Memorial Day: “MURPH” Hero WOD

Hero WOD: “Murph”


It is an annual tradition at Crossfit Nassau to do a special workout on Memorial Day. This annual workout is known to many as “Murph,” which represents two big ideas:

1) The recognition and memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. From the official Crossfit site:

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.

Murphy, nicknamed “The Protector,” was awarded the Medal of Honor for his sacrifice in Afghanistan, the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive such an honor since Vietnam. He was the leader of Operation Red Wings, the counter-insurgent mission that claimed the lives of Danny Dietz, Matthew Axelson, and Murphy himself. The mission’s only surviving member is Marcus Luttrell, who commemorated the mission in his book, “Lone Survivor,” which was made into a movie last year.

2) The second big idea is that the athletes who choose to participate in Murph get to share, in some very small way, both the memory of this fallen warrior as well as gain an idea of the warrior spirit. Doing a simple workout of course can never emulate that true embodiment, but by choosing to share in a common exercise, especially with fellow athletes, the individual can run next to the memory of a big idea, at least for a little while, allowing it to take hold of yourself so that when you think of the protectors of our nation, you think on it a little more deeply and with greater purpose.

The Workout

(You’d better pre-hydrate for this one)

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

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.


  • 1 mile run = do it!
  • 100 pull-ups = do it! And do it strict (bar or ring-rows), because you’re a para-athlete!
  • 200 push-ups = do it!
  • 300 squats = requires something that can be done in high volume. medicine ball crunches will do nicely (10lbs)
  • 1 mile run = do it!

The use of a whiteboard is strongly suggested, because if you partition these sets, by midway your brain is going to be scrambled trying to keep track of everything.

For myself, I am cognizant of how much time I lose during movement transitions, so this time I broke it all down into 10 sets:

10 rounds of:

  • 10 pull-ups
  • 20 push-ups
  • 30 crunches

In the end, I averaged about 3 minutes per middle round. Coupled with the mile run before (8 minutes) and after (10 minutes), my total time came to 48 minutes to complete the WOD, an improvement by about 7 minutes from the first time I attempted it 2 years ago.

Remember, the goal is to take this massive workout, figure it out, and make it work. Better yet, find some friends and do it as a team, embodying on some small level the ethos of Murph and his SEAL teammates.

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