David Goggins’ Brutal Workout Plan for Strength & Endurance

david goggins workout plan
Image via Instagram @davidgoggins

Goggins mainly focuses on cardio training since he believes endurance sports are the most mentally and physically demanding. 

David Goggins is a true inspiration. His incredible journey from an overweight exterminator diagnosed with sickle cell anemia to conquering one of the world’s toughest races, the Infinitus 88k, is awe-inspiring. He also holds the Guinness World Record for the most pull-ups in 2013, completing a staggering 4030 in just 17 hours, something that many people would deem impossible. In this post, we explore David Goggins’ workout plan. 

Another fascinating thing about David Goggins is that he inspired himself to turn his life around. Goggins recalls his turning point, starting while taking a shower. 

“I started hearing: ‘Navy SEALs. Toughest training.’ I was hearing it cut out between the water hitting my ears … I got sick of being haunted by being nobody. I didn’t want to sit back and continually watch these shows about great people doing amazing things. I wanted that feeling in my head that I believed that they had: of true accomplishment.”

This motivated him to join the Navy Seals, for which he lost 197 lbs in three months to qualify for BUDs. After serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, Goggins is a retired veteran, but he has not slowed down. He also is the only United States Armed Forces member to complete Seal training, Air Force Tactical Air Controller Training, and US Army Ranger School. Goggins has two books out, Never Finished and Can’t Hurt MeNow, David Goggins is an ultra-distance cyclist, ultramarathon runner, and triathlete. Many see him as the “toughest man alive.” 

But what exactly does he do for his workout plan? What does David Goggins do to stay in shape? Let’s take a look.

David Goggins Workout Plan


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David Goggins believes extreme physical activity, usually cardio, is critical to building a beastly body and developing the utmost mental strength. Therefore, David Goggins spends most of his workout plan on his bike, conquering a trail or in the water, and has many medals to show. Goggins often states that he hates cardio such as swimming, running, and cycling but does them anyway to callus his mind. He firmly believes in doing things you hate daily to build mental fortitude.

David Goggins typically structures his training to fit events or competitions that he has coming up. So, we’ll examine his training when preparing for a marathon. We’ll also look at some general cardio workouts that Goggins follows to keep in optimum shape. 

When preparing for a running event, Goggins typically starts his day at 3 am and does a 20-mile run. He then rides 20 miles to work on his bike, and on most days at lunch, he goes for another run. Goggins then cycle back 20 miles to join his wife for a gym workout.

David Goggins’ Strength Training Workout

Goggins typically does strength exercises in the gym and includes core training three times a week. For his strength training, he uses heavy weights and trains almost to failure for all the sets except the last. During his last set, Goggins trains to failure, but he takes sufficient time for rest between sets, getting as high as 3 minutes if his body requires it. This will allow him to lift the most weight he’s capable of each set since his muscles will be less tired. Below are some typical exercises he does during his strength training.

Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlifts 3 10
Pullups 3 5
Squats 5 5
Lunges 3 12
Pushups 5 25


The deadlift is a total body exercise that works on the quads, hamstrings, core, adductors, glutes, lower back, lats, traps, and forearms (1). This classic compound exercise is excellent for building muscle but is also functional by helping you train muscles you use to lift heavy objects daily. 


Pullups are a classic bodyweight back exercise that work on your abs, traps, lats, rhomboids, biceps, brachialis, and forearms. This exercise is an effective way to strengthen your back, arms, and shoulder stabilizer muscles and also increases your grip strength. As previously stated, he holds the record for the most pullups. To do so, he breaks his pull-ups into sets to conserve his energy rather than doing pullups for max reps. 


Squats are a functional movement that work on your glutes, hamstrings, quads, adductors, calves, hip flexors, abs, and obliques. They are functional and can help you improve your posture and stability


Lunges also strengthen the lower body and work on glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, abs, obliques, and erector spinae (2). This unilateral movement strengthens your core and back without putting too much strain on your spine.  


Pushups are an upper body exercise for your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles. It’s a great routine to use for building your upper body strength.

David Goggins does four exercises three times a week for his core workout, completing three sets for reps of the following four exercises.

Exercises Sets Reps
Swiss Ball Obliques 3 25
Russian Sit-Ups 3 10
V-Ups 3 10
Broomstick Obliques 3 10

Swiss Ball Obliques

The Swiss ball oblique primarily targets the obliques but also works on your abs and lower back. However, this routine is something that is more designed for athletes of an advanced level, not beginners

Russian Sit-Ups

Russian sit-ups are a great way to tone your core muscles by working on your abs and the muscles deep within. 


V-ups primarily target your abs and oblique muscles. However, lifting your legs during this exercise improves your hip flexor muscles. 

Broomstick Obliques

As the name suggests, broomstick obliques target your obliques and recruit your abs, glutes, and lower back. This exercise is an effective way to define your waistline and strengthen your core.

David Goggins Cardio Workout 


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For cardio, David Goggins does gruesome Navy Seal training techniques. Just before the Covid lockdown in 2020, he uploaded two lists of the routines he does. It includes bodyweight exercises and was timely because many people used it to keep fit while quarantining. This research on 141 subjects recorded weight loss from doing cardio with no differences between men and women (3). Here are both routines.

Cardio Routine 1

The first cardio routine is a fast-paced workout of seven different exercises. During this workout,  there’s an occasional 1-minute rest for hydration

140 Lunges
140 Squats
140 Lunges
100 Squats
1 Min Rest/ Hydrate
250 Jumping Jacks
1 Min Rest/Hydrate
230 Sit-Ups
1 Min Rest/Hydrate
180 Push-Ups (10 Reps Every 30 Seconds x 18)
1 Mins Rest/Hydrate
25 Arm Haulers, 25 Push-Ups (Repeat x 4)

Cardio Routine 2

The second cardio workout includes five exercises designed to test your resolve from the beginning, including the five exercises listed below.

Jumping Jacks (10 Mins)
10 Jumping Jacks, 10 Push-Ups (Repeat for 10 mins)
115 Alternating Lunges
110 Unassisted Sit-Ups
2 x 25 Push-Up to Planks
25 Unassisted Sit-Ups
10 Jumping Jacks/10 Push-Ups (3 Sets)

As an endurance athlete, David Goggins mainly focuses on cardio workouts for his workout plan. He believes endurance sports are the toughest to test one’s mental strength. But he also includes strength training in his training programs as well. He doesn’t think much about recovery, is old-school, and pushes his body to the brink. 

Wrap Up

Overall, Dvid Goggins is a prime example of someone who is not only physically strong, but also mentally strong. He has overcome some serious obstacles and done things that many deem impossible.

What do you think of David Goggins?

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  1. Martín-Fuentes, I., Oliva-Lozano, J. M., & Muyor, J. M. (2020). Electromyographic activity in deadlift exercise and its variants. A systematic review. PloS one, 15(2), e0229507. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0229507 
  2. Muyor, J. M., Martín-Fuentes, I., Rodríguez-Ridao, D., & Antequera-Vique, J. A. (2020). Electromyographic activity in the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and rectus femoris during the Monopodal Squat, Forward Lunge and Lateral Step-Up exercises. PloS one, 15(4), e0230841. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0230841 
  3. Donnelly, J. E., Honas, J. J., Smith, B. K., Mayo, M. S., Gibson, C. A., Sullivan, D. K., Lee, J., Herrmann, S. D., Lambourne, K., & Washburn, R. A. (2013). Aerobic exercise alone results in clinically significant weight loss for men and women: midwest exercise trial 2. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 21(3), E219–E228. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.20145
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.