Murph Prep

Practical goals for scaling & prepping for Murph
CJ Lyons
May 20, 2023
Murph Prep

Alright team. Here we are. One week out from Memorial Day Murph. For most of this this is the first time completing Murph, so let me hit you with just a little bit of who Lt. Michael Murphy is and why we're doing what we're doing.

LT. Michael P. Murphy
United States Navy (SEAL)
May 7, 1976 – June 28, 2005

LT. Michael P. Murphy (SEAL) was the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wings, tasked with finding a key anti-coalition militia commander near Asadabad, Afghanistan. Shortly after inserting into the objective area, the SEALs were spotted by three goat herders who were initially detained and then released. It is believed the goat herders immediately reported the SEALs’ presence to Taliban fighters.

A fierce gun battle ensued on the steep face of the mountain between the SEALs and a much larger enemy force. Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.

Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire. This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy. While continuing to be fired upon, Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. At one point, he was shot in the back causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in. Severely wounded, LT. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.

LT. Murphy fought on, allowing one member of his team (Marcus Luttrell) to escape, before he was killed. For his selfless actions, LT. Michael Murphy was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on October 27, 2007. We honor his sacrifice and memory through The Murph Challenge. Find out more about Michael Murphy at the Memorial Foundation created in his name.

Here some simple, but actionable steps to take leading up to Memorial Day.

  1. Sign up for a heat! Don't be scared or discouraged that you aren't going to complete the workout. Yes, it's hard, and yes theres some symbolism that makes it seem more challenging than normal, but we prepare for this every day! Every day you come to they gym, we're completing workouts that are just as hard. We will modify everything in the workout to be specific and tangible to where you are currently as an athlete. We'll track our progress, and retest next year. This is how we see some real life progress. Everyone should complete Murph!
  2. Keep training. Don't be that guy that comes to the gym once and then jumps right into a workout like this. The physical demands on your body are high, and require a gradual build in capacity over time.
  3. Hydrate adequately: Stay well-hydrated before, during, and after the Murph. Dehydration can negatively affect your performance and recovery. This starts NOW! Start fueling your body this week, not the day prior.
  4. Fuel your body: Consume a balanced meal with carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats before the Murph to provide your body with the necessary energy.
  5. Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable workout attire and appropriate footwear.
  6. Listen to your body: Pay attention to any signs of fatigue or pain during the Murph. If necessary, take short breaks or modify the exercises to prevent injury and finish the workout safely.
  7. Have fun! Do this with an attitude of gratitude. If not, it will be a grind. We need to have some mental toughness. It makes us stronger. Murph will test that.

Here are some actionable ways I'd like to see our athletes modifying Murph. Set a goal, and stick to it.

True RX

1 Mile Run

100 Pull Ups

200 Push Ups

300 Air Squats

1 Mile Run

*wear a vest

Partitioned ‘Murph’:

Complete the same distance runs and amount of reps as RX ‘Murph’ but partition the pull ups, push up and squats into rounds –

20 rounds of

5 pull ups

10 push ups

15 air squats

10 rounds of

10 pull ups

20 push ups

30 squats etc.

This version of ‘Murph’ is a lot more forgiving, slightly less daunting and will allow you to get through the workout slightly faster. Don’t underestimate it though – its still a toughy!

Scaled ‘Murph’:

As with everything we do we can scale in several different ways. We can scale movements, loads, time domains and the amount of reps. Scaling the movements of ‘Murph’ is simple, pull ups to jumping pull ups or ring rows, push ups to box push ups or knee push ups and the squats to a repeatable range of motion.

Scaling the rep scheme is also simple. A scaled version might look like:

Half Murph

Half mile run

50 pull ups

100 push ups

150 air squats

Half mile run

1/4 Murph

1/4 mile run

25 pull ups

50 push ups

75 air squats

1/4 mile run

Totally partitioned ‘Murph’:

For some breaking down a long ‘chipper’ style workout makes it infinitely more manageable – this includes the run. Therefore, we could opt to partition the whole workout:

20 rounds of:

Run 160m

5 Pull Ups

10 Push Ups

15 Air Squats

Whichever variation of ‘Murph’ you opt for make sure you consider how the workout is supposed to be completed. ‘Murph’ shouldn’t take you over an hour but you shouldn’t finish it in 20 either. You shouldn’t be stood looking at the bar or resting on your knees for minutes at a time but you also shouldn’t hit the whole thing unbroken. So, make sure you pick a scaling option that suits your ability but one that maintains the pure suck that ‘Murph’ should bring – if in doubt ask your coach. And remember to hit it hard, no matter what!

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