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  • Bryan Stoneking

Why We Don't Murph

Hero workouts are great. The reason they're created is to pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate price protecting society. Military, Fire, Police men and women who have

chosen to put their lives in harms way to protect the country, community and civilians in which they live. The long standing tradition in the CrossFit world has become to do the Murph Hero WOD on Memorial Day. My guesstimation is that it is done by at least 90% of the CrossFit gyms world wide, even the ones who aren't in America. The workout is long and extensive as you can see from the pic.

There was a Memorial Day early on in the School of Sweat infancy, before affilation with CrossFit had taken place where I programmed Murph. Of course with a full host of our members at the time we couldn't perform the workout in our gym space so we went to the park. We subbed the pull ups for sit ups since we didn't have anything to use for pull ups. Another time, I believe in the first year of affiliation, that I programmed it again. We were drastically overcrowded in the gym, turned it into a partner version just to conserve spacing, and grinded our way through it. I programmed Murph on these two occasions not because it was the right thing to do, but because I thought that's what we're supposed to do, like everyone else. Then I became a better coach and gym owner.

While nobody complained about the operational aspect of either of those two workouts, I was unsatisfied with the product I was delivering and the reasoning as to why. CrossFit does not dictate to any affiliate what workouts to program, that's the beauty of the affiliate model vs. franchise model. I can run my business my way. In fact, CrossFit itself does not program Murph as the WOD on Memorial Day. Their website this morning says the WOD is "HERO workout of your choice".

My job as the owner/head coach/programmer for our gym is to deliver the best possible exercise experience, period. To do that, with our spacing, Murph is just not a viable option for a single class with a full population of members in attendence. Also, for these single class full population workouts we are always offsite so they're really aren't any options to line up 12-20 people somewhere to do pull up variations. This is why we don't do Murph. It's not because I'm trying to be rebellious against the establishment, it's not because I think we're better than everyone else. It's because it wouldn't deliver a quality experience for our members. We have had tremendous success doing WOD's Manion, Kalsu and 343. Hero workouts that still deliver but provide an easy opportunity to perform due to the equipment needed and design of the workout. This year we aren't even doing a "Hero" workout. We will be performing a benchmark creation of my own that has been used annually in our gym. "Carry the Load" will force our members to grind their way through it, just like a Hero workout does, and it's a perfect fit for our programming as a whole. To those who are doing Murph today, enjoy and good luck!

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