Navy SEALs Use This Pull-Up Workout to Stay Battle Ready

January 1, 2022 Topic: Navy SEALs Region: United States Blog Brand: The Reboot Tags: FitnessSpecial Operations ForcesU.S. NavyPull Ups

Navy SEALs Use This Pull-Up Workout to Stay Battle Ready

There is a reason almost every military unit in the world does pull-ups as a fundamental part of their PT regimen.

 

Key Point: Pull-ups are essential to building strength, require no expensive, specialized equipment, and offer scalable and customizable options for beginners up to advanced pull-up practitioners. 

If you are looking to join the military, or are a current service member thinking of attempting a transition to a special operations unit, then you probably need to improve your pull ups. Hell, if you’re just trying to find a way to stay in shape and build some upper body strength, they won’t hurt you either.

 

And let me stop you right there: no, I do not mean CrossFit style “kipping pull-ups.” Those are garbage. Cast them out of your workout routine like the shake-weight-level silliness they are. Mock your CrossFit trainers for making you do them. Ridicule your friends and family that you see swinging on the bar like a fish being ripped from the water, helplessly hooked through the gills and trying like hell to flop off the line and return to the deep. Just don’t do them.

I digress. Back to the pull-up: the real, dead-hang, fingers-pointed-away-from-your-body, straight-up and straight-down, traditional pull-up. That’s where it’s at. That’s the exercise that will strengthen your back, your shoulders, your forearms, your biceps, your grip, and the muscles around your spine. The pull-up will help you master lifting your own body weight. It will even tighten your abdominal muscles.

There is a reason almost every military unit in the world does pull-ups as a fundamental part of their PT regimen. They are essential to building strength, require no expensive, specialized equipment, and offer scalable and customizable options for beginners up to advanced pull-up practitioners. 

Barring a couple of stretches of time when I was injured, and could not do the exercise, I have been doing weekly pull-up workouts for nearly 25 years, since I was about 17 years old and knew that I wanted to be a Navy SEAL. That is simply to say, I have worked up to my below current weekly pull-up routine. I would call it an advanced-level pull-up workout.

Feel free to scale it, modify it, or expand on it as you see fit, depending on your fitness level and desired goals. It should take you around 45 minutes to an hour, but take more time if it means doing it with correct form throughout. One thing you should NOT do is sacrifice the dead-hang pull-up form for higher numbers of reps. That is shortcutting yourself and the numbers are not nearly as important as the quality of the pull-up. Again, do not resort to kipping pull-ups to reach higher numbers. It is okay to kip a little toward the end of the workout, when you’re making a push to complete it, but be judicious about it.

Do your pull-ups like a Navy SEAL:

Set 1

  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 air squats
  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 walking lunges
  • 8 pull ups
  • 20 air squats
  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 walking lunges
  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 air squats

Set 2

  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 walking lunges
  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 air squats
  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 walking lunges
  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 air squats
  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 walking lunges

Set 3

  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 calf raises
  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 calf raises
  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 calf raises
  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 calf raises
  • 8 pull-ups
  • 20 calf raises

Set 4

  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 pull-ups

Total pull-ups: 150
Total leg exercises: 300

You can do sets of 5 pull-ups instead of 8, if you need to work up to higher numbers, or sets of 10 instead of 8 if the above is not challenging enough for you. You can also add weight by wearing a weighted vest or a belt that allows plates to hang from your waist as you do the pull-ups. Make it your own. I mix legs in to work those muscles, and to get the blood flowing out of my back and forearms between pull-up sets. You can do whatever you want for the exercises between the pull-up sets.

Now, get after it!

Frumentarius is a former Navy SEAL, former CIA officer, and currently a Captain in a career fire department in the Midwest.

This article first appeared at Sandboxx. 

Image: Reuters.