#WorkoutoftheWeek 7.15.2019 - "Harper"

If everything was given to you, it wouldn’t feel as good when you achieve it,
— Annika Sorenstam

Boom. Welcome back to our #Workoutoftheweek posts, a weekly recap of a workout from one of our trips, or one performed at one of our team or community’s affiliates. If you ever want to submit a workout, just email us at: staff@voyedgerx.com.


This week, I’ll be recapping, “Harper” that I performed at my box, CrossFit LoDo, here in Denver on July 4th. It was about 95 degrees out, so this one really stuck out in my mind as a total suckfest, but it was for a good cause. Before we dive in, let’s take a look at who the workout was named after.

From WODwell:

Phoenix Firefighter Brad Harper, 23, of Peoria, Arizona, died while on the scene of a two-alarm fire on May 19, 2013. Harper loved being a firefighter and had worked with the Phoenix Fire Department, where he was assigned to Rescue 21, for two years. He is survived by his wife, Lena; three younger brothers, Ryan, Daniel and Jacob; and parents, Bob and Cyndy.

This "Harper" Hero WOD was first posted on crossfit.com as the workout of the day for December 26, 2015 (151226). See also: "Brad Harper" Hero WOD, a different workout, named for the same

fitness #workoutoftheweek voyedge rx

The workout

AMRAP in 23 minutes

  • 9 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups

  • 15 Power Cleans (135/95 lb)

  • 21 Air Squats

  • 400 meter Run with a Plate (45/35 lb)

    Score is: Rounds plus reps

Recap: “Harper” is not an easy workout to do, especially in the heat. But, for me, whenever I get the opportunity to tackle a hero workout like this, I give it my all. We all know that hero workouts are named after someone who gave the ultimate sacrifice and paid the ultimate price for their service. In this case, “Harper” deserved my absolute best. If someone can be a firefighter in Phoenix, AZ and deal with that dry heat fully decked out in a firefighters uniform, I could surely give it 100% in the 95 degree Denver heat, as well.

Anyway, I moved through this workout as methodically and thoughtfully as I could, knowing that if I redlined, I would surely have to take more of a rest than I wanted, so I started out moving a little slower than the others. Despite going unbroken on the pull-ups all the way through, I did my power cleans in sets of 5, and then 3, all the way throughout, making sure to keep my hear rate as low as I could. The 21 air squats were a good time to stop and catch your breath, as I did, before going on the 400-meter run with a 45-lbs. plate. I took the run pretty slow, letting others speed past me as I fumbled around to find the best way to lug the plate along. I settled for holding it on my back, but choosing to move a bit slower, as well.

All in all, I finished with nearly the same pace I started with and certainly didn’t need to collapse on the ground after it was all said and done. I gave it as close as I could to 100% without redlining for longer than needed.

Strategy: Some people took this workout to the absolute extreme and pushed it all the way the 23-minute mark and certainly crushed it. Others, did small sets and worked as diligently through the high volume of reps as they could. For this workout, I would mention it should be a, ‘personal preference’ to the pace you want to set, but if you have good pull-ups and power cleans, feel free to ramp up the intensity while knowing the plate carry WILL wreck your forearms and grip strength.

Whatever you do, use the air squats as a slight time to recover while continuing to move methodically through the rest of the workout.

Scaling: Two options here for scaling. Keep the 23 minutes here to work, and if possible, keep the same number of reps (or divide by 2/3) and change the movements/weight to the following.

AMRAP in 23 minutes

  • 9 kipping pull-ups (or jumping pull-ups)

  • 15 Power Cleans (95/65 lbs)

  • 21 Air Squats

  • 400 meter Run with a Plate (25/15 lbs)


AMRAP in 23 minutes

  • 9 banded pull-ups

  • 15 Power Cleans with just the bar

  • 21 Air Squats

  • 400 meter Run

Either way, the goal of this workout should be to remember, “Harper” and continue to move well, despite any deficiencies. The goal is a LIFETIME of fitness, not to win the workout each and everyday. Move well, forever.

Take a look at the demo video of “Harper” below.

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