Honoring Veterans Through WODs

Honor Veterans Through Workouts

This Wednesday, our country will be honoring our brave servicemen and women through Veterans Day. On this day, we give thanks and recognition to our veterans who have given so much to protect our country. Many will be celebrating by volunteering, giving remembrance, and spending time with our heroes. You can even pay your respects by working out in their name.

Our great country is forever indebted to these men and women who so courageously took the vow to protect our country and our freedoms. We are lucky to have some of these brave people as our members and part of the NBS family. They didn’t serve to gain fame or fortune or any of the like. They joined to serve, protect and uphold our nation and that is what makes them heroes to us.

When you think of hero workouts the first thing to come to mind is CrossFit and rightfully so. CrossFit has been intertwined with our military since its inception. Dave Castro, the very popular CrossFit Games director actually spent twelve years in the infamous seal teams. Castro even spent his last years of service working for CrossFit and the Navy simultaneously.

Now there are some requirements to have a hero WOD named after oneself:

  1. They have to have been killed in the line of duty for either military, law enforcement or fire.
  2. Prior to death, they must’ve been actively involved in CrossFit training and either their friends or family members must request the WOD for their name.
  3. For the most part hero WODs tend to be longer, harder and heavier than traditional CrossFit workouts.

The point however is simple: in order to honor their service and sacrifice we must suffer. Below I’m going to list some of my favorite hero WODs. Pick one out and read about the hero who the workout is inspired by. Complete the workout and use your suffering to honor their life and legacy. Also, no headphones or music allowed; just you suffering in silence to honor one of our country’s fallen heroes.


The JT WOD is CrossFit’s very first hero WOD. Athletes must complete 21-15-9 reps of: handstand push-ups, ring dips and push-ups. JT is named in honor of Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Taylor, 30, of Little Creek, VA, who was killed in Afghanistan June 2005.

Like all of the CrossFit hero workouts, JT is incredibly tough. The combination of handstand push-ups, ring dips and push-ups will really test your upper body strength, with 135 total reps required to complete the workout. This is definitely one WOD where you’re going to want to think carefully about how you break down the reps to avoid your arms burning out.


For Time:
Handstand Push-ups
Ring Dips

Scaling Options:

Push Press
Box/Bench Dips

21 at each move, then 15, then finally 9 to finish.

“In honor of Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Taylor, 30, of Little Creek, VA, who was killed in Afghanistan June 28, 2005.  He was one of eight men killed when his helicopter was shot down while trying to give back up support to Marcus Luttrell”

“My husband was a warrior and a man who believed his purpose in life was to defend the freedoms that each of us enjoy today.” – Erin Taylor


As with many CrossFit workouts, DT doesn’t appear too difficult. It’s composed of three exercises—the deadlift, hang power clean, and push-press—all using a 155-pound barbell. It starts with 12 reps of the deadlift, followed by nine reps of the power hang clean, and finishes with six reps of the push-press, and is repeated as a circuit for five total rounds. 

On paper, the number of reps per round seems manageable; the weight isn’t that heavy, and five-rounders are standard in the CrossFit world. But experiencing this WOD and reading about it are worlds apart. The sequence of movements is part of what makes it so difficult. The workout takes you from pull to push, from power lift to Olympic lifts, targeting the metabolic pathways that are the route to increased athletic performance.


5 Rounds for Time:
Men: 155lb / Women: 105 LB
12 Deadlifts
9 Hang Power Cleans
6 Push Jerks

L3: 135/95
L2: 115/75
L1: 95/55

“In honor of USAF SSgt Timothy P. Davis, 28, who was killed on February, 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.”


This relatively long triplet (a workout with three movements) should feel tough yet doable. The load should feel relatively light for the Push Presses and the Swings. The Box height should feel easily clearable.

This workout has three different movements that all require fairly different skills, which makes major muscular fatigue and burnout less of an issue; this will be more of a test of cardiovascular endurance. Pick a strong pace from the beginning and hold on tight to that pace. Remember: The more times the athlete breaks up the Push Presses and Kettlebell Swings, the more they need to pick the load back up off the floor.

Jack WOD

10 Push Press (115/75)
10 Kb Swings (53/35)
10 Box Jumps (24/20)

L3: 95/65
L2: 75/55
L1: 55/35 (Box Step-ups)

“Army Staff Sgt. Jack M. Martin III, 26, of Bethany, Oklahoma, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Fort Lewis, Wash., died September 29th, 2009, in Jolo Island, Philippines, from the detonation of an improvised explosive device. Martin is survived by his wife Ashley Martin, his parents Jack and Cheryl Martin, and siblings Abe, Mandi, Amber and Abi.”


Murph is the most well known Hero WOD. This workout was one of Michael Murphy’s favorites and he named it “Body Armor”. From here on it will be referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

While this WOD is an endurance-type workout, it should be performed in approximately an hour or less. If, for example, it takes you 90+ minutes to complete, you’ve altered the stimulus and lost the requisite intensity – meaning you should consider scaling.

Murph WOD

For Time:
1 Mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Air Squats
1 Mile Run
Wearing (20/14)lb Weight Vest

Set Suggestion:
1 Mile Run
20 Sets of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Air Squats
1 Mile Run

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. Lt Murphy was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor after his death.

Remember the reason we do these WODs: to honor and practice the sacrifice of our service members. These brave men and women gave their life to protect our freedoms; giving our strength to honor them is a small price to give in order to honor their life and legacy.