Stew’s Favorites: Memorial Day Murph

An instructor shows soldiers on how to do proper hand-release push-ups.
Staff Sgt. Robert Powers, an instructor with the ACFT Mobile Training Team from the United States Army Physical Fitness School at Fort Jackson, S.C., shows 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) soldiers the proper form for conducting hand-release push-ups at Fryar Stadium, Fort Campbell, Ky., April 9, 2019. (Spc. Andrew Jo/U.S. Army photo)

This Memorial Day Workout easily will be the favorite workout of the week for many weeks to come. In the past few years, the CrossFit world has been naming workouts after American heroes (Hero WOD). This particular workout is called the Memorial Day Murph and was one of SDV Team 1 SEAL, Lt. Michael Murphy’s workouts before SEAL training. It just so happens to be one of my longtime favorites done with sit-ups vs. squats to help prepare for the physical screening test (PST) exercises (pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups).

The “Murph” Workout is the following:

  • Run one mile
  • 100 pull-ups
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 squats
  • Run one mile

(with or without a 20-pound weight vest. It depends on your fitness level)

You can get these repetitions any way you wish. Make a circuit of a pyramid, super set or max rep set workout, as listed in these articles.

Our Heroes of Tomorrow Spec Ops group added a bit more to the original Murph and added a few hours of work to the current workout. One of our mottos is: There is no 30-minute workout that prepares you for a day of Spec Ops training. You have to put in your time, adding in more running, swimming and rucking. Working full-​ time in a physical job, then doing a 30-minute workout will work, too, but a 30-minute workout and a nap is not a way to prepare for any training.

After you do the original Murph above, add the following 100, 200, 300 reps, meters and time to the day:

Memorial Day Multi-​​Murphs

Weight/​PT version:

  • 100 bench press (at 50%-70% of your body weight)
  • 200 kettlebell swings
  • 300 sit-ups

Run one mile.

Time version:

  • 100 seconds of flutter kicks
  • 200 seconds of walking lunges
  • 300 seconds of plank pose

Run one mile.

Distance version

  • 100 meters of bear crawl
  • 200 meters of fireman carry (200 meters each) or farmer walk
  • 300 meters of burpee/​jumps

Run one mile.

This took 2.5 hours and was not that bad if you paced yourself. The only horrible event was the 300-meter burpee and forward jumps, though the 100-meter bear crawl was a tough addition, too.

Enjoy. It is a beast.

At the end, make sure you give Lt. Michael Murphy a big hooyah and a thank you for his sacrifice.

P.S.: After this one, you may want to take a few days and focus on cardio options like running, swimming or other non-impact options.

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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