woman doing weight lifting

The Murph is more than just a workout; it’s a CrossFit tradition and a way to pay homage to a fallen hero. Invented to honor Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, this intense fitness challenge captures the essence of physical and mental endurance. When tackling Murph, you’re not only testing your limits but also joining a community of athletes worldwide in a shared experience of respect and resilience.

Breaking down the Murph into manageable parts is essential for both newbies and seasoned CrossFitters looking to improve their time or simply complete the workout. Comprising a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, and another one-mile run, all performed consecutively, strategies for partitioning the exercises can make a significant difference. By approaching the workout with a solid game plan, you honor your fitness journey and the workout’s namesake with every rep and every step.

Remember, the key is to maintain form and consistency across the exercise blocks. Whether you choose to tackle the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats in mini-sets or chip away at each exercise individually will depend on your personal strengths and endurance levels. Mindset and pacing are just as critical as the physical aspect, so keep a steady rhythm, and don’t underestimate the power of a positive attitude as you push through this challenging but rewarding hero workout.

Understanding the Murph Workout

Before you get started with “Murph,” it’s essential to grasp its roots and the physical demands. This workout is not just a test of fitness but a tribute to courage and sacrifice.

Origin and Significance

“Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy” is the name behind the workout you’re gearing up for. This Hero WOD (Workout of the Day), performed globally on “Memorial Day,” is more than a set of exercises—it commemorates Lt. Murphy, who was killed in “Afghanistan.” He personified valor, earning the Medal of Honor, and so, when you push through Murph, you’re honoring a hero.

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Standard Murph Structure

Ready to face Murph? Here’s what you’re up against:

  • Run: Start with a one-mile blast to get your heart racing.
  • Pull-ups: Hit 100 reps. It’s a massive upper body pull.
  • Push-ups: Crank out 200 reps to test your pushing muscles.
  • Air squats: Go for 300 reps; it’s all about leg endurance.
  • Run: Finish with another mile, just as you started.

All done in sequence. And for the full experience, strap on a weighted vest, just like the troops in the field.

Preparing for Murph

When gearing up for Murph, focus on two key aspects: fueling your body right and warming up thoroughly.

Pre-Workout Nutrition

Your physical performance hinges on proper nutrition. Carbohydrates are crucial for energy, so aim to eat a meal rich in complex carbs, like oatmeal or sweet potatoes, about 2-3 hours before your workout. Include protein to assist muscle repair—chicken or a plant-based alternative are good options. Stay hydrated; begin drinking water well before you start sweating.

Warm-Up Routine

A dynamic warm-up is essential to prime your muscles for the strength and endurance you’ll need. Start with a light 5-10 minute jog to increase your heart rate. Follow this with a series of dynamic stretches focusing on the muscles you’ll be using: shoulders, chest, and legs. Perform mobility drills such as arm circles, leg swings, and hip openers. Finally, do a few reps of each exercise at a lower intensity to familiarize your body with the movements.

Executing the Workout

When you’re taking on Murph, having a game plan for each section is vital. You’ll need to pace yourself and transition effectively to maintain your energy throughout the workout.

Starting with the Running Segment

Your Murph kicks off with a 1-mile run. It’s tempting to dash out of the gate, but that’s a surefire way to burn out quickly. Settle into a steady pace you can maintain; think of it as warming up the engine, not redlining it from the start. Remember, you have to run another mile at the end, so conserve some energy.

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Transition Techniques

Smooth transitions from running to calisthenics and then back to running are critical. Practice quick transitions to and from your running route to the pull-up bar and perform your singles efficiently. This will help you save time and maintain a rhythm.

Sustaining Energy and Pace

As you move through pull-ups, push-ups, and air squats, focus on **breaking the reps up into manageable sets

Murph Rep Schemes and Partitioning

When tackling a Murph workout, how you break up the reps can be as crucial as your physical fitness. Your rep scheme and partitioning strategy directly influence your endurance levels and workout efficiency.

Different Rep Partitions

Classic 20 Rounds: A well-known approach is to handle the Murph by splitting your reps into 20 rounds. This means each round consists of:

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 squats

This method is patterns after another CrossFit workout called Cindy.

Beginner-Friendly 3/6/9: If you’re new to Murph, consider the 3/6/9 rep scheme over 33 rounds, ending with a 1/2/3 round to total the required reps:

  • First 33 rounds:
    • 3 pull-ups
    • 6 push-ups
    • 9 squats
  • Final 34th round:
    • 1 pull-up
    • 2 push-ups
    • 3 squats

Focusing on smaller sets helps you maintain proper form and build strength gradually.

Strategies for Breakdown

Mastering Pacing: It’s vital to pace yourself throughout the Murph. sO, regulating how you partition your reps is a key tactic. Depending on your strengths, you might want to cluster exercises you’re good at with those you find more difficult.

Shoulder Management: Since the workout is pull-up and push-up heavy, spreading out these movements can save your shoulders from exhaustion. For instance, interspersing squats between sets of pull-ups and push-ups can offer necessary relief to your upper body.

Remember, the goal is to finish, not just to start strong.usta Keep in mind that while you have the flexibility to break up the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats, the runs that bookend the workout remain non-negotiable – you start and finish with a 1-mile run. Choose a rep partition that suits your fitness level and stick with it for an efficient Murph experience.

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CrossFit Exercises in Murph

In the Murph, focusing on form and muscular endurance is critical to performing each exercise efficiently and effectively.

Perfecting Pull-Ups

When approaching pull-ups, your grip and form are of utmost importance. Keeping your core engaged and shoulders down away from your ears will help you maintain proper posture throughout the movement. Build muscular endurance by practicing smaller sets of pull-ups regularly.

Mastering Push-Ups

Your push-up form can make or break your performance. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, and if you’re looking to enhance your push-up game, consider integrating push-up handles for greater depth and muscle engagement. For more precision and strength in your push-ups, check out techniques to maximize results.

Executing Air Squats

Lastly, air squats require focus on depth and knee alignment. To properly execute an air squat, ensure your hips drop below your knees and your knees remain in line with your toes. These are essential for building endurance and leg strength in the Murph workout.

Modifications and Scaling

The beauty of the Murph workout is that it’s flexible enough to adapt to your current fitness ability. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or it’s your first time attempting such an intense workout, you can customize it to match your strength and endurance levels.

Customizing the Murph

Breaking down the Murph workout makes it more manageable without taking away the spirit of the challenge. To start, consider the traditional sequence of a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and a final one-mile run. Here’s a straightforward table to customize this sequence:

Workout ComponentStandard RepsScaled Options
1-mile Run11/2 or 3/4 mile
Pull-ups100Rings, fewer reps, or banded
Push-ups200Knee push-ups or banded push-ups
Squats300Fewer reps or assisted squats
1-mile Run11/2 or 3/4 mile

Feel free to break up the repetitions into smaller sets or even partner up to split the workload.

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Adapting to Fitness Levels

Your fitness level shouldn’t be a barrier to participating in the Murph workout. If you’re a beginner, try scaling down to half or three-quarter distance runs and reduce the number of repetitions for pull-ups, push-ups, and squats.

For pull-ups, a strict pull-up might be out of reach at the moment, so consider using bands for assistance or switch to ring rows. Similarly, if standard push-ups are challenging, band-assisted push-ups are a great modification.

Remember, the goal is to challenge yourself while maintaining good form and avoiding injury. So, gauge your strength and stamina, and choose the modifications that will suit you best.

Equipment and Gear

Before diving into the Murph workout, it’s crucial that you equip yourself properly to tackle the challenge ahead effectively and safely.

Choosing the Right Gear

Shoes: Your shoes should offer good support and be comfortable for running and the various bodyweight exercises. Consider cross-training shoes known for their versatility.

Clothing: Go for breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics that won’t restrict movement during pull-ups, push-ups, and squats.

Gloves/Grips: To protect your hands during the high-rep pull-ups, consider using gym gloves or grips.

Resistance Bands: If pull-ups are challenging, a resistance band can offer assistance. Attach it securely to the bar and place your foot or knee inside to help propel you upward.

Using a Weight Vest

A Murph isn’t a Murph without the extra weight. While it’s not mandatory, here’s what you should keep in mind about the vest:

Weight: For men, the standard is a twenty-pound vest; for women, it’s typically fifteen pounds. Make sure the vest allows for even weight distribution.

Comfort and Fit: It should be snug to prevent chafing, but not so tight that it restricts breathing or movement.

Body Armor: While some may choose to use actual body armor for Murph to honor its namesake, any plate carrier that safely holds the weight will do.

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Remember, the right gear can make a significant difference in performance and comfort during the Murph WOD.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Murph workout is as challenging as it is legendary, and getting a handle on the best strategies can make all the difference. Below, you’ll find straightforward answers to some of the most common queries about acing this intense CrossFit challenge.

What’s the best strategy for splitting the exercises in a Murph workout?

In a full Murph, you’ve got a mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, followed by another mile run. Tackling these in mini sets, like 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats works well for many athletes, especially to maintain form and endurance.

Can you tell me how to properly warm up for tackling the Murph?

A dynamic warm-up focusing on cardio to increase heart rate, along with movement-specific exercises that activate the muscles you’ll be using—like arm circles, leg swings, and light jogging—is key before you dive into the Murph workout.

Is it legit to do a half Murph if I’m not ready for the full thing?

Absolutely. A half Murph is a great way to scale the workout. Just halve the distances and rep counts for each exercise. This helps you build up strength and endurance without overdoing it.

What’s considered a solid time to aim for when doing a Murph?

For many, completing a Murph in under an hour is a respectable goal. But remember, it’s more important to focus on proper form and personal improvement rather than just the clock.

Partitioned vs. Unpartitioned Murph: What’s the difference in approach?

In a partitioned Murph, you split the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats into smaller sets, while an unpartitioned Murph means you complete each exercise’s reps in full before moving on to the next. The partitioned version can help manage fatigue better.

What are some tips for beginners attempting the Murph workout?

Start by understanding the movements and focus on technique rather than speed. Consider using a band for assisted pull-ups if you need to, and definitely think about scaling the number of reps or even breaking it down into shorter rounds to start with.

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