The Royal Navy Fitness Programme

The Royal Navy Fitness Programme

There’s a high demand of fitness in any branch of the military and the Royal Navy is no exception.

Before beginning their basic training, new recruits must prove they are capable swimmers and pass a 2.4km running test.

The Navy has designed fitness programmes for people of all abilities on how to get into shape and meet the required standard. Here’s a look at what they suggest. 

Circuit Training

Getting fit for the Navy is all about cardiovascular fitness so recruits are advised against spending hours in the gym lifting weights.

Instead, the Royal Navy website advises to work on muscular strength through “traditional exercises” such as push-ups, sit-ups and burpees.

They advise incorporating circuit training so that the heart and lungs are being challenged as well as a full range of muscle groups.


It’s advised that road running will make up the biggest portion of the fitness programme prior to joining the navy. 

A duration of 35 minutes is the aim for easy steady-state runs which are to be performed at around 70 per cent heart rate, or a conversational pace.

Intervals at a slightly fast speed - around 80 per cent of max heart rate - are also suggested in order to build cardiovascular fitness. An example is three reps of eight minutes with a 90-second rest.

The final element of the programme is fartlek sessions which include short bursts on hills or sprints on flat ground which aim to improve Vo2 Max according to the Navy.

For someone of advanced fitness, which is described as a person who has trained consistently for a year, a training programme of four sessions a week for four weeks leading up to the fitness test is prescribed.