| | | | 6 Murph Day Tips to Empower Your Performance

Author / John

Murph-Day-Power-AthleteAll across the United States gym goers will spend their Memorial Day completing a workout many would call insane. The CrossFit “Hero WOD” known as “Murph” serves to memorialize Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. The workout, originally named “Body Armor” by Lt. Murphy was among the SEAL’s favorite workouts and involves 100 pull-ups, 200 push ups, and 300 air squats sandwiched between two 1 mile runs. To complete the workout as Murph would have done, you are asked to wear body armor or a weight vest.

The workout not only pays tribute to a fallen hero, but requires that participants battle fear and fatigue to sacrifice body, mind, and soul for the legacy of a man who sacrificed it all. Completing “Murph” is a commitment that should be taken seriously. The demands of enduring this workout will surely be devastating on Murph Day. But this is just one day.

Packing this much volume into a single day can set your training back significantly! How you approach your training following the event is just as important as how you prepare for it.

Murph-Day-2015-Reebok-CrossFit-Games-Murph-511Tactical-8At Power Athlete we want to help you bounce back from this workout in the fastest way possible. Before Monday, take the time to read the following tips to help you empower your performance and honor the man for whom the workout is named.

Here are 6 no BS tips to help you bounce back from the abuse:

1) Hydrate Early

There is a direct correlation between hydration and performance. The ability to perform at a high intensity is decreased as significantly as 45% with as little as a 2.5% body weight loss in water. The morning of Murph is not the time to begin armoring yourself against dehydration. We always recommend you consume a minimum of half your bodyweight in ounces of water daily. This recommended minimum begins to grow as we add in factors such as heat and increased work time. Considering the fact even the greatest of athletes struggle to finish in under 45 minutes and much of this workout is completed outside, you can guarantee you need more than the bare minimum hydration.

Beginning now, you need to start increasing your water consumption beyond the minimum recommendation. Take care not to take this advice to extremes as too much water can also cause serious health issues. On Sunday, get your water intake up and make sure you aren’t swallowing the bulk of your H2O too close to bedtime. You’re going to need your rest.

2) Sleep

Sleep is KING when it comes to preparedness. Make an effort to average 8 hours per day for the 3 days leading up to, and 3 days following Murph Day. If that’s rough to hit at night, it’s time to find some naps throughout the day; especially if you’re a shift worker or own and operate your own gym and cover morning and evening classes.

The concept is simple, but execution is the challenge.


3) EAt With abandon

The proper diet for this workout will be one that is well balanced and high in quality nutrients. You’re going to want to take an iso-caloric approach to your meals in the days before Murph. Simply put, your meals should have equal caloric amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates. This nutrition method is worth it’s weight in gold and is an integral part of all Power Athlete nutrition protocols. When choosing the foods for these meals make sure they are nutrient dense and high quality such as those found on our eat with abandon list. Time is running out but if you sprint you can still take advantage of our nutrition protocols that will tell you the exact amount of macronutrients you need for your pre-murph meals.

Photo May 01, 7 08 10 PM

4) Murph Day Warm Up

Don’t be the dunce who uses the “have you ever seen a Cheetah warm up” nonsense to excuse their lack of exercise knowledge. The proper warm up arouses the CNS, elevates the HR and increases intramuscular blood flow. The right warm up for the job is specific to the workout and and includes positions and movements that strengthen and reinforce posture, increase mobility, and challenges stability. It should prime the lactate and nervous systems to prepare you for the demands of what’s ahead. So on Murph Day, do your self a favor, and knock out this warm up:


The “Pre-Warm Up-Warm Up” of all pre-warm up warm ups!  Get moving and get loose, calm the nerves, and get your mind right doing anything to increase your heart rate, break a sweat, and get some blood flow going.  Take 10-15 minutes of jumping rope, C2 rowing, stride runs and shuffles, Assault bike, etc.

2-3 Rounds

  1. [video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”133710598″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Dead Bug Home Position”] – :60
  2. [video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”88941748″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Inch Worm Hands Only”] – 5 reps
  3. [video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”133710788″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Scapula Depression”] w/ 2 count at the top- 10 reps
  4. [video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”88206056″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Child’s Pose Progression 1″] – 2 RT/ 2 LT
  5. [video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”88206175″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Vertical Column Side Stretch”] RT/LT for 60 seconds
  6. [video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”89662364″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Pillar to Plank Press Up”] – 10 reps

Movement Patterns and Energy Systems

4 Rounds

  • Empty Bar Floor Press/Bench press – :15 seconds
  • [video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”91568154″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Contralateral Inch Worms”] – 5 reps
  • Air Squats – :15 seconds
  • [video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”134886347″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Strict Pull Ups”] – at least 1, but no more than 3 reps
  • [video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”131151444″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Rest”] – :30


5) Murph Day Cool Down

Those who are plugged into Power Athlete HQ know how seriously we take the cool down. If not, here’s what you need to know: It’s the first, and most significant step to calming the CNS and driving accelerated adaptation. Much like the red headed step child, it’s often overlooked and ignored because it’s boring and lacks sexyness.

The beauty of the cool down is in it’s simplicity. For it to work, all you have to do is DO IT. So there’s no secret cool down for this one, here’s your Murph Day cooldown series. Just take your time with it, try to hit each pose for one minute as soon as possible after you finish.

[youtube width=”540″ height=”400″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SbwEgnKfdI[/youtube]

6) Bouncing Back

You’ve absolutely CRUSHED some movement patterns here. Your CNS and slow/mid power motor units are totally fried thanks to all the submaximal repeated efforts to failure. So you need to skip those suckers in the training following Murph Day and move something “heavy” as FAST AS POSSIBLE! You need to understand that physical and mental fatigue, as well as soreness will dictate what “heavy” actually is on these days, so don’t expect to PR here.

As much as your body may be telling you “NO”, we are telling you “YES!” The 72 hour training window after Murph Day will set the trajectory of how quickly you will bounce back. We need to tackle some FULL training days, with focused warm ups, Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT) work, and cool downs. No need for volume/met con here people! We just need to move some weight quickly!

Day 1

Warm Up
2 Rounds:
[video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”133710598″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Dead Bug Home Position”] – :30
[video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”89562738″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Spiderman Crawls w/ Elbow to Drop”] – 10 yds
[video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”89562835″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Knee Hug to Horizontal Lunge Twist”] – 10 yds
Backwards Bear Crawl – 10 yds

CAT Squat 3RM
Work up with sets of 3 to a “heavy” and FAST set of 3. You should be moving the bar as fast as possible on each set. Focus on bar speed, not weight on the bar!

Plyo Conditioning
3 Rounds
5 Way Med-Ball Circuit w/ 5-10 lb ball
Rest as 2-3 minutes

Cool Down
Same as Murph Day cool down

Day 2

Warm up
[video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”131143587″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Lateral Step Catch”] – 10yds R/L
[video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”89247959″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Static Side Pillar Hold”] (:30R/:30L)
Jimmy Buffets x 4
[video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=”110072720″ width=”960″ height=”540″ anchor=”Leg Cradle Lunge with Lateral Flexion and Extension”] x 4

CAT Work
CAT Bench 3RM
Work up with sets of 3 to a “heavy” and FAST set of 3. You should be moving the bar as fast as possible on each set. Focus on bar speed, not weight on the bar!

Cool Down
Same as Murph Day cool down

Day 3


Completing Murph requires both respect and dedication. The workout while tough, requires only a small shred of the sacrifice in comparison to that which Lt. Murphy showed through his legendary life and death. We ask that you approach this workout prepared so that you can best honor the man for whom it is named. At Power Athlete we respect those who train with purpose and for a greater purpose and are grateful for the sacrifice made by the heroic Lt. Michael P. Murphy.

In the words of The Rock: “GET IT!”

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John Welbourn is CEO of Power Athlete and Fuse Move. He is also creator of the online training phenomena, Johnnie WOD. He is a 9 year veteran of the NFL. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft and went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for starter for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early with him retiring in 2009. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John has worked with the MLB, NFL, NHL, Olympic athletes and Military. He travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition for Power Athlete. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie and at Power Athlete.


  1. menacedolan on May 26, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Excellent work gentlemen

  2. mlvenegas3 on May 26, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Awesome work PA Crew. I was going to skip Murph to keep on regular training but this made me commit to honoring Lt. Murphy.

    One question: what are your thoughts on activity in the days prior? Full rest the day before? Light movement?

    • Luke Summers on May 27, 2016 at 9:23 am

      I’d personally hit some Light movement, maybe some PCs

  3. Kels on May 27, 2016 at 4:59 am

    Love this. Traditionally I did Murph on and around St Patrick’s day as prepunishment for upcoming debauchery.

  4. ISOBFS on May 27, 2016 at 7:06 am

    I was going to skip it this year, still not sure, because my strength training has been so great thanks to your program. Game day decision, but I’ll be ready to go either way. Thank You again.

  5. Open Gym & Team WOD « Crossfit Rebels on May 28, 2016 at 1:30 am

    […] 6 Murph Day Tips to Power Your Performance […]

  6. mprice311 on May 28, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Stepping outside the Jacked Street Monday and going to do this with the group class.

  7. mprice311 on May 29, 2016 at 11:21 am

    @luke the only thing you forgot is to set a limit for Moscow mules on Sunday.

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