Everything You Need To Prepare For Murph

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Memorial Day is coming up fast, and for many it means “Murph” is on the radar.

You likely fall into one of two categories:

  1. You have been preparing for “Murph”
  2. You have not been preparing for “Murph”

If you fall into the later, it’s not too late. You can still take on the iconic Hero workout in a way that is both safe and meaningful. 

First, be sure you have read up on Why CrossFitters Do Murph On Memorial Day, and then let’s get to it.

As a refresher, “Murph” is:

  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull ups 
  • 200 push ups 
  • 300 air squats 
  • 1 mile run 

More advanced athletes will do the recommended (Rx) version, which includes wearing a weighted vest that is either 20 or 14 pounds. 

The workout is high volume, easy to come out hot on, and one that will quickly leave you gasping for air if not approached correctly. You might be getting creative with your equipment these days, but it doesn’t mean taking on “Murph” exactly as you normally would is the best idea this year.

The high volume of the movements, without adequate preparation, can lead to serious injury. Below are a handful of suggested modifications for “Murph” that will keep you safe, while still leaving you with that post-Murph feeling you know and love.

Decreasing the Volume

The first, and strongest, suggestion at taking on “Murph” without your normal preparation, is to scale down the volume. By decreasing the number of reps, you will decrease your chance of overexertion. 

Simply cut the numbers in half (or more). Feel free to keep the running portions the same, or scale those if needed as well. 

Half "Muprh":

  • 1 mile run
  • 50 pull ups 
  • 100 push ups 
  • 150 air squats 
  • 1 mile run

Quarter "Murph":

  • 1 mile run
  • 25 pull ups 
  • 50 push ups 
  • 75 air squats 
  • 1 mile run 

You can even split the reps with a family member, or take on the workout as a team!

Scaling and Alternating Movements

While running, push-ups, and air squats require no equipment, pull ups do. If you haven’t had access to a pull up bar lately, you can substitute pull ups for another movement that engages the same muscles used in traditional pull ups.

Suggestions include bent over or inverted rows (with a dumbbell or barbell), and lat band pulldowns. You can alternate between a couple of the movements, to avoid over-doing it on one movement, especially if you are not planning to decrease the overall number of reps.

Smaller Sets

Normal preparation or not, a large majority of people who take on “Murph” break-up the workout into rounds of smaller sets. This is definitely a smart way to keep yourself from overwhelming the body on one particular movement. 

There are various ways it can be broken up.

10x10-20-30:

  • 1 mile run
    • 10 Rounds:
      • 10 pull ups
      • 20 push ups
      • 30 air squats
  • 1 mile run

20x5-10-15:

  • 1 mile run
    • 20 Rounds:
      • 5 pull ups
      • 10 push ups
      • 15 air squats
  • 1 mile run

50x2-4-6:

  • 1 mile run
    • 50 Rounds:
      • 2 pull ups
      • 4 push ups
      • 6 air squats
  • 1 mile run

100x1-2-3:

  • 1 mile run
    • 100 Rounds:
      • 1 pull up
      • 2 push ups
      • 3 air squats
  • 1 mile run

Per Coach Elvis Kranski’s suggestion, if you have time, try taking on “Cindy” beforehand leading up to Memorial weekend. 

Cindy is a 20 minute AMRAP of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups and 15 air squats. It will give you an idea of the number of reps in your sets your body is ready for.

Make it an AMRAP

Setting a time limit is a great way to modify, while still keeping up intensity.

To ensure you have an even amount of each movement, couple this suggestion with the smaller sets suggestion above.

For example:

  • 25 min. AMRAP:
    • 200 meter run
    • 5 pull ups
    • 10 push ups
    • 15 air squats

Or:

  • 1 mile run
  • Then, 15 min. AMRAP:
    • 5 pull ups
    • 10 push ups
    • 15 air squats
  • 1 mile run

Combination

You might need to take all of the suggestions above into consideration to build your “Murph” this Memorial Day, and that’s okay.

A few ideas:

Idea #1:

  • 1 mile run
  • 5 Rounds:
    • 10 pull ups
    • 20 push ups
    • 30 air squats
  • 1 mile run

Idea #2:

  • 1 mile run
  • 5 Rounds:
    • 5 pull ups 
    • 10 push ups 
    • 15 air squats 
  • 1 mile run 

Idea #3:

  • 1 mile run
  • 5 Rounds:
    • 10 dumbbell bent over rows/banded lat pulldowns (alternate each round)
    • 20 push ups
    • 30 air squats
  • 1 mile run

Other Hero Workouts

Although “Murph” is the iconic Memorial Day workout, you can take on a different Hero workout that will still be a reminder of the sacrifices inherent in protecting and providing the freedoms we celebrate here in the United States. 

“Abbate”

In memory of U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Matthew T. Abbate

  • 1 mile run
  • 21 clean and jerks (155/105)
  • 800 meter run
  • 21 clean and jerks (155/105)
  • 1 mile run

“Bell”

In memory of Air Force Senior Airman Bryan R. Bell

  • 3 Rounds:
    • 21 deadlifts (125/85)
    • 15 pull ups
    • 9 front squats (125/85)

”Coffland”

In memory of U.S. Army Spc. Christopher J. Coffland

  • 6 min. hang from a pull up bar 
  • Every time you drop from the bar:
    • 800 meter run
    • 30 push ups

"DT"

In honor of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy P. Davis

  • 5 Rounds:
    • 12 deadlift (155/105)
    • 9 hang power cleans (155/105)
    • 6 push jerk (155/105)

"Griff"

In honor of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Travis L. Griffin

  • For Time:
    • 800 meter run
    • 400 meter run (backwards)
    • 800 meter run
    • 400 meter run (backwards)

“Jack”

In memory of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jack M. Martin III

  • 20 min. AMRAP:
    • 10 push press (115/75)
    • 10 kettlebell swings (53/36)
    • 10 box jumps (24”/20")

"Jenny"

In memory of U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer M. Moreno

  • 20 min. AMRAP:
    • 20 overhead squats (45/35)
    • 20 back squats (45/35)
    • 400 meter run

"Jerry"

In memory of U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Jerry Dwayne Patton

  • For Time:
    • 1 mile run
    • 2k row
    • 1 mile run

"Santora"

In memory of US Army Sgt. Jason A. Santora

  • 3 Rounds:
    • 1 min. of squat cleans (155#)
    • 1 min. of shuttle sprints (20’ forward + 20’ backwards = 1 rep)
    • 1 min. of deadlifts (245#)
    • 1 min. of burpees
    • 1 min. of jerks (155#)
    • 1 min. of rest

"Viola"

In memory of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Alex Viola

  • 20 min. AMRAP:
    • 400 meter run
    • 11 power snatches (95/65)
    • 17 pull ups
    • 13 power cleans (95/65)

Get after it! …and then bookmark our 10 Weeks To Murph With Josh Bridges so you’re ready for next year.

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