Conquer the Murph CrossFit Workout in 2023: Your Ultimate Guide to Preparing for Success

May 4, 2023 | WOD, Motivation

Table of Contents

CrossFit enthusiasts, are you ready to challenge yourselves and pay tribute to a true hero? The Murph workout has earned its place as an iconic event in the CrossFit community, bringing athletes together to honor the memory of Lt. Michael Murphy while testing their physical and mental limits. 

In this ultimate guide, we’ll walk you through the history of the Murph workout, help you create a customized training plan, and provide tips to ensure a successful and safe experience.

Importance of the Murph workout in the CrossFit community

Murph Crossfit Workout - Pushups

The Murph workout is a testament to the CrossFit community’s strength, endurance, and camaraderie. This grueling Hero WOD (Workout of the Day) pushes athletes to their limits while honoring a fallen hero. Each year on Memorial Day, CrossFitters worldwide come together to participate in the Murph event, sharing in the challenge and supporting each other through every rep.

Memorial Day and the Murph event

Memorial Day is more than just a holiday; it’s a time to remember and honor the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The Murph event takes place on Memorial Day, a powerful tribute to Lt. Michael Murphy and all fallen service members. Athletes from all walks of life gather to complete the demanding workout, united by a common goal and deep respect for the heroes who came before them.

Disclaimer on potential risks and physician consultation

Before we dive into the specifics of the Murph workout and how to prepare, addressing the potential risks associated with high-intensity workouts is essential. While the Murph workout can be an enriching experience, it’s important to understand and respect your body’s limits. Always consult a physician before beginning any new exercise program, especially if you have a history of injuries or medical conditions. Safety comes first – so listen to your body and know when to scale or modify the workout to meet your needs.

Lt. Michael Murphy and the History of the Murph Workout

Lt. Michael Murphy was a decorated Navy SEAL who made the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan in 2005. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery and dedication to his fellow SEALs. His story of heroism and selflessness has inspired countless people, including the CrossFit community, who honor his memory through the annual Murph workout.

The origin of the Hero WODs

Hero WODs are unique workouts dedicated to the memory of fallen military personnel and first responders who have given their lives in the line of duty. These workouts, often named after the individuals they honor, serve as a physical challenge and a tribute to their sacrifice. The Murph workout, originally called “Body Armor,” was created in honor of Lt. Michael Murphy and has since become one of the most well-known and respected Hero WODs in the CrossFit community.

The purpose of the Murph event on Memorial Day

The Murph event on Memorial Day is a meaningful tradition in the CrossFit community, providing an opportunity for athletes to come together and honor the memory of Lt. Michael Murphy and all the brave individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. By participating in the Murph workout, athletes test their physical and mental endurance and connect with the heroic spirit embodied by Lt. Murphy and others like him. The event is a powerful reminder of the values of bravery, selflessness, and camaraderie that underpin the CrossFit community and the military.

Understanding the Murph Workout

Murph Crossfit Workout - Weighted Vest

The components of the Murph workout

The Murph workout is a high-intensity, full-body challenge that consists of the following components:

  1. 1-mile run
  2. 100 pull-ups
  3. 200 push-ups
  4. 300 squats
  5. 1-mile run

The pull-ups, push-ups, and squats are typically performed in a “partitioned” manner, meaning athletes can break them up into smaller sets and complete them in any order they choose. However, the 1-mile runs must be completed at the beginning and end of the workout.

The role of the weighted vest in the Murph workout

The weighted vest plays a significant role in the Murph workout, adding an extra layer of difficulty and simulating the body armor Lt. Michael Murphy wore during his service. While wearing a 20-pound weighted vest (14 pounds for women) is recommended for advanced athletes, it’s important to remember that the vest is optional. If you’re new to the Murph workout or have concerns about completing the workout safely, it’s wonderful to perform the workout without the vest.

The significance of strength and endurance in the workout

The Murph workout tests strength and endurance, requiring athletes to push themselves beyond their comfort zones to complete the workout. The combination of running, pull-ups, push-ups, and squats demands muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance. To complete the Murph workout, developing a well-rounded training plan that focuses on building strength in the upper body, lower body, and core and improving cardiovascular endurance through running and other forms of aerobic exercise is crucial.

Creating a Murph Training Plan

Assessing your fitness level

Before diving into a Murph training plan, looking honestly at your current fitness level is essential. Consider factors such as your experience with CrossFit WODs, your ability to perform pull-ups, push-ups, and squats, and cardiovascular endurance. By evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, you can create a customized training plan that addresses your specific needs and sets you up for success in the Murph workout.

Setting realistic goals for your Murph workout

Setting realistic goals for your Murph workout is critical to staying motivated and ensuring a positive experience. These goals include completing the workout within a certain time frame, performing several pull-ups or push-ups, or simply finishing the workout without injury. Consider your fitness level, personal limitations, and experiences with high-intensity workouts when setting your goals. Remember, it’s better to set achievable goals and exceed them than to aim too high and risk injury or disappointment.

Balancing strength and endurance training

A well-rounded Murph training plan should balance strength and endurance training. Incorporate exercises targeting the major muscle groups involved in the Murph workout, such as push-ups for your back, chest and triceps, and squats for your legs and glutes. In addition to strength training, focus on building cardiovascular endurance through running, swimming, or other forms of aerobic exercise. A balanced approach to training will prepare you for the physical demands of the Murph workout and help you develop the mental toughness needed to tackle this challenging Hero WOD.

The Role of Progression Fitness in Murph Training

Murph Crossfit Workout - Scaled Weights

The concept of progression fitness

Progression fitness gradually increases your workouts’ intensity, volume, or complexity to improve your overall fitness and performance. This concept is particularly relevant when preparing for a challenging workout like the Murph, as it ensures that your body is adequately conditioned and ready to handle the demands of the workout. By incorporating progression fitness into your Murph training plan, you can minimize the risk of injury and set yourself up for success on Memorial Day.

REV fitness and its relevance to Murph preparation

REV fitness, short for “relative endurance volume” fitness, is an approach to training that emphasizes the development of endurance and stamina through high-rep, low-weight exercises. This type of training is especially relevant for Murph preparation, as the workout involves a high volume of pull-ups, push-ups, and squats. By incorporating REV fitness into your training plan, you’ll build the muscular endurance needed to complete the high-rep, bodyweight movements in the Murph workout while minimizing the risk of injury.

Building endurance through a variety of exercises

In addition to strength training and REV fitness, it’s crucial to incorporate various endurance exercises into your Murph training plan. This might include running, swimming, cycling, or other forms of aerobic exercise that challenge your cardiovascular system and improve your overall stamina. By exposing your body to different types of endurance training, you’ll not only develop the cardiovascular fitness needed to complete the Murph workout but also build mental resilience and adaptability, crucial skills for tackling any challenge that comes your way.

Warmup and Mobility

The importance of a proper warmup

A proper warmup is crucial for maximizing your performance during the Murph workout and reducing the risk of injury. Warming up increases blood flow to your muscles, improves joint mobility, and prepares your body for the high-intensity demands of the workout. By incorporating a thorough warmup routine into your Murph preparation, you’ll ensure your body is primed and ready to tackle the challenges of this demanding Hero WOD.

Stretching and mobility exercises for Murph preparation

Stretching and mobility exercises are essential to any Murph training plan, as they help increase flexibility, improve joint mobility, and reduce the risk of injury. Focus on exercises that target the major muscle groups involved in the Murph workout, such as dynamic stretches for your shoulders, chest, back, hips, and legs. Additionally, consider incorporating foam rolling or another self-myofascial release to promote muscle recovery and improve overall mobility.

Some suggested exercises for Murph preparation include:

  • Shoulder circles and arm swings
  • Chest openers and doorway stretches
  • Hip circles and leg swings
  • Dynamic hamstring and quad stretches
  • Foam rolling for the upper and lower body

Injury prevention and recovery

Injury prevention and recovery should be top priorities when preparing for the Murph workout. Ensure that you’re allowing adequate time for rest and recovery between training sessions and practicing proper form and technique during your activities. If you experience pain or discomfort, don’t hesitate to scale back your training intensity or modify the exercises as needed.

In addition to warm-up and mobility exercises, consider incorporating other recovery strategies such as proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep to support your body’s ability to heal and adapt to the demands of your training plan. By prioritizing injury prevention and recovery, you’ll set yourself up for a successful and enjoyable Murph experience.

Pull-ups, Push-ups, and Squats: Building Strength and Technique

Proper technique for pull-ups, push-ups, and squats

A proper strategy for pull-ups, push-ups, and squats is essential for maximizing your performance and minimizing the risk of injury during the Murph workout. Here are some key points to remember for each exercise:

  • Pull-ups: Start by hanging from a pull-up bar with your palms facing away from your body. Engage your shoulder blades, pull your elbows down and back, and lift your body until your chin is above the bar. Lower yourself back down to the starting position with control.
  • Push-ups: Begin in a high plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows, keeping your core tight and your body straight. Push yourself back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.
  • Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward. Lower your body by bending your knees and pushing your hips back, keeping your chest lifted and your back straight. Drive through your heels to return to the starting position, fully extending your hips and knees.

Volume training for muscular endurance

Volume training, which involves performing many repetitions with low weights, is crucial to Murph preparation. This type of training helps build muscular endurance, allowing you to complete the high-rep pull-ups, push-ups, and squats in the Murph workout. To incorporate volume training into your routine, perform multiple sets of each exercise with a manageable number of repetitions, gradually increasing the volume over time as your endurance improves.

Pyramid training for strength and endurance

Pyramid training is efficient for building strength and endurance, making it a valuable addition to your Murph training plan. This approach involves performing exercises in ascending and descending sets of repetitions, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. By varying the repetitions in each set, pyramid training challenges your muscles differently and helps promote well-rounded strength and endurance.

To incorporate pyramid training into your Murph preparation, try performing pull-ups, push-ups, and squats using a pyramid rep scheme, gradually increasing the size of the pyramid as your strength and endurance improve. This approach will help you build the muscular endurance needed to complete the Murph workout and provide a fun and engaging way to challenge yourself during your training sessions.

Running and Cardio Endurance

Running expert tips for Murph training

Running is a significant component of the Murph workout, and improving your running endurance is essential for success. Running experts offer the following tips for Murph training:

  1. Start slow: Begin your training comfortably and gradually increase your running distance and intensity.
  2. Focus on form: Proper running form is crucial for preventing injury and improving efficiency. Maintain good posture, relax your shoulders, and keep a slight forward lean.
  3. Include interval training: Interval training, alternating between high-intensity running and recovery periods, can help improve your running endurance and cardiovascular fitness.
  4. Practice running in your weighted vest: If you plan to wear a weighted vest during the Murph workout, it’s essential to practice running with it on to familiarize yourself with the added resistance.

Integrating run intervals in your training plan

Run intervals are an effective way to improve your cardiovascular endurance and running performance. To integrate run intervals into your Murph training plan, add short bursts of high-intensity running followed by recovery periods, such as jogging or walking. Over time, gradually increase the duration of your high-intensity running intervals while decreasing the recovery periods. This approach will help build your cardiovascular endurance and prepare you for the running component of the Murph workout.

Additional cardio exercises for endurance

In addition to running, incorporating other forms of cardiovascular exercise into your Murph training plan can help improve your overall endurance and cardiovascular fitness. Consider adding swimming, cycling, rowing, or stair climbing. These exercises provide variety in your training and help develop the cardiovascular endurance needed to complete the Murph workout successfully. By exposing your body to different types of cardio training, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the challenges of this demanding Hero WOD.

Rep Scheme and Workout Structure

Importance of planning your rep scheme

Planning your rep scheme for the Murph workout is essential to ensure that you can maintain a steady pace and complete the workout efficiently. By breaking down the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats into manageable sets, you can better manage muscle fatigue and stay consistent throughout the workout. A well-planned rep scheme will also help you avoid overtaxing specific muscle groups, reducing the risk of injury and enabling you to complete the workout safely and effectively.

Different rep scheme options for the Murph workout

You can choose from several rep scheme options when planning your Murph workout. Each rep scheme has advantages and can be adjusted to suit your fitness level and preferences. Here are some popular options:

  1. 5-10-15: Perform 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats.
  2. 5-5-5-15: Perform 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 5 push-ups, 5 squats, and another 5 push-ups.
  3. Cindy-style: Perform 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats, completing one round every minute on the minute (EMOM).
  4. Half-Murph: Complete the full Murph workout, but divide the reps in half (50 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, and 150 squats).

Choose a rep scheme that best suits your current fitness level and allows you to maintain good form throughout the workout. Remember, listening to your body and modifying the rep scheme as needed is essential to avoid injury and ensure a successful Murph experience.

Breaking down the individual movements

Breaking down the individual movements in the Murph workout can help you better manage muscle fatigue and maintain a steady pace throughout the workout. For example, if you struggle with pull-ups, consider performing smaller sets or using assistance bands to help complete the required repetitions. Similarly, if push-ups are challenging, try performing them on your knees or with an elevated surface to reduce the difficulty.

By breaking down the individual movements and adjusting the rep scheme to suit your needs, you’ll be able to complete the Murph workout more efficiently and enjoyably while minimizing the risk of injury.

Modifying the Murph Workout for Beginners and Injuries

Scaling options for pull-ups, push-ups, and squats

For those new to the Murph workout or recovering from an injury, scaling the exercises can make the workout more accessible and manageable. Here are some scaling options for the main exercises:

  1. Pull-ups: Use resistance bands for assistance, perform jumping pull-ups, or try inverted rows as an alternative.
  2. Push-ups: Perform push-ups on your knees or with your hands on a bench or box to reduce the difficulty.
  3. Squats: If full-depth squats are challenging, try squatting to a target, like a bench or a box, to control the depth.

Adapting the workout for different fitness levels

Adapting the Murph workout for different fitness levels ensures everyone can participate safely and effectively. Here are some suggestions for modifying the workout based on your fitness level:

  1. Beginner: Choose a scaled rep scheme, such as performing half of the recommended repetitions or dividing the workout into smaller sets.
  2. Intermediate: Maintain the standard rep scheme but adjust the number of rounds or the pacing to suit your abilities.
  3. Advanced: Challenge yourself by maintaining the standard rep scheme and wearing a weighted vest throughout the workout.

Remember that the primary goal of the Murph workout is to honor Lt. Michael Murphy and the sacrifices made by service members. Focus on completing the workout safely and effectively rather than comparing your performance to others.

Alternative exercises for those with limitations or injuries

If you have limitations or injuries that prevent you from performing some of the exercises in the Murph workout, consider incorporating alternative exercises that target similar muscle groups. 

For example:

  1. Upper body: If pull-ups or push-ups are unsuitable, try seated rows, lat pulldowns, or chest presses using resistance bands or machines.
  2. Lower body: If squats are not feasible, consider leg presses, step-ups, or lunges as alternatives.

Always consult a physician or physical therapist before attempting alternative exercises, especially if recovering from an injury. Modifying the Murph workout to suit your needs allows you to participate in this meaningful event while prioritizing your health and safety.

The CrossFit Community and Murph

How the CrossFit community supports the Murph event

The CrossFit community plays a significant role in supporting and promoting the Murph event. CrossFit gyms worldwide organize Murph events on Memorial Day to honor Lt. Michael Murphy and other fallen heroes annually. These events often include fundraisers for military charities, fostering a sense of camaraderie and unity among participants. The community’s collective effort to participate in the Murph workout exemplifies the spirit of CrossFit, which values physical fitness, mutual support, and the shared pursuit of personal growth.

Endurance coaches and CrossFit WODs for Murph preparation

Many endurance coaches within the CrossFit community have specifically developed WODs (Workout of the Day) to help athletes prepare for the Murph workout. These WODs typically focus on building endurance, strength, and technique for the pull-ups, push-ups, squats, and running components of the Murph workout. Following a Murph-specific training plan developed by a knowledgeable endurance coach can optimize your performance and minimize the risk of injury during the event.

The Role of the CrossFit Community in your training journey

The support of the CrossFit community can be invaluable throughout your Murph training journey. As you prepare for the workout, you’ll likely find encouragement, motivation, and camaraderie from fellow athletes at your gym or within online CrossFit forums. Additionally, sharing your training progress, tips, and experiences with others can help you stay accountable and committed to your training goals. The CrossFit community’s collective pursuit of fitness and personal growth makes it an ideal environment for training for the Murph workout and other challenging athletic endeavors.

Final Tips for a Successful Murph Workout

Mental preparation for the Murph workout

Mental preparation is crucial for a successful Murph workout. The physical challenge of the workout can be demanding, and maintaining a positive mindset can help you stay focused and motivated throughout the event. Consider setting personal goals, visualizing your success, and practicing positive self-talk to build mental resilience. Additionally, remind yourself of the purpose behind the workout: honoring the sacrifice of Lt. Michael Murphy and other fallen heroes. This perspective can provide extra motivation to push through challenging moments.

Nutrition and hydration strategies

Proper nutrition and hydration are essential for fueling your body during the Murph workout. In the days leading up to the event, focus on consuming a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. On the day of the workout, eat a light meal 2-3 hours before the event, and avoid consuming large amounts of food immediately before the workout to prevent discomfort.

Stay well-hydrated by drinking water consistently throughout the day, and consider using electrolyte supplements during the workout to replenish lost minerals. Listen to your body and adjust your nutrition and hydration strategies as needed.

The importance of recovery and rest

Adequate recovery and rest are vital for preventing injury and ensuring long-term success in your fitness journey. After the Murph workout, take the time to cool down, stretch, and engage in gentle mobility exercises to promote muscle recovery. In the days following the event, focus on rest, hydration, and proper nutrition to support your body’s healing process.

Listen to your body and consider taking a few days off from intense exercise or incorporating active recovery activities, such as yoga or swimming, into your routine. You’ll be better prepared to tackle future training sessions and athletic challenges by prioritizing recovery and rest.

Conclusion

Honoring Lt. Michael Murphy and the spirit of the Murph workout is an incredible way to pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of our fallen heroes. As you continue to grow and improve in your fitness journey, embrace the challenge of the Murph workout and celebrate your achievements. Remember, you’re pushing yourself physically and contributing to a meaningful tradition in the CrossFit community.

We encourage you to participate in the Murph workout at your local CrossFit gym on Memorial Day. If you’re in Jasper, Texas, join us at Adamas CrossFit, where we’ll be coming together as a community to support one another through this challenging and rewarding event. Sign up now and make a difference by honoring the memory of Lt. Michael Murphy and others who have served.

Together, we can continue to honor the memory of Lt. Michael Murphy and push ourselves to new heights in our pursuit of fitness and personal growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Murph CrossFit workout, and why is it significant?

The Murph CrossFit workout is a Hero WOD (Workout of the Day) created in honor of Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005. The workout consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another 1-mile run, all while wearing a 20-pound weighted vest. The Murph workout is significant because it pays tribute to the courage and sacrifice of Lt. Murphy and other fallen heroes. It is traditionally performed on Memorial Day, bringing the CrossFit community together to honor and remember those who have served.

How should I prepare for the Murph workout if I’m a beginner?

If you’re a beginner, assessing your fitness level and setting realistic goals for the Murph workout is essential. Focus on building strength and endurance gradually through a balanced training plan incorporating progression fitness elements. Be sure to practice proper technique for pull-ups, push-ups, and squats, and integrate running and other cardio exercises into your routine. When attempting the Murph workout, consider scaling or modifying the exercises and rep scheme to accommodate your fitness level and prevent injury.

How do I create a rep scheme for the Murph workout?

Creating a rep scheme for the Murph workout involves breaking down the 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats into manageable sets and repetitions. There are various rep schemes, depending on your fitness level and preferences. A popular option is the “Cindy” rep scheme, which consists of 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats. Another approach is to break the exercises into smaller sets, such as 10 rounds of 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups, and 30 squats. Choose a rep scheme that works best for you, and adjust as needed to ensure you can complete the workout safely and effectively.

Should I take any safety precautions before starting Murph training?

Yes, it’s essential to take safety precautions before starting Murph training. Begin by consulting a physician to ensure that you can undertake a high-intensity workout. Warm up and stretch properly before each training session to prevent injury and improve mobility. Listen to your body, and don’t push yourself too quickly. If you experience pain or discomfort during training, scale back or modify the exercises, and seek advice from a fitness professional or medical expert as needed.

How does the CrossFit community support and participate in the Murph event?

The CrossFit community plays a significant role in supporting and participating in the Murph event. Gyms worldwide host the Murph workout on Memorial Day, and many athletes gather to complete the workout together, fostering camaraderie and collective motivation. Endurance coaches and CrossFit WODs provide guidance and structure for individuals preparing for the Murph workout. The community’s support helps athletes stay committed to their training journey. It reminds them of the larger purpose behind the Murph workout: honoring the memory of Lt. Michael Murphy and other fallen heroes.

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