Functional fitness has a unique, some might say odd, tradition to commemorate individuals who have been killed in the line of duty: Hero WODs. Hero WODs are typically longer, more grueling workouts than your standard box workouts done to pay respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. You suffer for them, in honour of them. From a list that is far too long, here are our seven favourite CrossFit Hero WODs.
7 CrossFit Hero WODs: Grab a Mate and Get to Work
Murph is in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, New York, who was killed in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005.
Few workouts have branched out of the functional fitness world and into the mainstream fitness culture like Murph has. Come Memorial Day, you can find this workout everywhere. Whether it’s on the cover of Men’s Health or a post from your favorite semi-fit actor, The Murph Challenge, as it’s widely known, has become a staple come the end of May.
5 rounds for time of:
9 hang power cleans
6 push jerks
Done at 155#
This is in honor of U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Timothy P. Davis, 28, who was killed on February 20, 2009, while supporting operations in Operation Enduring Freedom when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED).
It’s just you and the barbell. DT is the ultimate test of barbell cycling and grip strength. Typically, the big men at the gym have their eyes light up whenever this workout shows up. Meanwhile, coincidentally, all the bodyweight ninjas suddenly have a list of errands that they have to get through that day. This workout must also be a favorite of Games Director Dave Castro, as it’s been a part of the Games twice — once at a heavier weight and once for 10 rounds instead of five.
3. The Seven
7 rounds for time of:
7 handstand push-ups
7 thrusters (at 135#)
7 deadlifts (245#)
7 kettlebell swings (2 pood)
A suicide bomber killed seven Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers and one Jordanian officer at a remote base in southeastern Afghanistan on December 30, 2009, after posing as a potential informant reporting to Al-Qaeda. Killed in the attack were CIA officers Jennifer Lynne Matthews, 45; Scott Michael Roberson, 39; Harold E. Brown Jr., 37; Darren LaBonte, 35; Elizabeth Hanson, 30; and security contractors Jeremy Jason Wise, 35, and Dane Clark Paresi, 46.
It’s just seven reps, but don’t underestimate this workout. I have had athletes pushed to the brink of nearly quitting mid-workout from this one. Low-rep workouts like this tempt (force?) you to go unbroken, which can be a recipe for disaster if that causes you to overextend yourself. This workout is guaranteed to throw any first-timer for a loop.
Out of all the CrossFit Hero WODs, this one might be the most deceiving.
Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
4 handstand push-ups
8 kettlebell swings (2 pood)
Chief Petty Officer Nate Hardy was killed on Sunday, February 4 during combat operations in Iraq. Nate is survived by his wife Mindi and his son Parker.
Nate is a slightly higher skill Hero WOD, including muscle-ups and handstand push-ups. Thankfully, the reps remain low enough that even if you haven’t mastered these movements or can’t perform them with a ton of volume, you can still battle your way through it. For those who do have these tools in the toolbox, the biggest challenge is the 20-minute time cap. It’s one of those workouts where in the midst of it, you feel like 10 minutes have gone by only to look up at the clock and see you are three minutes in.
21-15-9 reps of:
JT is in honor of Navy Petty Officer First Class Jeff Taylor, 30, of Little Creek, VA, who was killed in Afghanistan.
Some of the most devastating workouts in functional fitness are those with low interference. What I mean is workouts where one movement does not affect the next, i.e. Fran or Diane. It allows you to attack each piece with incredible intensity and doesn’t bring a carryover effect to the next movement.
The complete opposite is true of JT. Every movement affects the next. It’s a pressing buffet. This makes strategy and managing fatigue incredibly important. Prepare for a massive pump!
2 rounds for time of:
50 overhead squats (135#)
U.S. Marine Corps Captain Brandon “Bull” Barrett, 27, of Marion, Indiana, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was killed on May 5, 2010, while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Two rounds?! It wouldn’t be a CrossFit Hero WOD if it wasn’t miserable, right? This is one of those workouts where I think, we can all agree, one round would be plenty. But that’s half the fun. This is a long one even for a Hero WOD, which makes finishing it much sweeter of an accomplishment.
Wearing a 20-pound vest, 3 rounds for time of:
Captain Ronald G. Luce, 27, of the U.S. Army Company C, 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, died on August 2, 2009, in Qole Gerdsar, Afghanistan, after his vehicle was struck by a command wire IED.
Any workout with 300 squats in it with a weight vest is guaranteed to leave you walking funny for the next few days. This workout is a great mix of a monostructural component, a high-skill gymnastic movement, and a bodyweight movement. Something different for everyone. Put all three together and you have a brutal workout.