This post is by humanN brand ambassador and guest contributor Andre Crews, Owner of 150 Bay CrossFit, Men’s Health Fittest Trainer, and Golden Retriever Dad.
For many Americans, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. Whether you’re in Seattle, Chicago, or New York City, temperatures are usually warm enough for beach trips, backyard barbecues, and an ice cold beverage. The CrossFit community shares in these time honored traditions. But before cracking open a cold one, we honor our fallen soldiers by completing a workout called Murph.
Murph was named in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005. This was one of his favorite workouts to do while stationed abroad. In fact, he would train in body armor to create the same stimulus of moving around in full gear during active duty. For this reason, advanced athletes may choose to perform Murph wearing a weight vest (20 lbs for men, 14 lbs for women).
The Murph was named in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005.
In my 5 years as a CrossFitter, I’ve done Team Murph (splitting reps between a few other athletes) and mini Murph (decreased reps). But this will be my first year doing Murph unpartitioned in a weight vest. In the past, my fitness level made me shy away from this workout. Every person I knew who had done Murph before had horror stories about being debilitatingly sore for at least a full week after completing the workout. Even elite athletes felt the wrath of Murph during the 2015 CrossFit Games. Multiple athletes suffered heat exhaustion and a few even had to withdraw from competition!
If you asked me to do Murph last year, I would have politely replied no thank you. Yes, I am a relatively strong human. I can deadlift 581 lbs, clean 350 lbs, bench press 325 lbs, and snatch 270 lbs. Running, air squats, burpees and other lightweight movements, however, have always been my weakness. But this year, I’m ready!
Last Memorial Day, we did a modified version of Murph at 150 Bay CrossFit before we were even open. We only had a few mats set up in an empty warehouse, no pull up rig, and no electricity. But Jersey City fitness enthusiasts showed up to run around the block, swing kettlebells, burpee their chests off of dusty concrete floors, and squat before running again!
This fledgling community made up of bankers, computer programmers, stay-at-home mothers, and others who had never even been in a CrossFit box inspired me to lead 150 Bay CrossFit in a proper version of Murph in the year to come! We officially opened our doors for business in October 2017 with electricity, pull-up rigs, and even a Kettlebell Kitchen refrigerator!
Despite owning and coaching at a fitness facility, my workout consistency suffered in the initial weeks. I’m sure any professional starting a new role can relate regardless of his or her industry! But after a few weeks of settling in, 150 Bay CrossFit was in “Crews Control” thanks to my extremely talented coaching staff! I was even able to compete in the first ever Men’s Health Open. This competition put 100 of NYC’s top trainers head to head in 7 events. Remember how I said lightweight conditioning workouts have always been my weakness? The final event of the MH Open was max effort bar facing burpees.
In the past, I would have mentally written off the event as a loss before even starting. But despite my inconsistent workout regimen at the time, I thought back to that primal gathering at 150 Bay CrossFit during modified Murph. I knew I had an entire community to represent. So I took a deep breath, summoned my inner beast, and went to work. 1 minute and 30 burpees later, I was the Men’s Health Fittest Trainer!
Since then, I’ve approached every workout with that mentality: knowing that an entire community of people look up to me for inspiration and guidance. I even bought a CrossFit Games caliber weight vest that I’ve been training in 2-3 times per week since March! Murph is going to be incredibly special to me this year. Most of my members will be doing a modified version of the workout. But whether they partition, perform fewer reps, or modify movements (ring rows vs pull-ups for example), I know they’ll be watching. And I will do my absolute best to lead by example, represent the 150 Bay CrossFit community, and pay proper tribute to Lieutenant Michael Murphy!
- 1 mile run
- 100 pull-ups
- 200 push-ups
- 300 squats
- 1 mile run