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Navy veteran and YouTuber Austen Alexander has been challenging his strength and endurance in all manner of ways since leaving the military, throwing himself into grueling physical undertakings such as the Air Force Fitness Test, Coast Guard Fitness Test, and U.S. Marines Fitness Test.
In a recent video, Alexander takes on one of his toughest ordeals yet: the basic underwater demolition (BUD) obstacle course which forms a part of Navy SEAL training. Active duty Navy SEAL Matt DeHaan guides Alexander through the 15 separate components of the assault course, which include parallel bars, wall climb, low crawl, a cargo net, balance logs, a rope bridge, log weavers, a rope swing, vaults, and a “spider wall.”
Alexander must complete the entire course in 12 minutes or under in order to achieve a passing score, but as he begins, he is aiming to finish in 7:30, which is more in keeping with the average time of active duty SEALs.
He fares well on the first several obstacles, but as DeHaan warns him, many people struggle with the rope swing, as it comes at a point in the test when their grip strength has been completely depleted. Alexander attempts the rope swing three times but doesn’t master it until his fourth try, meaning he fails that round.
“My forearms just got so full of blood and lactic acid,” he says, “it was hard to move them.”
Alexander eventually completes the entire course with a time of 19:43, meaning he has failed the test. “It’s probably the toughest thing I’ve done in a long time,” he says.
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.
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