Power Through Your First CrossFit Murph Workout with These Effective Modifications

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  • Post last modified:September 25, 2023
  • tags the exact same. But, in English, rewrite the English text content thoroughly and creatively by replacing every expression, wording, or grammatical construct with its synonym or equivalent. Keep any foreign language, technical jargon, acronyms, or names the same. Ensure that the information stays the same and the English text remains fluent and idiomatic English. Remember to keep the HTML tags and their content exactly as they are. DO NOT WRITE ANY NOTES OR DISCLAIMERS. Rewrite the text while keeping the HTML the same: “CrossFit is recognized for its brutal workouts of the day (WODs), but what many beginners don’t know is that some workouts go beyond the sport’s usual intensity. These are known as “hero WODs,” and they generally pay tribute to a deceased member of the military, making them more meaningful than the ordinary sweat session. Among the toughest and most notorious? The Murph CrossFit exercise.

    Origin of the Murph CrossFit Exercise

    “The Murph WOD is a hero exercise named after Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy,” explains Blake Shutterly, a CrossFit trainer at NEOU Fitness. “It is one of the most demanding exercises you will ever do — most hero exercises are. They’re not only physically challenging but also mentally challenging. Most CrossFit gyms around the world perform the Murph challenge on Memorial Day.” Once a year is pretty standard, she says, but some gyms will schedule the CrossFit Murph exercise on other holidays or even on a regular day to test members’ limits.

    The Official Murph Exercise

    What does Murph WOD involve, exactly? The CrossFit Murph exercise consists of the following:

    • One-mile run
    • 100 pull-ups
    • 200 push-ups,
    • 300 squats
    • Another one-mile run

    All of these are done in succession. Not surprisingly, that last mile run is challenging. “The second run is where you have to remind yourself time and time again why you’re doing the exercise,” says Shutterly. “Take one step at a time and just keep going. You’re going to want to stop, but the feeling that you get when you finish that last mile, knowing that you gave every bit of effort you had left, is an unparalleled feeling.”

    The most difficult aspect of the Murph WOD is the sheer amount and duration of the exercise. Therefore, the Murph CrossFit exercise is probably best suited for experienced WOD-ers rather than complete fitness beginners still learning proper technique and building strength and stamina. Regardless of whether it’s your first or tenth Murph WOD, though, strategic planning can help ensure you complete the entire thing.

    How to Divide the Murph CrossFit WOD for Beginners

    Each exercise set can be divided in order to make the Murph WOD achievable for the average person

    If you choose to split the representatives, ensure that you monitor the number of groups you have completed on a notepad. An alternative approach to decrease the intensity of the Murph CrossFit workout is to divide it evenly. This is an excellent option for individuals who are new to the Murph workout of the day or individuals who have not yet perfected the exercises.

    As with all hero WODs, your mentality is crucial. “You can anticipate your arms to begin to fail on the push-ups, and your legs to transform into Jell-O from the squats,” says Shutterly. “Your brain will desire you to stop before your physical body does, so it’s vital to recall the larger meaning behind the workout, and that will always keep you going.” And trust, it’s worthwhile to reach the conclusion. “It’s truly rewarding when you complete knowing you gave it your utmost and pushed harder than you normally would in a regular workout,” says Shutterly.

    To fulfill your fitness level, contemplate using one (or all) of the below adjustments. Then, complete the Murph CrossFit workout with another one-mile run.

    You’ll require: A resistance band and a plyo box

    Murph CrossFit Workout Pull-Up Modifications

    If you’ve never attempted pull-ups before, Shutterly says it’s a good concept to try them for the first time under the guidance of a coach to ensure your form is correct and prevent harm. Though there are some individuals who can do the 100 pull-ups in the Murph WOD without a problem, you’ll probably need to modify the exercise in order to complete this volume of repetitions.

    Banded Pull-Up

    Instead of strict pull-ups, many athletes choose the kipping version, which employs momentum to make completing more repetitions easier, or utilize a resistance band. “Using a band adds some assistance to a regular pull-up and allows you to mainly use your upper body,” says Shutterly. The thicker the band, the more assistance you’ll receive.

    A. Loop the elastic band over the pull-up bar and pull one end through the other, creating a loop. Put one foot through the loop and assume a “dead hang” position, with arms fully extended.

    B. Contract lats while bending arms to pull body up to the bar, keeping elbows close to sides and avoiding swinging. Continue to pull up until chin is above the bar, then gradually lower down to the starting position.

    Jumping Pull-Up

    If you don’t have access to a stretch band or simply want to try something a little different while powering through the pull-up portion of the Murph WOD, try modifying with a jumping pull-up. “A jumping pull-up is another scale down that lets the athlete jump with their legs to get their chin over the bar,” says Shutterly. “It still requires pulling, but a little less since you’re using the power from your lower body.”

    A. Arrange a container beneath the pull-up bar in a position that allows for an easy jump and landing on it, at a height suitable for maintaining a grip on the bar throughout the movement. Step onto the box with hands resting on the bar, with a distance between them that is equal to the width of your shoulders.

    B. Jump upwards until your chin is slightly above the bar, then contract your back muscles and arms to hold the position momentarily. Slowly lower yourself down until your feet touch the box, returning to the starting position.

    Modifications for Push-Ups in the Murph CrossFit Workout

    Now, it’s time to move on to the next part of the Murph WOD: push-ups. For individuals new to push-ups, consider trying a modification, such as using a box or a resistance band. “I prefer these two variations because they allow you to maintain proper push-up form without resorting to dropping your legs or knees to the ground,” she suggests. “This helps engage your core, and the core is crucial for most movements.” This means that you can still reap the full benefits of the exercises even if you’re not doing the original version of the CrossFit Murph workout.

    Even if these variations of push-ups seem easy, don’t start too intensely right away. “If you’re doing regular push-ups, be wise about the number of reps you do at once,” advises Shutterly. “You may feel great at the beginning and want to do 10 or more reps consecutively, but that will quickly become challenging if you’re not accustomed to the volume. Breaking it up into smaller sets with short rests will help you progress more efficiently.”

    Box Push-Up

    If regular push-ups aren’t your preferred option, try the box push-up modification while tackling the Murph CrossFit Workout. “The higher the box, the easier it becomes,” explains Shutterly.

    David Goddard / @davidgoddardphotography

    David Goddard / @davidgoddardphotography

    A. Begin by placing your hands on the edge of the box, shoulder-width apart. Step both of your feet back into a high plank position, with your heels raised off the floor.

    B. Engage your core by tucking your tailbone and drawing your navel towards your spine. Stabilize your back muscles by pulling your shoulders down and away from your ears. Engage your glutes and quadriceps.

    C. Extend your elbows outwards so that your arms create a 45-degree angle with your body. Slowly lower your chest towards the box while maintaining engagement in your core throughout the movement, and ensuring that your body forms a straight line from head to toe.

    D. Push quickly back up to the starting position.

    Banded Push-Up

    If you don’t have access to a plyo box during your CrossFit Murph WOD, try using a resistance band attached to a pull-up bar and looped around your hips to perform modified push-ups. “Similar to the banded pull-up, this provides some assistance during the upward movement,” says Shutterly.


Commence in a elevated plank position with hands directly under shoulders and legs extended, feet hip-width apart.

B. Activate core by tucking tailbone and drawing navel in towards spine. Secure lats by pulling shoulders down and away from ears. Activate glutes and quads.

C. Extend elbows outwards so that arms create a 45-degree angle with the body and look downwards to maintain a neutral neck position. Flex elbows and lower chest, ceasing 3 inches before reaching the floor. Keep core engaged throughout the movement, ensuring that the body forms a straight line from head to toe.

D. Swiftly push back up to the starting position.

Modifications for Squats in the Murph CrossFit Workout

Coming up next in the CrossFit Murph workout? Squats. To make the lower-body exercise slightly less demanding for beginners, try a variation like the air squat with a target. Nonetheless, “no matter which version of a squat you’re performing, remember to contract your glutes upon standing up,” advises Shutterly. “This will relieve some of the strain on your quadriceps.” Additionally, be cautious not to collapse into the bottom of the squat, especially since the second one-mile run is approaching.

Air Squat

“You can adjust an air squat by incorporating a target for your buttocks to touch when you descend into your squat,” suggests Shutterly. “The higher the target, the easier the squat becomes.” However, if you are already familiar with the squatting motion, you probably won’t require a modification.

Position a chair, bench, or container that will serve as your objective adjacent to a wall. Stand in front of the objective with your feet marginally wider than the width of your hips and your toes turned marginally outward. Activate your core.

B.Inhale, pivot at the hips, and subsequently flex your knees to descend into a squat stance until your buttocks make contact with the objective or your thighs are parallel or almost parallel with the ground. At the same time, lengthen your arms forward.

C.Exhale and exert pressure on the middle of your feet to straighten your legs and rise to a standing position, with your hips and torso ascending concurrently, to return to the initial position. Simultaneously, bring your arms back to their original positions.

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