By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
First responders and military members often pay attention to details. They typically have high degree of fitness, and willingness to engage in intense workouts to stay sharp. People in these groups were one of the earliest proponents of CrossFit. This is a branded fitness regimen that combines high-intensity movements with culture and philosophy that’s bedrocked on physical exercise. Often, they must perform their hero WODs without equipment.
A hero workout of the day (Hero WOD) serves as a tribute to a fallen military member or first responder. Hero WODs have become a staple in many gyms to challenge the body with physical exercise and to honor, commemorate, and share the stories of the fallen.
People who work in dangerous professions must maintain a high degree of physical fitness to perform optimally during stressful situations.
Physical training, particularly within the military, is an effective tool to help mold soldiers into a cohesive team that relies on and trusts each other. Intensive physical activity is also a staple of military boot camps and first responder academies to get recruits into shape.
CrossFit has become popular in some military, law enforcement, and firefighting circles due to its emphasis on functional movements that naturally draw from a wide range of sports.
Many CrossFit workouts are tailored to help people break past plateaus. They get you to exercise hard, thereby creating a high degree of physical conditioning among those who stick to a dedicated regimen.
People who are not serving in the military or as first responders still gain a lot from performing hero WODs.
Many people enjoy learning about and honoring our heroes. In addition, the intense nature of many hero WODs provides an opportunity for just about anyone to mix up their workout. Furthermore, you can even learn a few new exercises along the way.
One of the more well-known hero WODs is the “Murph,” dedicated to Navy SEAL Michael P. Murphy.
During an intense firefight in Afghanistan in June 2005, Murphy decided to brave gunfire in order to relay the position of his men. This eventually led to the rescue of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. The story of Murphy and his team is told in the movie Lone Survivor.
The Murph workout incorporates the below activities. These are not just bodyweight exercises for the back, arms and legs. Instead, you do these exercises while wearing a 20lb vest or body armor. The workout was one of Murphy’s favorites to complete.
You can complete many effective Hero WODs without any exercise or weightlifting equipment.
Those who are traveling might find it tricky to break a sweat while on the road. Some who work in offices look for quick and easy ways to get the body moving and blood flowing.
Here’s a breakdown of a few different strategies and approaches for hero WODs without equipment.
Stretching is vitally important before a hero WOD. The entire body needs to move and relax so muscles can get prepared for exercise.
Stretching the pectoral muscles is an easy and effective way to improve flexibility during a hero WOD.
Pectoral stretching can easily be done in a doorway by placing the hands and lower arms on the doorframe. After, step forward until you start to feel the stretch in the chest and shoulders.
Repeat a few times in a relaxed manner for the best results. This is because combining a pec stretch with arm circles, leg swings, and neck rotations can quickly get the body warmed up. After a hero WOD, the same types of stretches can serve as a useful cool-down as the muscles slowly recover.
The push-up is an essential element of many Hero WODs. Because of this, workouts like the ‘Murph’ incorporate dozens, or even hundreds of push-ups. As a result, they give the arms and shoulders intense exercise.
Push-ups are a great exercise to build strength and endurance. Furthermore, you can knock out as many as you want without a single piece of equipment.
One of the best ways to take advantage of the many benefits of push-ups is to take on a 30-day challenge. Doing push-ups each day for a month will undoubtedly help build upper-body strength. In addition, the workout can be combined with other exercises to create a baseline for different hero WODs.
A typical 30-day challenge starts small, with just a few push-ups per day. The idea is to test and break past limits during the month, so the number of push-ups increases each day as the body grows in strength.
Hero WODs are a great way to commemorate the fallen while getting a great workout. Additionally, these can be exercises without equipment. Furthermore, bodyweight exercises give you a different training experience that can supplement well with other sports and weightlifting.
The versatility of hero WODs also makes them a useful combination with other fun activities that you can perform inside your home.
Virtual training in sports like boxing has become popular. Consequently, people express interest in incorporating world-class coaching with at-home equipment instead of rushing to a gym to take a class.
A hero workout of the day is a unique opportunity to commemorate a fallen first responder and engage in an intense, high-level workout. In addition, there are a variety of WOD calendars on the internet that detail workouts for each day and give a brief overview of the hero for tribute.
So, don’t hesitate to jump in and start moving! Many hero WODs do not need workout or exercise equipment. For example, bodyweight exercises include pushups, air squats, and pullup workouts. These provide a wide range of health benefits and are relatively easy on the body’s joints and muscles.
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