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My First Murph Experience

Today I completed a well-known CrossFit hero WOD for the first time. “Murph” is one of the workouts that has quite a big reputation and you hear it referenced all the time…mostly in regards to how brutal it is. It’s typical for CrossFit boxes to do Murph on Memorial Day weekend. The workout is in honor of Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy of Patchogue, New York. He was killed on June 28, 2005 while serving our country in Afghanistan. He was 29 years old. This workout was his favorite way to prepare for deployment so it is now named after him and performed by CrossFitters across the country in his memory.

Our Director of CrossFit posted the story about Murphy on our blog along with the workout. He told us, “when you do this WOD, put everything in it that you have. It is for someone who died so we can live in freedom.”

I got to the gym right at 9 a.m. as class was starting. We did a quick warm up and then Sean took us through the workout.

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

The rules are that you have to start and end with the one mile run but you can break up the pull ups, push ups and squats however you want.

We took a before picture and then got to work.

It was actually nice to start out with a mile run. It really helped me get warmed up for all the bodyweight work. I ran at a pretty nice pace but didn’t kill myself. I think I finished the first mile right around 8 minutes.

I came in from the run, grabbed some water and started to chip away at the pull ups, push ups and squats. I actually did online research before class to read about the best strategies for surviving Murph (yes, I’m a nerd and I was scared!). I decided to try the recommended approach of breaking it into 20 rounds of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups and 15 squats. I was able to quickly cycle through the rounds without ever facing complete muscle exhaustion. I took a break after 10 rounds for some water. For the record, I did kipping jumping pull ups and all the pushups on my toes.

The clock was at 31 minutes when I finished the body weight work. I realized I had a chance of finishing in under 40 minutes and booked it out the door for my last mile. My legs felt okay after all of the squats (I think because I broke them up).

I was thrilled to come in from the run and hear Sean call out “39:12.” Then I collapsed on the floor for about a minute to collect myself before heading back outside to cheer on everyone else that was finishing the run.

The aftermath. We are a group of foam rolling lovers! 🙂

The after shot. Sweaty, tired but proud of our effort! When can we do it again!? I was so scared of this workout but I really enjoyed the whole thing! I really might do it again on Monday with a few people. Yes, I’m crazy. We’ll see how sore I am tomorrow before I make that decision!

Who’s working out this weekend? How are you celebrating Memorial Day and those who serve our country?

{ 33 comments… add one }
  • Stef May 26, 2012, 5:55 pm

    I am running the Hibiscus Half Marathon tomorrow and looking to beat my p.r. of 1:48.

  • sana May 26, 2012, 5:58 pm

    Nice job Jen!

  • Chris K May 26, 2012, 8:31 pm

    Jen, you must read the book. I’ll let you borrow it. The story is as crazy as a far fetched Hollywood production, but it really happened to actual courageous heroes. As far as Monday goes, I’ll let you wear my body armor if you are as tough as I think you are. I have two choices for you. One is twice as heavy as the other! See you in the morning.

  • Jessica May 26, 2012, 9:39 pm

    “Murph” definitely has a reputation. Our box is doing it tomorrow and it will be my husband’s first time as well. It would be mine, but I think running a half is more than enough exercise for a holiday weekend, especially running.

    Great job!

  • wymberley May 26, 2012, 11:15 pm

    We did “half Murph” a few weeks ago and I didn’t have the option of mixing up the sets. I love your nerd break up of the sets and will apply a similar approach when we do the full WOD. GREAT TIME GIRL! Happy Memorial weekend.

  • Cate May 26, 2012, 11:18 pm

    Oh my god 200 pushups!?! You are amazing

  • Laury@TheFitnessDish May 26, 2012, 11:42 pm

    Although that workout looks like it would absolutely make me puke…I think it’s an amazing dedication to honor a solider who lost his life serving our country. Pushing through it and knowing that I’m sure makes you push even further!

    Your body is unbelievable! Seriously….100 pull ups? 200 push-ups? I never could fathom it!

  • Erica { EricaDHouse.com } May 27, 2012, 6:27 am

    What a wonderful inspiration for your workout! I think I’ll see if my boyfriend will join me today or tomorrow to do a similar workout in honor (we’ll have to find something to sub in for the pull-ups!)

  • Amy May 27, 2012, 7:25 am

    Looks like a great workout! I so wish we had Crossfit at my gym…can’t afford gym membership plus membership to a Crossfit box 🙁

  • Mo May 27, 2012, 9:51 am

    I am terrified of Crossfit! Yesterday I found a crossfit gym in a different state (so I wouldn’t have to see anyone again after embarrassing myself) pulled into the parking lot, freaked out and went to my Y. And I was just going to the intro class, not even the “real” deal. BUT, I did this workout this morning by myself (modified a bit) an had times similar to others in the class. Yippee skip! I now have a little bit of confidence when I go…hopefully I will at leat get out of the car next time.

  • Jessica May 27, 2012, 10:53 am

    This is so inspiring! Awesome job!

  • Kamaile May 27, 2012, 11:15 am

    Way to go Jen! I’m trying crossfit for the first time next week.

    • Jen May 27, 2012, 7:32 pm

      awesome! let me know if you have any questions and report back on how it goes!

  • dana May 27, 2012, 12:47 pm

    yeah, Jen! All push ups on your toes…dang, girl!

    • Jen May 27, 2012, 7:31 pm

      i have always had a weird love for push ups! my bodypump class knows that they won’t get out without lots of push ups when i’m teaching. 😉

  • JennyV May 27, 2012, 12:50 pm

    I didn’t now you could break up the pull-ups, push-ups and squats — that is definitely helpful for Murph! I’m pretty capable of busting out a lot of squats; on the other hand, upper-body exercises tend to own me. It’s all about progress, not perfection, right? 🙂

  • Sierra @ Posh Meets Pavement May 27, 2012, 3:36 pm

    I’m doing CrossFit tomorrow morning at 7AM…I am crossing my fingers that my gym in SA will have the US spirit and do Murph for Memorial Day. We shall see. Looks brutal, but I love the intention. Great Job

    • Jen May 27, 2012, 7:30 pm

      let me know what it ends up being! 🙂

  • Heather Marschall May 27, 2012, 3:41 pm

    JT WOD yesterday, 6 mile trail run this morning and I will be experiencing my first Murph tomorrow morning. Ahh!
    CONGRATS on your amazing time and non-scaled pushups! That’s quite an achievement!

  • Lisa May 27, 2012, 4:00 pm

    I really love how this was dedicated to such an amazing soldier and in honour of all those fighting. Makes you want to push through even more I’m sure. What a great workout! I like the sounds of it 😉 Unfortunately, in Canada we don’t celebrate so no long weekend over here.

  • Laura is Undeterrable May 27, 2012, 4:59 pm

    I’m doing Murph for the first time on Monday! Trying not to be scared. It’s going to be awesome though.

    • Jen May 27, 2012, 7:30 pm

      good luck! you’ll do great. definitely break it up into sets if your box allows!

  • Bess @ Bess Be Fit May 27, 2012, 9:21 pm

    I don’t do CrossFit but I feel like I might try to do this workout on my own tomorrow in honor of Memorial Day, Murph, and all the other soldiers whose lives have been lost. You rocked it! Great job!

  • Ann May 27, 2012, 9:37 pm

    I went to college with the Marcus Luttrell, the marine who wrote the book. My friend and her husband along with many friends are in a picture in the book. The book is really good and will soon be made into a movie.

    • Charles May 28, 2014, 10:59 am

      Correction** Marcus Luttrell is a Naval Special Operator not a Marine.

  • Nicole May 30, 2012, 10:13 am

    I felt so inspired I did it this morning! Holy cats – that is AWESOME!

  • amy May 30, 2012, 3:18 pm

    awesome workout!

  • Lisa May 22, 2013, 9:25 am

    You just talked me into doing “Murph” Saturday. I am nervous but the way you broke it up makes total sense. Thanks!

    • Mallory D May 23, 2013, 11:10 am


      Same here- but we’re doing it on Monday!

  • Mallory D May 23, 2013, 11:09 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I googled “I’m scared of Murph Crosffit” and your post was one of the first I clicked on.

    I was seriously considering not attending our Memorial Day Murph on Monday- but now I’m going! I’ll be breaking up movements like you did.

    Thanks so much!

  • DP May 28, 2013, 12:53 am

    Congrats on last year’s accomplishment. I assume you did Murph today? I am not a crossfitter. I compete in bodybuilding and jiujitsu and train in mixed martial arts. I decided to do Murph today because I am a Marine Corp veteran and I know many folks who train crossFit. I did Murph as prescribed and I wore a 20 lb vest. Completed the challenge in 46 min.

  • mgalindo963 June 27, 2014, 7:50 am

    Some brothers in arms and myself (Navy vet) are looking to attempt a Murph in the near future.
    Any tips on how to get a good edge on it, work out wise? I attend a Gold’s daily but I’m sure my routine is nothing that has me in this kind of shape.
    All suggestions are very much appreciated.

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