Memorial Day Murph: Six Week Plan to Be Ready

April 12, 2023 by
Photo Credit: @murphchallenge
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Next week will mark roughly six weeks until Memorial Day weekend, where thousands of people will be doing the hero workout Murph. The workout is in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. 

Murph is a staple event in the CrossFit community each year and today we’re going to give you a plan to prepare your body by Memorial Day weekend. 


For time:

  • 1 mile Run
  • 100 Pull-ups
  • 200 Push-ups
  • 300 Squats
  • 1 mile Run

The pull-ups, push-ups, and squats may be partitioned as needed and the prescribed version of this workout requires a 20-lb vest for males and 14-lb vest for females. 

Overview: You’re only going to incorporate one Murph specific workout into your weekly programming. The first week is bodyweight only (no vest), testing a benchmark workout to assess where the capacity is currently at. All of these workouts can and should be scaled appropriately like any other CrossFit workout. 

  • April 17-23: Cindy (bodyweight only, no vest) 
  • April 24-30: First week in weight vest, with roughly 50 percent of Murph volume. 
  • May 1-7: Second week in weight vest, with 60 percent of Murph volume.
  • May 8-14: Third week in weight vest, with 75 percent of Murph volume.
  • May 15-21: Fourth week in weight vest, deloading volume before Murph week.
  • May 22-29: Murph week 

April 17-23: The most popular break up strategy for the bodyweight movements in Murph is to do five pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 air squats for 20 rounds. The benchmark workout Cindy tests this exact circuit in a 20 minute window. This will give your athletes an objective idea of where their capacity is heading into the next four weeks of training. 


20 minute AMRAP: 

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 air squats 

April 24-30: Roughly 50 percent of the calisthenics volume for Murph (48 pull-ups, 96 push-ups, 144 squats). 

For time

  • 400m run
  • 3 rounds of 4 pull-ups, 8 push-ups and 12 air squats 
  • 400m run
  • 3 rounds of 4 pull-ups, 8 push-ups and 12 air squats
  • 400m run
  • 3 rounds of 4 pull-ups, 8 push-ups and 12 air squats
  • 400m run
  • 3 rounds of 4 pull-ups, 8 push-ups and 12 air squats

May 1-7: 60 percent of the calisthenics volume for Murph (60 pull-ups, 120 push-ups, 180 squats). 

10 rounds for time 

  • 6 pull-ups
  • 12 push-ups 
  • 18 air squats
  • 200m run after each round

May 8-14: 75 percent of the calisthenics volume for Murph (75 pull-ups, 150 push-ups, 225 squats). 

For time 

  • 5 rounds of Cindy
  • 800m run
  • 5 rounds of Cindy
  • 800m run
  • 5 rounds of Cindy 
  • 800m run 

May 15-21: Volume deload before Murph week. 

20 minute AMRAP: 

  • Run 1 mile
  • AMRAP in remaining time of 3 strict pull-ups, 6 push-ups and 9 air squats 

May 22-29 (Murph week): At this point, the work has been done and it’s time to test Murph. It may be smart to decrease your volume as the week progresses and approaches test day. This will vary depending on the day you decide to run the workout at your gym. 

Running: The highest running volume workout during this program is a mile and a half during week four, so it may be a good idea to add extra running into one other workout each week. 

Weight Vest: This is a Hero workout and I’m all for doing something outside your comfort zone. There does need to be a line drawn between toughness and danger. If someone can’t do at least 16 rounds when testing Cindy for week one, it’s not the best idea to wear the vest for the full workout. There are a few different things you can do to incorporate the vest.

  • Wear the vest for running portion
  • Wear the vest for the running and air squats

Make it a partner WOD: Murph is an intimidating workout, so you can make this more inclusive by offering a partner version of Murph on the day you run this at your gym. You can have partners do the run together and then alternate rounds of Cindy, completing 10 rounds each. This work/rest makes the workout more sustainable and fun for anyone looking to participate. 

The bottom line: Remind your athletes that participating and completing this workout in any iteration is an accomplishment. The reason we do the workout is far more important than how we do the workout itself. Memorial Day Murph is a great way to celebrate your freedom with your fitness family and honor all of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

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