David Goggins Inspired Bodyweight Work Outs

David Goggins Getting it.

070723-N-6138R-001 SAN DIEGO (July 23, 2007) – U.S. Navy SEAL, Petty Officer 1st Class David Goggins runs 135 miles through Death Valley, California in the Kiehl’s Badwater Ultra Marathon that began in the Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the United States. Goggins finished the race in 3rd place 25 hours later on top of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the Continental United States. Goggins final time was a 4-hour improvement over his 2006 5th place finish. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon Rogers (RELEASED)

UPDATE: David Goggins has an incredible new book out called Can’t Hurt Me which you should buy immediately. Its available here. I recommend the audio book version. 

In Jesse Itzler’s great book Living with a Seal (Amazon, my review) David Goggins shares a number of classic bodyweight workouts.

For my reference, I’ve copied some of them out. Here they are:

“Nickels and Dimes”

5 pull ups and 10 push-ups every minute, on the minute, for ten minutes

The Burpees Test

100 Burpees for time

Under ten minutes = solid.

Under 11 minutes = decent

Takes you longer than 13 minutes? = do it again

Push up Ladder I

One push up, wait 15 seconds; Two push ups, wait 15 seconds, etc. till 10 push ups

At ten push ups, wait 30 seconds between sets. Go to eighteen. For extra fun, so back down, 18 to one.

Push Up Progression

15 x 7 sets (on the minute) = 105 total

12 x 9 sets (on 50 seconds) = 108 total

10x 10 sets (on 45 seconds) = 100 total

Long-Ass Push Pull Superset

12 push-ups, every 45 Seconds for 22 minutes

15 pull-ups, two minutes rest

Twenty push ups

3 pull ups x five sets

100 flutter kicks

20 x 20 Push Ups

Twenty Sets of Twenty push-ups, one minute break between sets

Descending Push Up Ladder

12, 8, 6, 4, on 15 seconds, followed by max sit ups in 1 minute for thirty minutes.

Push Up Sit Ups for Time

10 push-ups followed by max sit-ups on the minute for thirty minutes

Five Minute for 100 Push Ups

10 push-ups on 30 seconds, for five minute

Fireman Carry Work Out

Run thirty yards with partner on shoulder,

35 flutter kicks

20 push ups

Repeat 14 times

Even more Goggins resources, including links to interviews and my favorite videos are available here. 

Training Totals – Week Ending 1/20/2013

Overview:  Try again, fail again, fail better.  Limited temporal resources spread thin over a bunch of shit that needs to get done.  Still, I ran, did bodyweight work, and climbed.  It could have been worse.


  For the Week For the Year
Total Exercise Time ~5:30:00 ~12:00:00
Average Weight 171 171
Run 22 in 3:27:36 54.8 in 8:26:40
Prospect Park Loops 1 7/365 (358 to go)
Push Ups 2 sessions:

S1: 14 18 14 14 14

S2: 14 18 14 14 10

Pull Ups 1 session – 5, 3, 3, 2, 2 34
Dip 1 session – 3 8
Squat 1 session – 35 65
Handstand ~00:15:00 ~00:15:00
Pistol ~00:15:00 ~00:15:00
Flexibility and Balance ~00:15:00 ~00:30:00
Climbing 1:30:00 1:30:00
Hebrew 0 0


Friday Inspiration – Training the Pistol Squat

It is hard to find a good video tutorial for the pistol squat.  I think this one by Al Kavadlo is pretty good.  Nice progressive exercises, though I wonder if it is possible to get the straight leg at a more perpendicular angle to the ground?

I’ve been working this exercise (and the handstand) this week, with minimal progress.  Ramping up my miles, and doing a bunch of body weight squats has destroyed my legs.  Gotta get sore before you get strong I guess.



Training Totals – Week Ending 1/13/2013

Overview:  We’re finally settling in to the new place, and I feel like I am finally settling in to a workout routine.  It isn’t perfect yet, but it’s a start.  Running wise, I’m finally starting to get out there regularly again, the weekly mileage isn’t there yet, but it will be soon.  The little mini-goal I’ve set is to get a running streak going and keep it until I’m on pace for 2,000 miles for the year.

I did the bodyweight baseline tests last week.  This week I’ll start the strength and skill training in earnest.

Hebrew was another goose egg . That will change this week.

Oh yeah, and I’m really excited to hit the heavy bag in the gym a little bit.


  For the Week For the Year
Total Exercise Time ~5:00:00 ~6:30:00
Run 22.8 in 3:28:21 38.3 in 5:49:46
Prospect Park Loops 3 6/365 (359 to go)
Push Ups 1 session – 30 30
Pull Ups 2 sessions – S1:6/5; S2: 8 19
Dips 1 session – 5 5
Squat 1 session – 30 30
Handstand 0 0
Pistol 0 0
Flexibility and Balance ~00:15:00 `00:15:00
Hebrew 0 0

Friday Inspiration – Learning the Handstand

Handstand training begins in earnest this weekend.  To figure out how I should go about the progression, I’ve been watching some youtube video.  Despite the low budget quality, I think this is one of the best.

Dude’s advice on using a doorframe to practice the free standing handstand is genius.  I wonder what E is going to say when I’m kicking up to a handstand in the doorway to our closet?

Starting Point

There are many things I love about my new apartment.  Its bigger and nicer than where we’ve been living. Its got two bathrooms! And, perhaps most importantly, the building has a gym.  I’ve been so busy last night was the first time I made it down there.  It’s a great space, I think I’m going to spending a lot of time down there.

After a quick three miles on the treadmill I did some baseline tests for bodyweight work.  Here’s the sad state of affair:

Max Push ups: 30

Max Pull ups: 6

Max Dips: 5

Max Bodyweight squats: 30

I’ve got a long way to go, but getting there is going to be fun.


2013 Goals – Bodyweight Exercises

In order of priority the three kinds of physical activity I am focusing on are running, body-weight work, and rock climbing.  Being me, there are  of course tons of other types of exercises I dabble in, including cross country skiing, cycling, tennis, swimming, boxing, lifting, the list goes on.  But I’m not taking any of those particularly seriously.  The only activities I’m setting goals for this year are running and body-weight.  I enjoy climbing immensely, and hope to do more of it in the coming year, but I am also realistic enough to know I am never going to be able to give the sport the time needed to get truly good at it.

I’ve already written about my running goals, here are some thoughts on body-weight training.

Body weight training has always appealed to the minimalist in me, I love the simplicity, and I aspire to have the grace and strength to weight ratio of people like Jim Bathhurst from Beast Skills.

How to get there?  I’m taking a four pronged approach – research, strength building, increased flexibility and skills training.


First, I’m researching, thinking, watching and reading.  Soon I’ll be doing a lot more writing.  I’ve been dipping into Overcoming Gravity, the best book I’ve found on body-weight training.  I’m watching tons of youtube videos and I’m pestering Joe at movementmovement for help.  I have a lot more to learn. For now I’m going to focus on building strength at the major body-weight exercises, improving my flexibility, and developing two skills – one upper body and one lower body.


For strength, I’m going with  four foundational body-weight exercises – push ups, pull ups, dips and squats.  I’ll be doing these every other day with goals of 100 push ups,30 pull ups, 50 dips, and 100 squats in single sets.  I’ll be doing all four exercises in a single session three times a week, tentatively on Tuesdays, Thursday, and Sundays.  Lumping them all together in a single day will likely slow my strength progression, but such are the breaks.  For the push ups I’ll be using the 100 push up challenge program.  For the other exercises I’ll just be slowing inching up the reps.  This program starts tomorrow.  I’m excited.


There is substantial debate about whether increased flexibility is good or bad for endurance athletes.  This is what I know – stretching feels good and the more flexible I am, the better I feel.  When I was coming back from Achilles injury last year, flexibility played a big role in my recovery.  I’m going to keep that up and make a commitment to extensive stretching every evening, with special attention to my hamstrings, hips, ankles, and shoulders.  I’m still toying with this routine.  I’ll post more details at some point.


Finally, this winter I’ll be working two longer term skills – the free standing handstand and the pistol.  I chose the handstand because its foundational for so much else that I want to do, and it’s a fucking bad-ass move to pull out at picnics.  The pistol is an incredible test of strength, flexibility, and balance.  Plus, it is supposed to help my rock climbing.

For these skills I’ll be using the tutorials Jim has on Beastskills, plus some guidance from my good buddy Joe.  For now, I’ll be working these skills at the start of my body-weight workout sessions.  Once I have some strength, I’ll probably start working the handstand and the balance aspects of the pistol every day.

I know what you’re thinking – “Geesh Sean, that’s a lot. How are you going to fit all this all in ?”  Here’s how I’m thinking it will break down:

It could be I am biting off more than I can chew, I’ve been known to do that.  If I have, I’ll regroup.  But for now, this is the schedule.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
AM Easy Run AM

Easy Run


“workout” Run


Easy Run


Easy Run


Long Run


















Climb/ Bodyweight/


Although they are boring, and no one reads them, I’ll going to be bringing back to weekly training total posts to track my progress.  Here’s to a year of injury free fun!