Zeus Wod: Hero Workout and Grueling Chipper WOD

The Zeus hero workout is a CrossFit hero workout that first appeared on CrossFit.com on February 26, 2013.

It’s a grueling chipper style workout, meaning it will take even the best athletes between 25 and 45 minutes to complete.

If it you think it will take longer than 45 minutes, you should consider scaling.

Here you’ll learn what Zeus is, strategies you can use to complete the workout, and who David E. Hickman was, the man the Zeus workout is named after.

For other grueling hero workouts, check out: 31Heroes, Murph, and Holleyman.

What Is The Zeus Workout?

zeus wod


3 Rounds For Time

Here’s a video of the Zeus workout.

Zeus Wod Strategy

Here are some simple strategy pieces that will help you finish the Zeus WOD with a good time:

1. This workout is not Fight Gone Bad.

The movements are very similar to the famous CrossFit workout Fight Gone Bad, which is a 15 minute interval workout made up of the first 5 movements in Zeus (wall balls, SDHP, box jumps, push presses, and row).

The difference, and it’s an important one, is that you are not on a clock to get max repetitions.

Fight Gone Bad is a brutal workout because the clock is running and you are trying to max out your score.

Pacing the movements matters a lot more here, so keep that in mind.

2. But you can use Fight Gone Bad experience to determine pace.

Anyone that’s done Fight Gone Bad knows how much it sucks.

The structure of the workout makes it so that you alternate between destroying your shoulders and legs.

There isn’t much rest for either, and by the end of the workout, your whole body is cooked.

It will be different here without an interval rotation, but use your knowledge of Fight Gone Bad- strengths, weaknesses, transitions, etc. to determine how you’ll break up the movements.

3. Don’t Go Unbroken

Don’t go unbroken on wall balls, sumo deadlift high pulls, box jumps, or push presses.

Break these movements up into 3-4 sets and take deep breaths during your breaks.

You don’t want to be the guy that finishes round 1 before everyone else then DNFs the workout.

You’ll be in a lot of trouble if you go to failure on any barbell or weighted movement in this workout.

Zeus Scaled

To scale the Zeus workout, you have 2 main options:

  • Scale the weight on the bar. 75lbs adds up quickly when you’re using it to do 180 total reps. Don’t be afraid to use 65lbs or even just the barbell if it’s your first time.
    ○ For many people, 10 bodyweight back squats is a lot to ask for. Don’t feel about using a weight like 135lbs for this workout.
  • Scale the reps/rounds. Change the reps to 15 or 20 each set or only do 2 rounds for time. If this is you are new to CrossFit and this is your first time doing Zeus, I’d recommend this approach.

Who Was David E. Hickman?

David was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq.

According to this Washington Post article about his life and death, he was the 4,474th member of the U.S. military to die since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

David E. Hickman

Here’s the blurb about the man Zeus was named after taken from the CrossFit.com main page:

“U.S. Army Specialist David E. Hickman, 23, of Greensboro, North Carolina, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, died on November 14, 2011, in Baghdad, Iraq, from wounds suffered when insurgents detonated an improvised explosive device near his vehicle.

He is survived by his wife Calli, parents David and Veronica, and brother Devon.”


Zeus is a physical and mental challenge for even the most seasoned CrossFit athletes.

When you do it, don’t approach the workout like Fight Gone Bad, even though the movements are similar.

You can, however, use FGB to decide how you’ll pace the sets of 30 reps during the workout.

David E. Hickman fell for our country and this workout is in honor of that sacrifice.

Work hard and remember who you’re doing it for. Good luck!