The WOD Hero in honor of Michael P. Murphy

by Alberto Fernando Martínez

Considered one of the toughest and most iconic CrossFit workouts, the WoD Murph CrossFit is a tribute to Michael P. Murphy, a US soldier who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005.

Who was Michael P. Murphy

The WoD Murph CrossFit , CrossFit's WoD Hero training, was born precisely in honor of soldier Michael P. Murphy, considered a national symbol in the United States. He has received the highest decorations of the US Army posthumously, such as the Medal of Honor or the Purple Heart, for his bravery in combat.

'Murph' lost his life on June 28, 2005, at the age of 29, during a mission in which a commando made up of four Navy SEALS tried to locate a Taliban leader in Afghanistan. The team suffered an ambush, which led the soldier to abandon his cover, thus looking for a high position with the aim of making contact by radio and requesting support. He was exposed to a hail of projectiles, but his action saved the life of one of his companions, who would ultimately be the sole survivor of that mission.

After this heroic act, the tributes followed one another. In fact, his story made it to the big screen: 'Lone Survivor' (The sole survivor) is a film written by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson, based on the story of that historic event. Currently, Michael P. Murphy gives his name to parks, squares, US Navy ships and to this tough training routine, probably one of the most demanding in CrossFit: the Murph.

Murph CrossFit: What is it?

WoD Murph Crossfit is a workout that first appeared on the CrossFit website on August 18, 2005. It was one of Michael's favorites and, at the time, he called it 'body armor', a term that in Spanish means 'armor'.

Michael's favorite training would later become a Hero WoD. The Hero Wod were created by CrossFit in honor of those men and women who died defending their country during the war. The WOD Murph Crossfit consists of performing:

1 mile Run (run 1600 meters).</li>
100 Pull-Ups (Dominated).</li>
200 Push-Ups (Push-ups).</li>
300 Air Squats (Squats).</li>
1 mile Run (run 1600 meters)</li>
*With a 20 lb Vest or Body Armor (if possible, the WoD Murph Crossfit will be performed with a 20 lb weight vest).

Cap or time limit: 60 minutes.

When is WoD Murph Crossfit performed?

On the last Monday of May, the memorial to the military who serve and have served the United States is celebrated. CrossFit, as a sports institution, designates that day to do the Murph workout, thus paying tribute to Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy. It is, without a doubt, a way to sensitize ourselves to suffering and share in community the effort and sacrifice.

How to manage and scale the WoD Murph Crossfit

Only a few are able to do this training with a weighted vest, so most people do this WoD without weights due to its high volume of work.

Hero WoDs are always complicated wods. In this case, the difficulty does not come from the execution of the exercises, since they are basic training movements, but from the large volume of repetitions. A managed overload occurs in about an hour.

Therefore, this routine can be scaled, since there are several versions. For example, you can do smaller series while maintaining the same volume of work:

scaled version 1

1600 meters.
20 rounds of: 5 pull ups + 10 push ups + 15 air squats</li>
1600 meters.

scaled version 2

600 meters.
20 rounds of: 5 pull ups + 5 push ups + 15 air squats + 5 push ups.

1600 meters.

In this way, you can give the muscles some rest, alternating the exercises and in smaller series. The feeling will be very different from performing 100, 200 and 300 repetitions, respectively. In addition, each of the exercises can be performed with the appropriate help: pull-ups with a rubber band, ring rows, push-ups with supported knees, box squats... The question, as in all CrossFit WODs, is to create a spirit of community.

WoD Murph at the CrossFit Games

Crossfit's WoD Murph became known outside of the United States in 2015, when it became one of the events of that year's CrossFit Games , to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Murphy's death. In that edition, several athletes were not able to withstand the Californian heat. Specifically, Annie Thorisdottir had to leave the competition due to heat stroke, and Kara Webb fainted and required medical attention. Sam Briggs won with a time of 39:10, and Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson with 38:36.

In 2015, SEAL Josh Bridges was unable to participate in the Games. The athlete himself said that wood was made for him. Josh also had an extra feeling about the rest of the classmates, since he is in the military.

Murph Results 2015


1.- Samantha Briggs, 39:10.14

2. Alethea Boon, 40:33.65

3.- Kristin Holte, 40:39.82


1.- Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson, 38:36.21

2.- Mathew Fraser, 39:20.93

3.- Noah Ohlsen, 39:33.74

In 2016, Castro offered another chance to athletes. This time, he made some adjustments such as moving up the time of the test to avoid the mid-day heat spike, and splitting the wod into <strong>5 rounds of 20 pull ups – 40 push ups – 60 air squats.

Kari Pearce was the winner that year, with a time of 36:42; while SEAL Josh Bridges won with a time of 34:38. The images of Josh excited, celebrating the victory in that wood, are already CrossFit history.

WoD Hero Murph Best Times

Record in official competition:
38:36, by Icelander Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson (CrossFit Games, 2015)
39:10, by English Samantha Briggs (CrossFit Games, 2015)

Record without competition:
34:30, by the American Hunter McIntyre (2020)