How This Enhanced ‘Murph’ Workout Will Benefit You During Log PT

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Lili Diaz conducts squats during a Murph Workout-style physical training exercise on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.
U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Lili Diaz conducts squats during a Murph Workout-style physical training exercise on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, May 26, 2023. ‘The Murph,’ named in honor of Medal of Honor recipient and Navy Seal LT. Michael P. Murphy, was started in remembrance of Murphy after he was killed in action in June 2005. (Cpl. Devin Horton/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

The Murph Workout -- a Memorial Day tradition that honors fallen Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy -- is popular throughout the CrossFit and military community as a Hero-WOD, or Workout of the Day. With “the Murph” as its base, the below WOD is designed to push your muscle stamina to the limit and increases your calisthenics volume through the use of sandbags, preparing you for demanding events such as log PT.

If you're unfamiliar with log PT, it's a proven method used in military selection programs to foster teamwork and test the mettle of even the most resilient tactical athletes. We've dubbed this particular workout the Murph Plus Log PT Simulator, and it's a challenge that looks like this:

Start with the Murph. You do not need to use a weight vest with this, but if you are at a advanced level, try it:

Run one mile, then accumulate the following calisthenics repetitions however you prefer:

  • 100 pull-ups
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 squats

Run one mile.

Now that you are "warmed up with the Murph," it is time for a 40- to 50-pound sandbag to be introduced into the workout. The following section requires that you do not set the sandbag down until the repetitions are accumulated:

  • 100 sandbag push presses
  • 200 sandbag lunges (100/leg chest carry)
  • 100 sandbag sit-ups
  • Run one mile with sandbag

Here are some ideas to accumulate repetitions for 100+ exercises:

Try the Pyramid Method: If you do a classic PT Pyramid, it will take 19 sets to perform the 1-10-1 full pyramid. It looks like this:

Pull-ups x 1, push-ups x 2, squats x 3:

  • Set 1: 1 pull-up, 2 push-ups, 3 squats
  • Set 2: 2 pull-ups, 4 push-ups, 6 squats
  • Set 3: 3 pull-ups, 6 push-ups, 9 squats

Keep going up the ladder until you get to Set 10. Do your pull-ups for each set and increase by one rep for each set. You double the push-ups and triple the squats of your pull-ups completed that set throughout the workout and build up to Set 10.

Only do the top level (10) of the pyramid once: 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups, 30 squats.

Now, it is all downhill from here. Repeat Sets 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 to accumulate the total reps needed (100, 200, 300).

Fun fact: If you are wondering how many reps you have done and you completed a pyramid, square the top number of the pyramid to get the result. Double and triple, accordingly, depending on the multiple you use for the other exercises.

Steady Sub-Max Effort -- the Super Set: Accumulate the 100, 200, 300 reps with equal sets.

You have many options here, and this usually depends on the time you have available and your fitness level:

Repeat 10 times.

  • Pull-ups 10
  • Push-ups 20
  • Squats 30

Repeat 20 times.

  • Pull-ups 5
  • Push-ups 10
  • Squats 15

If you are at the advanced level, see whether you can do this Murph in five sets or fewer than 10 sets.

For the Log PT simulation exercises, you can use the same methods as above or try to get all the repetitions of a single exercise before moving to the next exercise. Remember, you cannot set the sandbag down. If you opt for this method, consider using the one-mile run of the sandbag workout as part of your "rest." Mix in a few hundred yards of the mile you owe at the end between each set of exercises, as you will need the "active rest" if you select this method.

I do not recommend trying this workout until you have at least done the Murph Workout recently. The added leg exercises will be felt for a few days after this workout if you are not used to doing high-repetition squats and lunges regularly. It is best to use this as a six- to eight-week goal and make one of your workouts each week a progressive buildup. Do not do this workout unprepared.

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