David Goggins – Review and Update

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When David Goggins showed up to the box on Sunday morning, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind he would break the current world record of 4020 pull ups completed in 24 hours. Physically he is unmatched…shredded muscle from head to toe…one local news station even compared him to a creation by Michelangelo. Mentally, he has total focus and determination…he knew what he was here to do and he would not be deterred. I’ve watched him train and knew that he was ready.

If the world pull up record was simply on physical and mental strength alone, David could blow the record out of the water. Unfortunately calluses are the consequence of anyone doing pull ups and the constant friction of his hands on the bar for over 16 hours resulted in third degree burns on David’s right hand.

David’s hand after he called the event. Doctors have diagnosed this as a third degree burn.

But no worries my fellow David Goggins fans, he will be back and if I have it my way he will be here again at CrossFit Brentwood Hills.

Hour after hour David continued to amaze every person that came to event. Hours 1-6 consisted of David doing 6 pull ups every minute on the minute. It usually took him about 10 seconds to complete 6 flawless, dead-hang, chin over the bar pull ups. Each one with perfect form as the one before. He then would rest for the remaining 50 seconds. After 1000 pull ups he looked the same as when he completed the first 10, other than a little extra sweat dripping down his back. His routine was the same…

6 pull ups, sit down, 6 pull ups, chalk hands, sit down, 6 pull ups, sit down, 6 pull ups, chalk hands, sit down….

When I say it was unbelievable to watch, I truly mean I have never (ever) seen anything like it before.


After hour 6 he called for a break, I could tell his hand was starting to bother him. He dropped to 5 pull ups each minute, but not without joking to the person counting his reps that he may still do some 6’s “just because I can.”

We began wrapping the bar with extra padding. He was bleeding through is glove onto the towels and tape wrapped around the bar, blood was dripping from his fingers onto the floor. This continued for another 3 hours. His breaks got a little longer stopping as he wrapped his hand trying different kinds of tape. We did another two layers of the towel around the bar, trying to add a some more cushion. He switched up his gloves. We taped under the glove, over the glove. At this point it was about pain management.

It was around hour 10 that he removed the glove and the tape and I saw that the skin and calluses had ripped completely. This was the first close up that I had of what his hand looked like exactly. But he continued. At this point he had dropped to 4 pull ups each minute. The pain was getting intense. David put in his head phones and zoned out. He watched the clock and waited for his time to get on the bar, he did his 4 reps and he sat down. He didn’t talk to anyone, he stared at the floor…he stared at his hand. Shortly after, he dropped to 3 reps a minute and continued this pace into his 3000th rep. I was expecting him to break after 3000, but he didn’t stop. He continued into the 12th hour continuing 3 pull ups.

Around 8:30pm he came to me and asked me to take everything off the bar and wrap a single layer of a padded tape.

He took a longer break trying a different way to wrap his hand. He came back and did 2 reps but nothing we did to the bar or his hand seemed to help. The new tape on the bar was too slick and his grip was getting worse. I took off that tape and added a different kind of wrap to the bar. We tried wrapping his hands several different ways and nothing seemed to provide him any relief from the pain. Every time he would do a pull up that layer of skin would continue to peel back. But he pushed through. He was down to 2 pull ups each minute pacing in between sets, wrapping his hand, watching the clock. This became his routine for the next 2 hours.

Around midnight he stepped in the back room and he didn’t come back out until after 1am at which time he called it. His hand had torn into the second and third layers of skin and he could no longer grip the bar. The final count was 3203.

My first hand account of the entire event was amazing. I’m inspired and motivated in my own training and I feel more equipped to pour that same inspiration and motivation into my CrossFit athletes.┬áThere isn’t another man in the world like David Goggins. And I say that aside from his physical abilities.

When David and I discussed having the event at my box the fact that he is not a practicing CrossFitter never crossed my mind. Honestly the fact that he was someone who was coming back a second time for something he very publicly failed at 2 months prior was my main reason to offer him the use of my facility. I’m all about self vindication. It was never about the publicity to David. In his words he would “do this in a hole with no one watching.” Also, he is a NavySEAL and I’m a Marine. Enough said.

David is an extremely well known athlete. What David does, his SEAL training, his preparations for ultra runs and marathons, his power lifting experience and now this pull up event, to me is the definition of what CrossFit is all about. It is constantly varied, always changing. David is the master of ultra runs. He could stay there and dominate each and every run, but does he? No. Also, pull ups are something many of my clients struggle with. Completing just 1 unassisted pull up is a huge goal many have set for themselves. Seeing a man complete over 3000 dead hang pull ups (no kipping was allowed) with perfect form gave each of them extreme motivation. They are seeing first hand what seems impossible become possible. They watched him push the limits, press through the pain, with blood dripping off his hand and hour after hour after hour he continued to get back up on that bar.

Do I think helping a non-CrossFitter reach a personal goal shows a poor image of my box? Most definitely not. Yes, I’m a passionate CrossFitter. I love everything about CrossFit, but CrossFit is about NOT limiting yourself, pushing past what the average do, exceeding what you think is even possible.

CrossFit Brentwood Hills is the first CrossFit affiliate in Brentwood, Tennessee. We have only been open for 6 weeks and we already have an amazing group of athletes! I’ve been able to talk to a few of the CFBH athletes that either came as witnesses or spectators to the event. Each of them were so supportive of not only our box, but also David…a man they had never met (some of them never heard of) in their life. I am thankful to each and everyone of them.