The Murph Challenge is the official annual fundraiser of the LT Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation and has become a Memorial Day tradition among many veteran and fitness communities worldwide. Lt. Michael “Murph” Murphy was a US Navy SEAL officer and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan during Operation Red Wings.
The Murph begins with a 1-mile run followed by 100 pullups, 200 pushups, and 300 squats, and wraps up with another 1-mile run. Many complete the entire workout wearing a 20-pound vest or plate carrier. If you plan to tackle The Murph this Memorial Day, it’d be a good idea to start training now.
To build up to a successful challenge, break your week down into three workout days, plus one day for a 1-mile run. On the mile day, you don’t need to break any records. You can walk, jog, or crawl, but get your mile in once a week.
Your workouts should include medium-, heavy-, and light-volume days. The light day follows the heavy day to keep you fresh and allow you to push yourself on heavier days. Taking a day off between workout days will aid recovery. On your off days, make sure to stretch, walk, and move around in the name of active recovery.
Get Ready for Murph
To have a successful Murph, don’t try to set any running records. For those of us who may not run much or don’t enjoy running, the key is just to cover the ground. A good goal would be to pace yourself and complete each mile in about 10 minutes.
Next, the pullups, pushups, and squats can be completed in any rep pattern, as long as they get done. Breaking them down will help you to get through the workout. For most folks, 100 pullups can be the big, ugly monster in the room. But doing five pullups 20 times seems more palatable.
My preferred method is to break the workout down into 20 rounds, with each round consisting of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, and 15 squats. It’s a lot, but it’s manageable. The final stretch of The Murph is another mile-long run. The goal here is to finish it. You can push yourself, but the key is to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. The best way to ensure success through all stages of The Murph Challenge is to start training today.