The ‘Murph’ challenge: what to know about this CrossFit workout

This challenging CrossFit workout incorporates a weighted vest and includes a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats., and another mile run.

If you are attempting this particular workout for the first time, it is crucial to consider the time factor, as there may be potential hazards. It is especially important to approach it with caution, given that the Murph challenge aims to enhance both your physical strength and stamina.

CrossFit, which was originally developed in California more than 20 years ago, has grown into a worldwide phenomenon with an estimated five million participants attending thousands of gyms globally.

CrossFit is a fitness regimen that typically involves participants doing a high-intensity workout about three times a week, depending on their level. The name “CrossFit” is derived from its incorporation of different types of exercises and elements from a variety of sports disciplines.

Workouts are tailored to individuals’ fitness levels and experience, typically including activities such as running, cardio, weightlifting, and gymnastics.

The most challenging CrossFit workouts are referred to as “hero” workouts, honoring fallen soldiers like Murphy.

This specific exercise routine consists of the following, performed as quickly as possible:

  • One mile race.
  • 100 repetitions of pull ups.
  • 200 repetitions of push ups.
  • 300 squats.
  • One mile race..
  • Above all, the vest is notably heavy. It weighs 9.07kg (20lbs) and is intended to be worn by men. For women, there is a lighter option weighing 6.35kg (14lbs) to wear.

    To progress further, advanced individuals can perform 30 squats, 20 push-ups, and 10 pull-ups for ten rounds. For beginners, a starting example could be doing 15 squats, ten push-ups, and five pull-ups for 20 rounds. However, it is important to note that the runs must be at the beginning and end of the workout, while squats, push-ups, and pull-ups can be split up.

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    Like Zuckerberg, numerous individuals engage in it every year on Memorial Day in the United States, and the exercise is regularly performed in CrossFit gyms around the globe.

    The Murph challenge is completed wearing a weighted vest. ZR10/Shutterstock

    According to the Marathon Handbook, a workout resource for fitness enthusiasts, runners, and coaches, athletes progressed from minutes 40-45, intermediates from minutes 50-58, and beginners completed the workout from minutes 63-80, on average.

    “After 39 minutes and 58 seconds, Zuckerberg announced that he had finished the workout. He has been described as the “toughest CEO in the valley,” and it’s surprising how little time it took him.”

    A challenging exercise session

    The waistcoat enhances the level of difficulty and the one-mile jog at the start and finish, while the lunges test the lower limbs and core, the bench presses test the pectoral muscles, and the chin-ups test the muscles of the back and shoulders, rendering the Murph workout demanding due to its emphasis on a wide range of major muscle groups.

    This workout will help build excellent cardiovascular fitness while developing muscular endurance and strength in both the upper and lower body. By adding a weighted vest in CrossFit, my research with colleagues has shown that running with the vest increases the amount of calories burned and the amount of oxygen consumed, causing the body to work harder and produce more energy.

    Learn more: Weighted vests: should you incorporate them during physical activity?

    What are the potential dangers?

    A systematic review from 2017 involving 13 studies and 2,326 participants concluded that CrossFit has similar injury rates to other exercise programmes.

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    The findings were supported by a survey of 132 CrossFit participants, which reported an injury rate of 3.1 injuries per 1,000 training hours.

    Competitive collision sports like rugby, along with gymnastics, strength training, and powerlifting, exhibit a similar rate to this ratio. Notably, common repetitive strain injuries indicate that the main risk factor for injury in recreational running (7.7 per 1,000 hours) is the amount and duration of running, which interestingly appears to be lower than what is observed in other pursuits.

    Injuries in CrossFit are most prone to occur in the shoulders and lower back, and commonly happen during powerlifting or gymnastics activities. Factors that increase the risk of injury include longer duration of participation in CrossFit (the number of years you have been doing it), a higher number of training hours per week, being taller, and having a greater body weight.

    Rhabdomyolysis: a hazardous ailment

    Rhabdomyolysis is a potential consequence of intense, unfamiliar physical activity, such as an individual attempting Murph for the first time (this could be an individual who is not regularly engaged in CrossFit-style workouts, or even someone who is).

    When the muscle deteriorates, significant amounts of proteins like myoglobin (a protein found in muscle that absorbs oxygen) have the ability to enter the bloodstream, harming the kidneys. This leads to severe muscle discomfort and the liberation of proteins into the bloodstream, causing muscle impairment referred to as rhabdomyolysis.

    Instances of rhabdomyolysis, comprising nearly 50% of all cases, are frequently observed in individuals who have been crushed, however this ailment can pose a threat to life due to intense, unaccustomed physical activity (exertional rhabdomyolysis). Although uncommon, it does occur.

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    Learn more: Ways to avoid getting hurt during sports and physical activities.

    In the years ahead, Murph is expected to remain a favorite among fitness enthusiasts on Memorial Day and is genuinely a demanding exercise routine.

    Beginners may also attempt Murph without the added weight vest. Taking breaks between each round provides an opportunity to perform 15 squats, ten push ups, and five pull ups for a total of 20 rounds. This could be their first time trying it.

    Additionally, you can try strolling the beginning and concluding mile or participating in specific workouts to slowly get ready for accomplishing the whole Murph test.

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