David Goggins stretching routine, and his story is an uncommon one. He truly believes that stretching saved his life.  If you understand the hell that this man has been willing to put himself though, you’re inclined to believe him.

David will be the first to tell you that his stretches are not for you.  He suggests each person’s training should be tailored to their circumstances and their body.  Programs should push us individually to our own optimal health, beyond what we thought was possible.  That being said, David focuses on core stretches, and dedication, modifying his routine to suit your situation comes highly recommended. 

To understand why David’s body needs this extreme stretching, you should know what he has asked his body to do. 

His journey of miraculous feats began by losing 106 lbs in less than three months in order to qualify to apply, to become a Navy Seal. 

The tenacity of Goggins had only just begun. Due to injuries, David endured the famous Navy Seal “Hell Week” three times in one year to finally graduate.

Sometime after becoming a Seal, as a challenge to himself, David volunteered to have his rank stripped so that he could enter into the Army Rangers school, as well as the Airforce’s TAC-P special operations program, both of which are among the most grueling training environments known to man. 

In addition to his military achievements, David is perhaps best known as being one of the world’s top endurance athletes. He has competed and won countless ultra marathons of distances well over 100 miles in single races, through deserts, and mountains. To top all of this off, he managed to set the Guinness world record for the number of pull-ups completed in a 24 hour period.  David completed 4,030 pull-ups, in 17 hours. 

David Goggins Ultra Runner

“081011-N-6674H-004” by Marion Doss is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0cc iconcc by iconcc sa icon


Several years ago, the superhuman achievements had started to catch up to David and cause serious health issues. His body had grown so stiff from the years of torture, that he was suffering from a lack of blood flow that was effecting his entire body.  He designed his stretching program to slowly alleviate his back pain, release his quad stiffness, increase his range of motion, and most of all correct his lack of circulation.

When he initially started stretching, his condition had worsened to the point he had a difficult time getting out of bed and believed that his spine had become so compressed he had lost up to 2″ in height.  After pushing through hours of stretching the core muscles binding his nerves and spine, he began to see miraculous improvement. David would spend almost every waking hour stretching while doing other things. He would stretch from 8-12 hours a day, which eventually dropped to 6, then to 4. Finally, now he religiously spends at least two hours every night stretching, usually while watching sports or engaging with his friends and family. 


The psoas muscle is the soul of your body. The more stressed your psoas is, the more your mind is stressed. ~ David Goggins  


David believes that the bulk of our stretching should be done to open your hip flexors and stretch the psoas muscle. The thighs are a massive muscle that, together with the psoas and hip flexors, wrap around our spine, and as they tighten, everything tightens both physically and mentally. He firmly believes stretching can greatly relieve anxiety and depression. 

David Goggins Navy Seal

David believes in simple stretches, consistently over time, always improving.


Neck Stretches 

Core neck stretches, holding your head to each side for as long as you can until it becomes uncomfortable—ear to shoulder, chin to chest, ear to shoulder, and repeat. 

Shoulder Stretches

Doorway stretches are a favorite of David’s, and he recommends that everyone be able to interlace their fingers behind their back and raise their arms as high as possible. This single stretch has the added benefit of stretching the chest and biceps as well. Additionally, the basic rear delt stretch holding your straight arm across the front of your body will loosen your entire shoulder, but also keep your rotator cuff working. As with the neck stretches, he continues holding each stretch until it becomes uncomfortable, rests, and repeats. 

Tricep Stretches

The standard arm behind your head tricep stretch is a frequent tool of David’s. Holding this position also can release tension in your back. Again, holding until there is discomfort, and then switching. 

Hip and Psoas Stretching

The holy grail of David’s Stretching exercises is the time he puts into his psoas. On the floor with one knee down and one up, pushing his hips forward with his chest and shoulders back, he turns his knee down hip inward towards the front knee for the optimal stretch. He has famously alternated this single stretch for hours. A modification of this that he frequently uses is to reach back to his knee down ankle to bring it up, adding additional stretching to his knee down quadricep. 

Three other basic stretches that have been staples for David’s Psoas routine and that he recommends for beginners are;

  • Indian style sitting – Sitting in this position for as long as his body can manage before taking a break and resetting.
  • Seated Double Quad Prayer Stretch – This primary position of sitting with your shins on the floor and your butt to your heels took David a long time to be able to hold comfortably. His quads were referred to as steel bands that had tightened to the point that this position was not possible. 
  • Butterfly Stretch – Originally, this position caused agony for David to maintain. He holds this position until it is unbearable, releases and cycles back through the full three exercises. 

Glutes Stretching

David will use the seated glute stretch on the floor, in a chair, on his back, or a combination of all three. This stretch is merely crossing your legs with one ankle over the opposite knee and using your arms to pull your top knee closer to your body, causing a deep stretch through your glutes and hamstrings.

Hamstring Stretches

Traditional seated reaches with your chest up and spine straight focus on the hamstrings, and engage your glutes yet again. 

Quad Stretching

Maintaining his philosophy of simple, continuous pressure, David’s go-to stretch for his quadriceps is using a door for assistance to stand and hold one ankle behind his back, pushing his chest up and feeling the stretch through his entire quad. 

Calves Stretching

A favorite of Davids involves a little DIY home stretching equipment. David places a board against a wall or frequently the inside of a doorway at a 70-degree angle. Using his arms to hold his body close to the door frame, David steps onto the board with his heel on the floor and his toes at the top of the board, creating a deep full calf stretch. 


David is a huge proponent of yoga and Hot Yoga specifically.  He’s made it a regular part of his routine and encourages everyone to try it for both their health and mental clarity. 



There is simply no one on earth like David Goggins.  Everyone that encounters him is usually not sure what to make of his incredible drive.  Like so many things David does, his stretching routine is not for everyone but can be used both for motivation and a guide to tailor your own program.

If you want to know more about David, my first suggestion is to listen to JRE #1080.  This Joe Rogan Podcast was the first with David, but not the last. The first time you hear his story, you will not believe it’s true, and to hear him tell it, is unreal. He is also available for speaking engagements at his website davidgoggins.com.

David has also published a fantastic book with stories that I had never heard before and I’ve listened to and watched countless hours of David.   There is a Can’t Hurt Me Audio BookCan’t Hurt Me Hard Copy, and a Can’t Hurt Me Clean Edition.   I happen to own all 3, but I admit the clean edition was an accident.

If you’ve got Goggins stories to tell, or think I got something wrong,  (entirely possible).  Please leave me a comment below!