Memorial Day is just over a month away, when fitness enthusiasts all over the country will perform CrossFit’s notoriously difficult “Murph” workout as a way of commemorating the holiday and honoring fallen U.S. service members. Named after the late Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael Murphy, the Murph consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 air squats, and another 1-mile run—all done wearing a 20-pound weighted vest.
Athlete Hunter McIntyre says he set a world record during the Murph Challenge 2020, when he performed the notoriously difficult CrossFit workout in just 34 minutes 13 seconds. In a recent video on his YouTube channel, he shared his advice for how to best train for the Memorial Day Murph this year.
Check out McIntyre’s tips if you want to train for your own Murph this year—but remember, this is a tough workout for just about anyone. Don’t be afraid to scale down for your own attempt if you need to, and push yourself within reason.
One of the things that people sometimes neglect in their Murph training is ensuring their body is prepared to wear an extra 20 pounds via a weighted vest while carrying out each exercise. “You should be doing lots of weighted pullups, lots of bench press, weighted dips, all of these things to be stronger than you necessarily need to be,” he says, “so that when it’s time to do the workout, it’s very easy to do when you’re going through those reps.”
McIntyre recommends somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes as the optimal length of a workout. “The further you go towards that 60 minutes, the more likely you are to crash. The faster and fitter you are, the more likely you’ll be able to sustain this thing,” he says. “If you’re not training for endurance while you’re training for this workout, you’re going to end up in trouble. Don’t go to the gym and try to work out like a bodybuilder… You need to be sport-specific in your training and do a lot of endurance work.” As you begin to build endurance, he advises to then start adding 10 minutes onto your workouts once a week.
McIntyre admits to making one key mistake in his world record attempt: he started way too fast and hard in the beginning of the Murph. “My intensity was too high,” he says. “When you’re in training, you should be training at a level that’s almost harder than what you’d be able to sustain when it comes to competition day.”
He also has some tips when it comes to programming your training, starting with a minimum of three runs per week, split between interval runs wearing the weighted vest, and some easier runs. When it comes to the bodyweight movements, he recommends performing as many reps as possible in two-minute intervals. “It’s a hard, hard thing to do, but if you practice putting in the intensity, you’re going to get there,” he says.
Finally, he suggests doing a half-Murph or CrossFit’s “Cindy” workout in order to be aware of your own time and pacing on each exercise. His most important advice, however, is to “find people in your community who will help you improve your fitness, push you to be your best, and make sure you’re not going to short-range your reps or try to quit.”
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