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Top 5 Hardest CrossFit Workouts

Say what you will about CrossFit, even the haters have to admit that some of these workouts are pretty crazy and that they can bring you to your knees.

While most of them are difficult some of them are just downright brutal and require mental strength as well as physical strength and conditioning to finish.

Today we are going to cover the top 5 hardest WOD’s there are on the planet. These are not really something for beginners so if you think you can just try one of these without being in really good shape you have another thing coming, also if you are a bodybuilder type and think you can handle one of these workouts just because you are strong you might be in for a bit of a surprise, you need more than strength to get through these. If your cardio is not up to par you probably won’t make it through one of these bad boys.

Top 5 Hardest CrossFit WOD’s

When it comes to the hardest WOD’s out there you need to look no further than the hero WOD’s named after United States Military members who are sadly no longer with us. These WOD’s are a level above your typical WOD or even the girls. If you want a real challenge then look no further than a hero WOD, you will find 4 of them on this list.


5 Fran

Fran WOD

This one is a classic and is probably the one WOD that most non-crossfitters have heard of. When you look at it it seems simple but it will have your lungs burning and your muscles on fire.

The Workout

21-15-9 Reps For Time

Thrusters (95/65 lbs)

Again, it doesn’t look like there is much to it but it can be brutal. If you do much CrossFit you will find that basically any WOD that involves thrusters is pretty much going to suck and this one is no different.

With this WOD you have to be above average at pull-ups or you either won’t be able to finish or will be at it for a while. The thing about Fran is whether you finish in three minutes or 25 minutes it still kicks your butt either way. There is no way around it, even top CrossFit athletes will be gasping for air when they finish this bad boy.

As with most WOD’s you can scale this one back to fit your skill level. One way you can scale this one back is to use less weight on the thrusters, another way would be to put a time cap on it. You could also do both of these things of course.


4 Matt 16

Crossfit deadlift

This Hero WOD is named after U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Matt Ruffner, of Tafford, Pennsylvania, died April 9, 2013, in Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when his Apache helicopter crashed. The 16 is for the1600 meters you run during the WOD.

The Workout

For Time

16 Deadlifts (275/165 lbs)
16 Hang Power Cleans (185/110 lbs)
16 Push Presses (135/80 lbs)
800 meter Run
16 Deadlifts (275/165 lbs)
16 Hang Power Cleans (185/110 lbs)
16 Push Presses (135/80 lbs)
800 meter Run
16 Deadlifts (275/165 lbs)
16 Hang Power Cleans (185/110 lbs)
16 Push Presses (135/80 lbs)

This one is definitely more of a meat grinder than Fran. Featuring large numbers of heavy deadlifts, cleans and push presses with 2-800m runs in between this WOD will break you down fast.

This is one that you will need a good level of strength to compete. Many people out there will have to scale this one back as the weights are a bit on the heavy side for most lifters. Even those that have a good strength base will struggle with this WOD and will be thanking their lucky stars when it is over and their shoulders and back will be totally fried by the time they finish this one. Be sure you have an off day scheduled for the day after this beast for recovery.


3 The Seven

Thruster girl

Up next we have another meat grinder of a workout, or chipper as they call them because they are longer workouts you need to chip away at.

This WOD is named after seven CIA officers and one Jordanian officer at a remote base in southeastern Afghanistan on December 30, 2009, who were killed by a suicide bomber who posed as a potential informant reporting on Al Qaeda.

The Workout

7 Rounds For Time

7 Handstand Push-Ups
7 Thrusters (135/95 lb)
7 Knees-to-Elbows
7 Deadlifts (245/165 lb)
7 Burpees
7 Kettlebell Swings (2/1.5 pood)
7 Pull-Ups

This one is my favorite WOD on the list, this bad boy has enough variety to you from hating one exercise too much but these 7 exercises will really take their toll on you.

For the first 2 rounds of this workout, you may feel like you are doing ok and that this WOD isn’t so bad. By the time you get to the third round though it will hit you, the middle 3 rounds totally suck and will make you feel like quitting and have you hating life. The last 2 rounds you just try and grind out to get it over with, they suck too but you know the end is near so it’s a bit easier to push ahead. The nice part is once you are done with this one you will feel like a god for having gotten it all done, it is a great feeling.

As with every workout on here, you can scale this one back too if needed.


2 McGhee

Crossfit deadlift guy

In second place we have McGhee. This is another workout that is truly brutal.

McGhee is named after Corporal Ryan C. McGhee, 21 who was killed in action on May 13, 2009, by small arms fire during combat in central Iraq. He served with 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment of Fort Benning, Georgia.

The Workout

AMRAP in 30 minutes

5 Deadlifts (275/185 lbs)
13 Push-Ups
9 Box Jumps (24/20 in)

This one is next level of brutality. The thing about McGhee is it is 30 minutes long no matter how strong you are or how fast you can move through the workout you will still be going for 30 minutes. This means you could be doing anywhere from 100-150 or more deadlifts over the course of this workout which will leave your hamstrings and back completely torched. Not to mention your chest and triceps from all the push-ups.

Give this one a try one day when you are feeling like a badass, be careful though, this WOD will cut you down to size pretty quick. Also don’t be shy about scaling this back to a weight you can handle or you could risk injury.

1 Kalsu

Burpee girl

Here it is, the hardest WOD there is on the planet. This WOD will make you wish you were never born and question life itself.

Kalsu is named after Robert James Kalsu (April 13, 1945 – July 21, 1970), a former professional American Football player, who left his football career behind to serve his country in the Vietnam war.

The Workout

For Time

100 Thrusters (135/95 lbs)
5 Burpees at the top of every minute

Start with 5 burpees. Then complete as many thrusters as possible for the rest of the minute. Repeat until 100 total thrusters are completed. If you can’t finish this beast your score is the number of rounds and reps completed.

This workout is a CrossFit Football WOD that is designed for top-level athletes that have a higher level of strength than most people. Most of you likely won’t be able to handle it.

I tried Kalsu myself a while back and couldn’t get through it. Once I got to about the 15-minute mark I was pretty well gassed and was only able to do the burpees with an occasional thruster. With about 50 thrusters remaining I knew it I had no chance of finishing in any amount of reasonable time if at all. I had to quit after about 25 minutes knowing there was no way I could finish in any reasonable amount of time and I was totally whooped.

There is a scaled down version of this and you can feel free to use that unless you are a total badass and can handle it Rx, many of you won’t be able to though.

Scaled Down Kalsu

100 thrusters (95/65 lbs)
3 Burpees at the top of every minute

While the scaled-down version is easier but it is still pretty brutal. You may need to scale down further. This one is such a monster even the scaled down version can be too much for many people. Scale it back according to your skill level or hold off on this one until you are stronger and in better condition.


Wrapping it Up

There you have 5 killer WOD’s that are the hardest in all of CrossFit. Many of these workouts can be a bit much for some people. You may have to scale back the weights on some of these in order to get through them, don’t worry you won’t be alone. These also aren’t something you will want to try if you are a beginner, most of these workouts are more for stronger athletes that have been CrossFitting and lifting for a while.

That said if you are up for the challenge feel free to try any of the WOD’s to test your fitness level. Post your time and a review of the WOD below to let us know how you did. Enjoy!


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