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Home/WODs/Benchmarks & Tributes/Death By…Anything
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“Death By…Anything”

verified

CrossFit Benchmark WOD

80.3K 1.1K
  • EMOM For as Long as Possible
  • 1 Rep in the first minute
  • 2 Reps in the second minute
  • 3 Reps in the third minute
  • etc.

Choose any single movement (Pull-ups, Thrusters, Burpees, Cleans, Snatches, Rope Climbs, etc.). Then, each minute on the minute (EMOM), starting at the top of the minute, with 1 repetition in minute 1, complete one more repetition per minute each subsequent minute (2 reps from 1:00-2:00, 3 reps from 2:00-3:00, etc.). The athlete continues for as long as possible until they can no longer complete the number of reps prescribed in under a minute.

Score is the number of full rounds completed plus number of reps completed in the last round.

Tips and Strategy

In the early rounds (rounds 1-5) maintain a slow and steady pace. Control the breathing. A fast pace right out of the gate is unnecessary and could lead to an inability to control the heart rate as more repetitions are required in each subsequent minute.

Intended Stimulus 

Any “Death By” workout tests two things well:
1. How mentally tough an athlete is
2. How well the athlete can pace himself/herself

Regardless of the movement, this workout starts out easy and gets unbelievably difficult as the rounds progress. For first-timers, this WOD should feel like a joke in the beginning. Everyone stops laughing around round 7.

Scaling Options

For beginners, “Death By” workouts can be demoralizing. A great way for all levels to feel successful at this kind of workout is to initiate a rule that allows athletes to continue working even when they can no longer complete the number of reps prescribed in under a minute:

– Place a time cap on the workout. Everyone can work at least until that time cap regardless of when their workout officially stops.

– When an athlete can no longer complete the number of reps prescribed in under a minute, allow them to complete an EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute) of a reasonable number of reps until the time cap. (For example, if the athlete can only get to round 7 during the “Death By” workout, they can complete an EMOM of 4 or 5 reps of the movement until the time cap.)

– The score is still the number of full rounds completed plus number of reps completed in the last round. The rest of the workout simply allows beginners to keep moving and not be punished by the clock.

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namesake photo

Background: The oldest “Death By …” workout we’ve found was posted on the CrossFit Main Site as their workout of the day for June 29, 2005 (050629). The post said, “With a continuously running clock do one pull-up the first minute, two pull-ups the second minute, three pull-ups the third minute… continuing as long as you are able. Use as many sets each minute as needed.”

The pull-up version has been repeated many times in the years since on the CrossFit Main Site, but never (as of 2020) have they posted it with a name. Still, this format, ascending ladder interval until failure, is well known within the CrossFit community and you will see it referred to in the comments as “Death By.”

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