Here are their pro tips for surviving Murph—and maybe even running, pulling, pushing, and squatting your way to your best time yet.
- 1. Avoid the five rookie mistakes
- 2. Rehearse the workout
- 3. Hydrate like hell
- 4. Don’t run on an empty tank
- 5. Think bite-sized sets
- 6. Scale it to your ability
- 7. Save energy on each rep
- 8. Keep it cool
- 9. Gear up
- 10. Remember: Mind over matter
- Try the Murph Challenge this Memorial Day
- Why do we do Memorial Day Murph Challenge?
- What is the Murph Challenge?
- Who is Murph?
- The History of Memorial Day Murph Challenge
- How Can I Do the Murph Challenge?
- How to complete the Murph Challenge
- How CrossFit gyms all over the world commemorate Memorial Day: Murph
- Hotel WODs
- Murph is
- Fastest female times
- Fastest male times
1. Avoid the five rookie mistakes
Wells says he sees first-timers make the same errors each year. If this is your first Murph, make sure you:
– DON’T sprint the first mile. “Imagine trying to PR your mile, then having to finish a 10K race,” he says. “It’s like a living nightmare.”
– DON’T sprint the first five rounds of calisthenics. “You need to start with a measured pace out of the gate.”
– DON’T wear the weight vest. “It feels like a suffocation device in the last mile.
– DO break up the sets. Pro CrossFitters might tackle all 100 pullups at once, but first-timers should try to do supersets of each exercise to avoid fatiguing so fast. (More on this in a bit.)
– DON’T go all out on each rep. With this much volume, not every squat needs to be ass-to-grass. (That said, form is key. Don’t sacrifice quality for speed!)
2. Rehearse the workout
“It’s incredible what people can do with practice,” Joyner says. “People who do lots of high-volume exercise develop a mindset. It’s a little like leaving your hand in hot water for as long as possible: You have to know when you need to take your hand out, and prepare yourself to endure that pain without panicking.”
Several days before the workout (so you’re not sore for it), practice going through mega-sets of light exercises. The volume will help prime your mind and body to endure such a large workload.
But on the day before, keep your workload mostly mental. “I’m not sure I’d take the day before completely off, but I wouldn’t do anything very heavy,” Joyner says.
3. Hydrate like hell
Because Murph is often held on Memorial Day, it’s all too possible that this workout will follow several days of boozing, sunburn, and hot dogs. Bad combination.
“At the 2015 CrossFit Games, hydration was absolutely the biggest problem with Murph,” Wells says. “Folks were just not adequately hydrated for it. We all think we’re invincible athletes because we train, but when the machine runs empty on fuel—water in this case—then it does it, in fact, break down.”
Start hydrating two days beforehand. Not only will it get you through all those barbecues, but it’ll pay off when you set foot on the starting line on Memorial Day.
4. Don’t run on an empty tank
Approach Murph as you would a 10k or a half-marathon: fuel up with carbohydrates and electrolytes well beforehand.
“Don’t run on an empty stomach—that’s a recipe for passing out—but don’t run on a full stomach, either,” Wells says. He mixes a shake of easily digestible carbohydrate supplement mixed with protein powder.
5. Think bite-sized sets
Top-notch CrossFitters do each calisthenics set in sequence, but everyday athletes typically break things up into mini-sets.
“An athlete who is relatively fit and has some experience with Crossfit workouts, but is worried about the large sets, will be able to complete the workout in smaller sets, like 5 rounds of 20 pullups, 40 pushups, and 60 squats,” Baum says.
Another option, Wells says, is to do 20 sets of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, and 15 squats, which CrossFitters call “Cindy,” after the WOD with that rep scheme. If you have trouble with pushups, try splitting the set of 10 into two sets of 5: 5 pullups, 5 pushups, 15 squats, and 5 pushups.
However you break things up, Joyner says, “do sets to almost failure, and then take a rest.”
6. Scale it to your ability
Before embarking on this huge endeavor, do an honest assessment of how well you can handle this workload, and scale the exercises so you can get through the reps appropriately.
“If an athlete can’t perform a movement, we’ll provide a scaling option that will allow them to participate safely and effectively,” Baum says.
To scale pullups, Baum recommends banded pullups; Wells suggests jumping pullups or ring rows. Instead of pushups, you can do incline pushups by propping your arms on a box or a barbell positioned on a weight rack.
Pro tip: Assess your ability a few days before the workout, rather than on the day of, so you’re not tempted to let the collective hoorah atmosphere push you further than you’re capable. There’s nothing worse than getting to pushup 73 of 200 and realizing you can’t move your arms.
Don’t feel pressured. Any good trainer or CrossFit coach will recognize that every athlete has his own limits, and that starting off sane will lead to bigger gains down the road.
7. Save energy on each rep
We get it—you’re a hardass, and nothing but perfect pullups and pushups will suffice for you. But just because you can do each rep well doesn’t mean you have to wring every watt of power out of your body—in fact, shaving a little bit of effort off each rep will translate to huge energy savings down the line.
“There are ways to save energy,” Wells says. “Air squats need to go below parallel, but you don’t need to bounce your butt off the ground. Eliminate the eccentric phase of the pullups and pushups—just drop to your chest if you get tired on the pushups.” That said, be sure you don’t sacrifice form. Quality is always better than quantity and speed.
8. Keep it cool
Like any tough endurance workout, Murph demands a smart strategy to prevent your engine from getting too hot. “With any severe exertional stress, you have to worry about the environment—especially overheating,” Joyner says. “There’s also the potential for skeletal-muscular injury, or even rhabdomyolsis,” when muscle breakdown becomes so extensive that it leaks potentially toxic levels of myoglobin into the bloodstream.
Simple solution: “When it comes time for the calisthenics, try to get in the shade and get where there’s a breeze,” Joyner says. If you’re inside the box, try to be close to the fan or AC unit.
9. Gear up
No matter how you slice it, 100 pullups is a lot of wear and tear on your hands. Wells recommends gymnastics-style hand grips, which can help protect your skin from ripping painfully mid-workout.
For shoes, find a balance between a cushioned, flexible running shoe and a shoe with a stable, supportive heel for the squats. Take a look at some of these popular cross-trainers for reference.
10. Remember: Mind over matter
It’s surprisingly common for athletes to get halfway through the workout, realize how winded and tired they are, and then panic. But rather than feeling overwhelmed by the huge number of reps you have to ultimately do, focus on the one rep you have to do next.
“Each rep is just a step,” Wells says. “Remind yourself that nothing is really a big deal. You can confidently continue moving forward. Lean forward and expect to keep moving and slow down.”
Wells recites a mantra: All day. “Remind yourself in your mind that you’ve got this all day,” he says. “You don’t have to sprint until the last 200 meters. The rest of it is all manageable.”
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Try the Murph Challenge this Memorial Day
Every Memorial Day, our nation honors the service members who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. One of those service members, in particular, spawned a movement that brings average joes and celebrities together in sweat to commemorate U.S. Navy SEAL LT. Michael Murphy.
It’s called the Murph Challenge, and it was created in 2014 in honor of Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, a SEAL who died in Afghanistan in 2005 in a battle with the Taliban. Every year it gains popularity as seen below, where Chris Pratt and John Krasinski have dared their fans to join in the festivities in years past.
Why do we do Memorial Day Murph Challenge?
https://t.co/V1psc13hjP Memorial Day is coming up. Take a moment of your day Monday to say thank you to the brave men and women who laid down there lives for all of us. Wanna do a little something more? Take the #TheMurphChallenge !! @donsaladino @prattprattpratt @TheRock pic.twitter.com/BGAVJjnk6X
— John Krasinski (@johnkrasinski) May 23, 2019
The Murph Challenge is the Official annual fundraiser of the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, presented by Forged®. It is also one of the primary means of funding for the Foundation on an annual basis. YOUR support is what drives our success!
Since 2014, Forged® has raised over $1,000,000+ for the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation through The Murph Challenge campaign. In 2018, The Murph Challenge Fundraiser provided a vehicle to raise nearly $250,000 in order to begin construction on the LT Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum/Sea Cadet Training Facility in Long Island, NY! In addition to that, and ONLY with such overwhelming support and success, the Foundation was also able to add four additional scholarships in 2018, now providing the opportunity to award 27 or more scholarships each and every year!
This unique Memorial Day tradition will take place again throughout the United States on 05.27.19.
What is the Murph Challenge?
Murphy created the workout that the challenge is now known for, and it is arduous. The Murph CHALLENGE can be found below :
Here is a direct excerpt from the CrossFit.com programming. PLEASE READ CLOSELY.
In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.
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.
Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.
Who is Murph?
Murphy was a Navy SEAL who was thrust into the spotlight after his life had ended. The upstate New York native was part of a four-man team scouting a Taliban-aligned militant while high in the Afghan mountains on June 28, 2005, when all hell broke loose. The team was spotted by some locals, who reported their position to the Taliban, and a fierce firefight ensued.
Murphy and fellow SEALS Matthew Axelson, Danny Dietz and Marcus Luttrell were outnumbered, wounded and forced into a ravine. They couldn’t get a good signal undercover, so Murphy put his own life on the line, going out into the open to transmit a call for help. He got shot in the during this time, but finished the call and still made it back to cover with his men.
He eventually died, as did Dietz, Axelson, and 16 service members who were shot down in a Chinook helicopter while trying to rescue them. Luttrell was the only survivor, who managed to escape and get help from friendly villagers, who took him in, nursed his many injuries, kept the Taliban away and eventually got him rescued.
The incident was the single most substantial loss of life for the SEALs since World War II. Murphy, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, was the first Navy sailor to earn the distinction since Vietnam.
The History of Memorial Day Murph Challenge
Murph was first programmed on CrossFit’s official website in August of 2005 – and has gone on to be programmed in the CrossFit Games twice now. When they programmed Murph during the CrossFit Games, it was “straight through” without any breaking up of the reps, but when programming on the CFHQ website, “partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed” is the specific standard mentioned.
How Can I Do the Murph Challenge?
If you’re interested in trying it, you can go to themurphchallenge.com to register. Once you register, you will not only be pledging to participate in the Crossfit Hero WOD ‘MURPH’ (originally named ‘Body Armor’), you will also be joining a unique group of participants who pay tribute to LT. Michael P. Murphy (SEAL), and contributing to a prestigious organization founded by the Murphy family.
Beginning on Memorial Day, each registrant will be asked to return to TheMurphChallenge.com and submit their ‘MURPH’ time to compare their achievement with other participants worldwide. All times submitted will be displayed on a worldwide leaderboard found at TheMurphChallenge.com. From that board, the top 5 Men and top 5 Women will be recognized for their efforts.
The ’MURPH’ is more than just a workout, it is a tradition that helps push us, humble us, and dedicate a bit of pain and sweat to honor a man who gave everything he had.
So, this Memorial Day, before you chow down on those hot dogs and apple pie, push yourself and try the Murph Challenge!
SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, from Patchogue, N.Y. Murphy was killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission, Operation Red Wing, June 28, 2005, while leading a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan.
It’s Memorial Day, it’s incredibly hot out, and instead of lounging by the pool, a bunch of your friends are talking about doing Murph.
Murph is a popular workout created by CrossFit in memory of Navy Lt. Michael Murphy who died in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005.
Known as a Hero WOD (WOD = workout of the day), Murph was first posted on August 18, 2005, and is completed every year on Memorial Day by CrossFitters and Navy SEALs alike.
Complete the following movements for time:
300 air squats
… in a 20-lb. weight vest or body armor
According to CrossFit, this workout was one of Murphy’s favorites. He’d named it “Body Armor,” though it was renamed as Murph in his honor.
It sounds intense. And it is.
It takes roughly 45 minutes to an hour (or more) and is one of the most well known workouts in all of CrossFit.
In 2014, ‘The Murph Challenge’ became the official fundraiser of the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation. Since 2014, the organization started by Murphy’s family has raised more than $1 million.
Lt. Murphy was killed during a reconnaissance mission to find a key Taliban leader in Afghanistan.
When the team came under fire from a much larger enemy force, Murphy knowingly left his position of cover to get a clear signal in order to communicate with his headquarters, the U.S. Navy said. He died fighting, the Navy said.
So, today, when the sun is beating down on your back, when your palms are ripping open from the rig, when your legs feel like a bowl of Jell-O, keep pushing forward in his honor.
Most people will spend the next few days throwing back a few beers and grilling burgers. But for the CrossFit community, the highlight of Memorial Day weekend isn’t setting up an out-of-office automated reply on your work email; it’s completing the Murph Challenge.
The Murph Challenge was created in 2014 to honor of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL and recipient of the Medal of Honor for distinguished acts of valor during the war in Afghanistan. Lt. Murphy was killed in action in 2005, but his legacy lives on through the Murph Challenge, which has raised more than $1 million for the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation. The challenge is a way to remember all fallen veterans; exactly what Memorial Day is truly about while coming together as a fit squad.
“The ‘Murph‘ is more than just a workout, it is a tradition that helps push us, humble us, and dedicate a bit of pain and sweat to honor a man who gave everything he had,” the foundation explains.
So, what exactly does the challenge involve? Here’s a breakdown:
How to complete the Murph Challenge
- 1 mile run
- 100 pullups
- 200 pushups
- 300 squats
- 1 mile run (yep, again)
Intense, right? Only with CrossFit, it seems, do reps rise into the hundreds. But there’s a little twist to make this workout even harder. It’s all done while wearing a 20-pound weight vest. Nope, not a joke.
The Murph Challenge is exactly what it sounds like: a challenge. In fact, it just might be the toughest workout you’ll ever do. But if you’re looking to really push yourself to the limit, this could be just what you’re looking for.
Can’t do a single pull-up? Here’s how to get strong enough to drop and gimme 20. Push-ups? We got you.
Memorial Day is just a couple of weeks away (May 28th if you’ve forgotten), and whether you’re new to CrossFit or not, you’ve probably heard about Murph at some point.
In case you’re unfamiliar, “Murph” is a classic CrossFit workout known as a Hero WOD. Hero WOD’s are made by CrossFit to honor the men and women that have fallen in the line of duty. This one is specifically to honor Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005.
1 mile Run
300 Air Squats
1 mile Run
*With a 20 lb Vest or Body Armor
This workout itself was Michael’s favorite workout to do, which at the time referred to it as “Body Armor”, hence the 20 lb vest or body armor as part of the workout prescription. So, every year, CrossFitters synonymously around the world pay special tribute to Lieutenant Murphy by joining together and suffering through this workout.
Why Do We Do Murph?
Hero WOD’s are not uncommon in the CrossFit community. Besides the story of an amazing human being who gave his courage and ultimate sacrifice for his team and country (which we’re about to get to), it also gives us a chance to pay tribute to all the other Hero WOD’s such as J.T., Michael, Randy, and Nate. CrossFit still makes new Hero workouts to this day.
“These men were fathers, husbands and sons. They were brothers to their fellow SEALs. They were also CrossFitters. In their actions, these men embodied the values and spirit of true heroes, and to immortalize their courage, bravery and self-sacrifice, the CrossFit Hero workouts were created.”
–Russel Berger, CrossFit
So what made Lieutenant Murphy’s story so impactful? Here’s an excerpt about what went down in Afghanistan in June 2005:
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.
—Murph Foundation “Biography”
Crazy story right? Now it’s all starting to make a little more sense on why CrossFitters make a big deal out of Memorial Day and Murph. It’s the least we can do to honor the courage and selfless sacrifice that was made that day.
How Difficult Is Murph?
On paper, it might not look TOO bad. It might take most people awhile to finish, but it can slowly be chipped away at compared to a workout with ridiculously heavy weights, complicated skill required movements, etc. In fact, we did a post not too long ago about the most difficult Hero workouts which you can see here. “Murph” is the 2nd most popular Hero workout on BTWB, second to “DT”.
First, there’s two methods of finishing Murph. While you have to start and finish with a 1 mile run, the 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 air squats can either be done in order, or partitioned. The most common strategy is to partition the reps into 20 rounds of “Cindy” or 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats. If you’re really trying to maximize your time and don’t think you can do 20 rounds of 10 push-ups unbroken, you can split the push-ups around the air squats. So you would do 20 rounds of: 5 pull-ups, 5 push-ups, 15 air squats, 5 push-ups. Performing “Murph” in the un-partitioned manner is the more difficult of the strategies, as the push-ups will be the part that will have lots of rest in between sets. The partitioned way lets you chip away at the other movements while your push-ups take a break.
The other variation about Murph is that it’s performed either with a weight vest, or without. The prescription hints to use one if you have one, but, if you don’t have one, then you don’t have a choice. There’s a ton of variation in completion time between the two options. Below is roughly the average time of completion without a weight vest. The average time being around 48 minutes for Men and 52 minutes for Women.
Now, add a weight vest, and this workout is a whole different beast. Take a look at the 2016 CrossFit Games athletes. They literally had to do Murph in weight vests, and needless to say, it did not look easy.
Murph’s History in CrossFit
Murph was first programmed on It’s hard to say when exactly it became a tradition for gyms to program Murph on Memorial Day. In 2007, Josh Appel, an Air Force pararescue jumper who led the team that jumped to rescue Lt. Murphy’s team, brought the idea to his gym, Albany CrossFit, and the rest of the CrossFit community followed suit. 10 years later it’s an honored tradition for gyms to close on Memorial Day, running only Murph as their workout, often followed by a barbecue or other community bonding event.
In 2015, Murph made the leap from gym tradition to a CrossFit Games event and made history once again. Dave Castro programmed the grueling workout (UNPARTITIONED) to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Games, and it happened to fall during midday in the California heat. 2015 Murph was notable on many levels, but none more than the impact it had on the competitors- Annie Thorisdottir and Kara Webb were both visibly beaten by the workout, with Annie having to withdraw from competition, and Kara Webb passing out directly after the event and receiving treatment for heatstroke. Sam Briggs won the Women’s side with a time of 39:10, while Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson was the Men’s winner, with a time of 38:36.
Castro programmed Murph AGAIN in 2016 and both vindicated his programming methodology and showed the amazing adaptability and resilience of CrossFit Games athletes. (It also helped that it was held earlier in the day to avoid the glaring midday sun.) The 2nd go around for Murph went off without a hitch with the athletes looking far better prepared and mentally ready for the long haul. Kari Pearce took the top women’s spot with a time of 36:42, while former SEAL Josh Bridges won the men’s side with a time of 34:38.
Not only will Lieutenant Murphy’s actions live eternally in the CrossFit community, but he will live on in society outside of CrossFit as well. In 2007, Michael’s parents, Dan & Maureen, and his brother Michael created the LT Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.
“Michael was an avid reader and felt that education was key, in fact his favorite saying was “Education will set you free”. That is why the Murphy Family used their own funds to start the Foundation.
From it’s humbled and honored beginnings of awarding one scholarship a year, the Foundation now awards 17 scholarships. For 2015, these scholarships include a Suffolk Federal Credit Union Scholarship, 4 Scholarships to the USS Michael Murphy DDG112, 2 Patchogue Medford High School Scholarships, 6 Navy LT Michael Murphy Sea Cadet Division Scholarships, 1 Scholarship through Shoreman Wading River School District in memory of Tom Cutinella, 1 Scholarship through Penn State, 1 Scholarship to a Purple Heart Recipient (SSGT Jeremiah Wegner) and sent 10 Penn State NROTC students to attend a 3 day American Veteran’s Conference on Veteran’s Day 2015.”
The Foundation is funded through donations to them and proceeds made from The Murph Challenge fundraiser held every year.
In a more main-stream path, the movie Lone Survivor was released in 2013, which tells the story of Michael Murphy and his men based off the book written by Marcus Luttrell, the lone surviving SEAL from Murphy’s group from that fateful day.
So, if you’ve got no plans that weekend, perhaps you can spend it reading Luttrell’s book, watching Lone Survivor, and then sweatin’ and sufferin’ on Memorial Day with your crew doing “Murph”. Just remember the real reason we acknowledge this day. Not just for some BBQ’s, but for ‘Merica.
How CrossFit gyms all over the world commemorate Memorial Day: Murph
CrossFit – the grueling fitness program that began as a way to train first responders and military – has workouts named after men and women who have died in the line of duty.
They’re called “Hero WODs” (workouts of the day).
On Memorial Day, nearly every CrossFit gym in the world runs the same workout, the most famous Hero WOD: Murph.
Murph is named for Medal of Honor recipient, Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28, 2005. You might know him from the book and movie, “Lone Survivor,” written by Marcus Luttrell.
Here’s the workout:
It was Murphy’s favorite workout, except he called it “Body Armor” because he’d wear a 20-pound vest when he did it.
In this video, you can see professional athletes “doing Murph.”
But what’s really amazing is when everyday people come together in their gym to do the workout, honoring a hero they might never have known about.
Many gyms register with The Murph Challenge, a fundraiser led by the Murphy family’s foundation, The Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Fund, which awards 18 educational scholarships each year.
Related: CrossFit gyms honor veterans with Armistice workout.
Want to get more connected to the great stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? to sign up for our weekly newsletter.
- Run 1/2 mile, 50 air squats – 3 rounds
- 10 push-ups, 10 sit ups, 10 squats – 10 rounds
- 200 air squats for time
- Walk 100 meters on your hands, even if it is 2 meters at a time
- Susan: Run 200m, 10 squats, 10 push-ups – 5 rounds
- Sprint 200m, 25 push-ups – 3 rounds
- 10 handstand push-ups, 200m run – 3 rounds
- Tabata squats and tabata push-ups
- 5 push-ups, 5 squats, 5 sit ups – 20 rounds
- 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 sets of sit ups and a 100 meter sprint between each set
- Invisible Fran: 21-15-9 of air squats and push-ups
- Spend a total of 5 minutes in a handstand, or headstand (if you are using the headstand do not stay over a minute at a time)
- Run 1 mile for time
- 10 push-ups, 10 air squats, 10 sit ups – 6 rounds for time
- Do one air squat and take one breath (you can breathe all you want while you do the squats), do 2 and take 2 breaths etc, up to 10, and then come back down to one
- 3 vertical jumps, 3 squats, 3 long jumps – 5 rounds
- Handstand 30 seconds, 10 squats – 8 rounds
- 10 push-ups, 100m sprint – 10 rounds
- Tabata push-ups
- 400m sprints – 5 rounds
- 100m dash – 10 rounds
- Run 1 mile, lunging 30 steps every 1 minute
- Handstand 30 seconds, 20 air squats – 5 rounds
- 10 handstand jackknife to vertical jump, 10 handstand jackknife to tuck jump, 10 handstand jackknife to straddle jump
- 100 air squats for time
- 25 jumping squats – 4 rounds
- 10 vertical jumps, 10 push-ups, 10 sit ups – 4 rounds
- Run 1 mile, doing 10 air squats every 1 minute
- 100 burpees for time
- Run 1 mile for time
- 10 push-ups, 10 squats, 10 sit ups – 10 rounds
- 10 vertical jumps, run 400 meters – 5 rounds
- Spend a total of 3 minutes in a handstand
- 100 air squats for time
- Handstand 1 minute, hold bottom of the squat for 1 minute – 5 rounds
- Sprint 100 meters, walk 100 meters – 10 rounds
- 100 push-ups for time
- 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 burpees and sit ups
- 50 sit ups, 400 meter run/sprint/walk – 3 rounds
- 10 walking lunges, 10 push-ups – 10 rounds
- 50 split jumps for time
- Handstand for 30 seconds or 5 handstand push-ups, 400 meter run – 4 rounds
- 10 Burpees, 100m sprint – 10 rounds for time
- “L” sit off the floor hold for 10 seconds – 10 rounds (if you can’t do that, sit with your legs straight out and try to lift your heels of the ground for 10 seconds instead)
- Run 400 meters, 50 air squats – 4 rounds
- Handstand 30 seconds, to squat hold 30 seconds – 10 rounds
- Ten vertical jumps (jump as high as you can, land and do it again), 10 push-ups – 5 rounds
- 10 push-ups, 10 squats – 10 rounds
- Tabata squats (count your lowest score)
- Handstand to jack-knife to vertical jump – 30 reps
- Run 1 mile with 100 air squats at midpoint, for time
- 50-40-30-20-10 sit ups for time
- 7 squats, 7 Burpees – 7 rounds for time
- 30 second handstand, 30 second bottom of the squat hold – 10 rounds
- Burpee to the push up position, do 10 push-ups, burpee out – 5 rounds
- 10 push-ups, 10 one-legged squats (5 each side) – 10 rounds
- Run 1 mile, plus 50 squats for time
- 100 Burpees for time
- 5 squats, 5 push-ups, 5 sit ups – 20 rounds
- Plebs plank, bottom of squat, hollow rock hold, 30 seconds each – 10 rounds (use the transition times as your rest periods, they should be as brief as possible)
- 5 push-ups with a 30 second plebs plank (a hold at the top of the push up, arms extended and body tight like a plank!) at the end of each 5 reps – 10 rounds, then 100m dash @ 80% – 3 rounds
- Handstand practice, 25 tries at free handstands, then a 1 mile run at 80%
- Handstand 10 seconds, jack-knife to vertical jump 25 reps
- Mime 25 sumo deadlift high pulls – 4 rounds (Make them perfect. Be sure the hips extend before the arms bend!)
- 50 air squats – 5 rounds (rest as it took to do each 50)
- Run 1 mile and do 10 push-ups every 1 minute
- Tabata jumping lunges
- Sprint 100m, 30 squats – 8 rounds
- 30 push-ups, 30 second handstand or Plebs Plank – 3 rounds
- Brenton: Bear crawl 100 feet, standing broad-jump 100 feet (do 3 burpees after every 5 broad-jumps) – 5 rounds for time
- 10 sit ups, 10 Burpees – 10 rounds for time
- Handstand hold, 30 seconds, squat hold 30 seconds – 10 rounds
- 250 jumping jacks for time
- 100 jumping jacks, 75 air squats, 50 push-ups, 25 burpees for time
- Tabata squats and t-push-ups
- 30 second handstand against a wall, followed by a 30 second static hold at the bottom of the squat – 5 rounds
- 10 air squats with eyes closed, open eyes, do 10 push-ups eyes closed – 5 rounds for time
- Run 1 minute, squat 1 minute – 5 rounds
- 10 air squats, 10 push-ups, 10 sit ups – 3 rounds for time
- 10 push-ups, 10 hollow rocks, run 200 meters – 5 rounds
- Do Tabata squats with eyes closed
- Bottom to bottom tabata squats (rest at the bottom of the squat instead of standing, without support on your hands or butt and make the bottom good, straight back, butt back)
- 20 sit ups with support under the lumbar spine, 20 push-ups, run 400m – 4 rounds
- Handstands, 30 second hold, 30 second static squat, 30 second rest – 8 rounds
- Sprint 50 meters, 10 push-ups – 10 rounds
- 50 air squats – 4 rounds rest for 2 minutes between rounds
- 20 tuck jumps – 3 rounds, 30 second handstands – 3 rounds
- 400m run/sprint, 30 air squats, – 3 rounds for time
- 20 jumping jacks, 20 burpees, 20 air squats – 3 rounds
- Warm up, Run 100 meters and do 20 air squats – 10 rounds
- Handstand 30 seconds – 5 rounds then run 800 meters, rest as long as it took to run, then run another 800m, for time
- 100 air squats, 3 min rest, 100 air squats
- Run with high knees for 15 seconds and drop into a push up, get back up and run with high knees again for 15 seconds – 5 rounds (each pushup counts as 1 rep), rest, do 3 more rounds
- 50 meter sprint – 10 rounds
- Test yourself on a max set of push-ups (tight body chest to the floor and full extension!) After that do 100 air squats for time
- Tabata tuck jumps and then sit ups
- Run 400m, 30 air squats, handstand 30 seconds – 3 rounds for time
- 5 handstand to jack-knife to high jump, 5 handstand to jack-knife to tuck jump, 5 handstand to jack-knife to split jump – 3 rounds for form
- 50 burpees for time
- 5 push-ups, 5 squats, 5 sit ups – 20 rounds
- Run 1 mile, stopping every minute to do 20 air squats
- 30 second handstand, 60 second squat hold (at the bottom of the squat) – 5 rounds
- Run 200 meters, 50 squats – 3 rounds
- Tabata Squats
- 20 air squats, 20 burpees, 20 push-ups – 3 rounds for time
The fastest female time registered for Murph is 36:42 by Kari Pearce.
The fastest male time registered for Murph is 34:38 by Josh Bridges.
See more details, videos and and past records
1 mile Run
1 mile Run
Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty-pound vest or body armour, wear it.
In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, NY, who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. This workout was one of Mike’s favourites and he’d named it ‘Body Armor.’ From here on it will be referred to as ‘Murph’ in honour 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.
First posted 18 August 2005
Fastest female times
Performed on July 22, 2016
Official reference: 2016 CrossFit Games Official Results
July 24, 2015 Samantha Briggs Score 39:10
Official reference: 2015 CrossFit Games Official Results
Fastest male times
Performed on July 22, 2016
Official reference: 2016 CrossFit Games Official Results July 24, 2015 Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson Score 38:36
Official reference: 2015 CrossFit Games Official Results
The exhausted but elated men who took the top three spots at the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games sat at the post-Games press conference, eating hard-earned Dominos pizza as they waited for the first question.
Then it came: “What did each of you think was the hardest workout of The Games?”
The podium athletes didn’t take turns explaining their individual struggles. The answer was quick and unanimous: “Murph,” all three competitors—Ben Smith, Mat Fraser, and Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson—said with a cringe followed by a knowing laugh.
Related: How Many Calories Does CrossFit Really Burn?
Murph only requires a 20-pound weight vest. But it’s designed to throw you into the pain cave and let you suffer there for as long as you let it.
The timed workout—where you wear a 20-pound weight vest throughout—goes like this: Run one mile, then do 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 air squats, and then run another mile. The winning time was just under 39 minutes, while 10 percent of competitors failed to meet the 55-minute time cap.
It’s a brutal event named after Navy SEAL Officer Michael Murphy, who was killed in action in Afghanistan and received the Medal of Honor for his heroics in Operation Red Wings (his story is told in the book and movie “Lone Survivor”). The workout was Murphy’s favorite—he performed it while wearing heavy body armor while deployed, and it’s since been named in his honor.
Related: 4 Exercises Every Navy SEAL (and Every Fit Guy) Should Do
“My strategy was to not go too hard in the first run,” said Guðmundsson who took 1st place in Murph and 3rd place overall. “From there I just tried to keep a good pace.”
Fraser, who took 2nd in Murph and 2nd place overall, said his tactic was to pace the first run and the pushups, but go all out on the squats and final run.
“I did doubles on pushups, and then I just knew if I wanted a shot at the podium I’d have to cycle through my squats quickly,” he says. “Then in the run I just tried to pick off a couple people in front of me and keep going.”
Afterwards, each competitor was fried. “I think it put everyone at a deficit for the weekend,” said Fraser.
Dave Castro, Games Director for CrossFit, says he was surprised the toll that Murph took on the competitors. And Daniel Petro, who has competed in the Reebok CrossFit Games, says that the impact Murph had on the athletes was apparent in their subsequent event numbers.
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“For example, most of them lifted around 30 to 40 pounds under their personal best in the Snatch Speed Ladder.” That’s an event where competitors take turns trying to snatch—an explosive Olympic lift—as much weight as possible.
If you want to try Murph for yourself, throw on a 20-pound weight vest and do:
300 Air Squats
Follow the strategy of the winning CrossFit competitors: Pace yourself on the first run, and break the bodyweight exercises up into “mini sets,” where you never reach muscular failure.
Related: 6 Insanely Fit Guys Tell You One Thing They Do Each Day
The workout requires a very high fitness level—don’t be surprised if it takes you well over an hour.
If the workout is too hard—and it will be for most people—try it without the weight vest. Another option: Many CrossFit boxes do “Mini Murph,” where they run half a mile, then do 25 pullups, 50 pushups, 75 squats, and then run a final half mile.
Michael Easter Michael Easter is a health and fitness writer and a visiting lecturer at UNLV.