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4 Ways To Modify The Murph WOD

What is the Murph?

The Murph is one of the most well-known Crossfit® workouts. It was the favorite workout of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005 at the young age of 29.

He awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor after his death.

Murph workout itself consists of a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another one-mile run, all done consecutively with a 20lb weighted vest.

This Hero WOD first appeared in CrossFit in 2005 and is usually performed on Memorial day.

Why Modify the Murph?

The Murph is a great workout. and is a great test of your stamina and endurance. For that reason it is often used in the Crossfit® Games.

However it may not be suitable for certain individuals or situations.

In this blog post we will discuss several problems to the Rx version (prescribed version) of the Murph, and possible modifications to solve these issues.

Modified Murph Workouts

Problem #1: Murph takes too long

The Murph is a great workout and is a great test of your stamina and endurance. For that reason it is often used in the Crossfit® Games.

However, the Murph is not only a brutal workout, it is also a very time intensive one.

The current verified record for the Murph was set at the 2016 CrossFit Games by Josh Bridges in 34 minutes and 38.83 seconds.

However for the average individual it can easily take over an hour.

Furthermore, this doesn't include the stretching and warm-up you would perform beforehand.

Solution #1a: The Half Murph

The first solution to shorten the time of your Murph workout is to cut it in half. That means the entire workout will be:

  • 1/2 mile run
  • 50 pull-ups
  • 100 push-ups
  • 150 squats
  • 1/2 mile run

This should cut your workout time down in more than half!

You could even do a 3/4 Murph which would be:

  • 3/4 mile run
  • 75 pull-ups
  • 117 push-ups
  • 225 squats
  • 3/4 mile run

Solution #1b: Perform the Murph In Rounds

Another modification to shorten the Murph is to partition the workout and perform them in rounds.

This modification will allow certain muscle groups to recover while you perform exercises that work other muscles groups.

Modified Example:

4 rounds of:

    • 1/2 mile run
    • 25 pull-ups
    • 50 push-ups
    • 75 squats


Problem #2: Murph Requires A Weight Vest

The Rx version (prescribed version) requires a 20lbs weight vest for mean and a 14lbs weight vest for women. However, not everyone has access to a weight vest.

Solution #2a: Bodyweight Murph (More reps)

You can perform the murph without the weight vest. If you think this makes the workout too easy try adding 20% to each part of the workout.

Modified example:

    • 1.2 mile run
    • 120 bodyweight pull-ups
    • 240 bodyweight push-ups
    • 360 bodyweight squats
    • 1.2 mile run

Solution #2a: Bodyweight Murph (More intensity)

You can perform the murph without the weight vest. If you think this makes the workout too easy try replacing push-ups with decline push-ups.

Modified example:

    • 1 mile hill run
    • 10 muscle-ups + 90 pull-ups
    • 200 bodyweight decline push-ups
    • 10 pistol squats + 290 bodyweight squats
    • 1 mile hill run

Problem #3: Murph is Too challenging

100 pull-ups??

I can't even do 3...I can barely do 1...

If this is you, not to worry!

Solution #3a: Easier pull-up variations

One option is to replace the pull-ups with something easier. here are two options:

  • Australian Pull-ups
  • Pull-ups with resistance Bands

Solution #3b: Easier push-up variations

If 200 push-ups are too hard here are two modifications;

  • knee push-ups
  • incline push-ups

Problem #4: No Space To Run

Is it raining outside?

Too many cars?

Too cold?

Is it just generally inconvenient to run where you are?

If so no worries, we got you covered!

Solution #4: No space

Replace the 1 mile run with jump ropes!

It is said that 8 minutes of moderate jump roping is equivalent to 1 mile.

So perform this Modified Murph workout:

    • 8-minute Jump rope
    • 100 pull-ups
    • 200 bodyweight push-ups
    • 300 bodyweight squats
    • 8-minute Jump rope
weight vest using olympics plates

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plate loading weight vest

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plate loading weight vest

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About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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