BUD/S and EOD/Diver Physical Screening Test: Classic Week of PT Training

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Navy petty officer performs push-ups.
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Mizell Thomas does push-ups during a Chief Petty Officer 365 fitness class aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Paolo Bayas/U.S. Navy photo)

Try this routine if you want to crush the Navy physical screening test (PST):

500-yard swim

Push-ups, 2 minutes

Sit-ups, 2 minutes

Pull-ups, max

1.5-mile timed run

Check out this new PST Week Classic consisting of run, swim and PT workouts.

Do you need to focus on your PST scores for a cycle? If so, your workouts should look like the PST. For a few weeks, lay off activities that do not complement the PST.

This involves running fast intervals for shorter distances, versus long, slow, distance running. This method should be repeated for swimming as well. Focus on your goal pace for these two cardio events for a few weeks to build your speed and overall testing ability.

The same holds true for calisthenics. Use the 1, 2, 3 combo attack of the PT pyramid, PT super set and the PT max rep set progression cycle each week.

These workouts can be repeated for 3-4 weeks to focus to prepare for a PST deadline when you need to score your best. Take a few days to taper before testing with some easy mobility days and a rest day. Take a PST a few days before this cycle, then a few days after a three- to four-week cycle and see how you do.

This is a version of the Classic Military PT Week but with a focus on crushing the Navy PST. For those of you who are interested in trying the PT pyramid, super set, max rep set combo with run and swim workouts, this combination can help your PST scores in a few weeks.

See more running and swimming technique pointers at the following links:

P.S.: The Navy SEAL, SWCC, EOD/Diver PST is measured in yards. If swimming in a meter pool, swim 450 meters to equal 500 yards. For the purposes of this article, meters (m) are interchangeable with yards for workout swim distances. See the Day 1 through Day 6 workout below to fit into your seven-day week.

Day 1: Pyramid

  • Warm up with one-mile run
  • PT pyramid: Pull-ups x 1, push-ups x 2, sit-ups x 3, dips x 2 (1-10-1)*
  • Run 400-800 meters at goal mile pace every five sets.
  • Run 1.5 miles timed
  • Do variety of abs each set (crunches, left/right, plank poses, etc.)
  • Swim 500-meter warmup
  • *Do push-ups on knees when you fail ...
  • *Do dumbbells or TRX rows when pull-ups fail ...
  • Repeat 10 times
    • 50 meters freestyle at 6-8 stroke per breath
    • 50 combat swimmer stroke (CSS) at goal pace
    • rest minimal as needed

Day 2: Leg Day

  • Run or non-impact option today if available:
  • Squat pyramid 1-10: Run 50 meters, 1 squat, run 50 meters, 2 squats … up to 10. Stretch -- mix in some dynamic stretches during the 50-meter runs as needed
  • Repeat 6 times
    • Run half-mile at goal timed run pace
    • Squats 20
    • Lunges 10/leg
  • Swim 500-meter warmup CSS
  • Swim 1,000 meters with fins for time CSS or free
  • Practice pool skills
  • Tread, mask clearing, drownproofing
  • Timed 1.5-mile run -- later

Day 3: Super Set

  • Warm up with one-mile run
  • Repeat 10 times
  • Repeat 5-10 times
    • Pull-ups 5-10*
    • Push-ups 30*
    • Sit-ups 25 in 30 secs
    • Dips 20
    • *add in some TRX push-ups/TRX rows, if needed, if failing at pull-ups
  • Repeat 8 times
    • 400-meter run goal pace or bike hard two minutes
    • Odd/even sets:
      • odd -- flutter kicks one minute
      • even -- stretch
    • Swim 500-meter warmup
  • Repeat 10 times
    • 50-meter freestyle at 6-8 strokes per breath
    • 50-meter CSS at goal pace

Day 4: Mobility

  • Warmup bike or job 5 minutes/stretch
  • Repeat 5 times: Swim, bike or elliptical 5 minutes
  • Foam roller/stretch 5 minutes
  • Light cardio cooldown of your choice for time remaining (bike, elliptical, run, etc.)
  •  Pool
    • Swim 10 minutes for max distance
    • 10 minutes tread, no hands
    • 10 minutes of dynamic stretches in chest-deep water (butt kickers, leg swings, Frankenstein kicks, etc.)
    • Practice pool skills
    • Tread, mask clearing, drownproofing

Day 5: Leg Day

  • Warm up with one-mile run
  • Squat pyramid 1-10: Run 50 meters, 1 squat, run 50 meters, 2 squats ... up to 10. Stretch -- mix in some dynamic stretches during the 50-meter runs as needed
  • Repeat 5 times
    • Tabata interval bike or fast run, 5 minutes
    • Squats 20
    • Lunges 10/leg
  • Swim 500-meter warmup CSS
  • Swim 1,000 meters with fins for time CSS or free
  • Practice pool skills
  • Tread mask clearing, drownproofing
  • Timed 1.5-mile run

Day 6: Max Rep

  • Warm up with 1.5-mile run/stretch when needed.
  • Max rep PT: Get below reps in as few sets as possible -- make circuit of the exercises.
  • Pull-ups 100 (mix with pulldowns, rows, biceps curls when you fail at pull-ups)
  • Push-ups 200
  • Sit-ups/abs of choice 300
  • See whether you can do this in 4-6 sets
  • 1.5-mile timed run
  • *add in some TRX push-ups/TRX rollouts for abs options/TRX rows or pulldowns for pull-ups, if needed.
  • Swim 500-meter warmup
  • Repeat 10 times
    • 50-meter freestyle fast
    • 50 CSS at goal pace
    • rest minimal as needed

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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