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Navy SEAL Murph Inspired Workouts: Three 20 Minute+ Routines
Copyright Pete Kautz 2018

Howdy all! Sorry it's been a bit since the last Training Tips newsletter so I wanted to get one out this week with a simple "go practice this" theme.

To that end, here's three workouts taking from 20 minute plus that will really work up a sweat while building strength and endurance.

They're based on the well known "Murph" workout, named after the late Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy which consists of:

1 Mile Run
100 Pull Ups
200 Push Ups
300 Squats
1 Mile Run...
While Wearing a 20 Pound Vest (Body Armor)...
Done As Fast as Possible

You can break up the calisthenics however you want, it's not expected that you'll do 100 pull ups in a row or anything crazy like that. If you want to do the work as 20 sets of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, and 15 squats that is just fine.

Still, this is a Herculean task indeed so as mere mortals we need to work up to it! But like anything mythic, it provides us the inspiration...

Many Crossfit groups do this as an annual thing on Memorial Day, but there's no reason to keep this as a once a year event. It's something easy enough to put into your training regimen as a standard workout when you do a scaled down version.

If you don't have a weight vest you can leave that part out (many Crossfitters don't use it either) but it really makes the whole thing a much bigger challenge! Even 5 pounds (a pair of 2.5 pound plates in the pockets of your hoody) changes things.

So, as your starting point, here's the Quarter Murph:

Quarter Mile Run
25 Pull Ups
50 Push Ups
75 Squats
Quarter Mile Run...
While Wearing a 5+ Pound Vest...

This first workout is easy to stack with whatever technical work or other gym work you were planning to do for the day since it's quick - 20 minutes or less, a few minutes for recovery, and then you can get right to Boxing or whatever.

Once that's easy for you, go to the Half Murph:

Half Mile Run
50 Pull Ups
100 Push Ups
150 Squats
Half Mile Run...
While Wearing a 10+ Pound Vest...

I did this one the other day with a 17.5 pound vest in 38 minutes. Another 15 minutes for some foam rolling and a little Chi Kung and it still took less than an hour! I felt fine the next day and spent two hours stacking wood, which left me more sore than the workout did.

Next up is the Three Quarter Murph:

Three-Quarter Mile Run
75 Pull Ups
150 Push Ups
225 Squats
Three-Quarter Mile Run...
While Wearing a 15+ Pound Vest...

Once you can do these, the Real Deal Full Murph will be within your grasp!

Of course if you need to make it easier then that's OK too. I think in a lot of ways it's better to do a scaled down version of a workout like this more often where it's something you can accomplish rather than to "try" to do it once a year as a big ordeal!

First off, drop the weight vest and you've taken out a big part of the difficulty. Doing the whole thing without the vest really isn't that bad but the extra 10 to 20 pounds makes a huge difference!

Another option is to do what we call the Lazy Murph, where you do the whole thing but have unlimited time to finish so you can rest as much as you want / need between sets. This makes everything much easier obviously, especially without the vest. If you're in decent shape on your calisthenics it should take maybe 90 minutes (roughly an hour for the calisthenics depending on the length of your breaks plus a half hour of running) but you should be able to kick it out!

If you're not up to full pull ups yet, substitute inverted rows, spot yourself by putting your foot / feet on a box or chair, or use a fitness band to assist. For pushups, alternately you could do them with hands elevated or from kneeling if needed. On the squats, just don't go so deep - maybe just go to where you could touch your calves, versus touching your ankles or touching the floor with your fingertips.

Finally, focus on doing small sets or small pyramids so you never overly fatigue your muscles. Similarly, on the run don't sprint the first part and wind yourself, instead get a good stride and use it as a warm-up.

In the end, by doing these variations you will be able to recover more quickly and repeat the workout more frequently. For example, to do the full on Murph once a week might trash you for days afterwards, but if you're doing a Half Murph three times a week where recovery is easy that's the equivalent of doing the whole thing six to seven times in a month!

All my very best to you,

Pete Kautz

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