CrossFit benchmark workouts come in two shapes and sizes.

The “girls” workouts, like Fran or Annie, are named workouts designed to track your fitness improvements over time.

“Hero” workouts, like Murph or The Seven, are a series of grueling challenges to honor heroes like fallen soldiers.

The very idea of CrossFit- never specialize in one thing but improve at everything over time- makes these workouts important.

The CrossFit community uses these workouts to figure out how good you are.

“What’s your Fran time?”

“How long did it take you to do Murph last year?”

In this article, we’ll look at the 31 Heroes workout. What it is, the story behind it, and tips for surviving it.

What Is The 31 Heroes Workout?

31 heroes WOD

Like most Hero workouts, this workout is long and grueling. It is:

AMRAP (with a partner) 31 Minutes:

Note that it is a partner workout. While partner 1 works through the AMRAP, partner 2 runs 400m with a 45lb sandbag.

When partner 2 returns from the run, partner 1 takes the sandbag and runs. Partner 2 then continues where partner 1 left off in the AMRAP.

Here’s a video of the workout being performed in Afghanistan:

31 Heroes Story

How did the 31 Heroes workout come to be?

On August 6, 2011, America lost 30 soldiers and 1 military K9 when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter was downed in Afghanistan.

In the wake of tragedy, some minds came together to raise funds for the fallen heroes.

430 gyms and more than 10,000 participants across the world came together to raise more than $300,000 for the 30 victim’s families.

The incredible success of this event led to the creation of the 31Heroes Project, a non-profit assisting athletes and event organizers across the world with tools and resources.

Their mission statement reads as follows:

“Established to honor the 31 Americans killed in action on August 6, 2011, The 31Heroes Project serves to impact the lives of our nation’s heroes and their families, while remembering the fallen, through athletic endeavors and competitive fundraising events.”

Who Were The 31 Heroes?

The 30 American heroes were a mixture of Navy SEALS, Air Force pararescue soldiers, and highly ranked members of the United States Army.

The fallen military K9, Bart, is listed as the 31st hero.

You can find a complete list of the 31 Heroes We Honor here.

31 Heroes Tips

Here are 4 tips for completing this workout:

  1. Warm up your shoulders. Between the heavy thrusters, rope climbs, and sandbag ruck, your shoulders are going to do a lot of work over 31 minutes. This warm-up guide can help you.
  2. Make a transition plan with your partner before you start. Even shaving 5-10 seconds off your transitions each round will make a huge difference on your score. Decide beforehand how you’ll communicate which rep you are on in the AMRAP, how you’ll carry and hand off the sandbag, etc.
  3. Go unbroken on thrusters/box jumps. The bottleneck of this workout is the rope climbs, meaning it’s most likely that your partner will return from the run while you are doing them. Get the other stuff done quickly so you can split up as many rope climbs as possible.
  4. Keep chalk close and use grips. Your hands will take a beating. Make sure you have chalk and a good set of hand grips nearby.

Conclusion

The 31 Heroes workout is a 31 minute AMRAP made up of thruster, rope climbs, and box jumps.

One partner uses a sandbag to run while the other works their way through the movements. Once the running partner returns, they switch off.

31 Heroes is both a workout and a nonprofit helping athletes and families across the world. Check out what they are doing here.

The 31 Heroes workout celebrates the eternal sacrifice that American soldiers made for our freedom.

Approach this workout with humility and a sense of fearlessness. Give it your all and honor that sacrifice. Good luck!