Navy SEAL Pushup and Dip Workouts

Navy SEALs experience some of the toughest military training around, and for good reason — they're assigned to some of the most challenging and dangerous missions in the military. The people who make up the Navy SEALs are renowned for their superior fitness and technical abilities.

Dips are a great arm workout. (Image: dolgachov/iStock/GettyImages)

Whether you aspire to join this elite part of the armed forces or just want to demonstrate their extraordinary fitness levels, you'll need to start training like a SEAL. Start with push-ups and dips, which help give you the upper-body muscular stamina exhibited by SEALs.

The Pyramid Workout

This workout is a way to increase the number of reps you do in quick succession according to Military.com. Dips and push-ups use the chest and triceps, so the back of your upper arm will feel the burn by time you top the pyramid and go back down.

Start by alternating one push-up and one dip. Then, move on to two of each, three of each, etc., until you reach a set number; 15 or 20 is a good goal. You'll then work your way back down the pyramid starting from the highest number of reps and ending with one push-up and one dip.

Take no breaks between the reps. This will fatigue you quickly, but also build the muscular stamina you need as a SEAL.

For an extra challenge and to make the workout specific to the SEALs' physical fitness test, add pull-ups and sit-ups to the pyramid. Change your pyramid numbers slightly — starting the progression with one pull-up, two push-ups, two dips and three sit-ups. Multiply the exercises by two each consecutive round until you reach a self-selected top number of reps. For example:

  • 1 pull-up/2 push-ups/2 dips/3 sit-ups
  • 2 pull-ups/4 push-ups/4 dips/6 sit-ups
  • 4 pull-ups/8 push-ups/8 dips/12 sit-ups
  • 8 pull-ups/16 push-ups/16 dips/24 sit-ups

When you reach the top, go back down in reverse order to complete the workout pyramid. Remember, keep rest between the exercises to a minimum.

Suspension Inspired Exercises

Do push-ups and dips off gymnastic rings or using TRX suspension trainers to bring these exercises to a new level of challenge. In addition to moving your body weight, suspension requires you to employ a whole new level of stability in the working muscles of the chest, triceps and shoulders, says ExRx.net. Your abs and back will also play a heightened role in stabilizing your whole body.

For a simple endurance workout, do five rounds of the following:

  • 1 minute of push-ups on the rings or TRX
  • 1 minute of dips on the rings or TRX
  • Rest 1 minute

Do as many reps as you can of each exercise in the working minutes. Do this routine every couple of days and record your stats. You should see improvement over time.

Take a Break

Doing push-ups every day can be helpful in developing your endurance as long as you stick to a manageable number of reps. A daily dose of dips can be more problematic, as this move is harder on your shoulders and triceps, says former SEAL Stew Smith. What counts as manageable depends on your fitness level and shoulder health. For the fittest of SEALs, this might be 200 to 300 reps; for a novice exerciser, 20 to 30 reps might max you out.

You'd be best off doing a dip/push-up workout, at most, every other day, or leaving two days between high-volume efforts.

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