Here's How to Do the Sandbaby Murph Workout

Carrying sandbags is a great way for a good workout.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jesus Rosado carries sandbags during the Iron Legion competition. (Sgt. Ryan Hohman/U.S. Army photo)

This week, we enjoyed the Sandbaby Murph with some new variations. If you remember, the Sandbaby Murph is similar to the classic Memorial Murph Workout named in honor of former Navy SEAL Michael Murphy. 

It seems that any workout that is 100, 200, 300 repetitions is now called “like the Murph” and is a well-deserved moniker.   Here is how we do the Sandbaby version:

Rule: You cannot sit the sandbag down during the entire event.

How to make a sandbaby: Make or buy a sandbag of 40-50 pounds. We make ours with a 50-pound bag of play sand from Home Depot for $4. Cut a small hole to let out 10 pounds of sand at the top of the bag. Then fold the bag over itself and duct-tape the entire bag a few layers. This should take an entire roll of tape.

  • Run one mile with the bag on your shoulder or head, or carry it in your arms. It's up to you.
  • 100 push presses, taking the sandbag to the left and right shoulder. 
  • Every lift over your head = 1 rep.
  • 200 lunges (100/leg). Chest-carry the sandbag.
  • 300 reps but combine 150 reps of sit-ups (chest carry) and 150 squats (sandbag on shoulder) to complete the 100, 200, 300 rep cycle.
  • Then run one mile again with a sandbag.

Sandbaby Murph with a hill

The difference with this variation is this: We add a hill to run every cycle of max-rep sets. 

After you run your mile, start doing the repetitions in max-rep sets. Say you get 40 push presses, 20 lunges per leg, and 30 sit-ups and 30 squats -- that equals one circuit set. After every circuit of the four exercises, you run a hill up and down with the sandbaby.

Repeat the circuit until you have accumulated 100 push presses, 200 lunges total, and 150 squats/sit-ups. The fewer sets you do, the fewer number of hills required. 

Finish the workout with a mile run with the sandbaby. Maybe we can save this one until Labor Day. Enjoy.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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