Quaratine “Murph”

Push-up

Quarantine “Murph

Memorial Day Weekend is just around the corner and nothing is going to stop us from getting our “Murph” in. But how do we do “Murph” while we are on lock-down? Well, our stay at home orders still allow us to work out outdoors, and even though we may not have any Pull-up bars handy, we can still make substitutions for this movement. This article will go through the variations of doing Murph without a Pull-up bar and the time tested tips on how to get through this awful yet rewarding workout.

Knee Push-up

But, in case you didn’t know, “Murph” is a Hero Workout that CrossFitters around the world have been doing for over a decade. It’s:


For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

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”. From here on it will be 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.

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it. (courtesy of crossfit.com)

Squat

No Pull-up Variations of “Murph

Most of us don’t have a pull-up bar handy, and since most of us haven’t done kipping pull-ups in a while or strict pull-ups for that matter I highly recommend not doing actual pull-ups for “Murph” this time around. The high volume of the pull-ups required in “Murph” can cause a nasty overuse injury if you have not done pull-ups regularly over the past two months.

So instead, do one of these variations:

Bent Over Dumbbell Row

Variation 1:
1 mile Run
100 Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

Or,

Sit-up

Variation 2:
1 mile Run
100 Sit-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

Or, my favorite No Pull-up variation:

Burpee 🤮

Variation 3:
1 mile Run
100 Burpees
200 Sit-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

First Time Doing “Murph

If you’re doing “Murph” for the first time and you are new to CrossFit it is highly recommended that you do a “Half-Murph” and you scale down the movements into their easier forms:

For time:
800 meter Run
50 Dumbbell Rows
100 Knee Push-ups
150 Squats
800 meter Run

Partitioning the Movements

Notice that the workout says that you can partition the Pull-ups, Push-ups and Squats as needed. This is smart and this is the way “Murph” was originally intended to be done. Splitting up the movements in short and manageable sets helps you keep moving and avoids fatigue. Therefore, if you were doing the full Murph you would partition the movements this way:

20 Rounds of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats

Another popular way is:

20 rounds of:
5 Push-ups
5 Pull-ups
5 Push-ups
15 Squats

The latter version helps tremendously with avoiding fatigue, especially if you tend to gas out on the Push-ups quickly. Use this if you are doing one of the Murph Variations 1 or 2 above with the 200 Push-ups. For example:

20 rounds of:
5 Push-ups
5 Sit ups
5 Push-ups
15 Squats

Pacing is the Key to “Murph

As you might have gathered “Murph” is a VERY LONG WORKOUT. So treat it as such. You have to go at it at a moderate and even pace right from the beginning. Treat the first 1 mile Run as a warm-up, starting off easy and keeping a moderate pace throughout the run. When you get to the bodyweight movements of the workout (the Push-ups, Squats, etc.), continue with this pace, going nice and easy, concentrating on good form and technique. If you concentrate on giving each rep and each movement your best effort in form and execution you will automatically pace yourself and avoid burnout too early. I guarantee you this.

But if your muscles fatigue to the point where you cannot move them anymore then take a break, a sip of water, but don’t sit around for too long. Your breaks should be no longer than 10-15 seconds, and if they are longer than that it means you are going too fast or your sets are too long. In this case slow down your pace even more or do smaller sets of work.

Pace yourself with small, easy sets of Push-ups

Toward the end of the workout, during the last 2-3 rounds of the bodyweight movements, you should start picking up the pace. When you are finished with the bodyweight movements you may want to burst out the door quickly to do the last 1 mile Run. This would be a mistake. You will find that you need time to recover after the massive amount of reps that you just completed. So start off that last mile run at a comfortable pace in order to recover. This recovery period usually lasts 200 to 400 meters, after that your running will start to feel better. But don’t push it yet. Wait until the last 400 meters of the run to give it everything you got. When you do you, go full blast! Give it your all at the end and when it’s over you’ll be glad you did it.

Have fun on “Murph” this weekend and remember to hydrate before, during and after the workout. Stay safe, everyone!

One thought on “Quaratine “Murph”

  1. Stan says:

    I have a large tree in the garden that I can attach TRX style straps to. While the branches are not strong enough to hold my weight completely, the trunk is fine to tie a rope around.
    Holding the handles set at head height, putting feet on the trunk allows a pseudo TRX style lat-pull-up. Even partitioning Murph into 10 rounds was hard enough. Kudos to everyone who does it.

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