Specificity: Strength Training Guidelines for BUD/S

Mike Caviston



We often talk about planning one's training around a specific training goal.  For individuals with physical job requirements such as professional athletes, law enforcement, or military operators, training plans should be as specific as possible to the demands of the profession.  Strength and endurance need to be addressed as individual qualities to get the most out of one's training while also avoiding injuries.  In this article, Mike Caviston, Director of Fitness for the Naval Special Warfare Center, lays out his specific recommendations for Basic Underwater Demolition/Seals (BUD/S) training.  Reprinted with permission.  


Rationale for the Guidelines:  When it comes to endurance training, my recommendations are pretty specific (one high-intensity short interval session, one long interval session, and multiple LSD sessions per week for running and swimming), and I encourage candidates to follow those recommendations pretty closely. When it comes to strength training, there are many approaches to training and many programs you might follow, with different methods used and various exercises selected, but each approach capable of adequately preparing you for BUD/S. There are also programs I would discourage you from following because they are ineffective or unsafe. The specific strength training guidelines I am providing here are appropriate for candidates starting preparation with a low level of fitness, and for people with little weightlifting experience. (The guidelines are also appropriate and effective for experienced lifters beginning with a high level of fitness.) The guidelines are designed to provide good results with limited risks (we want training to prevent more injuries than it causes). The strength recommendations are also intended to be time-efficient, keeping your schedule more open to develop your running and swimming abilities.

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