Nervous About the Murph? Here’s the Game Plan

At CPMFITness, we’ve completed Murph for the last eight years on Memorial Day. The Murph became popularized by the CrossFit community. The workout is this:

Run 1 mile
100 Pull Ups
200 Push Ups
300 Air Squats
Run 1 mile

     This upfront can seem daunting, overwhelming, and down-right impossible. So let’s talk about scaling, strategy, and training for it. 

Scaling the Movements

First, if you can’t do pull-ups, no problem. Here are some ways you can find a pull-up version that works for you. 

As a general scale, we suggest ring rows over jumping or banded pull ups, but the latter two can be options. Due to the volume of the workout, you are likely going to be sore. Let’s breakdown the best options for you:

  • Ring rows give you the ability to move swiftly through the reps, easy to transition to the pushups (see below) and is easy to adjust resistance if needed when you fatigue.
  • Banded pull-ups are great if you have some pull-up capacity but need help in higher volume workout (i.e. Murph). By using this option you need to be competent at getting in and out of the bands to maximize efficiency and time as it may cost you in transition time.
  • Jumping pull-ups are a good go to for beginners to start with pull-ups, but in Murph could make you more sore as it is a plyometric type pull-up. To note, if this is your option be sure to not let yourself come down slowly on the reps.

This workout is all about the push-ups. Pretty much everyone ends up modifying their push-ups to get through 200. You will either end up ‘snakingyour way up and down to the floor, or you will need to do box push-ups where your body angle is not parallel to the floor.

Lastly, the air squats are pretty straight forward and should be scaled for depth if you have orthopedic issues preventing you from full squats.


Looking up the definition of strategy in Oxford Language.

  1. a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. “Time to develop a coherent economic strategy” 
  2. a plan for military operations and movements during a war or battle. 

A solid strategy is a working plan in business, life, and your fitness.

We will structure the workout at CPM for the Murph Event as follows.

10 minute mile
40 minutes to complete the calisthenics (pull-ups, push-ups and squats)
10 minute mile 

We will have a few options for ‘strategy’ on how to complete the calisthenics — “the meat” of the workout. Some examples.


Routine Isn’t the Enemy — Ego Is! 

In fitness, it is way too easy to compare yourself against others. You see someone’s strength numbers, lean body, fast times, and then see yourself not being “where they are.” At the end of the day, this is just a workout. It’s not about anyone else but yourself. 

You Vs. You

In all honesty, very few will complete it as is prescribed. Taking up this challenging workout strategically is the best way to get the best out of you. 

There is no change without challenge. A big key to success and results in working out (and really in life overall) is getting uncomfortable physically and mentally. Our advice when coming up against a challenge like Murph is to come into it with three things.

  1. Courage when you don’t think you can
  2. Strategy with the right plan 
  3. Support with the CPM coaches 

This is a real formula for success. It really doesn’t matter what the number the board says after the workout is over. All that matters is that you stepped up to a big challenge and overcame it. Actually the score does matter because after you conquer this challenge you have some objective measures to train for next year. When you carry over that courage, strategy, and support over the next 365 days you, will be amazed on what you can accomplish by this time next year.