CrossFit is a type of training that involves varied, high intensity movements along with a philosophy that coaches people to improve their physical well being.
CrossFit often pays tribute to fallen servicemen with a “hero workout” named in their honor.
Well, this workout is no different.
Make sure you read this blog post to the very end because you’re about discover:
- The amazing tribute behind this famous CrossFit workout (most athletes don’t know this)
- What’s the best time to complete for this workout (and how to beat it!)
- The best beginner tips for tackling this incredible fat-burning workout
- And more!
Table of Contents
- The Undeniable Benefits of this CrossFit Workout
- The Emotional Origin Behind CrossFit DT
- How to Do the CrossFit DT Workout
- Why DT is Deceptively Easy (Don’t Fall For this Trap!)
- How to Prevent Hideous Injuries with this Proven Warm-Up
- How to Dramatically Slash Time Off Each Exercise
- This is the Fastest Way to Complete CrossFit WOD DT
- 2 Gym Accessories that Can Decrease Your Time by 10%
- Here’s How to Approach DT if You’re a Noob
- 3 Most Popular CrossFit WOD DT Variations
- How to Prevent WOD Burnout (Eat This)
The Undeniable Benefits of this CrossFit Workout
Aja Barto (BehemothCF) 🇺🇸 at the close of 2007, during the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games. pic.twitter.com/vbuSxZzOx9
— xfitangie (@xfitangie) February 9, 2019
If you didn’t already know, CrossFit training is a conditioning and strength program often used by police academies, tactical operations teams, military special operations units and more.
The workouts aim to build proficiency in cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination and accuracy.
Each day, a different WOD (workout of the day) will test a different part of your functional strength or conditioning helping to provide an overall goal of bodybuilding for optimal strength.
And even though the workouts benefit men and women with physically-demanding jobs, they’re just as beneficial to anyone spending their days behind a desk.
In this article, I’ll be discussing one specific WOD called DT.
The Emotional Origin Behind CrossFit DT
This is actually a pretty incredible thing.
See, in the CrossFit community, there are workouts classified as “hero” WODS.
What’s a “hero” WOD?
CrossFit Hardcore provides a great description by stating,
These CrossFit Hero WODs… …are some of the most intense workouts that you could experience. They are intended to be performed with intense effort, in honor of our fallen Heroes. Don’t think of yourself. Instead think about the Hero that has given his all for our freedom.
These are powerful words and they really make you appreciate the freedoms we have.
In line with this CrossFit tradition, the DT workout honors United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Timothy P. Davis who was killed by an IED in Afghanistan on Feb. 20, 2009 while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Timothy is survived by his wife Megan and one-year old son T.J.
How to Do the CrossFit DT Workout
The Crossfit DT workout is composed of three exercises:
- Deadlift x 12 reps
- Hang Power Clean x 9 reps
- Push Jerk x 6 reps
All three exercises are done using 155 lb barbells (105 lbs for women), are done in a circuit, and repeated for 5 total rounds.
Here’s a quick overview on each exercise:
- Deadlift – A deadlift involves lifting a loaded barbell off the ground to hip level and then back down to the ground.
- Hang Power Clean – The power hang clean involves a barbell being taken from a mid leg position to the shoulders and back down again.
- Push Jerk – A push press is when the barbell is pushed overhead using your legs and shoulders and then returned back to the front rack position.
Why DT is Deceptively Easy (Don’t Fall For this Trap!)
CrossFit DT may not seem challenging on paper.
The weight isn’t that heavy and the number of reps seem manageable, but when you actually do the workout, it’s a whole other story.
According to WOD Time Calculator, a good time to beat is about 8 minutes, but you want to at least stay under 13 minutes if you can.
The sequence of movements takes you from pull to push targeting metabolic pathways that are aimed to increase athletic performance.
To be clear, athletes that do this exercise are generally able to get though rounds 1 and 2 pretty easily.
But once they try rounds 3 and 4, signs of strain will be apparent as the demands on the cardiovascular system become extreme.
By round 5, even the most dedicated of athletes often complete their hang power cleans by dropping the bar after each rep.
How to Prevent Hideous Injuries with this Proven Warm-Up
Reposting @tom_bennett_photo: – via @Crowdfire
Warm up 💪@coastalcrossfit
.#crossfit #fitness #fit #gym #workout #motivation #fitfam #bodybuilding #fitnessmodel #gymlife #fitnessaddict #fitspo #fitnessgirl #healthy #fitnessjourney pic.twitter.com/ttD433qC1G
— Joel Mathews (@JMathewstweets) January 26, 2019
Like most CrossFit WODs, DT is going to be a full body workout.
That’s why it’s important to adequately warm up and do your best to prevent careless injuries.
So, what’s a good warm-up routine?
We can look to reputable gyms like CrossFit NCS with their example DT warm-up that they posted back in 2017:
- 400m run
- 12 PVC Passthru
- 12 PVC Around-the-world/tornado
- 12 PVC Good morning
- 12 Med ball clean
- 60 seconds in bottom squat position
- Banded hamstring mobility work
- Banded shoulder mobility work
After these initial activities, a coach should guide you through these barbell movements:
- Deadlifts x 8
- Hang Power Clean x 8
- Push Press x 8
- Push Jerk x 8
How to Dramatically Slash Time Off Each Exercise
— Marc Pro® (@TheMarcPro) March 27, 2019
One of the most important things you can do to improve your DT time is to perfect your form for each of the exercises.
Just one wonky deadlift can cause a wrenched back.
One unstable push press can throw off your tempo and eat away at your time.
The entire WOD is about consistency and pacing yourself where it counts and if there’s a weak link in any of your exercises, your body will let you know by the end.
So to improve your time and minimize your risk of injury, here are 9 crucial DT exercise tips brought to you by CrossFit Oakdale.
3 Essential Deadlift Tips
- Keep your hips low and your chest up. This contributes to good deadlift form that will decrease the chance of wrenching your back.
- Do not “hitch” the bar. Hitching the bar involves pulling the bar up with a series of small, dangerous jerks. You can avoid this by keeping your back straight (no rounding) and using a weight more appropriate for your experience level.
- Try to complete at least 11 reps before dropping the bar. The fewer times you put down the bar, the faster your time will be. Plus, the last time you pick up the bar in your deadlift set can transition right into the hang power cleans.
3 Helpful Hang Power Clean Tips
- Go for max reps in the early rounds. Since it’s easier to hit a faster temp on this exercise, feel free to max out your reps earlier in the WOD.
- Rest in the front rack position with a hook grip. Resting with the bar hang can really do a number on your forearms and grip so keep it up in the front rack.
- Focus on “fast elbows”. You might be surprised how much faster you can execute your cleans if you focus on getting your elbows under the bar.
3 Strategic Push Jerk Tips
- Make sure you’re “jerking” and not “pressing”. Jerking involves more leg support than the press and you want to make sure you don’t leave all the pressing up to your arms alone or you’ll pay for it later.
- If you have to break, do it after 3 or 4 reps. Try not to break if you can, but if you do, split it down the middle to stay competitive with time.
- If you have to break before 3 reps, you should scale instead.
This is the Fastest Way to Complete CrossFit WOD DT
— BRYAN POLANCO (@bryanpolanco_5) March 27, 2019
According to WOD Time Calculator sticking to a rep approach that involves doing 2 sets of deadlifts, taking a quick break and then finishing the 2nd set and leading into the next exercise usually leads to the best time.
WOD Time Calculator creator, Ondrej Sevcik says:
Choosing correct rep scheme for DT can make you even few minutes faster. All 3 movements will tax your lower back muscles and it’s great idea to be smart with rep scheme unless you are not super strong with huge engine.
Using his approach, one round of CrossFit DT would look like this:
- 6 Deadlifts
- 5 Deadlifts
- 1 Deadlift + 4 Hang Power Cleans
- 4 Hang Power Cleans
- 1 Hang Power Clean + 6 Push Jerks
2 Gym Accessories that Can Decrease Your Time by 10%
Even though the majority of what determines how well you perform this WOD is based on your musculature and endurance, you need to make sure your clothing and accessories are going to be good support.
You don’t want to show up for DT wearing flip flops and a speedo (as good as you might look in it).
That’s why I have a couple pieces of equipment that I recommend you use.
These items will not only help you complete the workout safely, but could very easily help you shave up to 10% off your completion time.
1. Weightlifting Belt
With all the deadlifting, DT is going to do a real number on your lower back.
That’s why if your coach isn’t against it, you should wear a high-quality weightlifting belt like this belt from Dark Iron Fitness.
A solid weightlifting belt will provide adequate support to your lower back and keep you locking out strong through every round.
2. Weightlifting Shoes
A lot of CrossFit WODS include various plyometrics and aggressive movement, but DT isn’t like that.
The entire workout is completed in a very isolated floor space.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to wear weightlifting shoes with a solid bottom heel like Reebok Legacy Lifters.
Similarly, any shoe with a flat sole (no cushy running shoes) like Converse Chuck Taylors will do.
This goes without saying, but always talk to your coach first before bringing any accessories to the box in case they have specific rules that should be followed.
Here’s How to Approach DT if You’re a Noob
// SLC Double DT
Here are our 5pmers completing a variation the Hero WOD, DT. In a 3 minute window complete:-
– 12 Deadlifts 45/70kg
– 9 Hang Cleans
– 6 STOH
Repeat until you’ve completed 10 rounds 💪🏼
•#leigh #wigan #lowton #worsley #tyldesley #culcheth #teamslc #crossfit pic.twitter.com/sBeoshLRhj
— Sierra Lima CrossFit (@sierralimacf) February 6, 2019
Now, if you’re not ready to complete CrossFit DT using the standard, recommended weight of 155 lbs, then you’re going to need to scale.
What’s scaling you ask?
Well, BoxRox Competitive Fitness Magazine that is known as an authority on all subjects CrossFit elaborates by stating,
Scaling basically means that you change the intensity of the workout to your fitness level. There is a scaling option for every single exercise.
For DT, here are some quick scaling tips recommended by CrossFit Oakdale.
- Pick a weight that you can perform 2 successful push press sets. It should still be challenging and doing all the deadlifts and hang cleans on top will only add to the difficulty as time goes on.
- Try for your best time and go at your own pace, but capping at 22 minutes seems reasonable.
- Wear a t-shirt that covers up your neck. You might not be thinking about it, but all the hang cleans are going to repeated bang your collar bone. It’s nice to have a shirt that provides a little bit of protection.
Bonus Tip: Break the workout into mini sets.
Put the bar down for a few seconds to allow grip strength recovery.
Your sets might look like this:
- Deadlift – 3 sets x 4 reps
- Hang Power Clean – 3 sets x 3 reps
- Push Press – 3 sets x 2 reps
This adjustment can help improve your form since you have more opportunities to reset.
3 Most Popular CrossFit WOD DT Variations
Weight Vest Wednesday 3/20/19 – Skill
800m Run300ft Farmer's Carry @ AHAP
2min HS hold300ft Farmer's carry @ AHAP
Hang PWR Cleans
Push jerks(4 Roun… pic.twitter.com/KjEhAww691
— Crossfit TNT (@CrossfitTNT) March 20, 2019
DT is probably one of the most popular WODs created by the brand.
However, you don’t have to do it verbatim to reap all the muscle-building and fat-loss benefits.
There are actually quite a few variations of this famous workout and I’ll show you the 3 most popular DT WOD alternatives for building muscle and losing body fat.
Thanks to Heretic CrossFit in Gaithersburg, Maryland we have a snatch DT variation that’ll give you a run for your money.
Do a warm-up by working up to a snatch complex (3 snatch pulls + 1 snatch).
Then, proceed to the DT as follows:
- 12 Snatch-grip Deadlifts (115/85)
- 9 Hang Power Snatches
- 6 Overhead Squats
Like standard DT, go for 5 rounds, but recommended weight is 115 lbs for men and 85 lbs for women.
You’ll also notice that the push press is substituted with overhead squats.
Even though the standard DT WOD doesn’t require you to move out of a single, confined area… who says you can’t?
Thanks to CrossFit Athletics, there’s a running DT variation that simple starts each round with a 400 meter run.
Here’s the rundown:
- Run 400m
- 12 Deadlifts
- 9 Hang Power Cleans
- 6 Push Jerks
It may not seem like much, but the 400 meters are enough to quickly take your breath away, so make sure you pace yourself for this one and check out our list of cardio sneakers so you don’t trip up on your bulky sneakers.
To change things up even more, DT doesn’t have to be just a barbell workout.
In this dumbell DT variation from Double Barrel Fitness, the standard DT exercises are translated to dumbbell versions to create a different WOD experience.
Here are the details:
- 12 DB Deadlifts
- 9 DB Hang Power Cleans
- 6 DB Shoulder to Overhead
The prescribed (RX) weights for this variation are 55 lbs and 40 lbs for men and women respectively, but should be adjusted based on performance (50/35 lbs) or fitness (30/20 lbs) intentions.
Additionally, this WOD has a 10 min cap.
How to Prevent WOD Burnout (Eat This)
The CrossFit program recommends the Zone Diet. In general, this includes meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, a little starch and no sugar.
These foods generally provide adequate energy for exercise. They work to stabilize blood sugar and minimize inflammation.
A typical meal on the Zone Diet includes:
- 2/3 healthy carbs
- 1/3 lean protein
- Small amount of monounsaturated fat
In case you didn’t know, there’s actually a lot more that goes into dieting for the purpose of losing body fat.
That’s why I answered the questions of What are Macros and Why Should You Care? so you can eliminate your diet confusion and start planning meals that will fuel fast fat loss.
CrossFit DT is a great way to get yourself in ultimate fighting shape. But don’t be shocked to find this workout packs a punch!
Work your way up slowly and eat the right diet to provide the ultimate in fitness.
When you’re ready, add strategies to make the exercise even more impactful.
Most of all, never forget Sgt. Timothy P. Davis, the man for which this exercise is named, who sacrificed his life for our freedom.