swims. Another workout combines sprints using a kickboard, with 10 sets of 50 to 100-meter swims. To increase the challenge, follow this up by swimming with fins for an additional 15 to 30 minutes. You can also do a swim-and-strength-training combo workout by swimming at a moderate pace for 100 to 200 meters then doing 30 seconds of push-ups and one minute of ab work. Repeat the circuit five times.
In addition to cardio work, SEALs also spend time working their upper bodies with strength-training exercises. A variety of exercises are used, with the majority of them using dumbbells, barbells or weight machines. For instance, SEALs focus on strong shoulders by performing lat pull-downs, biceps curls, bench presses, row pulls, triceps extensions and pull-ups. At home or the gym, you can do a circuit of these exercises, performing reps and sets that are aligned with your fitness level. Beginners should use lighter weights and perform five sets of 10, while more advanced individuals can use heavier weights.
Lower-body work is also important, and SEALs rely on exercises such as lunges, squats, deadlifts, calf raises and leg presses. Many of these, like squats and lunges, can be done with body weight alone, which is ideal for beginners. If you need more of a challenge, however, you can add weights, using a barbell or dumbbells while you perform the exercises. Like the upper-body exercises, use weights and reps that match your current strength level but still add challenge.