PrevNEXT

How the Navy SEALs Work

By: Lee Ann Obringer & Francisco Guzman  | 

BUD/S Training: Basic Conditioning

SEAL Surf Passage
BUD/S students participate in Surf Passage at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. Many drills require that teams carry their rubber boats over their heads as they run from one task to another. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Lynn F. Andrews/Released

Basic conditioning is when the going gets rough. This is the phase where most Drops on Request (what civilians would call "quitting") happen. For seven weeks, trainees' days are filled with running, swimming, calisthenics, learning small-boat operations and building teamwork. Performance is measured by a 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) ocean swim, 4-mile (6.4 kilometer) run and an obstacle course. A trainee's time for these exercises must continuously improve.

Another important part of basic conditioning is drown-proofing. In this evolution, trainees must learn to swim with both their hands and their feet bound. To pass drown-proofing, trainees enter a 9-foot (2.7- kilometer) deep pool and complete the following steps with their hands and feet tied:

Advertisement

  • Bottom bounce for two minutes
  • Float for two minutes
  • Swim 100 meters (328 feet)
  • Do some forward and backward flips
  • Swim to the bottom of the pool and retrieve an object with their teeth
  • Return to the surface

Another evolution is surf torture, also called "cold water conditioning." The water temperatures usually hover around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 C), and never go above 68 degrees F (20 C). From there, trainees may be ordered to do some calisthenics or run a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers) down the beach in their wet clothes and boots. Then, they're ordered back into the surf. Many drills also require that teams carry their rubber boats over their heads as they run from one task to another.

Games