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“The Murph” – a workout to really test your mettle…

This weekend I watched the movie, Lone Survivor for the first time. While a little bit “Hollywood-ified” I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve always been a big military enthusiast and that probably accounts a lot for my love of extreme and crazy workouts and other athletic pursuits. Had I been born in a different country, I may well have ended up pursuing a military career.
Anyway, in the movie (which is based on true events), one of the characters was Michael Murphy, or “Murph” as he was more affectionately known.

To quote Wikipedia, here is a little bit about him:

“Michael Patrick Murphy (May 7, 1976 – June 28, 2005) was a United States Navy SEAL lieutenant who was awarded the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the War in Afghanistan. He was also the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War. His other posthumous awards included the Silver Star and Purple Heart.”
Because of his heroics in Afghanistan, one of the most famous Crossfit workouts of all time has been named after him.
Crossfit workouts mostly fall into two categories, “Girl” workouts and “Hero” workouts.
The former, are by no means “Girly” workouts, they are called “Girl” workouts because they’ve been given a girl’s name.
But make no mistake, do not be deceived by workouts called “Nancy” or “Fran”, they have turned the biggest, baddest and toughest of men into quivering little babies. Most of them are under 20 minutes in duration, but the intensity is absolutely ridiculous.
The “Hero” workouts are usually longer than 20 minutes, sometimes A LOT longer. They are named in honour of fallen law-enforcement personnel or soldiers. They are designed to truly test your mettle and will force you to look deep within, learning what you’re really made of when things start getting very uncomfortable.
Inspired by the movie, I’m going to be attempting the one and only “MURPH” one of these upcoming weekends.
What is “THE MURPH”?
As you’d expect, being named after Michael Murphy, it’s a workout fitting of a Navy Seal. A strong mental game is the only thing that will get you to the end. Long and Painful will be the flavours of the day.
Usually, I recommend workouts, this week, I am recommending you DO NOT do this workout……. unless you are in very good shape and accustomed to an extremely high workload.
If you’d like to try a scaled-down version, I’ve provided 2, but unless you are in superb shape, don’t try the full “Murph.”

For Time:
• 1-mile run
• 100 pullups
• 200 pushups
• 300 air squats
• 1-mile run

Split the pullups, pushups, and squats into as many sets. There’s no time limit, but try to get  through as fast as possible.
On paper that might not seem as bad as I’ve made it out to be, but as I’ve learnt before with Crossfit:

how it appears on paper is very different to how it feels once you’re a few minutes in.
If you’d like to attempt a scaled down version:

For Beginnners, I’d suggest doing:
• 1/4mile run
• 20 Pull-ups/Lat-Pull downs or Inverted Rows
• 50 Push-ups (Regular or off your knees if regular are too difficult)
• 80 Air Squats
• ¼ mile run

That is still a lot for a beginner, but the spirit of the workout is to test you and make you dig deep, force you to learn what you’re made of. It may take several sets to get to those numbers, but keep going no matter what. It’s supposed to take a long time, this is not your average workout.

For Intermediates:
• ½ Mile Run
• 50 Pull-ups
• 100 Push-ups
• 150 Air-squats
• ½ Mile run.
When I’ve tried the full “MURPH”, I’ll let you know what it was like.
While this is not your regular workout, throwing the beginner or intermediate version into your usual mix of training, substituting it for one of you usual workouts, will certainly add value.
Your body will be taxed in just about every way possible, and it will set you metabolism on fire.

Plus, the reward of pushing through a workout that really tested you and took you to the edge of what you are capable of, can be a huge confidence booster and is really good for the soul.

If you’re feeling down and need a natural pick-me up, a hard workout is often just what the doctor ordered.

If you’d like some other workouts that totally kick your butt and will get you into the best shape of you life, be sure to check out THE PRISON WORKOUT:


Article by: Bryan Hamann.

Bryan is a personal trainer, certified bootcamp instructor, Ironman Triathlete and author of THE PRISON WORKOUT.

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