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Workout Wednesday: The CrossFit Helen WOD


If you’re a fan of Workout Wednesdays, you’re naturally a big believer in fitness.

You’ve all heard of CrossFit, right? It’s pretty hard to be a fitness fan or a regular gym member without at least knowing what CrossFit entails. But just in case you haven’t heard of it and are curious, I’ll explain this relatively new training method a bit before getting into this week’s workout, which is a simple CrossFit WOD.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit was founded in 2000, and is a program that helps athletes, fitness buffs, and anyone else willing to give it a try best prepare for anything physical. It involves many skills and adaptations of those skills and is meant to be a performance advantage for those who participate in it.

In short, CrossFit is many different things. According to the CrossFit website, founder/developer and coach Greg Glassman worked to develop the sport over a number of years. He defines CrossFit as “that which optimizes fitness (constantly varied functional movements [CVFM] performed at relatively high intensity [HI]).” It is also heavily based on the spontaneous “community” that forms as a result of people completing these workouts together in a group (known as a “communal environment”[CE]).

Here is Glassman’s simple equation: CVFM @ HI + Communal Environment = Health

CrossFit is not only physical exercise, it also functions is a competitive fitness sport. While there are entire gyms devoted to it, other gyms simply hold classes. In either case, participants complete daily workouts (known simply as a WOD, or a workout of the day). These WODs are scored and ranked to encourage competitiveness and personal growth.

WODs can cover elements from the following areas of fitness (among others):

  • High-Intensity Interval Training
  • Olympic Weightlifting
  • Plyometrics
  • Powerlifting
  • Gymnastics
  • Calisthenics

Depending on the elements in the WODs, they can be done for time or for as many reps as possible (AMRAP). With either type, it’s always important to challenge yourself, but always pay attention to your body and know your limits. The last thing you want to do is risk injury.

This Week’s Workout

There’s no better time to be introduced to CrossFit than right now with this Helen WOD. A great one for CrossFit newbies, the Helen WOD combines a 400-meter run, American kettlebell swings, and pull-ups for a great workout. Complete three full rounds for time.


Remember, endurance is always key. Just because the run doesn’t seem long at 400 meters, that doesn’t mean you should go as fast as you can on the first round. Maybe it sounds unbelievable to some, but running 400 meters at full speed can be absolutely exhausting. You have to run it three times. Don’t overdo it right away.

One of the great benefits of CrossFit WODs is that they help you learn your bodily limits. Always pay attention to what your body is telling you. The Helen WOD offers a great cardio workout, and also strengthens your upper body (your shoulders and arms). The point is to challenge yourself, but never over-challenge yourself. Never risk an injury.

Cool-Down & Recovery

While doing anything after the Helen WOD may seem impossible, a cool-down routine is still important. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, either. Just relax and stretch the muscles you used during the workout–it’s that easy!

Lie on your back and extend one leg straight up. Pull that leg toward your chest and stretch your hamstring. Be sure to do it with both legs. Stretch your shoulders and triceps by putting one arm in the air, bending it at the elbow, and extending your hand down the middle of your back. Pull that hand with the opposite hand, and then stretch your arm across your chest to stretch your shoulder. Be sure to do it with both arms.

Don’t forget to help your body recover. Always remember to drink plenty of water to fend off dehydration. Some other recovery items I like are listed below:

Have you tried CrossFit before? Is this your first time? Let us know your thoughts! Leave a comment below.

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