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The Girl WODs represent the ultimate CrossFit benchmark workouts.

From the CrossFit Open to Hero WODs, CrossFit has quite a reputation for being a sufferfest. A large part of that reputation stems from the CrossFit girl WODs, a collection of very, very tough workouts, most of which were originally created in the very early days of CrossFit—circa early 2000s. 

Full stop: These workouts intend to leave you lying on the floor. If you want the full CrossFit experience, you’ve got to do at least one (might I suggest Fran?). So lace up your CrossFit shoes, learn about the girl WODs, and get ready to suffer.

RELATED: Is CrossFit Bad For You? The Untold Truth

What Are Girl WODs? 

Tia Claire Toomey CrossFit athlete
Credit: CrossFit, Inc

Girl WODs (workout of the day) are benchmark workouts. A benchmark WOD is a CrossFit workout that you complete repeatedly over time to measure your fitness progress. Some CrossFitters perform benchmark workouts annually or biannually, while others do them sporadically. 

The girl workouts are designed to be extremely challenging and expose weaknesses. In general (but not always) they combine at least two of the 10 skills for general physical preparedness (GPP) that make up the abstract concept of “fitness.”

Those skills are, according to CrossFit founder Greg Glassman: 

  • Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance: The ability of the body’s systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen
  • Stamina: The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy
  • Strength: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force
  • Flexibility: the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint
  • Power:The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time
  • Speed: The ability to minimize the cycle time of a repeated movement
  • Coordination: The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement
  • Agility: The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another
  • Balance: The ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base
  • Accuracy: The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity

The reason that most of the girl WODs contain at least two of the above 10 elements is because they are designed to expose weaknesses. 

handstand pushups
Credit: Downtown Strength and Conditioning Miami

For example, someone who previously trained as a powerlifter might initially think they’ll excel at Diane, which includes many deadlift reps at 225 pounds for men, 155 pounds for women. But that workout also includes many reps of handstand push-ups, so the powerlifter will be exposed here. 

Likewise, a runner should shine during Nancy, which features five rounds of a 400-meter run. But that run, each time, is followed by 15 overhead squats. So if the runner struggles with mobility or core stability, Nancy exposes those weaknesses.

There are many girl WODs, with the bulk of them having been released in three distinct sets by CrossFit, Inc. Some of them are named after prominent CrossFit athletes; those that are have been denoted in this article. 

Ahead, you’ll learn about the original girl WODs and the newer ones, as well as a handful that aren’t part of a specific set. 

RELATED: CrossFit Events Calendar: Worldwide, National, And Regional Competitions

The Original Girls

Glassman first introduced the six original Girl WODs in 2003 in an article in The CrossFit Journal called “Benchmark Workouts.” The original girl WODs are Angie, Barbara, Chelsea, Diane, Elizabeth, and Fran. A few months later came Grace and Helen. These eight workouts are typically referred to as the “original girls.”

Woman wearing weightlifting shoes setting up for a barbell deadlift in a CrossFit gym.

Angie

For time:

  • 100 pull-ups
  • 100 push-ups
  • 100 sit-ups
  • 100 air squats

Scaling Option

For time:

  • 50 ring rows
  • 50 knee push-ups
  • 50 sit-ups
  • 50 air squats

Coach Advice

From the start, break up each movement into repeatable sets. This might look like sets of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 sit-ups, and 20 air squats. Take a short break between sets.


Barbara

5 rounds for time:

  • 20 pull-ups
  • 30 push-ups
  • 40 sit-ups
  • 50 air squats
  • 3-min rest

Scaling Option

5 rounds for time:

  • 10 ring rows 
  • 15 bench/incline push-ups
  • 20 anchored sit-ups
  • 25 air squats
  • 3-min rest

Coach Advice

You have a three-minute break in between rounds, so the goal here is to put forth a near-maximal effort for each round. Your time for each round shouldn’t deviate more than 30 seconds. 


Chelsea

EMOM for 30 minutes:

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 air squats

Scaling Option

EMOM for 30 minutes:

  • 5 ring rows
  • 10 knee push-ups
  • 15 air squats

Coach Advice

The goal is to finish each set with plenty of time to rest. As the workout progresses, you will find yourself with less and less rest time due to fatigue setting in, so be sure to pick proper modifications that allow you to complete all of the reps for each exercise.


A woman performing front squats in a CrossFit gym

Diane

21-15-9 reps for time:

  • Deadlifts, 225/155 lbs
  • Handstand push-ups

Scaling Option

21-15-9 reps for time:

  • Deadlifts, 135/95 lbs
  • Seated dumbbell overhead press, 25/15 lbs, dual dumbbells

Coach Advice

The 21-15-9 rep scheme means speed. This workout should be very fast. Choose your weights and gymnastics modification accordingly. One rule of thumb is to pick a weight or modification that allows you to do each round in no more than three sets (for example, three sets of seven in the round of 21).


Elizabeth

21-15-9 reps for time:

  • Cleans, 135/95 lbs
  • Ring dips

Scaling Option

21-15-9 reps for time:

  • Cleans, 95/65 lbs
  • Dips at a dip station or bench dips

Coach Advice

Like Diane, Elizabeth is a quick workout. Try to do the cleans in sets of 11 and 10, then eight and seven, then nine. The cleans are full squat cleans, which does make a different in the weight you should select. Choose a dip modification that allows you to perform them in a maximum of three sets per round. 


Fran

21-15-9 reps for time:

Scaling Option

21-15-9 reps for time:

  • Thrusters, 45/35 lbs (empty bar)
  • Ring rows

Coach Advice

Yet another 21-15-9 workout, Fran is probably the most recognizable of all the girl WODs. My only advice for Fran is suck it up. Just kidding. Kind of. This workout sucks, but it’ll be over in a few minutes—if you push it. 

Kate Meier, GGR head of content and CrossFit L-1 coach, says, “Also, it’s such a grip burner: Warming up your grip and shaking out the hands during Fran is one way to survive! It’s another “3 sets or less” kind of workout, which does give your hands a break unless you can do Fran unbroken, which most people can’t.”


woman squatting barbell while wearing 2pood petite belt

Grace

For time: 

  • 30 clean-and-jerks, 135/95 lbs

Scaling Option

For time: 

  • 30 clean-and-jerks, 95/65 lbs

Coach Advice

Grace should be fast and uncomfortable. I personally think the best strategy for Grace is quick single reps from rep one until the end. Kate, GGR head of content and CrossFit L-1 trainer says, “I do Grace as a descending rep scheme: 8-7-6-5-4 gets you to 30! Gives you a little bit of hope to do one fewer rep each time. It’s a good strategy for those proficient in the clean and jerk and whose 1rm far exceeds the weight.”


Helen

3 rounds for time:

  • 400-m run
  • 21 kettlebell swings, 1.5/1 pood
  • 12 pull-ups

Scaling Option

3 rounds for time:

  • 200-m run
  • 21 kettlebell swings, 1/0.5 pood
  • 12 ring rows

Coach Advice

Although Helen is designed to be a fast workout, smart pacing will get you far. Your runs should be consistent and, ideally, you’ll do the swings and pull-ups (or modification) unbroken but steady. 


Man holding the bottom of a deadlift position with hands on a barbell

The New Girls

In 2004, Glassman announced in The CrossFit Journal that “six new beauties” were joining the roster of Girl WODs: Isabel, Jackie, Karen, Linda, Mary, and Nancy.

Isabel

For time: 

  • 30 snatches, 135/95 lbs

Scaling Option

For time: 

  • 30 snatches, 95/65 lbs

Coach Advice

Similar to Grace, but with snatches instead of clean-and-jerks, Isabel is a test of barbell cycling skills. Solid snatching technique is necessary to excel at this workout. Touch-and-go reps are ideal.


Jackie

For time:

  • 1,000-m row
  • 50 thrusters, 45/35 lbs
  • 30 pull-ups

Scaling Option

For time:

  • 800-m row
  • 25 thrusters, 45/35 lbs
  • 15 ring rows

Coach Advice

It’s a good idea to figure out your 1K row pace before trying this workout. A “good” Jackie time is 10 minutes or less, and in order to do that, athletes need to row at about 90% of their maximum 1K row effort—or be really, really good at thrusters and pull-ups. Scaling can help you achieve a sub-10 minute time while keeping the intensity high.


Karen

For time: 

  • 150 wall ball shots, 20/14 lbs, 10/9-ft target

Scaling Option

For time: 

  • 75 wall ball shots, 20/14 lbs or 14/20 lbs, 10/9-ft target

Coach Advice

Karen is simple but deadly. A good way to approach this workout is to do sets that are big enough to keep you efficiently moving, but not so big that you have to take long breaks. Try to avoid resting more than 10 seconds between sets. 


Jason Khalipa barbell

Linda

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps, for time

  • Deadlift, 1½ bodyweight
  • Bench Press, bodyweight 
  • Clean, ¾ bodyweight

Scaling Option

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps, for time

  • Deadlift, bodyweight
  • Bench Press, ½ bodyweight 
  • Clean, ¼ bodyweight

Coach Advice

The weight changes are a nuisance in this workout. Plan ahead, load your base weight (the lowest weight you will use) so that you don’t have to remove the innermost plates, and lay out all of the other plates you will need next to your barbell. 


Mary

AMRAP in 20 minutes:

  • 5 handstand push-ups
  • 10 pistols (alternating legs)
  • 15 pull-ups

Scaling Option

AMRAP in 20 minutes:

  • 5 seated dumbbell overhead press, 25/15 lbs, dual dumbbells
  • 10 box step-ups (alternating legs), 24/20”
  • 15 ring rows

Coach Advice

This workout should go unbroken. It’s divided into upper pushing, lower body, and upper pulling, which provides opportunities for rest without fully stopping. Choose your modifications wisely!


Nancy

5 rounds for time:

  • 400-m run
  • 15 overhead squats, 95/65 lbs

Scaling Option

5 rounds for time:

  • 200-m run
  • 15 overhead squats, 45/35 lbs

Coach Advice

Complete the running intervals at about an 80% effort. You want to run hard, but you also want to have enough in the tank to exhibit control over the squat technique, choosing a weight you can do unbroken or in two sets. 


Amanda catching a barbell in the front-rack position

The Newest Girls

The newest set of girl WODs, which I’m calling the “newest girls,” was released in January 2021. This was a pretty big deal to the CrossFit community, since no official girl WODs had been released in nearly a decade. 

Grettel

10 rounds for time:

  • 3 clean-and-jerks, 135/95 lbs
  • 3 burpees over the bar

Scaling Option

10 rounds for time:

  • 3 clean-and-jerks, 95/65 lbs
  • 3 burpees over the bar

Coach Advice

This should be fast, fast, fast. All reps should go unbroken. If you need a breather, try stopping for a quick break after round five and then picking back up.  


Ingrid

10 rounds for time:

  • 3 snatches, 135/95 lbs
  • 3 burpees over the bar

Scaling Option

10 rounds for time:

  • 3 snatches, 95/65 lbs
  • 3 burpees over the bar

Coach Advice

Ingrid is fundamentally the same as Grettel, but with snatches in place of clean-and-jerks. It should be fast and ideally unbroken, so weight selection is key if you want to preserve the intended stimulus.


Barbara Ann

5 rounds for time:

  • 20 handstand push-ups
  • 30 deadlifts, 135/95 lbs
  • 40 sit-ups
  • 50 double-unders
  • 3-minute rest

Scaling Option

5 rounds for time:

  • 20 seated dumbbell overhead press, 25/15 lbs, dual dumbbells
  • 30 deadlifts, 95/65 lbs
  • 40 anchored sit-ups
  • 50 single-unders
  • 3-minute rest

Coach Advice

Don’t mistake the three-minute rest as a luxury. This is programmed as a necessity, and the point is to make every round a sprint. Tackle big sets and go unbroken where you can, and try to keep each round’s time within 15 to 20 seconds of each other.


Coop jumping rope in a gym

Lyla

For time, 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of each:

  • Muscle-ups
  • Bodyweight clean-and-jerks (the load is your body weight)

Scaling Option

For time, 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of each:

  • Burpee pull-ups (assisted or jumping if needed)
  • Clean-and-jerks, 135/95 lbs or 95/65 lbs

Coach Advice

The 10-to-1 rep scheme seems innocent enough on the surface, but do the math and you’ll realize how tough this workout really is. The volume is high with 55 reps of each movement. Depending on your gymnastics skills, you can scale by eliminating the early rounds to reduce the number of muscle-ups, or you can scale the movement and retain the rep count. 


Ellen

3 rounds for time:

  • 20 burpees
  • 21 dumbbell snatches, 50/35 lbs, single dumbbell
  • 12 dumbbell thrusters, 50/35 pounds, dual dumbbells

Scaling Option

3 rounds for time:

  • 20 burpees
  • 21 dumbbell snatches, 25/15 lbs, single dumbbell
  • 12 dumbbell thrusters, 25/15 pounds, dual dumbbells

Coach Advice

This should be a sub-15-minute workout; reduce the load or the reps accordingly. Additionally, you should be able to complete the snatches and the thrusters in a maximum of two sets. Keep a steady pace on the burpees that allows you to control your heart rate without any significant breaks. 


Andi

For time:

  • 100 hang power snatches, 65/45 lbs
  • 100 push presses, 65/45 lbs
  • 100 sumo deadlift high pulls, 65/45 lbs
  • 100 front squats, 65/45 lbs

Scaling Option

For time:

  • 50 hang power snatches, 65/45 lbs
  • 50 push presses, 65/45 lbs
  • 50 sumo deadlift high pulls, 65/45 lbs
  • 50 front squats, 65/45 lbs

Coach Advice

The goal here is to finish all of the reps as quickly as possible. The weight is light, but the rep count is high, and newer athletes should reduce the overall volume by eliminating reps, reducing the load, or both. Choose a weight with which you can sustain sets of at least 10, but preferably 15 to 20. 


Caine Wilkes kettlebell swing

Lane

5 rounds for max reps:

  • Max unbroken reps, hang power snatches, ¾ bodyweight (load is ¾ your body weight)
  • Max unbroken reps, handstand push-ups
  • Rest as needed between rounds

Scaling Option

5 rounds for max reps:

  • Max unbroken reps, hang power snatches, ½ bodyweight (load is ½ your body weight)
  • Max unbroken reps, seated dumbbell overhead press, 50/35 lbs, dual dumbbells
  • Rest as needed between rounds

Coach Advice

Load selection is extremely important for the hang power snatches, and modification of handstand push-ups is necessary if you can’t complete several unbroken reps—being able to do at least 10 reps of each movement, each round, is ideal.


The Other Girls 

There are some additional Girl WODs that aren’t on any of the three official lists released by CrossFit, Inc. But they’re still popularly used as benchmarks—and fun to do! Here are a handful. 

Amanda

Named after Amanda Miller, a 2009 CrossFit Games athlete who died after a battle with melanoma, not even one year after competing at the Games. 

9-7-5 reps for time:

  • Muscle-ups
  • Squat snatches, 135/95 lbs

Scaling Option

9-7-5 reps for time:

  • Pull-ups (assisted or jumping if needed)
  • Squat snatches, 95/65 lbs

Coach Advice

Short and sweet (and painful), all sets should go unbroken. Modify the gymnastics and reduce the load as needed to make that happen. 


Annie

Named after Annie Sakamoto, a prominent early CrossFit athlete who became a trainer at the first-ever CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz, California. Annie became famous within the community for the video of her (as well as Nicole Carroll and Eva Twardokens) performing the workout that would later be named “Nasty Girls.”

50-40-30-20-10 reps for time:

  • Double-unders
  • Sit-ups

Scaling Option

For time: 

  • 100-80-60-40-20 single-unders
  • 50-40-30-20-10 sit-ups

Coach Advice

Annie is all about efficiency and anaerobic capacity. It’s one of those WODs in which you just have to keep it moving at a steady pace and control your heart during high-intensity movement—something that’s way harder than it sounds. And slow-but-steady double-unders are better than fast-but-can’t-stop-tripping double-unders. 


Coop doing push-ups in a home gym

Christine

3 rounds for time:

  • 500-m row
  • 12 deadlifts, bodyweight
  • 21 box jumps, 24/20”

Scaling Option

3 rounds for time:

  • 500-m row
  • 12 deadlifts, ½ bodyweight
  • 21 box jumps, 20/16”

Coach Advice

Warm up your hamstrings! This workout is posterior chain-intensive and you will most definitely feel that. One big way to succeed here is to ensure that your 500-meter row times are the same or within 3 seconds of each other for every round.


Cindy

AMRAP in 20 minutes: 

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 20 air squats

Scaling Option

AMRAP in 20 minutes: 

  • 5 ring rows
  • 10 knee push-ups
  • 20 air squats

Coach Advice

One of the most iconic girl workouts, second perhaps only to Fran, Cindy is a triplet of three basic but cumulatively tough movements. It’s also the commonly prescribed partitioning option for the Murph WOD. Try to stay aerobic (70–80% of your maximum heart rate) for the duration of the WOD to ensure consistent pacing. 


Eva

Named for Eva Twardokens, a former Olympic alpine skier who became one of Greg Glassman’s first clients at the first CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz, California. 

5 rounds for time:

  • 800-m run
  • 30 kettlebell swings, 2/1.5 pood
  • 30 pull-ups

Scaling Option

5 rounds for time:

  • 800-m run
  • 30 kettlebell swings, 1.5/1 pood
  • 30 ring rows

Coach Advice

This is a longer, more aerobic workout. While elite athletes can complete Eva in under 30 minutes, most CrossFitters will need closer to an hour. The run intervals total 2.5 miles, so wear comfortable shoes. Try to keep the swings to sets of 10 or 15, and the gymnastics in sets of 5 to 10.


kettle gryp press

Gwen

15-12-9 reps for load

  • Clean-and-jerks, unbroken (you choose the weight)

Scaling Option

15-12-9 reps for load

  • Clean-and-jerks, unbroken (you choose the weight)

Coach Advice

For this workout, you’ll pick a single weight to complete all three rounds. Your score is the load. Choose wisely, because even regripping at the floor is considered a foul in this workout, and you will have to redo the rep.  


Lynne

Named after Lynne Pitts, an early CrossFit athlete who set an impressive score to beat when this workout was originally posted on the CrossFit mainsite without a name on August 8, 2004.

As many reps as possible in 5 rounds of: 

  • Max reps bench press (bodyweight)
  • Max reps pull-ups

Scaling Option

As many reps as possible in 5 rounds of: 

  • Max reps bench press (half bodyweight)
  • Max reps ring rows

Coach Advice

There is no rest prescribed in between rounds, so the intended stimulus is to rest as long as needed to prevent your total reps per round from decreasing. You can rest as long as you need, but the goal is to keep the rest-to-work ratio small (i.e., rest as long as you work, or for a little bit longer, but not for 10-plus minutes each round).


Scaling Girl WODs

The CrossFit Girl WODs, like all CrossFit workouts, are infinitely scalable. However, because these are benchmark workouts designed to measure progress, it’s important to repeat the same version of the workout at least once. 

For example, performing Grace in January at a scaled load of 65 pounds with a time of 5 minutes, and then performing it again in July with the prescribed weight of 95 pounds with a finish time of 8 minutes, isn’t the best way to glean information about your fitness. 

It would be better to perform both attempts at 65 pounds to measure how various elements of your fitness—like muscular endurance, anaerobic capacity, and barbell cycling skills—have improved in six months. Then in another six months, you can attempt the workout at the prescribed load. 

CrossFit Equipment and Training for the Girl WODs 

If you work out at home, you’ll need the best crossfit equipment for a home gym to complete all of the girl WODs. And these CrossFit training plans will help you prepare for the various benchmark workouts.

Girl WODs: Final Thoughts

The Girl WODs are a fun way to measure your fitness over time. They’re especially useful if you want to track your progress in a specific area, such as cardiovascular capacity or gymnastics skills. The important thing is to remember to repeat the workouts regularly, whether that means you’re doing them once a year or every other month. 

Further reading

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