Why Do We Do Hero WODs?

By Kristin Steinmetz

Memorial Day is right around the corner.  If you’ve been in the CrossFit world at least a year, you know what that means…"Murph”.  Traditionally, most CrossFitters make sure to spend at least some of their holiday weekend doing a 1 mile run, followed by 300 squats, 200 pushups, and 100 pull-ups, capped off with another 1 mile run.  Sounds fun.  But why do we subject ourselves to this and other Hero WODs?

Many of the other benchmark WODS, like the “Girls”, are formulated to test our limits and repeated often to mark our progress.  Hero WODs can do that, too.  But there’s a deeper meaning behind them.  When I first heard of them, I thought their name referred to the athlete and how hard they had to work to complete such a tough, often long, series of movements.  Although that is partly true, I’ve come to find there is a deeper meaning behind them, and a bigger reason why you should attempt them.

Hero WODs are named for soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty.  I’ve also seen ones dedicated to other service men and women, such as police officers and firefighters.  They died helping others.  They sacrificed for their team and for their country.  They lived their lives serving others and personified the ideal of “community” that CrossFitters are always preaching.

Are the WODs difficult?  Hell yes. But you’re used to challenging WODs.  But wherever you go in your head to get you through those reps when your body tells you to stop, you should have a little extra fuel in a Hero WOD.  Think of how much that Hero would love to be by your side pushing you through.  And how much they would like to go out after to join their box mates for a beer or their families for a BBQ.  But they can’t.  So suck it up.  Attempt the Hero WOD.  Try to finish.  This is one small way we can honor these heroes. 

  Michael Patrick Murphy  (May 7, 1976 – June 28, 2005)  Born and raised in Suffolk County, New York. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with honors and dual degrees in political science and psychology. After college he accepted a commission in the United States Navy and became a United States Navy SEAL in July 2002. After participating in several “War on Terrorism” missions, he was killed on June 28, 2005 after his team was compromised and surrounded by Taliban forces near Asadabad, Afghanistan. As a United States Navy SEAL lieutenant, he was awarded the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.  He was the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War.  His other posthumous awards included the Silver Star and Purple Heart.

Michael Patrick Murphy (May 7, 1976 – June 28, 2005) 
Born and raised in Suffolk County, New York. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with honors and dual degrees in political science and psychology. After college he accepted a commission in the United States Navy and became a United States Navy SEAL in July 2002.
After participating in several “War on Terrorism” missions, he was killed on June 28, 2005 after his team was compromised and surrounded by Taliban forces near Asadabad, Afghanistan.
As a United States Navy SEAL lieutenant, he was awarded the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.  He was the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War.  His other posthumous awards included the Silver Star and Purple Heart.