The Helen WOD: A Great Way to Test Your CrossFit Progress

If you want a way to track your CrossFit fitness progression, you may want to check out the Helen WOD. This is a workout that you can perform from time to time to track your progress.

That way, each time you complete it, you can see how far you have come.

A few quick points to keep in mind regarding the Helen Workout of the Day include:

  • The goal is to perform this workout as fast as possible.
  • During the exercise, you will run, perform pull-ups, and complete a few kettlebell swings.
  • You can perform this exercise routine regularly to see how far you have progressed.

If you really want to achieve a good time on the Helen WOD, there are a few quick points you need to know.

What Is The CrossFit Helen Workout Of The Day?

The Helen workout of the day is one of the numerous benchmark workouts that you can perform regularly to track your progress. These workouts are called benchmarks because you can track your progress in a journal, seeing how quickly you progress.

Even though this WOD may look straightforward, it is still a significant challenge. During the workout, you will complete the following:

  • A 400m sprint
  • 21 kettlebell swings
  • 12 Pull-Ups

You will perform this workout for a total of three rounds to get your final time.

The goal is to get through these exercises as quickly as possible. But how do you know if you finished in a “good time”?

What Is Considered A Good Helen WOD Time?

Each time you perform this workout, your goal should be to perform it more quickly than you did before. Pretty simple. But you can also compare yourself to other people who have completed the workout. A few general parameters (not the same for everyone) to consider include:

  • The first time you perform this work out in its entirety, you should shoot for a time of approximately 17 minutes. This is a good time for a beginner.
  • If you can get your time down to approximately 14 minutes, you will be considered an average athlete.
  • Once you get your time down to approximately 10 minutes, you’ll be considered an advanced athlete.
  • An elite athlete can complete this workout in approximately 8 minutes.
  • If you can get your time down to seven minutes and fifteen seconds, you are a regional athlete.

If you are exceptional at CrossFit, you may think that you are already performing your kettlebell swings and pull-ups as quickly as you can; however, you can always run faster! That is where the allure of performing this CrossFit workout of the day comes from.

How Can You Scale the CrossFit Helen WOD?

Woman exercising doing kettle swing

This workout can be a challenge even for experienced athletes. Therefore, you should not get frustrated if you cannot perform the workout in its entirety on your first attempt.

A few ways you may want to scale this workout include:

  • You may want to reduce the number of kettlebell swings or pull-ups on each round to make it easier.
  • You can add scheduled rest breaks in between the rounds to make sure your muscles are ready to go.
  • You can also shrink the number of rounds from three to two.

Remember that you can use any combination of the changes above to make the workout slightly easier. Then, as you get in better shape, you can increase the number of repetitions and rounds until you are completing the Helen workout of the day exactly as it was intended.

Note: Take a look at this video of someone performing the Helen WOD for some context.

Related: Other benchmark workouts to try regularly include the Cindy and Fran

How Can You Get A Better Time with the CrossFit Helen WOD?

If you want to get a better time, the answer is that you should get in better shape.

As you stick to your CrossFit schedule, you should get better at the Helen workout of the day.

At the same time, even experienced CrossFit veterans can use a few tips to shave a few precious seconds from the workout.

They include:

  • The run is responsible for approximately half of the overall time of the workout of the day. For example, if you perform every 400m sprint in 1:30, that’s already 4:30 right there, which could be half of the time. Make sure you pace yourself during the first 100 m. Otherwise, you’ll be out of breath at the end.
  • Do not hesitate to divide the kettlebell swings and pull-ups. Even though it is fastest if you can do all of them without breaking the set, you may get a faster time by dividing them into smaller chunks to give certain muscle groups a break. For example, consider doing 12 kettlebell swings, 12 pull-ups, then 9 kettlebell swings.
  • Even though the kettlebell swings make sound like the easiest part of the workout, they can also fatigue your arms when you jump on the pull-up bar. Focus on your technique to make sure you do not over-exert yourself.

A few additional tips you may want to follow include:

  • Consider keeping chalk in your pockets so you can wrap your hands in between rounds.
  • Try to put the pull-up bar and kettlebell close to the track so you do not waste valuable seconds going from exercise to exercise.
  • Finish strong and safe a few seconds by performing the swings on the last round unbroken.

These tips should help you get the best possible time during the Helen workout of the day.

Test Yourself With The Helen Workout Of The Day

The Helen workout of the day at a benchmark workout. It is designed to help you track your progress as you get better at CrossFit. You will run a 400-meter sprint, perform kettlebell swings, and perform pull-ups.

The next time you perform this workout, write down your time in a journal. Then, take a look at how much time you shave off the next time you do it. This is a great way to test yourself! Just tune out the pain!

Tim Rollins, Editor

About boxletes was created by a team of CrossFit athletes and fitness enthusiasts who love to share information about the best CrossFit boxes, workout gear and equipment, and fitness and nutrition tips.

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