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 BurpeesWhen 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 lbsWhen 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


The Seven


Hero WOD “The Seven”

Seven rounds for time of:
7 Handstand push-ups
135 pound Thruster, 7 reps
7 Knees to elbows
245 pound Deadlift, 7 reps
7 Burpees
7 Kettlebell swings, 2 pood
7 Pull-ups

“A suicide bomber killed seven CIA officers and one Jordanian officer at a remote base in southeastern Afghanistan on December 30, 2009 after posing as a potential informant reporting on Al Qaeda. Seven new stars will be etched onto the memorial wall at the CIA where every star represents grieving friends, family and colleagues dedicated to fight against the enemy, forever in their name.
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.” – crossfit.com

What is good time for hero WOD The Seven?

Accroding to our app good time to beat in The Seven is 27 minutes and 41 seconds. Beyond the Whiteboard says that if you are able to finish “The Seven” under 30 minutes you are going to be in top 20% of athletes. Anyway if you are new to The Seven going under 35 minutes which is 1 round in 5:00 or faster will be good time for The Seven.

4 Tips for scoring better time at The Seven

I have done this workout twice, first time it was in year 2014 and my time was 26:50 and second time it was 2 years later and I improved by 3 minutes with time 23:50.

I am happy about both my times and I couldn’t hit them if I didn’t had correct strategy. Here are few tips how to get new PR on “The Seven”.

1) Identify your weak movements

There are 7 movements and almost everyone will have at least one weakness there. For me it was heavy barbell but for someone else it may be HSPU, burpees or any other movement.

Choose at least 2 movements which you won’t do unbroken but do them in sets of 4+3 and always take rest after the 4 reps then push hard until you hit another movement which you do in sets of 4+3.

This will allow you to go quickly on your good movements and to take a rest and don’t suffer so much on your weaknesses.

2) Start slowly and hold that pace

Even when you are able to do it under 20 minutes it is still very long workout and the worst thing you can do is to start too quickly.

Going nuts in the first round is just not worth and your body will counter attack you back with elevated heart rate and fatigued muscles. And you will need much longer rests than if you just started slowly and tried to keep that pace for all the rounds.

I would recommend to try set a goal and go slightly faster than your goal is.

For example if your goal is do it under 35 minutes, you should have all rounds in average of 5:00. So I would do first round in 4:20-4:30. Of course you are able to do first round under 3:00 but it’s just not worth.

3) Don’t think about how long the workout is

The worst thing about “The Seven” is that after 3 rounds you still have about 60% of workout to do and it already really hurts.

But try to forget about rounds counting until you are done with 4 rounds and just hold slower pace. When you have only 3 rounds left just think about the reps, it’s just 21 reps of each exercise.

And with each movement you finish you have to do only 14 more reps which you can do anytime. And in next round it’s just 7 reps left and when end is near you know you can do it.

Another thing that helped me is to think that each movement has only 7 reps and then you just move to another movement. Every round I just set goal to finish 7 reps of that movement and just move to another movement where I set new goal of another 7 reps. And after some time you are left with just few rounds until the end of the workout.

4) Go nuts in the last round!