Think your physical fitness is top-notch enough to become a SEAL? If you’re even loosely considering taking the Special Warfare Physical Screening Test there are definitely some things you need to know. Watch this video for the top tips and a blueprint on making your way through the hardest workout PT test for US Navy special forces. It's not just physical fitness that's required to crush this test - it's mental toughness, too.
The PST is a hardcore workout with strict time limits that challenges your physical fitness. First, there’s a rigorous 500-yard swim in under 12.5 minutes. You get 10 minutes to rest before starting the next part of the workout where you race to achieve a max number of pushups in two minutes. Two minutes to breathe and then you try to max out on sit-ups. Another 2-minute break before maxing out on your pull-ups. Then, you have a ten-minute break before the brutal 1.5-mile run - that has to be completed in under 12.5 minutes.
Oh, and if you really want to be considered, you exceed these standards - not just meet them.
So while the Army might be complaining about the new standards for the ACFT, the SEALS have been cross-training for so long that they make it look easy.
How to cut down on the minutes it takes you to complete the test
To really do well on this, you need to identify your weaknesses and then crush them.
- Train like you’re testing. Keep the same time limits for your own breaks. That way when you get to test day, it won’t seem completely impossible to regain your breath.
- Focus on progression. Get repetitions in throughout the day. For the exercises like sit-ups, break them up into sets. For example, if your max is 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes until failure. Break that up into 25 sit-ups several times a day to work on max progressive overload.
- Pacing is key for each test. Swimming 500 years in 12.5 minutes will wipe you out unless you pace your swim, using underwater recovery techniques including breaststroke, sidestroke and combat swim stroke to utilize your swim as a warm-up that gets you ready for the next part of the workout.
The Navy Seal training pipeline includes six-month basic training on underwater demolition and airborne operations as well as three months of tactical training. Maintaining a top level of physical fitness and regular workouts is a necessity for a SEAL.