Workout of the Week: Advanced Challenge – Murph Plus

Marine Lance Cpl. Trent Martin does a pull-up to honor fallen service members during physical training aboard the USS Rushmore as part of the ‘Memorial Day Murph’ challenge. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

This is an advanced level workout that is great for special ops level candidates to consider during their journey to selection. If you are conditioned for this type of volume, you will find that it takes about 60-80 minutes to complete.  If you have never done this many repetitions before in a single workout, do not consider it and cut the reps in half or more for starters.

Warmup with 1-5 burpee/pullup pyramid / stretch - run 25m in between each set doing dynamic stretches. This warmup requires a pullup bar and a short place to run.  If you have an outdoor section or a pullup bar near an indoor track / field area, you will be set for this type of workout or longer PT / run workouts. But the way this looks is this:  1 pullup – run 25m – 1 burpee or pushup – run 25m back to the pullup bar. 2 pullups – run 25m – 2 burpee or 2 pushups – run 25m back to bar.  Repeat until you reach 5 and stop as this is a good warmup when you mix the 25m with a variety of dynamic stretches.

ON A SIDE NOTE: If you prefer, you can make a full workout of the above section by simply going as high as you can up the pyramid – failing – then repeating in reverse order.  However, that is not today. The following is what you do after the 1-5 pyramid / run warmup.

WORKOUT NOTE:  You are allowed to count the reps of the warmup in your totals below.

This is what we call the Murph Plus.  As you may be familiar with the actual Murph Workout that is popular to do on Memorial Day – See Memorial Day Murph, this one adds a few more exercises and running elements followed by a swim section as well.

  • 100 push press (50lbs)
  • 100 pullups
  • 200 pushups
  • 200 lunges (100/leg)
  • 300 squats or kb swing combo
  • 300 variety of abs of choice
  • *every set run 100m
  • *every 400 accumulated reps run 1 mile

Here is how this works. You can make a circuit of the above exercises and accumulate repetitions any way you prefer.  You can make a pyramid, super set, max rep set, pick a few exercises and combine them in a back to back circuit until complete, and so one. 

Rules That Add To This One

Rule #1 – Run 100m every set - With this one rule, it will behoove you to do the sets of your exercises in as few sets as possible (max reps).  Because of the “*run 100m every set” means after you do a max rep set of push press – you run 100m.  If you want to limit your running the bigger the sets the less running you have to do, but you may fine the 100m runs start turning into a “recovery run” as this workout progresses.

Rule #2 – Run 1 mile after 400m reps accumulated.  As you work through the workout, you can see your total reps of the six exercises is 1200. This means you will run 3 miles total. For instance, say your first several sets net you 40 push press, 20 pullups, 50 pushups, 50 lunges / leg, 40 squats, 150 abs of choice. That totals 400 repetitions – time to run a mile.

Swim PT Workout

After the PT / run, you may feel like you have nothing left. You will be surprised that a short time in the pool afterwards will decrease your body heat and you will feel a second wind building. If you like swimming or your future training requires you to swim (Special Ops, Diver, Rescue Swimmer, Ocean Lifeguard, etc.) adding swimming is something you need to do any way.  This is a basic swim workout that works on both conditioning and technique for future swim tests.

Swim warmup 500m

  • Repeat 10 times
  • Swim 100m fast freestyle at 8-10 strokes / breath
  • Swim 50m CSS (combat swimmer stroke) or breast stroke
  • Also if you have reps from the above workout left on the table, see if you can complete some of them on the pool deck in between sets of 150m swims.


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