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The Real Reason we do the “Murph” workout on Memorial Day

The Real Reason we do the “Murph” workout on Memorial Day

2 min read

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13 May 2023

Crossfitters and athletes worldwide will get together on Memorial Day to commemorate and honor the fallen armed forces without a SEAL-inspired workout to help raise funds for Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

It’s known as the Murph challenge, and you’ll likely have heard of it if you’re into Crossfit, although it’s not exclusively done by them anymore. It’s one of the most physically and mentally demanding workouts you can participate in.

But what is it?

And how did it start?

What is the ‘Murph’ Workout?

The Murph workout is one of Crossfit’s “hero” WODs (workout of the day) - dedicated to commemorating the fallen heroes killed in action. 

The workout involves:

  • One-mile run
  • 100 pull-ups
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 bodyweight squats
  • Another one-mile run
  • And while doing this, you can also wear a 20-pound vest. It’s a physical and mental battle, pushing to the limits of what your body can achieve. 

    How long does it take to do a Murph workout?

    The Murph WOD workout typically takes most cross-fitters around 1 hour to 1.5 hours, but you can take as long as you need to complete it. 

    An extremely fit person can complete it in under 30 minutes, but a good time to aim for is 45 minutes.

    Why do we do the ‘Murph’ workout?

    This Murph exercise is named after Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan in June 2005. 

    It’s probably one of the most challenging exercises you can undertake and reflects the mental and physical. 


    Murphy loved fitness, and he named his go-to, no-equipment workout “body armor” due to the weighted vest that he used. It had all the elements of what we now know as the Murphy workout, works out every part of the body in under an hour, and shows how fit the armed forces must be to serve their country. 

    The origins of the ‘Murph’ workout 

    In 2007, Dr. Joshua Appel gathered his Crossfit gym for a workout to recognize Michael Murphy and the lives of the other troops who have lost their lives. Dr. Appel was the team leader on the rescue mission for Michael Murphy’s body in 2005. 

    In 2010, this became a national fundraiser to help raise money for the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation. The Murph challenge is the primary driver of funds for the foundation.

    Since 2014 they have raised over $2,000,000+ for the Murph challenge alone. You can sign up for the Murph challenge here. 

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