Among the toughest of CrossFit training routines are the “Hero” workouts—not just because they are physically challenging, but also because they pay homage to some of the men and women who bravely served our country and gave their lives to protect us and our freedoms.
“The idea is that you’re honoring their memory with your effort,” explains CrossFit HQ trainer Josh Everett. “Hero workouts are long and grueling, because if you’re going to show your appreciation, you’ve got to put it on the line just like they did for you.”
The workouts are tough, but Everett says the key to success is to focus on your mechanics. Sloppy form is counterproductive. Performed correctly, these routines develop every aspect of athleticism, preparing you to meet any challenge on the field—just as our nation’s heroes met the demands of their service.
“Traditional training programs develop strength and conditioning separately, but that’s not how soldiers and athletes use them—they put everything together,” says Everett.
Each of the following four Hero Workouts is demanding. Beginners may cut the prescribed exercise sets and reps in half. Once you’re able to consistently perform the moves with proper form, you can ramp up the volume.
Whom it honors: Navy Lt. Michael Murphy
The workout: 1-Mile Run, 100 Pull-Ups, 200 Push-Ups, 300 Bodyweight Squats, 1-Mile Run
Everett says: “Most CrossFit boxes do this one on Memorial Day. Do this workout shortly after your season concludes, and use it as a benchmark for your off-season training program.”
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Whom it honors: Seattle Police Officer Timothy Quinn Brenton
The workout: Five rounds of 100-foot Bear Crawls and 100 feet of Standing Broad Jumps, performing three Burpees after every five Broad Jumps
Everett says: “Putting these moves together trains strength and conditioning at the same time. The Bear Crawl trains core and shoulder stability, while the Broad Jumps build lower-body power and the Burpee is a brutal conditioner.”
Whom it honors: Army First Lt. Ashley White
The workout: Five rounds of 3×15-foot Rope Climbs, 10 Toes-to-Bar, 21 Walking Lunges carrying a 45-pound plate overhead, and a 400-meter Run
Everett says: “This one is great for wrestlers and baseball players, because the Rope Climb and Toes-to-Bar build grip and forearm strength. The Toes-to-Bar exercise is just what it sounds like. You don’t usually think of running as rest, but the 400 meters gives your upper body a break.”
Whom it honors: Army Sgt. First Class Severin W. Summers
The workout: 50 strict Pull-Ups (no “kipping”), 100 Push-Ups (release hands from the floor at the bottom), Run 5K
Everett says: “The numbers might be high for most high school athletes, but this is a good workout to start slow and increase the reps throughout the off-season. Both exercises develop the baseline strength athletes need to support more powerful, advanced movements later in their training.”