Osama Bin Laden Killers: Work Out Like Elite Navy SEALS

Navy SEAL workout

A year ago today, Osama Bin Laden was brought to justice.  The people who personally brought that justice were some of the most skilled, physically fit, and professional soldiers on the planet; the Navy SEALS.  In honor of this anniversary and as another chance to recognize our military, I thought I’d take a small look at what it takes to be a Navy SEAL.  Below is a workout routine used by actual Navy SEALS to keep themselves in top shape.   This isn’t to say if you use their workout regimen you’ll be ready to become a Navy SEAL.  There is a lot more that goes into being a SEAL just being physically fit…but I’m sure you already knew that.

That said, this workout routine is obviously very tough.  Whether you use their program to give yourself a kick in the butt and finally increase the intensities of your own workouts, or you simply want to put yourself to the ultimate test and see how you stack up, utilizing this workout will reap serious benefits.  Expect a total body workout, improved cardiovascular function, and a lean, healthy, and fit body.  Man or woman, it doesn’t matter.  If you want to seriously improve the function of your heart, lungs, and muscles, this workout is for you.

A good friend of mine served as a Navy SEAL just before and after 9/11.  Seeing as he was the right person to turn to, I asked him for a little insight into what a Navy SEAL does to get, and keep, in top shape.  While there is no “Official Navy SEAL Workout Program” (despite what some unscrupulous bloggers may have you believe), he did fill me in on the training methods, philosophies, and workouts that he and his fellow SEALS used.  Navy SEALS workout in a way that is different from most of us; they don’t necessarily workout to look good, they work out to PERFORM to the best of their abilities.  Their functional training philosophies aim to stress muscle in their body, while improving cardiovascular endurance, and strengthening large muscle groups through compound exercises.  Their goal isn’t to develop big, bulky muscle.  Having a physique like that is great when you are trying to pick up girls on the beach, but when you are running, swimming, and climbing in a war zone, it is rather impractical. 

I’ll say it again, this is a workout program used by actual Navy SEALS; it is obviously very hard.  At the end of this, I’ll offer some ways to make things easier until you can work your way up.  Don’t get discouraged if you can’t do pull ups, or run as fast, or swim as far as they recommend.  This plan is a total body transformer; keep at it and you WILL work your way up to their levels.  How fast is dependent on how much work you put in.  Just know that with time and effort, you will progress.

First off, lets look at the standards of the Navy SEAL Physical Fitness Test.  In order to score highly, you must hit the following marks:

  • Swim 500 yards: 8:00-9:00 minutes; rest 10 minutes
  • Max Push Ups in 2 minutes: 90+; rest 2 minutes
  • Max Sit Ups in 2 minutes: 90+; rest 2 minutes
  • Max Pull Ups – no time limit: 15; rest 10 minutes
  • Run 1.5 miles: 9 minutes or less

Those times and reps are tough to hit.  Below is a plan to follow to help you reach the ideal standards of the Navy SEALS fitness test.  Based on your current fitness levels it may take you longer than someone with a better foundation.  Whether you use the workout below until you can pass the SEALS fitness test or simply include these workouts here or there to keep things fresh, you’re going to be doing your body a world of good, and burn a ton of fat in the process.

Week 1

  • Monday/Wed/Friday: Run 3 miles a day; 8:30 pace
  • Tuesday/Thursday:  Swim continuously 20 minutes
  • Saturday: Max pull ups, max sit ups in 2 minutes, max push ups in 2 minutes, 100 box jumps.  repeat 3 times.

Week 2

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Run 4 miles a day; 8:30 pace
  • Tuesday/Thursday: Swim continuously 22.5 minutes
  • Saturday: 5 x 15 bench press, military press, wide grip pull ups, close grip bench press. 5 x 30 sit ups.

Week 3

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Run 5 miles a day; 9:00 pace
  • Tuesday/Thursday: Swim continuously 25 minutes
  • Saturday: Max pull ups, max sit ups in 2 minutes, max push ups in 2 minutes, 75 burpees.  repeat 3 times.

Week 4

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 20 x 2 minute continuous jump rope, 1 minute rest between sets.
  • Tuesday/Thursday: Swim continuously 27.5 minutes
  • Saturday: 8 x 12 bench press, military press, wide grip pull ups, close grip bench press. 10 x 30 sit ups.

Week 5

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Run 6.5 miles a day; 8:00 pace
  • Tuesday/Thursday: Swim continuously 30 minutes
  • Saturday: Perform the Navy SEALS Physical Fitness Test

Week 6

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Run 7 miles a day; 7:50 pace
  • Tuesday/Thursday: 20 x 2 minutes jump rope, 1 minute rest between sets
  • Saturday: Perform the Navy SEALS Physical Fitness Test


This will take you through a month and a half’s worth of work.  This workout is largely cardio-based, but the compound strength exercises, swimming, and core work will help develop strength and definition in your muscles.  Unless you were already at a high fitness level, six weeks is probably not enough time to get you into Navy SEAL shape.  Feel free to continue cycling through this program, increasing intensities as you progress.  If you have a hard time with push ups, pull ups, or anything really, there is no shame in using the pull up assistance at your gym, or performing push ups from your knees.  The point of this workout is to make PROGRESS.  There will come a time where you don’t need to be on your knees to do push ups, and the weight used on the pull up assistance becomes less and less.  Keep pushing on, and one day, you’ll be as physically fit as a Navy SEAL.


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