Written By: Alicia Rabaul Abid
It’s everyone’s favorite occasion of the year again! If you are fresh to CrossFit or have never done Murph before let me familiarize you with one of the most intense, fun, daunting and renowned workouts in the CrosFit community – Murph. Murph was named after Lt. Michael P. Murphy. He was a Navy SEAL that was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005. He was 29 years old at the time and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor after his passing. He had termed this workout Body Armour, and it was one of his favorites. Every year CrossFit boxes around the world commemorate Memorial Day with this workout. Not only is it an honor to partake in such a workout it’s a great way to spend Memorial Day. Just think of all the delicious BBQ you will get to eat afterwards. ☺
So what exactly are you up against?
100 pull ups
200 push ups
300 air squats
1 Mile run
This is a hero workout so completing Murph in any form is commendable.
Murph in its customary elite form is completed with a 20-pound weight vest, and each set is done consecutively- so all pull-ups are done first, then push ups, etc., etc.
Before going into this workout lets discuss tactics. Murph can be broken down many ways and its imperative as an athlete to know your strengths and weaknesses. For example, If you battle with push ups and you know that will be your limiting factor it’s better for you to break up the workout in a different rep scheme than someone who can fly through 20 push ups with out burning out. The same thing goes for pull-ups and air squats. First and foremost, you will start with the mile, this is an area where you can make up time, however, don’t make the rookie mistake of sprinting through the first mile. Save that fiery spirit for your last mile. This workout is a marathon, not a sprint. Again, if this is your first time doing Murph do not attempt it with the weight vest. I repeat, DON’T DO IT.
I have seen a lot of people practicing the workout before the 29th and I think that is one of the best approaches leading up to it. This is undeniably a high volume workout and priming your body for that intensity will always make it easier. As with any workout or competition, hydration, nutrition and rest are key! With any luck, we will have great weather come the 29th so overheating wont be a risk however, hydration is very important for a workout like this. So, grab your BCAA’s, water, or pedialyte whatever your hydrating drink of choice is and keep it close by. The day before Murph consider keeping it light by getting your body moving without reaching exhaustion. Most importantly, fuel up before the workout! Get those carbs and electrolytes in because this will be a long one.
Lets talk Gear! If you will be performing this with a weight vest make sure you have run and done workouts with it before. You must be comfortable wearing a vest. The worst thing is to start running and have the vest bashing into your ribcage with each stride. Gymnastics grips are also a great tool for a workout like this because you will be doing a 100 pull-ups. Do not forget to wear comfortable shoes that you can run and perform the rest of the movements in. If you genuinely want to get into the spirit of Murph take a night to watch the movie Murph: The Protector. It will give you great insight and motivation for why we do this workout.
Back to the strategies! Most people breakdown on the push-ups and in order to avoid that I am going to propose a few rep schemes. Please take a moment to glance over them and consider which one will work best for you.
20 rounds of
5 pull ups
10 push ups
This is the most common way Murph is done and arguably the fastest. If you have ever done Cindy before this is just like that except on steroids. The great thing about this breakdown is you can move quickly between movements with little rest. Be aware that 10 pushups may tire out your arms if you are not proficient!
20 rounds of
5 push ups
5 pull ups
5 push ups
If you really struggle with pushups this is a great way to do small sets with adequate movements in between to give your arms reasonable rest. Small frequent sets = decreased burn out
33 rounds of
You will need to include one set of 1 pullup-2 pushups-3 squats to make sure you get all yours reps done in addition to this. If you struggle with pullups this is a good one for you.
Finish with 5 rounds:
You will still be doing twenty rounds but the goal is to finish all the squats in the first 15 rounds and finish with just pull-ups and push-ups so you save your legs for the last mile.
Hopefully, now everyone can go into this workout with a game plan. If you have another strategy I would love to hear it! Maybe your strategy would also work for another athlete. Last but not least, have fun and enjoy the BBQ with friends after. You will have definitely earned it. ☺ Happy CrossFitting everyone!