Tomorrow morning over 100 athletes at Roots will tackle the hero workout Murph as we honor those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
The workout specifies that athletes can “partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed” which presents a rare element in a CrossFit workout as usually athletes are required to finish all of the reps of an exercise before moving on. In Murph, while the run portions must be done as a sandwich around the reps, athletes may break up the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats however they’d like.
Spending a bit of time thinking through your rep scheme can help a newer athlete feel confident as they attempt a workout that, on paper, looks quite intimidating, but when broken down, can be quite manageable. For a veteran athlete, it can help them learn about pacing and strategy to get the best possible time.

For Reference, Here’s the Workout

For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run
In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.
This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it “Body Armor”. From here on it will be referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.
Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty-pound vest or body armor, wear it.

So What Rep Scheme Should I Do?

So how do you decide on the best way to break up your reps to prevent fall off and get the best possible time?
First, pick your weakest movement from pull-ups, push-ups, and squats. Next, determine the number of reps that you know, without a doubt, that you could ALWAYS do in a single set of that movement. For example, say that push-ups are your weakest movement and you know that you can always bust out 6 reps in a row of a push-up. From there, you build your rep scheme around that number. In this example, the athlete’s rep scheme would be 3/6/9 reps for 33 rounds + 1 round of 1/2/3 to round out the 100/200/300 totals.
The benefit of building your rep scheme based on your weakest movement is that you eliminate moving toward failure and standing around a lot breaking up sets. This method keeps the athlete moving and minimizes rest and fatigue.
Below we’ve listed a few of the more common rep schemes that athletes tackle.

3/6/9 for 33 Rounds + 1 Round of 1/2/3

This is a great place to start whether you’re doing Murph for the first time, with or without a vest.

5/10/15 for 20 Rounds

If you’re strong at pull-ups and know that the 5 is no problem, this is a great option if you believe you can maintain unbroken push-ups through the first 10-13 rounds. See below for more detail on what to do with this rep scheme if you do break down on the push-ups.

10/20/30 for 10 Rounds

If you’re a ninja at push-ups, go after this rep scheme. This rep scheme is also popular with athletes who get annoyed with counting all of those rounds!

20/40/60 for 5 Rounds

Done at the 2016 CrossFit Games. All athletes were required to do the same rep scheme for competition purposes.


There’s no requirement to do this rep scheme. Sure, they did it at the Games in 2015 but remember the workout specifies to break up the reps as desired. In 2016, the athletes at the Games broke up the reps into five rounds of 20/40/60.

Breaking Up the Push-ups within Your Round

Now, what happens if your rep scheme goes to shit?! You have one more tool in your toolbox – split the movement that is breaking down into two sets within each round. In our 5/10/15 example, this would become:
5 pull-ups / 5 push-ups / 15 air squats / 5 push-ups
By breaking up the sets of push-ups you eliminate time standing around and give the arms time to reset.
However you decide to tackle Murph, we recommend you decide on a plan!
Questions? Post to comments.