CrossFit Hero Month Challenge


What is Hero month challenge?

Goal was to do at least one Hero WOD in each training session for one month. Hero WODs are usually longer and more difficult than regular CrossFit WODs we do every day. All these WODs are also named after fallen heroes and are usually done to honor these people and some of them are even done as part of fundraising projects like Hotshots 19.

Why?

I saw Hero month challenge last year on Chris Spealler’s blog and I have finally decided to give it a shot. I am making my own programming with only 1 WOD / day with some strength or accessory training before or after WOD so when I decided to start Hero month I don’t needed to change many things.

Exceptations

  • 4-5 Hero WODs / week
  • Strength or accessory training before every WOD
  • Get used to longer and heavier workouts




Reality

I am used to do Hero WODs from time to time but doing them multiple times per week is much harder than I excepted. As I said I though I would be able to do 4-5 Hero WODs per week but at the end of month I have done only 3-4 Hero WODs per week because I was destroyed by these workouts.

My main focus was to choose Hero WODs that I have never done before, I’ve only repeated 3 out of 17 Heroes. I’ve also try to pick the ones that have the movements that I haven’t done in last 2 workouts. For example Jason consists of total of 50 muscle ups so I avoided muscle ups in the WODs for few next trainings.

Usually my training session consists of strength training and 1 WOD (metcon), I thought that I will continue with this scheme during Hero month but most of the training sessions I had to forget about doing strength training before WOD. All I did before WOD was just warm up on the movements that were in the Hero WOD. If I were doing strength session before all Heroes I would have to switch to only 2-3 Hero WODs per week because I will have hard time to recover.

On other hand focusing only on one Hero WOD per day and nothing else was just enough. Some Hero WODs were pretty hard with heavy weights or difficult gymnastic movements and my strength is on about the same level as was before Hero month.

I have even hit some PRs during Hero month with 100 kg Snatch and Randy 4:03 in one training, PRed 100m Row in 16.3 after Jason, PRed J.T. in 7:18 and DT in 7:45.

"<yoastmark

It was great experience, there were only few Hero WODs that were shorter than 20 minutes and I had really hard time to recover after some of them and I had to take day off instead of doing only light training as I am used to if I am not fully recovered.

I have also noticed that many Hero WODs are focused on heavy cleans, heavy squats, a lot of pull ups/muscle ups or running, so my quads and back muscles had much harder time to recover while my shoulders or abs were still ready and full of strength.

Was the Hero month great idea?

I think it was because it challenged me in slightly different way than I am used to and I was glad for every rest day I had but on other hand I won’t recommend anyone to do it for more than one month because WODs are heavily focused on legs and back muscles while they forget about shoulder/chest/triceps and abs (except few Heroes).

Doing +20 minutes WODs almost every training session was very exhausting and right now I am back to my regular training and I am again enjoying simple couplets/triplets that takes 5-15 minutes with occasional long WOD from time to time.

Hero month also made me to do some thing in the WODs that I’ve never thought before like 8 rounds of 26 Rings Push Ups in Gator or going for multiple reps with almost 1 rep max of Deadlift in Marston, RX weight was 405 lbs but I had scale down to 365 lbs.

Top 3 Most Challenging Hero WODs From My Hero Month

  • 3rd place Wittman

    • 7 Rounds of
      15 American KB Swings 1.5 pood
      15 Power Cleans 95 lbs
      15 Box Jumps 24″

      Wittman was my first choice during Hero Month and it was one of the most intensive WODs I’ve ever done. All movements in Wittman are relatively easy and there is just enough reps on each of them so you can keep moving without stopping. Ability to move the weight all the time in so many reps makes the Wittman one of the most intensive WODs I’ve ever done, there is just no time for rest and when I finished it I couldn’t move for 5 minutes.My time: 14:52

  • 2nd place Helton

    • 3 Rounds of
      800m Run
      30 Dumbell Squat Cleans 2 x 50 lbs
      30 Burpees

      When I saw this WOD I knew that dumbbell squat cleans would hurt but during WOD it was just different story. I would rather do 30 squat cleans with 200 lbs than doing them with pair of 50 lbs dumbbells, it was one of the hardest exercises I have ever done and I was really looking forward for burpees and run during. I think that these squat cleans were so hard because I am not used on the dumbbells during WODs and now I have motivation to them at least once per month.My time: 28:08

  • 1st place Klepto

    • 4 Rounds of
      27 Box Jumps 24″
      20 Burpees
      11 Squat Cleans, 145 lbs

      When I first saw Klepto I knew it would hurt but I thought that Klepto is just another classic CrossFit triplet which I am doing all the time. Maybe it was so hard because I did Jason day before (which had 250 air squats) or because of the combination of the movements but I was “dying” since first squat cleans even though it’s only 145 lbs and I am used to do 135 lbs squat cleans during WODs even in higher reps. Klepto was really painful experience, I wanted to go faster but my heart rate and my quads just didn’t let me to.My time: 18:26




My Hero Month, How I Did?

I wanted to start on 1st October but I had chance to visit gym during 30th September so I started my hero month little earlier but I have done my last workout on 31st October.

I have done total of 17 hero WODs during 32 days and here you can check what was my times/scores:

Wittman

Sep 30th
7 rounds of:
15 Kettlebell Swings 1.5 pood
15 Power Cleans 95 lbs
15 Box Jumps 24″

Time: 14:52

Bulger

Oct 2nd
10 rounds of
150 m Run
7 Pull Up (Chest To Bar)s
7 Front Squats 135 lbs
7 Handstand Push Ups

Time: 19:08

Marston

Oct 3rd
20:00 AMRAP
1 Deadlift 405 lbs, scaled to 365 lbs
10 Toes-to-bars
15 Burpee (Bar Facing)s

Score: 10+8

Gator

Oct 5th
8 rounds of
5 Front Squats 185 lbs
26 Ring Push-ups

Time: 22:28

Hortman

Oct 7th
45:00 AMRAP
800 m Run
80 Air Squats
8 Muscle Ups

Score: 6+260

Randy

Oct 9th
For Time
75 Power Snatches 75 lbs

Time: 4:03

Coe

Oct 10th
10 rounds of
10 Thrusters 95 lbs
10 Ring Push-ups

Time: 12:35

Holleyman

Oct 13th
30 rounds of
5 Wall Balls 20 lbs
3 Handstand Push Ups
1 Power Clean 225 lbs

Time: 22:18

Jason

Oct 16th
100 Squats
5 Muscle Ups
75 Squats
10 Muscle Ups
50 Squats
15 Muscle Ups
25 Squats
20 Muscle Ups

Time: 22:22

Klepto

Oct 17th
4 rounds of
27 Box Jumps 24″
20 Burpees
11 Squat Cleans 145 lbs

Time: 18:26

Hall

Oct 20th
5 rounds of
3 Cleans 225 lbs
200 m Run
Alternating Kettlebell Snatch 1.5 pood
Rest 2 mins

Round in 1:46-1:55

Nutts

Oct 22th
10 Handstand Push Ups
15 Deadlifts 250 lbs
25 Box Jumps 30″
50 Pull-ups
100 Wall Balls 20 lbs
200 Double Unders
400 m Run + 45 lbs

Time: 18:22

Brenton

Oct 23th
5 rounds of*
Bear Crawl 100 ft
Standing Broad Jump 100 ft
* By mistake we did only 3 rounds

Time: 3:25

Josh

Oct 24th
21 Overhead Squats 95 lbs
42 Pull-ups
15 Overhead Squats 95 lbs
30 Pull-ups
9 Overhead Squats 95 lbs
18 Pull-ups

Time: 6:50

Helton

Oct 26th
3 rounds of
800 m Run
30 Dumbbell Squat Cleans 2 x 50 lbs
30 Burpees

Time: 28:08

J.T.

Oct 30th
21-15-9 reps of
Handstand Push Up
Ring Dip
Push-up

Time: 7:18

DT

Oct 31th
5 rounds of
12 Deadlifts 155 lbs
9 Hang Power Cleans 155 lbs
6 Push Jerks 155 lbs

Time: 7:45

DT


Hero WOD “DT”

Five rounds for time of:
155 pound Deadlift, 12 reps
155 pound Hang power clean, 9 reps
155 pound Push jerk, 6 reps

“In honor of USAF SSgt Timothy P. Davis, 28, who was killed on Feburary, 20 2009 supporting operations in OEF when his vehicle was struck by an IED. Timothy is survived by his wife Megan and one-year old son T.J.” – crossfit.com

What is good time for hero WOD DT?

Accroding to our app good time to beat in DT is 8 minutes with good time cap of 13 minutes. DT is pretty hard workout for me because my bodyweight is only 165 lbs and RX DT is with 155 lbs, I was able to finish DT in 7:45 and PRed it by 40 seconds since last time.

3 Tips To Get Best DT Time & BONUS

I have done RXd DT twice (in 7:45 and 8:25) and ‘heavy’ DT with 205 lbs from CrossFit Games once (in 22:15). DT is pretty challenging WOD but you can make it easier if you choose correct strategy!

#1 Choose correct rep scheme

Choosing correct rep scheme for DT can make you even few minutes faster. All 3 movements will tax your lower back muscles and it’s great idea to be smart with rep scheme unless you are not super strong with huge engine.

It’s very smart to always leave last rep on deadlifts and hang power cleans for the next set because you will have to do it anyway.

For most of people doing all movements in DT in 2 sets + 1 rep will lead to their best time, I would go for 1 set + 1 rep only if I am “almost regional level athlete” or I am very strong. And I will leave 1 unbroken round only for some certain Games athletes and even some of them will have problems to do all 5 rounds unbroken faster than if they split up the reps.

Here are some rep schemes for your inspiration:

2 Sets + 1 Rep

1 round of DT will look like this:
6 Deadlifts
5 Deadlifts
1 Deadlift + 4 Hang Power Cleans
4 Hang Power Cleans
1 Hang Power Clean + 6 Push Jerks

1 Set + 1 Rep

1 round of DT will look like this:
11 Deadlifts
1 Deadlift + 8 Hang Power Cleans
1 Hang Power Clean + 6 Push Jerks

1 Unbroken Set

1 round of DT will look like this:
12 Deadlifts + 9 Hang Power Cleans + 6 Push Jerks

#2 Use belt

I don’t use belt in my training but DT is the only exception where I used it and it was worth!

DT is WOD that is heavily focused on your lower back, it will get more fatigued even on jerks and there is no movement where you can rest your lower back muscles.

If your DT time is slow it is usually because your lower back hurts and you just can’t get back to the bar. Using belt from beginning of the WOD will help you to avoid that situation.

So even if you are not fan of the belt in the workouts try to consider using belt only in this workout and I bet your time will be at least 20 seconds faster.

#3 Same rest between all sets all the time

As I said DT is taxing mainly lower back muscle and you will have a lot of energy in the first round, make sure to spend it wisely. Everyone can do 1 rounds of DT under 1:00 but not everyone can finish all 5 rounds under 8:00.

If you will be quick in first one or two rounds it will hit you back with highly elevated hearth rate and fatigued lower back and your body would have difficulties to recover between sets.

Much better approach is to take same long (probably 3-6 sec) rests from the first round. Consider doing such rest even after first 6 deadlifts and 5 deadlifts, I know you have energy to do all 12 deadlifts unbroken in 1st round but don’t do it, you will get faster time if you take the rests.

BONUS: Finish your first DT under 10 minutes

Let’s consider you are already strong enough and you can probably do 1 rounds of DT unbroken if you are fresh and if it isn’t in the WOD. If you got that requirements I bet you can do DT under 10 minutes!

How?

First thing is to select correct rep scheme. Go for “2 sets + 1 rep” as seen above.

Stick to your rest times. I would consider doing about +6 seconds break after each set, you don’t need to look to stopwatch, measure your rest by breaths (+5 breaths per rest).

Stick to the plan and your goal and do DT as E2MOM, 1 round every 2 minutes since beginning. Slow down in first two rounds and don’t hurry, make sure to finish that rounds no faster than 1:40, it will pay off in later rounds.

Go nuts in the last round! You are probably starting last round somewhere between 7:30 – 8:00, now it’s time to step up the game! I would still recommend you to go for 2+1 rep scheme but it’s time to lower your rest times, you now have only about 1:00-1:30 of work ahead of you, don’t think about how it hurts just finish it!

Good job! With this strategy you have probably done DT under 10:00, for some of you your times will be even under 9:00 if stick to this plan!