WOD Strats – The Seven – A Beastly Strategy Guaranteed to Improve Your PR
updated November 1, 2018
When it comes to Hero WODS, they don’t come as tough - or as meaningful - as ‘The Seven’. This workout was inspired by the death of seven heros at the hands of a suicide bomber. It involves knocking off seven rounds of seven reps of seven of the hardest CrossFit moves that are out there.
In this article, we present you with 5 key strategies that will allow you to smash it on ‘The Seven’.
The Story Behind The Seven
The first strategy to nailing the Murph is find out just who Murph was. That will put you in the mindset to truly honor this man with. On February 30th, 2009, a suicide bomber killed seven CIA officers / security contractors and one Jordanian officer at a remote military base in southeastern Afghanistan. The bomber had posed as an informant on Al Qaeda. your best ever physical effort.
The seven murdered Americans were:
- Jennifer Lynne Matthews, 45
- Harold E. Brown Jr., 37
- Harold E. Brown Jr., 37
- Darren LaBonte, 35
- Elizabeth Hanson, 30
- Jeremy Jason Wise, 35
- Dane Clark Paresi, 46
Your first strategy in nailing this tribute workout is know about and meditate on these seven men and women. Always remember that you're striving to honor the memory of these American heroes. That thought will help you to push on when your body is telling you to stop.
The Seven Workout
- One Mile Run
- 100 Pull Ups
- 200 Push Ups
- 300 Air Squats
- One Mile Run
The entire WOD is performed while wearing a twenty pound vest.
Strategy #1: Identify Your Weaknesses
There are 7 challenging moves in this workout. Unless you are superhuman, you are probably going to struggle with at least a couple of them. You first strategy is to identify what those exercises are. Which ones are you unlikely to go unbroken on in your third round and on after that?
Maybe you have identified the 245 pound deadlift and handstand push ups as you toughest challenges. What you want to do now is to break the 7 reps on these moves into two sets of 4 reps and 3 reps. Then pair the exercises together, so that you do 4 reps of the deadlift, immediately followed by four handstand push ups. Then do 3 reps of deadlifts and handstand push ups. Then go to your next move.
This is how your modified WOD might look:
- 4 Handstand push-ups
- 245 pound Deadlift, 4 reps
- 3 Handstand push-ups
- 245 pound Deadlift, 3 reps
- 135 pound Thruster, 7 reps
- 7 Knees to elbows
- 7 Burpees
- 7 Kettlebell swings, 2 pood
- 7 Pull-ups
Breaking up your reps on your hardest moves in this way will allow you to maximize your time while resting your target muscles as you do another move. If you can get through the first round or two without breaking up your reps, do so. Then break it up into 4 and 3 rep mini sets as fatigue sets in on the latter rounds.
Strategy #2: Don’t Rest Between Rounds
This is a timed workout, You have got to push through this thing as hard and as fast as you can. That means that you do not want to take a breather between rounds. But that doesn’t end that you can't take quick breathers in a few strategic places. They key to success is knowing just where to take those breathers.
Let’s analyze the workout in terms of the body parts that are targeted in each exercise:
- 7 Handstand push-ups - shoulders
- 135 pound Thruster, 7 reps - quads and shoulders
- 7 Knees to elbows - abdominals
- 245 pound Deadlift, 7 reps - lower back & hamstrings
- 7 Burpees - cardio
- 7 Kettlebell swings, 2 pood - full body
So, which part of the workout do you think is the hardest?
It is the part where you work two muscles groups in a row. Notice that on both handstand push ups and thrusters you're using your shoulders - a relatively small muscle group. So, rather than taking a break after you complete your pull ups to complete a round, go directly into the handstand pushup and then give yourself a slight break before directly taxing your delts again.
Giving yourself strategic rest periods in this way will allow your muscles to work maximally without overly fatiguing them, while also ensuring that reach your best time.
Strategy #3: Maintain a Consistent Pace
When you do any type of timed workout, there is always the tendency to go fast out of the gate, with the inevitable burn out before you get all the way through. This often leads to an extended period of rest to stop yourself from keeling over.
That is not the smart way to go. Rather, you should, if anything, start slower than you know you're capable of, and maintain consistent pace. Remember that you are having to go through this workout seven times, which is a lot! It will likely take you between twenty and thirty minutes to complete the workout. You simply have to pace yourself in order to succeed.
Set a goal for each round and make sure to keep within that time span. Let’s say that you want to get through it in a total of 28 minutes. That means that you will need to complete each round within 4 minutes. That’s just over 30 seconds for each of your 7 sets of seven reps on each move, including proving yourself with enough time to move between each of the exercises.
Now you may well be able to smash out the first couple of sets in 3 minutes. But you don’t have to. It is far better to take the time to rest so that you have got the energy and strength than you need for those later rounds.
Strategy #4: Focus on What is Immediately In Front of You
This is a long workout. Seven exercises is a lot. And so is seven rounds. When you think about it, it can be quite daunting. And that is why you do not want to think about it. You need to discipline your mind to the extent that all you're focused on in smashing out the next set of seven reps.
It’s a little like a guy who is dropping down to pump out a hundred push ups. One hundred is just too big a number for the mind to handle. So, what does he do? He breaks it up to 20 sets of 5. Now it’s easy. Even his grandma can do five push ups - and that’s all he has to do - 20 times!
Use that same mental trick to focus like a laser on the work that is immediately in front of you - 7 reps, 7 reps, 7 reps . . . keep that focus and the workout will quickly pass by!
Strategy #5: Push it to the Max on the Last Round
Ok, so you’ve been pacing yourself through the rounds, hitting your 3 or 4 minute targets and managing to get in a little r&r time between each round ( remember, if you are going to rest, do it after your handstand push ups). But, now you are into the last round. This is where you need to go crazy. Who cares if you're totally spent at the end of it - the workout will be over!
Even if you haven't been able to go unbroken (i.e. without a break) up until now, strive to do so on this last round). This is your opportunity to push it to the limit. Do not leave anything on the table.
So, What Is a Good Time?
Now that you’ve uncovered some killer strategies that will allow you to achieve your sharpest ever time, let’s talk about what sort of time you should be aiming for?
Let’s take a look at the record times from the Crossfit Games competitors:
- 18:15 – Patrick Wellner – 2015
- 19:19 – Mikko Salo – 2010
- 20:34 – Kristin Holte – 2013
- 20:56 – Chris Spealler – 2010
- 24:37 – Graham Holmberg – 2010
So, how about you? If you’re a guy we suggest that you set your target time at 28 minutes. That will put you at 4 minute rounds. For women, shoot for 35 minutes, which works out to seven rounds of 5 minutes. Once you have achieved these targets, drop by a minute each time you do this WOD.
Be sure to give this one a try with our key strategies in place. All you need to do is to:
- Prioritize your weaknesses, teaming them up to supersets of 4 and 3 sets each round
- If you are going to rest, do so after your handstand push ups
- Pace yourself by breaking up the workout to evenly timed rounds
- Keep your focus on the 7 reps immediately in front of youGo all out on the last round
- Go all out on the last round
Let us know how you got on? Did your strategies help you to smash your previous time? Do you have any extra strategies for this WOD? Let us know in the comments below so that we can all benefit!
Other WOD Strats
On the minute (until you complete 100 reps of thrusters).