"Murph" Strategy & Prep


Every year early May a lot of “Murph” questions come up: to wear a vest or not? How should I break things up? Should I run extra? What is this “Murph” you speak of?

Let’s dig in. In short - “Murph” is a workout named after Michael Murphy who died during Operation “Red Wings” in 2005 & posthumously received a Medal Of Honor.

It’s a 1 mile Run followed by 100 Pull-ups, 200 Push-ups & 300 Air Squats, followed by a “dessert” of 1 more mile Run all done in a 20# body armor or weighted vest, that was his personal favorite workout. It’s done on or around “Memorial Day”. Generally folks will do 20 rounds of 5 Pull-ups, 10 Push-ups, 15 Sit-ups, but straight through or different breakdowns are common.

We’ll focus on “Murph” prep here and go into game day in a future post.

Some pointers:

  1. Don’t do Murph in a vest if scaling (we won’t allow it at CFEvo)

  2. To add to 1 - chances of rhabdo for someone new with 300 air squats in a vest are quite high.

  3. Do it in 25 rounds of 4/8/12 and it'll manage fatigue better.

  4. Don't do Murph in vest until you can do it in sub 45 or at least sub 50 without it.

  5. Definitely don't do your first Murph in a vest unless superbeast (and even then the risk of rhabdo is not worth it unless work capacity is well known to coach).

  6. Don’t get hammered the night before & try doing the whole thing hungover.

As far as prep goes - once a week for 3-4 weeks prior do a “Death By Pull-up/Push-up/Squat” or “Death By Push-up/Squat”. Goes like this:
On the 1st minute - do 1 Pull-up, 1 Push-up & 1 Air Squat
On the 2nd minute - do 2/2/2…
3/3/3 on the 3rd…

Don’t redline & go too far. Just add it as a little extra. May be do all sets easy and unbroken. If no access to pull-up bar (say, doing it at home on a Saturday) - then do Push-ups & Squats only. Finish up with a jog. If planning on doing it in a vest - do the extra in a vest. Also do all reps with very good form - Memorial Day usually turns into the unofficial “International Day of Sh&tty Push-ups & Half A$$ Squats" and we wouldn’t want that.

There’s other ways to prepare, but generally that would be enough - most gyms will program extra bodyweight & volume work to prepare for “Murph” (or especially “Hero Week”), so adding a lot of complexity & volume will either not be productive or worse result in overuse injuries/burnout/performance loss & possible hatred of everything.

So there it is. Video has some of the similar advice & some more stuff that would take too long to punch in. And Soc is in it too.