Every Memorial Day thousands upon thousands of Americans, athletes, service members, and first responders gather to honor our fallen heroes.
Some gather in prayer, some gather in celebration, and others gather for a Memorial Day Murph workout.
There is something about putting your body through 60 minutes of torture that really puts things into perspective.
Because in the grand scheme of things, this small amount of sweat and suffering is NOTHING compared to what the men and women we gather for have suffered.
In honor of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, we completed one of the most iconic CrossFit workouts in history.
This CrossFit WOD is a “Hero” WOD, which is a special type of cross fit workout in honor of a fallen American hero, a first responder or United States military member killed in the line of duty.
Lieutenant Murphy was a United States Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, and Land Team) officer. He was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005.
For his actions in the war in Afghanistan, he was awarded the military’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. This is special in its own right, but even more so because he was the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive such a high honor since Vietnam.
Murphy’s CrossFit WOD
This amazing workout didn’t just spawn out of nowhere. This Murph workout was actually one of LT’s favorites
He called it “Body Armor,” but in his honor we call it “Murph.”
1 Mile Run
100 Pull Ups
300 Air Squats
1 Mile Run
*with 20lb Vest/Body Armor
How do you do the Murph?
While it is a daunting task, the Murph workout is fairly straight forward.
You start with a 1 mile run. Not too many different ways to do this one. Just put one foot in front of the other and repeat for 1 mile. LOL
When you get to the pull ups, pushups, and air squats, there are a couple ways you can do this part.
The most straight forward way to complete it, like most other cross fit workouts, is to go in order. Do pull ups until you complete 100, then 200 pushups until you complete them all, then 300 air squats.
However, it is not uncommon to break up the callisthenic portion of the Murph workout into small bits.
For example, you could do 20 sets of 5 pull ups, 10 pushups, and 15 air squats.
Alternatively, you can do 10 sets of 10 pull ups, 20 pushups, and 30 air squats.
After you have completed the pull ups, pushups, and squats, you finish off with another 1 mile run.
Finally, another variation to this workout is the vest. You can complete the Murph either with or without a weighted vest. The standard is 20 pounds, but if you're in the military and have a plate carrier, just throw it on and go.
Murph Workout for Beginners.
If you are just starting out but still want to do the Murph Memorial Day workout, follow these tips.
Don't wear a vest. There's no shame in not wearing the vest. Plenty of people all around the country do it this way. Leve the vest for the CrossFit Games athletes.
Do assisted or Australian pull ups. Pull ups on their own are very difficult, but to do 100 is insane. Don't go too overboard and fall out before you even get halfway through. Use our resistance band set to assist your pull ups or do the Australian version.
Knee Push Ups. Do push ups from your knees. This will cut the weight you have to press in half.
Box squats. Use a box or a bench to squat with. Squat down, touch your but to the box, and pop right back up.
Partition the repetitions. Break up the repetitions into smaller sets. Do 5 pull ups, 10 pushups and 15 squats OR 10 pull ups, 20 pushups, and 30 squats. Either way, breaking it down in to smaller bits will make it a little easier and give you an easy and visual way of seeing your progress as you mark your sets complete.
Remember, it's not about how much work you do, it's about the effort you put in. You're still doing more than 90% of the world and that's something to be proud of!
How long does the Murph workout take?
Murph workout times vary based on your experience with the Murph workout, the method by which you complete the workout (partitioned or not, vest or no vest) and overall fitness level.
If you are doing the Murph unpartitioned, meaning you aren’t breaking the calisthenics into small sets, then here are a few good standards to shoot for:
70 min 07 sec – Fitness Level 0 – Beginner athlete
63 min 45 sec – Fitness Level 25 – Beginner athlete
57 min 17 sec – Fitness Level 50 – Average athlete
47 min 01 sec – Fitness Level 75 – Average athlete
40 min 37 sec – Fitness Level 90 – Advanced athlete
36 min 45 sec – Fitness Level 95 – Advanced athlete
32 min 34 sec – Fitness Level 98 – Elite athlete
28 min 35 sec – Fitness Level 100 – Regional athlete
The Murph Workout Story – Provided by the Murph Foundation
“On June 28, 2005, Lt. Murphy was the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wing tasked with finding key anti-coalition militia commander near Asadabad, Afghanistan. Shortly after inserting into the objective area, the SEALs were spotted by three goat herders who were initially detained and then released. It is believed the goat herders immediately reported the SEALs’ presence to Taliban fighters.
A fierce gun battle ensued on the steep face of the mountain between the SEALs and a much larger enemy force. Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.
Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire. This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy. While continuing to be fired upon, Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. At one point, he was shot in the back causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in. Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.
As a result of Murphy’s call, an MH-47 Chinook helicopter, with eight additional SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard, was sent in as part of the QRF to extract the four embattled SEALs. As the Chinook drew nearer to the fight, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter, causing it to crash and killing all 16 men aboard.
On the ground and nearly out of ammunition, the four SEALs, continued to fight. By the end of a two-hour gunfight that careened through the hills and over cliffs, Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson had fallen. An estimated 35 Taliban were also dead. The fourth SEAL, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell, was blasted over a ridge by a rocket-propelled grenade and knocked unconscious. Though severely wounded, the fourth SEAL and sole survivor, Luttrell, was able to evade the enemy for nearly a day; after which local nationals came to his aide, carrying him to a nearby village where they kept him for three more days. Luttrell was rescued by U.S. Forces on July 2, 2005.
By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was able to relay the position of his unit, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three who were killed in the battle.