Memorial Day Murph Strategies – CrossFit Hero WOD

Memorial Day Murph Strategies – CrossFit Hero WOD

I am so stoked to get a new PR on Murph today! Last year I struggled with my pull ups and push ups and finished around 48 minutes. This year I felt great during and after the workout and hit a PR of 36 minutes 47 seconds! Having done half Murph a few weeks ago at our box North Naples CrossFit, I had a lot of information to help me strategize.

What is Murph?

“Murph” is a CrossFit hero WOD dedicated to the memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y.,who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. The WOD is:

For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

*with a 20 lb. weight vest

The workout used to be called “Body Armor” because it was prescribed to wear a 20 lb. vest. It was Michael Murphy’s favorite workout and so in his memory it has been renamed “Murph”. It is typically programmed by boxes around Memorial Day weekend so CrossFitters all over can pay special tribute by suffering through this workout together.

What’s a good strategy?

I found it really helpful that our box programmed half Murph a few weeks before Memorial Day weekend. My strategy for that was 10 rounds of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats. I tried to stick to that but because of fatigue I ended up with 20-30 push ups left to do at the end. So going in to Murph over Memorial Day weekend, I knew that the push ups were going to be my weakness. If I let them fatigue me it would be game over. I decided I would do 20 rounds of “Cindy” but split up my push ups, so I followed this pattern for every round:

5 push ups

5 pull ups

5 push ups

15 squats

How did it go? Well I was able to keep going the entire way through with minimal rest! Check out my times for each component on my board.

Murph RX time

What did I do to improve on last year?

Since the Open I realized there was a gap in my fitness – my strength! That’s why I love taking part in the Open, it really allows you to evaluate your performance. Of course working your weaknesses is hard and I realized that more often than not I prefer to do a wod fast, rather than slow & work on improving my strength – no one likes to finish last – unless you’re someone who loves the limelight because then you get all the cheers! But you know what, sometimes to get better that’s exactly what you have to do! 

So with the help of my brilliant husband, Jason Ackerman, I’ve been making strength my focus since then. Mainly deadlifting and squatting but also working on strict gymnastics movements & anything to help improve my grip and core strength – all FUNCTIONAL movements. And not all of it has been from additional programming outside of our class wods. Jason has been encouraging me to go heavier in class when I normally wouldn’t – there’s a reason it says Coach on the back of his shirt so I try my best to listen, even when I’m afraid I might pee my pants doing heavy thrusters in class. ? 

I’m only 5’1″ & weighed 104 lbs. during the CrossFit Open 2018. Now (2 months later) I weigh 2 lbs more on the scale but I’m PRing like crazy – 215 lbs. for 2 RM on my deadlift when I couldn’t lift 200 lbs. 8 weeks ago; 145 lbs. for 3 on my front squat; 125 lbs. 1RM on my squat clean; 100 lbs. on my snatch & 105 lbs. for 3 on my overhead squat. All of a sudden my recovery feels better too and my body doesn’t feel so beat up – I’m being smart and typically following a cycle of 3 days on and 1 day rest. 

Today (May 26th, 2018) I felt great whilst doing Murph and noticed how significantly easier it was to do the pull ups and push ups even since doing 1/2 Murph just a few weeks ago – my time on that was 17.28 so I’m blown away that my time for Murph was just a little over twice this.

For any women out there who are afraid of putting on muscle, don’t be! Of course, keeping track of my macros is helping to ensure that I put on muscle and not body fat, but it’s taken me 2 months to gain 2 lbs!  It’s hard AF to put on muscle. Not only that but I am not in the slightest bit “bulkier”. My clothes are still fitting amazingly, I actually feel more confident in my body – which doesn’t come naturally to me if you know my story.  

Bikini body

Feeling strong, fit, healthy & capable is what I love about CrossFit. Having a badass bicep flex is just an added bonus ??? 

I hope this post helps others (women and men) out there to see that getting strong isn’t something you should be afraid of. Falling short of not reaching your full potential is. If you always scale your workouts your progress is going to be slow. If you focus solely on your strengths and neglect your weaknesses then you run the risk of staying exactly where you are. Ask yourself why you’re scaling. If it’s because you’re afraid the workout’s going to suck more, then you know what you need to do. Enjoying yourself is important but you have to face your fears to become a better you! 

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