The Murph – CrossFit Workout 2020
Chiropractor and fitness enthusiast Ben Evans talks through his experience of performing The Murph!
The Murph is regarded as one of the most difficult workouts in the CrossFit world. It is a mixture of running and strength endurance. The workout is extremely taxing both physically and mentally.
Who exactly is Murph?
Murph was a Lieutenant in the Navy SEAL of the Unites States forces. He received the Medal of Honour, which is the highest military decoration there is in the United States, among several other awards for his bravery during his time in Afghanistan. He is hailed by many as the ultimate hero to and even since the time of his death in 2005. Murph and his battalion were under heavy attack whilst in Afghanistan and needed immediate support. He rushed to a clearing in the mountain tops to get a signal to call in support, leaving the safety of his cover and exposing himself to a massive amount of gunfire from the enemy. Murph was shot in the middle of his call for support but was able to pick up his phone and complete his request, saving the lives of his comrades.
The Murph Exercise
Due to the sheer courage displayed by Murph at the time of his death, CrossFit decided to name a workout after him. The exercise itself was one of Murph’s favorites and consists of a 1 mile run followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 air squats (squatting without a barbell or dumbbells) before attempting another 1 mile run. All of this must be completed as quickly as possible with good technique during all of the compound exercises. The workout is normally completed wearing 20lbs (9kg) weighted vest for men and a 14lbs (6.4kg) weighted vests for women although these are not compulsory and are dependent on the competition you are entering.
A good technique for the push-ups requires a near lockout of the arms whilst keeping the core braced. The pull-ups are deemed successful if the chin rises above the bar. It is for this reason why many CrossFit athletes choose the ‘Butterfly pull up’ as it uses momentum and gets the job done quicker. Squats must be performed with the thighs reaching near-parallel to the ground.
One important thing to remember is that the pull-ups, push-ups and squats do not need to be performed in that particular order. Many athletes will divide the compound exercises into sets of 10 or 20. This means they will do 10 pull-ups followed by 20 push-ups and then 30 air squats repeating this process 10 times. How you chose to divide these sets is up to you. As long as the required number of repetitions are completed with an acceptable technique, then you are good to go and ready for the final 1 mile run.
My personal experience of Murph
As a Chiropractor and someone who has grown up with sport, particularly rugby and gymnastics, I understand that my body has the relative conditioning to complete the workout with minimal risk of injury. If you are someone who is beginning to explore the world of sports and exercise, my advice would be not to begin with the Murph workout. The evidence suggests that if your body is not conditioned to exercise and you attempt something as strenuous and as grueling as the Murph, then you are very likely to pick up an injury as your the body is not quite used to that level of intensity. Personally, I would begin with mild to moderate exercise starting with some short runs that you are comfortable with alongside some push-ups and air squats, and possibly pull-ups using an elastic band around your feet and fastened to the bar for a lighter weight whilst you get used to the movement and improve your technique.
If you are someone who is regularly exercising and are confident that you can complete a fairly large amount of successive push-ups, pulls up, and squats, as well as being a half-decent runner, then I encourage you to give it a go.
Remember to warm up and good luck!
Wilson, Jamie (July 12, 2005). "Navy Seal's body found after failed Afghan mission". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved June 2, 2019.