The Murph Workout: A Challenge of Grit and Honor

The Murph Workout: A Challenge of Grit and Honor

In the world of fitness, certain workouts stand out as true tests of strength, endurance, and mental fortitude. Among them, the “Murph” workout holds a special place, gaining immense popularity over the years. Named in honor of fallen Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, the Murph workout is a grueling and iconic CrossFit challenge that has captured the hearts of athletes worldwide. In this article, we will delve into the history, significance, and elements of the Murph workout, as well as explore the reasons why it has become a symbol of honor, dedication, and sacrifice.

History and Origin

The Murph workout was originally created by Michael Murphy himself as a way to push his physical and mental boundaries during his SEAL training. Lieutenant Murphy was known for his incredible work ethic, determination, and leadership skills. Tragically, on June 28, 2005, he made the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan. In an attempt to rescue his team, he was killed in action, but his legacy and spirit continue to inspire people around the world.

Posthumously, in honor of Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, the workout was officially named “Murph” by CrossFit in 2005. It became an annual Memorial Day workout, commemorating the brave men and women who have lost their lives serving their country.

The Murph Workout

The Murph workout consists of four demanding components:

  1. Run: A one-mile run to start the workout. This run sets the stage for the intensity that follows and represents the endurance required of a Navy SEAL.
  2. Pull-ups: After the run, participants move on to 100 pull-ups. These can be strict, kipping, or assisted depending on individual ability, but they must be completed before moving on to the next component.
  3. Push-ups: Following the pull-ups, 200 push-ups await the athletes. Just like with the pull-ups, the push-ups can be modified based on one’s strength but must be completed before proceeding.
  4. Air Squats: The penultimate phase of the workout includes 300 air squats. This exercise challenges the lower body and adds to the overall fatigue and muscle burn experienced during the workout.
  5. Run: To complete the Murph workout, participants must finish with another one-mile run. This final run symbolizes the endurance required to persevere through adversity and honors Lieutenant Murphy’s commitment to completing his missions.

The workout is typically performed while wearing a weighted vest, representing the extra burden carried by military personnel on their missions.

The Challenge of Murph

The Murph workout is more than just a physical challenge; it’s a test of character and mental toughness. The sheer volume of exercises, combined with running, demands immense cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. Athletes often find themselves hitting a wall, questioning their ability to continue, but it is during these moments that the true spirit of Murph shines through.

Completing the workout requires dedication, self-discipline, and unwavering determination. Athletes must dig deep into their mental reserves, pushing themselves beyond perceived limits to honor not only the fallen hero but also their own commitment to betterment and self-improvement.

The Community and Spirit of Murph

One of the reasons the Murph workout has become so beloved is the sense of community it fosters. Every year, on Memorial Day, countless CrossFit affiliates and fitness centers around the world come together to perform Murph as a collective tribute to the fallen.

In these events, athletes encourage and support each other, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and shared purpose. Regardless of skill level, age, or background, participants unite under the common goal of honoring the sacrifices made by military personnel and recognizing the importance of resilience and determination in achieving personal goals.

Adaptations and Scaling

The Murph workout is a significant challenge for even the most seasoned athletes, which may seem intimidating for beginners or those with physical limitations. However, the beauty of CrossFit workouts lies in their adaptability and scalability.

To make the Murph workout more accessible, participants can modify the exercises and break down the repetitions into manageable sets. For instance, one can perform half the number of repetitions for each exercise or opt for assisted variations of pull-ups and push-ups. The important aspect is to preserve the spirit of the workout and strive to give one’s best effort within their capabilities.

Training and Preparation

Preparing for the Murph workout requires careful planning and conditioning. As with any demanding exercise routine, proper training is essential to prevent injuries and enhance performance. A combination of cardiovascular training, strength building, and regular practice of the exercises involved in Murph will help participants build the required endurance and stamina.

For running, interval training, long-distance runs, and sprints can be incorporated into the training plan. Strength training, particularly focusing on pull-ups, push-ups, and squats, will aid in building the necessary muscle strength.

Additionally, it’s essential to gradually introduce the weighted vest into training to adapt the body to the additional load. Starting with lighter weights and gradually increasing the load will prevent unnecessary strain on the body.

The Murph Mindset

Beyond the physical preparation, the Murph workout calls for a specific mindset. Participants need to embrace discomfort and embrace the suck as they encounter muscle fatigue and breathlessness. Mental toughness and determination are just as crucial as physical fitness when attempting the Murph workout.

It’s crucial to remember the purpose behind the workout: to pay homage to a fallen hero and reflect on the sacrifices made by men and women in uniform. This motivation will provide the mental strength needed to push through the challenges and complete the workout with integrity and honor.


The Murph workout is more than just a challenging fitness routine; it’s a symbol of honor, sacrifice, and the unyielding human spirit. Inspired by the legacy of Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, this workout exemplifies the resilience of the human body and mind. Through its widespread popularity, the Murph workout has become a unifying force, bringing communities together and reminding us all of the sacrifices made by military personnel in the service of their countries.

As athletes around the world take on this formidable challenge each Memorial Day, they forge a connection with Lieutenant Murphy’s story and the principles he stood for. Completing the Murph workout becomes an act of remembrance, an expression of gratitude, and a testament to the human capacity for greatness.

As you embark on your own Murph journey, remember the words of Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, “The only easy day was yesterday.” Embrace the struggle, cherish the camaraderie, and honor the fallen. The Murph workout is not just an exercise; it’s a powerful tribute to the human spirit and a celebration of life’s potential.

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