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.

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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!

Paul


Hero WOD “Paul”

5 Rounds for time
50 Double Unders
35 Knees to Elbow
20yd Overhead Carry 185 lbs

“Pittsburgh Police Officer Paul John Rizzo Domenic Sciullo II, 36, was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic disturbance call on April 4, 2009. He was engaged to be married with Lisa Esposito.” – crossfit.com

What is good time for hero WOD Paul?

Right now our app doesn’t have overhead carry movement in the database.

Hero WOD Paul is all about those knees to elbows, 50 double unders are easy if you know how to do them, overhead carry is heavy and challenging but distance is pretty short. Only movement where you have to be smart are those knees to elbows.

It is total of 175 knees to elbows and if you are not smart you will burn out your abs. I was going for sets of 4-6 reps on knees to elbows and I was taking quick rest. I was able to hold that pace in all 5 rounds.

You can try to go for one big set in each round and than just finish it but I don’t think it’s great idea.

You can do the Paul under 20 minutes even when you are doing small sets like me. In my opinion good time for this WOD will be under 25 minutes.

Klepto


Hero WOD “Klepto”

4 rounds for time of:
27 Box jumps, 24″ box
20 Burpees
11 Squat cleans, 145 pounds

“U.S. Air Force Major David “Klepto” L. Brodeur, 34, of Auburn, Massachusetts, assigned to the 11th Air Force, based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, died on April 27, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained from gunfire from an Afghan military trainee. He is survived by his wife Susie, daughter Elizabeth, and son David.” – crossfit.com

What is good time for hero WOD Klepto?

Accroding to our app good time for Klepto is 17min 57sec and from my experience that is pretty hard to beat.

Key of good time in Klepto lays in consistency across all movements you just have to keep moving because there are many box jumps, many burpees and some squat cleans and if you want a good time there is no place to rest.

If you are good on box jumps you have advantage because you can do them quickly but if you hate them like me than jumping up and steeping down or jumping up, resting on top of the box and jumping down should be good idea.

Burpees always hurt and it’s better to go slowly but keep moving, plus you must save some energy on squat cleans.

And for squat cleans, they are relatively easy but I was surprised how heavy they were after all the box jumps and burpees. In my opinion in such long workout doing singles is only correct solution if you are looking for the fastest time.

I’ve finished Klepto in 18:36 and I must say I was really destroyed from this WOD. My friend beat me by 3 minutes with time 15:20 and I have no freaking idea how he did it. Anyway I think that any time under 20 minutes in Klepto could be considered good time.

Jason


Hero WOD “Jason”

For time:
100 Squats
5 Muscle-ups
75 Squats
10 Muscle-ups
50 Squats
15 Muscle-ups
25 Squats
20 Muscle-ups

“S01 (SEAL) Jason Dale Lewis was killed by an IED while conducting combat operations in Southern Baghdad July 6, 2007. We name this workout “Jason” in honor of his life, family, and courage. Donna, Jack, Max, and Grace, we’ll forget neither your husband and father nor your sacrifice and loss. Fair winds, Jason.” – crossfit.com

What is good time for hero WOD Jason?

Accroding to our app good time for this workout is 22:01. But it depends a lot on how good are you on muscle ups.

Yes, there are 250 air squats but this would take +/- 1 minutes depending on how your quads are fatigued from previous training.

The catch of this workout is in ring muscle ups because there are total of 50 of them and last 2 sets – 15 and 20 reps are almost without any rest with only 25 air squats in between them.

If you want to score good time in Jason you have to be very smart in the muscle ups. As you can see in the video I thought that going for sets of 2 would be great but I burned out and I had to switch for singles for last 28 muscle ups. I should have probably taken longer rests in between sets of 2.

But muscle ups are my weakness and I knew this WOD will hurt. If you don’t know how many muscle ups you should do, I would personally go for sets of 20-30% of my max muscle ups unbroken reps and take a break of 10-15 seconds between each set.

So, in my opinion any time near 20 minutes should be considered good time in WOD Jason. And if you have +10 unbroken muscle ups I think you can even go under 15 minutes in the Jason.

Coe


Hero WOD “Coe”

Ten rounds for time of:
95 pound Thruster, 10 reps
10 Ring push-ups

“Army Sgt. Keith Adam Coe, 30, of Auburndale, Fla., assigned to the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., died April 27th, 2010, in Khalis, Iraq, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an explosive device. He is survived by his wife Katrina Coe, two sons, Killian and Keith Jr., and daughter, Klover.” – crossfit.com

What is good time for hero WOD Coe?

Coe workout consists of 2 relatively easy movements thrusters with 95 lbs and ring push ups. But both of these movements are push movements and your shoulders/triceps will be very fatigued during this WOD.

You have to be smart if you want to go under 15 minutes in this workout. There are 2 options, you can do all sets unbroken but take much longer rest between movements or you can split your thrusters and push ups into 2-4 smaller sets but have only quick 2-3 sec rest in between these small sets.

From my experience option #2 is much faster because you will keep moving and your muscles won’t be fatigued so much which will help you push the tempo in the later rounds.

Accroding to our app good time for the Coe workout is 16:04. You will be able to beat that time if you attack this WOD smartly and have required pushing volume. Worst thing that can happen to you is to lose all your pushing strength because you have started too quickly.

Randy


Hero WOD “Randy”

75 pound Power snatch, 75 reps for time.

“Randy Simmons, 51, a 27 year LAPD veteran and SWAT team member was killed February 7 in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Simmons’ wife and two children.” – crossfit.com

What is good time for hero WOD Randy?

Randy appeared on the CrossFit Games Regionals where time cap was 6:00 and if we look on BTWB almost 50% of the people are able to finish Randy in 6 minutes or faster and I think that could be considered good time for the Randy.

On other hand my wodtimecalculator.com says that good time for Randy is 7 min and 29 sec which I think is beatable by most of the people, this time is “worse” than many of calculated “good” times because Randy is too specific WOD. Snatches are too easy and there are too many of them. It’s just 1 round of 75 Power Snatches for time.

But if we will look again at BTWB results about 50% of the people are able to go 6:00 or faster, about 25% of the people are able to go 5:00 or faster (almost all good times by our calculator should be at 25% level) and only 8% of the people are able to do it under 4 minutes.

It’s really hard to tell what really good time for the Randy is but I think that setting goal of going under 5 minutes would be really hard to beat for some of you.

And if you can do Randy unbroken then you are Elite level in these WOD and you will surely beat many people on the Regionals in the Randy!

Hortman


Hero WOD “Hortman”

Complete as many rounds as possible in 45 minutes of:
Run 800 meters
80 Squats
8 Muscle-ups

“U.S. Army Captain John D. Hortman, 30, of Inman, South Carolina, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, died on August 8, 2011, in Fort Benning, Georgia, in a helicopter accident during a military training exercise. He is survived by his mother, Brenda Jones, sister Jill Hortman, and brother, Andy Pierce.” – crossfit.com

What is good score for hero WOD Hortman?

Hortman is very intensive and very long WOD. You will be running almost half of the workout and if you want to get good score in Hortman you will have to run fast.

If you are going for 5 rounds you will run total of 4K and if you want +6 rounds you will run almost 5K or more this means that for 5 rounds you will need to keep the pace at under 5:00 min/km and for +6 rounds under 4:15 min/km. Because you need some time for squats and muscle ups.

You can attack air squats 2 different ways. You can go for 80 reps unbroken but at slower pace as I did or go for quick sets of 10, 20 or 40 reps. Both of these approaches are almost equal in terms of time and it is just up to you what you prefer.

And there will be a lot of muscle ups, if you are going for +5 rounds you will do +40 muscle ups in just 45 minutes, in average it is 1 muscle up per minute. So be honest with you muscle up skills and if you are not good at them consider doing them only in sets of 1-3 reps but if you are muscle up ninja just go for 5+3 or 8 and you will save a lot time doing that.

Accroding to our app good score for this workout is 5 rounds and 322m of running and I think that’s pretty hard to beat. My score was 6 rounds and 260m of running and I was really pushing hard to finish 6 rounds, I wanted to slow down on the run but I knew I have to keep the pace up to finish 6 rounds.

Gator


Hero WOD “Gator”

Eight rounds for time of:
185 pound Front squat, 5 reps
26 Ring push-ups

“U.S. Army Specialist Christopher “Gator” Gathercole, 21, of Santa Rosa, California, assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, based in Fort Lewis, Washington, was killed by enemy fire on May 26, 2008, in Ghazni, Afghanistan. He is survived by his brother Edward, sisters Jennifer Daly and Sarah Ferrell, father Edward Gathercole, and mother Catherine Haines.” – crossfit.com

What is good time for hero WOD Gator?

It is very hard to tell for this Hero WOD, Front Squats speed would be about the same for most of people who go unbroken, somewhere between 10-30 seconds per round.

But what matters are the ring push ups, if you have never tried them before be smart and go for very small sets. In my opinion they are equally hard as ring dips or strict HSPU (if you are good at them). If I would like to scale them for regular push ups I would probably double up the reps.

Unfortunately right now I don’t have ring push ups in the calculator but if I entered ring dips instead of push ups I got good time for WOD Gator of 25 minutes 8 seconds, ring push ups will be probably slightly faster.

My time in Gator was 22:28 but I must tell that these push ups were very hard and if was going HSPU instead I would probably have faster time.

So the good time in Gator depends on how good your push ups are, if you are very good in the push ups than I think you would be able to finish it between 15-20 minutes but if your push ups suck you would be happy with 30 minutes.

In my opinion going for 2:30-3:00 per round could be considered good time for Gator.

Marston


Hero WOD “Marston”

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
405-lb. deadlift, 1 rep
10 toes-to-bars
15 bar-facing burpees

“Special Warfare Operator 1st Class William Blake Marston, 31, of Concord, New Hampshire, died Jan. 10, 2015, in DeLand, Florida, during military parachute training. Marston was assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL Team and served in the Navy for six years. 

Marston is survived by his girlfriend, Christine Clark; parents, Bill and Nancy; three siblings, Chris, Jeffrey and Emily; and many other friends and family.” – crossfit.com

What is good score for hero WOD Marston?

Accroding to our app good score of Marston is 9 rounds and 2 reps. But doing Marston RXed is not for everyone because of that single reps with 405 lbs.

Most people would have to scale the weight on deadlifts. We have chosen to find 1RM of deadlift before WOD and then use 90% of 1RM as weight for deadlifts in the Marston.

My PR on deadlift was 185 kg (405 lbs) so I have done the Marston with 165 kg (365 lbs). At the end I have done 10 rounds and 7 reps so I was able to beat the “good score” but it was scaled version because I wouldn’t be able to finish this workout RXed.

If you are strong enough (+450 lbs deadlift) hit this workout RXed but in other case I would go for scaled version of 90% of deadlift’s 1RM.

But deadlifts are not the hardest part of the workout. You have also to be smart on toes to bars (TTB), surely some of you can do few sets of 10 unbroken but if you know you can’t hit 10 sets of 10 TTBs unbroken then you should go for smaller sets since first round. I personally hit 6+4 in all rounds, I would even consider going 4+3+3 if my TTB were weaker.

And for the burpees, just go slowly but keep moving. These 15 burpees are the most consuming part of the workout and there is no place to rest on them if you want to hit the good score.