The DT CrossFit Workout Guide: How To +  Scaled For Each Skill Level

The DT CrossFit workout has a special meaning and history behind it. 

This challenging workout was created to honor and commemorate the sacrifice of U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant, First Class Aaron “DT” Kenefick, who was killed in action on September 8, 2009, during combat operations in the Ganjgal Valley of Afghanistan. 

DT was known for his love of CrossFit and was a member of the CrossFit community. He had been a competitive athlete and a CrossFit Level 1 trainer. 

After his passing, CrossFit athletes and trainers wanted to create a workout that would pay tribute to his memory and the characteristics he embodied: dedication, strength, and resilience.

Many CrossFit gyms and athletes perform the DT CrossFit workout regularly to remember and honor Sergeant First Class Aaron “DT” Kenefick and all those who have given their lives in service to their country while challenging themselves to push and improve their fitness.

In this DT CrossFit workout guide, we will cover the following:

  • What Is the DT CrossFit Workout?
  • How to Do the DT CrossFit Workout
  • How to Scale the DT CrossFit Workout for Each Fitness Level
  • How Long Does the DT CrossFit Workout Take?

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty. 

A person doing a deadlift.

What Is the DT CrossFit Workout?

This workout is a well-known benchmark workout in CrossFit.

The DT CrossFit workout requires doing just three different barbell movements. It consists of five rounds of deadlifts, hang power cleans, and push jerks, performed for time. 

The prescribed weight for men is 155 pounds, and for women, it’s 105 pounds.

The specific movements chosen for the workout reflect the physical demands and challenges soldiers face in combat. 

The deadlifts, hang power cleans, and push jerks are functional movements requiring strength, power, and endurance. The workout is designed to push athletes to their limits and test their mental and physical fortitude.

The DT WOD is more challenging than some basic CrossFit benchmark workouts because it requires fluidly and confidently taking a barbell through various movements. 

The DT CrossFit workout is one of the more complex CrossFit workouts and may be more challenging for beginner athletes.

Fortunately, it is possible to modify the movements so that all athletes can honor DT and others who have put their lives on the line.  

A person grabbing a barbell.

How to Do the DT CrossFit Workout

To prepare for the DT CrossFit workout, you must have a space to properly set up a barbell and plenty of room for barbell movements from the ground to the overhead. 

Before beginning this workout, you should ensure you understand how to complete deadlifts, hang power cleans, and push jerks with proper form. 

You can set up a camera to record yourself and compare your form to instructional gyms or have a properly educated and skilled individual at your gym assess your form. 

Being able to complete these movements properly will allow you to do them faster and without obtaining an injury. 

Maintaining a steady pace through at least the first four rounds is helpful to avoid burnout and finish strong. You can then attempt to finish your last round faster than any others. 

A trainer helping an athlete with a deadlift.

Here is the exact format of “The DT:”

5 Rounds for Time

  • 12 Deadlifts
  • 9 Hang Power Cleans
  • 6 Push Jerks

Males: 155 lbs

Females: 115 lbs

Your score is determined by your total time to complete all five rounds. While rest between rounds and exercises is allowed, limiting your rest time between rounds will help you to achieve a higher score. 

A person doing a deadlift.

How to Scale the DT CrossFit Workout for Each Fitness Level

The DT CrossFit workout does require some ability to do more complex movements, and there is a bit more of a strength component to this workout than many other WODs.

The movements are not extremely complex, but some athletes may struggle to do them fluidly and quickly without familiarity and confidence. It may also be challenging to complete the total number of reps. 

While the weight used is considered to be moderate, it may be heavy for some beginner athletes, and using the prescribed weight may not be a smart choice, as using too much weight for these movements could result in injury. 

Do not be discouraged if you need to modify this workout initially.

CrossFit benchmark workouts like this one are to monitor your personal progress and honor others by doing your best work and challenging yourself with something new. 

A person doing a clean exercise.

If you feel like you are out of your comfort zone and being challenged, that is exactly where you should be. 

Athletes who are experienced and consider this a lightweight workout will likely still not find it easy as they will be pushing beyond their limits to get a time as fast as possible, a true test of endurance and mental fortitude. 

Modifying the actual movements of this workout is challenging, but it is quite easy to modify the weight and still accomplish the intended stimulus of the workout. 

While the reps could also be modified, the workload is fairly conservative, so it is best to ensure you have a weight that allows you to do all prescribed movements and reps unbroken.

Keep in mind that this is supposed to be a tough workout; it will truly test your cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Be ready to feel the burn and really push yourself to the next level. 

You will need to dig deep and test your strength. 

A person doing a clean exercise.

The DT CrossFit Workout for Beginners:

The DT WOD is simple to scale down to different fitness levels by modifying the weight. The best way to scale it is by keeping the number of reps and rounds the same but modifying the weight as needed. 

We suggest the following as a good place for beginners to start:

5 Rounds for Time

  • 12 Deadlifts 
  • 9 Hang Power Cleans
  • 6 Push Jerks

Males: 45 lb bar 

Females: 35 lb bar 

Feel free to rest as needed between sets and rounds but do not wait until you are fully recovered; that will start to defeat the purpose of the workout. If necessary, break each exercise into sets of 3 reps at a time. 

A person doing a clean exercise.

The DT CrossFit Workout for Intermediates:

Intermediate athletes will likely be able to complete the following movements easily, but the weight load may need to be modified to ensure the athlete’s safety. 

While this is a recommendation of where to start with weight, you can do some testing on your own to determine what is the most comfortable for you. 

We recommend trying the following workout:

5 Rounds for Time

  • 12 Deadlifts 
  • 9 Hang Power Cleans
  • 6 Push Jerks

Males: 135 lbs

Females: 90 lbs

Remember that you should be doing a weight that allows you to complete the complex with minimal rest. If you have to take too much rest, lower the weight. If you are breezing through and feel no need for rest, increase the weight. 

The DT CrossFit Workout for the Advanced:

Advance athletes should not need any modifications for the CrossFit DT workout. It should be completed exactly as prescribed, and the form should be excellent. 

5 Rounds for Time

  • 12 Deadlifts
  • 9 Hang Power Cleans
  • 6 Push Jerks

Males: 155 lbs

Females: 115 lbs

Advanced athletes will hopefully not need any rest, but if they do, it should be minimal and only between rounds, not exercises. This is an opportunity to test your abilities and see how quickly you can crush this hero WOD.  

A person doing a press.

How Long Does the DT CrossFit Workout Take?

As mentioned earlier, the score for this workout is determined by the total time it takes to complete all five rounds.

The less time you rest, the quicker you will finish, and the higher your score will be.

More advanced athletes can finish quite quickly, while less experienced athletes should plan to spend close to 15-20 minutes on the workout.  It is not too challenging to cut chunks of time off this workout if you stay consistent with your training. 

For athletes who complete all of the reps, including making modifications to the weight, here is how long we expect different skill levels to take:

  • Beginner athletes completing the workout will likely to 16 to 20 minutes to do all five rounds with the weight modification. 
  • Intermediate athletes can expect 10 to 15 minutes to complete the workout with modified weight. 
  • The advanced athletes should be able to complete the workout in around 5 to 9 minutes. 
  • Elite athletes who give the CrossFit DT workout their everything should be able to complete the entire workout in about 5 minutes. Hopefully less!
A person doing a press.

Takeaways

The DT CrossFit workout showcases the perfect blend of strength, power, and technique through its three fundamental movements: deadlifts, hang power cleans, and push jerks. 

Each round of DT challenges athletes to perform these movements with precision and speed, pushing their limits to complete five intense rounds.

The deadlifts test raw strength, the hang power cleans require explosive power, and the push jerks demand upper body strength and coordination. 

This benchmark workout serves as a reminder of the physical demands faced by soldiers in combat and underscores the importance of functional movements in building overall fitness.

Whether you’re a CrossFit or a fitness enthusiast, DT provides a formidable test of strength, endurance, and mental resilience.

If you want to give another demanding CrossFit workout a go, give “The Bear” a try. 

A person doing a press.
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I am a UESCA-certified running coach, psychology PhD student, and competitive obstacle racer and trail runner. Once 100 pounds overweight I found fitness and fell in love with an active and competitive lifestyle. My passion for inspiring others and fitness come together seamlessly in the world of writing where I get to share the thing that changed my life. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, my dogs, as well as baking and cooking.

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