The Murph workout is a challenging bodyweight circuit named after U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy. It is often done on Memorial Day in honor of Lt. Murphy, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005. It is a tradition for many CrossFit boxes and military organizations to complete the workout on this day. The Murph workout consists of a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, and another one-mile run, all done as quickly as possible with a 20-pound weight vest or body armor on.
The Murph workout is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that combines cardiovascular endurance with strength training. It is a full-body workout that targets all major muscle groups and helps improve overall fitness. The weight vest or body armor adds an extra level of difficulty to the Murph workout, increasing the load on your muscles and forcing you to work harder to complete the circuit. If you don’t have a weight vest, you can use a backpack filled with weights or hold a dumbbell or kettlebell while you do the circuit.
Why we do the Murph Workout
Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy was a United States Navy SEAL officer who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during a mission to gather intelligence in the Hindu Kush mountain range.
On June 28, 2005, Lt. Murphy and three other SEALs were inserted into the area by helicopter to gather intelligence on Taliban fighters. Shortly after arriving, they came under attack by a large force of enemy fighters. Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, Lt. Murphy and his team fought bravely, taking out several enemy fighters and calling for help.
During the firefight, Lt. Murphy moved into the open to get a clear signal to call for help. He was shot in the back but managed to complete the call and provide his unit’s location before losing consciousness. The rest of his team was also killed in the attack.
Lt. Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, which demonstrated “unwavering courage in the face of grave danger.” His bravery and selfless service inspired the creation of the Murph workout, which is now a popular CrossFit workout and is often done on Memorial Day in his honor.
It’s important to warm up properly before attempting the Murph workout. This can help prevent injury and improve your performance. A warm-up could include some light cardio (such as jogging or jumping jacks) and dynamic stretches (such as leg swings or arm circles).
Here’s how to do the Murph workout:
- Warm up with some light cardio and dynamic stretches.
- Run one mile.
- Do 100 pull-ups. You can use a bar or rings, and you can scale the number of pull-ups down if you need to. If you can’t do pull-ups, you can substitute rows or inverted rows.
- Do 200 push-ups. You can do these on your toes or on your knees, depending on your strength level. You can also scale the number of push-ups down if needed.
- Do 300 air squats. These can be bodyweight squats or goblet squats using a dumbbell or kettlebell.
- Run one mile.
- Cool down with some static stretches and foam rolling.
If you’re new to the Murph workout, it’s a good idea to start with a lower number of reps and gradually work your way up. You can also scale the workout by using assistance bands for the pull-ups or modifying the push-ups and squats to make them easier.
There are several variations of the Murph workout that can be done to modify the difficulty or focus on specific muscle groups. Here are a few examples:
- Half Murph: This variation involves halving the number of reps for each exercise, so you do 50 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 150 squats, and a half mile run. This can be a good option for beginners or for those looking to scale the workout down.
- Bodyweight Murph: This variation omits the weight vest and is done with just bodyweight exercises. It can be a good option for those who don’t have access to a weight vest or who want to focus on improving their bodyweight strength.
- Partner Murph: This variation involves splitting the reps between two people, with one person working while the other rests. This can be a good option for those who want to do the Murph workout with a friend or training partner.
- Benchmark Murph: This variation involves completing the Murph workout as fast as possible and using it as a benchmark to track your progress over time. You can try to beat your previous time or work towards achieving a certain time goal.
- “Cindy” Murph: This variation involves doing equal reps of pull-ups, push-ups, and squats in each round, rather than the traditional 100/200/300 rep scheme. For example, you could do 10 rounds of 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups, and 30 squats, book-ended by the mile runs in the beginning and end. For this version, if you are a beginner, its best to start with the mile run followed by doing 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 squats, finishing off with the final mile run.
These are just a few examples of the many variations of the Murph workout that you can try. You can also get creative and come up with your own variations to suit your needs and goals.
After completing the Murph workout, it’s important to cool down and stretch. This can help your muscles recover and reduce the risk of injury. A cool-down could include some static stretches (such as lunges or quad stretches) and foam rolling to help release muscle tension.