Do You Know the Physical Standards of the Navy SEAL BUD/S Training?


By: Teresa McGlothlin

6 Min Quiz

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About This Quiz

Every year, the Navy enlists around 40,000 new recruits. Only 6% of them will pass the initial round of testing to enter the SEAL/BUD(S) training program! Then, only 25% of those who make it past the assessment will actually become a Navy SEAL. Do you know what each candidate will have to go through to become one of the nation's most respected members of the military? 

Those who make it to the coveted position can expect to dedicate nearly two years of their lives to an intensive training program. Each set of physical requirements becomes harder as candidates go through the phases of the program. From timed activities to sleep deprivation, SEAL trainees do not get a break. Or do they? How much do you really know about it?

Whether you are a Navy trivia buff or you are considering entering the program, your knowledge of the SEAL/BUD(S) physical requirements will be put to the test. SEAL/BUD(S) candidates don't give up easily, and seeing what you know about all they must accomplish will be inspiring! Can you make it all the way to the end like a SEAL, or will you need to take off your helmet and ring the bell? 

During the SEAL Physical Screening Test, what's the minimum vision requirement?

Perfect vision is not required to enter SEAL/BUD(S) training, but candidates must test at a level of 20/70 to be considered. Even then, 20/70 vision must be able to be brought up to 20/25 with the aid of glasses or contacts.


Future SEALS must carry an inflatable boat above their heads during what type of training?

SEAL trainees undergo a lot of training designed to build endurance. An exercise called "surf passage" pushes them to the limits. It involves hoisting an inflatable boat above their heads, carrying it into waist-deep ocean waters and boarding the boat to head out to sea. In rough conditions, it can be quite challenging.


Which one of these swimming strokes is a potential SEAL permitted to use while completing the PST (Physical Screening Test)?

While undergoing the PST, prospective SEAL team members must complete a 500-yard swim in under 12 minutes and 30 seconds. They may choose to use the breast stroke or the combat sidestroke, but all other swimming strokes are forbidden.


How many sit-ups do SEAL/BUD(S) candidates have to do in two minutes?

Part of the preliminary screening to enter training involves being able to pass a physical test within a small time frame. Potential SEALS must throw down at least 50 sit-ups in two minutes. They need to do 90 to hit the level that's considered competitive.


Trainees must swim in a pool with their hands and feet bound in an exercise called what?

During the basic conditioning phase of training, drown proofing exercises are conducted in a 9-foot pool. Including retrieving an object from the bottom with their teeth, trainees must perform a number of maneuvers


Do you know how many pull-ups a SEAL/BUD(S) candidate has to do during the PST?

Any hopeful SEAL will have to complete a minimum of 10 pull-ups to pass the initial physical readiness exam. Candidates will have to do 18 to be considered competitive, but there's no time limit on the pull-up test.


What is the maximum age that will be allowed in SEAL/BUD(S) training?

SEAL/BUD(S) training is open to enlistees who are between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. Both 17- and 30-year-olds will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but it's highly unlikely that they will be enrolled in the program.


How many weeks will those who make it to BUD(S) training spend practicing combat diving?

Once a candidate reaches the BUD(S) training portion, they will go through several training phases including combat diving. They will spend an additional 14 weeks undergoing land warfare and physical conditioning.


During the first week of the physical conditioning phase, how many hours of sleep can candidates expect to get?

After making it into the BUD(S) training program, the notorious "Hell Week" begins. During that week, trainees will get no more than four hours of sleep. That's four hours of sleep ... for the whole week! If their team does especially well, they might eke out FIVE hours!


What is the maximum percentage of body fat that male SEAL/BUD(S) trainees can have?

To be considered for the program, men entering the SEAL training program must have a body fat index of less than 24%. For women, the maximum body fat percentage must be less than 35%.


Two physical exams are completed after which part of SEAL/BUD(S) training?

If a sailor moves forward into BUD(S) training after the Physical Screening Test, they begin the indoctrination phase. INDOC lasts for three weeks, and the first week is known as "Hell Week." It's so strenuous that candidates undergo two physical exams within 24 hours of completing the task.


Which name is given to the BUD(S) training exercise that involves enduring the cold water of the ocean?

Endurance is a huge part of BUD(S) training! Surf torture is designed to increase a candidate's ability to survive the ocean's tough conditions. Future SEALs lie flat in the 65-68 degree water while the waves wash over them. Then, they are ordered to complete various physical tasks.


What's different about the physical SEAL/BUD(S) standards for women?

All male and female SEAL/BUD(S) trainees are subjected to the same strenuous training standards. In the history of the SEALS, only one female has entered the program. Like 50% entering training, she did not make it past the first phase of training.


During the combat training phase, how far must SEAL trainees swim in 80 minutes?

After completing the physical conditioning phase of BUD(S) training, prospective SEALS spend seven weeks undergoing combat diving training. By the end of the diving phase, they are required to swim two miles with fins in under 80 minutes.


Which nickname is given to the telephone pole that cadets must carry during training?

Log training has its roots based in British commando training. Future SEALS must work together to move a giant, telephone pole-sized log named "Old Misery" down the entire length of a beach.


What is the name of the three-week phase that introduces candidates to the SEAL lifestyle?

Once a future SEAL makes it past the Physical Screening Test, they move on to the next four training phases. They spend three weeks in the indoctrination phase. Then, they move on to seven weeks each of land warfare, combat diving and physical conditioning.


The abdominal circumference of men entering SEAL training must be less than how many inches?

Sucking in your gut will not help you get into the SEAL/BUD(S) training program. Strict standards require that male candidates measure no more than 39 inches around the abdominal region.


When taking either of the physical screening tests, how long do candidates rest between tasks?

SEAL/BUD(S) candidates will undergo two PST (Physical Screening Tests) during their time in training. They are permitted to rest for two minutes between attempts to make the competitive count of each type of exercise.


During parachute training, what altitude do candidates jump from?

For those lucky enough to make it to the parachute training phase, fearing heights is not an option. Candidates must complete a parachuting exercise at night. The will exit the airplane at 9,500 feet in altitude.


What is the minimum height requirement to enter the program?

SEAL/BUD(S) trainees are held to the highest of physical standards, but height is not one of them. As long as the competitive levels of each physical task are met, enlistees of any height may advance.


Do you know the competitive amount of pushups a SEAL candidate must do in two minutes?

Future SEALS must be able to do at least 42 push-ups in two minutes to qualify for moving past the screening phase. However, those who will be considered top performers will be able to do at least 100.


All candidates must complete a 500-yard swim to move forward. How long do they have to do it?

SEALs are some of the best swimmers in the military. Before candidates can move past the boot camp phase of training, they must be able to complete a 500-yard swim in nine minutes.


What must future SEALS wear when they complete a 1.5-mile run in under 10 minutes?

Those enrolled in the first phase of SEAL/BUD(S) training must complete a 1.5-mile run wearing combat boots. In recent years, there has been a push for them to be able to run in sneakers, but the Navy has yet to change its official policy.


In order to pass combat diving requirements, how long do candidates have to hold their breath?

Can you hold your breath for 120 entire seconds? Only 12% of candidates make it to the combat diving phase. While there, they must prove that they can hold their breath underwater for two entire minutes.


How many types of knots do SEAL/BUD(S) candidates need to tie underwater?

Including the bowline, square, Becket's bend, clove hitch and right-angle knots, SEAL/BUD(S) divers must tie five kinds of knots while underwater. They must also tie them in a specific sequence, surface for air taking only one breath and return to the bottom to untie them again.


According the the Navy's SEAL training guide, candidates should practice how many core training exercises per week?

For those interested in becoming a SEAL, the Navy has put out a comprehensive Naval Special Warfare Physical Training Guide. It advises prospective candidates to get in at least 4-5 core training exercises per week before entering the program.


During drown proof training, how long do prospective SEALs need to float?

Once candidates are attending the Preparatory School portion of SEAL/BUD(S) training. drown-proof training is taught. During this exercise, both their legs and feet are bound and they are required to float for five straight minutes.


When tallied up, how many miles will a candidate run during Hell Week?

Those lucky enough to proceed after the Physical Screening Test will have to face "Hell Week" next. During one week, candidates will rack up over 200 miles and sleep less than 5 hours.


Which one of the training phases is considered the most physically dangerous?

The third phase of SEAL/BUD(S) training takes place on San Clemente island. There, candidates will study land mapping, rappelling and live ammunition handling. It is considered the most grueling of the phases.


Where do those who make it through SEAL training go for weather conditioning?

For those fortunate enough to make it through SEAL training, the physical tasks don't end there. SEALs are then sent into their various positions. Those who will be working in colder weather receive specialized training in Kodiak, Alaska.


During the land warfare portion of BUD(S) training, how many days per week is training conducted?

The last phase of BUD(S) training lasts for seven weeks, and it takes place every day. Called land warfare training, BUD(S) trainees are put in situations that mimic combat conditions. Candidates do not receive breaks during this period.


Before leaving BUD(S) training, candidates must do what within 30 minutes?

Prior to exiting BUD(S) training, candidates undergo another physical screening. As training progresses, the physical requirements follow suit. At this point, the length of the required run is increased to four miles.


How are candidates trained to deal with combative drowning victims?

SEALs often encounter people who are in danger or drowning who are often scared or combative. To train for this kind of situation, candidates are attacked by their instructors during the combat diving training phase.


The part of training that sees a candidate storming the beach is called what?

Over the beach training is an exercise that teaches SEAL/BUD(S) candidates to effectively enter a beach from the water. The exercise may or may not be conducted with tanks, ships or inflatable boats.


What's the minimum number of curl-ups a SEAL candidate must do to pass the first physical screening?

Curl-ups are tested alongside tasks like sit-ups and pushups. To pass the first screening, SEAL candidates must complete at least 50 curl-ups, but they must do 75 to be considered a competitive candidate.


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