Around Memorial Day weekend every year a lot of functional fitness gyms and their members will complete “Murph”, a hero workout from Crossfit.com in honor of fallen Navy Seal, Michael Murphy. The workout, as written, begins and ends with a 1 mile run and then you complete 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats between the runs. Yea, it’s a lot of work, but if you plan to hit Murph this Memorial weekend, we have 5 tips to help you see the most success possible and stay healthy in the process!
- Scale Accordingly: this is a Hero workout so yes, it should be hard, but it shouldn’t be dangerous. Don’t plan to do this kind of workout with movements or reps you haven’t already been doing in training. You should scale to a level of difficulty that you can complete the workout in 30-60 minutes. Also, as written, outside of the runs at the beginning and the end, the reps can be partitioned any way so break up the pull ups, push ups, and squats into manageable and sustainable sets. Additional Disclaimer: If this is your first time, SCALE!
- PRE-Hydrate and Fuel!: not that you shouldn’t always be considering your nutrition and hydration as it relates to working out, but the week ahead of a workout like this should definitely demand focus. Dehydration typically doesn’t occur over a one day period. Lack of water over multiple days leading up to a long exercise session like this will likely put your body in a dehydrated state. You don’t need to “carb load” either but you shouldn’t be depleting nutrients all week and go into this workout without the body fueled appropriately. Additionally, throw a little bit more salt on your food (as long as not restricted for other health concerns, btw) to get a little more sodium in your body before it depletes. If your body doesn’t have the nutrients stored for a 30-60 minute workout, it can’t perform and will either get injured or quit working for you. Hydrating during the workout is important as well, plan for at least 16-24oz of water consumption DURING the workout.
- Wear a Weight Vest: I know what you’re thinking, this is already a hard workout, why would I add a vest?! Exactly right. Just wanted to make sure you’re paying attention. As it is written, Murph states, if you have a 20lb vest or body armor, wear it. This addition applies only to those who can already complete the workout as written with no scales or modifications, and in our opinion, complete it within the previously recommended time domain. If you’ve never worn a weight vest in training or a workout before, Murph is not the workout to start. For our athletes who might be in the weight vest discussion, we usually tell them to start supplementing a vest in their training a handful of times in the 8 weeks leading up to Memorial weekend. This allows their body to adjust to the added load prior to the event.
- RE-Hydrate and Fuel!: As we mentioned with prepping, your recovery should be considered post Murph. I know it may seem like grabbing an ice cold adult beverage is the right call as soon as you finish that last run, but we’d encourage you to replenish a couple things before you do. Primary concerns should be to replenish lost nutrients after a long exercise bout. Electrolyte replacement through a low calorie sport drink or packet, water, and some fast absorbing carbohydrates and protein go a long way in helping your body bounce back from a workout like Murph.
- Get Moving Again! Staying active and mobile after a whole lot of running and reps is key to recovering. Go for a walk or do some stretching later in the day and especially the next day. This doesn’t mean go crazy in the gym again. This should be light to moderate activity that gets the blood flowing and loosens up tight muscles and joints. Think no more than 20-30 minutes of activity with this.
Obviously the tips above are pretty important, but we also hope you can remember the purpose of completing Murph and the many other hero workouts out there. We do them to honor and remember those who served and paid the ultimate price. We are grateful for their sacrifice, remember that and always when you do these workouts.