What Is The Murph Workout?
In CrossFit, there are two categories of named workouts: the “Girls” and Hero workouts.
A typical CrossFit girls workout is usually a benchmark WOD that people use as a metric to track their fitness improvements over time.
Hero workouts do the same, but tend to be more grueling and longer in duration.
Hero workouts are named after fallen soldiers and are designed to push you to the brink physically and mentally.
Murph is a Hero workout that was released in honor of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005.
The workout is as follows:
- 1 Mile run
- 100 Pull-ups
- 200 Push-ups
- 300 Squats
- 1 Mile run
The pull-ups, push-ups and squats may be partitioned as needed. If you have a 20lb weight vest, wear it.
Who Was Murph?
Michael P. Murphy was a United States Navy Seal who was awarded the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the Afghanistan war.
Lt. Murphy was an avid CrossFitter This grueling workout was one of his favorites, and he would regularly do it wearing body armor instead of a 20lb weighted vest.
As such, he fondly nicknamed the workout “Body Armor”.
Murph- The Annual Memorial Day Workout
Every Memorial Day, CrossFit gyms all over the USA do Murph as a sign of respect for America’s fallen soldiers.
It has been the CrossFit.com workout of the day on Memorial Day since 2010.
The annual Murph Memorial Day Workout has become one of the richest traditions in the CrossFit community.
Many gyms treat it as an opportunity to raise money for charity.
This year, someone even created the 2018 Murph Challenge to help raise additional funds for the families of American heroes.
Tips For Completing Murph
Here are 3 strategy pieces for completing the Murph workout:
#1. Do 20 rounds of Cindy.
There is no rule against how you break up your pull-ups, push-ups, and squats.
Most people use “Cindy” (20 rounds of: 5 pull-ups, 10 pushs-ups, 15 air squats) to cycle through the reps.
Some fire breathers will up the reps per round (10 rounds of: 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups, 30 squats) but that won’t work for many.
You’re better off picking a rep scheme you can stick with instead of hitting failure in the first few minutes. Murph is a marathon workout, not a sprint.
#2. Don’t be afraid to scale Murph the first time.
This is a hero workout, and so it is meant to be grueling. But understand something:
Murph is not the right workout to simply start and hope you can finish on guts alone.
You should be someone seasoned as an athlete and used to the volume of difficulty a typical CrossFit hero workout provides.
If you can only perform 1 or 2 pull-ups in a set, consider scaling to ring rows or banded pull-ups. You may also decrease the amount of total pull-ups.
If 200 push-ups is unreasonable for you, scale down the number as well. Stick with fewer full-depth push-ups instead of modifying the movement to knee push-ups or something else.
300 squats will take you a long time, but they are more mental than the other two bodyweight exercises.
Break them up accordingly. If you are scaling the pull-ups and push-ups, maybe scale the squats down to match.
As long as you have no running injuries, don’t scale the run in distance. Two miles is a lot, but it’s doable for most people.
And unless you’ve been training hard for a year or more, save the weight vest for your second bout against Murph.
#3. Don’t kill yourself on either run.
The hardest part of the Murph workout is gutting through the 600 reps of bodyweight movements.
You’ll be ahead of the rest of the pack if you run a PR mile from the start, but rest assured you won’t finish on top.
Plan to run your first mile at about 80% of your best mile time. The final mile is a gut-check more than anything. Ease into it for the first 400 meters and then try to pick it up to finish.
How Long Does It Take To Do Murph?
The short answer is a long time. The long answer is ‘it depends’.
If you’ve never done Murph, and can’t do many pull-ups yet, you are better off scaling the workout the first time.
If you’re ready to tackle Murph Rx’d (with a vest), expect 40+ minutes of grueling effort.
Someone with incredible endurance and a knack for being good with bodyweight movements can expect to finish Murph around 30 minutes.
Without a vest, it’s possible to complete between 25-30 minutes.
While comparing your performance to a CrossFit games athlete is humbling, Murph was the first workout of the 2016 CrossFit Games.
Josh Bridges finished in 1st place with a time of 34:38 for the men and Kari Pearce finished in 1st in the female division with a time of 36:42.
You can see the whole workout from the 2016 CrossFit Games start to finish here:
Murph is one of the most challenging CrossFit hero workouts ever put out.
It’s also used as a gathering to fundraise for victims of fallen soldiers, and one of the CrossFit community’s greatest traditions.
The workout is a 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and a final 1 mile run.
You can partition the pull-ups, push-ups and squats as needed. If you have a 20lb weighted vest, wear it.
This Memorial Day may be your first crack at Murph. If you struggle with pull-ups, don’t be afraid to scale.
Hero workouts are meant to be challenging, but not dangerous!
Most CrossFit athletes honor Lt. Michael Murphy’s death at least once per year by grinding through one of his favorite workouts. Will you?