Navy Dive Prep = Navy Diver / EOD Preconditioning and Assessment Course
(U.S. Navy photo/Scott A. Thornloom)
People may still call it Dive Prep, but you better come prepared with your water confidence A-GAME because it is really a SELECTION PROGRAM! To become a Navy Diver or Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist, after boot camp you will attend what used to be called "Dive Prep" in Great Lakes. Over the years, it has evolved into more of a pre-selection course prior to actually attending Navy Dive School in Panama City. The attrition rate is high as it weeds out those who are not prepared or fully dedicated to the deep dive Navy life. If you see the official Navy website, you will see the training pipeline refers to this 4 week training (22 days plus weekends off) as PAC (Preconditioning and Assessment Course).
Dive Selection is NO JOKE!
Get Good in the Water and Land
Swimming, treading, drownproofing, pre-SCUBA skills like mask clearing / ditch and don of swim gear, and and pool side PT will be a major part of the training. However, you will be running, rucking, and doing PSTs including the Navy Human Performance Test (see below). All of this is to test basic water competency BEFORE you even get to put on SCUBA gear.
Getting used to swimming thousands of yards a week is a good start to your preparation. In fact, I would recommend getting in 1500-2000m a day with such workouts as the following:
RULE - Never Swim Alone (have lifeguard or buddy swimmer)
On Upper Body PT / Lift Days:
500m warmup and 10 min tread (no hands)
Repeat 10 times (50/50s)
Swim 50m free - fast (try some swims with no mask and snorkel only)
Swim 50m CSS or Breast stroke (to catch breath - but still good pace)
- minimum rest or "rest with treading"
Mix in a few over - unders mixed with deck PT of pushups, and a variety of ab exercises (flutterkicks, leg levers, scissors, plank pose). Over-under is a 25m surface swim followed by a 25m underwater swim. One of my favorite workouts is one from the Air Force PJ training:
5 x 25m underwater / 25m surface swim on 1:30 intervals. If you do this right, you should be able to get nearly 30 seconds of rest each set.
On Leg Days (swim and tread with fins / weight)
Warmup with 500m swim or 10 minute tread (both or which one you need to work the most)
Swim 1000-1500m with fins using the CSS but mix in some freestyle, underwater dolphin kicks, and then PT with flutterkicks with fins and masks filled with water on the pool deck.
Try 5 minutes of weighted treading water with fins of 10 lbs and build up to some 25lbs treads for as long as you can.
You should also be running and rucking as you will see 4-5 mile runs and rucks at selection as well.
Crush the PST - You will still have to take a PST at some point so make sure that you arrive at selection (from boot camp or from the Fleet) in good enough shape to crush it (even without much activity in boot to help maintain fitness). You will have pool and grinder style PTs along with runs and rucks as well.
Before you depart selection, expect something relatively new in the world of tactical fitness - an actual tactical fitness test. The Human Performance Test used by Navy Spec War and Spec Ops (SEAL, SWCC, EOD, Diver) is a legit test and very similar to my own Tactical Fitness Dirty Dozen Fitness Test.
Comparison to HPT, Tactical Fitness and
Tactical Strength Book Tests
|Human Performance Test
|Tactical Fitness Dirty Dozen
|Tactical Strength Test
|500m swim plus 25m buddy tow
|500m swim any stroke
|3 mile run
|3 mile run
|Kb swing / snatch 5 min test (30%BW)
|Standing long jump
|Pro-agility Test (5-10-5)
|Illinois Agility Test
|BW Bench Press - Max Reps
|BW Bench Press - Max Rep
|Max 1RM bench
|1RM Dead Lift
|1.5 BW Dead lift - Max Rep
|1.5-2xBW Dead Lift
|Pullups (25lbs vest) - Max Reps
|Pullups (25 lbs vest - max
|Pullups (25lbs vest)
|300yd shuttle run (12 x 25yd)
|300yd shuttle run (6 x 50yd)
|300yd shuttle run 12 x 25yd
|Plank pose 1-5 minutes
|Strong Man Hang from Bar for time
|100m fireman carry of equal body weight
|4 mile ruck (50lbs)
|4 mile ruck (50lbs)
Don't Forget the Academics!
You will be tested academically as well. You will learn about dive physics and dive medicine. Both will require an understanding of the human body and science and math (algebra).
Check This Out
Are you ready to take your fitness and mental toughness to the next level? How can you ensure that you are truly prepared to overcome the challenges of special ops training and ultimately achieve your goals? Check out our latest blog post for essential tips to help you push yourself to the limit and defy the odds
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Who is Stew Smith CSCS? Coach, Trainer, Writer, Podcaster: I'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 StewSmithFitness.com
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 not the only way to train. But it offers the opportunity never to neglect your weaknesses, helps with flexibility and mobility, and puts 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 run and do more calisthenics. When colder and not so nice, we lift more, run less, and maintain our outdoor activities with shorter runs and rucks. Check it out: Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization System.
These Seasonal Tactical Fitness BLOCK Periodization programs will walk you through 4 x 4 weeks cycles with 16 weeks of each season in two programs. (32 total weeks)
Increase Strength & Crush the PST / PAST
3 Weeks Strength - 1 Week PT / Cardio Focus
These programs will walk you through 4 cycles with 12 weeks of each season in two programs.
Army / Air Force Advanced Fitness / Special Ops
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