The Murph CrossFit Workout, Explained and Scaled for Every Experience Level

Each Memorial Day, CrossFitters emerge from their containers able to rumble. Totaling a two-mile journey — plus 600 body weight reps whereas sporting a weighted vest — the Murph CrossFit exercise will problem even essentially the most hardcore athletes.

Murph sandwiches 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 air squats between two one-mile runs. Should you’re performing this WOD (exercise of the day) as written, you’ll be sporting a weighted vest the entire time. This standard benchmark exercise will not be for the faint of coronary heart. It’s designed to check you and push your health to the max, particularly within the warmth of a rising summer season.

A group of people doing push-ups.
Credit score: Mangkorn Danggura / Shutterstock

Right here, you’ll study all the things you might want to find out about how to survive Murph, in addition to methods for Murph to attempt as a newbie and in any respect ranges of your coaching.

Editor’s Notice: The content material on BarBend is supposed to be informative in nature, however it shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. When beginning a brand new coaching routine and/or food plan, it’s at all times a good suggestion to seek the advice of a trusted medical skilled. We’re not a medical useful resource. The opinions and articles on this web site are usually not supposed to be used as analysis, prevention, and/or therapy of well being issues. They aren’t substitutes for consulting a certified medical skilled.

What Is the Murph Exercise?

A traditional WOD in CrossFit circles, Murph first appeared on CrossFit’s web site in 205 as an official Hero WOD. It was named after Navy Seal Lt. Michael Murphy, who died that yr in Afghanistan. Murphy reportedly used to carry out a model of this exercise, which he referred to as Physique Armor.

In its present iteration, Murph entails three body weight actions — the pull-up, the push-up, and the air squat — carried out between two one-mile runs. You’ll do 600 reps complete, along with a grand complete of three,200 meters of working (that’s two miles).

The concept right here is to develop the cardiovascular capability to run a mile at a stable clip, then cease and carry out a really excessive variety of bodyweight exercises. You’ll have to recuperate from these very effectively with the intention to get again to your run and recover from the end line.

There’s one other twist to Murph: you might want to end every train earlier than transferring on to the subsequent. So, you might want to end your first mile earlier than making an attempt your pull-ups. You’re required to finish your pull-ups earlier than beginning your push-ups. Then, end all of your push-ups earlier than beginning your air squats. You’ll be able to’t begin your second run till you full all 300 air squats.

Particularly with out the choice of skipping round to provide your muscle tissues a break, Murph makes for a particularly tough WOD.

The Exercise

Right here’s what it appears to be like like, all written out. 

For time:

  • One-Mile Run
  • 100 Pull-Ups
  • 200 Push-Ups
  • 300 Air Squats
  • One-Mile Run

Ladies: 15-pound weighted vest | Males: 20-pound weighted vest*

Whereas CrossFit permits trans athletes to compete with their cisgender friends, no weight prescriptions are offered for nonbinary athletes. Athletes of any gender can scale the load as wanted, and even carry out Murph with no weighted vest.

What Are Good Murph Occasions?

Simply finishing Murph is spectacular all by itself. Many athletes begin off their CrossFit journey aspiring to grasp merely one pull-up. Think about the accomplishment of having the ability to do 100 pull-ups, particularly as a small a part of a a lot greater exercise. For lots of CrossFitters, time isn’t all that related — with a WOD like Murph, the purpose could also be to easily end.

A person doing pull-ups in the gym.
Credit score: ME Picture / Shutterstock

However when you’ve gotten one Murph underneath your belt, you may wish to begin coaching for subsequent Memorial Day. Listed below are some occasions you may wish to purpose for, primarily based in your common expertise stage.

  • Elite: underneath 35 minutes
  • Superior: between 35 and 40 minutes
  • Intermediate: between 40 and 60 minutes
  • Newbie: between 60 and 85 minutes

Do not forget that these classes are broad.  A sensible evaluation of your stage for this particular exercise could also be totally different than your health stage usually. You is perhaps a really superior lifter however hate working. Account to your present weaknesses while you’re setting a purpose for your self. You’ll set your self up for much more success.

Methods for the Murph Exercise

Whether or not you’re building your own CrossFit WOD or doing a  traditional, you’re going to wish to go in with a plan. That’s quadruply true for a beast like Murph. The very last thing you wish to do is dive into the deep of this powerhouse of a exercise with no clear thought of the way you’re going to get from the beginning line to the end.

Positive, the plan may exit the window halfway by the primary mile. However in CrossFit, you’ll have a plan to again up your backup plan — so it’ll all be okay.

Tempo Your self

Very like in so many others, pacing will prevent on this exercise. You don’t wish to come out of the gate too robust and flame out by making an attempt to earn a PB (private finest) in your mile time. As an alternative, run a gentle tempo you can comfortably maintain for at the very least two miles

On precise recreation day, you may discover that the tempo that will normally be snug feels approach too quick. That’s okay — gradual it down for those who want. Nerves could also be an enormous issue. Shake them off with confidence. It’s higher to begin out conservatively and pace up towards the top than to burn all of your power on the primary cost.

Equally, have a plan on easy methods to break up your reps. You received’t wish to plan to do 50-rep units of pull-ups — not if you wish to really perform by the remainder of your exercise. However you may plan to interrupt your units up into greater chunks throughout the air squat portion.

Bear in mind: as you get extra drained, the strikes get simpler. For many athletes, pull-ups are more durable than push-ups, that are more durable than air squats. However you’ll be least recent by the point your air squats roll round. So, you’ll should get to know your self fairly effectively to map out an efficient plan.

Observe high-rep sets of your body weight strikes within the weeks main as much as Murph. Do you utterly burn out after a 20-rep set of push-ups? If sure, then that’s not the rep scheme for you. Lower your max effort into thirds or quarters. 

If you realize your push-up endurance faucets out round 25 reps, plan to do units of eight, 10, and even 5 reps. Intention for a rep scheme the place you don’t want greater than 10 to 30 seconds of relaxation between units.

Should you really feel your self pushing too exhausting towards the start of your units, back off. Higher to decide on to go slower early on somewhat than be compelled to take extraordinarily lengthy, unmanageable breaks later within the exercise.

Elevate Heavy

The extra anaerobic energy you’re in a position to generate, the higher it’s possible you’ll carry out at Murph — at the very least, that’s what’s been steered by a 2020 examine of 11 males doing Murph with a mean of three years expertise with CrossFit. (1)

Analysis means that on common, CrossFitters’ complete Murph time is usually spent on body weight workout routines, somewhat than working occasions. (1) That is sensible: 600 body weight reps for time is a a lot greater stretch for many athletes than working one mile (twice).

Apparently, the extra anaerobic energy your physique can generate, the higher you’re more likely to do at this body weight portion of the exercise. So sure, follow the body weight actions to get an thought of what number of units it is best to break your exercise into. 

However don’t overlook to load the barbell good and heavy, too. The extra energy you generate within the exercises, the higher you’re coaching your muscle tissues to generate the power they’ll have to throughout essentially the most grueling parts of Murph.

Get Comfy Working

Simply because most of your Murph time is more likely to come out of your body weight workout routines doesn’t imply your run occasions are unimportant. Observe working each lengthy runs and fast tempo runs. If two miles is the longest you’ve ever run in your life, you’ll wish to get extra working underneath your belt earlier than tackling Murph.

Don’t simply follow working — get used to working interrupted by calisthenics training. Possibly meaning dropping and giving your self 20 each time you hit an entire lap across the monitor. It’d imply stopping the treadmill belt mid-mile to bang out some air squats or hopping up onto the pull-up bar

Two people in sports wear running on the street.
Credit score: oneinchpunch / Shutterstock

Should you’re planning to put on a weighted vest, get snug sporting one for lengthy durations of time throughout your run. Ensure you discover the shirt that your vest matches finest with in order that the match isn’t chafing or too tight. Identical to you need to follow your type when coaching with a different barbell or different coaching implement, transferring with a weighted vest is a ability that calls for refinement.

Drink (Numerous) Water

Even for those who’re doing Murph within the lifeless of winter, you’re going to interrupt a sweat. However for those who’re like so many different CrossFitters and are sweating it out in punishing early summer season warmth, you’ll wish to pay much more consideration than regular to your hydration.

The very last thing you need is to your efficiency to endure as a result of your physique doesn’t have sufficient water. It’s not solely disagreeable — it may be downright harmful to push by dehydration to finish a exercise. 

Ensure you’re ingesting at the very least two or three eight-ounce glasses of water within the hours main as much as your exercise. Stay hydrated while working out by sipping water each 10 or 20 minutes.

Scale Murph for Freshmen

Murph will not be simple, however that doesn’t imply that athletes who’re simply starting CrossFit can’t partake within the Memorial Day problem. If you wish to add this CrossFit exercise to your repertoire, don’t fear: you may. It’ll simply take some changes.

Modify the Actions

Initially, the actions themselves will be difficult. For instance, some athletes could not but have conquered their first pull-up. 100 would then appear inconceivable — however you may nonetheless do Murph. 

People doing air squats in the gym.
Credit score: – Yuri A / Shutterstock

Whether or not your joints can’t deal with the run or your knees want one thing extra forgiving than 300 air squats, listed here are some methods to change your exercise to finish Murph.

Working Options

  • One mile (1,600 meters) on a rowing machine
  • One mile (1,600 meters) on a ski erg

Pull-Up Options

Push-Up Options

Air Squat Options

Skip the Weight

This one’s easy — you don’t have to put on a weighted vest throughout Murph. As an alternative, simply full your run as you usually would. 

Don’t fear about not being challenged. With or with no weighted vest, Murph is a problem even for elite athletes. You’ll get loads of gritty coaching stimulus from the mix of two miles and 600 complete reps of body weight workout routines.

Quarter Murph

This model of Murph type of explains itself: you’ll be performing one-quarter of the exercise as written. It’ll go like this:

  • 0.25-Mile Run
  • 25 Pull-Ups
  • 50 Push-Ups
  • 75 Air Squats
  • 0.25 Mile Run

On this model, you’ll solely be performing 150 complete reps sandwiched between a complete of a half mile. However don’t get the flawed impression. That is nonetheless an intense exercise with a comparatively excessive rep depend — particularly if pull-ups aren’t your forte otherwise you’ve simply realized to grasp the push-up.

When you’ve obtained over a yr of CrossFit underneath your belt otherwise you’ve carried out Quarter Murph a few occasions, it might be time to up the ante. You’ll be able to nonetheless modify the actions if you might want to, however you’ll doubtless be capable to deal with extra quantity than you might as a newbie. Right here’s how.

Murph in Rounds

By finishing Murph in rounds, you’ll be taking the Quarter Murph and multiplying it. So as a substitute of doing Quarter Murph and calling it a day, carry out Quarter Murph 4 occasions in a row. In doing so, you’ll full one “full” Murph.

The advantage of splitting it into rounds is that you just’ll be doing the identical complete quantity however taking extra breaks in between. For instance, as a substitute of getting to do all 100 pull-ups earlier than transferring on to push-ups, you solely should get to 25 reps directly. Then, you’ll have an enormous break from pulling when you do push-ups, air squats, and one other run.

Half Murph

As soon as once more, this one is what it feels like — you’ll carry out half of Murph. That interprets into the next:

  • 0.5-Mile Run
  • 50 Pull-Ups
  • 100 Push-Ups
  • 150 Air Squats
  • 0.5 Mile Run

It will not be the total model, however it’s actually nothing to show up your nostril at. You’ll be getting in a full mile run and 300 body weight train reps — not too shabby.

Extra superior athletes may flip to this model after they’re somewhat quick on time and wish to get in some intense coaching with out spending fairly as a lot time.

Scale Murph for Superior Athletes

If you realize your CrossFit field in and out, likelihood is you’ve conquered the total model of Murph at the very least a couple of times. Positive, not everybody opts to do it — however when you’ve got, you may already be chasing the subsequent large factor.

Listed below are some methods to scale up Murph.

Incorporate a Hill

Whenever you’re working outdoors, you’re usually going to come across some ebbs and flows in your incline stage. Some streets are hillier than others, whereas racing tracks are typically extra constantly flat. And for those who’re doing Murph on a treadmill, you’ll have direct management of your incline.

No matter the place you’re doing this WOD, you may increase your workout intensity by including hills to your run. This may imply working half a mile in a special, hillier a part of your neighborhood. Then, run the opposite half-mile again to your private home or health club the place your pull-up bar is positioned. You’ll profit from each an incline and decline run.

A person on an inclined treadmill.
Credit score: Microgen / Shutterstock

With a treadmill, the method is a bit more simple. Set the machine to the next incline than you usually run with, however just remember to can preserve a run somewhat than a quick stroll or gradual jog. Merely do your total mile that approach (and repeat within the again half of the exercise).

Add Some Progressions

Growing the depth of your run is one factor. Add one other layer of depth to your body weight strikes, and Murph will tackle a complete new which means of difficult. Strive the next body weight progressions on for measurement: 

  • 10 Muscle-Ups + 90 Pull-Ups
  • 20 Plyometric Push-Ups + 180 Push-Ups
  • 30 One-Legged Squats (15 per aspect) OR 30 Jump Squats + 270 Air Squats

You’ll be able to select to solely progress one or two actions, or you may select to do it to all three. Simply be sure to’re being attentive to what modifications you employ to maintain correct monitor of your time.

Extra on CrossFit Coaching

The Murph CrossFit exercise isn’t any stroll within the park. As an alternative, you’ll be powering your approach by two one-mile runs, separated by 600 grueling body weight reps unfold throughout three difficult compound exercises: the pull-up, the push-up, and the air squat.

Need much more of a deep dive into the large world of CrossFit? When you’ve carried out Murph, attempt these WODs on for measurement.


  1. Carreker, Ja’Deon D., Grosicki, Gregory J. Physiological Predictors of Efficiency on the CrossFit “Murph” Problem. Sports activities (Basel). 2020; 8(7).

Featured Picture: Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock

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