Holleyman WOD: Max Your Score & How To Scale

CrossFit benchmark workouts come in two varieties.

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 Holleyman workout.

This is a hero workout, meaning it’s going to be very challenging and take a while to complete.

You’ll learn what Holleyman is, tips for completing the WOD, who Aaron Holleyman was, and how to scale the workout.

What Is The Holleymans Workout?


Here is the RX version of the Holleyman workout:


You can see a sped up video demonstration of this workout from CrossFit.com here:

Scroll down for scaling options.

Holleyman WOD Tips

The key to doing well on Holleyman- as is the case with most workouts- is to master your transition strategy.

You will transition between movements 90 times in this workout. Therefore:

  1. If possible, do the workout next to a corner. Use one wall for wall ball shots, the other for handstand push-ups.
  2. Position your bar directly behind the handstand push-up wall.
  3. For a good score, make sure there are no more than 3 steps between movements.

Other than transitions, make sure you are good for 150 wall ball shots, 90 handstand push-ups, and a “Grace” worth of 225 lbs power cleans. Otherwise, scale weights or reps (see below).

As we saw during the CrossFit Open 18.1 workout this past year, even a few second difference between transitions can increase your score drastically.

Holleyman is a workout that can be won or lost on how you move between exercises.

Holleyman Scaled

Here are ideas to scale Holleyman if you aren’t able or ready to complete it RX’d.

Most likely, handstand push-ups are the movement you are most concerned about or need to scale.

If you can do some handstand push-ups, scale the workout from 5 to 3 each round.

Otherwise, switch from HSPU to regular push-ups.

5 regular push ups per round works, but up it to 7 if you can do a lot of them. Any more than that and the flow of the workout changes.

If 225 lbs is your 1RM power clean, scale the weight.

Ideally you go with 205 or 185 lbs, but make sure it’s doable and heavy enough to challenge you.

You shouldn’t be needing to squat clean any of the reps.

Wall ball shots should stay at 5 per round no matter what. The weight is doable for most people, but scale if necessary.

Who Was Aaron Holleyman?

Taken from the CrossFit.com website:

“U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Aaron N. Holleyman, 27, of Glasgow, Montana, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was killed on August 30, 2004, when his military vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Khutayiah, Iraq.

He is survived by his daughters Shelby and Erin, son Zachary, parents Ross and Glenda, and siblings Kelly and Daniel.”

You can read more about Aaron, including comments from his family here.


Like any hero workout, Holleyman is going to test your mental and physical limits.

If you go RX, you will perform a total of 150 wall ball shots, 90 handstand push-ups, and 30 power cleans at 225lbs.

Remember, this workout is won in transition.

There are 90 total spaces between exercises. Limit these as much as you possibly can to get a good score.

Prepare for a grueling, grinding workout that will especially tax your shoulders.

But remember why you have chosen to endure the mental and physical test in the first place- to honor a fallen hero. Good luck!