Today, May 30th, 2016, Memorial Monday, I attempted the infamous “Murph” workout. This workout is to commemorate a Navy SEAL officer by the name of Michael Patrick Murphy. I felt Memorial Day would be a great day to try this workout for the first time. Here’s a spoiler: I did not finish the workout 🙁
The “Murph” Workout
This workout is quite simple, and anything but easy. It goes like this:
- 1-mile run
- 100 pull-ups
- 200 pushups
- 300 air squats
- 1-mile run
All done with a 20 pound weight vest on.
I did a typical warm-up routine prior driving to the park. It consisted of “flossing” and mobility work of my lower body and shoulders. I took a walk around the mile long trail in the park as a warm-up. That also gave me an idea of which path I need to stay on since there were no dedicated trails for exactly 1 mile.
There was only one pull-up station at the park so I planned the mile run around it. After some leg swings and dynamic stretches, I put on my weight vest and started my first mile.
The First Mile
The first mile wasn’t too bad. I rarely run anything longer than 400 meters so I was surprised I wasn’t really winded. I used to be able to run sub-8 minute miles no problem without a weight vest. That was over a year ago however. The first mile was 7:32, which I thought was reasonable given I hadn’t ran anything longer than a mile since mid-2015.
Where I Failed
Here is where I failed. My initial plan was to break up the sets into the following:
- 10 reps of pull-ups
- 20 reps of pushups
- 30 reps of air squats
This way, I’ll do 10 sets of the above and move on to the last mile. Or so I thought.
The first 2 sets weren’t much of a problem. Then the 3rd set pull-ups showed me how weak I was at pull-ups. I started breaking them into 5 reps, while keeping the same rep scheme for the pushups and air squats. The pushups and air squats were grueling, but very much doable.
It got to the point where I completed my pushups and air squats but still had 50 reps of pull-ups left. I was so winded and my heart rate was so jacked I didn’t know if I could continue the pull-ups.
I started kipping into the pull-ups and although it helped at first, it didn’t last long. I didn’t feel kipping does this workout justice anyway so I didn’t count them. At this point it was muscular failure more than me being winded. I just wasn’t able to do the pull-ups unless I took very long rests between each rep. The arms felt like jello and the weight vest a million pounds.
The Last Mile
I stopped at 60 reps of pull-ups and went on to the last mile. This may have been the hardest mile I’ve ever ran. I was determined to not stop and walk at any point. The weight vest felt like a ton at this point and every step was harder than the last. I was able to finish the mile without stopping or walking.
I forgot to time the last mile and I couldn’t even give you a wild guess as to what it was. But it sure felt like forever.
Lesson Learned and Future Plan
My pull-up strength is definitely not where it needs to be for this workout. I feel it’s way too weak if the 3rd set was giving me trouble. Although I am disappointed in myself for not finishing the workout, I’m glad I got to know what it feels like. I plan to do this again before the Memorial Day of next year just to see my progress over time.
Also, I’m definitely going to have someone do the timing and rep counting for me. I feel I can concentrate on just doing the workout better if I didn’t constantly think about the time. Having someone count the reps would confirm my own count as well.
And last but not least, I’m going to go into it next time with a better plan. I think a lighter rep scheme for the pull-ups would serve me better, even though I feel I would be stronger at pull-ups by the next time I try this workout. And definitely not quitting even if I have to take a minute rest after every rep.
Have you ever done this workout? If not, tempted to give it a try? Share your thoughts in the comments below!