I recently accompanied my neighbor to his wife’s memorial. His wife was in the army. She died in the line of duty last year. He visits her grave with flowers every year.

It got me thinking, though – how do you celebrate the thousands of American servicemen and women who have lost their lives in the line of duty?

Perhaps you fly the national flag on Memorial Day. Or maybe you’re among the hundreds of people who choose to visit and decorate the graves of fallen heroes.

While all these traditions are effective ways to keep their memories alive, they are all practiced on a single day of the year. Questions as to how you can memorialize them more often are in CrossFit Hero WODS.

In this article, we introduce you to CrossFit Hero WODs. We tell you what they are and take you through 15 of the best ones for home workouts.

If you are wondering what CrossFit is in the first place, here is a brief answer for you.

Did you know? The first CrossFit Hero WOD was ‘JT’. It serves in honor of Petty Officer Jeff Taylor who died in Afghanistan on 28th June 2005.  ‘JT’ featured as the workout of the day on the CrossFit site on 6th July 2005.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is the primary strength and conditioning fitness program for military special operations units, police academies, and some athletes.

The CrossFit training program involves high-intensity interval workouts. It features basic everyday movements such as squats, pushes and pulls.

woman showcasing the Best CrossFit Hero WODs

Aside from that, it’s under the trademark of CrossFit Inc. Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai were the brains behind this company back in 2000. Santa Cruz, California is home to the original CrossFit gym.

Today, there are thousands of CrossFit affiliates or xfit gyms. You can find the list of common CrossFit affiliates in this post. The majority are in North America though you will find xfit gyms in many other parts of the world.

What Is a Hero WOD?

CrossFit Hero WODs (Workouts of the Day) are unique sets of CrossFit exercises that are about more than just fitness.

When a service member (military officer, police officer or firefighter) dies in the line of duty, a CrossFit Hero WOD is created in their name.

First responders, military and law enforcement communities were some of the earliest proponents of CrossFit Hero WODs.

Why do CrossFit Hero WODs?

Anyone familiar with the CrossFit training program knows that WODs are not easy.

So why immerse yourself into these grueling, gut-wrenching workouts? There are so many other fitness options out there?

lady doing CrossFit Hero WOD

For CrossFitters, the workouts are symbolic gestures of respect for servicemen and women who paid the ultimate price.  By speaking their names every time you do the workout, suffering through it, you reflect on their sacrifice.

How to Get Official Hero WODs from CrossFit

Ran to Google already? Well, a quick online search for Hero WODs brings up a lot of information. It is difficult to tell which ones are official and which ones are not.

CrossFitters are generally advised to visit the main CrossFit site for official WODs.

two women showcasing some of the best CrossFit Hero WODs

So who comes up with these WODs?

They come from gyms around the world. Many come from fitness professionals like coaches. However, anyone can create a WOD and submit it.

Let me make it easier for you – you can submit a WOD by filling out this form. You’ll need to provide the name of the WOD, details of movements, reps and a scoring system.

If the WOD is a tribute to a fallen first responder, you also provide background information on the individual.

Supporting photographs and videos help to strengthen your submission. The WODs undergo review for safety before listing as an official Hero WOD.

Best CrossFit Hero WODs to Try at Home

A fan of the gym? No? well, too bad. That’s where you normally do CrossFit Hero WODs.

Listen, as long as you are at a gym, there are hundreds of WODs to choose from because you have lots of equipment.

But, what happens when you want to work out at home? You probably don’t have access to equipment like barbells and ropes.

A little surprise for you – We have compiled a list of 15 best CrossFit WODs you can easily do at home. These require minimal or improvised equipment. How about that!

For these, you need an actual or improvised pull-up bar and dumbbells. If you don’t have dumbbells at home you can improvise using two plastic water bottles. Each movement is indicated alongside the number of repetitions prescribed.

1. Murph

MurphThis is arguably the most common and toughest CrossFit WOD.  It is a running WOD which makes it ideal when you have no equipment available.

Murph serves in memory of Lt. Michael Murphy who was a Navy SEAL. He died in Afghanistan in 2005.

It may look easy but when you have a few hundred air squats to get through, it takes more than a bit of effort.

Workout:

Run – 1 mile

Pull-ups –  100

Push-ups  – 200

Air squats –  300

Run  – 1 mile

To do air squats correctly, have your feet apart at shoulder width. Make sure you point your legs straight ahead. When you do an air squat, your hips should move down and back steadily until you get to a resting position.

You should feel some strain in your thighs and glutes.

2. Helton

a group of people doing Helton CrossFit Hero WODHelton is in honor of U.S Air Force Security Forces 1st Lieutenant Joseph Helton. He died while on a mission in Iraq after an improvised explosive device was detonated near his vehicle.

Workout

A total of 3 rounds for time:

Run – 800m

Dumbbell squat cleans (50 lbs.)  – 30

Burpees  – 30

3. Brenton

Brenton CrossFit Hero WOD workoutTimothy Brenton was a Field Training Officer serving at the Seattle Police Department. He died at the age of 39 following a drive-by shooting on 31st October 2009.

Workout

Five rounds for time:

Bear crawl – 100 feet

Standing broad jump – 100 feet

Bear crawls are just as their name suggests. Walk on all fours like a bear. Standing broad jumps are similar to long jumps. With these, you aim to land on both feet.

4. Cindy

Cindy CrossFit Hero WODMake-no-mistake, Cindy is one of those workouts that looks simple and easy on paper. Try maintaining a consistent pace for 10 to 20 minutes and you will confirm ‘easy’ is not an appropriate word to describe ‘Cindy’.

Workout

Pull-ups – 5

Push-ups  – 10

Squats – 15

Complete as many rounds as you can in 20 minutes

5. Forrest

Forrest WODsForrest Leamon was a U.S Drug Enforcement Administration Agent. The 37-year-old died on 26th October 2009 in Afghanistan. His helicopter crashed while on a counter-narcotics mission.

Workout

3 rounds for time:

L pull-ups – 20

Toes -to- bars – 30

Burpees – 40

Run – 800m

L pull-ups or L-sits are exceptionally difficult because you’re supposed to hold your body in a sitting position.

Toes-to-bars movements have you swing your body forward and touch the bar with your toes.

6. Jared

Jared WoDsThis WOD is named after U.S Army Master Sergeant Jared Van Aalst. The 34-year-old died in Afghanistan while on combat operations.

Workout

Four rounds for time:

Run – 800m

Pull-ups – 40

Push-ups – 70

7. Clovis

Clovis WODIf you like to run, ‘Clovis’ is for you. It is named after US Army Second Lieutenant Clovis Ray. He was killed in 2012 in Afghanistan.

It calls for a fairly long run (10 miles). Adding burpee- pulls makes it a WOD for seasoned enthusiasts.

Workout

For time:

Run -10 miles

Burpee pull-ups -150

8. Joshie

Something in honor of U.S Army Staff Sergeant Joshua Whitaker. This 23-year-old serviceman died in Afghanistan on 15th May 2007.

Workout

For time:

Dumbbell snatches using 40-pound dumbbell – 21

L pull-ups –  21

Dumbbell snatches using 40-pound dumbbell  –  21

L pull-ups – 21

9. Weaver

When you do the Weaver, remember U.S Army 1st Lieutenant Todd Weaver. He died in a roadside bomb attack on his unit in Afghanistan on 9th September 2010.

Workout

Four rounds for time:

L pull-ups – 10

Push-ups -15

Chest to bar pull-ups – 15

Push-ups – 15

Pull-ups – 20

Push-ups – 15

10. Severin

Severin WODThe Severin WOD is named after U.S Army Sergeant 1st Class Severin Summers III. He died at the age of 43 on 2nd August 2009. His vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device.

Workout

For time:

Strict pull-ups –  50

Hand release push-ups – 100.

Run – 5,000m

Pull-ups and push-ups in the Severin are slightly different from regular ones. In the strict pull-up, the movement is only complete after you lift your chin above the level of the bar. For hand-release push-ups, you lift your hands off the ground at the bottom of each movement.

11. Angie

Even at a glance, you’ll notice that ‘Angie’ is nice and neat. A common round figure of 100. It’s easy to assume this WOD is easy. But not quite so.

The upside is that it doesn’t require much in terms of technical skills.

Workout

For time:

Pull-ups – 100

Push-ups – 100

Sit-ups -100

Squats – 100

12. Chelsea

Chelsea, one of the Best CrossFit Hero WODsChelsea doesn’t require any equipment and doesn’t involve any difficult moves. All you need is a clock.  But that doesn’t mean it is easy.

Workout

Minute, on the minute

Pull-ups – 5

Push-ups -10

Air Squats – 5

13. Bert

Bert is another running WOD. It features repetitive 400m runs. None requires technical skill but it’s certainly not for beginners.

It’s named in honor of U.S Marine Cpl. Albert Gettings. He died in Fallujah, Iraq in 2009 while on a counter-sniper operation.

Workout

For time:

Burpees -50

Run – 400m

Push-ups- 100

Run – 400m

Walking lunges – 150

Run – 400m

Squats – 200

Run -400m

Walking lunges – 150

Run – 400m

Push-ups – 100

Run – 400m

Burpees – 50

14. Griff

Griff WODIt’s named after U.S Air Force Staff Sergeant Travis Griffin.

This 28-year old was died on 3rd April 2008 after an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle.

Griffin is different from most WODs because it involves backward running. If you haven’t learned how to maintain balance in a backward run, try walking first.

Workout

For time:

Backward run – 400m

Run – 800m

Backward run – 400m

15. Coffland

Coffland, one of the CrossFit Hero WODs‘Coffland’ is in memory of U.S Army Specialist Christopher Coffland. It’s somewhat different from other WODs because it requires you to remain hanging off a pull-up bar for 6 minutes.

 

Workout

Hang from a pull-up bar – 6 minutes

Drop off the bar then perform:

Run - 800m

Push-us - 30

 

CrossFit Thrusters

Conspicuously missing in our list of at-home WODs are CrossFit thrusters.

These are a very widely used compound exercise. It’s a combination of a front squat and an overhead weight.

CrossFit Hero WODs Thruster

It may not be ideal for home exercises if you don’t have barbells. If you do, it opens you up to a wider range of options. You can modify CrossFit thrusters to use dumbbells instead of barbells.

CrossFit thrusters are an all-time favorite because they are a full-body workout. The fluid lifting motion from the ground and then high up engages both upper and lower body muscles.

CrossFit Girls

CrossFit GirlsIf you are not very familiar with CrossFit lingo, you would be forgiven for thinking that CrossFit Girls are a group of female CrossFit enthusiasts.

‘The Girls’ are a collection of WODs which CrossFit founder Greg Glassman created with a slightly different goal in mind.

Purpose of ‘The Girls’

What makes CrossFit Girls different from other WODs? The answer is in their intended purpose. You see other WODs are created for regular use. To build strength, endurance, cardiovascular capacity and so on.

‘The Girls’ are benchmarking WODs. They are CrossFit’s versions of Continuous Assessment Tests. They help gauge your current fitness level regarding a specific area of fitness.

Each ‘Girl’ tests your fitness level in a different area, therefore, revealing weaknesses in that aspect. One ‘Girl’ workout could be for gauging strength while another tests speed.

It then follows that you shouldn’t do CrossFit Girls every day. They are best left for periodic assessment.

CrossFit ‘Girls’ History

Some of the first CrossFit ‘Girls’ were Barbara, Angie, Diane, Chelsea, Fran and Elizabeth introduced in 2003. A few months later, came Helen and Grace. Next came Annie and Eva.

Six new ‘Girls’ in 2010 were Karen, Jackie, Linda, Isabel, Nancy and Mary. The list of CrossFit ‘Girls’ continues to grow with more recent additions of Gwen, Amanda and Christine.

Why give WODs girls’ names?

Truth be told. It’s a bit strange to have workouts with girls’ names. What was Greg Glassman’s thinking on this one?

He borrowed the World Meteorological Organization’s method of naming storms. Just like we know of hurricanes Katrina, Irma and Maria.  Glassman felt that these WODs were so physically demanding, getting through one leaves you feeling like a storm hit you.

CrossFit Lingo

CrossFit LingoIf you are new to CrossFit, you are likely to come across some strange terms. Listening to a conversation between two veteran CrossFitters may feel like listening to a different language. Like in any sport, there is a lingo.

It can be intimidating at first but once you pick it up, it makes sense.  Here are a few CrossFit terms to get you up to speed.

  • Box: A box is a fitness center where you practice the training program is practiced. It’s sometimes called a xfit gym.
  • 1 rep max: This is short form for 1 repetition maximum. It challenges CrossFitters to lift the heaviest weight they can lift with a single attempt. You will hear ‘1 rep max’ used in the case of cleans, deadlifts and squats.
  • For time: You use this when you’re aiming for speed on a particular workout. It’s timed and the duration posted on a board for comparisons.
  • Rx means ‘as prescribed.’ When you do a WOD Rx, it means you do it as it was originally planned. Some WODs may be too difficult to do as prescribed so they are modified.

For instance, you could modify a WOD in terms of weight, duration or number of repetitions. When it’s done Rx, there are no modifications.

  • Kipping: This is when you use full-body momentum for a move. It is used in the case of pull-ups, handstand push-ups, and toes-to-bar.
  • Metcon: This is the short form of metabolic conditioning. It describes a workout that takes you to your highest level of cardio.
  • Ladder: A ladder workout is one that requires you to increase repetitions by one with each round. In a ladder workout of pull-ups, you do 1 rep in the first round. For the second round, you do 2 reps. In the third round you do 3 and so on.
  • Double unders: This is a term common in WODs requiring skipping using a jump rope. Doubleunders are skips where you pass the rope under your feet twice in one jump.
  • AMRAP: It stands for ‘as many rounds as possible.’ AMRAP workouts give you a set of moves and a set duration. You then do the moves as many times as you can in the time indicated.
  • EMOM: It stands for ‘every minute on the minute.’ In this case, you have a specific set of moves. You need to do each set inside of a minute. If you complete one before the allocated minute elapses you rest until the start of the next minute. Repeat this for a specified number of minutes.

So now that you understand some CrossFit lingo, see if you can translate this.

I’m going to the box for a metcon. It is EMOM with several doubleunders. I’ll attempt to Rx it this time round.

CrossFit Open

CrossFit OpenCrossFit Inc. promotes CrossFit as a philosophy of physical exercise as well as a competitive sport. That’s where CrossFit Open comes in. It is an innovative way to challenge CrossFitters around the world.

The CrossFit Open could be described as a ‘CrossFit Olympics.’ The Games are directed by Dave Castro and have been held every year since 2007.

In 2011 the Games introduced online registration. This allowed athletes from around the globe a chance to participate.

Here is how it works. The Open comprises of 5 workouts released over 5 weeks. Each workout is named according to the year and whether it is the first, second, third, fourth or fifth workout for that year.

16.1 refers to the first of five workouts during the 2016 Open. 14.2 refers to the second of five workouts released in the 2014 Open. Workouts are released every Thursday in the 5 weeks of the year’s open.

Participants and fans watch the announcement streamed live on the CrossFit Games website. 2 or more athletes perform the workout at the live announcement. After that, registered athletes have up to 5 pm (PT) the following Monday to submit their best time score.

How to Submit a CrossFit Open Hero WOD

People submitting CrossFit Hero WODsBefore we get to the submission stage, here are a few CrossFit Open rules to keep in mind.

  • You can’t do the workouts on your living room floor, time yourself, and submit your results. No. You must complete them at an open class at an affiliate CrossFit gym.
  • At the gym, you must complete them under the supervision of a Coach who is an employee of the affiliate gym.
  • You must fill out the score sheet fully as per the Coach’s instructions. There is a different score sheet for every workout.
  • There is a dotted line separating two similar sections where you fill out your scores. Fill out both sections. You can then cut off one section and take it home with you. The Coach retains the other.
  • Submit your scores through the online competition page. How do you submit your CrossFit Open WOD scores?
  • Go to the competition page where you registered for the Games.
  • Click on the ‘Submit’ tab. It indicates the last released CrossFit Open WOD.
  • Enter your scores.

At the point of submission, you will be asked how the workout will be validated. You then indicate that it was performed at an affiliate gym. After this, you are required to indicate the specific gym (such as CrossFit NYC) and the name of your Coach.

Your submission cannot be fully accepted until your Coach validates the figures.

Remember the 5 pm (PT) deadline we mentioned? This is where it comes in. Yes, it does matter. If you don’t submit your scores for the week’s workout in time, they cannot be considered.

A Prescription for CrossFit Hero WODs

CrossFit Hero WODs are very intense. You may not be able to complete one every day or even a few times a week. To avoid injury, aim to attempt one once or twice a month.

In the meantime

In the meantime, take time to read up on the hero whose WOD you plan to complete. You will be surprised how much you can learn by simply doing a Google search on the soldier, firefighter or police officer.

Many have charitable causes associated with them. For some, there are foundations set up in their honor. For others, there are scholarship programs. Each represents something the honoree was passionate about.

Will you take up the challenge?

So as you give the workout your greatest effort, here is yet another challenge. Consider making some form of contribution to the charitable cause in their honor. Monetary or otherwise.

Conclusion

High-intensity workouts are a great way to build strength and conditioning. There is no doubt there is need to keep the memories of fallen servicemen and women alive. CrossFit Hero WODs let you and millions of others around the world kill two birds with a stone.

Many require gym-specific equipment but there are many more which you can do from the comfort of your home.

With a variety of CrossFit workout apps to choose from, you don’t have to rack your brain looking for a suitable workout. They serve as WOD generators and also help you keep track of progress.

So take up the challenge.

FAQs

How can I make my own hero WOD?

Use an online CrossFit WOD generator. It generates WODs based on details such as body weight, equipment and intended purpose. What was the first-ever hero WOD that CrossFit put together? A WOD called ‘JT’. It was in memory of Petty Officer Jeff Taylor. He was killed in Afghanistan on 28th June 2005.

Why do they have so few WOD books?

There are CrossFit WOD books which you can purchase in either paperback or Kindle versions. As expected, these are not nearly as popular as the numerous CrossFit workout apps available. Most are free with in-app purchases. Apps offer interactivity and often take the thinking out of your workouts. BTWB (Beyond the White Board) for instance offers different versions for box owners and athletes. WOD Genie generates workouts depending on the equipment you have available. SugarWOD has tools to let you connect with other members of your box and the CrossFit community around you.

What are typical times for Hero WOD Luke?

Typical times are between 31 and 38 minutes. This is assuming you Rx it (complete as prescribed).

Who was Curtis P in the CrossFit Hero WOD?

This name is associated with the “Oh No Curtis P” benchmark workout. Its origins are unclear although it was first named in a Facebook post by SEALFIT on 28th November 2010.

What is the hardest hero WOD?

BTWB (Beyond the White Board) a renowned workout log rated these as the 10 most difficult Hero WODs. These are ‘Tom’, ‘Nick’, ‘Holleyman’, ‘J.J’, ‘Ship’, ‘ Luce’, ‘Jag’, ‘Arnie’, ‘Bull’ and ‘AdamBrown’. Men’s Journal also has its list of the 15 most brutal CrossFit WODs.

(Want to lose some extra weight? We discussed some tips in this post.)

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