I Wanna Do Helen Again (at Crossfit)


That doesn’t sound right, I know.

Helen is one of the benchmark Workout for the Day (wod) at Crossfit. Benchmark Wod have set standards worldwide on the movements and prescribed weights.

I am amazed that if you google the best times for this Wod, elite crossfitters can finish it in 6 minutes. I wonder what their splits are per exercise. I’m assuming they run the 400 meters in a minute or so, leaving 3minutes or less for the 3 rounds of pull ups and kettlebell swings. Insane!

The last time I did Helen was in July of 2011. I can’t remember exactly but I think I finished between 11 to 12 minutes.

Being a runner, I nailed the run at around 1:40 to near 2min each round. There was too much pressure to do it fast. Everyone was cheering on us and there’s a higher expectation on me, being the only runner in our batch.

I am used to doing the 400 meter workout during the speed interval sessions for my run training program. For our speed sessions, we usually have target times depending on the progress of the program and the target race and time. Here, we just run as fast as we can, bearing in mind the other exercises we still had to do.


There’s no rest time, you can catch your breath while picking up the kettlebells (kb) on the floor.

KB swings are done two handed where kb is swung between the knees to overhead. It is initiated with a powerful hip thrust using glutes and hamstring muscles. Most strength and conditioning coaches recommend this workout for runners as it works well on muscle endurance.


After 21 kb swings, I proceeded immediately to the pull up bars. Again, catching my breath while walking or flying to the bar.


I used the green band for pull ups. (crossfit has 3 types of bands:black, green and purple- easy to hard – until you can pull up unassisted). Prescribed for this WOD is unassisted pull ups.

With pull ups, one would basically hold the bar with palm facing forward and imagine yourself pulling the bar down and yourself up (that’s how I do it), exhaling as you pull up. Hmmm they say this exercise gives you an upper back to drool on.

After 12 reps of pull ups, I’m back outside to start another round.

Dead tired is an understatement after the gruesome 11 minutes. But after letting your sweat drop (or drip) on the floor, you say,”that was just awesome”.

It’s been months after this WOD or as they say, it’s so last year….

I am just in love with Helen (ooops am very straight ha). This is my favorite Wod as it works on everything- power, muscular endurance, speed, aerobic and anaerobic capacity.

I wanna meet Helen again on two scenarios:

1) using the same weights and assisted pull ups and see how my time will improve

2) as prescribed — defined as doing pull ups with no bands. I have graduated to purple bands now. (did I tell you, I started with black?). I know I can do it, this year. Basta, this lifetime, for sure!

Well, this reminds me of my training buddy last year also…Helen

Same time last year, we were training together at the track with Coach Titus and at Crossfit for our crosstraining. I was prepping for BDM 102 while Helen is training for the Tbr Dream Marathon. We both survived and got our 2nd runner up finishes 🙂

Nasaan ka na Helen? Let’s run my dear.


Helen and me at the TBR Dream Marathon

All photos at Crossfit were taken by Ian mondragon, a fellow crossfitter

Photo of me and Helen was taken by Migs Castro of Second Wind

Categories: Crossfit, Training

Tagged as: , ,

7 replies

  1. Reblogged this on "Running the Good Race" Stories and commented:

    Helen WOD today at Crossfit. First attempt in 2011 was sub 12. Second attempt early this year was about 10. Should I do it today, a day after a 50k T2N Ultramarathon? Body says, I’m fine. My smart self says NO! My real self says GO!


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