One of the mottos of the Navy SEALs is "the only easy day was yesterday." This quote describes the intensity of these elite warriors' physical, technical and mental training. SEALs are trained to operate by sea, air or land. Because of their complex missions and the tremendous physical demands that those missions require, SEALs apply maximum intensity to every aspect of their training, including pushups.
Rest Time Between Pushup Sets
SEAL training endeavors to push your body to its maximum limits of muscle and mental fatigue, and then beyond. This is done through high-intensity workouts and training situations in which high repetitions, large numbers of sets, and little to no time to rest between sets is given.
Military Pushup Standards
The SEALs and SEAL instructors strictly enforce correct form while doing pushups. Military standards for the pushup require you to place your hands shoulder-width apart, lower your body until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle, then push back up until your arms are locked. One cycle of this is considered one repetition, and it is not uncommon for SEAL instructors or training leaders to discount pushups that are not completed to standard. These standards are subject to change according to the training leader.
Sample Beginner SEAL Training Workout Including Pushups
Typical SEAL workouts work in a circuit of several body-weight exercises back to back. Start with a set of 15 to 20 pushups. Once you've completed those, move immediately onto a set of 20 to 30 situps, then immediately onto a set of three to five pullups. Once you've completed the pullups, move immediately back to another set of pushups. Complete four to five rounds of this for an easy workout, at least three days a week. You can increase the intensity of this workout by increasing the amount of repetitions per set in each exercise.
Preparing for SEAL Training
You can best prepare your body for SEAL training and pushups by incorporating high rep, high intensity workouts with little rest time into your own training. SEALs will often consider moving onto a different muscle group immediately after a set of pushups to be rest. An example would be performing a set of pullups, immediately moving to a set of situps, then moving to a set of pushups, then moving to a set of flutter kicks, then moving back to pullups and repeating the cycle.
Types of Physical Training For SEALs
Like many special operations military workouts, Navy SEALs exercise their bodies primarily by using their bodies. The emphasis is on practical fitness rather than simply bulking up by curling or benching heavy weights. Aspiring SEALs should focus first on building practical body strength by using their own body weight through exercises such as the pushup, pullup, situp, flutter kick and leg lifts. Attaining the ability to reach a high number of repetitions per set is important. Aspiring SEALs should next train for speed, agility and endurance in moving, to include running and swimming. Once a base level of fitness has been achieved in both these areas, the trainee should then consider combining the two spheres of fitness into endurance training while carrying a load, such as ruck marching or tire lifting.