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There’s no shortage online of videos where athletes, bodybuilders and other fitness influencers subject themselves to the Navy SEALs physical fitness test, challenging their functional fitness and determining whether they’ve got what it takes to be accepted into training. But what do Navy SEALs go through once that training begins?
A new video from The Infographics Show on YouTube presents an animated recreation of a typical training exercise, encapsulating the physical and psychological hardship that SEAL candidates must endure during the seven-month “basic underwater demolition school,” or BUDS, a program that is so unforgiving it has a dropout rate of around 73 percent.
In this specific scenario, taken from the culminating event known as Hell Week, a team has been out on manoeuvers for four days, and already fighting massive fatigue, when they are issued orders to take and secure a nearby hill. This involves crawling through hundreds of feet of mud, barbed wire, and piping, and traverse a rope bridge, all while under fire.
Prior to even beginning BUDS, hopefuls must complete a rigorous five-week “in-dock” course before BUDS even begins. During this time they are put through a series of “in extremis” exercises, including a challenge where they jump into a pool with their hands and feet tied, and then must reach the surface within a limited timeframe (this is to prepare them for instances where their underwater equipment might fail them).
While BUDS is widely acknowledged as one of the toughest training programs in the world, that isn’t without reason. Many of the tactics deployed during Hell Week may seem unnecessarily harsh, but as the video above explains, it is likely that recruits (or “tadpole,” as they are called in the program) who graduates will end up fighting side by side with their former instructors; the goal is to create an unbreakable chain with zero weak links.
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