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The Murph Workout

Take part in the trending crossfit challenge built on intensity and repetition this Memorial Day

People running while wearing a Stars and Stripes plate carrier vest.

The Murph Workout Challenge

On Memorial Day, Americans across the country gather to celebrate our many freedoms and remember the brave men and women in uniform who have sacrificed so much to protect them. As one of the nation’s largest military retailers, US Patriot has worked tirelessly to build lifelong, positive relationships with our customers, and part of that effort is giving back to the military community that has given us so much. 

This year, US Patriot is proud to partner with Crossfit Valor in Columbia, SC for the annual Murph Challenge. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned Murph challenger, this article is your one-stop-shop for all the information you need to make the most of The Murph Challenge 2022!

What is the Murph Workout?

If you’ve ever done Crossfit, you’ve probably heard of the Murph Workout. This demanding program is what is known as a “Hero WOD” and can be performed as part of a regular fitness regimen or during the nationwide Murph Challenge (more on this later).

The Murph Workout was first programmed into the Crossfit Games in 2005 and quickly became one of the most performed Hero WODs in Crossfit history.

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Who is the Murph Workout Challenge Namesake?

The Murph Workout is named for US Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. Originally called “Body Armor,” this intense hero workout is performed in memoriam of LT Murphy’s sacrifice during the Global War on Terror.

On this fateful day, LT Murphy and three other Navy SEALs, Marcus Luttrell, Danny Dietz, and Matt Axelson, were pinned down by the militant Mountain Tiger guerrilla group. LT Murphy’s team made a desperate attempt to escape but were ultimately outmanned and outgunned.

Lt Michael P Murphy "Murph"
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Trapped in a ravine and severely injured, the team couldn’t get a clear signal to call for help. It was then that LT Murphy made the brave decision to leave his mountain cover to make the call. Despite being shot in the back by enemy forces, LT Murphy persevered and completed the call for reinforcements.

Of the four SEALs, Luttrell is the only one who made it to safety. For their courage and commitment, Luttrell, Dietz, and Axelson were awarded the Navy Cross, while LT Murphy received the Medal of Honor. The story of these brave Navy SEALs became the inspiration behind the film “Lone Survivor.”

How The Workout has Grown

The Murph Challenge may have humble crossfit beginnings, but after it was adopted in 2005 as part of the official Crossfit Games things have really taken off. The support from CrossFit and the U.S. Military has been the key contribution as to why a group called Forge has been able to grow the event. Their website states the following:

Our Story Forged was born on the Battlefield of Iraq in late 2006. During an intense fire fight in the streets of Ramadi, Iraq, a teammate and close friend sustained catastrophic injuries that left massive burns, and later led to the amputation of one of his limbs. When the team returned stateside, Forged and a few teammates decided to create a tribute shirt to honor their wounded Brother, and to raise some much needed money to help with his recovery. The early support from the military and CrossFit communities has been the key contribution to why Forged has had the unique ability to climb the industry ladder so aggressively. The essence of Forged has always been, and will forever remain deeply rooted in the SEAL Brotherhood and CrossFit community. Without all of our loyal fans and supporters, none of our success would be possible.

It’s All for a Good Cause

The Murph Challenge is the Official annual fundraiser of the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, presented by Forge.  It is also one of the primary means of funding for the Foundation on an annual basis. YOUR support is what drives their success!

Since 2014, Forged® has raised over $1,800,000+ for the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation through The Murph Challenge campaign. In 2021, The Murph Challenge Fundraiser raised more than $300,000 in order to finalize construction on the LT Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum/Sea Cadet Training Facility in Long Island, NY! In addition to that, and ONLY with such overwhelming support and success, the Foundation awarded 34 scholarships in 2021 with the addition of three new scholarships; one at St. Joseph’s College to a Veteran for undergraduate or graduate study and two new scholarships at Rocky Point High School on Long Island in memory of Marine Sgt Robert A. Pole, who was Killed in Action in Iraq.

It is important to remember that The Murph Challenge is more than just a workout. It is a tradition that helps push us, humble us, and allows us the opportunity to dedicate a bit of pain and sweat to honor LT. Michael P. Murphy (SEAL), a man who sacrificed everything he had for our freedom. Join us this year as we continue to help keep his legacy alive through The Murph Challenge campaign.

Once you register, you will not only be pledging to participate in the Hero WOD ‘MURPH’, joining a unique group of participants who pay tribute to LT. Michael P. Murphy, but you will also be contributing to a prestigious organization founded by the Murphy family.

How to do the Murph Workout

When it comes to completing the Murph Hero WOD, there are two schools of thought. The first is for Crossfit purists who believe in completing the workout as prescribed (Rx). While undertaking the Murph Rx deserves some serious respect, the level of difficulty is extremely high. That’s why the Murph Rx is not recommended for Murph challengers who are just starting out.

The second method, called “partitioning,” is much more common. Partitioning gives athletes the freedom to push themselves to their limits while reducing the risk of injury. Successful partitioning includes breaking up reps into segments. Keep reading to learn more about how to structure your workout for maximum efficiency. 

What does the Murph Workout Consist of?

How to Do the Murph Workout
Crossfit Valor members from Columbia, SC taking part in ‘The Murph’ while wearing the Shellback Tactical 1776 Red White and Blue Plate Carrier

The Murph Workout isn’t complicated. The only rules are that it must begin and end with a 1-mile run and all movements must be performed while wearing a 20lb weight vest. The required movements are as follows:

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

How Long Does the Workout Take?

There’s no time limit for completing the Murph, but the average time to completion is 45 minutes. In 2020, professional athlete Hunter McIntyre set a world record for completing the Murph Challenge in 34 minutes and 13 seconds. 

The Murph Workout Strategy

While your workout must always begin and end with a 1-mile run, you can break up your reps any way you like. Our advice is to begin by identifying which movement is most difficult for you, then break up that movement’s reps into easy to manage chunks so you never have to do more than you can handle.

Murph Workout Strategies and techniques
Crossfit Valor member in the midst of the 200 push ups portion of the Murph Workout Challenge

Here are some examples of Murph Workout Strategies:

  • Beginner: Start small with 33 rounds of 3 pull-ups, 6 push-ups, and 9 air squats. Complete one final rep of 1 pull-up, 2 push-ups, and 3 air squats to finish your workout.
  • Intermediate: Modeled after the “Cindy” workout, this strategy calls for 20 reps of 5 pull-ups, 10 pull-ups, and 15 air squats.
  • Experienced: This strategy includes 5 rounds of 20 pull-ups, 40 push-ups, and 60 air squats and is required for athletes competing in the Crossfit Games. 
  • Expert: This strategy is Murph Workout Rx. 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 air squats without partitioning or breaks in between.

If you run into trouble during your workout, consider breaking down your weakest movement even further. For example, if pull-ups are giving you hell, you can do 5 pull-ups, 5 push-ups, 15 air squats, and 5 more push-ups.

What Kind of Weight Vest do I Need for the Murph Workout?

If you have experience with plate carriers or tactical vests, you know they’re not all created equal. You may not need a loaded-out tactical plate carrier for the Murph Workout, but a well-balanced, comfortable weight vest can mean the difference between hitting your workout goals or washing out.

Shellback 1776 Red White and Blue Plate Carrier Vest
The Shellback Tactical 1776 Red, White, and Blue Plate Carrier Vest

The Shellback Tactical Stars and Stripes Plate Carrier is a fan favorite for the Murph Workout. Not only does this unique plate carrier fit standard-sized weight vest plates, but it also comes dressed out in red, white, and blue in honor of those who protect our beautiful nation.

This Murph Workout weight vest is designed for speed and agility, with a low-profile build that allows you to move freely. Adjustable shoulder straps and cummerbund enable a rock-solid fit, while 3D spacer mesh prevents irritation and promotes airflow.

This patriotic plate carrier also features open-top pouches with bungee retention for carrying protein bars and cool rags. Laser-cut MOLLE webbing gives you multiple attachment points for your water supply and modular accessories.

Shop the Vest

How does the Murph Workout Compare to Standard Workouts?

Compared to other Hero WODs, the Murph Workout is a great way to build muscle and burn fat both at the gym and in the comfort of your own home. All you need to do the Murph at home is a 20lb weight vest, pull-up bar, and the commitment to see it through.

Does the Murph Workout Build Muscle?

Murph Pull Ups
Crossfit Valor member taking part in the 200 push-ups portion of ‘The Murph’ workout challenge.

The Murph’s advantage over other Hero WODs is intensity and repetition. The purpose of the Murph is to keep your body moving by shifting from higher to lower intensity workouts without losing momentum. This ensures that your heart rate stays well within the optimal zone so you can burn more fat and build stronger muscles with minimal wasted of energy.

When is the Murph Workout Challenge 2022?

You can perform the Murph Workout any day of the year, but the official Murph Workout Challenge occurs on May 30th, 2022, as part of Memorial Day weekend. The Murph Challenge is an annual fundraiser that benefits the LT Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

In the past, funding from The Murph Challenge has gone toward building the LT Michael P Murphy Navy SEAL Museum and Sea Cadet Training Facility in Long Island, as well as awarding academic scholarships at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels.

Registration for The Murph Challenge began on April 1st, 2022 and is ongoing; just head over to and become a part of this Memorial Day tradition!

Shop the Vest

If you’d like to read more about the Murph Workout, Crossfit Valor, and how U.S. Patriot is working to bring more awareness to this terrific initiative on Memorial Day, click here.

If you enjoyed this article, let us know in the comments section. You might also enjoy reading ‘The Ultimate Military Workout‘.

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