The Murph Challenge: A workout in the honor of a legendary warrior

Eric Sof

The Memorial Day: Murph Challenge Workout

The Murph Challenge workout is a set of exercises performed simultaneously in honor of Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, a U.S. Navy SEAL who was killed in action during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan.


Special operations operators are well beyond professional athletes. SFOs are in extreme physical conditions. They are prepared to react instantly in defense of our county. One SFO stands out to me. Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Navy Seal.

No, I never had the supreme honor of meeting the man, but I have read and followed every piece of information I could find on him. “Lt Murphy” became a Navy Seal in July 2002. After several if not numerous missions combating terrorism, Lt. Micheal P. Murphy was surrounded by Taliban soldiers, along with his three other Navy Seals.

Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy and Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, in Afghanistan.
Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy and Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, in Afghanistan. (Photo: Navy)

“Murphy was killed on 28 June 2005 after he left his cover position and went to a clearing away from the mountains, exposing himself to a hail of gunfire in order to get a clear signal to contact headquarters for relaying the dire situation and requesting immediate support for his team. He dropped the satellite phone after being shot multiple times but picked the phone back up and finished the call. While being shot, he signed off saying- “Thank You”, then continued fighting from his exposed position until he died from his wounds.” Michael P. Murphy – Wikipedia

The Murph Challenge Workout

Lt. Murphy left behind a legacy of honor and fitness and preparedness that many strive to archive. Lt. Murphy called this workout Body Armour; after his death, the workout was renamed The Murph Challenge. It is a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout that consists of five different exercises.

  • A 1-mile run.
  • Then 100 pull-ups.
  • Then 200 pushups.
  • Then 300 squats.
  • And ANOTHER 1-mile run.

I’m not saying professional athletes couldn’t do it, but Lt Murphy did this for fun. The Murph Challenge remains the remembrance of this true warrior and athlete who fought and died for our freedom.

People often ask about the Murph Challenge and its benefit, and you need to know that it’s a challenge, not something you would use to train. It exercises the whole body, but it does not in any way improve the body. The 100 pull-up, pushup, 1.5 runs, etc., is just a beat-down session. The Murph Challenge is considered one of the more challenging CrossFit workouts.

Memorial Day Murph Challenge

The Memorial Day Murph Challenge has become a unique experience for thousands of people paying their tribute to Lt. Michael Murphy and his fellow SEALs who died during Operation Red Wings. It also has become an Official annual fundraiser of the LT—Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, presented by Forged.

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