The 7 Most Epic CrossFit Games Workouts

As the Navy Seal saying goes: “Under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.”

Over the years The CrossFit Games proved to be the ultimate test of fitness with athletes, at least most of the time, not really knowing what they’re getting into. The “cruelty” of the workouts does not always depend on Dave Castro, but more on the type and the abilities of an individual athlete. The “Powerhouses” don’t go well with endurance tests, while the “Engines” struggle with max lifts. However, no excuse is valid at the Games. The best of the best have everything and are willing to face the unknown. What all winners have in common is mental toughness.

As Dave Castro recently stated on Instagram: “If you are an athlete or a coach going into the Games with the belief that your success depends on the programming that comes out that weekend… You lost already, you are not prepared.

So what have been the most difficult, most grueling or just the most epic workouts we’ve seen at the CrossFit Games so far? You might want to add or remove some, but here is our list: 

1. Pendelton in 2012

For time:
Swim 700± meters
Bike 8± kilometers
Run 11± kilometres

A random triathlon for the Games? No. A combination of big waves, soft sand, steep hills and Southern California climate? Yes. Pendelton was an event which consisted of two workouts: swim, bike, run as the first part, and obstacle course as the second one. Based on Jason Khalipa’s facial expression at the announcement, part one was also the hard one.

The event took place at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Southern California in 2012. After 700 meters of ocean swim, athletes picked up their single-speed bikes and cycled for 8 kilometers. Soft sand, with tires getting stuck and athletes crashing down, was the tricky part. Pendelton 1 ended with a 11.3 run. Chad Mackay and Julie Foucher finished ahead, winning the first event of 2012 CrossFit Games.

2. Cleans and ring handstand push-ups (hspu for women) in 2010

7 rounds for time of:
3 cleans (205 lbs/135 lbs, 93/61kg)
4 handstand push-ups (Ring HSPU for men)
12-minute cap

This workout would be a good warm-up for the majority of today’s top level Games athletes. However, in 2010 the cleans and handstand push-ups couplet wasn’t as easy as it first appear to be. Men struggled with on the ring while pressing into a handstand position and achieving a valid rep. Most of the women had a hard time with handstand push-ups, which were actually strict and deficit, performed on 15kg plates.

Graham Holmberg and Kristin Clever, later both 2010 Games champions, won the workout.

3. Frantasy land in 2014

For time:
21-15-9 reps of:
thrusters (65/95 lb, 29/43kg)
pull-ups
15-12-9 reps of:
thrusters (75/115 lb, 34/52kg)
chest-to-bar pull-ups
12-9-6 reps of:
thrusters (95/135 lb, 43/61kg)
bar muscle-ups

Think of Fran, and then triple it with chest-to-bars and muscle-ups. The workout was designed for teams (six athletes, three men and three women). The biggest edition to Frantasy land was the big bob, a 1000-pound heavy sled with a rig (where pull-ups, chest-to-bar and bar muscle-up were performed).

The workout took place at the soccer stadium in 2014. Team CrossFit The Club won the event.

4. The Burden Run in 2013

For time:
run 2.1 miles
flip the pig 100 yards (222/140kg)
600 yard Log carry (45kg)
drag the iditarod 66 yards (140kg)
Time Cap: 40 minutes

Men:

Women:

Jason Khalipa and Kaleena Ladeairous were the toughest facing a 2.1-mile run, pig flp, log carry and iditarod pull. The equipment used was later labelled as “the tool of destruction”.

Pig was a tire-flip twin, but trickier to move around and weighting 222/140 kilos. Log, an awkward-carrying tree trunk, accompanied the 600-yard run (or walk) and the Iditarod was a 140-kilo sled athletes had to pull across the soccer stadium.

5. 2009 Row and Pound a Stake

For time:
Row 500 meters
Pound a stake into the ground
Row 500 meters
(4-foot stake for men, 3-foot for women).

We have seen a similar workout in 2012,  the double banger event, but 2009 still marks an exception. The famous Hopper “pulled together” the tricky combination of rowing and pounding a stake into the ground.

Tommy Hackenbruck and Sarah Dunsmore won the workout.

6. 2014 Sprint sled

Sled push for time (100 / 60 yards)
Time cap: 2 minutes

What looked like a random sled push was actually a quad burner for most of the athletes. Even Froning was shaking his head afterwards, not really knowing what had just happened. The F1-racing-inspired sprint sled push happened. As Rory Mckernan says at the beginning of the video above, this workout was two minutes of “pushing pain.”

Most athletes collapsed at the finish line after crossing a 100/60-yard long soccer filed twice. The event had two parts. Sprint sled 1 was won by Lauren Brooks, sprint 2 by Emily Abbott in women category. Neal Maddox won both sprints in men’s division.

7. Sandbag move in 2010

For time:
Move (600 lbs/370 lbs) of sandbags down the stairs, across the stadium floor, up the wall, up the stairs.

Moving sandbags from one end of the stadium to another, over the stairs, load them into the wheel barrel, deload them again, throw them over the fence, climb over that fence and carry them back up the stairs. All sandbags together weighted 272 for men and 167kg for women.

Annie Thorisdottir and Tommy Hackenbruck won the workout.

Source: CrossFit Games 


Which workout would you add to the list? Comment below.

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About The Author

Editor-In-Chief at BOXROX. I come from a background of rugby and weightlifting. Growing up in the English Lake District, I spent a great deal of time swimming in its stunning lakes and rivers. In 2015 my brothers and I became the first people to swim the 145km length of the River Eden, from source to mouth, in 9 days. We also swam the Corryvreckan whirlpool, the third largest in the world, and Crossfit is a huge part of my training for these events.

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