Special forces soldiers are fascinating. The levels of strength, conditioning, and resilience required to perform at the highest levels of the military are impressive. Operators have to be fast and agile in close quarters battle and carry large loads over long distances with little sleep. But how fit do you have to be to make it through selection?
The US Navy Seals tracked 2,208 candidates through three years of Hell Week to identify the physical standards of those that successfully passed BUD/S. The study found that the best candidates and those less likely to be dropped for medical reasons were fast runners and swimmers with high levels of lower body power. These high endurance applicants are more resistant to fatigue, less injury-prone, and less likely to make technical errors when tired. The lower body power allowed soldiers to handle the rugged terrain during selection better.
The events with the most significant impact on completing BUD/S were the three and four-mile run, the 300-yard shuttle run, and the 1,000m swim with fins. The one-rep max deadlift score showed the most negligible effect on success.
The paper provides future applicants with the best and worst passing scores on each Naval Special Warfare Human Performance Assessment (SEAL PRT) test and Naval Special Warefare Preparatory (NSW Prep) School Exit Test.
|EXERCISES||BEST SCORE||SMART GOALS||WORST SCORE|
|Standing Long Jump||111 Inches||90 Inches or more||72 Inches|
|25lb Pull-up||20 Reps||13-15 Reps||5 Reps|
|Body Weight Bench||24 Reps||10-14 Reps||1 Reps|
|Deadlift 1 Rep Max||2.33 x Bodyweight||1.75 x Bodyweight||1.5 x Bodyweight|
|5-10-5 Agility||4.35 Seconds||4.4 – 4.8 Seconds||5.45 Seconds|
|300yd Shuttle Run||56.0 Seconds||60 Seconds or less||67.7 Seconds|
|3-Mile Run||15:33 Minutes||18-19 Minutes||22:37 Minutes|
|800-Meter Swim with Fins||11:28 Minutes||12-14 Minutes||15:46 Minutes|
|1K-Swim with Fins||14:10 Minutes||17 Minutes or less||19:11 Minutes|
|Push-up||119 Reps||90-99 Reps||70 Reps|
|Sit-up||109 Reps||80-89 Reps||61 Reps|
|Pull-up||30 Reps||19-21 Reps||10 Reps|
|4-Mile Run||21:48 Minutes||27 Minutes or less||30:00 Minutes|
A separate study of 1500 students from BUD/S classes found that ‘The leanest students completed Hell Week at a higher rate than students with more body fat.’ A body fat percentage in the range of 10-15% is recommended to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.
How fit do you have to be to make it through BUD/S?
- Be able to run 3-miles in less than 19 minutes and 4-miles in less than 27 minutes.
- Perform a 300-yard shuttle run in less than 60 seconds
- Swim 1000m with fins quicker than 17 minutes
- Be tall and lean with a body fat percentage between 10-15%