A 3-Week Workout Plan to Crush Murph

Andrew Read


Endurance Sports, Kettlebells, Strength and Conditioning

With Memorial Day fast approaching, it’s common that people start to think about one of my favorite workouts - “Murph.” I like Murph for a variety of reasons, but most of all because no matter how you slice it up, you’ll be well and truly tested by it.


Fitness, crossfit, functional fitness, strength and conditioning, wod, crossfit wod, training plan, crossfit athletes



The Workout

For those who don’t know, Murph consists of:


  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull ups
  • 200 push ups
  • 300 squats
  • 1 mile run


All done wearing a twenty-pound weight vest (or body armor if you happen to work in a job that has you owning body armor).


While I’m sure many know what constitutes good form, the people at Forged have put up video of exactly what a good rep should look like for each exercise. Please note, I favor not using kipping for the pull ups.


The SEALFit standard for Murph is 75-minutes. If you break Murph down into component parts, most people can run two ten-minute miles without exhausting themselves, leaving 55 minutes for the rest of the work. A common way to perform the workout is to do 20 sets of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, and 15 squats. If you did a round of that every two minutes, you’d actually wind up with a sixty-minute Murph.


However, that’s not what usually happens for most people. Most people break down on the pull ups no matter how hard they try. Most people can manage the push ups and squats, but the pull ups are what get nearly everyone. But I’ve got a solution for you.


Fitness, crossfit, functional fitness, strength and conditioning, wod, crossfit wod, training plan, crossfit athletes


3-Week Training Program to Crack Murph

Over the next three weeks you’re going to perform fractions of Murph three times each week. On your spare days, you’ll run or ruck. It’s that easy. We’re going to follow the same heavy-light-medium approach I spoke of in my last article on programming so that we keep improving from one workout to the next.


Week 1, Day 1

  • 3 x 1-2-3-4 pull ups
  • 3 x 2-4-6-8 push ups
  • 3 x 3-6-9-12 squats


Perform this as 1 x pull up, 2 x push ups, 3 x squats on a two-minute cycle. Rest for the remainder of the two minutes. When the timer goes off, perform 2 x pull ups, 4 x push ups, 6 x squats before again resting for the remainder of the two minutes. Continue in this fashion until you’ve done three full rounds.


Day 2

  • 3 x 1-2-3-4-5 pull ups
  • 3 x 2-4-6-8-10 push ups
  • 3 x 3-6-9-12-15 squats


Complete this in the same manner as day one, but note that this workout uses more reps. Where day one had ten reps per pull up ladder, today’s session has fifteen - a 50% increase in volume.


Day 3

  • 3 x 1-2-3 pull ups
  • 3 x 2-4-6 push ups
  • 3 x 3-6-9 squats


Following the heavy-light-medium sequence means that today’s workout needs to be the easiest as it follows our hardest for the week. It features only six reps per pull up ladder and represents a 40% effort compared to day two. Don’t try to do more. Trust me - you need these hard days as next week will take a step up.


Fitness, crossfit, functional fitness, strength and conditioning, wod, crossfit wod, training plan, crossfit athletes


Week 2

Stick with the same format as above, except this time you’ll do four full rounds of each ladder on each day. In comparison to week one - where you did 30 reps of pull ups on day one, 45 reps on day two, and 18 reps on day three - this week, you’ll do 40, 60, and 24 respectively. That represents a jump of 130% from the previous week. Take advantage of those easy days because you need them to recover.


Week 3

Add another ladder to the process and perform five full rounds. Looking at pull ups again, this week you’ll do 50, 75, and 30. In other words, your light day now has the same volume as your heavy day did only two weeks ago.


The one change for this week is to not do the light day. If you do the third workout day on either Friday or Saturday, you should be lining up to do Murph on Monday, so you should have a day off to allow yourself to fully recover. When it comes time to go all in on Memorial Day, you should be ready to kick some ass.


One final thing - if you are doing Murph on Memorial Day please consider signing up for the Murph Challenge.


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Photos courtesy of CrossFit Impulse.


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