The 20 Most Brutally Difficult CrossFit Workouts

Croosfit exhausted after wod

So, you think you are a beast and can handle some seriously hard workouts. Then you have come to the right place.

There are some really tough CrossFit WODs out there that will leave you exhausted on the floor when and if you finish. While most CrossFit WODs can be tough today we will be talking about the most difficult WODs on the planet.

These workouts are not for beginners and some of them might be too much for most intermediate lifters as well. For many of these workouts, you will need a certain level of strength and or conditioning that many people who haven’t trained long enough just don’t have.

Hero WODs and the Girls

When it comes to the toughest WODs look no further than the Hero WODs. These are generally the most difficult workouts that you will find when it comes to CrossFit.

Hero workouts are named after fallen military and other service members who have lost their lives in combat and serving the United States of America. These difficult workouts are done to honor and remember them.

One step below the hero WODs you have the girls. These are some of the iconic CrossFit WOD’s most people know and love/hate.

A combination of the Hero WODs and the girls make up our list of the 20 most difficult WOD’s there are. Now let’s get to the list.

Crossfit brutal

The 20 Hardest WODs in All of Crossfit

Ok people time to cut the BS and get to the WODs. These are the WODs that will have you on your knees and hating life. First, we start out with some of the girls then we step it up with the hero workouts.

20 Angie

We start off with a few of “the girls” with the first one being Angie. This is one of the most difficult workouts of all the girls.

The Workout

100 Pull Ups
100 Push Ups
100 Sit Ups
100 Squats

Analysis:

Angie is a full body workout that hits both the upper and lower body nicely and will leave your muscles feeling pretty torched by the end. If you have trouble doing many pull-ups you may have trouble with this one because 100 pull-ups by itself is no joke. One thing you can do to help is to break the pull-ups into smaller sets so you don’t get burned out on them too fast. An example of this is if you can do 15 pull-ups to start just do 5 reps instead and continue doing 5 rep sets as long as possible, this will keep you fresh longer than blowing yourself out on the first couple sets. Also don’t be afraid to kip on the pull-ups if you need to, the momentum can really help you get them done faster.

 

19 Barbera

Next up we have Barbera, this one is a bit like Angie but requires more reps in many of the exercises.

The Workout

20 Pull Ups
30 Push Ups
40 Sit Ups
50 Squats
Rest 3 Mins
Repeat All For 5 Rounds

Analysis:

Barbera is a lot like the workout we just covered at number 20 with Angie. The bad news is this one involves, even more, reps than Angie with a painful 250 squats overall. The good news is you do this WOD in 5 rounds and you get a 3-minute rest between rounds so you get to break up the exercises rather than doing them all at once.

 

18 Fran

At 18 we have the CrossFit classic Fran, probably the best known CrossFit workout of all time.

The Workout

21 – 15 – 9 Reps
Thruster 95lbs
Pull Ups

Analysis:

If you have only heard of one Crossfit workout this is probably it. This WOD is shorter than the other workouts on this list but that doesn’t mean it is any less brutal. The combination of pull-ups and thrusters will wear you down fast and this one can be really tough for women in particular, feel free to kip on those pull-ups to make it easier. It still won’t be easy though.

crossfit girl thruster

 

17 Chelsea

Chelsea is the last of the girls on the list and we saved the best for last.

The Workout

5 Pull Ups
10 Push Ups
15 Squats
On The Minute Every Minute For 30 Minutes.

Analysis:

Chelsea is a half hour of solid brutality. Even if you are strong at pull-ups, push-ups and squats the fact that you have to to do all three for a solid half hour can be a killer. Many people who do this workout will get to the point where they are unable to finish the exercises before the minute is up and you have to start again. If this is you, you aren’t alone.

 

16 Nate

Now we are going to take it up a notch and move on to the hero workouts starting with Nate.

This WOD is in honor of Chief Petty Officer Nate Hardy, who was killed on February 4, 2008, during combat operations in Iraq.

The Workout

20 Minute AMRAP

2 Muscle-ups
4 Handstand push-ups
8 Kettlebell swings (2/1.5 pood)

Analysis:

If you are looking for a WOD that will totally blast your upper body then you have come to the right place. This workout will blast your shoulders and back like you won’t believe so be prepared. After 20 minutes straight of muscle-ups, handstand push-ups and heavy kettlebell swings you will be on the floor. Trust us, it’s harder than it looks.

 

15 Bull

This workout is to honor Marine Corps Captain Brandon “Bull” Barrett, 27, of Marion, Indiana who was based out of Camp Lejeune, NC and was killed on May 5, 2010, while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The Workout

Two rounds for time of:

200 Double unders
135 pound Overhead squat, 50 reps
50 Pull-ups
Run 1 mile

Analysis:

If you can’t do double unders then you might as well skip this one because it features a lot of them. Even if you can do some double unders but aren’t very good at them the fact that there are 400 of them in this workout might make you think twice about doing this WOD. This one will have your legs burning from all the double unders, running 2 miles and the overhead squats. By the time you are done with this one you might need grandma’s walker to help you get to the car

Double Unders

 

14 Roy

Next up we have Roy. This WOD is in honor of Marine Corps Sgt. Michael C. Roy of North Fort Myers, FL, who was killed in action on July 8th, 2009 in Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.

The Workout

Five rounds for time:

225 pound Deadlift, 15 reps
20 Box jumps, 24-inch box
25 Pull-ups

Analysis:

Roy is one of the shorter WODs on the list but that doesn’t mean it is any less brutal. While the deadlifts aren’t too heavy and the box jumps and pull-ups don’t look too bad it adds up fast when you have to do five rounds of it. For most people, the pull-ups are the first thing you need to break up and they will slow you down so be prepared. Kristan Clever has done this workout in 16:29 using a 155lb deadlift. If you can beat that you are a certified badass.

 

13 Arnie

Next up we have Arnie, this WOD is named after Los Angeles County Fire Fighter Specialist Arnaldo “Arnie” Quinones, 34 who was killed in the line of duty on August 30, 2009, during the Station Fire. His emergency response vehicle went over the side of the road and fell 800 feet into a steep canyon during fire suppression activities protecting Camp 16 outside of Palmdale, CA.

The Workout

With a single 2 pood kettlebell:
21 Turkish get-ups, Right Arm
50 Swings
21 Overhead squats, Left Arm
50 Swings
21 Overhead squats, Right Arm
50 Swings
21 Turkish get-ups, Left Arm

With a single Kettlebell (2/1.5 pood)

Analysis:

If you don’t like Turkish get-ups then you will absolutely hate this workout. Add in the kettlebell swings and overhead squats using a 2 pood – 72lb kettlebell and your shoulders will be torched after this one is over. This WOD can easily be scaled back by using a lighter kettlebell, 2 pood will be too heavy for many people to do this workout with.

Turkish get up

 

12 Omar

The Omar WOD is in honor of U.S. Army First Lieutenant Omar Vazquez, 25, of Hamilton, New Jersey, assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment which is based in Fort Hood, Texas. He died from wounds suffered April 22, 2011, when insurgents in Numaniyah, Iraq, attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

The Workout

For Time

10 Thrusters (95/65 lbs)
15 Bar-Facing Burpees
20 Thrusters (95/65 lbs)
25 Bar-Facing Burpees
30 Thrusters (95/65 lbs)
35 Bar-Facing Burpees

Analysis:

As you can see this workout features both burpees and thrusters, likely the two most hated exercises in all of Crossfit combine in this workout to make it highly unlikable. It’s not the worst thruster burpee combo WOD on the list though, it gets much worse than this one later on. If you can get this bad boy done in less than 12 minutes then you are kicking some serious butt.

 

11 Rankel

Coming in at 13 we have Rankel. This WOD honors U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant John Rankel, 23, of Speedway, Indiana. He was killed on June 7, 2010, while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The Workout

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
225-pound Deadlift, 6 reps
7 Burpee pull-ups
10 Kettlebell swings, 2 pood
Run 200 meters

Analysis: 

Rankel is another bruiser of a workout. 20 minutes of deadlifts, burpees, kettlebell swings followed by 200-meter sprints is brutal. This one will have you out of breath really quickly if you go too hard at the beginning so this is one where you really want to pace yourself a bit, especially the first time you do this WOD. As with all the other WODs on this list scale back if you need to.

deadlift girl

 

10 Jenny

Jenny is a WOD in honor of U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer M. Moreno, of San Diego, California who died Oct. 6, 2013, in Afghanistan when enemy forces attacked her unit with an explosive device.

The Workout

AMRAP in 20 minutes
45-lb. overhead squats, 20 reps
45-lb. back squats, 20 reps
400-meter run

Analysis:

If you are looking for a WOD that will blast your legs then this is the one for you. While the weight isn’t very heavy on this one it is 20 minutes straight of squats and 400 meter runs. Believe me, all of it adds up and by the end, your legs will be like rubber if you even make it all the way through. Make sure you don’t have a workout scheduled for the next day or much walking either for that matter since your legs might not be very useful.

 

9 Filthy 50

Next up we have another CrossFit classic that will kick your butt.  The name comes from the fact that it features 50 reps of each exercise and the fact that it sucks.

The Workout

For time:

50 Box jump, 24-inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20-pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double unders

Analysis:

The good thing about this workout is you get a nice variety of exercises, that bad part is there is a lot to this bad boy. No matter how good of shape you are in you will be at this one for a while just because of the sheer number of reps you have to do overall. This WOD is more of a marathon than a sprint so be sure to pace yourself for the long haul.

 

8 Murph

This infamous CrossFit WOD is done in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, NY, who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. This was one of his favorite workouts. Performing this WOD on Memorial Day is done to honor him and other fallen soldiers and is a Crossfit Tradition.

The Workout

For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

All with a Weight Vest (20/14 lb)

Partition the Pull-Ups, Push-Ups, and Squats as needed. Start and finish with a Mile run.

Analysis:

This is the most common of all the hero WODs and is one that many perform on Memorial Day. This WOD can take over an hour so be sure to pace yourself. Murph can also be partitioned which means you can break up the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats. One common way to partition it is to run 1 mile then do 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats to make it a bit easier to get through. Try that and going without the vest if you are unable to do this workout Rx.

chin up athletic exercise

7 Gaza

This Hero WOD honors U.S. Air Force Major Lucas “Gaza” Gruenther, of Twain Harte, California who died Jan. 28, 2013, when his F-16 jet went down in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Italy.

The Workout

5 Rounds for Time

35 Kettlebell Swings (1.5/1 pood)
30 Push-Ups
25 Pull-Ups
20 Box Jumps (30/24 in)
1 mile Run

Analysis:

Gaza is another WOD that you will need patience for. Just the fact that you run 5 miles in this workout tells you that you are not going to finish this one quickly. A really good time on this beast is anything under 1 hour. 5 miles of running mixed with high numbers of pull-ups, push-ups, kettlebell swings and box jumps will totally tax your body to the brink. As we said earlier, pace yourself. Scale back as needed.

 

6 The Seven

This WOD is named for the seven CIA officers who were killed by a suicide bomber at a remote base in southeastern Afghanistan on December 30, 2009 after he posed as a potential informant reporting on Al Qaeda.

The Workout

7 Rounds For Time

7 Handstand Push-Ups
7 Thrusters (135/95 lb)
7 Knees-to-Elbows
7 Deadlifts (245/165 lb)
7 Burpees
7 Kettlebell Swings (2/1.5 pood)
7 Pull-Ups

Analysis:

The Seven is no joke, 7 rounds of 7 exercises for 7 reps that will beat you into the ground. For the first round or two, you might feel like all is well and that this workout isn’t so bad. But by the third round, it will hit you and you will be hating life. The middle 3 or 4 rounds absolutely suck and will make you want to quit. The last round or so you get the motivation of knowing you are almost finished. The good thing about this WOD is when you finish you will feel like a god, it makes it all worth it.

 

5 T.J.

T.J. is named after and done in honor of United States Marine Corps Pfc. Anthony “TJ” Antell Jr of Arlington, TX, who died May 2, 2016, from a gunshot wound when he tried to disarm a gunman at a local Walgreens.

The Workout

For time:
185-lb. bench presses, 10 reps
10 strict pull-ups
135-lb. thrusters, max set

Repeat until you have completed 100 Thrusters.

Analysis:

If you want a WOD that will turn your upper body into rubber then this is the one to go to. Your legs will also get pretty fried for the thrusters as well. This is another workout that you are going to need a good amount of strength for or you are not going to be able to get it done. Also, there are a lot of  CrossFitters don’t really do much in the way of bench pressing so that could be a big weakness for many of you on this one. Don’t be ashamed to scale back, you won’t be alone.

crossfit thruster

 

4 Tillman

This beast of a workout is in honor of former NFL star Pat Tillman who left the NFL to serve in the Army in May 2002. He joined the Army Rangers and served multiple tours in combat before he was killed in the mountains of Afghanistan.

The Workout

7 Rounds of:

7 Deadlifts  315/220 lbs
200m Sprint
15 Pull-Ups
45 Second Rest

Analysis:

This WOD features some pretty heavy deadlifts mixed with sprints and pull-ups. This WOD is a faster-paced workout that won’t take as long as many of the others on the list but it will leave you on the floor. The nice part is it does have a 45 second rest between rounds, the bad part is it feels more like 15 seconds. Since these deadlifts will be too heavy for many of you feel free to scale back to match your fitness level.

 

3 Clovis

This workout is done to honor U.S. Army Second Lieutenant Clovis T. Ray of San Antonio who was killed on March 15, 2012, in Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

The Workout

For Time

10 Mile Run
150 Burpee Pull-Ups

Analysis:

This WOD is will likely take the most time of any on the list. Just running 10 miles is no picnic itself and could take an hour and a half or more. Then after you are wiped out from running ten miles you have to do 150 burpee pull-ups on top of that. This one will really test your cardio levels and your mental toughness at the same time. 150 burpee push-ups after running that far is pure torture.

 

2 McGhee

In second place we place we have McGhee US Marine, Corporal Ryan C. McGhee, 21, was killed in action on May 13, 2009, by small arms fire during combat in central Iraq.

The Workout

Complete as many rounds in 30 minutes as you can of:
275 pound Deadlift, 5 reps
13 Push-ups
9 Box jumps, 24-inch box

Analysis:

This one is a real bruiser. A half hour of heavy deadlifts with push-ups and box jumps mixed in. There isn’t really a lot of push-ups or box jumps though so it’s basically a heavy deadliftathon. By the time this one is done your back and hamstrings will be on fire and will likely be on the floor in the fetal position wondering why you decided to do that to yourself. An easy way to scale this back is to use less weight on the deadlifts or the time.

 

1 Kalsu

We have finally reached the top. This is the most difficult and brutal WOD on the planet.

This workout is done to honor of Kalsu  Robert James “Bob” Kalsu who played for the Buffalo Bills in the NFL in 1968. He then left the team to fulfill his ROTC obligation with the Army. He went on to serve his country in the Vietnam war and was killed in action.

The Workout

 

Every Minute on the Minute
5 burpees
Max rep thrusters  135/95 lbs

Continue until you reach 100 thrusters

Analysis:

This is it, the mother of all CrossFit WODs. This WOD originated with the hardcore athletes at CrossFit Football which has morphed into JohnnyWOD and it is insane.

This workout is an absolute monster. Burpees and thrusters together always suck but this workout is next level. I tried this WOD myself Rx and was unable to finish without scaling back.

Many people start out thinking they can just pace themselves to do 5 burpees per minute and coast to a 20 minute finish time. It’s not that easy, once you get to about 40 thrusters many will hit a wall and will have to scale back the thrusters they do each minute, sometimes way back to 1 or none.

It’s also really easy to get ahead of yourself and do too many thrusters at the beginning of this one, that’s what happened to me. If you can hold back a bit and pace yourself a bit you have a better shot at finishing but either way, there is no easy way to get through this beast. This one really is no joke and if you can finish this Rx you are a total badass no matter what your time is.

 

Luckily there is a scaled version for the people can’t handle Kalsu Rx’d, which is most people. The scaled version is below:

Scaled Kalsu

Every Minute on the Minute
3 burpees
Max rep thrusters  95/65 lbs

Continue until you reach 100 thrusters

This scaled version is a bit more friendly to your average crossfitter but even this version still isn’t a walk in the park. Thruster and burpee combo workouts will flatten you and you should be ready to be in a world of hurt even in the scaled version so be ready for a serious challenge. Also, you may want to try the scaled version of this beast before going straight for Kalsu Rx’d, this WOD is not to be taken lightly.

 

Wrapping Things Up

There you have the 20 most brutal CrossFit WODs on the planet. Many of you may need to scale these back especially the more difficult ones. For most of these, I would definitely recommend that you have a rest day scheduled for the day after, you will need it. Also, if you try any of these workouts post your time and a review of the WOD below so, we would love some feedback. Let us know if we forgot any brutal WODs that should be on this list as well. Enjoy!