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Murph Strategies: Partition Variations

Choose any of these workouts to partition the Murph rep scheme and lean on your strength to PR.

Murph is one of the most iconic workouts in CrossFit, and everyone has an opinion on how to get the best time and what partition variation you should do. Ahead of Memorial Day, check out these Murph Strategies to get better at this famous CrossFit Hero WOD.

Murph first made it onto our screens with the 2015 CrossFit Games, and how can we forget it. With temperatures soaring above 80F (26+C), even the best of the best athletes were pushed to their limits. With the 2015 CrossFit Games taking place in Carson, CA, the legendary Sam Briggs took first place, followed by Kara Saunders and Annie Thorisdottir. But with temperatures rising over numerous outdoor events, heat not only affected performances but also health. Thorisdottir suffered heatstroke and was forced to withdraw while Saunders was taken off the field on a stretcher.

This would be considered the extremes, but Murph should never be taken lightly. I remember completing my first Murph (scaled, of course) – jumping pull-ups and constantly shaking my arms out on the knee push-ups many years ago, and the sense of accomplishment accompanied by this workout is incredible.

If you have any doubt about whether you should give this workout a go or not because it might appear “scary” – check out these Murph strategies by doing partition variations. There’s a rep scheme for every athlete at every ability, no matter where you are on your CrossFit journey.

What Is Murph Hero Workout?

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

Here is a direct excerpt from the CrossFit.com programming. PLEASE READ CLOSELY.

What’s A Good Time For Murph?

Before my 32:41 on June 18th, 2021, Hunter McIntyre held the record for the fastest known weighted & unpartitioned Murph with a time of 34:13. But we can’t all be a Kari Pearce or Hunter McIntyre.

  • Elite athlete – 40 minutes or less
  • Advanced athletes – 40-50 minutes
  • Intermediate – 50-60 minutes
  • Beginners – 60 minutes is a good milestone
Josh Bridges Murph StrategiesSource: Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc
Josh Bridges during Murph

Warm-Up For Murph

You want to ensure that muscles and joints are properly warmed up before attacking Murph’s high volume rep scheme. So don’t overthink the warm-up: stay simple, get moving, get loose, keep calm and carry on. The objective is to move every part of your body and increase your heart rate.

  • Start with the C2 bike
  • Double-unders (or single depending on your level)
  • Resistance band activation stretches
  • Perform all Murph’s movements at least once with and without a vest

Ask your coach to walk you through any exercise if you are unsure how to do it.

Murph Strategies To Smash Your PR

At WODprep, we asked our community what rep scheme they’ll be doing this year and they didn’t disappoint! We’ve received every possible division of 600 reps, so much so it would make our math teacher proud.

In CrossFit you always want to lean into your strengths.

Conversely, Murph is the perfect day to challenge yourself, and you might be surprised by how much you’ve improved over the past 12 months.

There is no need to feel guilty for not completing the workout “The Games Way”. According to CrossFit HQ, for Murph to qualify as RX, you must wear a 20lb vest or body armour (15lb for females). You can partition the reps however you want. Therefore, Murph is a great workout to test out your strategic skills and it will force you to think about how you can complete the high volume of reps in the best possible way for you.

So what are some of the best Murph strategies you can apply? Partitioning your reps in a way that lets you keep moving the entire time.

Murph Partition Variations

As mentioned earlier, these Murph strategies are all about making smart choices when partitioning “The Games Way” prescribed reps. Below you will find out CrossFit-style workouts that will test your strength and fitness level in a way that you can compare retroactively and see how much you are progressing before giving Murph another shot.

“CINDY”

As the second most popular variation, Cindy will sure have you sweating. If you’re looking to benchmark your time against other athletes or friends in the gym, then this is a great option. Again, being one of the most popular variations will allow you to see how far you’re progressing over the year or get a little competitive in the box.

20 rounds:

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 air squats
hero wod murph katrin davidsdottirSource: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.
Katrin finishing in 2nd place during Murph

“SMART SETS”

Consistency is key, right? Then the variation “Smart Sets” is the one for you. No need to think; you can simply jump straight into the grind and ride out that pain cave. This rep scheme comes with a warning note. If running (or cardio in general) isn’t your thing, watch out for that 2nd run. With the constant volume of air squats at the end of each round, you’ll be more likely to burn out.

20 rounds:

  • 5 push-ups
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 5 push-ups
  • 15 air squats

“Ten Total”

Alternatively, if you’re a more advanced athlete and can manage a higher volume, breaking the workout into these easy numbers might just be for you.

10 rounds:

  • 10 pull-up
  • 20 push-ups
  • 30 air squats

“Front Load”

If mental math is your strong suit, this unique rep scheme has repeatedly proven itself. This is particularly good if you hate running. By splitting up the air squats, your legs will be more “fresh” on that dreaded second run and break up the mental grind since you’re constantly changing the reps. A great distraction from the “hole”.

20 rounds

  • 5 pull-up
  • 10 push-ups
  • 25 air squats
  • 5 pull-up
  • 10 push-ups
  • 20 air squats
  • 5 pull-up
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 air squats
  • 5 pull-up
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 air squats
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 5 air squats
summer bodyweight workoutsSource: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc
Noah Ohlsen

“Dizzy RX”

If it’s your first time attempting Murph RX, but you are unsure if you can do the required volume, you might want to consider this Murph strategies workout.

33 rounds

  • 3 pull-ups
  • 6 push-ups
  • 9 air squats
  • 1 pull-up
  • 2 push-ups
  • 3 air squats

“Abacus”

Okay, let’s be honest; you will need additional equipment to complete this variation for this partition. So, grab an abacus, a pen, chalk, or anything quick to hand that’ll help you keep track for 50 rounds. It’s a great combination if you’re the type of athlete that likes to “keep moving”, but you might find it hard to keep track of where you’re up to.

50 rounds

  • 2 pull-ups
  • 4 push-ups
  • 6 air squats

“Half Murph”

This is particularly great if you’re short on time and still want to be involved or scaling to your ability. Like a half marathon, this is a half Murph. Half the reps and half the run.

  • 800 m. run
  • 10 rounds
  • 10 pull-up
  • 20 push-ups
  • 30 air squats
  • 800 m. run

Murph Strategies – Some Honorable Mentions

25 rounds of:

  • 4 pull-up
  • 8 push-ups
  • 12 air squats
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 press-ups
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 30 air squats

Then 5 rounds of:

  • 20 push-ups
  • 30 air squats

Murph Strategies Last Word Before Doing the Hero WOD

Have fun. Murph is a workout that comes up every year and is great for tracking your fitness progression. By repeating the workout, you’ll probably be doing better than you think you are.

Ultimately, Murph is about being with the community and remembering the servicemen and women who have served on our behalf to keep our country safe. We will forever owe them a debt. So, mark it in the calendar, gather some friends and hit the gym. You’ll love it.

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