My Favorite Workout

 The tshirt art for my 45th birthday party.  Despite my daughter's warning, I planned it anyway and people actually showed up!

The tshirt art for my 45th birthday party.  Despite my daughter's warning, I planned it anyway and people actually showed up!

I have a list of over 8000 workouts on my computer.  On my Beyondthewhiteboard.com account, I have logged 1851 workouts to date.  These workouts are wildly varied and include everything from swimming, rowing, olympic lifting to ice bath immersion, 10 mile runs, and so many other movements, but without question a favorite does emerge.

With all the equipment that I have collected and all of the options available, my favorite workout is extremely simple and only requires one piece of equipment, a pullup bar.

CrossFit has created Hero workouts to honor fallen heroes and names these workouts.  One of the first Hero workouts and one of the most famous is one that honors Lt. Michael Murphy and it is simply called Murph.  The public became aware of Lt. Murphy from Marcus Luttrell's amazing book and the subsequent movie, Lone Survivor.

"Michael Patrick "Murph" Murphy (May 7, 1976 – June 28, 2005) was a United States Navy SEAL officer who was awarded the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the War in Afghanistan. He was also the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War. His other posthumous awards include the Silver Star Medal (which was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor) and the Purple Heart.

Michael Murphy was born and raised in Suffolk County, New York. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with honors and dual degrees in political science and psychology. After college he accepted a commission in the United States Navy and became a United States Navy SEAL in July 2002. After participating in several War on Terrorism missions, he was killed on June 28, 2005, after his team was compromised and surrounded by Taliban forces near Asadabad, Afghanistan.

A United States Navy destroyer and several civilian and military buildings have been named in his honor." -Wikipedia

The workout is simple and was one of Lt. Murphy's favorites.  He called it "Body Armour" but it has taken on the name Murph in his honor.  Every time we do this workout we honor the life and service of Michael Murphy.

Run 1 mile

100 pullups

200 pushups

300 squats

Run 1 mile

If you have a 20 pound weight vest or body armor, wear it.

I typically do this workout with a 20 pound vest and without and have even chosen to do a Triple Murph for my birthday once.  The Triple Murph is exactly as it sounds...run through Murph 3 times which would be 6 miles of running, 300 pullups, 600 pushups and 900 squats. 

I remember this fondly because of two things that happened around that workout.  I was driving my daughter somewhere and she asked me what I would like to do for my birthday.  I was looking for a real challenge to celebrate getting one year older and I just thought about doing a Triple Murph.  I told her what I wanted to do and she looked at me blankly and said "Dad...No one is going to come".  On this one, she was wrong, we had a large group that helped me celebrate and we even printed tshirts.  The second most memorable thing about this particular workout was that my son, Turner, also did the full Triple Murph with my group at 15 years old.

 Best Birthday Party EVER!  Triple Murph with my buddies and my son.  Yes...there are that many crazy people who would want to tackle a Triple Murph.

Best Birthday Party EVER!  Triple Murph with my buddies and my son.  Yes...there are that many crazy people who would want to tackle a Triple Murph.

On the Triple Murph day, we did the first one with a vest, non partitioned, the second with a vest partitioned and the third without a vest, partitioned.  (Partitioned means that we broke up the work to be 20 sets of 5 pullups/10 pushups/15 squats rather than non-partitioned which means that we would do all 100 pullups before moving to the situps and complete all 200 before starting the squats.  Non-partitioned is definitely harder)

Murph is my favorite workout because it can be as tough as you make it.  Simply doing this amount of work partitioned in any manner with or without a vest is admirable, but it can be made harder or easier to suit your fitness level and individuals can work out next to one another pushing to the redline with whatever amount of work is necessary to achieve that challenge. 

While a very experienced and fit person might try a Murph with a 20 pound vest,  their workout partner might do a 1/2 Murph (cut the runs and all exercises in half).  Both athletes could push their body to the limit at the same time.

 Me and Turner, wiped out after Triple Murph

Me and Turner, wiped out after Triple Murph

The format of the workout allows for it to be done almost anywhere and time can dictate the volume. 

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I bought this portable pullup bar from Rogue and keep it under the back seat of my truck.  I always have a pullup bar available and I highly recommend this setup for any travelers. I can do a Murph just about anywhere I stop with this simple bar.  Throw the straps over a tree, a field goal on a local football field, or the railing at the hotel and you are ready to go.

A Murph is too much for me. 

Triple Murph is not human... How can I do this workout?

The first time I saw Murph written out on the Crossfit.com website, I did not think I could do it.  I had never done 100 pullups in a workout before.  I made it through my first one...barely.  It would have been wise to simply scale back the workout and build up to a full Murph rather than just jumping straight in.  Here are some options that may suit some varied fitness levels:

1/4 Murph

Run 400 m

25 pullups

50 pushups

75 squats

Run 400 m

 

1/2 Murph

Run 800 m

50 Pullups

100 Pushups

200 Squats

Run 800

 

Murph

Run 1 mile

100 Pullups

200 Pushups

300 Squats

Run 1 mile

Try this non-partitioned, partitioned, with and without a vest for different challenges.

 

Triple Murph (Not recommended to anyone except extremely fit and experienced athletes)

Run 1 mile

100 Pullups

200 Pushups

300 Squats

Run 1 mile

x 3 rounds

Do the first with a vest, non partitioned.  Second with a vest partitioned, third without a vest, partitioned.

No matter how you change it up, this workout will give you a fantastic workout with only one piece of equipment and can be done virtually anywhere.

If you try this one, post your time here.  Good luck!

Tom Rowland