A Closer Look at the Naval Academy Summer Seminar

High school students participate in a tire-rolling race during the 2011 U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar Sea Trials.
High school students participate in a tire-rolling race during the 2011 U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar Sea Trials. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Chadwick Runge/U.S. Navy photo)

Each year during the summer, the service academies offer a weeklong "summer camp" to incoming high school seniors interested in the Naval Academy, West Point (Army) or Air Force Academy. I have had the honor of being a guest PT instructor at the USNA Summer Seminar on one of the 6 a.m. workouts for the past 16 years.

With more than 800 students of varying fitness levels, the PT becomes part education and part workout -- teaching and practicing time-tested skills to the candidates that will help them score better on fitness tests. We also push those who came physically prepared with a challenging workout while at the same time give sensible options to those who are not physically prepared to train at a basic fitness level yet.

For instance, some will resort to knee push-ups when they fail at regular push-ups or do crunches when they cannot do sit-ups fully. See related articles: Sit-up Skills, Push-ups Tips, Running Workouts

Here is the workout we did this session (Session #2):

Warmup -- slow jog to the PT area (five minutes)

Run two minutes, light stretch with upper/lower body

Five minutes of push-ups, jumping jacks and squats in this super set:

Repeat seven times.

Jumping jacks 10

Push-ups 10 (change stance -- wide, regular, close push-ups)

Squats 10

Run two minutes/stretch

PFT/push-ups and sit-ups: fast on push-ups/pace the sit-ups:

  • Push-ups 40, sit-ups 20 in 30 seconds

  • Push-ups 30, sit-ups 20 in 30 seconds

  • Push-ups 20, sit-ups 40 in one minute

  • Push-ups 20, sit-ups 40 in one minute

  • Flutter kicks 25 (4 count)

  • Leg levers 25

Run two minutes.

Five minutes left: Bonus! 10--15 burpees per minute for five minutes.

Complete -- a fun workout for a group of 800 people.

The United States Naval Academy Summer Seminar is a fast-​​paced, six-​​day experience for high achievers who have completed their junior year in high school. Summer Seminar teaches you about life at the Naval Academy, where academics, athletics and professional training play equally important roles in developing our nation's leaders.

If you think that you may be interested in pursuing an appointment to one of the nation's service academies and serving your country as an officer, you should consider attending the Naval Academy's Summer Seminar.

During the six-​​day session, you will become a part of the academy. You will live in Bancroft Hall (the dormitory in which all academy midshipmen live), eat in the dining hall, participate in academic and leadership workshops, and experience a variety of other activities on the campus. You will have an opportunity to see first​​hand what the academy has to offer through its exceptional academic, athletic and  extracurricular activities and leadership training programs.

The typical daily schedule is as follows:

  • 5:45-6:30 a.m.: Physical training -- Introduction to PEP

  • 7-7:20 a.m.: Breakfast

  • 7:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Morning academic workshops

  • 12:25-1 p.m.: Lunch

  • 1:45-4 p.m.: Afternoon academic workshops

  • 4-6 p.m.: Sporting events or military drill introduction

  • 6:30-7 p.m.: Evening meal

  • 8-10:45 p.m.: Special events, including the U.S. Marine Corps Sunset Parade at the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington, D.C.; career opportunity presentations by Navy and Marine Corps officers; Sea Trials; and the most popular event (really!) -- a mock plebe indoctrination session.

  • 11 p.m.: Taps -- much-needed rest

Good job, the high school graduating class of 2015 and maybe the USNA Class of 2019. Enjoy the journey.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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