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Murph Hero WOD
1 mile Run
1 mile Run
All with a Weight Vest (20/14 lb)
Okay, it’s been a while since I posted the start of the Hero Workout Series, and yes, it feels like it’s about time I share the next one.
Honestly, “Murph” is such a staple workout, and it was probably more appropriate to start this series with it, but oh well, here we are.
If you are even a little bit into CrossFit, you most likely know that “Murph” was one of the events in two consecutive years of the CrossFit Games – 2015 and 2016.
And if you are a little more into CrossFit, you probably remember the damage that “Murph” caused in 2015 to two of the best female athletes – 2011 and 2012 CrossFit Games champ Annie Thorisdottir, and this year’s 2nd Kara Webb.
Moral of the story?
Don’t take “Murph” lightly.
No question – it is not only one of the most famous CrossFit workouts, but one of the most challenging as well.
The Hero WOD, first published on the CrossFit website in August 2005, was named “Murph” in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, NY, killed in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005. Since then the WOD became especially popular as a tribute on Memorial Day in the USA.
So much with details.
Let’s get into the winning strategies and the best ways to approach them!
The rookie mistakes you need to avoid:
- Sprinting the first mile. Just don’t. You have so much ahead of you, save your energy.
- Not breaking up the sets from the start. I’ll keep repeating – break up the sets early on.
- Wearing the vest: Know your limits, and if you are not a competitive athlete, you better skip the vest. But hey, if you are on that level and you know you can push it through, by all means, go ahead! In fact, vests are an awesome little gear to implement in your workouts, regardless of whether you are an advanced athlete or a beginner (just not in such volume as in “Murph”).
Prepare your body for the challenge!
Few days before practice doing some larger calisthenics sets of the exercises, so your body gets a taste of the volume of the workout.
If you know you have to scale the workout – figure out your exact scaling choices ahead of it.
Scaling the pull-ups
If you need to scale the pull-ups, I suggest either ring rows or banded pull-ups.
Scaling the push-ups
Push-ups: Elevated push-ups all the way! You can always adjust the height of the surface to make them easier or harder, depending on your level.
Scaling the air squats
Squats: Well, you’re kinda going to have to suffer through those as they are. Your only choice here is to reduce the rep number.
Okay, that was harsh! You could actually scale them by doing box squats: use a higher bench/chair to sit down and get up.
Fuel up before the workout!
My ideal time to eat before a workout is around 2 hours prior, but everyone is different.
Most commonly 1.5 to 2.5 hours before starting is optimal (you don’t wanna run on an empty, nor on a full stomach).
Be sure to get some complex carbs in you, so you are full of energy at the start!
Make sure you have your water bottle within reach the whole time!
Whenever exercising for prolonged periods of time and when you know you’re gonna sweat a ton, it’s a good idea to replenish your minerals with an electrolyte drink.
I’m not a big fan of any store-bought sports drinks, but I love to prepare them myself.
Check out my fave electrolyte drink recipe here.
Choose the best conditions possible.
Avoid heat and doing the sets in direct sunlight. You saw what happened to Annie and Kara, right?!
Gear yourself up!
100 Pull-ups take a toll on everyone’s hands. Check out Amazon for some gymnastic wraps! They are a life/hand-savior! These are the 2 best I’ve tried in terms of comfort, grip, and durability.
Split the sets!
Do the 2016 CrossFit Games version of Murph Hero WOD!
1 mile run
5 rounds of:
60 air squats
1 mile run
Rotating the movements will help you to avoid fatiguing one muscle group and getting stuck.
Even when you’re doing a split like that, don’t hesitate to break up the sets from early on.
Believe me, you don’t want to sprint through the first round, and then find yourself unable to move your arms for the life of you.
Be smart and pace yourself!
Don’t do sets till failure, break them up before that.
Finally, remember that when it comes to long endurance workouts, the mind plays a huge role.
“The mind always fails first, not the body. The secret is to make your mind work for you, not against you.”-Arnold Schwarzenegger
Okay, I might not be the biggest fan of Arnold, but that quote is honestly what’s pushed me through countless endurance sessions.
Whenever you feel like quitting, just remind yourself that it is just your mind failing you, not your body! And, come on, you are stronger than that!
If you enjoy the Murph Hero WOD, you should definitely browse through some of the following and bookmark them for later:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Murph workout?
Murph is a CrossFit Hero WOD that consists of a 1-mile run, 100 Pull-Ups, 200 Push-Ups, 300 Air Squats, and a 1-mile run. Do the RX version, you will do this workout with a 20lbs weighted vest.
What is the world record for Murph?
Athlete Hunter McIntyre set a world record during the Murph Challenge 2020 when he performed the notoriously difficult CrossFit workout in an impressive 34 minutes 13 seconds.
Is Murph a chipper?
It can be if you want to break the workout apart into multiple rounds. For example, you can do 10 rounds of 10 Pull-Ups, 20 Push-Ups, and 30 Air Squats.
What about you?
- Do you have a favorite Hero WOD?
- What is your Murph CrossFit record?
- What are your tricks to push through a tough workout?