Memorial Day Murph – Strategy and Scaling

 

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it “Body Armor”. After his passing, it was referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

(For more on this story: read the book or watch the movie Lone Survivor based on the events of Michael Murphy’s last mission)

 

Date/Time:

This year CFSA is doing Murph on Saturday, May 26th. We’ll be holding our regular classes at 9:30am and 10:30am. Afterwards, we’ll have a cookout and potluck at 11:30am.

Scaling:

This is a long workout. Typically it should take no less than 30 minutes and could take up to an hour for advanced athletes who are doing the Rx version (or with a vest).

This year, we are going with the following versions of Murph:

Alpha (Rx Only) ** Bravo Charlie Delta (Team)
Run 1 mile Run 0.75 mile Run 0.5 mile Run 1 mile (both)
100 Pull-Ups 75 Pull-Ups 50 Pull-Ups 50 Pull-Ups (each)
200 Push-Ups 150 Push-Ups 100 Push-Ups 100 Push-Ups (each)
300 Squats 200 Squats 150 Squats 150 Squats (each)
Run 1 mile Run 0.75 mile Run 0.5 mile Run 1 mile (both)
 

Do this if you have been training 4-5 days/week consistently for a year or more. Consider adding a vest only if you have done a full Murph without the vest before. Rx’d only.

 

Recommended if you have been training 3-5 days/week for over 6 months. Open to more experienced athletes. Can be scaled further thru movement substitutions.

 

Recommended if you have been training for less than 6 months. Open to all. Can be scaled further thru movement substitutions.

 

Recommended if you have been training for less than 6 months. Open to all. Can be scaled further thru movement substitutions.

 

If you cannot run, you may substitute with rowing:

  • Alpha: 2000m row
  • Bravo: 1500m row
  • Charlie: 1000m row
  • Delta: 2000m row (both partners row this distance in parallel)

Any of the above versions, except for ALPHA, can be scaled further with the following substitutions:

  • Pull-Up → Banded Pull-Up or Ring Row
  • Push-Up → Knee Push-Up
  • Air Squat → KB Deadlift (in case of a knee injury)

 

Strategy:

The old school Rx version of Murph called for a mile run, followed by all 100 pull-ups, then all 200 pull-ups, then all 300 air squats, and finally a second mile run. That is a VERY difficult version that is only recommended for highly advanced athletes (3+ years of CrossFit) with high proficiency in gymnastics movements.

Another RX way to approach this workout is to break up the bodyweight movements into “rounds”. The most common approach is the following:

Run 1 mile

Then perform 20 rounds of:

  • 5 Pull-Ups
  • 10 Push-Ups
  • 15 Air Squats

Run 1 mile

 

Note that this approach can also be used for Bravo, Charlie or Delta.

Bravo:

Run 0.75 mile. Then perform 15 rounds of 5 pull-ups / 10 push-ups / 15 air squats. Run 0.75 mile.

Charlie:

Run 0.5 mile. Then perform 10 rounds of 5 pull-ups / 10 push-ups / 15 air squats. Run 0.5 mile.

Delta:

Run 1 mile with your partner. Alternate 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups / 10 push-ups / 15 air squats (each partner doing 10 rounds). Run 1 mile.

 

Choose your version and scaling option(s) wisely. If this takes you 20 mins or less, it was probably too easy. At the same time, you don’t want to be taking breaks that are over a minute long between sets of pull-ups or push-ups, that’s too hard and likely not safe. Remember you can always change your scaling option mid-way through the workout if that sets you up for a better chance of success.

See you on Saturday.