Friday, March 6, 2009

Strength in Diversity Pt. III: Too Tall for a SEAL?

Guest blogger: former SEAL Stew Smith

Topic: Too Tall/Long Arms:
I am 6 ft 7” tall and have long arms - pushups and pullups are tough but I imagine carrying that boat on my head will crush me! How do I get around that if I get to BUD/S?

Answer: Sounds like an excuse already. We had tall guys in BUD/S who made it through no problem - or should I say with just as many problems as everyone else. You have to get stronger by doing more pullups and pushups no matter if you arms are long. You can spread your arms wider to create a natural 90 degree elbow bend during your pushups as well as with pullups. BUT it takes practice and many, many reps of both. I like the Perfect Pullup and Pushup for that reason - instead of doing sets of 50 pushups, I am limited to about 50% of those with both devices meaning I can reach failure faster. Therefore I grow and understand the pain involved with hard work and become more mentally tough.

As far as your head - all heads get banged up but you will be placed in Boat Crew #1 which is for the tallest guys in your BUD/S class. This is always guys usually 6’4” and above so I do not see that being an issue.

Everyone has a nemesis at BUD/S whether it is cold, running, swimming, SCUBA, upperbody strength/endurance, or just sheer pain tolerance - find the weakness and make it a strength.

In the SEAL Teams, you will be able to reach areas others cannot without assistance so that is an advantage as well in many situations.

Questions? Fire away!


Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness and self defense books such as The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, Maximum Fitness, and SWAT Workout. Certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and as military fitness trainer, Stew has trained hundreds of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT and many other law enforcement professions. See him at

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