6 Tips For Tackling Murph

As Memorial Day approaches, CrossFit gyms around the nation will be completing the legendary Hero workout “Murph.”
2023 Murph Workout at CrossFit Billings

Murph is a long-standing tradition of the CrossFit community. It began in August of 2005 as a way to honor Lt. Michael Murphy and all those veterans who have served. It is a simple yet brutal workout, demanding participants to challenge themselves outside their comfort zone. 

“Murph is a CrossFit Hero workout that stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy, who died heroically in the line of duty in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005.”

Pulled From CrossFit.com

The workout is as follows:

1 Mile Run

100 Pull-ups

200 Push-ups

300 Air Squats

1 Mile Run

The workout is done with a 20-pound weight vest, but most athletes are encouraged to build up to this over the course of a few years.

Murph is meant to be a challenging workout, but that does not mean that it should be completely unmanageable. We can approach this workout in a way that is doable for athletes of any level.

Though advanced athletes will complete Murph unpartitioned, doing every movement straight through before moving to the next, it is recommended to partition the workout for most athletes. This could look something like: 

1 Mile Run 

10 Rounds:

10 Pull-ups

20 Push-ups

30 Air Squats

1 Mile Run

Of course, there are other ways to partition Murph, but this allows athletes to complete all the reps in a manageable way instead of chipping through 200 Push-ups at a single time. 

Appropriate scaling is also essential when completing Murph. If you can not yet complete pull-ups, scale to jumping pull-ups or ring rows. Push-ups can be scaled to the knees or elevating the hands. 

We can also reduce the reps, as this is a very high-volume workout for most. Consider the partitioned version of Murph above. You could only complete 6 rounds instead of 10, and you could cut the run down to a 1200-meter instead of the entire mile. 

We still want to keep the spirit of Murph. This will be a day to challenge yourself, but we want to do it the right way. 

No matter how we complete it, Murph will be long. We want to make sure we are properly fueled for the event. 

First, hydrate days before tackling Murph. On Memorial Day, be sure to have water with you as you complete the workout. It may also be a good idea to have an electrolyte drink with you to replenish your body.

It is also wise to eat and be properly fueled the days before Murph. Be mindful of foods that cause stomach discomfort, and prioritize whole, unprocessed foods that will give valuable energy.

If you would like to feel your best for Murph, this starts the day before. Take twenty to thirty minutes to stretch, foam roll, and get in a bit of yoga to help loosen your muscles. 

If you do not have the time to stretch, at least prioritize your sleep. Aim for seven to nine good hours of sleep the night before Murph to allow your body to recover properly and get ready for a strenuous workout in the morning. 

If you go into Murph cold, there is a good chance of injury. This is why it is an advantage to come to a group class if you can—the coach will walk the class through a warm-up to properly prepare everyone for the workout. 

We will be running, pulling, pushing, and squatting during Murph, so a full-body workout is ideal. If you are prone to certain injuries or need extra time to warm up, I recommend more stretching in the morning or perhaps coming a little early to class to get your body ready to go. 

You may feel fantastic at the 3, 2, 1, GO, but you still need to pace yourself. Murph is long; do not try to set a record on the first mile, and do not sprint the first set of your bodyweight movements after the run. 

Instead, recognize that the workout is long and plan accordingly. Start from the beginning at a pace you know you can hold for thirty to sixty minutes. On the bodyweight movements, aim for small sets from the beginning and chip through at a slow and steady pace. Take planned water breaks and remind yourself this workout is the furthest thing from a sprint. 

There will come a time in Murph when things get hard, and that is okay. As I keep reiterating, Murph is meant to challenge us. We do it to honor those fallen, and this requires us to get a little uncomfortable. 

When things get hard, instead of thinking about how much more you have to do, recognize what you have already done and focus on one set at a time. Break each movement into bite-sized chunks and get through one at a time. 

You will make it through the workout step by step. The key is to stay calm, not become overwhelmed, and not give in to feelings of hopelessness.

One rep at a time

Have Fun.

Though it may not be ‘fun’ in the traditional sense, we can appreciate going through a difficult workout together and, in doing so, showing respect to Murphy and all veterans who have served. The workout will be hard, but it will be rewarding. 

If you are interested in dropping in for Murph, consider CrossFit Billings.

people working out in a group fitness class


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