Every year in May, CrossFit gyms around the United States prepare for the Hero Workout Murph. But, what is it and why is it so popular?
What is a Hero Workout?
First, you need to understand the purpose of a Hero Workout (or WOD). Part of the CrossFit programming methodology is the ability to measure your progress. We want to make sure we are always getting bigger, faster, and stronger. To do that, we have to test our fitness every so often.
The best way we can test our fitness is through benchmark workouts. These are standardized workouts that each serve a purpose when testing our fitness. For reference purposes, CrossFit names its benchmark workouts. Go to any CrossFit gym in the world and everyone knows the benchmark workout Fran, for example.
Hero workouts are a type of benchmark workout we have in CrossFit. Hero workouts honor service men and women who died protecting our country or our citizens. Most hero workouts are named after military men and women, but some named after first responders like police firemen. The workouts themselves are considered “harder” than an average CrossFit workout. The workout may be longer, heavier, require more skill, etc. It is our way to honor those who gave their life and suffering through a hard workout.
What is Murph?
So, what is Murph? Perhaps the most popular Hero workout, Murph is a test of endurance. Are you able to run a distance, then perform a series of bodyweight movements, and then run again? Specifically, Murph as written is:
Run 1 Mile
300 Air Squats
Run 1 Mile
Michael Murphy, the Navy Seal for whom this workout was named, was killed in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005. His Seal team was ambushed while in the mountains and Murphy ran into the line of fire to connect a satellite phone call to the American military base in an effort to receive backup.
Every year, on the last Monday of May, American celebrates Memorial Day. It is a time for us to remember those who have fallen in service of our freedom. Everyone will celebrate in their own way. But, for CrossFitters, we celebrate by expressing our fitness.
Is Murph brutal? Yes. It we prepare for it all month. It takes most people the better part of an hour to complete. Most people will do a modified version of it just to finish. But, then again, that’s the point.