Embracing the Challenge: The Murph in CrossFit

Ana Belen Johnson
May 24, 2024
Embracing the Challenge: The Murph in CrossFit

Embracing the Challenge: The Murph in CrossFit

In the world of CrossFit, few workouts are as revered and feared as "Murph." Known for its grueling demands and its roots in military heroism, Murph is more than just a workout; it's a tribute, a test of endurance, and a testament to the human spirit. 

What is Murph?

Murph is a hero WOD (Workout of the Day) in CrossFit that consists of the following:

The kicker? These exercises are typically done while wearing a 20-pound weight vest or body armor, adding an extra layer of difficulty, which is totally optional. We'll talk about scaling options in a minute. The workout can be broken up into sets (e.g., 20 sets of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats), but the runs are always done in full at the beginning and end.

The Origin of Murph

Murph is named after Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan. On June 28, 2005, Murphy and his team were ambushed by Taliban forces. Despite being heavily outnumbered and under intense fire, Murphy risked his life to move to an open area to get a clear signal to communicate for help. He was mortally wounded during this act of bravery.

Michael Murphy was known for doing this workout, which he originally called "Body Armor," due to his practice of performing it in his body armor. After his death, CrossFit adopted the workout and renamed it "Murph" in his honor, turning it into a Memorial Day tradition to honor fallen soldiers and reflect on their sacrifices.

Best part: Everyone Can Participate

Even if you haven't strictly prepared for Murph, you can still take part. Listening to your body and scaling the workout to your current fitness level is key. This community emphasizes the importance of participation over performance. Joining in on Murph can be a powerful way to experience the camaraderie and support that defines the CrossFit spirit. Whether you modify the exercises, lighten the load, or take more rest breaks, being part of the community and honoring the workout's significance is what truly matters.

Breaking Down Murph: Different Approaches

When tackling Murph, breaking down the workout into manageable segments can make the challenge more approachable and sustainable. Different strategies cater to varying fitness levels and preferences, ensuring everyone can participate effectively. Here are some popular methods to help you navigate through the workout, whether you're a seasoned athlete or a beginner.

1. Traditional Murph

Structure: Complete the workout in the prescribed order without breaking up the exercises.


Suitability: Best for experienced athletes with strong endurance and mental toughness.

2. Cindy Style

Structure: Break the workout into 20 rounds of a mini-circuit.


Suitability: Allows for manageable chunks and consistent pacing, ideal for intermediate athletes.

3. Smaller Sets

Structure: Divide the workout into smaller sets to maintain a steady rhythm and avoid early fatigue.

Sequence: 10 rounds of

Suitability: Great for maintaining a steady pace and managing fatigue, suitable for those with moderate endurance.

4. Even Smaller Sets

Structure: Further break down the exercises into even smaller, more manageable sets.

Sequence: 25 rounds of

Suitability: Perfect for beginners or those who want to maintain consistent form and avoid burnout.

5. Coach Mackenzie's Suggestion

Structure: Utilize very small, frequent sets to keep a steady pace and ensure quality repetitions.

Sequence:50 rounds of 

Suitability: Ideal for maintaining form and technique, preventing fatigue, and making the workout approachable for all fitness levels.

7. Half Murph

Structure: Complete half the prescribed reps and distance.


Suitability: Suitable for those new to The Murph or those looking to gradually build up to the full workout.

We invite everyone to come out and join us for The Murph, even if you don't plan on doing the workout yourself. Come cheer on those who are participating, or join in and do as much or as little as you can. Whether you're running the full mile or just a few steps, completing all the reps or modifying them, your presence and support make a difference. Be a part of this important day, honor the legacy of Lieutenant Michael Murphy, and experience the powerful sense of community that defines CrossFit. Let's come together, push our limits, and pay tribute to our heroes.

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