There are only a few things in this world that can be known by a single name.
Workouts have a set machine or movement that can be recognized and easily done with practice. However, sometimes something comes around that is bigger than any sport, any exercise, or any gym that may be hosting it. It goes by a singular name but carries the memory of an American soldier that paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
This workout is known as the “Murph”
The Murph is a hero workout that is a mile run, followed by 100 pullups, followed by 200 pushups, then 300 squats, and a mile run while wearing a 20lb vest. This workout was created in memory of Lt. Michael Murphy. If you have ever read the book or seen the movie “Lone survivor” you have seen Lt. Murphy and the sacrifice he made. The Murph was a workout that he did on a regular basis. We do this workout in honor of him.
I started this journey in fitness a year ago. Every day I strive to do the best I can with the task that is in front of me. “Levi, I need you to do a squat clean”, “Levi, I need you to do a chest to bar”, “Levi, I need you to not look like you are dying right now”. With the Murph, I see it as a benchmark. It will be the most taxing workout I have done since my time on this fitness journey. So here I go, trying to honor the memory of a fallen soldier, trying to be better than I was a year ago, and trying not to pass out in the process.
Day 1: partner workout
10 rounds for time: 20 pushups / 100m Row followed by 20 squats / 100m Run.
Partner workouts are very intimating. The way it works is you are partnered with someone and you both complete the required movement together. During the partner pairing, you have a feeling of dodgeball gym pickup games. You know that feeling, you are up against the wall while others around you are being picked one by one until it is you and the kid who would rather be playing chess left.
During this day the coach wrote the workout on the board and said that she will be picking teams. The names began to be called, followed by a lot of high fives and strategy. When they named my partner my competitive nature came out. I was paired with one of the best female athletes in our gym. Let’s call her LAN (Lady Army Nurse). She approaches the workouts like a woman on a mission. When you look at the fire in her eyes, they burn with only one goal: to complete the workout in the most efficient way, with the fastest time possible. If you look at my eyes it says “don’t pass out, don’t pass out, don’t pass out”.
When you have a partner workout you need to elevate yourself to the intensity of the other because you don’t want to let your teammate down.
The clock started at 10 went down to 5…..4…..3…..2……1…..Go!
I started at the pushups. The movement is very simple, you start on your knees with your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart. When you start you put your body in plank position, lowering yourself to the floor then pushing yourself back up. The movement is so elementary that my children do this for fun. I felt good for the first two rounds, then LAN was a beast for her two.
When it was my turn for the third round the first ten pushups felt normal. Then it happened, my arms started to give out, and I began to shake. It was like gravity was playing tug-of-war with me every time I pushed up. With every time I held my body up, I could feel my arms shake. If I told you how many times I wanted to stay down and make it all go away you probably wouldn’t believe me.
After the first ten rounds, we had to immediately go to the Squats and run.
Air squats will test your resolve like no other workout. You start by standing straight in a sitting motion, with your chest up, until you break the 90-degree angle and your glutes are near the ground. For the first two rounds, you feel glad that you are not doing pushups. However, by the third round you remember that squats are just as bad and to make matters worse you have to run.
The best I can describe it is that game we use to play as kids, the one where you put the top of a baseball bat on your forehead, place the bat on the ground, then spin in a circle until your dizzy. Then someone say run in a straight line till you fall down. At the end of this workout, your lungs are burning, your legs are like Jell-O, and you are questioning all of your life designs. However, the only thought that is going through your mind is “man, that sucks… can’t wait to do that again”?
The Murph is an honorable workout that can be completed. If you do so you will have a sense of pride and accomplishment that can’t be taken away or replaced. However, you must be prepared for the test you will put your body through.
If this is day 1, I have a lot of work to do.