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How to Prepare for Murph: A Guide to Preparing for the Ultimate Bodyweight Workout

Murph is one of the most grueling workouts in existence, so it's no surprise that people want to know how to prepare for it.

What is Murph and how did it come to be?

The workout was named after Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously and became a symbol of strength and sacrifice for all veterans everywhere. The name "Murph" has become synonymous with CrossFitters everywhere as they continue their fitness journey and strive towards their goals. If you're thinking about taking on this challenging workout or have already completed it once before but are looking for ways to improve your performance next time around, then this guide will help answer some common questions about preparing yourself before doing Murph (or any other bodyweight workout).

The workout is one of the most well-known CrossFit workouts today and has become an annual tradition for many CrossFitters around the world.

The workout was originally designed by CrossFit founder Greg Glassman as part of their Hero WODs program--a series of workouts designed to honor those who have given their lives in service to others.

Murph is a tough workout.

It's not for the faint of heart, and it requires you to push yourself to the limit, and then some.

There are lots of ways to "break up" and/or scale the movements in this workout. If you need to do this, discuss it ahead of time with your coach so that you have a plan. Most gyms are very busy for Murph, so make sure to craft this plan before the day of the workout!

Ramp up your running

If you're looking to ramp up your running for Murph, here are some ways that will help:

  • Run at least 3 times per week. The more consistent and regular your runs are, the better prepared you'll be for Murph. If you're running outside of your regular workouts, try to run on days when you don't have any other workouts planned. This will make it easier to stick with the routine and will ensure you aren't overtraining.

  • Most gyms add in more running to workouts to prepare for Murph. When you see running in your workouts, make sure to prioritize your effort accordingly so that you feel ready for the running in Murph.

Pull ups

Pull ups are an essential part of the workout and will help you build strength in your upper body. If you're struggling to do one (or several!), it's time to start practicing.

Here are some tips for improving your pull up ability:

  • Use a band if necessary. This can help give you extra assistance when doing pull ups so that they feel easier overall and allow you to focus on form rather than having to worry about whether or not your arms will give out halfway through the movement (which tends to happen if they're too heavy).

  • Do accessory movements that will improve your pull ups. Ring rows and other "back building" exercises are a great place to start.

  • Slow it down. By prioritizing a slower tempo while descending from the bar, you'll optimize your pull up strength gains.

Push ups

Push ups are one of the most common bodyweight exercises. They can be done anywhere, and they work much of your upper body.

  • While there is a "sweet spot" for optimal push up form, feel free to change up where your hands are relative to your shoulders to target slightly different muscle combinations. This is a great way to train prior to Murph and can be a strategy to allow you to keep moving while banging out 200 push ups (woof!) during the actual workout.

  • Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders (like a plank). Make sure that both feet are straight behind you in line with your torso; this will help keep your lower back from arching during this exercise!

  • Lower yourself down until chest touches floor then push back up until arms are fully extended again

Air Squats

Air squats are a great way to build strength and endurance. If you're new to the exercise, start with just one set of 10 air squats. As your fitness level improves, work up from there.

  • Keep in mind that the goal is not necessarily how many reps you can perform; rather it's about how many sets you can complete with good form and minimal rest between them. You'll be completing 300 air squats in this workout, so you want to be able to do big chunks and/or small bouts with very little rest between them.

Fuel your body before and recover after Murph.

Fuel your body before Murph appropriately.

  • Make sure you eat well the day before and hydrate well. This will help you to feel energized, but also be prepared for the long haul!

  • Recover after Murph with a recovery drink that contains electrolytes and other nutrients to replenish lost fluids.

  • Recharge with a balanced meal within a couple of hours after Murph--this is where you'll get most of your calories from when recovering from such an intense workout!

In addition to fueling your recovery, you want to make sure that you are taking care of your body after Murph. A great way to do this is by scheduling a recovery session with us at Evolv Physical Therapy & Performance. Every year, we work with people that can trace their injuries and issues back to Murph. Don't let this be you! Make sure to address these issues right away so that they don't become a full on injury in the days/weeks/months to come.

CLICK HERE for a Free Phone Consultation…On this phone call, we will listen to you to understand your situation and goals, determine if we’re a great fit to work together and help you figure out the next steps!

So, you don't have to be a Navy SEAL to complete Murph. It's a great bodyweight workout that challenges your body and mind, and it can be modified for any level of fitness. The most important thing is to have fun and remember why we are doing it!


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