Preparing for the “Murph” Challenge

Apr 23, 2018 | Workouts

Woman doing a box jump

By Alley Miesch-Nie and Brenna Cliver, Renaissance ClubSport Aliso Viejo Elite Personal Trainers

We’re dedicating this month’s workout to the current and former brave men and women of our military. Make this workout a part of your regular routine to achieve total body strength and endurance as you get in amazing shape, then take on our annual “Murph” Challenge on Memorial Day Weekend.

Popularized by CrossFit, the “Murph” is a grueling test of cardio and muscular endurance invented by Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy, who lost his life in June 2005 during a critical mission in the hills of Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. He was posthumously honored with 14 service medals, including the Medal of Honor, Silver Star, and Purple Heart.

The “Murph” Challenge (for time)

  1. One-mile run
  2. 100 pull-ups
  3. 200 push-ups
  4. 300 squats
  5. One-mile run

The pull-ups, push-ups, and squats can be broken up into whatever set and repetition scheme makes sense for you. We understand that not everyone is Navy SEAL fit, so modifications and regressions are allowed. The main goal is to complete all of the reps. Try breaking down the challenge into 20 sets of five pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats. If you’re like most, you should be able to get through the push-ups and squats and will have the most trouble with the pull-ups, by far the toughest part.

Preparing for the “Murph” Challenge Exercises

  1. 10 Box Jumps
  2. 10 Kettlebell Swings
  3. 10 Wall Balls
  4. 10 Med Ball Slams
  5. 10 Pull-ups
  6. 10 Seconds Battle Rope, Alternating Waves

Weekly Preparation

Week #1

Complete 5 rounds, resting for 2 minutes in between each round
Kettlebell weight should be at 80% of one max rep

Week #2

Complete 8 rounds, resting for 1.5 minutes in between each round
Kettlebell weight should be at 65% of one max rep

Week #3

Complete 10 rounds, resting for 1 minute in between each round
Kettlebell weight should be at 50% of one max rep

Week #4

Complete 5 rounds, resting for 2 minutes in between each round
Kettlebell weight should be at 40-50% of one max rep

The Exercises

Box Jumps

Kettlebell Swings

Wall Balls

Med Ball Slams


Battle Rope, Alternating Waves

About the Trainers

Alley Miesch-Nie
Rev32 Co-Lead Coach/Elite Personal Trainer
91 Tango Animal Care Specialists
Army Vet Corp

Alley has over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry and has a Master’s in Health Science and Physical Education and a B.S. in Health Recreation and Physical Education. Alley is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Pre/Post Natal Specialist through NASM. She is a former Miss Natural World Bodybuilding Champion, top-level NPC Bodybuilding Champion, former MPVA and AVP Pro Beach and collegiate volleyball player, sponsored World Champion Stand-Up Paddle Boarder, and veteran of the US Army. Alley has a diverse fitness background that has enabled her to specialize in overall body sculpting and sport-specific strength training.

Brenna Cliver
Elite Personal Trainer
1st Lt, United States Marine Corps

Brenna is passionate about optimizing strength, power, and endurance for elite performance and long-term health. She believes that excellence is a habit, so it does not matter where you start as long as you are willing to work hard. Her training experience began in the Marine Corps, where she designed programs to prepare individuals for rigorous physical events. She has a B.A. in Business Management and is certified as a personal trainer through ACE. Brenna enjoys weight lifting, running, and making delicious food.

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