Done The CrossFit Hero Workout "Murph" As Prescribed

"In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
--Official Medal of Honor Citation for
Lt. Michael P. Murphy

J and I have been doing CrossFit for nearly three years, and we've done quite an interesting variety of workouts over that span of time. There are many different exercises that we have done, but in CrossFit, there are two particularly special categories of workouts: The Girls and Hero WODs (workout of the day).

The Girls are a series of benchmarks that test an array of different things. Named after hurricanes, they include workouts like "Fran" (21-15-9 thrusters and pull-ups) and "Nancy" (5 rounds of 400m run and 15 overhead squats). They are usually not long workouts, but they definitely pack a punch in that short amount of time.

Hero WODs are a completely different animal. They usually take a long time and/or are heavy. These workouts are dedicated and named after fallen soldiers, and they are intended to honor the ultimate sacrifice these men and women have made in the name of freedom.

Among the first of these hero workouts is "Murph", named for Navy SEALs Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, NY, who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. This workout was one of Mike's favorites and he'd named it 'Body Armor.' It goes like this:


For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you've got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.

This is an epic workout that I had done in the past without the vest. It takes a long time and doesn't exactly feel good. Mike called it 'Body Armor', so I decided I wanted to this wearing the twenty pound vest. My intention was to honor a man that gave his life in service to his country and to put myself through an unprecedented physical challenge.

We drove out to Lake Merced's pull-up bar and I put on the vest.

Using a GPS, J and I ran out a half mile and back. The vest definitely slowed me down but didn't feel too bad at this point. Knowing what was ahead of me, I did not run fast. I knew I had to pace, and the first mile run was the least of my worries. When we got back from the run, it was time to do the bodyweight exercises. I decided to partition the workout in 20 sets of: 5 pull-ups, 10 pushups, and 15 squats.

The pull-ups were not too bad in the first five rounds, but after that, they were very difficult. I could barely keep my grip because my hands just couldn't secure the bar. Because the bar was so high up, I used a stool to jump up to it.

Because it was damp today, we took a towel, and I did my pushups on it. I thought the pushups were the most difficult part. With the extra weight on the chest and back, keeping the plank and pushing got super difficult very quickly.

The squats were the easiest part for me, except my ankle was tightening up a little. While they weren't the most muscularly demanding, they make it much more difficult to breathe.

20 rounds of this lasted forever. It took me a long time to do the pull-ups and the pushups.

Eventually I did get through them, and I ran the second mile run.

I wanted to walk part of this run, but I didn't. I just kept convincing myself that I refused to quit and that it was only a mile. My calves burned badly, but I held it together and finished. It wasn't easy, but I did it and was proud I did.

This was one of the most difficult workouts I've ever done, and I am so glad I completed this. Like I said, it was an honor to complete a workout of a true American hero. Thanks for your sacrifice, Lt. Michael Murphy.
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