I am often asked "What should I do to prepare for BUDS?". Great question, it can be answered very simply. NOTHING. Nothing you do will prepare you for BUDS. BUDS sucks, it's filled with challenges testing your mental and physical commitment to a process designed specifically for you to not succeed at it. Training your mind, in my opinion, is more important than the physical aspects of BUDS. You will need to have both and understand that BUDS is like the game of golf. You cannot beat it, you can only play it. What I mean by that is, there is no great or best run time; you cannot run fast enough ever. Same goes for the swims, the obstacle course etc.…For example, say you go out for a 4 mile timed beach run and you beat everyone and finish in 25:42. Great right? Well, the next time you run that, say you get 25:58. You will be crushed by the instructor staff for going slower than they know you can go.
BUDS is about total commitment to self-improvement, team work and a never ending process of constantly improving both as an individual and as a class. You are also there to prove to the instructor staff, at all three phases of training, that you deserve to serve in a team. Remember their teammate’s lives will depend on your ability to perform under extremely difficult circumstances and they have a responsibility to thin the herd of turds. So here are some tips to help you prepare physically for BUDS:
- Stop doing CrossFit. You will not be doing WOD's and AMRAP’s nor will you do Olympic style lifts or double-under’s with a jump rope. You will however do a lot of body weigh exercises, pushups, pullups, dips, sit-ups, leg levers and flutter kicks. Master these; you are trying to survive 6 months of training, not beat the guys time next to you.
- Swim your ass off. The SEAL team water work is what has traditionally separated us from other SOCOM units. Swim with fins and a mask, and only practice the combat swimmer side stroke. Stew Smith is an excellent instructor and has tons of videos about the CSS.
- Running. You should be running - long slow runs, fast shorter runs and sprints. DO NOT do this with a weighted vest on. Get better at running with pants and boots on.
- There is no need to over train, just train properly. I like to train for what will actually happen. Do not try and put yourself through BUDS before getting there. The goal here is to give yourself the confidence to compete and keep up with the class.
All exercises are done at a basement level then build from there. You do not need to be able to do 30 pull ups and 200 pushups non-stop. My suggestion for pushups is to start by doing 10 sets of 20 reps resting 1 min between sets. Once this is relatively easy, increase to 30 reps, then 40, than 50. You should be able to knock out 8-10 sets of 50 pushups with a 1 min break between sets before going into training. Pullups, start with 6 dead hang pulls ups, clean reps kipping is not allowed, so never train like this. 6 reps, 10 sets with a 2 minute rest between sets. Increase to 8 reps, then 9, then 10. Break it up and test your one time max once per month, your goal should be to do 20-25 in clean pull-ups and 90-120 push-ups. If you can do 6 sets of pull ups 12 reps each you will be just fine. You should be able to run 10 miles at a decent non heart popping pace once every other week. Run 4 miles in under 30 min. consistently once per week and run 2 miles in under 11:30 no matter what 5 times a week.
My personal times when I did the BUDS screening; Pushups 112, sit-ups 90, pullups 18, 500 meter swim 10:20, 1.5 mile run 11:00. These scores are real, and they really sucked but my final PT test at BUDS scores were; Pushups 130(max for the test) sit-ups 120(max for the test) pullups 29, there was no swim, 1.5 mile run 9:15. 2 mile run 13:57, 4 mile run 29 min.
Consistency is key, do not get down on yourself, listen to your body, sleep a lot, do not over train and injure yourself. Drink a lot of water, a gallon a day if you can do it. DO NOT TRAIN 7 DAYS A WEEK. Take days off, no more than 5 days a week. If your body is hurting, rest more.
Be smart about your training and most importantly - DO NOT TAKE TRAINING ADVICE FROM ANYONE WHO HAS NEVER BEEN TO BUDS, GRADUATED BUDS AND WAS A SEAL. Why? Because they have no frame of reference, and do not know what the F@!K they are talking about.