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  • Writer's pictureCrossFit Tertiary

Murph Tips from a Seasoned Athlete



For time:

1 mile Run

100 Pull-ups

200 Push-ups

300 Squats

1 mile Run

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


I don’t remember how many times I have done Murph. At least 6. Probably closer to 9. I have done it “slick”, with a vest, in boots and ut’es… and a few other variations.

This experience has taught me a few things. I hope the below tips are helpful.

1. Properly hydrate and fuel. Personally, I think Murph gets a lot of undue attention for being “the hardest workout”. There are much worse workouts (The Seven, for example). The intensity in Murph is in the volume. It is a long workout where you can nearly constantly move. You need to fuel for that movement and hydrate for fluids you will lose while participating. Especially if it is hot and humid, which it always seems to be.

2. Any time I am lead on MDM event, we run, weather permitting. The two weather exceptions to this rule are lightening and ice. Beyond that, heat, humidity, rain, cold, wind, etc. are not limiting factors. Be prepared to run regardless of the weather.

3. Keeping the above in mind, we can scale for any injury or physical limitation. We can bike or row. We can sub for pull-ups and scale for push-ups.

4. If you are new to CF and/or getting back into fitness, I recommend scaling down Murph. If you have never done it before, do it without a vest. Consider half Murph and scale movements as needed.

5. If you have completed Murph before, consider wearing a vest if you recorded a decent time. This really changes the workout. I also encourage our athletes to do the CrossFit Games version of the workout:

Hero WOD Murph: 2016 CrossFit Games Version

For time, with a 20 / 14-lb. weight vest:

1-mile run

Then, 5 rounds of:

20 pull-ups

40 push-ups

60 squats

Then, 1-mile run

This break-up strategy is a little more difficult than some variations (20 x 5, 10, 15 or 10 x 10, 20, 30), but avoids the muscle failure that can happen from the straight through version (1 x 100, 200, 300). Read Dave Castro’s book. He knows what he is doing, the above variation is my favorite.

6. If you are going to wear a vest, find one that fits properly. We have a few for community use at the gym. Please do not expect another athlete or coach to loan out their vest without asking. If you are asked, do not feel obligated to let someone use your vest. If you use a vest that is not yours, be respectful of other people’s equipment.

7. Additional gear:

a. Someone is going to do it, and I encourage you not to: Please do not wear headphones. You do not need headphones for the run. For safety reasons, I want all my athletes to hear their surroundings. You can go 2 miles without music.

b. Also consider a light glove. Mechainx is my choice, but anything that style will be good. This is particularly important if you are wearing a vest, that extra weight hits the hands different.

c. If it is hot and sunny, consider sunglasses and sunscreen. You will be outside for about 20 minutes, and winter just ended here in The North. Protect yourself.

8. Limit your chalk use. If your hands are wet, dry them off with a towel. Chalk is not made to be applied to wet hands repeatedly. A light dusting of chalk is all you need. The push-up, pull-up combo will be tempting to keep caking on the chalk, but that is a sure way to tear. Keep a towel handy, and use it to keep your hands dry. (This is something I want to start pushing for the gym in general. Dry hands and a light dusting of chalk. Don’t believe me, I’ll show you how much chalk I use and show you my hands. [hint: almost none and very healthy, tough and meaty.])

Last, and most importantly, remember what Memorial Day is about. The event of Murph on Memorial Day, I feel, is a great way to pay respect. Murph is not just a workout, it is a special event. It is a way to honor the fallen.

As a workout, Murph is a mental and physical test. As CrossFitters and Coaches and Athletes of CrossFit Tertiary, we choose to train the way we do so we can do things others can't.

Let’s get after it!


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