Meet Marcus Hendren: He was raised on a farm, finished high school with 12 varsity letters, and went on to play football at Cornell University. He's also one of best CrossFitters in the world. In the 2012 games, Hendren earned 7th place; in 2013, he landed 6th. This year, Hendren hopes to improve even more and find a spot on the podium.
Hendren's CrossFit journey began in late 2010. "I was in my senior year of college and was coming off a football injury. My time as a college athlete was over, and I was looking for another outlet to compete. I'd always loved working out and heard about CrossFit, so I decided to give it a try," Hendren says.
Hendren wasn't necessarily destined for CrossFit. He found the sport and has since worked for constant improvement. His inspiring story proves that with time and effort, even the biggest dreams are achievable. If you want to train and consistently improve like Marcus, start with a few of his favorite workouts, known as "WODs" in the CrossFit community.
1. Lumberjack 20
Hendren dove headfirst into CrossFit. Without a coach or CrossFit gym, Hendren started his CrossFit journey with the ultra-tough workout "Lumberjack 20" to get his feet wet. To fully understand how this WOD jumped Hendren into the CrossFit lifestyle, try it yourself! It's a brutal test of your cardiovascular and muscular endurance.
After CrossFitting by himself, Hendren wanted to see how he stacked up against other athletes. "A few weeks later, I joined my local box," he says. "The first WOD I did there had box jumps. I was trying to set my hair on fire at the start and ended up tipping a box over and landing flat on my back."
The start of his CrossFit career may have been rocky, but he soon became an explosive talent. Hendren continued to hit every WOD like a madman while learning a more strategic approach. "Fast forward three years and I've finished in the top ten two consecutive years," he says.
"I've always been athletic and a gym rat," says Hendren, "so most WODs calling for a barbell and explosive movements are right in my wheelhouse. One of my favorites is the Hero WOD "DT." DT is a fast-paced, power WOD that calls for serious weight under your fastest possible time. Give it a shot when you want to test your athleticism.
3. 2013 Regionals Event 7
Hendren loves to climb, clean, and sprint, so this next event has become one of his favorite workouts. "The clean and rope climb WOD from Regionals in 2013 is one of my favorites because it includes two movements I'm very comfortable with," he says.
Working Through Weakness
Through his experiences in the Games, Hendren has found some of his weaknesses. "The beauty of CrossFit is that there are always things to work on," he says. "I've discovered I'm not fond of swimming or half-marathon rows. I now swim once per week with a coach. The gains are slow, but I'm making progress!" he says.
Because the field continues to get deeper and more skilled, Hendren can't let up. To be continually competitive, Hendren has to be better than he was last year. "This season, I've focused more on fundamentals because any kind of excellence is rooted in a solid foundation," he says.
You can watch Hendren compete at CrossFit Regionals, which begin May 9th! Enjoy his favorite workouts in the meantime and let us know your results—and your own favorite WODs—in the comments below!