Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Murph

"Murph" was programmed as a "Hero WOD" in honor of LT Michael Murphy (LT Murphy's biographical information is widely available so I will not chronicle here, but I highly recommend reading his story as told by Murph's SEAL team mate Marcus Luttrell in "Lone Survivor").  Murph was published on in 2006.  Since that time many CrossFitters have been memorialized via a WOD in their honor.  The list of hero WODs may be found here, and it's worth a review this day.

Murph is:
For time:
Run 1 mile
100 pullups
200 pushups
300 squats
Run 1 mile
Wear a vest or body armor if you have it.

I have never performed this WOD with the vest.  My best time is ~41 minutes - it should be doable in 40 minutes for me:  7+30 run, 24 mins for the pullups/pushups/squats, and the last mile in 8+30.  I have not attempted Murph for a long time, might be a good time for it today.

I remember reading this workout on in 2006 or 2007 when I first found the site.  I thought, "no one would do that on purpose."  As I recall, the first attempt for me was on or around memorial day in 2007, after I had been CrossFitting for six months.  My advice to those who would test themselves against Murph; don't.

But if you do, and I hope you do in some form or fashion, start with a quarter or half Murph first.  One of the many glories of CrossFit is that it is universally scalable.  In fact, if your grandmother was in my gym, and wanted to, she could do Murph scaled to her ability and it would be just as much a test for her as it would be for any CFer.

Lest that sounds overly patronizing to grandmothers, I am well aware that there are quite a few CrossFit grandmothers who would smoke me doing Murph - many of them will appear in the Reebok CrossFit Games Masters Division for females 60 and over.  My advice - don't mess with them!

A good technique to make Murph more digestible - do the calisthenics as 20 sets of 5 pull-ups, 10 pushups, and 15 squats.  Doesn't make the run at the end any easier but it does deliver you to the end of this beast workout more rapidly.  More work, less time, that's the point.

If you want to get in touch with what memorial day should be all about, Murph will provide the setting - pain, courage, fear, resolve, loss of hope, perseverance, and the choice to press on or not will be with you during every rep.  This emotional battle will help any of us better appreciate what we were given by those who we should remember with a thankful heart today.


  1. Murph, 46.38, and almost as long to cool off!

  2. 1/2 MURPH: 24:38 (assisted pull ups and push ups)