Updated May 2019

This weekend, Crossfitters and everyday athletes around the world will gather at their local gyms to take part in a work out named “Murph”. This workout is named after Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy Seal who died in Afganistan in a firefight in 2005.

The work out is no walk in the park:

1-mile run
100 pull-ups
200 push ups
300 air squats
1-mile run

**to be completed with a 20# weight vest

This work out is more than just a physical feat, but an opportunity for people all around the world to honor those who have fought and died for our freedom. I have had the honor of participating in this work out for 5 years now and looking forward to continuing the tradition this year.

This workout is not for the faint-hearted and should be mindfully modified for anyone who is suffering an injury, pregnant or postpartum. This workout is absolutely (and rightfully so) emotionally charged, and deciding to modify can be hard! Honoring your current athletic status is a great way to honor those who have served us,  all while protecting yourself. So, for those of us not ready to do this workout Rx, no sweat! Let’s find a way to modify. Not participating at all is also an option and sometimes the hardest (but smartest) decision we can make. It is ONE work out and will come again next year.

The “No List”

Below is a list of symptoms that I believe immediately warrant stopping and/or modifying.

For the injured athlete:

faulty movement patterns
anything against what your MD, physio or healthcare professional has advised against

For the pregnant/postpartum athlete:

pelvic pressure
urine leakage
coning/bulging of the abdomen

If you experience any of the above mentioned, please consider the following as modifications:

1 mile run modifications:

            Running can be one of the most strenuous exercises on our pelvic floors and abdominal walls as pregnant or postpartum women. Also, anyone who has low back, hip, knee or ankle injuries, most likely running isn’t a great idea either. If you suffer any of the “symptoms to avoid” while running, consider one of the following:

Decrease distance
Run/walk intervals

Pull-up Modifications:

A kipping pull-up causes a very big stretch to our abdomen. I suggest anyone past their first trimester should forego kipping pull-ups.  Also, anyone with any shoulder pain would probably benefit from steering clear of the high reps that are programmed here. Some potential modification options are as follows:

Decreasing reps
Banded assisted strict pull-ups
Feet assisted pull-ups
Ring Rows
Banded pulldowns

Push-up Modifications:

The issue with push-ups (as most other exercises) is going to be maintaining a good balance in pressure and not allowing your belly to bulge or cone. If you are unable to perform a full push up with your core tight, you have plenty of options:

Knee push-ups
Incline push-ups (to a box or bench or even the wall)
Bent over row
Banded Pollof press

Air squat Modifications:

            Squats can be very difficult for anyone with ankle, knee or hip pain. Also, for those in later stages of pregnancy or early stages of postpartum life, maintaining good abdominal pressure can be difficult. Modification options are as follows:

Squatting to a bench or box
Mini squat (shorten the range of motion)

Other thoughts:

            Injury recovery and pregnancy is not a time to push limits or hit PRs. Workouts such as this are meant for continual but controlled movement and fitness. We want you to feel good and confident and make modifications as needed to not only finish the workout but also to not cause pain/discomfort later! Some other general ways to modify are as follows:

           Get released: any athlete that has been under a doctors care absolutely needs to be fully released for exercise before participating.  If you are seeing a therapist and/or doctor for your injury, consult with them about your goals and get the advice of proper modifications appropriate for you!

            Scale the reps: Performing “Team Murph” (dividing reps between people) is a great way to take part and to not overdo it.

            Rounds instead of reps: As opposed to doing all of the pull-ups first, performing 20 rounds of 5 pull ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats is a great way to get the rest you need and to avoid overuse injuries.

            Mind the time cap: choosing to work out for a specific amount of time (example stopping at 30 minutes) is a good way to pump the breaks as well.

            Be mindful of heat: depending on where you live, choosing an indoor option might be performed to allow you to finish your workout without a great increase in body temperature.

           Ditch the vest: any pregnant athlete conveniently already has a built-in weight vest. So why add more? Choosing to do this workout without the extra pounds will allow you to move well and focus on movement without added stress.

Brooke’s Workout:

I will be 24 weeks postpartum and my scale options will be as follows:

            Bike/Row – I still am not released for long distance running as I still experience heaviness/pressure for the days following a long run. This year, I plan to ride the bike for my first mile and row for the second. This will allow me to still get the stimulus of a cardio workout without the pelvic floor repercussions.

100 band-assisted pull-ups
200 incline push-ups (I still have DR with inconsistent control when I am in a push-up. Due to the high reps, I will choose to incline my push-ups so I can move quicker without as much focus)
300 Air squats


Be smart! Knowing your personality and tendencies is huge in a workout such as Murph. If you are ultra-competitive or hard-headed (such as myself), having a plan in place to help keep you accountable is a must to ensure safety and prevent injury.

Good luck my friends! And thank you to all of those who have served, are serving and most importantly, have paid the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom.  Happy Memorial Day everyone!


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