What Are You Doing This Memorial Day? Try the Murph.

Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy
SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, from Patchogue, N.Y., is shown in a file photo. Murphy was killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission, Operation Red Wings, on June 28, 2005. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

Over the past decade in many tactical fitness circles, members have been doing the Memorial Day Murph. The “Murph” is a workout used by Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient Michael Murphy. Murphy died when exposed to enemy fire while attempting to radio headquarters for assistance. The Murph was first made popular by the CrossFit community, who perform many workouts created to honor fallen heroes, commonly called the Hero’s WOD (Workout of the Day).

Here is how our local group here in Maryland will start Memorial Day off:

The Murph: (weight vest optional -- 20#)

  • Run one mile
  • 100 pull-ups
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 squats
  • Run one mile

Arrange in any order you prefer. Some do a 1-10-1 pyramid (pull-ups x 1, push-ups x 2, squats x 3) to get the 100, 200 and 300 total repetitions. Some do max rep sets in a circuit to see how fast and in as few sets as possible to get those numbers. Some prefer a steady workout of 10 sets of 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups and 30 sit-ups to reach the repetitions of this workout. Regardless of how you do it, get it done.

We typically warm up with the Murph on Memorial Day and follow it with a second challenge, such as the ones below (we call this day the Murph Plus):

The Devil’s Mile

Sand Baby Murph

5 USMC Obstacle Courses plus 10 rope climbs

Create other 100, 200, 300 combo sets of different exercises like kettlebell swings, TRX exercises, push press, sit-ups, dips, flutter kicks, 300-second plank pose (five minutes) and other favorite exercises if the Murph is a quick 30- to 45-minute workout for you and your group.

Enjoy the challenge of the workout, and remember that Memorial Day is more than a day on the boat and a time to eat barbecue and watch fireworks. Enjoy the day and say a “thank you” to those brave souls who left this world too soon so that we can live in this wonderful and free country.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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