The Memorial Day “Murph”

by Brian Cain, MPM

Every Memorial Day I’ve been commited to doing “The Murph” as way to kick off this important day.

The workout is in honor of US Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy.

I have also included this as part of my Monday morning routine as a way to kickstart my mindset for having a great week.

Lt. Murphy was the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wings, tasked with finding a key anti-coalition militia commander near Asadabad, Afghanistan.

Murphy’s men came under fire and Murphy bravely put himself in the line of fire to give his men a chance at survival.

One of his team members, Marcus Luttrell, survived and tells the story in his book The Lone Survivor.

Lt. Murphy was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on October 27, 2007.

By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was able to relay the position of his unit, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three who were killed in the battle.

This was the worst single-day U.S. Naval Special Warfare death toll since Operation Enduring Freedom began nearly six years ago. It was the single largest loss of life for Naval Special Warfare since World War II.

The Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community will forever remember June 28, 2005 and the heroic efforts and sacrifices of these special operations warriors.

We hold with reverence the ultimate sacrifice that they made while engaged in a fierce fire fight on the front lines of the global war on terrorism (GWOT).

There is a workout named after Lt. Murphy that he would do while deployed. He called it the “Body Armor Workout.” It’s now simply referred to as “The Murph” and consists of:

  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull ups
  • 200 push ups
  • 300 air squats
  • 1 mile run

The goal here with this post is to encourage you to take on this workout as part of your Memorial Day routine or as part of your Monday routine.

You can chop it up any way you want and take as long as needed to do the workout.  No records being set here other than you vs. you and the battle that is uncomfortable consistency, also known as growth.

When I first started doing this workout, I would run a mile, go to the office and then throughout the day do sets fo 5 pull ups, 10 push ups and 15 air squats and then finish the day with a mile run. It was never done for time, it was a great breakup of my Monday workday.

On May 7th 2020 in honor of Murph’s birthday which was May 7, 1976, I put on the stopwatch and got the following time:

1mile run (9:07)
20 sets of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups and 15 body weight squats (20:10)
1 mile run (8:40)
Total time of 38:17.

I encourage you to do this workout to help kickstart you mindset on serving others and becoming the best version of yourself in the process.

This workout is sure to build calluses on your hands and build calluses on your mind by doing a workout in honor of Lt. Murphy that can be modified to fit your personal fitness needs.


To learn more about Lt. Michael Murphy I encourage the following resources:

The Lone Survivor movie or book by Marcus Luttrell

Murph The Protector. Documentary about the life of LT. Michael Murphy.

The Murph Challenge to help raise funds for The Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation

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