Memorial Day Murph

What is MURPH?

Many of you are intimately familiar with this classic CrossFit Hero benchmark workout. But if you are not then this is the description:

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, NY, who was killed in Afghanistan June 28, 2005. A United States Navy SEAL officer, Murphy was awarded the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the War in Afghanistan. His other posthumous awards include the Silver Star Medal (which was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor) and the Purple Heart.

The “Murph” Hero WOD was originally posted on the CrossFit Main Site as the workout of the day for Thursday August 18, 2005 (050818), where the post said “This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it ‘Body Armor.’ From here on it will be referred to as ‘Murph’ in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.”

“Murph” has become one of the most famous CrossFit workouts, especially popular as a tribute on Memorial Day in the US, when the workout is sometimes referred to as “Memorial Day Murph.”

The workout itself is:

For time:
1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 push ups
300 air squats
1 mile run
*With weight vest (20/14 lbs.)

What I Love About Murph

Hero workouts like this are a way for the fitness community to honor the sacrifice of service men and women. When I think about people making the ultimate sacrifice in service of others, I have great respect and feel a great sense of gratitude. Service is something that connects us all, that inspires us and gives purpose and direction to our lives. If we are living a life of purpose as you all are, then you often are in the gym pursuing fitness in order to bettering yourself so you can serve those in your life in more complete ways, both physically and emotionally.

I’ve often said that my training is a vehicle to become my best self so I can show up more for others in my life. I believe that people like Michael Murphy lived this to the ultimate. Honoring that mission is special.

What I’d like to see coaches and athletes consider when attempting the workout:

Suffering has become synonymous with honoring another person’s sacrifice when it comes to hero workouts. They are most typically very punishing, long workouts that elevate intensity in a variety of ways. Going into the gym and getting beat down by a workout is supposed to make people feel like they paid respect to fallen soldiers and service men and women.

As you know, I’m not a big fan of punishing workouts that leave people feeling burnt out. In fact, I think we honor our bodies and one another much more when we train HARD but do so in a thoughtful way that doesn’t leave us burnt and broken. I would love to see a mentality shift away from workouts that just crush people for the sake of crushing, towards a HARD workout that makes you feel accomplished, challenged, and ready to take on the rest of your life and serve others in the process.

How you can approach the workout with a Functional Bodybuilding mindset:

For those out there with a high level of fitness and experience with levels of volume required for MURPH, then by all means give the workout a crack as prescribed. For the right person at the right time it is a great workout.

However, if you are not in that camp and the thought of 300 squats makes you feel like you might not walk right for days, then let’s explore an alternative.

Remember we are here to honor Michael Murphy. He was a trained professional that pushed his body in service of others. You are in the gym to push your body in service of not only yourself, but others too. So let’s be sure you leave the gym feeling like you honored his sacrifice, but also are poised to take on the rest of your week and serve others!

Goals – long sustained work, bodyweight in nature, some running.

FBB Approach to MURPH

8-12 Sets
Run 200m
6 Air Squats
6 Strict Pull Ups
6 Air Squats
10 Push Ups
rest walk actively for 60sec between sets

*Make it your goal to increase your pace on every single set. Start out at a sustainable pace that feels like you could go on and on for many sets. Then on the next set pick up your run pace and squat pace. Break up the sets of pull ups and push from the beginning to ensure you sustain as you go.

**If your body is holding up and you are still continuing to increase your pace on each set then continue past 8 sets. if not then shut it down and feel accomplished for the day!

Enjoy this Memorial Day, and if you are taking part in the honoring of our fallen armed servicemen and women, then consider doing so in a way that makes you feel like you have honored not only them, but yourself and your service of others.