Last updated on December 17th, 2022 at 05:06 pm
You’d think the Murph was hard enough to do just once, nevermind multiples times a week.
In fact, this Crossfit “hero workout” is generally viewed as a test rather than a regular workout.
However, I totally get you wanting to perform the Murph on a weekly basis.
Let’s face facts, it’s a fantastic conditioning workout, and one that will also test your mental strength.
How often you perform the Murph every week will initially depend on your “fitness starting point”. So, as a beginner, even doing one Murph per week could be a struggle. That said, an intermediate or advanced athlete will be capable of much more. A great way to start out is to perform the Murph 3 times a week with at least 24 hours between workouts.
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A Quick Overview of the Murph Workout
The Crossfit Murph workout honours the life of Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who died on June 28th 2005 while serving in Afghanistan.
The workout consists of:
- 1 mile run
- 100 pull ups
- 200 push ups
- 300 bodyweight squats
- 1 mile run
This happened to be one of Mike’s favourite workouts, although he originally named it “Body Armour”.
However, following his untimely death the workout was renamed simply as the “Murph”.
Michael performed the workout while wearing body armour (hence the name), which consisted of the 16.4lbs military-issued vest.
And just in case you were wondering how fast Michael Murphy could do the “Murph”, his standard times typically ranged from 32-35 minutes.
Fast forward to the present day and the Murph, which is generally performed by thousands of athletes on Memorial Day, involves performing the full workout in a 20-lb weighted vest.
That said, the workout can also be performed without an added weight.
Furthermore, there are two main ways to perform the Murph.
Firstly, the one mile run MUST be performed both at the start and the end of the workout.
However, there is the option to complete the bodyweight moves in order, or partitioned.
Although there are a number of ways to partition the Murph, this is most commonly done by using the “Cindy WOD”.
- 5 pull ups
- 10 push ups
- 15 bodyweight squats
Performed for a total of 20 sets.
Essentially, the “Cindy” is just push ups, pull ups, and squats, which is a great workout in itself, but definitely not as intense as the Murph.
The Main Factors to Consider For Weekly Murph Workouts
I think the best way to approach weekly Murph workouts is exactly the same as you would approach any workout routine.
Firstly, the most important factor is your current level of fitness or your “starting point”.
As an example, a complete novice may struggle to even complete the Murph workout.
So, it makes little sense to attempt the workout multiple times a week.
That said, the Murph can definitely be scaled, so as an example, a beginner could potentially complete half-Murphs.
- 0.5 mile run
- 50 pull ups
- 100 push ups
- 150 bodyweight squats
- 0.5 mile run
The aim here is to eventually build up to the full Murph.
Now, for intermediate and advanced athletes things are slightly different, although this largely depends on a person’s specific physical activities.
So, someone who regularly performs powerlifting workouts will definitely be strong.
However, they are likely to lack the endurance required to complete the Murph.
This also means that attempting the workout numerous times a week could be extremely difficult.
So realistically, as I say, how many times you can/should do the Murph per week depends on your starting point.
Frequency, Intensity & Volume
Okay, I’ve mentioned that performing multiple Murph workouts weekly should be approached in the same way as any standard workout.
What I mean by this is that all workouts should be “measured” by frequency, intensity, and volume.
And in truth, you should NEVER go “all-out” with all three.
Essentially, keep two of these high and the other one low.
Now, the full Murph already has plenty of volume, as you’re going to be performing 600 reps of bodyweight exercises and running two miles.
So, this means that one of the other factors should be “high”, while the other is “low”.
Therefore, you could perform the Murph workout with full intensity, e.g. running your two miles as hard as possible and taking as little rest as possible while performing the bodyweight exercises.
Doing this means that you’re better off keeping frequency low.
Therefore, as a suggestion, you should perhaps perform the Murph three times a week, ensuring that you have a full 24 hours between workouts.
Then again, you could perform the full workout, but lower the intensity by running at a more casual pace, and then increasing frequency by working out 4-6 days a week.
However, in truth, I’m personally not a fan of lowering the intensity of a workout.
For me, this is where the “good stuff” happens.
Finally, you could scale down the Murph, so as I mentioned earlier, perform a “half-Murph”, but do so with full intensity, while hitting your workout 6-7 times a week.
The decision is yours, but I still favour hitting the full Murph with full intensity, and keeping my volume down to 3-4 times per week.
Crossfit Murph Workout Times
Crazy Murph Workout Schedules
Now, the above is all well-and-good for those of you who wish to incorporate the Murph as a regular workout.
I will say that your powers of recovery, nutrition, and sleep will also pay a big part.
Plus, the Murph, while a fantastic workout, isn’t what I’d consider a great all-round workout.
Yes, it’s fantastic for building your endurance, fitness, conditioning, and you will likely add some lean muscle.
That said, this once more depends on your “starting point” in terms of fitness.
However, for most intermediate to advanced athletes, even performing the Murph with amazing regularity, it’s unlikely that you’ll experience gains in strength.
But, there also happens to be many individuals who have taken regular Murph training to the extreme.
Jerred Moon is founder and creator of End of Three Fitness, so working out and being fit comes naturally.
However, Jerred decided to perform the Murph once a week for a whole year.
So, for 52 Saturdays in a row, without fail, Jerred completed the Murph workout.
He performed the workout with a weighted vest, without a vest, and certain variations just to keep it interesting.
These included, no kipping pull ups, a triple Murph (performing the workout 3 times in a row), a mountain Murph, a double-weighted Murph (40lbs weighted vest), a sub-32F Murph, and the list goes on.
Take this opportunity to discover more about Jerred’s year of Murph workouts.
Jim Lubonski is a police officer who serves in the Washington D.C. area.
There’s nothing remotely remarkable about Jim’s fitness story.
In fact, he had been going through a pretty tough year mentally, which he believed to be PTSD-related.
And although Jim looked great, after a foot chase with a suspect left him out of breath, he realised that his body was “just for show” rather than possessing functional strength and fitness.
So, he joined Crossfit Kent Island and completed his first ever Murph on Memorial Day weekend 2021.
However, even though Jim struggled with his first ever Murph, he also realised that those mental scars were significantly diminished when he was exercising.
So, Jim set himself a goal of performing the Crossfit Murph workout every single day for a year.
In fact, Jim’s aim was to hit the workout for 366 days in a row, simply to beat the previous record of 365 Murph workouts in a row.
Dave Barry, a member of Crossfit Truro, Cornwall UK decided to do something a little different with the Crossfit Murph.
His aim was to perform the Murph for 24 hours, while highlighting PTSD and giving something back to soldiers all around the world.
During the 24-hour stint Dave managed to perform a total of 11 Murph workouts.
- Ran 22 miles
- 1,100 pull ups
- 2,200 push ups
- 3,300 bodyweight squats
As you can probably tell, this not only was a huge physical strain, but also took a great deal of mental fortitude.
Luckily, Dave wasn’t completely alone, as each time he went through one round of the Murph another gym member would join, i.e. 11 gym members for each individual Murph workout.
- The Murph is typically a “test” rather than a regular workout.
- How many times a week you should do the workout will depend on your “starting point”.
- For beginners you may scale down to a “half-Murph” and work your way up from there.
- Intermediate and advanced athletes are unlikely to see any strength gains from regular Murph workouts.
- Consider frequency, volume, and intensity when performing weekly Murph workouts.
- Consider your levels of recovery, nutrition, and sleep too.
- The perfect weekly Murph workout will involve full volume (600 reps + 2 miles), full intensity (run hard and take as little rest as possible), lower frequency (aim for 3 workouts per week with a full 24-hour rest between workouts).
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.