Ask Stew: How Can I Add Extra Workouts During Navy Boot Camp?

Navy Boot Camp
Recruits perform a physical training session outside at Recruit Training Command. More than 40,000 recruits train annually at the Navy's only boot camp. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher M. O'Grady)

If you are preparing yourself for Navy SEAL, SWCC, EOD, diver or rescue swimmer schools after Navy boot camp, you are right to be concerned about your physical conditioning. Even though you will learn some useful skills required of a sailor, Navy boot camp is going to be 10 weeks of physical deconditioning when compared to your current training programs.

Here is a question from a future sailor heading to the EOD and dive community after Navy boot camp.

Would you recommend doing extra workouts on your own during Navy boot camp or try to get as much sleep as possible? I am shipping soon and will have to take a PST after boot camp at Dive Prep. Thanks, Tim.

Tim, you should treat Navy boot camp like a taper, but unfortunately it is a 10-week taper that can lead to deconditioning by the time you graduate. The Navy used to have special workouts for those planning for Navy Special Operations and Special Warfare training.

Hopefully they will bring it back, but for now, you need to focus on staying healthy (don't get sick) and add extra repetitions of push-ups, sit-ups, flutter kicks, squats and lunges whenever and wherever you can.

To answer your specific question: The days are long, and you will be tired. It is best to go to sleep when you can and try to wake up early to get your day started with extra calisthenics. Treat one day of the week as a day to squeeze in more upper-body and core exercises, and the other days can be added squats and lunges spread through the day or before you shower in the morning.

However, you may be fighting illness, as there will be germs from all over the nation being spread throughout the barracks and dorms. If that's the case, get some sleep to help yourself recover.

To avoid getting sick, keep hydrating and wash your hands. Never touch your face or place your fingers in your mouth. If you can avoid getting sick during boot camp, you can be ahead of the curve when it comes to regaining your optimal levels of fitness after basic training. Recovering from strep, pneumonia, bronchitis or the flu can hamper your training plans and slow your ability to rebuild yourself after the 10-week physical training taper that is Navy boot camp.

Over the years, many have figured out a way to add in more repetitions and came out stronger in push-ups and sit-ups than before. Some come out faster on the timed runs by simply adding in lunges every other day, along with some weight.

Finding a place to do pull-ups is not as easy as you would think. Usually places such as the laundry room have a sturdy enough bar to do pull-ups and hanging knee-ups. Be creative and find some workout ideas that can be segmented throughout the day. The goal is to accumulate as much extra training as possible without burning yourself out during the already very long days of moving around and being on your feet.

Here are some related articles to help you with workouts and ideas to help you:

10 Fitness Secrets to Boot Camp Fitness

Quarantine Workout Ideas: Though you are not in quarantine anymore, these ideas still apply to quick workout ideas.

Burpees for Cardio! Rest with Core.

Don't forget to PT RESET and Stretch and Mobility as well.

-- 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

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