09 Apr 2018

CrossFit Girl WOD “Helen”

3 rounds for time of:
400m Run
21 Kettlebell Swings 1.5/1 pood
12 Pull-ups

Good time to beat:
16 min 50 sec – Fitness Level 0 – Beginner athlete
15 min 24 sec – Fitness Level 25 – Beginner athlete
13 min 57 sec – Fitness Level 50 – Average athlete
11 min 35 sec – Fitness Level 75 – Average athlete
10 min 04 sec – Fitness Level 90 – Advanced athlete
09 min 09 sec – Fitness Level 95 – Advanced athlete
08 min 10 sec – Fitness Level 98 – Elite athlete
07 min 13 sec – Fitness Level 100 – Regional athlete

What is Helen?

The Helen is one of the CrossFit Girls benchmarks introduced in The New Girls article from the CrossFit Journal.

The Helen looks very simple, some CrossFitters may even think that the Helen is just a longer warm-up but don’t be fooled with how simply it looks. The Helen can give a hard time even to the Regional level athletes.

Why? If you are way good at the CrossFit, you probably won’t shave off extra seconds on the swings or pull-ups but you can always run faster! I bet you that unbroken Helen with 1:10/400m runs will demolish most of the Regional athletes.

What is good time to beat for Helen?

According to the WOD Time Calculator, good time to beat for Advanced athlete is 9:09 which should rank you in the top 10% off the athletes and some of the best times will be around 7:00.

How to get a good time in Helen?

The Helen is very simple WOD and running will take away almost half of the WOD. To get the time under 9 minutes, you will need to run fast at about the 5K PR pace for 400m so you can spare a few seconds to split the KB swing sets to avoid losing control over your grip.


As I said earlier, the run will take away almost 50% of the WOD, and is the most important part of the workout.

Make sure to don’t start too quickly on the first run or you will be out of breath as soon as you reach the first pull-ups. Keep decent pace during the second and the third run.

There is a simple math. Three 1:30 runs will take you 4:30, three rounds of kettlebell swings will take another 3:00 which is a total of 7:30. You have 1:30 left for 36 pull-ups, transitions and resting.

Kettlebell Swings

The swings are the easiest part of the Helen as they are relatively light and reps are not high. Most people will be able to do all swings unbroken but you have to decide if you want to do swings or pull-ups unbroken. Not many people will be able to do 12 unbroken pull-ups after a set of 21 unbroken swings with the minimal transition during multiple rounds after a very fast run with elevated heart rate.

My suggestion is to split swings to 2 sets of 12+9 with very quick rest in between (just 2-3 seconds). This will save your grip in next rounds and you won’t burn out. You will also have a shorter transition before pull-ups.


There are only 12 pull-ups and the goal is clear, go unbroken! You will save around 20-30 seconds if you can do the butterfly pull ups but there is no way how to save more time.

Don’t forget it is only 12 pull-ups, I know that you can do them unbroken even when your grip hurts! You will recover during the run.

Split pull-ups only if you are bad at them. You can go for 3 sets of 5+4+3 or 2 sets of 7+5. Make sure to minimize your rest in between the sets.

Other Tips

Insert a chalk in your pockets and use it whenever you are transitioning between movements.

Run at slightly uncomfortable pace.

Go unbroken in the last round if you think you can do it!

Don’t think about the pain!

How to scale Helen?

I can’t run in my gym

Pick one instead of 400m run
500m Row
30 cal Row
30 cal Assault Bike
150 DUs
30 Burpees

Pull-Ups are hard

Pick one instead of 12 pull-ups
12 Jumping Pull-Ups
6 Slow Deficit Pull-Ups
12 Strict Ring Rows

Beginner Helen

3 Rounds of
200m Run
21 Kettlebell Swings 1/0.75 pood
12 Ring Rows


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