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. 

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.


Ankle, bad; Shoulder, good.

Took the ankle for a test drive last night on the treadmill, it felt fine for a half mile and then the pain started to come back. I shut it down and got back on the goddamn elliptical. Man, I hate that thing. Bu I am going to be spending a lot more time on it in the weeks to come. This ankle injury has been lingering for so long that I think sustained time off from running is the only thing that is going to fix it. I’ve scheduled a doctors appointment, and I’m thinking I’ll need another week off at least, maybe more.

BUT! Not all is doom and gloom in the world of Sean’s pursuit of fitness. I was cleared by the physical therapist to resume push-ups this week. I am going to use this enforced time away from running to kick up the body weight work again. I need to be careful to not overdue it on the push-ups, but pull ups, l-sits and more are in the works.

Eventually, I’ll be able to do this:

Strength and Flexibility

There is a lot of talk in running circles, but little consensus, on the value of flexibility and upper body strength to running. Some argue that flexibility and strength training is a waste of time. It would be better if you just ran more, these runners say. Others think flexibility improves form and a strong core prevents injuries. I don’t know the answers to these questions, or even if definitive answers are possible. This is probably another example of the experiment of one. Some of us will benefit in our running from increased flexibility and strength, some of us won’t. Try it yourself and figure it out.


I am interested in greater flexibility and strength, whether it improves my running or not. Towards that end, I’ve started a basic flexibility routine and the 100 push up challenge. I’ll write about both here on occasion.


For flexibility, I’m doing the stretches everyone does, nothing special as, yet. I am shocked at how inflexible I am. I can barely touch my toes. There have been studies that flexibility is genetic, perhaps it is, and maybe I’ll never be a particularly flexible person, but I can definitely be better that I am.


The 100 push up challenge has been much harder than I imagined. I have started and stopped this program a half dozen times, never making it past the second week. This time I am committed to finishing the program, even if it takes much longer than the promised six weeks. This time around the first week went fine, the second week was tough, but in this, the third week, I have met with failure. Last night for the first time, I couldn’t finish the prescribed program. I think I need to repeat at least the day, and possibly the entire last week.

Hard as this is, I’m already seeing some benefits. I’m definitely stronger, I look better, and my form is improving. Getting to a hundred pushups is going to be like getting to a BQ in miniature – consistent effort over time will produce results, just you watch.