Tips For MURPH Coming Off of Quarantine

Alright, most gyms have been shut down for 8 or more weeks due to Coronavirus, but it looks like things are slowly creeping back to normal just in time for Memorial Day. It’s tradition in most CrossFit gyms to perform the workout “Murph” on this day as a way to honor LT. Michael Murphy and the rest of our nation’s heroes who have sacrificed everything.

Murph as prescribed is:

  • 1-Mile Run
  • 100 Pull Ups
  • 200 Push Ups
  • 300 Squats
  • 1-Mile Run

Males wear 20# weight vest and females wear 14# weight vest.

We, just as much as anyone, enjoy the crucible experience that Murph brings. It’s an adverse workout that brings about a sense of gratitude for all service members who have sacrificed for our freedoms. But, we have to take our current situation and apply some thought to our strategy so that we may experience the workout, but also not put ourselves back in workout quarantine due to excessive soreness or injury.

I’m sure many are eager to get back to working out regularly and see this particular workout as a kickoff to fitness again – especially with the camaraderie of doing it with some of your gym community. Unfortunately, if you haven’t been training, jumping right back into full Murph can be a bad idea. This workout takes a toll on the body. The last thing you want to do is give yourself such a stressful workout that your immune system drops fighting off viruses in order to deal with the physical trauma you just put it through.

With that being said, here are some ideas that you could implement so that you can get a good workout while still keeping yourself functioning after the fact.


The first thing that pops out about this workout is the amount of work that goes into it. No doubt people survive the volume and wear the soreness like a badge of honor. If you can drop your ego for this year and tell yourself you’re just not ready for that, then you could do 75, 50, or even just 25 percent of the total work.

25% Murph:

  • ¼ Mile Run
  • 25 Pull Ups
  • 50 Push Ups
  • 75 Squats
  • ¼ Mile Run

Still a good workout but much more manageable and much easier to recover from which is the key point.



On top of lowering the overall volume, you can break it up into manageable intervals that are repeatable for the duration of the workout. Let’s say you want to do half Murph.

  • ½ Mile Run
  • 50 Pull Ups
  • 100 Push Ups
  • 150 Squats
  • ½ Mile Run

What you could do instead is:

  • ½ Mile Run
  • 10 Rounds (with the goal of going every 2-3 minutes)
  • 5 Pull Ups
  • 10 Push Ups
  • 15 Air Squats
  • ½ Mile Run

The key to this is to set an interval that you can repeat for the workout. Doing a round every two to three minutes makes it sustainable and repeatable. Many people attack Murph and try to get the best time they possibly can. This leads them to start out at an unsustainable pace and then hit a wall right in the middle. If you stay repeatable then you will primarily stay aerobic which will be much less stressful on the body and will be much easier to recover from.




Many will already be doing this just out of necessity, but some will try to ignore this, and attempt kipping pull ups or do atrocious push-ups. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re doing something honorable by doing a bunch of half assed reps when you could be doing movements that challenge you but also have integrity. Some examples would include moving the pull ups to a horizontal pull like an inverted row or ring row. Instead of push ups, you could simply hold at the top of a push up position for thirty seconds. Do this perfectly for several rounds and tell me it’s too easy for you.

You should also look into replacing the run, if possible. If your gym is open and has access to a rower or air bike these are good options because they are non-load bearing and have no eccentric muscle contractions. Eccentric contractions lead to a lot of muscle damage so taking them out will drastically reduce muscle soreness.

If you’re easing back into training after the quarantine, I hope you take this advice and put it into play for your Murph strategy. Don’t let your ego get the best of you. The most important thing about this day is that you remember what has been given up so that you can enjoy this day with your friends and family. Don’t let a workout get in the way of that. If you show up to the gym for the Murph workout, then show up for LT. Michael Murphy. Not for yourself and whatever bull shit performance you think you should put on. Work hard but most importantly work smart and enjoy the freedoms you have.