18 CrossFit WODs That Are Not For The Faint Of Heart

Are you ready to push yourself to the limit? Crossfit is not for the faint of heart, and these 18 WODs are testament to that claim. From Cindy to The Gobbler, each of these workouts will test your strength, endurance, and mental toughness.

Gone are the days when CrossFit was that discipline which is the butt of the jokes in the gym, since the benefits are unquestionable.

Are you ready to shatter your limiting beliefs and test your physical prowess? Then let’s go!


If you're really up for a challenge, Cindy will push your limits and leave you questioning your life choices. This CrossFit WOD involves three simple exercises: pull-ups, push-ups, and air squats. The workout consists of doing as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 20 minutes. It may sound easy at first, but don't be deceived by its simplicity.

air squats

One of the most noteworthy benefits of Cindy is that it's a great way to build muscular endurance and improve cardiovascular health. However, while it's highly effective, it's important to avoid common pitfalls while doing this WOD, such as sacrificing form for speed or not pacing yourself properly. If you're struggling with any of the exercises, there are modifications available such as using resistance bands for pull-ups or doing assisted knee push-ups instead of regular ones.

Compared to many other CrossFit WODs that require more equipment or technical skills, Cindy is fairly beginner-friendly and can be done anywhere with the need for minimal equipment. That being said, if you're new to CrossFit or have never done this particular WOD before, it's recommended to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity over time.

Over time, with dedication and consistency, Cindy can become an excellent benchmark workout to measure progress in your fitness journey without putting too much strain on your body.


Notice something about the name of this WOD? Yup, many of them are named after prominent women in CrossFit, and Diane is no exception.

This particular WOD involves two exercises: deadlifts and handstand push-ups. The goal is to complete 21-15-9 reps of both exercises as quickly as possible. Although it may seem like a short workout, Diane is more challenging and requires a significant amount of strength and skill.

handstand pushup

One of the main benefits of Diane is that it's a great way to improve overall strength and build muscle mass. However, it's important to approach this workout with caution and make sure to use proper form, especially when lifting heavy weights during deadlifts. It's also important to properly warm up and stretch beforehand to avoid injury.

Like Cindy, Diane too can be considered fairly beginner-friendly (although harder than Cindy), with modifications available for those who are still working on their handstand push-ups or need to adjust the weight for deadlifts. However, it's recommended to have some prior experience with these exercises before attempting Diane.


Angie is a more challenging workout that combines pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and squats into one intense routine. It's considered a benchmark CrossFit WOD that tests your endurance, strength, and not to mention, mental toughness. The goal is to complete 100 reps of each exercise in as few sets as possible.

The Benefits of Angie are numerous. It's a full-body workout that targets multiple muscle groups at once. You'll improve your cardiovascular fitness, build strength and endurance, and burn calories simultaneously, making it highly efficient. Plus, Angie can also be done anywhere with virtually no equipment, making it an excellent option for those who travel frequently or don't have access to a gym.

If you're new to CrossFit or just starting out with Angie, there are several modifications you can make to the workout to make it more manageable. For example, you can break up the 100 reps into smaller sets or replace pull-ups with ring rows if you're not yet able to do them. Additionally, pacing yourself is crucial - don't go all-out in the first round and burn out before completing your rep goal.

Compared to other benchmark WODs like Fran or Murph, Angie is unique in its focus on bodyweight movements. While it may not be as grueling as some of the longer workouts like Murph or Cindy, it still presents a significant challenge that will leave you feeling accomplished after completion. To master Angie, focus on proper form and technique for each movement while gradually increasing intensity over time.

Incorporating Angie into your regular CrossFit routine can help take your fitness level to new heights by improving your overall strength and cardiovascular health. Whether you're an experienced athlete looking for a challenge or just starting out on your fitness journey - give Angie a try!


You're going to love Helen - it's a heart-pumping, sweat-inducing workout that will leave you feeling like a superhero. This Crossfit WOD consists of three rounds for time: 400-meter run, 21 kettlebell swings (24/16 kg), and 12 pull-ups. By incorporating 'Helen' into your regular Crossfit routine, you'll reap numerous benefits such as improved cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and enhanced fatigue resistance.

kettlebell swing

For advanced athletes looking to take on a greater challenge, variations of 'Helen' include using a heavier kettlebell or performing chest-to-bar pull-ups instead of regular pull-ups. However, if you're new to Crossfit or just starting out with 'Helen', it's important to properly scale the workout in order to prevent injury and ensure proper form. For beginners, this may mean reducing the weight of the kettlebell or modifying the pull-up by using bands or jumping pull-ups.

The history and origin of 'Helen' is attributed to Greg Glassman, founder of Crossfit Inc., who named the WOD after his mother-in-law. Completing 'Helen' at maximum effort requires not only physical strength but also mental toughness as you push through each round with determination and grit (AKA dealing with the mother-in-law). So next time you hit the box, give 'Helen' a shot - you won't regret it!


Get ready to feel empowered and accomplished with the intense and challenging workout known as 'Jackie'. This WOD consists of a combination of rowing, thrusters, and pull-ups that will shatter your hopes and dreams (j/k).

Jackie is not for the faint of heart by any means, but it's definitely worth trying if you're looking to push yourself to the limit.

Here are some benefits of Jackie for Crossfit athletes; Improves cardiovascular endurance - Develops upper body strength through pull-ups - Enhances overall power output and explosiveness with thrusters

Rowing is a very crucial component of Jackie so it's important to have good technique in order to maximize your performance. Some tips include maintaining a consistent pace throughout each stroke, keeping your core engaged and posture upright, and using your legs more than your arms during the drive phase.

Compared to other benchmark WODs like Fran or Cindy, pacing yourself during Jackie is a solid strategy since it's a longer workout that requires sustained effort.

Remember to take breaks when needed but also push yourself out of your comfort zone permitting.


Now that you've completed Jackie, it's time to move on to another challenging CrossFit WOD: Grace. This workout is a classic and consists of 30 clean and jerks for time. It may seem simple enough, but trust us when we say this one is scary.

When attempting Grace, technique is crucial to prevent injury and maximize efficiency. Start with a light weight and focus on proper form before increasing the load. Keep your elbows high during the clean portion, then use your legs to drive the bar up while using your arms to guide it overhead during the jerk phase.

If you're not quite ready for the recommended 135 pounds, don't worry- there are other scaling options available. You can decrease the weight or break up the reps into sets with rest in between. But if you're feeling ambitious, take inspiration from famous Crossfit athletes' scores like Rich Froning's impressive finish time.

The benefits of power cleans in this workout can improve your overall strength and explosiveness, but ensure you don't forget about recovery.

Rest days are just as important as training days, so make sure you are giving yourself ample time to recover before tackling another intense WOD like Grace.


With a name like Karen, it has to be at least a little “difficult”, right? The Karen WOD will test your endurance and mental toughness with 150 wall balls for time. Karen is considered one of the benchmark WODs in Crossfit, along with Fran and Diane.

woman doing wall balls

It is often compared to other challenging workouts due to its high volume of repetitions, such as Filthy Fifty and Murph. However, Karen is unique because it focuses solely on one movement: the wall ball.

Karen variations have been created over the years to add more complexity and variety to the workout, with Some variations including handstand push-ups or rope climbs between sets of wall balls.

This adds an extra challenge for experienced athletes looking to level up their training. As for beginners, there are modifications available such as reducing the number of repetitions or using a lower weight ball.

Karen has made a significant impact on Crossfit programming since its creation in 2008 by former gymnast and CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman. It has become a staple in many gyms around the world, testing athletes' physical and mental limits.

Its significance lies in its simplicity yet high effectiveness in improving strength and conditioning through incorporating functional movements like squatting and pressing while incorporating cardiorespiratory endurance through high-repetition work. So next time you see Karen on the whiteboard at your gym, embrace the challenge knowing that this infamous WOD has helped shape Crossfit into what it is today.


Isabel may just be the ultimate test of your strength and speed. This WOD consists of 30 snatches performed for time. The prescribed weight for men is 135 pounds, while women are expected to do it at 95 pounds.

Common mistakes that athletes sometimes make include failing to use their hips effectively or not pulling the bar close enough to their body. It's recommended that you take some time to practice mastering your form before attempting this intense workout.

There are ways to modify the workout if you're still working on perfecting your technique or can't handle the prescribed weight yet. For instance, you can opt for a lighter load or even break down the reps into smaller sets with rest intervals in between. Benefits of this WOD include improved power output, muscular endurance, and grip strength.

Remember that Isabel requires both physical and mental toughness since it's a high-intensity workout done for time. Push yourself but also listen to your body and don't forget to breathe properly throughout each rep to give yourself the best chance of completing it successfully.


This WOD consists of five pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats, all done as many rounds as possible in 30 minutes. It may seem like an easy task at first glance, but the intensity of this routine will leave you gasping for breath.

One of the benefits of Chelsea is that it's an excellent way to build stamina. The high volume of reps combined with the short rest periods forces you to perform at a steady pace without losing form. Additionally, this WOD provides a full-body workout by targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

Scaling Chelsea for beginners can be challenging since it's designed to be a demanding workout. However, modifying the exercise movements or reducing the number of repetitions can make this routine more accessible.

Compared to other CrossFit WODs like Fran or Murph, Chelsea has more extended work intervals and shorter rest periods, making it ideal for those who want to improve their muscular endurance.

Take your fitness level up a notch by trying out advanced Chelsea techniques such as weighted pull-ups or adding dumbbells during air squats or lunges. As with any high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program, proper technique and safety precautions are crucial when attempting these variations. Push yourself while staying mindful of your body's limits to avoid injury and achieve optimal results in no time!


Kelly is the ultimate test of your stamina and mental fortitude, with a grueling combination of running and box jumps. But don't let that intimidate you! The benefits of this workout are worth it. Kelly is designed to improve your cardiovascular endurance, leg strength, and overall conditioning. By pushing yourself through this challenging WOD, you'll not only see physical improvements but also mental toughness.

man doing box jumps

If you're new to Crossfit or looking to modify Kelly for beginners, start by reducing the number of repetitions or rounds. Instead of doing 5 rounds of 400-meter runs and 30 box jumps, try starting with just 2-3 rounds at a slower pace. You can also substitute the box jump for step-ups or jumping jacks until you feel comfortable enough to tackle the full workout. Remember, it's important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard too fast.

Compared to other Crossfit WODs like Fran or Murph, Kelly may seem more straightforward in its movements. However, don't let that fool you into thinking it's an easy workout! Famous athletes like Rich Froning Jr., Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, and Katrin Davidsdottir have all completed Kelly as part of their training regimen.

To improve your performance in this WOD, focus on pacing yourself during the runs and breaking up the box jumps into manageable sets.

Filthy Fifty

If you're looking for a challenging full-body workout that will leave you feeling accomplished and exhausted, look no further than Filthy Fifty. This infamous CrossFit workout consists of 50 reps of 10 different exercises done in succession, with no rest in between. It's not for the faint of heart, but if you're up for the challenge, here are some tips to help you complete it:

  • Pace yourself: Don't go all out in the beginning or you won't have anything left for the later rounds. Find a steady rhythm and stick to it.
  • Break it down: Don't try to do all 50 reps of each exercise at once. Divide them into smaller sets with short breaks in between.
  • Modify if needed: If any exercise is too difficult or causes pain, modify it to something that works for your fitness level by swapping or using a different approach, for example.
  • Celebrate small wins: Every completed set is a victory! Focus on each individual exercise and celebrate as you finish them.

The history of Filthy Fifty dates back to early CrossFit competitions where athletes would compete against one another using this grueling WOD as part of their training regimen. The benefits of completing Filthy Fifty extend beyond just physical fitness – it requires mental toughness and grit to push through when your body is screaming and wants to give up.

Compared to other CrossFit workouts like Kelly or Murph, Filthy Fifty reigns supreme as one of the toughest challenges out there. But don't let that intimidate you – with dedication and hard work, you can conquer this beastly WOD.

The Chief

Now that you've tackled the Filthy Fifty, how about we keep the momentum going with another intense CrossFit WOD - The Chief. This workout is not easy, and will challenge even the most experienced athletes.

men doing pushups

The Chief WOD consists of five rounds of three-minute AMRAPs (as many reps as possible) with a one-minute rest between each round. Each round includes three power cleans, six push-ups, and nine air squats.

The goal is to complete as many rounds as possible within the three minutes, resting only during the one-minute break before starting the next round.

One major benefit of adding The Chief into your fitness routine is its effect on heart health. With short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by brief rests, this workout can help improve cardiovascular endurance and overall fitness levels. Plus, it's a great way to mix up your usual cardio routine while still getting a full-body workout in just 15 minutes.

The Seven

You're about to embark on an intense workout known as The Seven, designed to push you to your limits and leave you feeling accomplished. This workout is named after seven CIA operatives who lost their lives in Afghanistan. It consists of seven rounds of seven exercises, with each exercise being performed for seven reps.

The Seven has significant meaning and history behind it, honoring the ultimate sacrifice made by these brave operatives. It requires mental toughness and endurance, pushing athletes to keep going even when they feel like giving up. But don't let that intimidate you - there are modifications available for beginners to make this workout more manageable.

For advanced athletes looking for an extra challenge, consider strategizing by breaking up the reps into smaller sets or working through each round without taking any breaks.


Get ready to push yourself to the limit with Murph, a grueling workout that will test your mental and physical strength like never before. This intense CrossFit Hero WOD is named after Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who died in Afghanistan in 2005.

To honor his memory, this workout was created, and it has become one of the most challenging workouts in the CrossFit community. Here are some tips for completing Murph:

  1. Pace Yourself: Don't start too fast or you'll burn out quickly.
  2. Break Up Reps: Divide the reps into manageable sets to avoid fatigue.
  3. Wear Proper Gear: Make sure you wear comfortable clothing and shoes with good support.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the workout.

Murph variations include using different equipment such as kettlebells instead of barbells or running on a treadmill instead of outside.

Pushing through Murph is not easy, but it's worth it when you finish knowing that you gave it your all and honored Lieutenant Murphy's legacy in the process.


The Science behind Fran's brutality lies in its high-intensity interval training design. This means that it requires maximum effort from your body during short bursts of time, resulting in a significant increase in heart rate and oxygen consumption. This type of workout is perfect for improving both aerobic and anaerobic capacity, making it an ideal benchmark for measuring progress.

The Importance of Proper Form during Fran cannot be overstated. When performing thrusters or pull-ups with incorrect form, you risk injury or training inefficient movement patterns. To prevent this, make sure to engage your core, keep your elbows close to the body during thrusters, and use full range of motion during pull-ups. Remember: quality beats quantity any day.

If you are unable to complete the workout owing to difficulty, either choose a different WOD or modify to suit. Use lighter weights for the thrusters or substitute jumping pull-ups for strict ones. The important thing is to maintain proper form while still challenging yourself physically.

The mental challenge of completing Fran cannot be ignored either. Don’t give in regardless of how much it burns!


This workout consists of nine muscle-ups followed by nine squat snatches, completed for seven rounds as quickly as possible.

The Benefits of Incorporating Amanda into Your Crossfit Routine are numerous. Not only does it improve your endurance and strength, but it also challenges your mental toughness. Completing this WOD requires a high level of skill and technique, making it an excellent opportunity to hone your coordination.

It's also a great way to measure progress over time, as the more frequently you do Amanda, the better you'll get at it.

Modifications for Amanda to accommodate different fitness levels can be made by adjusting the weight of the squat snatch or scaling down the number of muscle-ups required per round. For beginners or those with limited experience with these movements, modifications can help build confidence and prevent injury while still providing a challenging workout.


This WOD consists of three rounds for time: 500-meter row, 12 bodyweight deadlifts, and 21 box jumps. It's a great workout to test your cardiovascular endurance.

One benefit of doing Christine is that it targets the entire body. The combination of rowing and bodyweight movements challenges multiple muscle groups such as your back, legs, glutes, abs, and arms. Moreover, variations of Christine can be done by adjusting the weight or height of the box jump, or even replacing it completely with another exercise like burpees or kettlebell swings.

If you're new to Crossfit or find Christine too difficult to perform at first attempt, you can start by decreasing the number of reps or using lighter weights until you become more comfortable with the movements.

Compared to other CrossFit WODs like Fran or Murph which require high-intensity intervals in short periods of time, Christine focuses on building endurance over a longer period of time.

The Gobbler

You're going to love feeling like a turkey being stuffed after completing The Gobbler, which combines goblet squats and kettlebell swings for a challenging lower body workout. The Gobbler consists of 10 rounds of 10 goblet squats and 10 kettlebell swings, with a prescribed weight of 24kg for men and 16kg for women.

the goblet squat

Compared to other CrossFit WODs, the Gobbler is particularly brutal on the legs. It targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves all at once. However, it also provides an excellent cardiovascular challenge due to the high number of reps and short rest periods between rounds. If you're looking to improve your lower body strength and endurance, The Gobbler is definitely worth trying.

To complete The Gobbler with good form and efficiency, make sure you maintain proper squatting technique throughout each round. Keep your chest up, knees tracking over your toes, and hips back as you descend into the squat.

For the kettlebell swings, use your hips to generate power rather than relying solely on your arms. Remember to breathe consistently throughout each round to avoid getting winded too quickly.

If you're new to CrossFit or don't feel comfortable using the prescribed weight for The Gobbler yet, you can decrease the weight of the kettlebell or use a dumbbell instead if needed. You can also reduce the number of rounds or reps per round until you build up enough strength and stamina to tackle this WOD at full capacity.

Staying Safe

Owing to the intense nature of many of these WODs, you need to take some necessary precautions.

These include scheduling off days (at a minimum, 3 days on, 1 day off or more), getting enough sleep, and eating enough calories.

In addition, use of supplements such as Creatine and Peak ATP found in Brickhouse Foundation, and Collagen Peptides to safeguard the health of your joints can go a far way in ensuring your longevity in the sport.

Final Words

While this is not an all-encompassing list by any means, it is more than enough to really get your feet wet, and then some more.

CrossFit WODs are excellent tools for improving your health in a jiffy, as long as you maintain proper form and do them consistently.