The Murph CrossFit WOD - A Detailed Look
The Murph CrossFit WOD - A Detailed Look

Many CrossFitters know the beloved, yet dreaded, Memorial Day weekend hero WOD “Murph.”

This WOD was created by Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy while he was on deployment. He called it “Body Armor” because it was done with a 20-pound weighted vest.

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The Murph WOD is completed by CrossFitters across the country every Memorial Day in honor of the men and women who serve our country. It is both a mentally and physically challenging workout because it tests, not only one's endurance and strength, but also one's determination and perseverance.

Lieutenant Murphy was on deployment in Afghanistan as part of a 4-man reconnaissance mission in the Hindu Kush. Their mission was to scout out Ahmad Shah who was a prominent leader in the Taliban.

His team was in the mountains in unfamiliar territory with limited radio signal when they were surrounded by the Taliban and engaged in a massive gunfight. Lt. Murphy sacrificed his safety and cover in order to get a radio signal to call for help. He was shot multiple times but continued to remain calm while contacting their headquarters.

Lt. Murphy along with two of the other SEALs on the mission were killed in action. The fourth member of the team, Marcus Lutrell, survived and made it back home safely.

When Marcus returned home, he decided to write a book about his time in Afghanistan. His book became a best-seller and was eventually turned into the movie we all know today as Lone Survivor.

Lt. Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor for his sacrifice and in 2015 the CrossFit community adopted his Body Armor workout in honor of the men and women who protect our country and renamed the workout Murph.

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What is the Murph Hero WOD?

The RX’ed Murph Hero WOD is a timed WOD that consists of the following:

  • 1-mile run
  • 100 pull-ups
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 body weight squats
  • 1-mile run

ALL while wearing a 20-lb weighted vest.

My Plan of Attack for the Murph Hero WOD

This was my third year completing Murph. It continues to be just as challenging as the first year. One day I will RX the Murph WOD but for now, I break it up into a circuit. To RX a workout means to complete the workout of the day (WOD) in the proper order with the recommended weight without having to scale the workout.

This year I wanted to do all of my pull-ups unassisted, so I decided to do 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 pushups, and 15 bodyweight squats. For me, the hardest part of the WOD is not gassing myself on the first mile run.

I always want to start out with guns blazing and sprinting my first mile and then I come back to the pull-up bar and feel like death. This year I started with a sub 8-minute mile but made sure to leave a little left in the tank to complete the daunting task ahead of me.

The first 10 rounds went smoothly and seemed to fly by. Then I hit round 11, or I should say, round 11 hit me like a brick wall. I struggled through rounds 11-16 but hit my second wind for the last 3 rounds.

I finished the 20 rounds at the 30-minute mark and it was time to get back to the run. My legs felt like pure rubber after those 300 air squats, but I managed to run another sub 8-minute mile and finished with a time of 37:33.

If you are not trying to RX Murph then it is a really good idea to break up the workout into sets. Not only does it give you a bit of a reprieve from doing a continuous motion, but it also helps you keep count of how many reps you’ve done.

If you are anything like me, I lose count after the first 5 reps so I need a system that helps me to keep track of what I’ve done. Next year my goal is to complete it in 10 rounds of 10-20-30 and to eventually build up to an RX where I can complete all 100 pull-ups before moving to the push-ups and squats.

Whether you are looking for a way to burn off the weekend of BBQing or just simply want to change up your workout I highly suggest you give Murph a shot. It is a great cardio workout and will put up a good challenge.

The most important thing to remember is that you do not need to be a CrossFitter to do Murph! I no longer belong to a CrossFit gym and continue to do Murph at my regular gym.

If you do not want to do Murph alone or you are looking to donate to the troops you can also contact your local CrossFit gym to see if you can drop in for the Murph WOD.