Helen WOD

Three rounds for time — 400-meter run, 21 kettlebell swings (50/35lb), 12 pull-ups

What is the Helen WOD?

The Helen WOD is one of the original Crossfit Girl WODs. Athletes must complete three rounds for time: 400-meter run, 21 kettlebell swings (50/35lb) and 12 pull-ups. Helen is a Crossfit benchmark WOD used to assess an athlete’s progress over time.

The workout is formed of three movements – run, kettlebell swings, and pull-ups – that are relatively easy to perform, however, the Helen WOD is designed to be a moderate sprint, making it a test of speed as well as endurance and strength. You need to carefully pace the runs so you don’t burn out on the kettlebell swings and pull-ups. Elite CrossFit athletes can complete the workout in less than 7 minutes.

There are scale options for all three movements. Typically the run shouldn’t be scaled, however, you can shorten the run or replace it with a row if you are currently having issues with running. For kettlebell swings, lower the weight to something that allows you to do 21 reps unbroken. For pull-ups there are several options, including banded pull-ups, jumping pull-ups and ring row.

Tips for the Helen WOD

  • Pace the runs sensibly. This can be an opportunity to make up time or get a little rest, depending on your running ability.
  • Attempt to perform the swings and pull-ups unbroken.
  • If you’re having to break up the movements multiple times this is a strong indicator that you should scale down.

Helen WOD Videos

See how to do the Helen WOD with the following videos and get inspiration from elite Crossfit athletes.

See a demo of the Helen WOD from CrossFit Paradiso.

Rob Forte and Chris Hogan perform the Helen workout.

CrossFit Addiction give a demonstration of the Helen WOD.