Murph – Modifications and Things to Know

MURPH – How’s this going to happen?! First, read about the namesake, the hero himself, here

Second, the workout is the only class for the day. It’s at 9:30. Plan to come in around 9:15 and foam roll and get in some light movement. We will go over all of the various scaling options, but best to familiarize yourself ahead of time and reach out to let us know which version you plan on doing. 

We will do a group warm-up, watch the video we watch every year giving detail on the day of Murph’s death, and play the National Anthem. Then, as usual, it’s 3-2-1 go! I know some of you will have to leave quickly for childcare, etc., but please, if you’re able, stick around and cheer for your gym-mates. This is what we do, and it’s what makes our gym different than a globo gym. 

It is recommended for the higher rep workouts (and applicable to all versions) to do the volume of work in “mini rounds” – so if you’re doing the full volume, you’d do 20 rounds of “Cindy,” essentially – 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats – BUT below is the recommendation for most as it breaks up what most people would say is the limiting movement: push-ups!!

20 Rounds of:

5 Pull-ups 

5 Push-ups

15 Air Squats

5 Push-ups 

You can vary this however it makes sense depending on your total reps. This isn’t a sprint workout by any means (think around 20 minutes for the beginner version and up to 60 or more minutes for the full amount), but there shouldn’t be a whole lot of standing around. Scaling well is the key to success AND safety! 

Read below for info on how to fuel for the workout and what you need to know about Rhabdo.

Some nutrition and health/safety information about completing a long, aerobic workout such as Murph:


  • Treat Murph like a mini 1/2 marathon, so you will need to be fueled up for the event.
  • Do not attempt on an empty stomach. Such a long and grueling workout can drop your blood sugar levels and leave you light headed. 
  • Glucose based carbs pre-WOD (the night before) – a sweet potato, some good protein, and a salad would be great.
  • Avoid consuming nut butters (healthy fats) pre-WOD as they slow digestion aka your muscles being refueled post-WOD. 
  • The morning of, the key is slow burning carbs to last you through the workout (oats, whole grains). Right afterwards, or even mid WOD, some applesauce pouches and whey protein isolates can be consumed (and definitely should be consumed within 30 minutes post WOD – you want the post-WOD refuel in liquid form!). We will have donuts and coffee as well. That helps make everything better – except rhabdo (see below).
  • If you are following a low-carb diet, you should look into starting their refueling process with slow-burning carbs a few days before – this will allow you to start building up your glycogen (fuel) stores.


Here is an article discussing rhabdomyolysis (rhabdo) that every single one of you needs to read, whether you’re completing Murph or not. A few things though, as there have been some updates as to studies on rhabdo: 

  1. You can be an elite athlete and get rhabdo. Some of the risk factors are mitigated daily simply by us providing programming that isn’t inherently likely to cause rhabdo. But it still can happen to anyone, any time, if the sets of factors are right (wrong). If you don’t regularly work out (3-5 times a week, REGULARLY, for months and months), you will not be doing full Murph at CrossFit Mattoon.
  2. Brown urine is not always present upon the onset of rhabdo. Also, if you’re even slightly thinking you may have it, you just go to the ER and get your CPK/blood tested, STAT. Tell us when you’re there, but your first priority is being seen immediately.
  3. Do not drink COPIOUS amounts of water as stated in the article if you’re worried about rhabdo, unless, when you call your doctor with concerns, he/she tells you to. Electrolyte imbalance is a concern, and drinking a ton of water could potentially worsen the problem. 
  4. The big takeaway is to come into Murph ALREADY well hydrated. That takes a few days leading up to it … so, now would be good 🙂 Hyponatremia is a real thing (overhydration), so just use reasoning, please. Also, if you’ve been drinking alcohol much the few days before, and following Murph, you are asking for a problem. Dehydration is a side effect of drinking alcohol, and there is a correlation between dehydration and rhabdo. Again, common sense. 
  5. Nothing you read online will replace a blood test and physician’s care. Just assume that everything is anecdotal, and if you can’t bend your arms or feel like you got hit by a truck the next day, GO TO THE ER. 
  6. Rhabdo is a real thing and happens, rare or not. Doing half Murph is still doing Murph, so don’t let pride get in the way of a great experience and put you in a tough spot for training moving forward. I’ve done a version of Murph twice while pregnant, the full thing several few times, and a scaled version a few times. You will feel accomplished regardless – and you’ll have something to strive for the next time.

Any questions, please reach out!

In strength,

Coach Mindy




Fill out the form below. Check your inbox shortly!