Everything You Need to Know About the MURPH Challenge on Memorial Day

What is the MURPH Challenge?

Chances are, whether you have completed the workout or not, you’ve heard about it from friends, on social media or on the news every year around Memorial Day.

Before we get into the details of the workout, it is crucial to know WHO the man behind MURPH was and why we do the challenge.

United States Navy (SEAL) Lt. Michael P. Murphy was a decorated and experienced officer who received our nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during Operation Red Wings on June 28, 2005. He was the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War, and is cited for:

Conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of of his life above and beyond the call of duty as the leader of a special reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005.”

For the full citation, biography and summary of actions visit: https://www.navy.mil/ah_online/moh/murphy.html

Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, Land) operating in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

According to Crossfit.com, MURPH was one of Lt. Murphy’s favorite workouts. He called it the “Body Armor.” Now named MURPH in honor of this warrior and American patriot, the workout consists of:

  • 1 Mile Run
  • 100 Pull-Ups
  • 200 Push-Ups
  • 300 Air Squats
  • 1 Mile Run
  • *All with a 20 pound vest if possible

This workout is done for time, but it is considered a challenge just to complete due to the sheer magnitude of work and effort needed. Crossfit officially instated MURPH into their collection of Hero WODs (workouts of the day) on their main site in August of 2005.

It is tradition for Crossfit gyms to close on Memorial Day, programming MURPH as their only WOD, and holding community bonding events like parking lot or beach barbecues. Every Memorial Day, Americans across the country participate in this challenge to honor Lt. Murphy and his sacrifice.

It’s also common to see Instagram, Facebook, Youtube etc. flooded with posts from professional Crossfit athletes, celebrities and everyday athletes growing awareness of the challenge and sharing what it means to them.

Click here for MURPH in the 2016 Crossfit Games

Times for MURPH depend on your fitness level and can vary widely, of course. The workout can also be partitioned.

What does ‘partitioning’ the workout mean? It means you can break it up! You don’t have to go all out– you can partition it by starting with a 1 mile run, then by chipping away at the pull-ups, push-ups and air squats in whatever volume that works for you.

For Example: 1 mile run, 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups, 30 air squats x 10 sets, and finish with a 1 mile run.

Wodtimecalculator.com has a great breakdown of time ranges for people at all fitness levels.

Lt. Michael Murphy’s legend and legacy lives on through this now-classic workout in the Crossfit community, his family and the LT Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

The Foundation is funded through kind donations and proceeds from The Murph Challenge, a Forged® annual fundraiser.

By Gabriel Wahl

Gabriel Wahl is a Southern Californian resident and an alumnus from the legacy public relations program at San Diego State University. He studied a mix of business, environmental science, tourism, public relations and played competitive rugby as an Aztec. Gabe is a plant-based athlete and storyteller who has a passion for sharing positive and educational content.

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