Every year on Memorial Day weekend, CrossFitters in affiliates worldwide perform the Hero workout, ‘Murph.’
It is a workout that has become synonymous with CrossFit, not just for its brutal toughness, but for what it represents.
‘Murph’ is not simply another workout we do in a class to increase our fitness before moving on to whatever else we have going on in the day.
It is a workout designed to honor and remember the men and women of the armed forces that have lost their lives in defense of our freedom. And as is the case with every Hero workout, it has a story of courage and sacrifice.
These HERO workouts are symbolic gestures of respect for all fallen soldiers,, servicemen, and women who defend our freedom.
CrossFit affiliates worldwide, regardless of ethnicity or nation, honor their courage by pushing themselves to the limit in these (intentionally) brutal workouts.
It is a way to remember these men and women—to ensure that they are never forgotten. Every Memorial Day weekend, we remember Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy.
Motivation CrossFit quote for MURPH workout:
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How Hard is Training For a MURPH Challenge?
This workout was actually created by Murphy himself, and he originally titled it ‘Body Armor’—hence the 20lb. vest. This is not an easy workout. It is high volume, and requires the respect it deserves.
Murph Workout Challenge Poster Tips And Exercises:
So while you may be understandably fired up to attack it with vigor straight from the get-go, we’d like to offer you a few tips to ensure that you give ‘Murph’ your best effort and don’t burn out too early.
After completing a Murph Workout, you’ll be sweaty, tired, and maybe even sore for several days. But don’t let this deter you from completing the workout, as it is a great honor to do so.
Though simple in structure and formulation, a Murph Workout is no easy task.
The first part of the Murph challenge is a 1-mile run.
This can be done on an outdoor track or on a treadmill. If you’d like to stay true to Murphy’s “Body Armor” style, do this mile wearing a weight vest. You can potentially wear a backpack with weights inside if you don’t have access to a vest. However, be sure the backpack provides high support to avoid back injuries.
The second step in the Murph Workout is a daunting 100 pull-up challenge.
Yes, you read that right, 100! Once again, Michael Murphy would have done all of those while wearing a heavy 16.4 lb vest. If you don’t have a vest, you can add resistance to a pull-up by holding a dumbbell between your feet or attaching a dip vest with a weighted plate.
The third part of the challenge is a whopping 200 push-ups.
Add a weight plate to your back to mimic the resistance of a weighted vest.It doesn’t stop there! Next, you’ll do 300 air squats, so get ready for an intense lower-body burn. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbells if desired.
The 4 part of the challenge is a easy 300 squats.
Too bad the Murph Workout is finished with another grueling 1-mile run!
In addition to many repetitions, the Murph Workout is typically a time-focused challenge with participants aiming to complete the challenge as quickly as possible. The fastest time to complete the workout is reportedly an impressive 13 minutes and 53 seconds.
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Benefits Of The MURPH Workout
We’ve laid out exactly how to do a Murph Workout and you’re probably left wondering why anyone would want to do this challenge.
All jokes aside, the Murph Workout is a great way to honor veterans and current military members and Michael Murphy’s service and ultimate sacrifice. Still, it is also a sure way to test and increase your fitness level. Additional benefits include:
MINIMAL EQUIPMENT REQUIRED
- While Murphy wore a weighted vest during his workouts, some participants chose to go without since the workout was quite challenging already.
- Furthermore, a weight vest is not a common piece of fitness equipment; however, you can choose to add dumbbells or kettlebells to certain parts of the workout for added resistance.
- You’ll likely discover that body weight is more than sufficient to feel a burn in this demanding workout. The only real required piece of equipment is something stable enough for pull-ups. Doorway pull-up bars are one of the most popular ways to go. This fix can be as cheap as $30, making the Murph challenge an affordable training method.
BOOSTS MENTAL TOUGHNESS
- In addition to the numerous physical benefits of this challenge, completing a Murph Workout demands a lot of mental focus and determination. Completing this challenge should be considered a huge psychological win as you’ll have to push through a mile run, six-hundred total repetitions of pull-ups, push-ups, and squats, then finish it all off with another one-miler.
- It can’t be sugar-coated, this challenge is super tough. Quitting will probably cross your mind several times. However, the end of that second run will probably be one of the most rewarding ends of a training session you’ve ever had, all while supporting a healthy lifestyle, mind, and a great cause.
- Perhaps one of the biggest pluses of the Murph Workout is its simplicity. Unfortunately, this workout does not require any advanced movements and the structure of the program is formulated even simpler. The simplicity of the Murph Workout makes it a no-excuse, no-fuss way to challenge your abilities and get the most from your workout.
WORKS FOR SEVERAL MUSCLE GROUPS
- The Murph Workout is simple yet manages to target several muscle groups. The runs will target your cardiovascular ability while also getting a good lower body and core workout. The pull-ups are great for your back muscles and biceps and your core.
- Push-ups target your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. The 300 squats will give you an intense burn in the glutes, quads, and hamstrings while recruiting your core for stability. Since the repetitions are incredibly high, this workout focuses on muscular endurance rather than muscle hypertrophy.
CAN BE DONE ANYWHERE
- The Murph Workout does not require access to a gym, a teacher, or classes. But, of course, you can choose to embark on the challenge in an indoor space, but your local track, sidewalks, or yard can work just fine. The point of the workout is to challenge and provide growth physically, not create unnecessary obstacles that can hinder your access to physical exercise.
SUPPORTS A GOOD CAUSE
- If you’ve been looking for a meaningful way to support the U.S. troops and pay respects to service members across the nation, the Murph Workout is a good way to do so. Often, Memorial Day is celebrated as a chance for a long weekend or maybe even an outdoor party while the real meaning of the holiday is overlooked.
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Every year on Memorial Day, thousands are completing the Murph Workout challenge to show their support and appreciation.
In addition to completing or participating in the workout challenge, you can typically find charities funds to donate to in honor of Murphy. However, even just participating in the challenge is a great way to spread awareness and encourage others to observe military efforts.
Never stop training.
Despite all the simplicity of the Murph Workout, it is still an effective way to challenge your body and get stronger.
However, perhaps the one downfall of the Murphy Workout is the lack of accessibility. You’ll need to be able to run a total of two miles and do several hundred push-ups all while in a weighted vest to do the Murph challenge exactly how Michael Murphy did.
Therefore, we would consider this workout to require a decent physical fitness level established prior to the training.
Murph Challenge Tips. You Can Do It!
Use a rep scheme
You can partition the pullups, pushups, and squats as needed, so use smart rep schemes to keep your muscles as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Here are a few you can use:
- 20 rounds of
- 5 pullups
- 10 pushups
- 15 squats
This is essentially 20 rounds of the benchmark WOD Cindy, and is probably the most commonly employed as it is the easiest to remember and a lot of athletes have had success with it in the past.
- 20 rounds of
- 5 pushups
- 5 pullups
- 5 pushups
- 15 squats
Advised for those who struggle with pushups.
- 20 rounds of
- 5 pullups
- 5 squats
- 5 pushups
- 10 squats
- 5 pushups
Stretch everything. This is a full-body workout, and your wrists, chest, shoulders, calves, hamstrings, quads, and hips will be taxed. So make sure you are as limber as you can be heading into the workout.
Given that this is one of the longest workouts in history don’t be afraid to stop and reach for the water bottle when you need to (especially for those that will be completing the run in humid and hot climates). The goal is to complete the workout—you don’t want to bring on rhabdomyolysis.
Don’t use a vest until you have built up a solid level of fitness
While the prescribed version of ‘Murph’ is meant to be done with a weight vest, it is recommended that only competitive athletes use it. If you cannot complete ‘Murph’ under one hour without a weight vest, you shouldn’t be using one yet.
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In addition to employing a rep scheme strategy, try to incorporate a few seconds of rest between sets. In addition, during the mile runs remain calm and remember to breathe and exhale in rhythm.
Remember why you’re doing the workout
Recognize that this isn’t your typical class WOD. This workout is meant to remember those who have died for our freedom, so keep that in your head when you feel like giving up.
Post workout recovery
Mobilize, get plenty of fluids in you and some healthy snacks to replenish all the lost nutrients (like some nuts, banana and/or protein shake).
Average times for this workout can range from 47 minutes to 57 minutes. Depending on whether your running route has hills, try to break 1 hour if possible.
The fastest Murph times are from 40 minutes to 45 minutes.
Some History About Michael Murphy
‘Murph’ is named after Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005. He was 29-years-old.
After graduating from Penn State University in 1998, Murphy rejected offers to attend law school and instead accepted a commission in the United States Navy and became a SEAL in July 2002.
The decision made perfect sense for a man whose nickname was ‘The Protector’. In fact, when Murphy was in the 8th grade, he was suspended from school for fighting with bullies that were trying to shove a special needs child into a locker.
And Gary Williams, author of “Seal of Honor,” a biography of Murphy, recounts a story where Murphy protected a homeless man who was collecting cans from a gang of thugs.
In early 2005 Murphy was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE as an officer in charge of Alpha Platoon and deployed to Afghanistan.
In June of that year, Murphy led a four-man reconnaissance team in Kunar province as part of a counter-insurgent mission (the other men in Murphy’s team were Danny Dietz, Matthew Axelson, and Marcus Luttrell). During the mission, the team encountered a group of local goat herders.
A discussion was held among the four SEALs regarding the rules of engagement and what they should do with the herders, who were being held at gunpoint. Eventually, the men decided to release them, but not soon after, the SEALs were surrounded and ambushed by an overwhelming Taliban force.
Murphy, trying to reach HQ via satellite phone, willingly exposed himself to enemy fire by stepping into a clearing where he might get a signal to make the call. Murphy was shot in the back but still managed to calmly complete the call for reinforcements and return to his position to continue the fight with his men. HQ sent an MH-47 Chinook helicopter to rescue the team, but while attempting to set down in rugged terrain, the helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing all 16 men on board.
Murphy, Dietz, and Axelson were all killed in action. Luttrell was the only survivor and was eventually rescued after several days of wandering the mountain and being protected by the people of an Afghan village.
The actions and story of the SEALs on June 28th, 2005, are portrayed in the film ‘Lone Survivor.’
Murphy was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courage and sacrifice that day. All three of his men were awarded the Navy’s second-highest honor, the Navy Cross, for their actions. The men who were killed in the rescue attempt were also honored. These included Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Taylor and Lt.
Michael McGreevy, posthumously awarded Bronze Stars for Valor and Purple Hearts. CrossFit HQ’s Russell Berger, who served in the 1st Ranger Battalion, writes of these men: “These men were fathers, husbands, and sons. They were brothers to their fellow SEALs. They were also CrossFitters.
In their actions, these men embodied the values and spirit of true heroes, and to immortalize their courage, bravery, and self-sacrifice, the CrossFit Hero workouts were created.”
A message from Dan Murphy, Michael’s father, to those participating in the Murph Challenge this year. The Murph Challenge is the Official Forged® annual fundraiser, benefiting the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation. It is also one of the primary means of funding for the Foundation annually.
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