Brutal CrossFit WOD “Tillman”: Workout Review

(Last Updated On: January 14, 2018)

We are back with another brutal WOD that will have you feeling like you have been put through a meat grinder.

Today we are going to look at the Brutal Hero WOD “Tillman”. As with pretty much all hero WODs I have done this one looks pretty nasty, it should be a fun/miserable time.


Deadlift guy

The Workout

7 Rounds of:

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

This WOD originated with CrossFit Football and is named after and done in honor of NFL star Pat Tillman who left the Arizona Cardinal of the NFL to serve in the Army in 2002. He joined the Army Rangers and served several tours in combat before he was killed in the mountains of Afghanistan by friendly fire.


Related: 20 Hardest CrossFit Workouts


Initial Thoughts

This workout looks pretty tough, it doesn’t look as tough as the worst WOD I have done but it definitely won’t be a picnic. The deadlifts are pretty heavy even for a hero WOD at 315lbs, then right after the 7 deadlifts are the sprints and then 15 pull-ups. I expect I will be totally gassed after a couple of rounds of these three exercises, luckily there is a nice 45 second rest period between rounds. I have a feeling that rest period will feel  like only about 15 seconds but I am certainly glad it is there. After 7 rounds of this I am sure I will be gassed, luckily this doesn’t look like one of those WOD’s that will take a really long time so I do look forward to having it done relatively quickly compared to some of the other brutal WOD’s I have done.

Girl doing pull ups

Tillman WOD Time – Analysis

We hit the timer and I am off, the deadlifts are heavy but manageable for the first round, then on to the 200m run which isn’t bad either but when I get to the pull-ups start to feel the fatigue creeping in a bit. I get through all 15 without much trouble but I am happy to get that 45-second rest. The second round goes about the same but I have to break the pull-ups into 3 sets of 5 to get the 15 and I am pretty fatigued after those and really happy to take the break.

The next 4 rounds are brutal, the deadlifts drain me and the 200m sprint has become a medium jog, The pull-ups are the worst  and most time-consuming part though, I have to break them down further to 3 reps at a time and then even less than that with longer and longer breaks in between sets. The 45-second rest that is supposed to help me get my energy back isn’t enough and I usually end up going for a full minute or so.

By the last couple of rounds, I am totally gassed. My lats and lungs are on fire and I am having trouble catching my breath. I have to break the deadlifts down and do 2 reps at a time, the “sprint” is so pathetically slow that old ladies would probably beat me. As with many of these brutal workouts near the end the only thing that keeps me going is the fact that I am almost done, otherwise I would probably tap out.

After this one, I was on the floor totally wiped and had to lay on the floor for a good five minutes or so. While this WOD isn’t as long as many of the other brutal CrossFit workouts I have done it totally crushed me and I was completely exhausted.

My crappy time: 23:47


Any Advice?

This workout is on the shorter side compared to other hero workouts so saving your energy won’t really work. One piece of advice would be to hold back on the 200m run, if you do that as fast as you can each time you will be gassed pretty quick and even the 45-second rest won’t be enough time for you to recover. I would advise going harder on the lifts and easier on the run and you should be ok to finish this one provided you are able to handle the heavy deadlifts.

As with any other WOD feel free to scale back as needed on this one to fit your fitness level. Good luck and have fun.

Ryan Douglas – Owner/Operator of