It's hard to say which WODs are my favorite. I, as I'm sure most of you, have a great coach with an amazing understanding of the sport. He always creates fun and new programming that not only advances my personal fitness, but that of the entire box. But every now and again, he prescribes a "benchmark", and these classic WODs never fail to produce an amazing time. Among the benchmarks, these five are what I consider to be the best.
"Angie"--100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 air squats.This benchmark covers the absolute basics of push-pull movement. I believe that you could do this workout (or a modified version of it) every day and you would experience all around good fitness. It addresses cardio health and muscular strength as well as keeping an eye to the basic forms that carry you through further movements. The trick to this WOD is that the athlete must complete all 100 reps before moving on the next exercise. That there is what takes this out of the realm of average fitness and into real fitness.
"Diane"--Deadlifts, Handstand push-ups, 21-15-9. It's a very simple workout. It's also incredibly hard. The deadlift is one of my all-time favorite Olly lifts as it is very nearly perfect in every way. Deadlifting accesses both the anterior and posterior chain equally, asking the body to perform a beautiful and basic everyday movement. The addition of handstand pushups is a true shake-up. Deadlifting uses the legs to pull weight from the floor. Handstand pushups uses the arms to push weight from the floor. So not only do we have classic push-pull, we have a non-traditional way of doing it. Simply brilliant.
"Grace"--Clean and Jerks at 135lb Rx, 30 reps for time.
Clean and elegant, this workout asks the athlete to perform only one movement. Again, the Clean and Jerk is an Olly lift that accesses the entire body's musculature. As a lift it addresses proper form and mechanics, body strength and sculpting, as well as cardio-respiratory health. The load is heavy and many athletes will not Rx; this does not affect the power of the WOD. Those 30 reps will get more and more difficult, forcing the athlete to sharpen their mind and focus as the body tires. This additional mental workout is part of what makes this WOD so effective.
"Helen"--400m run, 21 Kettle bell swings, 12 pull-ups. 3 rounds for time.
Helen is hell. That's what makes it wonderful. It can be looked at as a 3 part challenge in that the run challenges the legs, the kbs challenge the core and the pull-ups challenge the arms. Additionally, even though separate muscles are obviously working on each part, the athlete feels a "cascade" of fatigue. After running, the leg muscles must also participate in the kbs, and after the kbs, the core must also participate in the pull-ups. It is designed to force an athlete to keep going through extreme cardiovascular and muscular fatigue.
"31 Heroes"--8 Thrusters, 6 rope climbs, 11 box jumps. Partner WOD with 400m weighted run. AMRAP 31 minutes.
Technically, this isn't a benchmark; it is a hero WOD. There are many WODs designed to honor fallen heroes. This one honors 30 men and 1 dog who gave their lives in service on August 6, 2011--hence the 8-6-11 structure. This is a partner WOD at its very best. Partner #1 runs 400m with a sandbag while Partner #2 starts on the 8-6-11 scheme. When partner #1 is finished with the run, they take over and finish whatever is left of Partner #2's work. This WOD is an example of how true teamwork works.