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8 Weeks to SEALFIT: Week 1 On-Ramp

Barbell Overhead Squat (

My nemesis! Barbell Overhead Squat (

OK, this is it! After Preparation Week, I have completed my first “real” week of SEALFIT training. I started with the On-Ramp level, as recommended even for those who might think it’s easy. I am humble enough to say that even after several rounds of P90X and Insanity, I did not find this to be easy. Maybe I am just a slow learner? In any case, Commander Mark Divine says “Look at it as a chance to improve your basic techniques.” This is especially true for someone like me, who has never owned a barbell, or a real pull up bar for that matter, until now.

The theme for this week is The Baseline, a “prep phase” of the training session used to provide an overview, demonstrate new exercises, etc. It’s all new to me, so that’s the right place to start.

Day 1: I started with the “Baseline” section of the workout, which was a little confusing given the title of the chapter. This is part mental preparation, part warm up. Divine recommends 5 minutes of “box breathing”, to calmly approach the training session, then Range of Motion Drills, such as the one found on the SEALFIT Warrior Yoga page. (This is an active stretching session, similar to the P90X3 “Cold Start”.) Today’s warm up exercises included three rounds of 200-meter run, air squats, and arm circles.

Each day’s workout includes named sections: Strength, Work Capacity, and Durability. Sometimes the exercises from one section are a warm up for the next. Today’s Strength exercise was the back squat, with a recommended weight of 45 lbs for women, 95 for men. This is a “light load,” probably intended for Navy SEAL candidates, which I am not! I chose 45 lbs.

The Work Capacity section was mostly bodyweight exercises: Squats, sit ups, push ups, pull ups, and rowing, for which there are several alternatives (no rowing machine!). The Durability section is the cool down and stretch, which changes every day. Today was the Hip and Shoulder Mobility Drills from SEALFIT Warrior Yoga.

The workout took me one hour, plus the 20 minutes of Baseline preparation. I can see where preparation and time management will be important.

And then, it happened… I injured my left index finger, at the end of Day 1! It was a cut, requiring three stitches and a splint. Ugh! I took the next day off (recovery day already?).

Day 2: Today there were two sections: Baseline and Work Capacity, followed again by Durability (10 minutes of yoga). Back squats again. this time in the Work Capacity section, for more reps but a lighter weight. I got some practice at leaving my finger sticking out while it’s healing. This was particularly interesting for push ups and pull ups. After about an hour, I cut short the Work Capacity section using my finger as a “lame excuse.”

Day 3: The Strength section now features front squats. I thought I was sort of weak when it came to back squats. Well, I am even worse with front squats, if you put a barbell in my hands.

The sets and repetitions are changing from day to day, in funny combinations like: 5 pull ups, 7 push ups, 9 front squats. Sometimes the Work Capacity section is for a number of exercise sets; sometimes it has a time limit, and you complete As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP).

8 Weeks to SEALFIT by Mark Divine

(Amazon affiliate link)

Day 4: This is a recovery day, SEALFIT-style. I started with 20 minutes of “Grinder PT” (physical training), which was introduced during Preparation Week. After that, just 10 minutes of a Long Slow Distance (LSD) run, “ruck” (hike with weighted pack), or swim. The Durability section was 10 minutes of yoga. Grinder PT is no joke, but overall it was an easier day, and only 1 hour from Baseline to finish.

Day 5: Today’s new exercises: The overhead barbell squat (just when I thought I couldn’t perform any worse), and step ups. The book recommends a 15-inch plyometric “box,” but I used a chair pushed against the wall for safety. Another interesting combination of sets and repetitions: 10 reps of each exercise, then 9-8-7… all the way down to 1. It’s a good thing the recommended weight for the overhead barbell squats was… just the bar (45 lbs), or a PVC pipe, which I used as needed. The good news is that after I was really warmed up, it seemed a little easier to hold the bar overhead while squatting. Total workout time: 75 minutes.

In the book, the days are labeled Monday through Friday, with the weekend as rest days. I changed my plans a little due to my finger injury, but basically started on Saturday and ended on Friday, with two rest days during the week. I still like that schedule, and hopefully the weeks to come will not require too many adjustments.

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