Cart 0

12 Weeks to BUDS Workout - By Stew Smith CSCS (USN - SEAL)

Stew Smith

The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness
Featuring The 12 Weeks to BUDS Workout

(Only Available on now)

People young and old have been using The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness - Twelve Weeks to BUD/S workout. The program has evolved to include a beginner and an intermediate section in its third revision as well as the infamous Twelve Weeks to BUDS workout. Much of the update is due to the recent changes in recruitment for SEALs, EOD, SWCC, and Rescue Swimmers in the Navy. See recent recruiting changes at How to go Navy Special Warfare / Operations article.

Also check out - So You Wanna Be A Frogman article

The Navy SEAL program is still as tough as it has ever been, even though the Navy needs more SEALs. The good thing about the SEAL community is that it does not make BUD/S easier when it needs more SEALs, but better prepares them with mentors around the nation and pre-BUDS training after boot camp. Now the SEAL training pipeline takes you out of boot camp and into a 6-8 week training course to prepare you for BUD/S (again) as boot camp will degrade your abilities a bit - but consider it a deload phase / taper.. All you have to do is workout everyday at BUDS / Prep! Sounds like a great way to earn a pay check if you ask me!!

The 12 weeks to BUD/S workout is designed to help students ace the Navy SEAL PST of 500yd swim, pushups, situps, pullups, and a 1.5 mile run, plus most of the challenging / graded / timed events at SEAL training. I call this getting TO BUDS. However, there are many workouts that prepare you to also get THROUGH BUDS. For example, 99% of your swims at BUD/S is with fins and your 4+ mile runs are in boots. The book reminds you to be swimming and running with these to prepare your legs for the miles of both events. Also you will be doing hundreds of repetitions of pushups, pullups, abdominal exercises like situps and flutterkicks in your workouts. It helps teach your muscles to have that kind of endurance to handle multiple sets of high repetition exercises.

Common Question: can I add weights to the 12 Weeks to BUDS?

There are no weights in the 12 week program other than the light weight shoulder routine that is mysteriously omitted from the pictures / explanations (sorry - long story). My recommendation has been to only use weights with this program IF you need them. Meaning, if you are an endurance athlete and really have no power / strength training in your history, then I would supplement with weights in a periodization style routine.

I made an EASY button for you as well - the new Navy SEAL Weight Training program works perfectly after the 12 Weeks to BUDS workout especially if you need to focus on some strength elements (rucking, log pt, boat carry, fireman carries, etc). 

Getting TO and THROUGH BUD/S

I have typically added weights into my year round routine for a 12-16 week cycle and increased the weights, reduced the reps of calisthenics to take a break from the high repetition exercises during this time. I call it the Tactical Fitness Seasonal Periodization System.  It has enabled students and myself to maintain high levels of fitness year round. You do have to keep up with the running and swimming routines as well however, IF you are preparing for BUD/S. 

HOWEVER, if you are a power - strength guy who thinks a 1.5 mile run and a 500yd swim is long distance, then I would lay off the weights and focus on your cardio / high rep routines (12 week program). To make that transition that you need to succeed at BUDS or any other Navy Spec ops training like dive school, SAR swimmer school, and SWCC takes some time - perhaps more than a year to be truly prepared for the miles of running you will be doing at BUDS.

Order the book now! This product is an annual favorite with an average of 85% of BUD/S graduates stating they used this program to prepare for SEAL training.

Comments from CGTNSF users:

"A friend of mine in Army SF recommended to me your book, Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness and I just want to say that it is amazing. It pushes me physically and mentally every day. When I first started I couldn't do more than 30 pushups, 50 situps, 5 pullups, nor could I even swim, and running was certainly not one of my hot spots. After using your 12 week program one time, my scores have improved vastly. 75 pushups in 2 minutes, 85 situps in 2 minutes, 16 pullups in 1minute, 9:50 500m swim (which isn't bad for never swimming until the age of 21), and 9:00 1.5 mile run. I'm going to keep training hard until I reach your recommended scores prior to entry into Navy SEAL BUD/s. I just want to say thank you for you awesome workout program. I'm not going to stop until I reach my goals and then some.... I credit you with my success thus far. Take care sir."

"Just a few words about your Navy SEAL Fitness book: In December I passed your 4-week IM workout. And I was amazed about the progress I made. My overall physical fitness has grown around 30 %. For example: 1.5 mile running in boots from ~14:00 min to 11:20 min 500 yd swimming using sidestroke from ~15:30 min to 10:30 NO KIDDING! And the same results for my upper body strength and stamina...I got rid of 8 lbs of fat. And that was only 4 weeks! Now I decided to go further with the 12-week to BUD workout. Will be very hard I am sure, but worth on it. So I can say no other than HOOYAH for YOU!"

PST scores pre intermediate workout:
500 yard swim-10:39
1.5 mile run-12:00

PST scores post intermediate workout
500 yard swim-9:21
1.5 mile run-9:51

Post 12 weeks to BUDS:

500 yard swim-8:31
1.5 mile run-8:55

Many more testimonials...

Training to Get THROUGH the Spec Ops Selection Course (aka graduate)

This is where training usually transitions from focus on the elements of fitness (strength, power, speed, agility, endurance - run-ruck-swim, muscle stamina, mobility, flexibility, grip) to mastering specific events of your future training. Longer runs, rucks, swims with fins, treading, pool competency skills, load bearing activity (logs / boats / equipment), and others depending on your school of instruction.

There is More To than a You May Know

(In fact, there are more than 40 books, 1000+ articles, online coaching - and more) 

Who is Stew Smith CSCS? Coach, Trainer, Writer, PodcasterI'm the former Navy SEAL that tactical candidates go to for books, ebooks and online coaching to prepare themselves to get to and through intense tactical assessment and selection programs and qualify for service in their chosen tactical profession.  See More at

Where to Find More Information About Optimal Performance Training Programs

When you start training again, consider the seasonal tactical fitness model.  I call it A WAY to train and obviously not the only way to train. But it offers the opportunity to never neglect your weaknesses, helps with flexibility and mobility, but will also put you at a level of physical abilities where you are happy with your overall ability to do just about anything. We have a system where the seasons dictate our training. When it is nicer outside, we tend to run and do more calisthenics. When it is colder and not so nice, we lift more, run less, and still maintain our outdoor activities with shorter runs and rucks. Check it out: Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization System.  

Where Optimal Performance Will Be Tested Each Day

The Specific Military / Special Ops Physical Fitness Workouts 

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT
Navy SWCC Workout

Army / Air Force Advanced Fitness / Special Ops 

Army PFT Workout (Prep For Rucking, OPAT, ACFT)
Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout
Army Air Assault School Workout
Army Airborne Workout
Air Force Special Warfare IFT / OFT / Selection Prep


Advanced Running Program - Special Ops Supplement Plan
USMC OCS / TBS Workout


The Combat Conditioning Workout
Air Force PJ / CCT Workout  Battlefield Airman Prep Course
The UBRR Upper Body Round Robin Workout / Spec Ops version


The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer / Navy SAR Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Boot Camp Workout


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Workouts

The FBI Academy Workout  |   FBI Workout Vol 2  
The DEA Workout
The FLETC Workout - Ace the PEB
The PFT Bible: Pushups, Sit-ups, 1.5 Mile Run
The Fire Fighter Workout - Ace the CPAT


Online Coaching Options

Online PT CLUB - Weekly Workouts created personally for you.

New Member's Only Content / Services Program!

If you want access to years worth of workouts, many of the top eBOOKs, favorite workouts of the week, free fitness APP, closed Facebook Group, video / picture library of exercises, and more access to LIVE Q/A sessions check out the Stew Smith Fitness Members Section

The dashboard below has the links to all the information, archives, videos, and links to workouts, podcasts, live Q and A lessons. 

Consider this! - A Membership Program and Gain Access to Exclusive Content
(click for Fitness Club Dashboard - members only)

Best of all, if you have questions, email Stew Smith himself (  Join the tactical fitness group discussions, latest articles, videos, podcasts at the Stew Smith Tactical Fitness Training Closed Group on Facebook.


Questions?  Just email -

At - List of Products and Services

  1. FREE Articles
  2. Podcasts and Swimming Videos (Youtube, TikTok, Instagram)
  3. eBooks
  4. Books and eBooks in PRINT
  5. Stew Smith Fitness Club membership site
  6. Online Coaching  

Stew Smith Fitness 

    Older Post Newer Post

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published