Okay, maybe “killer” is a bit of an exaggeration, but there are some WODs that will leave you in a puddle of blood, sweat and tears. These workouts don’t just challenge you physically, but also mentally.You will work on strength, stamina, pace and power. You will no doubt be out of your comfort zone and then seeing just how long you can stay there. But once it’s over, you will feel like a superhero! While there are many to choose from, these five WODs are among the most brutal:
The workout is named after Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed while serving in Afghanistan. The exercises themselves aren’t the challenge, but rather the volume. Run 1 mile, then complete 100 pull ups, 200 push ups and 300 squats. When that’s completed, run another mile. Sure, you can modify the pull ups and push ups if need be, but that doesn’t change the amount you’ll have to do or get you out of running that brutal second mile. What’s nice about this workout is that you don’t need any equipment so you can do this one anywhere!
A nice name for a not-so-nice workout. On paper it looks like nothing—21thrusters, 21 pull ups, 15 thrusters, 15 pull ups, 9 thrusters, 9 pull ups. It doesn’t seem like much and it isn’t for the one exception that both exercises are very taxing on the body and the first round alone is enough to make you want to quit. Again, pull ups can be modified if needed. With this workout, the heavier you go on the thrusters, the more brutal this workout will feel.
- Burpee Mile
Oh, burpees. No one likes them despite the fact they are the best full-body exercises you can do without using any weight except your own. This WOD is sure to test your mental toughness as well as your physical prowess. The workout is simple. Find a track and do burpees (with a hop forward rather than up) around it for four laps which is the equivalent to one mile. Some good music and mental preparedness should help you get through this one.
This is another workout named after one of our finest—LA County Firefighter Specialist Arnaldo “Arnie” Quinones who was killed in the line of duty in 2009. The workout is one round of the most challenging exercises using only one piece of equipment—a kettlebell. You will begin by doing 21 Turkish get ups with a kettlebell in your right hand. After that, you will go on to do 50 kettlebell swings, 21 overhead squats (kettlebell in your left hand), 50 swings, 21 overhead squats (kettlebell in your right hand), 50 swings and then 21 Turkish get ups holding the kettlebell in your left hand. When you’re done, be sure to wipe up after yourself as the floor will be one giant, sweaty mess!!
- Filthy 50
Not the nicest title, but it’s also not the nicest workout. Doing any exercise for 50 reps is a recipe for some serious hard work, but these exercises are some of the best of the worst. This one-round WOD consists of ten exercises for 50 reps—box jumps, jumping pull ups, kettlebell swings, walking lunges, knees to elbow, push presses, back extensions, wall balls, burpees and double unders. Modify if necessary (i.e., do 100 single jump ropes if you have not yet mastered double unders).
All of these workouts come with specific requirements regarding what weight, kettlebell or medicine ball to use, but even if you have to go a bit lighter, you will still feel the intensity of these workouts. As you get stronger, you can retest yourself on these WODs with heavier weights. No doubt it will feel like you are doing them for the first time.